Tips and Inspiration for your European holiday

With its abundance of stunning architecture and rich history, Vienna is the jewel in Austria's crown.  As the home to the Vienna Boys' Choir, the beautiful Lippizaner stallions of the Spanish Riding School, and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the city has a rich cultural flavour but it also proudly boasts a strong cafe and culinary scene, too.  

Having visited Vienna on many occasions, Michael McMillan, Sales and Marketing Representative for Holidays on Location, shares his Insider Secrets to this stunning city with us.


Must-see sights

  • St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom) - the heart and soul of Vienna
  • The inner city (1st district or Innere Stadt), the Karntnerstrasse, the Graben and Kohlmarkt pedestrian malls
  • Schonbrunn Palace & Gardens Schloss
  • Belvedere & Gustav Klimt’s “the Kiss”
  • The Christmas markets in front of the Rathaus (Town Hall), Ringstrasse
  • The Ringstrasse - take a slow walk through the Autumn leaves whilst admiring the grand Hofburg Palace of the Hapsburgs, the delicate Votivkirche, the wedding-cake Rathaus, and the faux-Grecian Parliament
  • The Opera & Musikverein - no visit to Vienna is complete without a visit to the famous opera house or without hearing the strains of the Blue Danube Waltz played by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the Musikverein

Vienna skyline with St Stephen's Cathedral

Favourite place/area to stay Vienna

  • Bristol Hotel, Ringstrasse - the grand traditional hotel opposite the Opera (the concierge is renowned for obtaining tickets to the opera for house guests)
  • Altstadt Hotel, Spittelberg - a quirky designer hotel in a charming artistic quarter

Best place to eat in Vienna

  • Do & Co, Haus Haas, Stephansplatz - for dinner overlooking the illuminated Stephansdom
  • Wurstelstand am Hoher Markt, or any other of the 300+ sausage stands scattered throughout the city

Best way to get around the city

24 or 72 hour public transport pass covering metro, trams & buses


Gustav Klimt's The Kiss

Local specialities

  • Schnitzel at Figlmueller near Stephansplatz (only for the seriously hungry)
  • Morning Sachertorte at the Hotel Sacher
  • A melange in any of Vienna’s famous coffee houses like Cafe Hawelka, Cafe Landtmann & Cafe Sperl (famous for its infamous former patron)
  • Afternoon coffee and apfelstrudel at Demel, Kohlmarkt
  • Do take home the inevitable Klimt poster, and a collar or coat from the pet boutiques in the 1st district for the family canine (the Viennese have the most elegantly presented dogs in Europe)


Best way to spend a lazy Sunday in Vienna?

A leisurely cruise on the Danube and the Wachau Valley to Durnstein, a long lunch at a wine tavern (Heurige) in Grinzing or Neustift (but be warned the wine is young and rough), or a slow ramble through the beautiful gardens of Schonbrunn to the Glorietta monument.


My hidden secret of Vienna

See if you can find a beautiful little street in the old Jewish quarter in the inner city called Schonlanterngasse. It means 'beautiful lantern alley', and, if you can find it you will know why it is so named. Visit on a foggy quiet night and have dinner in the little restaurant beneath the l.....n (it’s very The Third Man).


Schonbrunn Palace 


All photos courtesy