Where to stay in Vienna? If you have a look at my Google map you’ll see the city centre, the Innere Stadt, is encircled by a main road called the Ring which the Viennese use as a reference point when they describe the location of places. Many but by no means all of the main attractions are in or just outside the Ring, so you definitely want to stay nearby.
Exactly where you stay will depend on what you most want to do. For example, an Ubahn ride to Nussdorf in the north of the city gets you to within striking distance of the vineyards that surround Vienna. This area is great for walking, especially in the spring and summer when the Heuringen (rustic taverns) are open. At these places you can drink young wines and eat traditional foods (see later post).
To the east, the city is bounded by the Danube river and closer in, by the Donaukanal, which together form an island called Leopoldstadt. There doesn’t seem to have a lot going on in Leopoldstadt except for the Prater fairground where you’ll find the Riesenrad, the world’s oldest working ferris wheel, made famous in the noir classic, The Third Man.
To the west you have the museum district which also contains many of the more important art galleries. Please see my dedicated posts on the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien and the Leopold Museum.
To the southwest you have the Nachsmarkt (see dedicated post), a food market where you can browse and graze amongst the stalls. The famous Majolikahaus designed by Otto Wagner is also nearby (see separate post).
Just to the south of the Nachsmarkt and the centre is the neigbourhood of Wieden. I booked my first AirBnB here because it was fairly near the Naschmarket and there were lots of cosy bars, pubs and restaurants around which I quite liked (see next post). Also, there are Ubahn stations near the Naschmarket that will help you get around easily. That said, it only took me about twenty minutes to walk to Karlsplatz, the famous square just inside the southern part of the Ring (see later post).
My second AirBnB was in Rossau to the north, just outside the Ring. It was quite a posh residential area which felt a bit sterile, but then it was on the right side of the city for the vineyards.
Next time though, with the benefit of hindsight, I would stay in Ottakring, around Yppenplatz. It’s a vibrant, up-and-coming multicultural area in the west of the city, outside the Ring. There’s a famous weekend market called Brunnenmarkt with over 170 stalls which sounds great. Yppenplatz is a little way out of the centre but I’m sure the transport connections are good.
To orientate yourself, I recommend watching the Vienna episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations as it will give you some idea about many of the places I mention above.
Vienna isn’t cheap, for example a glass of wine can cost around €5 (the same as London), but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it cheaply. I got a one-way flight with Vueling for £23 from Heathrow. My AirBnBs cost £35 and £50 a night respectively and I guess you could live on sausages if you wanted to. I have put a few hotels on my map as well, marked with a bed sign. The red pins are my top tips.
Staying in Wieden next…