Start your day with a 30-minute drive from Vienna to Klosterneuburg. There, take a tour of the beautiful Klosterneuburg Abbey, a twelfth-century Augustinian monastery once a spiritual, artistic and imperial epicenter. After viewing the exquisite Treasure Chamber, the hour-long winery tour reveals the seamless integration of state-of-the art winemaking in the stunning and expansive Baroque cellar, three stories and 36 meters (118 feet) underground. A tasting of the award-winning wines of Stift Klosterneuburg completes the tour. Be sure to check the event calendar; an exciting concert, art exhibition or wine tasting is always scheduled.
Continue westward along the Danube River for 40 minutes to Wagram, one of Austria’s most scenic wine regions. Across the Danube and within Kirchberg am Wagram, you can enjoy a delicious lunch (and wine tasting!) at Weritas. Sampling wines from local vintners is essential to a visit here. On weekends, Weritas hosts a convivial “Sunday Wine Brunch” enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Graze a buffet of seasonal fare made from regional ingredients, while tasting excellent wines from nearby. Reservations are recommended.
After lunch, drive a few miles to the town of Grafenegg. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the serene gardens at Grafenegg Castle
, then tour the castle itself, a monument to romantic historicism. The structure still displays gothic, renaissance and baroque architectural elements dating back 700 years.
Having worked up an appetite, continue just five minutes more to Feuersbrunn and the Mörwald Cooking School
. There, star chef Toni Mörwald teaches wonderful specialties of the Austrian cuisine, with its Bohemian, Hungarian, Italian, Jewish, French and Southern Slavic influences. Visitors can try their hands at the traditional Tafelspitz, a succulent boiled beef guaranteed to make your mouth water. Take the experience home with an official DVD and recipe folder, which will help you recreate the dishes anywhere, anytime. Each seminar ends with a shared dinner and Austrian wine pairing, followed by espresso and brandy.
Conveniently located adjacent to the restaurant/cooking school is the Villa Katarina
, perfect for an overnight stay. Comfortable and charming, each room is individually designed to match Austria's great grape varieties and further acquaint guests with the various Austrian wine regions.
After a hearty breakfast, drive back to Vienna and check in at the Hotel Rathaus Wein & Design
. This wine hotel is famous for its sumptuous breakfast buffet, laden with delicious local delicacies including wine jelly, wine cheese and wine cake; its wine lounge features more than 300 wines from every Austrian wine region. Every tastefully designed room has its own wine bar stocked by one of over 320 Viennese vintners.
Spend the morning exploring the historic inner city of Vienna with St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Imperial Palace. Check out the plethora of boutiques and antique shops nestled in the nooks and crannies of the historic first district, and along Kärntnerstrasse and Graben, the two main pedestrian streets. For a pleasant break, stop at one of the traditional coffee houses, such as Cafe Griensteidl at the Michaelerplatz, right next to the Imperial Palace. A Viennese coffee specialty and pastry never fails to restore.
Devote your afternoon to discovering Vienna’s ancient vineyards. The city’s wine-growing tradition traces back to Celtic farmers around 500 BC and is first documented in the 12th century AD. Take public transportation
to the Cobenzl
, enjoy some lunch, a wine tasting and a leisurely stroll through the vineyards. The views over the city are unforgettable.
Dinner at Mayer am Pfarrplatz
is equally memorable. This wine tavern, or Heuriger, is located in the heart of one of Vienna’s wine villages, and shares some entertaining history with Beethoven. The composer came here for a summer of rejuvenation in 1817 and spent hours writing parts of his 9th Symphony in his quarters -- which remain unchanged to this day, and can be entered from the tree-shaded summer garden terrace. As you find his favorite spot in the garden, authentic Viennese folk music is performed and a sumptuous buffet of homemade specialties is laid out. The dry, crisp and wonderfully aromatic Gemischter Satz has enjoyed a revival in recent years, and if you're lucky enough to be here during asparagus season, it pairs perfectly with Asparagus Cordon Bleu. If you've got a symphony in you, it'll surely pour out of you here.
Morning and Afternoon
Head out by car to discover Schloss Hof
, one of Lower Austria’s architectural gems and the country's largest rural palace complex. The exquisite festival palace is just an hour outside of Vienna, and well worth exploring. (Not least for its stunning baroque gardens, which descend to the the River March via seven elegant terraces.) Restored to its former splendor, dignity and purpose as a venue for great celebrations, the former imperial country residence offers a time-warp to the world of Prince Eugene and Empress Maria Theresa.
That includes their opulent culinary world. For lunch, enjoy a meal at the palace’s restaurant Zum Weissen Pfau (the White Peacock), or if weather permits, a picnic in the garden.
Spend the afternoon discovering the peace and quiet of country life on the adjacent Meierhof Manor Farm
, a collection of agricultural land, stables, residential buildings, gardens and workshops belonging to the palace. Woodturning, basket-weaving and jam-making can be observed, while children can enjoy the animals that live here – more than 200 of them. Horse-drawn carriage rides are on offer, too.
Back in Vienna, start your evening early with a tour of the famed wine cellars at the Palais Coburg – home to a luxurious all-suite hotel, a gourmet restaurant and an astonishing collection of rare wines. Be sure to tour the six unique wine cellars, where you'll find more than 60,000 valuable bottles spanning four centuries.
Next, take a short stroll through the inner city for dinner at another Viennese institution: Zum Schwarzen Kameel. Established as a spice shop in 1618, it expanded organically over the centuries and is today renowned for typical Viennese cuisine. The art nouveau attire from the renovations of 1901 remains well-groomed and polished, making it a temple of chic Viennese gourmet culture. Enjoy a glass of Grüner Veltliner with a delicious hand-cut ham canapé, garnished with horseradish. This is a great spot to watch the comings and goings of businessmen, society ladies, artists, opera stars and wine farmers, all here to appreciate modern versions of local classics at reasonable prices. Its location in the heart of Vienna makes it ideal for exploring Vienna’s nightlife and having after-dinner drinks nearby.