Vienna doesn't always get mentioned on everyones list of weekend getaways in Europe and its surprising why after spending a full weekend there myself and seeing how perfect it actually is. Maybe the reason why it doesn't is because it feels like home away from home; a great compliment to the city. In 2018, the historic city was named the "most livable city in the world" by The Economist - partly due to its number one world class transport system - it won't let you down!
Vienna doesn't boast the biggest party scene in Europe like Berlin, it doesn't boast the fashion scene like Milan, it doesn't boast the hostel scene like Budapest, it doesn't boast the beach scene like Athens, it doesn't boast the michelin starred restaurants like Paris but what it does boast is its alluring mix of old-school charm and modern edge. Steeped in history, Vienna manages to perfectly mix the cultural achievements of yesteryear with all the must-haves of the modern day. From live jazz to butterfly houses, coffee cocktails to regal palaces, to great local food heritage - Vienna is well worth the long weekend explore.
It is why it has inspired one of watch colours of our European watch series; we are proud to have in our series, "The Vienna" watch.
Where to stay?
Another reason why Vienna was voted the most liveable city in the world in 2018 was because of its vast array of accommodation options for all types of tourists.
The city boast a stunning array of airbnb options in the city centre to outskirts - very expected from a city so engrossed in its architectural history of palaces that even small city centre apartment give you that feel.
There is also the option of hostels in the city - contra to perceptions not all hostels are full of young backpackers - there are some hostels dedicated to other travellers.
The city boasts a great selection of hotels. Palais Hansen's traditional neoclassical facade encases modern architecture and contemporary comforts at the very highest level, a great reflection of the city itself. Or try the Ritz Carlton, Vienna for the ultimate high end comfort experience. Here, you will find palatial rooms and suites, state of the art spa, excellent restaurants, and a roof top bar with panoramic views over Vienna's skyline. If that's not all enough, why not Prince of Württemberg's Palace?, now an uber luxury hotel called the Imperial.
What to do?
A sure is to check out the capital's city center. The entire historic city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Simply stroll through the pedestrian streets and let yourself be impressed by the Stephansdom (St Stephen's Cathedral), the world famous opera house and the Hofburg Palace (a 600 year old palace).
Insider tip: Take the yellow Vienna Ring tram from Schwedenplatz for a 25-minute roundtrip of the center. A great opportunity to see a magnificent showcase of grand and glorious architecture. Here you can get your bearings while tracing Vienna's evolution from walled small town to powerful Empire and finally modern green city.
If you love your art, make sure to check out the Kunsthistorisches Museum. This museum boasts a unique collection of work from ancient egyptians to classic austrian works of art - its a true appreciation of arts around the globe over the years.
Finally the highlight of the trip - have you ever wished to share your deepest fears, desires or secrets with someone without any regrets - well here's your chance. The Coffeehouse Conversations give you the chance to meet a local over drinks at one of the grand coffeehouses on the Ringstrasse.
What to eat?
The most important part of a city after its feel and vibe is the food it offers.
A must is to try the local street food stalls, the Würstelstand. These small sausage serveries can be found dotted all around the city. Give a try to the Bosna sausage, which comes with with onions and curry, or the Käsekrainer sausage, which is stuffed with cheese.
Vienna is known for its coffeehouses and a trip to these is a must and also unavoidable. A sure trip is to the opulent coffeehouse setting of Demel. Treat yourself to some Sachertorte, which is layers of chocolate cake interspersed with apricot jam, and topped with a dark chocolate icing.
If you only have time to check out one bar in Vienna, make sure to check out Bar 'Kleinod' ('little treasure') drenched in old Viennese charm, with dark polished wood panels, crystal chandeliers and shiny brass to decorate its surroundings. The background ambience adds to the experience as well of twenties jazz tunes, early soul and electro. The drinks here are a clever re-interpretations of classics flavours. Try the Pauls Punsch with mandarin-infused gin and jasmin tea, or the outlandish Warhol daiquiri, a Bloody Mary with with banana liqueur.
Is it the most liveable city in the world?
The city boasts a world class arts and musical scene from modern to classical. You will see and feel it all around the city, performances by world known classical and modern artists are a regular feather here.
Overall, this city is special and I loved being here and look forward to coming back. It can't be called a hidden gem of Europe because its so well known but it certainly feels that way due to its classic feel of this city, it doesn't make the noise of other European cities.
From world class public transport and services to a great culture history offerings to those that wish to reside their - it is no surprise why the city is constantly ranked highly in the most liveable cities in the world.
It is this and many more reasons why it is an inspiration for the our rose gold edition of the "The European series" watch series.