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Austria & Hungary Luxury Travel Guide

Miami Living takes you on a captivating journey through Austria and Hungary, starting in Vienna, Salzburg, Hallstatt, Graz, and with a final stop in Hungary to experience Budapest.


The Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Video shot by Miami Living


By Markin Abras, Travel Editor

Austria and Hungary’s rich history and culture make them a must-visit on your travel bucket list. With influences from the Romans, Ottomans, and Habsburgs, both countries offer World Heritage sites, stunning natural beauty, including the Austrian Alps and the Hungarian countryside. Plus enjoy a renowned hospitality scene offering luxury stays and world-class cuisine, as well as numerous Michelin-starred restaurants.


Schoonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria, By Arthur V., Unsplash



HERITAGE CONNECTIONS


Austria and Hungary share a long and complex history that dates back centuries. From the Middle Ages through the early modern period, Hungary was part of the Kingdom of Hungary, which was ruled by a series of monarchs from the House of Árpád. During this time, Austria and Hungary maintained separate political entities, but they were united under the Habsburg monarchy, which ruled over a vast empire that included much of Central Europe.


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Top left to right - Mozart monument, Burggarten, Vienna, Austria by Andreas, Unsplash; Belvedere Palace,Vienna Austria by Sami Ullah, Unsplash; Bottom images by Victor Malyushev, Unsplash


The Austro-Hungarian Compromise in 1867 created a dual monarchy, recognizing Hungary as an equal partner to Austria. This arrangement ended after World War I and the Austro-Hungarian Empire dissolved. However, Austria and Hungary still maintain a strong relationship and are both members of the European Union with strong economic ties.


GETTING THERE


Flying to Vienna from Miami requires a stopover usually in Frankfurt, Munich, or other key European cities with an average travel time of 15 hours. US citizens do not require a visa to enter both Austria and Hungary, as long as the passport is valid for at least 3 months beyond the intended stay. Additionally, proof of vaccination/recovery or a test are no longer needed as of March 1, 2023.


EURAIL PASS


We recommend purchasing a Eurail Pass (www.eurail.com) for travel throughout Austria and Hungary. It offers efficient, environmentally friendly, and hassle-free transportation, providing a speedy way to explore Vienna, Salzburg, Lake Hallstatt, Graz, and Budapest. The Eurail Pass is an all-in-one train ticket that offers flexible access to most European cities.. For unlimited travel within 33 European countries, purchase The Global Pass, while the One Country Pass offers unlimited travel within a single country.


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For our trip, we opted for the Global Pass, which was valid for one month. Choose a first-class category and enjoy individually adjustable seats, more legroom, wide tables, an electric outlet for your seat, including cabin service where menus are served at your seat. Seat reservations are an additional cost and are not included in the Eurail or Interrail Pass.


The Eurail Mobile Pass & Rail Planner app is a useful tool for planning your trip, as it provides an interactive map, timetables, and the ability to make changes. You can also use the app to easily board trains by displaying your ticket on your phone. In addition to these benefits, the app provides access to over 100 discounts, allowing you to save up to 50% on city cards and ferry travel, as well as 10% on attractions, tours, and accommodations.


VIENNA


Vienna, the capital of Austria, was chosen to be our first stop for its rich history and culture dating back to Roman times, iconic landmarks, world-renowned museums, flavorful cuisine, and cultural legacy. Vienna was a center of the arts and sciences during the Enlightenment, with notable figures such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Freud all spending significant time in the city.


St. Stephen’s Cathedral by Jacek Dylag, Unsplash


EXPERIENCES


When in Vienna, be sure to visit the must-see landmarks and attractions such as the Schönbrunn Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the Hofburg Palace. Art and history lovers should head to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, while music enthusiasts should attend a performance at the Vienna State Opera or visit the Mozarthaus Vienna museum. For an authentic culinary experience, check out the famous Naschmarkt or a traditional coffeehouse like Café Central.


For an authentic local experience in Vienna, explore the trendy 7th and 8th districts for unique shops and street art, and visit the peaceful Servitenviertel neighborhood. Don’t miss the Karmelitermarkt for Viennese street food, and consider enjoying a local thermal bath and a day trip to the Vienna Woods or nearby Wachau Valley vineyards.


MUST-SEES


The Spanish Riding School in Vienna

Michaelerplatz 1

1010 Wien, Austria


Einritt by Rene van Bakel

Kapriole by Rene van Bakel


The Spanish Riding School in Vienna is a must-see attraction, providing guided tours and captivating public performances. Dating back to 1572, it stands as one of the world’s oldest and most esteemed riding schools. Renowned for its classical dressage and the training of Lipizzaner horses, visitors can witness firsthand the artistry and elegance of this prestigious institution.


The school follows the principles of classical dressage, emphasizing harmony and balance between the horse and rider. The performances, called “Airs Above the Ground,” showcase the horses’ advanced dressage movements. The Spanish Riding School’s tradition was added to UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.


Tour of The Vienna State Opera


Wiener Staatosoper

Opernring 2, 1010 Wien, Austria


Vienna State Opera, Opernring, Vienna, Austria by Pedro Menezes, Unsplash

Vienna State Opera, Architektur Zuschauerraum © Wiener Staatsoper / Michael Pöhn


The Vienna State Opera, also known as Wiener Staatsoper, is one of Vienna’s most important cultural sites and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Schedule a tour of Wiener Staatsoper and explore the opulent interiors, backstage spaces, including workshops and dressing rooms, offering insights into the production process and the elaborate sets and costumes that bring performances to life.


There is also a collection of historical artifacts that highlight the opera house’s rich past which dates back to 1869. The Vienna State Opera has a diverse repertoire, ranging from classic to contemporary operas, with a particular emphasis on the works of composers such as Mozart, Strauss, and Wagner.


LUXURY STAYS


Hotel Sacher Wien

Philharmoniker Str. 4, 1010 Wien

+43 1 514 560


Images courtesy of Hotel Sacher Wien


Hotel Sacher, established in 1876, is a symbol of Viennese tradition and elegance, attracting distinguished guests and high society from around the world. Located in the heart of Vienna, enjoy easy access to Vienna’s cultural landmarks, such as the Vienna State Opera and St. Stephen’s Cathedral, guests can seamlessly immerse themselves in the city’s vibrant history and artistic heritage.


Notable to mention is the world-famous Sachertorte, a delectable chocolate cake with a layer of apricot jam, was invented by Franz Sache in 1832. Today, the beloved Sacher-Torte is served at the hotel’s restaurants and the Café Sacher and more than 360,000 hand-made Sacher-Tortes are shipped worldwide.


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Accommodations


Hotel Sacher Wien has 152 rooms and suites, all furnished by co-owner Alexandra Winkler in collaboration with French star designer Pierre-Yves Rochon. Notable signature suites include “Madame Butterfly” and “Wiener Philharmoniker Suite” (Vienna Philharmonic Suite) on the Bel Étage, and several exclusive suites with private roof terraces.


Rooms feature luxury marble bathrooms, exquisite fabrics and timeless classic decorations seamlessly incorporated with modern amenities. Download the Sacher App and use it as your digital room key and, plus book a spa treatment or make a table reservation. Other notable features include balcony or terrace in most rooms and suites including complementary alcohol free drinks and pets are welcomed receiving a 5-star experience.


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Boutique Spa


Indulge in rejuvenating experiences at the renowned Hotel Sacher spa, where a variety of massage therapies, facial and body treatments, as well as professional manicure and pedicure services, eagerly await your arrival. Notable treatments include “Time to Chocolate” signature treatment designed to rejuvenate yourself. There is also a relaxation area and a fitness center with technogym machines, weights and mats, and a cable tower machine. Spa treatment hours: Monday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Dining


Beyond its exceptional accommodations, Hotel Sacher offers a range of exquisite dining options, including the renowned Restaurant Rote Bar, Restaurant Grüne Bar, Blaue Bar, Café Bel Étage and Café Sacher.


Restaurant Rote Bar

+43 1 514 560


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Images courtesy of Restaurant Rote Bar


Indulge in the exquisite Sacher experience at the award-winning Gault Millau toques Restaurant Rote Bar led by Executive Chef Anton Pozeg. Savor authentic Austrian classics crafted from the finest regional ingredients in a sophisticated ambience overlooking the Vienna State Opera house, featuring timeless oil paintings and crystal chandeliers.


Highlights from the starters include the original Sacher goose liver tart with elderberry, apricot, and brioche, as well as the pickled brook trout accompanied by cucumber, yuzu, and delicate flakes of smoked fish. For the main course, the filet Wellington served with confit beets, turnips, and fermented plum jam is a delightful option for two, while the classic Viennese escalope of suckling veal with parsley potatoes and mixed salad is a timeless favorite.


Enhancing the ambiance, live piano music sets the mood from 7:00 pm onwards. The Rote Bar welcomes guests daily from 12:00 pm to 12:00 am, and reservations are highly recommended to secure your unforgettable dining experience.


The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna

Schubertring 5-7, 1010 Wien

Phone: 01 31188

Modern Luxury Classic 5-Star Hotel


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Images courtesy of The Ritz-Calrton, Vienna


Widely regarded to be as the premier luxury hotel in Vienna, the five-start The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna hotel is nestled in the heart of Vienna’s First District. Situated within four meticulously restored 19th-century palaces, the hotel harmoniously marries historical enchantment and contemporary chic elegance.


The hotel is within close proximity to Vienna’s iconic landmarks, including St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Vienna State Opera, and the Imperial Palace including numerous cultural attractions, shopping and vibrant culinary scene.


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Accommodations


The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna offers a total of 202 luxurious rooms, including 43 elegantly designed suites and the much anticipated ultra luxury Symphony Room. Roos and suites feature plush contemporary furnishings, sophisticated décor, breathtaking views, and fully equipped amenities, ensuring a luxury stay.


Spa

+43 1-31188 469

Appointment required Services


Experience a serene urban retreat where you can access therapeutic and healing expertise services such as facials, massage, foot-bath, fitness classes, makeup services, steam room and more. Notable feature treatments include the The Ritz-Carlton Spa Signature Experience and the Detox treatment by Susanne Kaufman designed to eliminate toxins and stimulate rejuvenation. A spa membership is available to Vienna residents for a month, year or more. Open daily from 10:00 AM-8:00 PM.


Worth taking a plunge or two, the heated indoor 18-meter long pool, which features underwater music, is Vienna’s longest.


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The Symphony Room


Introducing The Symphony Suite at The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna, where classical elegance harmoniously blends with modern allure, presenting an exceptional accommodation experience.


To indulge in an unparalleled luxury stay, reserve The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna’s Symphony Suite—a brand-new “Signature Suite” spanning 99 square meters, meticulously designed with inspiration drawn from the sonata musical form. This unique suite seamlessly combines timeless classical elements with contemporary furnishings. Positioned directly facing Beethoven Park, it pays homage to the historic premiere of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in Vienna back in 1824.


Prominent features of this remarkable suite encompass a lavish marble bathroom boasting a freestanding bathtub, two spacious walk-in closets, a six-person dining table, an immersive Bang & Olufsen sound system, and exquisite furniture that exudes sophistication.


In addition, guests enjoy complimentary wine crafted in collaboration with the esteemed Viennese winery Wieninger by the Wiener Symphoniker, as well as a selection of hand-picked spirits. Furthermore, exclusive privileges include private access to Wiener Symphoniker rehearsals, a personalized tour of Vienna’s renowned concert hall and Musikverein, and exclusive Club Lounge access.


Dining


Dstrikt Steakhouse

+43 1-31188 150


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Images courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna/Dstrikt Steakhouse


The farm-to-table steakhouse is the ideal destination for meat lovers offering superb service, a fine selection of organic Austrian prime cuts and delightful side dishes. Notable cuts include the Chateaubriand, the Rack of Lamb and the XO Beef Filet. Once a month, on the first Sunday, Dstrikt offers Sunday Roast, a special brunch offering a special culinary experience led by Chef Lukas Wieser.


Other notable sites include Atmosphere Rooftop Bar situated on the 8th floor. The al fresco bar is the ideal spot to unwind while marveling at the breathtaking vistas of the Vienna skyline. Indulge in a delightful array of refreshing cocktails and delectable bites. Open daily from 3:00 PM-11:00 PM. There is also D-Bar, a lively classical bar offering modern drinks prepared by a master mixologist. Open daily from 6:00 PM-1:00 AM.


For a fresh and contemporary Italian cuisine, head out to Pastamara Bar Con Cucina to eat, drink or simply chat while savoring delicious cocktails and Sicilian inspired dishes. Open daily from 10:00 AM-11:00 PM.


Hotel Altstadt Vienna

Kirchengasse 41

1070 Vienna Austria

+43 (0)1 52266 66-800


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Images courtesy of Hotel Altstadt Vienna


Altstadt Vienna hotel, originally built in 1902 as an apartment building, now stands as a boutique hotel in Vienna’s seventh district, Spittelberg. Nestled amidst charming small boutiques and shops, this hotel offers both comfort and artistry. Owned by the passionate art collector Otto E. Wiesenthal, it serves as a unique fusion of a cozy boutique hotel, residence and a captivating gallery. Conveniently situated, guests can explore the wonders of Vienna within minutes, with the renowned Museumsquartier, an array of cultural institutions including Hofburg Palace.


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ACCOMMODATIONS


Hotel Altstadt Vienna features over 400 art pieces dispersed among its 62 rooms, suites, and apartments. Included in the collection are works by renowned artists such as Brigitte Kowanz, Markus Prachensky, and Hubert Schmalix. The hotel’s distinctive ambiance is further enhanced by designer furniture, captivating light installations, and one-of-a-kind decorations that give each room a unique character. To create a seamless fusion of art and hospitality, carefully curated Austrian designers and architects were enlisted to design the newly introduced rooms throughout the years. Worth mentioning are magnificent photographs by Joseph Fischnaller and the Bösendorfer Suite featuring an Austrian made grand piano.


The two apartments offer an expansive living space comprising a generous living room, a separate bedroom, a convenient kitchenette, and a dining area. With a connecting door, these apartments can be combined to provide a spacious 170 square meters of living area.


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NOTABLE


Member of the prestigious Small Luxury Hotels of the World network and awarded TripAdvisor’s “Best Hotel in Austria” in 2022, Altstadt Vienna obtains 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources. Furthermore, Altstadt’s breakfast buffet focuses on regional products and offers vegan and gluten-free alternatives. Additionally, the hotel hosts a not-to-be-missed tea time event from 4-6 p.m., where guests can indulge in organic teas by Sonnentor along with freshly baked cakes and other delightful treats.


A CULINARY TREASURE


Tian Restaurant Vienna

+43 1 890 4665

Himmelpfortgasse 23, 1010 Vienna


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Images courtesy of TIAN Restaurant Vienna


With its prestigious Michelin star and four toques from Gault&Millau, TIAN Restaurant in Vienna is a culinary destination that cannot be missed. The awarded dining establishment takes vegetarian cuisine to new heights, captivating even the most devoted non-vegetarian palates.


Under the guidance of CEO Paul Ivić, renowned for his creative and technical mastery, enjoy an extraordinary dining experience featuring exquisitely crafted plant-based dishes.


Hailing from Tyrol, Austria, with a rich Croatian heritage, Ivić’s culinary talent has garnered him recognition as the author of three esteemed cookbooks: Vegetarische Sommerküche, Vegetarische Winterküche, and Restlos Glücklich. Reflecting on his passion, Ivić eloquently expresses, “Food is a universal language that unites people; it speaks to the heart, transcending cultural boundaries.”


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The menu at TIAN offers both 8 and 10-course set menus. Each plate reflects Ivić’s meticulous attention to detail, highlighting thoughtfully selected seasonal and locally sourced ingredients.


Ivić and his team are dedicated to dispelling the outdated notion that vegetarian food lacks excitement. “Our number one goal is to clear away the old misconception that vegetarian food tastes boring. People are still a little bit afraid of an 8 or 10-course menu without fish and meat,” stated Ivić.


To complement your meal, an extensive array of non-alcoholic, fermented beverages is available, as well as an exceptional selection of organic wines. TIAN boasts an awe-inspiring wine cellar meticulously managed by the award-winning sommelier team of André Drechsel and Nico Hammerl which earned a “Sommelier Team of the Year 2023” by Gault&Millau.


TIAN’s contemporary decor sets the stage for an unforgettable dining affair. Open Tuesday-Saturday: 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm. Closed on Monday, Sunday, public holidays.



By Markin Abras, Senior Travel Editor

Images provided by each mentioned venue on this story.


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