How do Americans celebrate the Fourth of July in Austria, when it falls on a Monday? And the rest of Austria thinks it is just another Monday? Well, you head for the hills! And go wien wandern (on a wine hike).
One of the perks of living in Vienna is that it is a city not only rich with history, and things to do, but Vienna boasts 700 hectares of vineyards and a special, Vienna-only specialty wine called Wiener Gemischter Satz. Our favorite way to show our guests the best of Vienna is to take them to a Heuriger (German for winery), and Vienna boasts many of them. Our favorite is Weiland, but sadly, it is not always open (it is even less open than most Heurigen, and that is saying something considering the archaic rules around when/where/how Heurigen can be open).
We typically take the U4 to Heiligenstadt and then hop on the 38a to Kahlenberg. Getting a spot on the 38a can be a bit dicey if it is a weekend or holiday, so be prepared to use your elbows and "nudge" your way to the front of the mass of folks trying to get on the bus.
A couple of notes about Kahlenberg:
- Don't get confused and get off before the Kahlenberg stop. You are going to the end of the line and the bus drops you off in a parking lot. It is just a short walk to great beauty, I promise.
- There are two great overlooks (one is smack in between the restaurant and the cafe near the chapel), if you made it through the parking lot and past the souvenir huts, you can't miss it. The other overlook is past the hotel, to the left of the cafe. You may feel like you are headed nowhere, but I promise there is a great view about 50 meters down the lane.
- Where good shoes, the path is navigable with a stroller, but it is all downhill and your feet will thank you if you wear something a bit more stable than flipflops.
Once you have take a gander at all of Vienna's glory, it is time to head down the hill the where the real fun is.
We typically bring with us snacks for the kids, and a light picnic. You can buy food at the heuriger but sometimes it is hit or miss with regards to availability, plus, one should save their money for the important purchase: wine.
Our favorite heuriger is Wailand. Because it has the BEST view, a nice little play area for the kids (including a sand box) plenty of seating, and super YUMMY kurbiskernol schmears. The wine is good too. The only drawback is that it is not open nearly as often as the other herigen are (which is saying something considering the archaic rules about where/when/how the heurigen can be open).
Mayer am Nussberg, Sirbu, and Heuriger Hirt are all good options as well. All of these Heurigen are in roughly the same area except Heuriger Hirt. Hirt has saved our heinies a few time because it has been open when the others are closed. The only drawback is that when you head over to Hirt, you either have to backtrack to Kahlenbergstrasse to get back into town, or, if you keep going down the path, you end up in a town north of Nussdorf (I have no idea what the name is). It is about a 4 km walk along the banks of the Danube to Nussdorf where you can catch either the D tram or the S-bahn to Heiligenstadt (or further into Vienna). The walk is lovely though, especially at sunset.
After your have quaffed your wine, you get to continue hiking down the hill into Vienna, giving you a chance to see some more of it's lovely vineyards and a bit of the 19th district. At the bottom of the hill, just before you wander over Grinzingerstrasse, there is a nice little park (Beethoven Park) where the kids can get the last of their running out before you get back on a bus/tram/metro.
Which Heuriger is your favorite?