Guest writer: March to the tune of glorious Vienna

It’s the City of Music – a place where arts and culture buffs will revel in theatre, opera, classical music and fine arts. More famous composers have called Vienna home than any other city and it will forever be known as the home of the classic Viennese ball and the Waltz.

Vienna has all the impressive trappings of an imperial capital having been the former centre of the Habsburg Empire. As such, its city centre has been honoured as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are in fact over 27 castles, 150 palaces and 100 museums in this golden city.

belvedere-1601377_1280Suggest a visit to the splendid baroque Schönbrunn and Belvedere Palaces, or the heart of the former vast Habsburg Empire, the Imperial Palace. Visitors can stroll along the Ring Boulevard, visit the Spanish Riding School where the world-renowned Lipizzaners inspire their audience, or the Giant Ferris Wheel at the Prater. The Habsburg walk from the 14th century Gothic-styled St. Stephan’s Cathedral in the heart of the old city, along Kärtner Strasse to Neuer Markt showcases the Imperial Burial Vault, housing the most important tombs of the Habsburg. Some 149 members of the dynasty have been buried here since 1633. Next stop is the Church of the Augustinian Friars, the site of the Habsburg’s “Heart Crypt” housing a total of 54 hearts of members of the imperial family.

If your customer is visiting Vienna at the end of November or in December, suggest a visit to one of the city’s popular Christmas markets to drink mulled wine, eat traditional food and shop for original gifts, Christmas decorations, cakes and biscuits. Among those worth visiting are the Rathaus, located on the large town square and Schönbrunn Christmas Market.tram-1672617_1280

Hop on Vienna’s Ring Tram to explore the city’s magnificent ring boulevard (Ringstrasse) and all its glorious landmarks like the State Opera House, Parliament and Vienna City Hall. The tram ride takes about 30 minutes and operates all year round from 10h00 to 18h00. LCD screens inform you about highlights along the route and headphones are available. The tram runs a hop-on hop-off service stopping at selected stations so they can also get on and off as their sightseeing schedule pleases.

sacher-cake-1280575_1280One of Vienna’s most popular activities is to enjoy coffee and a slice of sachertorte, Viennese chocolate cake, at a typical Viennese coffee house. Café Hawelka, which opened in 1939 on Dorotheergasse, is an institution, while Café Mozart, near the Imperial Palace and Opera House, offers a traditional taste of Viennese coffee culture.

For the best views in Vienna, tell your customer to head 252m into the air and up the Danube Tower, one of Vienna’s iconic landmarks. Built in 1964, the tower contains two express elevators taking visitors to a rotating restaurant where they can enjoy a panoramic view of Vienna’s old city and the Vienna Woods. For more information, visit http://www.donauturm.at/en/

Suggest a trip in a horsedrawn carriage, or flaker, to explore Vienna’s top attractions. Flaker stands can be found throughout the city, vienna-1544015_1280including Stephansplatz, Petersplatz and Burgtheater and the tour through the centre of the old city usually takes about 20 minutes. Individual sightseeing tours can also be directly booked through flaker service providers. For a romantic twist on the flaker experience, they can request a porcelain ride, referring to a calm, steady drive.

RAND SAVER

The Vienna Card offers over 210 discounts and unlimited free travel on the metro, bus and tram. Available in hotels and at the tourist information centre on Albertinaplatz, as well as the tourist information point at the airport, the Vienna card is valid for 72 hours. Card holders will enjoy discounted rates at museums and tourist sites, theatres and concerts, in shops, cafés, restaurants and heurigen. (https://www.wienkarte.at/card-order/order.php

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