Wolfgang Wagner, Concierge at the Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom gives us his personal, insider guide to his city of Vienna.
Vienna so they can get the most out of it?
It’s a very harmonic and aesthetic city; Vienna is the home of some of the best composers in the world: Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss and many more. They’ve written history! Vienna is the second largest German-speaking city (after Berlin) and although it’s really big you never really feel lost.
Another special thing is the coffee culture; there are small, cosy coffee houses everywhere, which offer delicious coffee specialities, one of the best of which is the Wiener melange.
Is there an experience/sight that only locals know about and that visitors should?
Make sure you see the Steinhof Church, one of the masterpieces from Austrian architect Otto Wagner. And have brunch at Manameierei in the Schwarzenbergpark; a very charming bistro at the edge of the Vienna Woods.
Where do locals like to eat and drink?
Ulrich, a charming cafe/restaurant/bar that offers local products and organic food; Kussmaul, a very trendy restaurant and wine bar serving international and local cuisine; Joseph Brot, probably the best bakery in town.
What are the best shops to browse?
Steffl Department Store at the Kärtner Strasse for international brands; New One by Schullin, a famous Austrian jewellery designer; Kauf dich Glücklich, a small, individual design store in the Neubaugasse area; Lena Hoschek, an Austrian designer who creates beautiful dresses with an Austrian touch.
What is your favourite lesser known, non-touristy museum or attraction?
Steinhofgründe is a lovely area for a walk, where you’ll find the aforementioned Steinhof Church. Zentralfriedhof, the central cemetery is well worth a visit and, as of spring 2012, you can take a carriage ride through the cemetery (the carriage rank at gate two is occupied daily from 10am to about 7pm).
The tour includes numerous graves of prominent Viennese personalities: Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Hans Moser, Falco, Adolf Loos and many others. Another essential stop is the Palais Liechtenstein, a very historic palace owned by the princely Liechtenstein family; tours are available only on request.
What do you recommend doing for the perfect Sunday in your city?
My personal favourite is definitely the Sunday Unplugged Brunch at Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom’s Das Loft – delicious dishes, great music and a breathtaking view. For something more traditional I recommend a good cup of coffee at Café Central while reading a newspaper (locals love to do that!).