Mozart-people all over the centre of Vienna
Mozart-People will be found all over the centre of Vienna, mainly in front of St.Stephans cathedral and the opera or Schoenbrunn palace. When-ever they can, they try to catch the tourists and sell concerts-tickets to them. They will give you a voucher for the concert and for the reservation you will pay between 10% and 20% of the final price as a deposit right away and the rest has to be payed directely to the ticket-box, when you come to the concert-hall.
Unique Suggestions: Most of them will work for just 1 single company and so you should be prepared, in case that you intend to go to a concert like this, there is one that offers just chamber-music with 4 musicians in a small, BUT very ornate room and you pay around 42 euros for the best ticket, others offer a show with 20 musicians, including operettas, waltz, singing of Arias etc. and it will be 56 euros for the most expensive places.
Fun Alternatives: At the tourist-office (opposite of Albertina) and at many other places, also at your hotel-reception you will find brochures of most of these concerts, take a look there first and decide for yourself, BEFORE you get into the "claws" of a talkative Mozart in the streets....
You could buy these tickets at your hotel-reception as well,the final prices will always be the same as with the Mozart-people or when you go there to the concert directely without a reservation-ticket and hope for a free place. Then you pay the full price at the cashier.
- Arts and Culture
- Theater Travel
Versailles take two...yawn..the Belvedere
It IS impressive, but honestly...after 1,234 rooms that all are a funky yellow and very large it just gets boring. I would save my time and money for something else.
Unique Suggestions: Skip the palace and walk through the estate
Fun Alternatives: Go to the Hundertwasserhaus
The opera House - Nothing to Sing About!
The guided tour of the Opera House is very expensive at Euro 6.50 per person and is simply not value for money. Extremely large groups are herded around and you don't really see anything.
Unique Suggestions: Make sure it's a fabulous day, when all the other tourists want to be outside - that, at least, would make for smaller groups!
Fun Alternatives: The Austrian Parliament - terrific value at Euros 4 (Euros 2 for seniors). Excellent tour, with loads of information.
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Vienna: Hundertwasser House
Exploring this stunning work of creative rule breaking architecture of the late Hundertwasser is sadly mostly off limits to the visitor. Perhaps this is a good thing and for the people who live inside this block of public housing it certainly is so. One can of course admire it from street level. Although it contains private homes, there could at least be one open to inspection by appointment etc. However the irony is all those commercial bars and pretentious cafes across the lane exhibiting imitation or what better could be said to be "Hunderwasseania".
Unique Suggestions: Don't go the those bars and cafes around or inside the building. Admire it as a work by a true genius from your street footing.
Fun Alternatives: Vienna central area is full of spledidly rich coffee houses, most will not dissapoint you.
- Beer Tasting
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Vienna Walz Shows
There are people all over Vienna dressed up in period costumes with notebooks with shiny little pictures in them trying to sell grossly overpriced tickets to very cheesey Walz shows...AVOID THEM.
They will tell you that they have the cheapest tickets in town (18 Euros), when that is the farthest thing from the truth-you can easily see a concert, opera or play at many of the theaters in Vienna for less than 10 Euros.
Fun Alternatives: Shop around, for other musical entertainment options...like I said before there are many less expensive/cheesey musical events going on all around town...There is a ticket kiosk right next to the opera house where you can buy tickets for hundreds of different performances arounf Vienna.
- Theater Travel
It may be older than the London Eye and it may have become famous from its starring role in "The Third Man" but the Riesenrad is over-priced for a mediocre view. The visitors centre is also not really much to write home about and the souvenir shop is the most appalling tat emporium in Vienna.
Unique Suggestions: Go on a day when it is not hazy - the view is not outstanding, but if hazy you'll not see anything.
Fun Alternatives: Go up to Kahlenberg - or up to the Gloriette - the views over Vienna are free and much better.
Being a chocolate lover, chocolates are likely to attract my attention, so I noticed the ones sold at some souvenir shops.
I am referring to the Mozartkugeln, originally a speciality of Salzburg that is now ubiquitous in Austria. They are delicious and are not a tourist trap. The trap is in the prices some souvenir shops put on them!
Unique Suggestions: Whether you wish to buy them for yourself or as a gift for somebody at home, there is no reason to buy them in places where they are so overpriced.
Vienna is full of shops selling Mozartkugeln among other sweets, for instance at United Chocolates, opposite to the Stephansdom.
You can find them at various prices, according to the packaging.
Fun Alternatives: You can even find them in supermarkets of the BILLA chain. You cannot miss them: they are everywhere, even in the city centre. For instance there is a BILLA supermarket in Singerstrasse, near the Stephansdom.
Another bogus exhibition!
It costs eight euros per person and the installation is a really crappy installation of a couple of crappy photos and paintings. The exhibition is partly in BA-CA Kunstforum on Feyung and partly in Kunsthalle that you have to pay for ---extra! so the exhibition is called SUPERSTARS - from Warhol till Madonna and the poster features Merlin Monroe. So my mom and I attracted by Merlin went in there and hell we were disappointed: only one, yes one! photo of her! And the rest of the works were really crappy. Pardon my french but dont waste your money and time!
- Work Abroad
Ticket Touts in Fancy Dress
You will see them all over Vienna, outside every major tourist attraction. They are dressed up like stereotypical artists from the 18th century, and speak English in a variety of accents from all over Europe. They are selling "discount" tickets to music concerts at various locations, but none of them at the famous places in the city. I would normally avoid them like the plague, but for once I ended up being suckered in so you can actually hear about what the trap was like.
I was caught out because the friends who I met up with in Vienna had already bought tickets from them. I had wanted to go out with them that evening so I was forced into buying a ticket myself. At 44 euros I thought it was damned expensive, but it was being held at the Kursalon, which I'd seen earlier in the day and looked impressive.
For 44 euros I got herded into the Kursalon with hundreds of other people, and put on a small side chair in a small room with not particularly good acoustics. The musicians themselves, however, were excellent, and so after the performance I didn't feel too ripped off, although I know that I could have seen at least a good a show at the Staatsoper for as little as 9 euros, and probably had a more comfortable seat, a better view, and vastly superior acoustics. Go there instead.
Fun Alternatives: The Wiener Staatsoper.
Vienna card---It won't save you money
I bought Vienna Card like in other cities(Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels), but this one turned out to be a total mistake. 1. It doesn't entitle you a big discount, not like in other places, you'll have free entrance to some museums, it only deducts the prices for 1 or 2 euros. 2. If you are a student, you get bigger discount with your student ID than Vienna Card, and it's not mentioned at all in the manual! 3. It has only 3-day version, not like in other places you have the choice of 1 or 2 days.
This product by Vienna official tourist board did a bad job in showing a good image of Vienna to tourists, I would say...
- Budget Travel
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It might by fun but i think the ride with the fiaker (open carriage)is a real tourist trap because it is so expensive.
Fun Alternatives: walking around this wonderful centre is so much more fun and gives much more chance to take photos and if you want to break the walk with a good cup of coffee!
- Family Travel
Prater - NOT!
Overrated, overpriced - Definitely not worth the 7.50 EURO for that slow ride and not-so-great view!
Unique Suggestions: If taking the Prater wheel ride makes your day, then go ahead. But please don't fall for the photograph trap before you board the Prater - 10EURO for a silly posed shot?!
And honestly, the 2nd-class amusement park which housed the Prater is a real let-down
Fun Alternatives: Watch the Prater from a vantage point, and save your money for the museums - which are very expensive too.
Modesammlung - well it isn't there....
This is not really a tourist trap but a travel guidebook trap. In several travel guides and on the internet I saw that there is a collection of clothing from past centuries in Vienna, a famously large collection including court dresses. I definitely wanted to go there and after finding out it was a bit South of Vienna, in Hetzendorf, in a castle, we went there. Well, what can I tell you....there was a nice plaque on the castle gate saying that the fashion collection ("Modesammlung") was there as well as a fashion school, but inside the building there were just school offices. Finally we found some people inside an office and asked them about the museum/collection and they were absolutely surprised and had no idea what we were talking about. - Well, after I got home, I did some research and it seems that this collection is not open to the public. Maybe I should tell this to the travel guide publishers....
Fun Alternatives: Currently (summer 2003) there is an exhibition about 20th century fashion in the Hermesvilla in the Lainzer Tiergarten. We didn't go there for lack of time but it sounded quite interesting. Otherwise - wait until you get to Bath/UK and visit the fabulous Museum of Costume....
This place is advertised as a private collection with all kinds of different exhibitions.
I went only because of Frida Kahlo and of course there was only 1 of her paintings!
The place is out of the center so you will need to take public transportation or car to get there.The address is: An der Donau, AU-1, A-3400 Klosterneuburg/Wien
Unique Suggestions: http://www.sammlung-essl.at/
check out the video room where they also have Diego Riviera murals.
Note> this tip is only for this particular exhibiton.
Fun Alternatives: Albertina
- Arts and Culture
Okay it once was the largest ferries wheel in the world. Okay one of my all time favourite films has one of its most famous scenes here with Orson Welles much quoted "cuckoo clock" speech. But really the whole experience was oh-hum. This was one of the last things that I did while in Vienna, probably because I was expecting to be disappointed.
Unique Suggestions: Still a ride on the Riesenrad I guess is one of the must do things in Vienna and who am I to be a party pooper. If you are interested to ride the wheel you should know that the Riesenrad was build back in 1898 which is why it is so slow. Each gondala is about the size of a minibus. I should add on the positive side that the views once you get from the top were splendid especially as you can see by this photo, the weather was perfect.
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