A travel guide of Vienna's hidden gems
Use this Vienna travel guide to uncover the hidden spots that locals love and visit. Forget the beaten track and find your own way around this charming city.
For the last couple of years, Vienna has been voted ‘most livable city’ in the world, a pretty honourable title to hold. Read up on what makes this urban hotspot such a great place to enjoy life; from its homegrown, free flowing wines, to the gorgeous and grand parks, and of course, its historic contribution to classical music.
A city that emits grace and composure without seemingly doing all that much – even its name conjures up images of sophistication, aristocracy, nostalgia, a time gone by. Yet it moves along with the times, never staying stuck in old narratives and giving its residents a place to learn, evolve and enjoy. Get to know their favourite spots in the city with our travel guide, where we unearth the hidden gems that otherwise might go unnoticed.
Music & Entertainment
Discover the City of Music across all genres
Vienna is synonymous with ‘classical music’ due to its star studded hall of fame, with Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and Schubert composing some of the world’s most cherished pieces in the city. Nowadays, there are still many organised classical music concerts where you can catch beautiful symphonies, the world renowned Musikverein, or Karlskirche.
If your entertainment desires differ, not to worry, Vienna has such a rich offering of cultural hubs. For example, the Artis International is an historic cinema that screens international films (in English) and is loved by locals and expats alike in an intimate setting. Mariahilf is the 6th district in Vienna that signals ‘you know what you’re talking about’ if you say you’re gunna hang out there. A district with hip bars, cafes, concept and vintage stores, and the patrons to match, there are a multitude of spots you could enjoy and get your fix of entertainment. Throw it back to the 70s at Radio The Bar with their nostalgic decor and music to match. Or choose your cocktail and vinyl of choice as you chill out at the Needle Vinyl Bar.
Food & Drinks
A great place to eat, drink and be merry
To best describe Austrian cuisine, these countering adjectives come to mind: indulgent yet humble, flavourful yet simple. Austrian food is known for its hearty dishes made with a lot of love and fresh produce but never with any pretentious pomp. Schnitzel, strudel and Sachertort are three things you shouldn’t leave the city without trying. But despite its traditional meat-heavy culture, more and more Viennese are adopting more plant based lifestyles and conscious approaches to farming. Try TIAN for a very luxurious vegan menu, or Sattva Vegan for the best mixed plate of fresh and organic veggies.
Austria is also a big player in the wine scene, with its first vineyards yielding magic grape juice from the Middle Ages. A visit to (one or more) Heuriger is a must. These are traditional wine taverns where drink flows freely and the owners have many a tale to tell. There are a bunch of them throughout the city, so take your pick and go for the Grüner Veltliner grape. The oldest one (Heuriger 10er Marie) is a favourite among longstanding Viennese residents. The locals don’t mind an evening drink or two and late night dining is popular, so don’t feel rushed. Areas where you’ll find something for every palette are Neubau (try Figar for its cosy vibe) and Wieden (Entler Ein Restaurant is a chic spot which innovatively twists tradition to modern day tastes).
Art & Culture
A buzzing creative scene for locals and visitors alike
Vienna is a city whose charm comes from its deep rooted commitment to culture. It has a long tradition of musicians, prolific thinkers, innovators and many more intelligent and creative minds.
Make sure to spend time in the MuseumsQuartier; one of the largest districts for contemporary art in the world. “Nothing is off limits” they say – a place where juxtapositions thrive and a range of artistic expressions can be enjoyed. The Innere Stadt dates back to Roman times and has a spot on the UNESCO world heritage list. The very central point is the most famous landmark of the city, St. Stephen's Cathedral. This area is rich in history and magnificent architecture.
For a taste of local artists, you need to pay homage to Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele at the Leopold Museum. Viennese locals love and respect their art and spend a lot of their free time visiting their galleries. Entry fees can vary, but also there are free days and occasional discounts so check ahead. Most museums are closed on Mondays, too.
Shops & Boutiques
Browse through an eclectic mix of shops
Prepare for a long stroll (and open wallet) down Mariahilf, the longest shopping street in Vienna. It truly has something for every style, every age, every budget. With enough spots to take a refreshment break – think hop cafés and trendy wine bars – you can spend the entire day waltzing in and out of stores.
The Neubau neighbourhood had contemporary spots with a hint of vintage charm. Concept stores, like The Slow Label, stock environmentally conscious and socially responsible brands. For unique Viennese designs, try Freywille jewellery – though their price points might mean it’s just window shopping for now. Or R. Horn for butter-soft handmade leather.
On Saturdays, you can rummage through the fleamarket to unearth some pre-loved, vintage pieces on display at the Naschmarkt. On other days, you can find a delicious array of fresh foods, local and international produce and way more. Vienna’s supermarkets are also worth a visit as they have a huge selection of aesthetically appealing produce for a multitude of diets and intolerances.
Parks & Nature
Check out Albertina's Terrace and its skyline
In recent years, Vienna has made a huge commitment when it comes to sustainability and more conscious living. About a third of the city’s energy needs come from renewable resources and only a third of its residents get around by car – clean air for all to enjoy!
Its love for green is clear by its beautifully kept parks and gardens, and of course the majestic River Danube also weaves its way through the urban landscape. The “New Danube” is separated from the main river by the Danube Island. That’s where locals get their sweat on by cycling, swimming and skating, but also dancing at the three day festival every year. Find our favourite spot in the whole of the city in the full guide. (Tip: you won’t expect this hidden gem in a city like Vienna!)
Perhaps a palace can't really be considered a ‘hidden gem’ but let it slide for now… Don’t leave Vienna without taking a stroll through the Schönbrunn Palace; magnificent and regal, yet welcoming and cosy. The Stadtpark is also a place of refuge from the urban atmosphere. Adorned with statues of significant figures, it’s almost a Madame Tussauds, the green edition. Or take an adventure through Vienna Woods, the poshest neighbourhood of the city but also the most romantic
Want to know all the secret hotspots?
If you've always wanted to waltz around this charming European city, now's your chance. Dive deeper into the hidden gems of Vienna with our downloadable guide.
Enjoy the personalised recommendations from The Social Hub community who know the city’s nooks and crannies better than anyone.
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