Downtime: what to do in Vienna

Delegates attending the FCSI EAME Conference in Vienna this week can look forward to a vibrant city. We round up the must-try foods and top activities

Delegates at the FCSI EAME 2017 Conference who are able to carve time out of their schedule to enjoy Vienna are in for a treat. Dazzling architecture combined with first-class culture and a fine selection of places to sample local cuisine will ensure that visitors enjoy their visit to the fullest.


Don’t miss these Viennese specialities:

Wiener schnitzel
The schnitzel is the most famous dish to come out of Vienna. A thin cut of meat – usually veal – is covered in breadcrumbs and fried. The Wiener schnitzel is protected by Austrian law, which prescribes that all Wiener schnitzels must be made of veal – if pork is used instead, it should be made clear on the menu. Wiener Schnitzel vom Schwein is made with pork. For an authentic Wiener schnitzel head to Pfarrwirt, which is also Vienna’s oldest restaurant. The city’s most popular pork schnitzel is found at the famous and popular Figlmüller.,

Traditionally considered the national dish of Austria, tafelspitz is a cut of beef boiled in a broth with root vegetables. The dish is often served in two parts, with the broth eaten first followed by the meat. For one of the best versions of this traditional dishes head to Plachutta, a chain of restaurants renowned for tafelspitz.

Along with Wiener schnitzel and tafelspitz the apfelstrudel is considered the most traditional dish in Viennese cuisine. Strudel pastry stuffed with apples, raisins, sugar and cinnamon is a delicious treat with a cup of coffee or tea. Have a taste of apfelstrudel in the historic Café Landtmann – known as the favourite haunt of Sigmund Freud.

Essentially a pancake that has been shredded and prepared with a mix of fruit and raisins, then dusted with icing sugar and served with a preserve. The dessert is also known as the Emperor’s Pancake due to Emperor Franz Joseph’s love of the sweet treat. For many varieties of this unique dessert visit Heindl’s Palatschinkenkuchl.

Wiener würstel
A favourite among those on the go, the traditional sausage stand – or Würstelstand – was originally created to provide employment for disabled veterans. Now they dish out sausages to locals and tourists alike. Würstelstand Leo is the oldest sausage stand still in existence in Vienna and has been in operation since 1928.

No trip to Vienna is complete without a slice of sachertorte, a chocolate cake with a layer of apricot jam, usually served with whipped cream. The cake was invented by Franz Sacher in 1832. Such is the importance of the cake that two operators in Vienna fought a long battle, for the right to sell the “original” sachertorte. Café Sacher won that battle and it is among the top spots to visit for a taste of the famous cake. Demel was the competition in the cake wars. It may have lost but it still serves what connoisseurs recognise as an excellent slice of sachertorte.,


Steirereck im Stadtpark
The undisputed star among Vienna’s fine dining establishments, if you can snag a reservation and have the time, chef Heinz Reitbauer’s restaurant holds two Michelin stars.

Gasthaus Pöschl
A more casual proposition, this pub-like establishment in a pretty setting offers traditional Viennese dishes and Austrian beer in comfortable surroundings.

Amador’s Wirtshaus
Recently awarded two stars by the Michelin guide Amador is run by German chef Juan Amador who champions local produce.


With luminaries including Gustav Klimt, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Schubert, Vienna can boast a serious cultural heritage.

Classical music
Pick from the Wiener Musikverein, home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; the Wiener Konzerthaus, which includes a broad selection of traditional and innovative music; and the opera house Vienna Volksoper.

Art lovers
Take the time to head to The Belvedere to see the world’s largest collection of Gustav Klimt works, including the famous golden painting The Kiss. The Belvedere includes an impressive collection of other notable works of art.

The Mozarthaus Vienna
This is unmissable if you are interested in musical history and the story of one of Vienna’s famous residents. Originally from Salzburg, Mozart spent 10 years in Vienna and lived in several apartments in that time. The Mozarthaus is the only surviving building where he lived and the museum is a popular attraction. 

A walk in the park
For a more light-hearted cultural experience the Wurstelprater, commonly known as the Prater, is a large public park, which is also home to a sprawling amusement park. A notable attraction is the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel, affording views across the city. It also appeared in classic 1949 film The Third Man.

Vienna is a popular shopping destination. Head for Kärntner Straße, which runs from the Stephansplatz to the Wiener Staatsoper, it offers a wide selection of department stores and fashion shops. For more high-end shopping, the Goldenes Quartier where luxury boutiques including Louis Vuitton and Armani line the streets is the place to be. For contrast visit the Naschmarkt near Karlsplatz. Here the Viennese buy meat, fish vegetables and baked goods. There are stalls serving food from all over the globe and delightfully informal restaurants.

Tina Nielsen

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