5 Things I Love About Vienna

1. Architectural beauty. Pound for pound, or square mile for square mile, Vienna is the most beautiful city I’ve ever visited. Sure, Rome has the Trevi Fountain and the Colloseum, Sydney has the Opera House, and Berlin has the Brandenburg Gate, but Vienna consistently has the most picturesque squares, monuments, parks and buildings across the city. I love old European architecture anyway but there just seems more of it, better preserved and without the intrusions of modernity that blight London, for example. Sure, there are modern buildings in amongst the history but they seem blended in rather than sticking out as they do elsewhere.

Belvedere House

2. Convenience while you’re there. Public transport options abound in Vienna. U-bahn (underground), buses, trains, trams are all usable on a single ticket and navigation is simple. If you fancy a bit of exercise then get a city bike and make use of the copious cycle lanes to get around. Even walking is pleasure. The wide open boulevards are pretty, traffic in the narrower streets doesn’t seem as mental as other major cities, and there’s always something worth seeing or doing within walking distance of where you are. Why cram yourself onto a tourist bus at extortionate cost (both financially and to your sanity) when you can travel like a local, see more and discover the real city, not just the dozen places someone has decided are the things to see. Don’t get me wrong, I love a big museum or religious site as much as the next man (unless of course the next man is the curator of St.Stephens Cathedral Historical Archives, but then I’m pretty sure the guy next to me as I write this isn’t him. He’s not even wearing a Cassock), but I do prefer to see some of the “lesser” attractions as well.

Ferris Wheel Near Praterstern
3. Convenience when you leave. I checked in for my outbound flight in the city centre. Austrian Airlines have a check in desk at the train station that goes to the airport. Check your bags in there and you don’t have to carry them on the train or lug them around at the airport itself. There was also no queue whatsoever, although I suspect this won’t last when people realise. When you get to the airport you can head straight through security as if you only have carry on luggage, which of course at that point you do. And if you’re not flying Austrian, well you can give your bag to any local policeman who will be honour bound to deliver it to you at the airport at your convenience*

*Disclaimer: please don’t try to do this. Actually do, but only while I watch from a discreet distance with my camera.

4. Apfelstrudel and weisswein. There’s a lot of great food and drink in Vienna. The wine is good, the beer is good, the cakes are good, the strudel is good. It would be quite easy to eat and drink way too much here (and by “way too easy” obviously I mean “pass me more strudel please”)

Mozart Statue

5. Ultravox. Meine Damen und Herren, ich gebe dir Midge Ure und Ultravox.

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