Tourist vs Local: Vienna


‘Tourist vs Local’ rubric aims to present a certain destination with two different perspectives. It’s amazing how different a city can look like through the eyes of a local and someone who is just now discovering it. With a good guide you can feel almost like a local exploring the main sights, but also visiting and trying things that are not in the guide books.

Here’s how I saw the city of Vienna as a tourist who has visited it on two very short trips. On the other site is my dear friend Amra, who has been living there for a few years now. She is a photographers, media communication student and blogs at Always Devoted Photography. She’s also the first guest blogger and contributor to Eo Stories.

What do you love the most about the city?
Amra: The architecture. The narrow streets of the 1st disctrict. When the city wakes at 6 am. How if you are having a walk on Sunday there is absolutely not a single person in sight for miles. The same way how you can walk home at 4 o clock in the morning after a party and Vienna will be the most quite peaceful place there is.
Sianna: Definitely the architecture! Vienna is a bit too clean and well arranged for my chaotic and eclectic taste but houses one of the most impressive architecture. With palaces on every step, I was wondering what it’s like to grew up in a city like this? Probably magnificent!

What’s your favorite place for lunch or dinner?
Amra:Café Francais’ opened last year near the main University – and i spent a lot of lovely memories there with my friends. ‘Freiraum’ has good food and a nice bar and restaurant and chill atmosphere. ‘Kunsthalle’ restaurant that’s literally situated in the museum has a the best cheesecake. ‘Naschmarkt‘ if you are coming from somewhere else and you want to feel at home for a bit and get some home-treats;)
Sianna: ‘Café Central’ had a great atmosphere and a live classical music which was a nice touch. For dinner I would usually go to the Naschmarkt and pick one of the many restaurants. It is usually full of people and there is a wide variety of places to choose from. Here’s a restaurant I learned about at the end of my second trip and can’t wait to visit when I go back to Vienna – ‘Zur eisernen Zeit’. It’s the oldest tavern at the Naschmarkt and our guide said it has the best goulash and the mayor often visits it.

Where do you go for breakfast?
Amra: ‘Cafe Latte’. Best pancakes you will ever get. And they have 15 different versions of sugar (exaggerating a bit here! :D) that they bring you on a small plate and i usually play with all of them.
Sianna: I think most of the time I just grabbed something from ‘Strock’ and ‘Derr Mann’ bakeries on my way to the center. Both have nice sandwiches, croissants and strudels. Budget-friendly and time-saving option for a traveler. Another great option in my opinion is to go through The Naschmarkt where you can find everything – from cheese, olives, fruits and vegetables to fresh sandwiches and pastries. It was just across my hostel and I just loved going through it even when I didn’t need to buy anything. It is just so colorful!

Top three attractions or sight-seeings?
Amra: It depends what kind of a person you are. I like to walk along the Donaukanal at Schwedenplatz where there is a bunch of graffiti. Prater Amusement Park is a happy place to feel like a kid for a while. Schönbrunn Park – at every possible time of year.
Sianna: A walk into the first district (observing the Stephansdom, the Opera, The Sisi palace) royal palaces and gardens – Belvedere and Schönbrunn and probably the Museums Quartier.
Best bakery or pastry place?
Amra: Pure Living Bakery or Cupcakes Vienna – if you want a pinkishly deliciously looking treat.
Sianna: Me – the chocolate junkie – this is always my favourite question. ‘Sacher’ hotel and café for the original authentic sacher cake. It is right behind the Opera House and has a glamorous red interior. You will feel like a royalty for an hour. I remember a cake shop called ‘Demel’ that unfortunately was closed by the time we finished dinner and craved a desert. Founded in 1786 and a favourite of Empress Elizabeth – I was instantly drawn by the rich interior and deliciously looking cakes.

Where you can get the best view of the city?
Amra: If you want the view of the whole Vienna go hiking at Kahlenberg. If you want to chill with a cup of coffee – 25 hours hotel cafe used to be my spot for the rooftop sightseeing. It got too popular and way too crowded lately though DC Tower opened up a bar really really high up. Skybar gives you a look over the first district. There are a few more places i’m forgetting.
Sianna: Surprisingly, the highest place I went to was not a restaurant on a rooftop or a café in a tower like I intended to. It wasn’t even the oh-so-famous Wiener Riesenrad in the Prater. But it was another Prater attraction – a 117 meter tall swing that is supposedly the tallest swing in the world. While spinning in circles in high speed and thinking how it was the worst possible time to not get an insurance before travelling, I actually enjoyed an incredible view of Vienna.

Your favourite museum or art place?
Amra: Albertina museum in the first district. In art .i go for impressionism.
Sianna: Albertina. Probably my favourite museum so far. Beautiful building and such a vast collection of paintings – from Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo to Picasso, Monet and Dürer. You can see it all!

Recommend one cultural thing to do?
Amra: Be super cold – austrian style.
Sianna: Go to the Opera if you have the chance. Not only do they have amazing performances, but the building itself is spectacular. So even if you are not a fan of that type of musical art, it is still worth it to go inside and check the opulent interior. There are standing tickets for as little as 3-4 euros which is a great option. You can get them right before the performance (better go an hour earlier) on the left side of the building.

Your favourite traditional dish?
Amra: Everybody goes for Wienerschnitzel! I honestly am such a cuckoo creep when it comes to food – that i only go for deserts – so Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel for me!
Sianna: Of course being a tourist in Vienna you just can’t miss the schnitzel – it is in the menu of every restaurant. You can get pork, chicken or veal, but make sure to order it with potato salad, not french fries.

Where would you go to relax and read a book?
Amra: There is a park near where i live – ‘Wienerberg park’. I mostly go walking there. When it comes to book reading i prefer staying home on my sofa.
Sianna: Vienna has amazing parks and gardens. Especially in the spring it is a pure bliss to walk in the royal gardens of Schönbrunn or Belvedere (if it is not a busy tourist day), or sit on the grass in ‘Burggarten’ where people are casually chillin’ and sunbathing. It is behind the National Library and there’s also the Mozart statue and the ‘Schmetterlinghaus‘ (Butterfly house) there.

Some more ideas how to spend 3 days in Vienna.

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