Fly to the magical city of Vienna from May 2014.
From crystal chandeliers to traditional bronzes, Vienna is an Aladdin's cave of retail-ready treasures. For high-end fashion and interior design, head straight for Kärntner Strasse – home to the city’s most famous luxury stores. Pick up a souvenir at Österreichische Werkstätten (Kärntner Strasse 6), which showcases Austrian arts and crafts, and spare a few moments to admire the fairytale ballgowns on sale at Popp & Kretschmer (Kärntner Strasse 51). Then get off the beaten shopping track to explore the stellar selection of smaller boutiques around Lindengasse, Kirchengasse and Neubaugasse. If you’re keen to take home something edible, classy delicatessen Julius Meinl am Graben (Graben 19) sells everything from caviar and truffles to Bordeaux wine and rare cheeses.
Food & Drink
There's a reason why Viennese cuisine is the only type of cookery in the world to be named after a city. Here, traditional comfort foods like schnitzels and goulash are given a gourmet twist to turn them into something truly unique. For a true taste of Vienna, head to Steirereck im Stadtpark (Am Heumarkt 2A), which was awarded the Slow Food UK Award in 2012 and ranks among the world’s 50 best restaurants. The mouth-watering Mediterranean cuisine served up at Fabios (Tuchlauben 4-6) is a lighter alternative to the stomach-lining dishes of Viennese tradition, while elegant little bistro Glacis Beisl (Breite Gasse 4) is where the cool crowd goes for alfresco dining and scrumptious homemade pancakes.
The Ball Season
This stately seasonal event sees dozens of balls take place at classic locations around the city. The first, and arguably the best, is the Vienna Opera Ball in February. Book tickets early to watch grandly attired lords and ladies dancing to the music of international waltz ensembles.
Vienna’s most famous classical music festival takes place every year over the Easter period. The programme spans the centuries, from the baroque era to modern times, and features some of the most talented classical performers in Austria.
Vienna’s strong operatic tradition is celebrated at this annual summer opera festival, which traditionally concludes with a concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the Wiener Musikverein's Golden Hall.
Viennale – Vienna International Film Festival
The most important international film event in Austria, this long-running festival has been showcasing outstanding documentaries and short feature films since the 1960s. It now attracts an audience of more than 80,000 people every year.
Austria’s elegant capital has one of the glitziest hotel scenes in Europe. Five-star institutions like the Hotel Bristol (Kärntner Ring 1) are landmark attractions in their own right, but an increasing number of modern boutique hotels are muscling in on the luxury act. With its glass-walled rooms, organic café bar and cathedral views, Hotel Lamée (Rotenturmstrasse 15) is fast becoming a favourite with business travellers. Centrally positioned Hotel Wandl (Petersplatz 9) hides cosy, modern rooms behind an 18th-century facade, while Hotel Schweizerhof (Bauernmarkt 22) is a family-run hotel that combines a city centre location with pocket-friendly prices.