A TOUR WITH OUR LOCAL INSIDER:
Hi, I'm Melissa (28) and a native of Vienna with Peruvian roots. Exploring new cultures and foreign places are among my greatest passions, which I regularly show on my Instagram channel mylittletravelgallery, where I share my photographs and travel inspiration. In addition I founded VOLIE, a travel accessories brand. I have already lived in Barcelona, Amsterdam and Birmingham, but Vienna is and remains my absolute favourite city. That's why I would like to share my personal favourite places and insider tips off the beaten track for an unforgettable visit to Vienna in this "Travel like a local" guide.
Our Motel One in Vienna
The name of this place says it all: the Kleines Café (‘little café’) is a cosy spot in the heart of Vienna with an authentic, traditional vibe – the perfect place to while away the hours. Despite its central location, it’s not on the classic tourist trail. Situated on the idyllic Franziskanerplatz square, away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, it’s a great way to experience Viennese coffee culture first-hand. The café has been a popular hangout for locals, including Vienna’s many artists and intellectuals, since the 1970s. You’ll see regulars sipping a traditional ‘Wiener Melange’ coffee while reading the paper, or engaging in philosophical debates over a glass of red wine in the evenings. The Kleines Café has its own garden, which makes it particularly magical in summer. This little gem has a truly unique atmosphere, and is one of my favourite spots in Vienna.
Burggasse 24 is an ultra-trendy concept store, combining a boutique shop and café with a laid-back, living-room feel. You can have a casual browse of the fabulous vintage and second-hand clothing and then enjoy a slice of home-made cake and other treats in the café. The cosy, retro décor with comfy sofas and a fireplace gives the place a homely charm. In summer, tables and chairs are set out on the pavement, and you can take a seat outside on Sankt-Ulrichs-Platz with a view of St. Ulrich’s Church. Burggasse 24 is nestled in the heart of the Spittelberg district, which is full of lovely little side streets – the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll. In winter, it’s also home to one of Vienna’s best Christmas markets.
The Burggarten is located on Ringstrasse, which encircles Vienna’s historic city centre. It’s one of the most popular parks among locals. It’s a little oasis of green surrounded by impressive architecture, and there’s no better place to settle down and enjoy the sun. It’s also home to the Palmenhaus, a beautiful Art Nouveau glasshouse that contains both the Butterfly House and Café Palmenhaus. In the Butterfly House, you can admire over 50 varieties of butterfly and a number of tropical plants. Café Palmenhaus is a favourite spot to stop for a coffee and enjoy the incredible views of the Burggarten. If you’re looking for more to explore, you can also take a turn around the nearby Volksgarten with its stunning ornamental gardens.
BRUNNENMARKT & YPPENPLATZ
The Brunnenmarkt is a cheaper and less touristy alternative to the famous Naschmarkt. It’s one of Vienna’s largest markets, with over 170 stalls. This colourful, bustling bazaar is bursting with multicultural flair and offers a wide range of specialities from around the world at very reasonable prices. Right next to the Brunnenmarkt is Yppenplatz, which has developed something of a hip scene in recent years. In addition to numerous cosy spots like WIRR by the Brunnenmarkt and Café Frida, you can also discover some amazing street art.
If all that sightseeing in the city centre has worked up your appetite, then Miznon is the perfect place to refuel. Not far from St. Stephen’s Cathedral, it offers a selection of delicious pita breads and other Israeli street food specialities, including roasted cauliflower. This charming little eatery has earned cult status with locals. The friendly staff prepare your food in an open kitchen and create a laid-back, inviting atmosphere. The central location means the food is a little more expensive, but it’s all made fresh and offers a pleasant contrast to the traditional hearty Viennese cuisine!
The Donaukanal is a particular favourite with the younger set, and is one of the hotspots of Vienna’s vibrant nightlife. In summer, the canal is home to numerous beach bars and hip clubs, like Tel Aviv Beach and Flex. There’s also a wealth of fantastic street art to discover along the promenade. The Donaukanal is the perfect place to round off the evening with a few drinks by the water. Nearby restaurant Mochi is a delightful little place to stop for a bite, and very popular with locals.
If you’ve ticked Vienna’s top museums (like the Kunsthistorisches Museum) off your list and still have an appetite for more art and culture, then take a visit to MAK (the Museum of Applied Arts). The gallery plays host to a rotating series of exciting exhibitions on relevant topics relating to design, architecture and contemporary art. Just opposite MAK is the picturesque Stadtpark. The museum is also home to the Salonplafond restaurant, which puts a modern spin on traditional Viennese dining. The menu is fairly pricey, but the atmosphere is very impressive and it’s definitely worth it for a special occasion.