The landmarks of Vienna – the iconic Schönbrunn Palace and Prater ferris wheel – are must-sees for most visitors, but what are the best-kept secrets, off the beaten track in Austria’s capital? Read on to discover more about the city’s more unusual side, including a pay-as-you-wish restaurant and local flea markets.
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This sprawling weekly Sunday market, located in the outskirts of town in Merkur supermarket’s car park, has the feel of being a local event. The stalls feature a muddled medley of household items, clothes, toys and furniture; some broken, others functioning, and some that are wonderfully bizarre. Be prepared to engage in a bit of frantic foraging among sky-high piles to find second-hand treasures. However, those partial to a little digging around can find antique gems for incredibly low prices. Haggling is encouraged, so practice your conversational German and secure some sweet deals.
Located in one of Vienna’s most vibrant and multicultural areas, the Brunnenmarkt is always buzzing with activity. As well as the many fresh fruit and vegetable stalls, visitors can find some interesting Turkish cuisine available for affordable prices. Look out for the stands selling falafel wraps for €2 – they are some of the most authentic and tasty in town. The Yppenplatz, at one end of the market, is a trendy hangout, so be sure to check it out once you’ve finished exploring.
Der Wiener Deewan is an all-you-can-eat buffet where guests can decide what they pay. Serving up fresh, simple, authentic Pakistani style curries, accompanied by either naan bread, rice or potatoes, this restaurant is a hidden gem in more ways than one. Located just outside the heart of the city, it is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat after a day spent sight-seeing and a top spot for those visiting on a shoestring.
Supersense is a neo Gothic mansion located in the 2nd district that has been transformed into an area that houses a huge collection of analog items, including typewriters, pinball machines and much more. Guests are able to record a 90-second vinyl in the studio inside a modified elevator, or have their picture taken with a camera that Supersense states is the ‘world’s largest historic polaroid camera.’ Supersense say their mission is to get visitors to reconnect with the world of analog, stating ‘by proudly researching, celebrating and connecting these guardians of analog, Supersense fulfills its mission of materially reducing the irrevocable atrophy of analog assets in a digital world. Spearheading the global re-discovery of the importance and magic of analog.’ There is a cafe attached for a coffee and pastry break and various events take place throughout the year.
One of Hietzing’s best-kept secrets, the Schönbrunner Bad lido is discreetly tucked away behind the forested areas of Schönbrunn. Albeit a little pricey (€12 for a day ticket or €7 after 5pm), it is a paradise in the hot summer months, with shady parts to lounge in and a huge swimming pool with lanes, as well as smaller pool for families with children. There is also an on-site gym and a café for post-swim pick-me-ups.
Tucked away on Gumpendorfer Straße, in the trendy Mariahilf district, is a weekend women’s flea market, stocking high quality and designer items from top names at a reduced price tag. The store has an improvised feel – the dressing room is also the stock room – and offers a great chance to grab a unique bargain.
The grassy banks of the Neue Donau are perfectly picturesque and a great place for a afternoon picnic. There are a few rough areas however, so use the various the bridges along the way for pit stops, run along the promenade or consider taking a refreshing dip when it’s scorching during the summer months.
The district of Ottakring is a suburban, working class corner on the outskirts of Vienna, rarely visited by tourists. However, this is where you’ll find the Jubilee Tower, an observation point, erected in 1899 and designed by architect Karl Hoegler, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Emperor’s reign. that stands somewhat hidden in the depths of the Wienerwald (the woods of Vienna). It offers possibly the best views of the city’s skyline and beyond. Keen walkers should explore the surrounding green areas, where you’ll find picnic spots and parks perfect for children to explore.
Vineyard in Vienna | WienTourismus / Lois Lammerhube
Vienna’s wine culture began in the Middle Ages, when each individual district contained its own vineyard – something that was later abolished as the city’s population grew. In the 16th century, wine taverns emerged throughout the city, giving local growers the opportunity to serve their homemade wine with traditional Austrian cuisine and giving birth to the Viennese Heurige tradition. If you head up to the hills to the Cobenzl vineyard area, you’ll find a range of taverns and cellars offering delicious wine-tasting.
As well as being a top location for classical music, Vienna also caters for fans for jazz and blues, although the venues are a bit more underground than the ubiquitous Mozart and Strauss concerts. Porgy and Bess, tucked away in the 1st district, is a place where you can immerse yourself in hazy, alternative jazz and blues or join a buzzing crowd to party the night away.