Magnificent views of lush green pastures and glaciated mountains, scents of alpenrose, gentian and rare edelweiss and the unforgettable scene of Julie Andrews famously swirling on the hill top of the Austrian alps from the phenomenon ‘The Sound of Music’. Austria’s skyline is a picture of beauty and its mainland represents a wealth of culture unscathed by an eventful history making the capital, Vienna, the root of its beginnings and an exciting and refreshing summer break for 2012.
Foothills of Schneeberg. Image: www.fromabroad.blog.wvu.edu
Vienna is the largest city in Austria, which lies close to neighbouring countries Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary. Broken into 23 districts, it is the heart of Austria’s history and home to contemporary art, galleries and architectural structures such as beautiful imperial palaces of Hofburg and Schronbrunn, homes to past rulers and emperors of the many dynasty’s that ruled the country, attracting visitors from all over the globe. Now, it is a city transformed as a modern destination for the new generation of the funky and stylish, it is making way for the future without forgetting the heritage of its past.
Why not indulge into the whirlwind of originality and take a stroll down the narrow graffiti streets, just beyond the Museums Quartier, to 7th District. Considered the ‘Mecca’ for modern Austrian fashion. Here, you will find anything from elegant designs to outlandishly quirky creations, exposing shoppers to a variety of styles of clothes, handbags and accessories.
In search of something original, other than what the popular retail chains have to offer, located near the centre of Vienna, Neubaugasse is a hip secret to be kept close to your heart. Countless stores are a gateway to home-grown designer studios and fashionable stores, and the area has become a pilgrimage for shoppers looking for chic fashion from the likes of edenBERG to Park. On the corner of Mondscheingasses you’ll find international designers Ann Demeulemeister and Martin Margiela. While taking the time to scour the hidden back streets is a fabulous alternative to shopping the boulevards and malls to grab that one-off piece and explore Vienna’s trendiest district.
Park Boutique. Image: WeinTourism/Karl Thomas
If you fancy an intimate and truly unique shopping experience, 7tm shopping tours, is a two to three hour excursion, for a maximum of eight people, offering a personalised touch, where an experienced stylist gives you a guided tour in which you may be given the opportunity to meet and converse with designers themselves.
7th Shopping Tour. Image:WeinInternational.at
Fashionistas’ interested in the current fashion scene, in an area fast becoming a fashion forward hotspot for young Viennese’s, are in for a treat. The twelfth ‘Festival of Fashion and Photography’ begins on 29 May through to 5 June. This annual event is a glorified testament to Austrian creatives and is jam packed with seminars, lectures, exhibitions and fashion shows.
Festival for Fashion & Photogrpahy. Image: Elke Krystufek/ Maria Ziegelbock
Elicit plush bars, clubs and restaurants scale the city and the ‘in’ crowds are just as complementary to the surroundings they choose to wine and dine in before heading off for a night of partying until the early hours of the morning. The club everyone is talking about at the moment is the Babenberger Passage. With a futuristic ambience created by the clean-cut design and state-of-the-art lighting, it is the place to be if you want to dance the night away. Streaming sounds from electronic, house and mainstream tunes, there is something for everyone.
But if you’re not up for the late hectic nightlife, blessed with hot and humid days during the summer months, with temperatures reaching a soaring 35°C, you may choose to visit one of the many public parks like Stadtpark, a link between the city centre and the third district. Drift and dream through the hilly meadows from Ringstrasse or stand impressed by the Viennese art nouveau near the “Stadtbahn” railway pavilions; this is the perfect way to end the perfect holiday.