We made a little four-day stop here only to break up our travel. We wanted to get from Paris to Cyprus but were surprised to find no direct flights. We hate long days of connecting flights, so I researched all of the places you could connect, and we decided Vienna would make a nice stop along the way. We were here two years ago, and it’s a place that could keep you busy for a long time, what with all the art and imperial splendor.Two years ago we made a hotel choice that played well to the imperial splendor side: The Hotel Imperial. And we repeated that choice this time, even though it’s not our typical style of hotel. The Imperial is Vienna’s grande dame, loaded up with sweeping marble staircases, ornate ceilings, and crystal chandeliers. And like last time, we cashed in some Starwood certificates to upgrade to a lavish suite. It’s a splurge that makes old-world Vienna really come alive.
On the art side, this city is also just packed with treasures. And they are not just dusty old works from a long time ago (though there are a ton of those). Twenty years ago, the city introduced the Museumsquartier, a collection of renovated baroque buildings plus a couple modern buildings, that house a whole bunch of new museums, covering all aspects of contemporary art. This huge complex of museums complements the city’s massive collections of more traditional art in places like the Kuntshistorisches Museum and the Albertina. All of this kept us incredibly busy.
I have to put in a special plug for the Leopold Museum, one that I had not previously visited. It was built to house the once-private art collection of Rudolf Leopold, an ophthalmologist who began collecting works by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, arguably Austria’s most famous painters, in the late 19th century. He bought Schiele’s paintings on the cheap, and the museum now houses the world’s largest collection of them. We spent hours in this place until we were wiped out.