Winter in Vienna – sightseeing tips from our expert (pt.2)

Our wombats Vienna guide and expert Charles gives you his personal recommendations for your stay in the Austrian capital. This is part two of the “things to do in Vienna in winter” series – the first part can be found here.

A great place for culture & arts: the upper Belevedere

Culture & Arts – Gustav Klimt

Vienna is celebrating the 150th birthday of Gustav Klimt, one the worlds’ most famous Symbolist painters and Viennese artists. There are a lot of exhibitions around these days, but there is one MUST SEE:

The Belvedere is hosting the Klimt exhibition “Pioneers of Modernism” ‘till 4th of March and permanently houses “The Kiss”, the largest Klimt collection in the world. It is situated in the 3rd district at the Prinz-Eugen-Street 27. You can either get there with the tram line “D” to stop “Schloss Belvedere” as well as with the tram 18 and bus lines 13A and 69A to stop “Südbahnhof”.

“Alternative Sightseeing” – Cemeteries

And if you’re totally into Klimt, then you should also visit the “Hietzinger Friedhof” (cementery Hietzing), where he was buried along other notable historic figures. To get there just take the metro line U4 to Hietzing, from there take Bus 58B to stop “Montecucolli Strasse”.

Speaking of cemeteries – they are places of culture and part of Vienna’s history as a city. Apart from thousands of graves, there are also green spaces, trees, churches, historical buildings and cultural monuments to be seen. Especially the Central Cemetery (district Simmering, tram line 6 or 71, stop Zentralfriedhof) is one of Vienna’s must-sees. It is one of the largest cemeteries in the world and many of Austria’s (and international) personalities of art, music and politics are buried here – like Ludwig van Beethoven, Arthur Schnitzler, Falco or Bruno Kreisky, just to name a few.

Shopping – Museumsquartier

“Shopping” can be much more than browsing through the stores of international brands, which look the same all over the world. The Museumquartier Vienna (one of the largest art and culture complexes in the world – you can’t miss it) houses some really cool stores of young designers, artists and “cool nerdy stuff”.

My special recommendation: the Lomography Shop. Right under the MUMOK stairway next to the KUNSTHALLE wien shop, the Lomographic Society’s store features an outstanding interior designed by Sally Bibawy, Karl Pircher, and Monika Singer. The shop sells cult cameras from the Lomo range and other trendy gifts and gadgets like films, books, Lomography-themed under- and outerwear, retro stuff and accessories.

Well, I hope you enjoy the winter in Vienna and that you have a great stay!

Yours, Charles

Winter in Vienna – sightseeing tips from our expert (pt.1)

ice skating Vienna city hall

Christmas time is over, but the winter has still taken over Vienna. But that’s no reason to not enjoy the Austrian capital. There are plenty of things to do and to see in this great city in wintertime! Our wom-walk guide and Vienna expert Charles collected some recommendations for sightseeing and activities in Vienna. This is the first part, more to come in a few days!

Sport – Ice Skating

ice skating Vienna

"Eistraum" Vienna (© Stadt Wien Marketing)

As long as it is cold it’s time to discover the many natural ice skating facilities and ice rinks. Put on your skating shoes, step on the slippery surface and learn how great fun it is to skate outdoors in the centre of Vienna.

At the Wiener Eislaufverein (Vienna Ice Skating Club) you can rent skates, learn to dance the Waltz on the ice, try the “Eisstockschießen” (the Austrian version of curling) or just enjoy to skate in the beautiful neighbourhood of the Konzerthaus. It is situated at the Lothingerstraße 22 in the 3rd disctrict, next to the U4 metro station “Stadtpark”.

And you should try the “Eistraum”: From 20th January till 4th of March you can skate in front of the Viennese City Hall – a truly unique Vienna experience! Especially at night (till 10 o’clock) this might be the best ice skating experience you ever had; it’s not just for nothing that it’s called the „Eistraum“, which means „Ice Dream“. For more Info check the Eistraum website.

Sightseeing – Vienna from above

It is rather difficult to get up anywhere in the city centre. Nevertheless, there are two places I can recommend for great panoramic views.

Bahnorama Vienna viewing towerDon’t miss the “bahnorama”, a 67 meter high viewing tower, which offers a perfect view over the city and the massive construction site of the hyper-modern railway station and it’s surroundings – a whole new city district is arising on 109 hectares of land (as large as Vienna’s eight district). The tower also houses multimedia exhibition, a 3D simulated flight over the construction site and a café.

Another great view offers the café/cantina on the roof of the Palace of Justice, which houses the highest courts of Austria. You find it at the Schmerlingplatz 10, next to the Parliament and U2 metro station Volkstheater. At the entrance you will be checked like on an airport, but once you are inside you can enjoy the beautiful interior of this 19th century palace. Take the elevator up to the cantina: it is quite fancy, but you can enjoy good food and great view over the Ringstraße Boulevard and the Old town of Vienna.

So much for today, folks. More recommendations in a few days! For any further infos just contact our reception staff in the hostels or talk with me during one of the free wom-walks.

Yours, Charles

Charles Sperl

The Trail to the Perfect Wiener Schnitzel!

Wiener schnitzel photo

Wiener schnitzel

Our guests are famous for cooking the most delicious meals in our hostels’ kitchens. We have seen so much different feasts from different countries, prepared with basic ingredients on a small budget – thanks for all the inspiration, folks!

But the key insight from the food thing was: the best way to understand a country is to understand (and eat!!!) its cuisine… And to learn about Austria, our guests should learn about the “Wiener Schnitzel“!

For your info: The “Wiener Schnitzel” (Engl.: Viennese Schnitzel or escalope) is one of the most popular meals of the unique cuisine of Vienna and part of the Austrian cultural heritage.

Learn how to cook a delicious Wiener Schnitzel

wiener schnitzel cooking class and recipe, ViennaThat’s why we invented the WOM-COOK, our legendary Wiener Schnitzel Tour in Vienna. It takes you on the trail to the perfect Schnitzel: Meeting point is every Friday at 11 a.m. at our wombats CITY HOSTEL at “The Naschmarkt”. Together with other travellers you head out to buy all the necessary ingredients. Along the way our “Schnitzel-Guides” will teach you about the tradition of Viennese food and its origins.

After that the group returns to the kitchen at our wombats hostel “The Naschmarkt”, where you prepare your own Schnitzel. In the end, all participants will eat their masterworks and a judging panel of Austrian “cuisine experts” will reward the best one. And rumour has it that after these Schnitzel-Sessions the participants team up to explore Vienna together – cuisine is connecting people.

The tour costs 19 € and includes all the ingredients. For more information just contact the reception staff in our Viennese hostels.

So see you at one of our WOM-COOK tours and enjoy your Schnitzel. Mahlzeit!!! (The Austrian saying for “bon appetit“/“enjoy your meal“).

[womphotocredits]Photo of Wiener Schnitzel © jenniferwoodardmaderazo under CC BY 2.0 license.[/womphotocredits]

How to Spend New Year’s Eve in Vienna

New Year’s Eve is coming our way. If you are in Vienna and still searching for the right place to celebrate the turn of the year, here are some recommendations for you:

Eating out, yummie!
A good diner might be the best thing to start the New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, most of the restaurants in Vienna are booked out at 31st December… But don’t give up hope, just contact our reception staff in the hostels! They are happy to help you with your restaurant reservation. Or check this website for restaurants opened on New Year’s Eve.

Watching fireworks

Vienna New Year's Fireworks

Vienna New Year's Fireworks

You just love fireworks? Than the hills and viewpoints around Vienna are your places to be to enjoy awesome panoramas of the city’s skyline and the fireworks in the sky. We recommend the Kahlenberg, the Cobenzl, the Himmelwiese or the Leopoldsberg in Viennas 19th district. All of which can be reached with the 38A bus from the U4 metro terminal station Heiligenstadt (just hop on the U4 metro in front of our wombats “The Naschmarkt”). If you want to stay in the centre of Vienna, we recommend the roof of the public library at the Urban-Loritz-Platz (just some 10 minutes walking from our hostel “The Lounge”).

The biggest Party in Austria
If you want celebrate a “traditional” Viennese New Year in the heart of the city and among masses of people; the “Silvesterpfad” (engl. “New Year Trail”) should be your choice. The whole city centre turns into a massive street party, way more than half a million people celebrating. The program includes various performances, concerts, DJ acts and entertainment at historical sights like Heldenplatz, Stephansplatz, City Hall or the Prater. At midnight you can experience the most traditional Austrian way of stepping from one year to the next in front of the St. Stephen’s Cathedral: while Austria’s largest bell, the “Pummerin”, rings in the new year people are dancing the “Donauwalzer” (engl. The Blue Danube Waltz).

wombats!!!
If you want to celebrate with really cool international people, than our hostels might be the place to be for you. All our houses are booked out, there will be parties with our guests and staff with various specials. Just watch out and ask our staff or other guests to get more information.

Nightclubbing
If you like to party all night long, then get into one of Vienna’s best clubs to rock and dance: In the U4, one of the most legendary discos of Vienna, there are four international New Year celebrations, one each hour from 10 p.m. (Sansibar) till 1 a.m. (London). The Flex provides a 14-hour Silvester-Rave, including many DJ’s from different electronic styles. The Fluc also brings up a great range of different DJ sets without entrance fee (yeah!). And those who prefer minimal and dub step should definitely go to the Pratersauna – they present their “finest national artist showcase”.

Well, what more to say? We wish you a happy New Year! See you in 2012!

[womphotocredits]Photo of fireworks © jeanleo under CC BY-SA 2.0 license.[/womphotocredits]

Discover Vienna with our free wom-walk!

Free Walking Tours for Wombats guests

You want to get some spectacular views of the Austrian capital Vienna, see heaps of great historical sights and meet nice people for good drinks and food? No problem, our brand new wom-walk has it all for you – for free!

wombats hostel free city tour vienna

The walk starts every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday  at  10am in winter (11am in summer) at our wombats CITY HOSTEL “The Naschmarkt”, where you meet up with other travellers taking part. Our certified city guide Charles takes you on a tour along famous Viennese sights like the Naschmarkt, the Opera or the St. Stephen’s Cathetral, giving you first class background information.

The walk also includes stops at the legendary “Würstlstände” (traditional food stalls) and ends at the “12 Apostel Keller” (“Twelve-apostle’s cellar”), a really old wine cellar in the heart of Vienna – so plenty of typical Austrian food and excellent wines are at your delight! The participation in the wom-walk is free; you just pay for your food and drinks.

All guests taking part so far were excited. The wom-walk proofed to be a great opportunity to get a first impression of the city and meet other travellers from around the world. A perfect start for a good stay, for your wombats experience!

For more information don’t hesitate to contact our reception staff in the hostels. We are looking forward to walk with you!