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5 good reasons to visit Eurovision 2015 host city Vienna

From waltzes to chocolate cake to a spot of conducting, there are Wurst things you could do with your time in Austria

Published: Saturday, 23rd May 2015 at 8:00 am

3. The wine's wonderful

Vienna is unique among world capitals in being a significant wine producer. Vineyards surround the city, and the 700 hectares of vines within the municipal limits yield an average of 2.4 million litres a year, much of it excellent.

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For those who remember the antifreeze scandal of 30 years ago, one glass of crisp riesling or citrusy, peppery Grüner Veltliner will put paid to any lingering doubts. You’ll find good local wines on every restaurant menu.

And, on a warm summer’s day, there’s nothing nicer than to hop on a tram for half an hour and head out to one of the Heurigen (wine taverns) where each estate serves its own wines and you can sit out under shady trees, soaking up great views of the city.


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4. There are beaches

As it passes through Vienna, the River Danube takes several forms – Old Danube, New Danube and Danube Canal – providing lots of opportunities for urban beachlife.

The artificial Strandbar Herrmann is a popular spot to sprawl in a deckchair, sip a sundowner and feel the sand between your toes, while Tel Aviv, on the opposite bank, delivers cocktails, DJs and a party atmosphere.

Neither is suitable for swimming, though, so if you fancy a dip, head to Kaisermühlen, where the family-friendly hotel Strandbad Alte Donau has a gently shelving sandy beach, plenty of trees for shade and assorted entertainments. Or explore the Donauinsel, a skinny 20km man-made island in the Danube with sand, pebble and grassy beaches.

5. It's hip as well as historic

This year Vienna celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Ringstrasse, the 19th-century boulevard lined with mansions, museums and monuments that encircles the historic centre. But this city is far from stuck in the past – there’s a 21st-century edge.

In the Museumsquartier, the traditional façades of the former imperial stables sit side by side with the stark white cube of the Leopold Museum art gallery and the dramatic basalt block housing the museum of modern art, mumok. In the 10th district at Ankerbrotfabrik, a former bread factory has been transformed into a contemporary arts hub.

And if you head to the city’s oldest square, Am Hof, at dusk, you’ll find Yellow Fog, a light installation by Olafur Eliasson, which is shown for an hour at sundown every day.


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