Lara and Terry spent only one week in Vienna, but they enjoyed the city so much that they wished they had booked two weeks there. Brimming with elegant and lavishly decorated monuments, enthralling museums and vast theatres, Vienna makes for a world class cultural holiday. From their apartment, located in the 5th district, our Grantourismo team discovered a new, more laidback side of the city.
We asked Martha Karner, the owner of Lara and Terry's 'home away from home' in Vienna, a few questions about the apartment, as well as her reasons for renting it out to travellers. Martha also shares her top tips for those interested in visiting Vienna.
For more great tips and inspiration on things to do and see in Vienna, read all Lara and Terry's posts on Vienna
Why did you choose to buy a property in Vienna?
I live in the building and we got the apartment back from a long term renter some years ago. We had to refurbish and renovate it. It is a good place to stay as it is located just a few steps from Naschmarkt, Vienna's biggest market with many market stalls, coffee houses and restaurants. I love to live in this area of Vienna.
When did you buy the property?
My parents own a part of the building, which was built in the 18th century. They gave me the apartment as it needed quite a lot of work and the maintenance costs were high. There is always something to repair. Usually, when we renovate apartments, we try to keep some original features, like old swing doors, which give a flair of old Vienna.
Why did you decide to make it into a holiday home / rent it out?
We decided to rent it out as a holiday apartment as it is very central and it is a perfect location for travellers to explore the city. There is also excellent access to public transport. Although the apartment is centrally located it is quiet as the windows overlook an inner court. We are currently renovating a second holiday apartment in the same building as our guests appreciate the excellent location and facilities.
On average, how many weeks do you rent out per year?
We rent out the apartment to travellers and business guests the whole year round. Most guests like to visit Vienna between March and October, as well as in December and for New Year. Vienna is attractive for guests as there are many Christmas markets and cultural events. On average our apartment is booked 30 to 40 weeks per year.
Why should people come to visit Vienna?
Vienna has a lot of cultural attractions, especially in the old town where you can find St. Charles and St. Stephan's Cathedrals and the beautiful buildings on Ring Street. There are also many theatres and concert houses which offer a big variety of cultural programmes. In addition, there are some very interesting museums, like the Museum of Modern Art, Leopold Museum, Kunsthalle Wien and Tanzquartier Wien. You should also visit Albertina and if you come with children I am sure they would love a visit to the House of Music or Zoom Children's Museum.
What are your top three tips for ‘living like a local’ in Vienna ? Naschmarkt: Vienna's biggest market is really a good place to hang around for a couple of hours. When the weather is nice there are tables outside and you can sit there and enjoy the food and drinks from all over the world at reasonable prices. Every Saturday there is also a flee market at Naschmarkt.
Tram Line 1: Just hop on the tram line No 1 at Karlsplatz/Opera to Prater. The tram passes by most of the wonderful buildings on Ring Street like the State Opera House, Hofburg, Burgtheater, Museums of Art History and Nature History, Town Hall, University, etc. Then the line goes to Prater, Vienna's biggest open area with an amusement park. There it turns and goes back to Ring street. The best time to take the tram is in the afternoon, then spend some time in Prater and go back in the evening when all the buildings on Ring Street are illuminated.
The Third Man Tour:
A tour through Vienna's Sewer System. You can find more details here: www.drittemanntour.at
What is you favourite place in Vienna?
My favourite place in Vienna is Naschmarkt. My preferred restaurants/bars there are do-an and deli, but I also like most of the other ones like Neni. I love the vegetarian sandwiches at Lashin's and the fish at Umar's. I like to stroll around and taste the fruits and vegetables.
What is your favourite local dish and the best place to enjoy it?
It sounds funny, but I love the water in Vienna. I so far found no other town in the world where you just have to turn on the tab to get really good water (the water from the tab in Vienna is much better then the water in the plastic bottles ... really!).
As for food, this is quite difficult to answer. I do not have a favourite dish, it depends on my mood and that changes. Most times I like Buchteln, a yeast dough dessert; you can find the best ones at Cafe Hawelka
I also love Mediterranean dishes; if you go to Schubert Restaurant
you can be sure to spend a nice evening with exceptional food at a reasonable price. And of course we still have Wiener Schnitzel; you can get really delicious ones at Silberwirt
What’s the best thing for travellers to take home as a souvenir from Vienna?
I would suggest to take some Lebkuchen (gingerbread) from Lebkuchen Metzger, which you'll find on Stephansplatz 7. They are all delicious.
How would you describe the local people in Vienna?
I like most of them. Some are a bit grouchy but normally they are helpful and friendly and most of them speak English.