We have less than a week to go until European SharePoint Conference (ESPC) 2016 takes place in the Austria Center Vienna, in Austria’s largest city and capital. In addition to the many activities ESPC has prepared for you, Vienna is a great city to explore with many cultural, historical, and culinary delights. When you’re not busy learning about what’s new in Office 365 and SharePoint, make sure to squeeze time in for some must-see and must-do activities while staying in Vienna!
Sights and History
Art and culture have a long tradition in Vienna, including opera, theater, classical music and fine arts. So it’s not surprising that there are many ways to satisfy your hunger for culture.
You cannot go to Vienna without heading to the Wiener Prater, Vienna‘s main park, which is also the home to the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel in the so called “Wurstelprater” amusement park. Be sure to hop on the Riesenrad and savor an amazing view over the city. The park celebrates its 250th anniversary this year, so there are a lot of events and special attractions throughout the area.
If you’re planning to stay longer than just a day, you should most definitely head to Schönbrunn Palace to see the amazing gardens and take the tour. The palace was home to Empress Elisabeth of Austria (better known as “Sisi”) and the grounds contain an 18th century park with the world’s oldest zoo (opened in 1752). It is one of Austria’s most important cultural assets and has been a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site since 1996.
In case you want to know more about Sisi, there is an entire museum devoted to the most famous Empress of Austria (who actually was a Bavarian born and bred).
Hofburg Palace is the former imperial palace in the center of Vienna. Built in the 13th century, it has been the center of the Habsburg empire for many centuries. Today, parts of it are the official workplace and residence of the President of Austria. Over the century, the Hofburg expanded a lot and includes various residences, including the Imperial Chapel (Hofkapelle), the Imperial Treasure (Schatzkammer), holding the imperial jewels of the Habsburg Dynasty, the Burgtheater and the Spanish Riding School (Hofreitschule) with the Lipizzaner horses and the Imperial Horse Stables (Hofstallungen). If you have the Hofburg on your schedule, make sure to book a guided tour and go there first thing in the morning or the evening, since it can get pretty crowded during the day.
Another main tourist attraction and Vienna’s landmark is the mostly Gothic Stephansdom. You can climb the stairs to get another impressive view of Vienna’s city center or grab an audio guide inside the cathedral and learn about the history of this impressive monument.
A variety of architectural styles can be found in Vienna. They range from classicist buildings to modern architecture. If you’re into architecture, don’t miss out on Hundertwasser-Haus by Friedensreich Hundertwasser. It was designed to counter the clinical look of modern architecture and is now one of Vienna’s most popular tourist attractions.
One of the must-sees in Vienna is the Vienna State Opera. Not only is the opera house an architectural masterpiece with a history dating back to the mid-19th century, it is also home to a world-class orchestra. There are different ballet programs, operas, concerts, matinées, and special events. Just check out the schedule and get some tickets.
Vienna is the culinary heartland of the alpine republic Austria. There are so many Beisl (bourgeois restaurants), coffee houses, bars, and street stands that you could spend your entire time in the city eating.
Vienna is home to the world-famous Wiener Schnitzel, available in almost every restaurant. While it can be eaten either hot or cold, the real deal is the veal cutlet. One of the most renowned Wiener Schnitzel restaurants is Figlmüller. With more than 100 years of experience and quality in Schnitzel backing, it’s popular with tourists and locals alike. So better make sure to book a table in advance. Other great Schnitzel can be found at Zum Alten Fassl, Plachutta, Gasthaus Schöne Perle, Finkh, or Gasthaus Kopp.
Those of you who have a sweet tooth will fall for the city immediately, since Vienna in particular, and Austria in general, has a long tradition of producing cakes and desserts: Apfelstrudel, Palatschinken, Marillenknödel and Sachertorte, to name only a few. Viennese cafés, where you can order all those sweet temptations, have an extremely long and distinguished history. For centuries, they’ve been unique to Vienna and many cities unsuccessfully sought to copy them. While in Vienna, there’s no way around famous Café Sacher in the heart of Vienna and tasting some world-famous Sachertorte. Other coffee houses worth visiting are Café Hawelka, Café Weimar or Café Landtmann. It’s also always a good idea to just stroll around the city and head into a coffee house that you find along the way, since there are so many great ones.
What would Vienna be without its Würstlbuden? It’s the place where you head after a drunken night or just to get a Käsekrainer and, true to the original style, a 16er Blech. Just stroll around the city’s historical center and Museumsquartier, Würstlbuden wait for you at almost every corner.
Vienna is so much more
Rest assured that there is much more to Vienna than what we put together in this article. It’s one of Europe’s greatest cities, and if you have some time, I recommend you get the most out of your stay there. Taste delicious food, visit all the tourist spots and soak up as much history as you can. We at least, couldn’t be happier with #ESPC16’s pick of the host city this year.
And, we look forward to seeing you at #ESPC16 next week, too! Be sure to stop by booth 22 for a chance to win a brand new Parrot Bebop Drone and a free 30-minute consultation from around the Microsoft Cloud and SharePoint 2016.
Can’t Make it to #ESPC16?
Sign up for our #ESPC16 recap webinar and learn everything about what you might have missed in Vienna. We got you covered with key lessons learned and major announcements to get ready for what’s next from Microsoft.