Remember traveling before your smartphone? Triangulating museums on a folding map, asking locals for the best food in town, then eating said food without a pre-meal photoshoot: the joys of being completely immersed in a place. Vienna is ideally suited to reawaken your taste for analog adventure. Austria’s capital is safe, easy to navigate, and so beautiful it commands your undivided attention.
Begin your day of detox at Supersense, which calls itself “Home of Analog Delicacies.” Breakfast here really is delicious, but the main attraction is Supersense’s selection of vinyl records and instant photography equipment. Pick up an instant camera so you can ditch the smartphone lense for the rest of the day.
Walk across Praterstern, toward eponymous Prater, a 19th century amusement park that still attracts thrill and cotton candy seekers today. Vintage rides like the “ghost train” and “chair-o-plane” lend a sweet nostalgia to the otherwise state-of-the-art Prater. Slow down your morning on the Giant Ferris Wheel, which promises some of the prettiest views of the city.
Take the U1 subway line from Praterstern to Alte Donau, one of Vienna’s many green oases. The “Old Danube” is a quiet stretch of the river, cradling the city on both sides. Small beaches invite you to sit down, gaze out over the water, and unwind for a moment. These sanctuaries are never far in Vienna, which tops the list of the most livable cities in the world!
Grab lunch at Strandcafe on the Alte Donau’s north shore, just down the street from the sail and surf shop. The place is casual, with stunning outdoor seating, and has been feeding locals riverside since 1921.
Next, walk back to subway line U1 and take it to Karlsplatz in the city center. No need for hectic Google Map searches when navigating Vienna’s inner city - it’s all enclosed by circular Ringstrasse boulevard. Stroll past the State Opera to the Austrian National Library, another place of old-world quiet. The biggest Baroque library in Europe holds more than 200,000 impeccably preserved volumes to admire along the opulent walls.
Continue your tour of historic Vienna by walking back towards the State Opera and down bustling Kärntnerstrasse street towards St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Vienna’s imposing landmark might tempt you to quickly pull out Instagram, but resist the urge and find a seat in the pews instead. Absorb the beauty of this 12th century relic with all five senses: the whiff of incense, the cool stone floors, hushed chatter of other visitors, and the sheer immensity of the 350-foot nave.
After resting up at your hotel, it’s time for dinner at one of Vienna’s trendiest restaurants. Labstelle effortlessly blends upscale Austrian cooking with an urban farm-to-table concept that produces dishes like a foam roll with sheep cheese cream, or crunchy suckling pig with pita. Labstelle’s food is gorgeous and fresh and will taste even better without the distraction of phones at the table.
Work off dessert (burned white chocolate, pumpkin and poppy seed strudel) on a stroll back past St. Stephen’s and down Kärntnerstrasse. Make a left on Ringstrasse and take in the Neo-classical facade of Vienna’s Musikverein. The iconic concert hall was modeled off a Greek temple and boasts some of the best acoustics in the world! End your night the old fashioned Viennese way: inside a sound cloud of Mozart, Strauss, or Brahms.
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