Article by Nora Haas
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When Rosalie asked me to write a HIITU-City-Guide about Vienna I didn’t hesitate. Vienna has been my home for over 10 years with just a few interruptions. I have just fallen for this wonderful city and do not want to live anywhere else again. Vienna is a mixture between old and new, elegant and alternative. I often feel like time has stood still and the Emperor himself is about to wander around the corner. There is also a young hippie scene in Vienna that has been developing over the past years to make sure Vienna doesn’t get rusty. This city has been named the most liveable city for the 9th time
now! Below you’ll find a few tips for a sustainable Vienna experience:
Coffee Houses in Vienna
The Coffeehouse belongs to Vienna like the baguette belongs to France. Since 2011 the Vienna coffee culture even belongs to the intangible UNESCO cultural heritage. For us Viennese this means sitting in a Cafe for hours and reading the newspaper, because in comparison to other countries, the Vienna coffee houses are only partly made for chit chat with the person sitting across from you - they are mostly used as a nice place to read, to write or simply to just observe. Towards the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century the intellectual avant-garde spent their time in the Vienna coffee houses - Arthur Schnitzler, Stefan Zweig, Karl Kraus and Friedrich Torberg are just a few of those that shaped this golden coffee house epoch. Vienna has the Turkish to thank for their coffee culture, as they left 500kg of coffee behind at the end of the 17th Century when their siege ended. Lucky us!
Brandstätte 9, 1010 Wien
The Sacher, the Hawelka, the Central, the Tirolerhof, the Prückel, the Bräunerhof, the Griensteidl – they are all worth a visit and everybody will find a favourite. Mine is the traditional Cafe Korb, especially because the waiters are very friendly there and not at all like to the moody stereotype of Viennese waiters. Their statement on Facebook “If you don’t know the Korb - then you don't know Vienna” is something I totally agree with. The 50s style and the portrait of the owner that watches everything and everyone is legendary. When sitting in the garden, there are nice warm blankets to warm you up on colder days. I really like the apple-strudel with whipped cream but the good reputation of the cakes is well known in the city as well as the “Kernöleierspeis”.
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Garnisongasse 18, 1090 Vienna
I recommend - “Just get yourself a good Coffee” in the Caffè Couture in the 9th district. This is how it is written with big letters on a board at the entrance. The delicious coffee and the friendly barista regularly lighten up my mood. The benches in the neighbouring backyards from the old AKH’s offer a nice spot to enjoy coffee surrounded by green. The small store with clean interior and their own small roastery is also very welcoming. The coffee is followed back to its roots, so that the coffee farmer is known. Besides the coffee out of the machine you can also try filter and bialetti coffee. A bonus is that every 7th coffee is free if you collect their stamps.
Spitalgasse 17, 1090 Vienna
The Coffee Pirates also offer delicious coffee. The coffee of the hat-wearing Baristas has been named the best Austrian Coffee from Falstaff and is a good place to be if you have things to do - there is wifi and other working Students, that ensure motivation. On the homepage, it says “beyond fairtrade” - the Coffee Pirates respect sustainability, quality and the fair payment of coffee farmers. I might wait a little longer in the queue for the self-service - but hey - I am currently learning how to be thankful and take care of these gifted moments of spare time.
Am Karmelitermarkt, Stand 37-39, 1020 Wien
The person in charge of Zimmer 37 am Karmelitermarkt in the hip 2nd district, has convinced me that she wants to spoil her guests with healthy and high-quality food. The nutritionist prepares her meals with strong TCM-policies and only with organic products. Especially popular are her soups - the chicken soup in winter and the red-beets-soup all year round. With only a few spaces, you should reserve when it comes to popular times. I would recommend this for a healthy and light lunch or breakfast.
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Karmeliterplatz 1, 1020 Wien
The Harvest Bistrot has everything the vegan heart desires - caviar, ham and cheese toast and Wiener Schnitzel. But these fake meals are a bit scary to me and that’s why I tend to stick to the lentil soup and lentil curry and have never been disappointed. A big variety in gluten free cakes with birch or cane sugar always seduce me to dig in. The very friendly waitresses and the comfortable 60s plastic chairs will definitely sweeten your day.
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Ulrichplatz 1 & Neustiftgasse 27, 1070 Wien
Both Café-Restaurants Ulrich and its younger brother Erich are located seconds away from each other - upstairs and downstairs of the idyllic St.Ulrich square with its impressive baroque church. Both cafes are especially known and loved for their breakfast. They are cosy and have their own garden and are the meeting point of the Viennese hipster scene. I like their simple menus from which anyone will find something they like. In Erich, you can create your own Rise & Shine breakfast - obviously also with a vegan option. They have detox smoothies, Huevos Rancheros with organic eggs and Joseph's bread - a 100% organic bread that the whole of Vienna loves to eat.
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Bauernmarkt 10, 1010 Wien
The Wrenkh brothers watch out for organic and healthy food, and own the perfect restaurant to visit for a light lunch. The daily menus rotate all the time, I for instance chose the Glückssalat with smoked tofu and goats cheese. A lot of things are also available as vegan versions. In the Wiener Kochsalon, which is part of Wrenkh, you can also participate in cooking lessons.
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Hollandstraße 9, 1020 Wien
When entering the light flooded Silvia Gattin store in the 2nd district I land in ethno-heaven. The beautiful boots made out of antique kilims are the main attraction of the designer. They fill up one entire wall of the boutique. Every shoe is individual. So that your dog can keep up in a fashionable manner you can also find matching dog collars. Earrings, bracelets and clutches are also available there. These products from Silvia Gattin are made out of recycled materials and are purely handcrafted. Sustainability and social responsibility are very important to her.
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Kärntner Straße 26, 1010 Wien
The Lobmeyr on the Kärntner Straße is a wonderful old store with panelled walls. It is a paradise for luxury and special glass and porcelain items. While walking around I dream of checking every product with a scanner and putting it on my imaginary wedding list. The delicate Lobmeyr glasses - shaped, sanded, engraved and polished by hand are very famous. The Lusters are also true classics. This traditional family store is timeless and that is why I think it also belongs into a modern Vienna guide.
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Neubaugasse 5, 1070 Wien
The NFive concept store – in the Neubaugasse 5 – is the place in Vienna for upcoming Scandinavian brands. Kitsch and bling are not to be expected here - you can find modern yet timeless stuff. The two sisters Jasmin Rezac and Bettina Sundström, who manage the NFive, show that this is not a contradiction. They prioritise high quality standards and special brands, with focus on Made in Europe like for example Hope, Our Legacy or J.Lindeberg. The bright shabby-chic rooms with huge vintage-fauteuils are very inviting for some lounging around.
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Mariahilfer Str. 68, 1070 Wien
The Family business Turek, that owns a couple of boutiques in Vienna, is one of the first stores in Austria to introduce sustainable clothing into its range. In their special Conscious Corner you can find many fair fashion brands, for example: Armed Angels, Nudie Jeans, People Tree, Patagonia, Dedicated, K.O.I., Ragwear, Myomy, Blutsgeschwister, Save the Duck, Fjällräven, Komodo, Väja, Knowledge Cotton Apparel and Toms.
Here are my 5 favourite spots, that you should definitely plan into your Vienna visit:
1. Admire the Sissi water fountain and the wonderful roses at the end of May in the Volksgarten.
2. Spot a few deers in the Jewish part of the Zentralfriedhof with a little bit of luck.
3. Observe the city peacefully from the Himmelwiese.
4. Wander around the calm and small forest paths in the middle of the city in the Augarten.
5. Visit the Burgtheater with the best actors and the unique Burgtheater-German.
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