CULTURE, HISTORY, AND UNEXPECTED TWISTS

Vienna's Many Attractions for Canadian Travellers

One of the world’s most beautiful cities is open for business, and they’re eager to entertain visiting Canadians.

Several dozen travel advisors, tour operators and other travel industry folks gathered Tuesday, 13SEP at TOCA, the restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Toronto, for a posh dinner and Vienna tourism presentation.

“Our Vienna flights are doing very well,” said Tony Celio, Specialty Sales Manager at Air Canada. “There’s strong demand, and our advance bookings are excellent.”

Celio said Air Canada will fly daily from Toronto to Vienna through the end of the summer season, and then shift to four flights a week. Austrian Airlines is flying from Montreal to Vienna five days a week as of now, but will soon shift to three flights per week, he said.

Left to right: Sherif Sedhom, Lufthansa; Reece Vanasse, Ritz Carlton Vienna; Armando Mendonca, AMPM public relations; Marie Polt, Vienna Tourist Board; Tony Celio, Air Canada; Gregor Postl, Austrian Trade Commission.
Left to right: Sherif Sedhom, Lufthansa; Reece Vanasse, Ritz Carlton Vienna; Armando Mendonca, AMPM public relations; Marie Polt, Vienna Tourist Board; Tony Celio, Air Canada; Gregor Postl, Austrian Trade Commission.

Marie Polt of the Vienna Tourist Board said the Austrian capital is “a city of imperial history, a city of music and art. And a very green city.”

Polt called the fabled Vienna Boy’s Choir “the world’s oldest boy band,” and also noted the city has more than 100 museums and coffee houses that are “like an extended living room.”

Shopping includes both high-end brands and local, family-run stores that sell hats to the likes of Brad Pitt and Meryl Streep.

Vienna shopping
Shopping in Vienna

One fun fact is that Vienna is one of the few big cities in the world that has vineyards within the city limits. Polt said Vienna is famous for its parks, including massive Prater Park with its old-time Ferris Wheel, and that there are places to swim or paddleboard on the Danube River.

There’s also a new immersive Mozart exhibit coming to the city, Polt said.

“Vienna has that classic feel, but it also has great nature, cafes, incredible landmarks and the Danube River,” said Armando Mendonca of AMpm Canada, who represents Vienna Tourism in Canada. “The city is ready for business. It’s open, and it’s vibrant.”

Vienna-Prater Park Ferris Wheel
Prater Park Ferris Wheel

Vienna has year-round attractions, including music festivals, a Christmas market, a winter ice rink, and much more, said Gregor Postl of the Austrian Trade Commission. “The options are endless.”

Postl also noted Vienna makes for a great hub for exploring Austria and other parts of Europe.

“We have very friendly locals, and there are more than 100 nationalities in Vienna, so you’ll feel right at home.”

(Yours truly was there in the spring and admired marvellous food markets and beautifully painted  eggs at the Easter market, as well as getting a glimpse of the incredible art at the Belvedere Palace, where you’ll find Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss.” I also found cool neighbourhoods, rooftop bars with pounding electronic beats and a wild bit of architecture called Hundertwasser House.)

Vienna-HundertwasserHouse
Hundertwasser House

Polt said travellers can get from the airport to downtown Vienna in just 16 minutes on the train.

Reece Vanasse of the Ritz-Carlton Vienna said his hotel is famous for its relaxed ambience. “When you come to the Ritz you’re coming home,” he said. “We anticipate your needs, and we understand the affluent traveller.”

One cool feature of the hotel is a private, rooftop Christmas market, complete with local goods, Gluhwein (mulled red wine), and other treats.

 

Jim Byers

Jim Byers is a freelance travel writer based in Toronto. He was formerly travel editor at the Toronto Star and now writes for a variety of publications in Canada and around the world. He's also a regular guest on CBC, CTV News, Global News and other television and radio networks.

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