6 Jul 2016

A Viennese Whirlwind Weekend

city view of vienna

Vienna, Austria's capital city is affectionately known as the 'city of music’ as it was once home to numerous famous classical composers from Beethoven to Vivaldi. Today, the city's musical heritage lives on and you’ll often see Mozart impersonators touting classical concerts to flocks of tourists. Our visit was inspired by music but of the 21st century kind - Muse were in town and rather than catching their Drones tour in Manchester a weekend in Vienna sounded much more fun. 

Our home for the weekend was the Falkensteiner Hotel Wien Margareten, a modern design hotel and central enough for lots of exploring. Once checked in, we enjoyed a welcome glass of fizz in the courtyard and then headed out in search of food as we were ravenous from our early start.

die burgermacher vienna

Like most European cities Vienna (Wien) is experiencing something of a burger and craft beer surge, the city is now home to quite a few burger bars. We made our way to Die Burgermacher in Burgasse rumoured to make the best burgers in town and they didn’t disappoint! We couldn’t have chosen better place to refuel for our first day in Vienna. 

happy hour beach bar vienna

Next we headed to Strandbarr Herrman a popular beach bar on the bank of river Danube, it was a beautifully sunny spring day and we managed to bag a couple of deck chairs just in time for their late afternoon happy hour. With toes in the sand we sipped on G&T’s and happily people watched until eventually we gave in to our tiredness.

hot rod helmets vienna

Vienna boasts a rather unique way to do your sightseeing - a self drive hot rod tour. Despite Steve’s doubts over my driving ability, we decided it was worth the risk and pre-booked on a group tour for the chance to be Penelope Pitshop and Mutley (sorry Steve - must be the beard) for a few hours. 

vienna hot rod city tour

It was hilarious, right from the moment we arrived in the shop to get kitted up in our retro helmets and earpieces. 

vienna hot rod city tour

As soon as we looked like hot rod drivers we were allowed to hone our hot rod driving skills, it’s literally stop and start so super easy and loads of fun! 

hot rod driving vienna

After a few laps of the underground car park, and lots of photos, we were in a convoy of seven weaving our way up to the exit to hit the busy streets of Wien.

hot rod driving vienna

The next two hours were action packed and we never stopped grinning. It’s a very surreal experience driving in a tiny car alongside full size traffic. The aim is too stick tight in a single line so that other cars cannot break the line and when you’re at the lights to double up like in mario kart. 

hot rod driving vienna

In reality it doesn’t happen like this especially in the first twenty minutes whilst we’re all wondering if we’re crazy. 

hot rod city tour vienna

Not long into the tour I overshot some traffic lights after getting confused between the super easy stop-start functionality I mentioned earlier. Quite scary yet I live to tell the tale!

hot rod driving vienna

The day of our tour coincide with a half marathon so a lot of main street were closed. Steve embraced the opportunity to high five the refreshments team at the side of the road though like he had just won the grand prix. 

hot rod city tour vienna

The hot rods are a welcome novelty and you have great fun waving and beeping at everybody you pass.

At one point we were accosted by a drunk whilst stationary at some lights, no idea what that was all about and at least we got to see all the sides of the city.

hot rod city tour vienna

Due to some road closures we got to venture quite far outside of the city centre and did a few kilometres on a busy dual carraigeway where we sped up to 60kmph!

hot rod city tour vienna
"Does my head look big in this?"

So whilst we didn’t get to see all of Vienna’s key sights we did have a very exhilarating ride! 

city hod rod tours in vienna

After our extended tour of three hours we were glad to be back on two legs and hot footed it to the city beach for some chilled beers. 

he city beach bar by the danube vienna

Vienna also has a decent pub scene and a favourite of ours was The Brickmakers, its a friendly spot for sampling local craft beers and has a tasty, american BBQ inspired menu. It gets very busy so arrive early evening to get a table.

museumsplatz sign wien

The museumsplatz (museum quarter) is the culture hub of Vienna and home to the cities largest art galleries. Just remember to check the opening times before you visit, we were gutted that the Mumok was closed.

Wien mumok gallery
The Mumok

Thankfully, the Museumsplatz is the ideal district to wander aimlessly.

central vienna

There are plenty of grand Baroque buildings and perfectly pruned gardens to admire.

vienna baroque building

We even discovered another beach, yes the landlocked Viennese love the yellow stuff. All ages visit these man-made beaches and there is always a characterful beach bar to keep you hydrated.

motto am fluss vienna
Love those tiles!

For lunch, we had a reservation at Motto am Fluss a 'trendy' restaurant in a rather unique boat-like like setting on the River Danube. 

motto am fluss vienna

Each table boasts a river view and reservations are essential. Service is efficient, rather than friendly, and the food is creative and beautifully presented.

motto am fluss vienna
Too pretty to eat? Nah!

motto am fluss vienna

motto am fluss vienna
Strawberries and cream, Viennese style.

There is also a pretty cafe on the upper deck for drinks and light snacks.

motto am fluss vienna
A cafe with a view.

Not many cities boast a giant ferris wheel and theme park so it was only fair that with a few hours to kill on a Monday afternoon we went to check it out.

wiener reisenrad wien
It's as old as it looks.

Once the tallest ferris wheel in the world Das Wiener Riesenrad is an iconic landmark in Vienna.

wiener reisenrad wien

It's worth a ride for the views and is also located in the Prater amusement park there are much more high-octane rides on offer too.

rapids prater amusement park vienna

Like teenagers we giggled our way around this almost deserted playground. First we rode the rapids where I received the biggest soaking and then we bounded between a loop-the-loop, haunted house and rollercoaster in the dark. 

rollercoaster prater themepark wien
How many loops?!

Eventually my stomach couldn't take anymore so we headed back to our hotel for a quick change before the Muse gig. 

Muse, blew us away at the Stadhalle. For a large arena its so much more fun than in the UK, you can stand or sit wherever you like and you don't have to venture more than twenty steps to find a bar - they are at the edge of the dancefloor not in a corridor

muse drones vienna

We sang along and danced in a lively crowd. It was funny being native English speakers in a predominantly German speaking crowd, partly because we knew all the words and partly because Steve likes to lock eye contact with strangers as he sings. My face ached from singing and laughing.

vienna muse drones tour

After a full on four days we were glad it was just two stops on the metro back to our hotel. Thanks for the memories Vienna, I hope we are lucky enough to visit again. 

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