Unexpected Vienna

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Vienna in Austria is renowned for its season of balls, for its grand palaces and its operas – all of which are great reasons to visit. However, it has another side: a side which might be a little kinder on the bank balance. Alongside these grand attractions there are beaches to relax on, flea markets to peruse and sausages to chow down on. Here we bring you a side of Vienna which you never expected.


You might not know that Vienna is home to some pretty cracking beaches, and why would you when it’s many miles from the Ocean. However there are the beaches lining the Danube, where you can push off from the sandy banks and swim in the river. The Strandbäder Alte Donau beach makes the most out of the clean waters of a side channel of the Danube, and is popular all summer long.

Alternatively, for those who like to do backstroke without the fear of colliding into a boat, there are a number of vast outdoor swimming pool complexes throughout the city. Schafbergbad is one of the most popular of these pools, and has a series of slides which kids will love. For those looking for a more sedate affair, Krapfenwaldlbad is a pool with a view – situated on a hillside overlooking the city.

picture of the river Danube in Vienna

The Flea Markets

Vienna’s reputation of grandeur can be slightly misleading. Yes, there is a season for waltzing and yes, there are more palaces than you can shake a stick at, but the city also has a cheaper and more haphazard side. Nowhere is this clearer than in the midst of a pile of trinkets at the Naschmarkt. This is one of Vienna’s biggest flea markets and claims its foundations were (metaphorically of course) lain in the 16th century. The market plays host to furniture, carpets, paintings and much more – it’s a treasure trove for budding interior designers.

picture of the flea markets in Vienna

It is a Wine Growing Region

For a city, Vienna is incredibly multi-faceted. Alongside the beaches, opera houses and flea markets it also harbours a wine-growing scene. The region grows Grüner Veltliner, Riesling and Chardonnay grapes across 1,680 acres of vineyards that grace the city.

The wine harvested from these grapes is served in many of the city’s bars and pubs, giving you a true taste of this decadent region. In order to explore this region hop aboard the Heurigen Express and meander through the countryside on the hunt for wine.

picture of a vineyard

They Love Fast Food

Vienna’s cuisine is famously decadent; Beuschel, a veal-based ragout, and smoked meats are fairly typical to a Viennese diet. So it might be hard to imagine that there is also a deep-seated love of fast food. To be fair, it’s not exactly Big Macs which rule the roost – it’s the Käsekrainer sausage which takes centre stage.

A Käsekrainer is a pork sausage with a small cheese content – the marriage of these two tastes makes for an incredibly rich snack. Bitzinger’s sausage stand near the Giant Ferris wheel has some of the finest, so make sure to head there. Your biggest decision will be whether or not to have mustard with your sausage in a roll.

picture of a sausage
[Photo by Mirko Tobias Schäfer – Flickr]

Dark Tourism Opportunities

Intrigued by dark tourism? Then head to Vienna’s Imperial Burial Vault. This crypt below the city houses the tombs of some of Vienna’s most prominent historical figures. The crypts are home to 12 of Vienna’s emperors and a further 19 empresses and queens. The tombs are ornate with crown wearing skeletons carved upon some of them. On top of this, there is also a Funeral Museum in Vienna, which showcases the history of funerals in this pretty city.

picture from a crypt
[Photo by Giorgio Minguzzi – Flickr]

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