Vienna, the classic 80s tune, birthplace of Franz Schubert and home to the kipferl – the ancestor of the beloved croissant.
It’s a city full of culture, and a meeting with Helena Hartlauer, head of media relations at the Vienna Tourist Board, confirmed this.
She was keen to discuss the city’s tourism offerings for 2018 and said art and culture would be high on the agenda: “Viennese Modernism, which is a celebration of 100 years since the deaths of the era’s four key protagonists: painters Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele; architect, Otto Wagner; and artist Koloman Moser will be ideal for lovers of art and culture.”
In winter, Vienna hosts some 450 balls, which begin on November 11 and run until February, with events such as the Opera Ball, Vienna Philharmonic Ball and Coffeehouse Owners’ Ball.
“We also have the LGBT Rainbow Ball Vienna taking place on January 27 and a hip-hop ball. I think these have really become a key attraction for visitors,” said Hartlauer.
Summer in the city has plenty to offer too. “A lot of people don’t realise Vienna has vineyards just 20 minutes out of the city. You get a totally different experience in winter and summer.
We don’t want to promote an unhealthy drinking culture but we do want to shout about the high quality of our wines,” she asserted.
Hartlauer explained that UK arrivals have been rising. In 2016, Vienna saw a 14.8% year-on-year growth in UK visitor numbers.
Between January and September 2017, it hosted 213,203 Brits, a 1.2% rise on the same period in 2016.
The growth is partly attributed to new flights which began last year, seeing Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester linked to the Austrian capital.“So far Brexit hasn’t affected people’s decisions to come to Vienna,” she added.
Hartlauer said room prices in Vienna start from less than €100, and local travel is easy on the wallet; clients can pick up a Vienna City Card (from €13.90) in any of the capital’s tourism offices, enabling travel on trams, buses and the underground for 24 hours, and it is commissionable for resellers.
Addressing misconceptions is vital for the city, she said. “I think Vienna can definitely appeal to a younger audience and we have a sense of humour too. For example, visitors can take the Vienna Ugly tour which shows off the city’s most dreadful buildings.”
It’s another one to add to the list of cultural experiences to tick off in the Austrian capital.