Vienna – Culture, History and Schnitz
Vienna – Culture, History and Schnitz
There is a city that you can get from Warsaw by car in about 7 hours, and from the southern regions of Poland even in 4. Vienna, because it is a topic, is an extraordinary city in many respects. You can smell the imperial history of Austria here from the very first breath, and the monuments emerging from around every corner delight and overwhelm with their majesty at the same time. Vienna, like few other European cities, can absorb a tourist and make him come back here many times to discover new attractions.
History of Europe in a nutshell
One of the oldest monuments in Vienna is the Romanesque Church of St. Ruprecht. Its construction began in the 11th century, and it received its present shape at the end of the 13th century. The city is full of religious monuments from various eras. The most famous is certainly the Gothic St. Stephen, but you must visit the Church of St. Charles Borromeo, which is also one of the most important baroque monuments in Europe. It was erected in the first half of the 18th century in honor of the Bishop of Milan during the Plague epidemic in 1576.
The most famous monuments are associated with the Habsburg family, from Rudolf I (12th century) to Charles I, who ruled Austria until 1918. It was during their times that the Hofburg Palace, today’s seat of the Austrian president, and the Museum located in the Apartments of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elizabeth were built. As well as Schönbrunn Palace with its breathtaking gardens, which was given a French flair under Maria Theresa. The largest concentration of monumental and elegant buildings at the same time is concentrated around the Ringstrasse, which was built after the demolition of the walls surrounding the Old Town and the joining of neighboring towns to Vienna. The Opera House, the Parliament, the Town Hall in the neo-Gothic style, or the Belvedere Palace located a bit further away are must-see points on the tourist map of the Austrian capital.
However, Vienna has many other attractions related to its recent history. Adolf Hitler, in preparation for the war, ordered to build 3 huge towers with anti-aircraft artillery, which, forming a triangle, were to protect the city from bombing. Today they are a kind of memento of the past years, and in one of them, in the center of the Mariahilf district, there is an Aquarium – Haus des Meers.
The holiday list should also include the Prater amusement park or a visit to Mount Kahlenberg, where the statue of Jan III Sobieski stands. We also recommend excursions along the Danube and beautiful routes through the vineyards of the Lower Austrian region.
What is worth eating while in Vienna? The king of the dishes is certainly Schnitzel, necessarily made of veal (Kalb), served on lettuce with potato salad. Another specialty is Tafelspitz, which is long-cooked beef served with potatoes and horseradish sauce. It is also worth trying sandwiches at Trześniewski’s, and a wide range of street food, including delicious sausages. However, Vienna is also known for its fantastic desserts and sweet dishes. Apfel Strudel, Zacher Cake, or the insane Kaiserschmarrn (a kind of light omelette served with sour apricot jam) is something that you simply have to try, but you can’t leave Vienna without eating sweet roasted nuts and almonds. You can smell them all over old town.
A bit about the road regulations
There are two ways to get to Vienna by car. The first is the route leading through Slovakia via the D1 road, the second and at the same time the most popular one is the A1 motorway to the border in Gorzyczki and then road no. 1 through the Czech Republic to Mikulov, and then the brand new A5 motorway to Vienna. Both in the Czech Republic and Austria, use motorways and expressways is payable, so before leaving, or immediately after crossing the border, you must buy the appropriate vignettes at the gas station. It is important to stick them according to the instructions, because the police both in the Czech Republic and Austria like to stick to it.
The maximum permitted speed on the Motorways in the Czech Republic and Austria is 130 km / h. In Austria, speed is often limited additionally for environmental reasons. On national roads, outside built-up areas, the speed limit is 100 km / h (90 km / h in the Czech Republic), and in cities the limit is 50 km / h. There are also zones with a 30 km / h restriction. The currency in the Czech Republic is the Czech Koruna, and in Austria we will pay in Euro.
Watch out for speed cameras
In Vienna, be sure to pay attention to speed cameras. In Poland, we are used to clearly visible, bright yellow boxes hanging high above the road. Austrians have a slightly different approach to drivers. Speed cameras are hidden in gray, almost invisible boxes, resembling home electrical transformers, which also take photos at the back of the vehicle. We do not expect such a photo from the holiday, so it is worth being vigilant and following the regulations.
Parking lots and parking spaces
Car parks and parking spaces are paid practically throughout Vienna. In the so-called short-term parking zones (Kurzparkzone), parking is possible for a maximum of 2 or 3 hours (depending on the district), and parking cards can be purchased at kiosks, tobacco shops and gas stations. You should avoid designated areas for residents where even a short stop may result in a fine. If you are ready for intensive sightseeing, consider leaving your car in the hotel parking lot or park & ride (3.60 Euro / day) and take advantage of the well-developed public transport network.