Weekend in Wien…pt 2

So, you’ve had a taste of Schönbrunn Palace, a swim on top of the city and enjoyed the heights of Prater Park. If you missed it, check here.

Now for the seriously cultured side of Vienna.

Head first to the Museums Quartier, or MQ as it’s known to the locals. A hub of Museums surround an enclave of cafes and comfy hang out spots within a gorgeous courtyard. This place is always energetic and inspiring.

Official photography from MQ site http://www.mqw.at/de/presse/pressefotos/das-mq/

To fuel the next few hours of looking at art, its imperative to indulge in good coffee. I’m sure that’s why MQ has so many funky cafes, the better to fortify yourself for artistic discoveries!

Graceful Art Excitement

Artistic Prep time in the Leopold Cafe…good to go!!

The Leopold Museum is currently housing a magnificent exhibition of Schiele & Klimt, two big names of the Vienna Secession art movement. An artist friend of mine (http://sarahmasson.com.au/) was in town recently so it was the perfect excuse to finally check out the famous works.

Klimts art is pretty unavoidable in Vienna – he’s a hometown sensation, born and raised in the 14th District of Vienna. Consequently, all souvenir shops are plastered with cheap reproductions of his most famous paintings. 

Pretty sure he never envisioned his work on Tins of Tea

The exhibition in the Leopold is a fascinating exploration of Klimt & Schiele’s lives, well worth spending a few hours exploring. Personally,  the Schiele piece ‘Couple Embracing’ was my favourite, with Klimts  ‘Life and Death’ a close second.  If paintings aren’t your thing , MQ also has museums dedicated to Dance, Architecture, Musical Theatre, Modern Art and even a KinderMuseum for children.

After such a stretch of time inside, you’ll be in need of some sunshine & fresh air – head to the skies my friends. There is a wonderful rooftop cafe about 5 minutes walk from MQ where you can see across the entire Ringstrasse of Vienna. Dachboden comes with views over some of Vienna’s most famous monuments: the Natural & Art History Museums, the Rathaus, the spire of St Stephans, Hundertwassers’ Heating Tower, the WWII era Flak Towers

Dachboden

Stunning blue skies not guaranteed daily!

Rathaus ViewViews over the civilised intersections also included.

The bar itself is very comfy, lots of cosy couches, big communal benches, the terrace is glorious (if you can get a seat) and they serve excellent local cocktails – try the Kaiser Spritz or a Hugo!

Dachboden Terrace

The first of many family rooftop reunions – even Dad is stoked!

From here you can round out the cultural day with a wander into the city centre, known as the 1st District. Stop by the historical Hofburg Palace en route for the must-have photo opportunity. The Hofburg was the winter palace and seat of power for the Habsburg dynasty, and the modern day President of Austria still has his residence here. Its grand, imposing and still as stunning today as when the Kaiser was in power

Hofburg

Spot the symbol of Imperial Austria up top – the double headed Eagle holding a crown 

Maria Theresa

Maria Theresa – mother of modern Austria & Marie Antoinette – will give you her benediction on the way by

Then get up close with some statues, fountains and spectacular architecture in the 1st District

Chilled TritonTriton is looking a bit weary…

Hofburg Palace

...looking at this view all day must be exhausting for him… 

The 1st district is full of historical buildings, cobbled streets and ‘Fiaker’, the traditional horse & carriages of Vienna . Wandering up little alleys is the best way to find hidden treasure bookshops, cafe’s and artisan stores.  More about my favourite stops to come in a future post! Wrapping up your short weekend in Vienna with a leisurely stroll through the historical centre is the best way to soak up the spirit of a city hundreds of years in the making.

Staying longer in Wien? Then check out these suggested activities: Wachau Day Trip or Schloss Belvedere

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7 comments

  1. Chasing the Donkey

    What a great read! I just spent a day in Vienna over the weekend, and saw nothing (thanks to the rain and screaming baby), so it was great to see it through your eyes.

  2. Rob Houck

    Super summary of a great city for tourists (and ranked one of the best places in the world to live). After looking at the Schiele’s (if only on bisquit tins), try the Medieval collection at Belvedere. It’s clear where Schiele got his inspiration.

  3. Martin

    i looooove your blog!! especially and above all because i enjoy seeing “my” town through the eyes of a “guest”! one little comment tough: the “famous” balcony which you show, wasn’t the one to declare independency from, …but in fact it was the balcony where that one horrible, most ugly, awful ,despicable Austrian held his first speech after “conquering” Austria in ’38… our independency after WWII was declared from the balcony of Schloss Belvedere….;)
    keep up the good work!!

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