5 Vienna neighbourhoods with rare gems

Most Vienna travellers don’t afford the luxury of going beyond its main attractions: Inner city, Ringstrasse, Schonbrunn Palace, and key museums and coffeehouses. They will never know the neighbourhood gems hiding in the ‘world’s most livable city’ (Mercer Consulting Quality of Living Rankings). If you go on a Vienna neighbourhoods walk  you can find charming places few travellers know. Use the 5-neighbourhoods-itinerary below as your compass and explore the best places of the 8th through to the 4th districts in one day.

Josefstadt (8th District)

Josefstadt is one of the most affluent urban Vienna neighbourhoods. Start with breakfast at Cafe Florianihof in Josefstadt (8th), a hotspot for locally resident artists, actors and urban professionals. Nearby Volkskundemuseum (Museum of Folk and Folk Art) stores charming objects that tell the story of the Habsburg Empire’s multiple ethnicities, from Ruthenians and Dalmatians to Galicians. The church square in Piaristengasse with its outdoor cafe looks Southern European at its most elegant. Piaristengasse itself is lined with typical classicistic townhouses and a few antiques shops.

Vienna Neighbourhood: Piaristenquare in Josefstadt

Neubau (7th District)

Lerchenfelder Strasse is a busy Vienna neighbourhood high street. Just a few houses down, at no. 13, you will find a bolthole that opens up to a historic passageway, typical for 18th century Viennese townhouses. Each of the three connected courtyards provides access to some of the most secluded living space in this urban neighbourhood. At the end of the third courtyard, a former monastery has transformed into Kristian’s Monastiri, a lovely gourmet-style eatery. Head a few steps right in Neustiftgasse to slip through to another hidden gem: St. Ulrich Square. Baroque star painter Paul Troger decorated the altar piece of the church that occupies most of the space. At no. 2, try to sneak into the listed baroque townhouse. You will discover the most amazing backyard with an original outdoor staircase. If you are into urban food spaces, Marktwirtschaft in nearby Siebensterngasse is a tough one to miss.

Vienna Neighbourhood: Ulrichsquare in Neubau

Mariahilf (6th District)

Lunch beneath the chandeliers of traditional Cafe Ritter just across the shopping high street of Mariahilf before climbing up a former World War II flak tower, passing the in-house aquarium until the rooftop cafe opens up its amazing views of the city. At Windmuehlgasse 20, Raimundhof makes space for another charming historic passageway. Take the stairs down Stiegengasse until you arrive at listed Naschmarkt street market for some food inspection. Though difficult it pays to look up from the stalls if you turn towards Otto Wagner’s amazingly decorated Art Nouveau townhouses.

Vienna Neighbourhood: Otto Wagner House Koestlergasse

Wieden (4th District)

If you are into shops with a history, visit Herrn Lagler in his Wiener Oblaten shop on Rechte Wienzeile (4th) and watch how he presses the old Empire’s traditional round wafers. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra have been using Wiener Oblaten as their standard presents when on tour abroad. From there, it’s a 10 minutes walk to fall into the next quirky place: ‘Vollpension’, a vintage cafe in Schleifmuehlgasse is run by a group of Viennese Omas (grandmas). They bake the best homemade cakes in town you can buy. Schleifmuehlgasse itself has become a trendy spot for art galleries and cafes.

Vienna Neighbourhood: cafe Vollpension in Wieden

Margarethen (5th District)

Likewise Margarethenstrasse (5th) around the corner of Schleifmuehlgasse has turned into THE Vienna neighbourhood for upcoming fashion and retail stars. If your batteries are running low by then, catch a bus up Margarethenstrasse to Margarethenplatz. Nearby Schlossquadrat is a listed building complex from the 14th century. It hosts four restaurants and bistros and probably Vienna’s most picturesque ‘Pawlatschen’ courtyard. The real style icon among local restaurants is neighbourhood institution Motto in nearby Schoenbrunner Strasse.

Barbara Grüll-Cação is the Founder of Vienna Unwrapped.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Thomas says:

    Vienna! What a lovely place to travel. I have never been to Vienna before. Know little about this country’s travel sites. This article clears some of my thoughts. Visiting here would be a fantastic idea.

  2. Barbara says:

    Thanks Thomas. Do by all means visit the historic city centre on your first visit, but do take one day to explore our neighbourhoods. There are so many more lovely places outside that need more than one blog post to outline.

  3. Phillip says:

    I was in Vienna as a child many years ago and have always wanted to return. This post has given me the impetus to get up and go – thanks!

  4. Barbara says:

    Hi Phillip, thanks for your feedback, I’m so glad your future trip to Vienna will be my ‘fault’! You will be amazed how much it has changed. There are so many cool places out there that mix Wiener tradition with modern stuff – enjoy!

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