Vienna is known as one of the most elegant cities in the world – with good reason. Offering world-class museums and cultural centres, a fantastic food and drink scene and – of course – beautiful boutiques from leading international high end brands, the Austrian capital is one of the most vibrant and luxurious cities in Europe
In recent times, Vienna has been voted not only one of the happiest cities in the world, but also one of the most elegant. To those who know the city, this will come as no surprise. Offering a wealth of cultural sights and activities, enticing bars and restaurants, leading designers and a bevy of high-end boutiques, the Austrian capital’s mix of historic charm and contemporary luxury cannot fail to win you over.
Offering a wealth of cultural sights and activities, enticing bars and restaurants, leading designers and a bevy of high-end boutiques, the Austrian capital's mix of historic charm and contemporary luxury cannot fail to win you
Vienna’s reputation as a centre of art and culture is well deserved, and nowhere is this better experienced than in the MuseumsQuartier. One of the world’s most extensive and vibrant cultural spaces, the MuseumsQuartier, known as MQ, is home to a variety of museums celebrating art – in particular Austrian art – across the centuries, exhibiting everything from classical to modern pieces, painting to performance. It also plays host to a variety of restaurants, cafés and bars, many of which offer picturesque terraces perfect for the warmer months. A stunning mix of 18th-century and 19th-century historic buildings adapted and expanded for modern visitors, MQ cleverly unites the city’s past and present.
Another Viennese district of note, this time but for retail reasons, is the Goldenes Quartier (Golden Quarter in English). The Goldenes Quartier covers three main streets in central Vienna – Tuchlauben, Seitzergasse and Bognergasse – and is home to one of the highest concentrations of luxury fashion boutiques anywhere in the world. Come here to discover the fine cashmere of Brunello Cucinelli, the avant-garde ready-to-wear of Alexander McQueen and the exquisite tailoring of Neapolitan expert Kiton. Italian superbrands Prada, Miu Miu and Armani all have impressive flagships here, as does French maison Louis Vuitton.
This January saw the opening of a new branch of renowned high-fashion concept store Amicis on Seitzergasse, an exciting addition to the Goldenes Quartier. The existing Amicis locations have long been favourites among Vienna’s most fashionable residents, loved for their mix of well-known labels such as Balenciaga and Givenchy with zeitgeisty newcomers like Vetements, Off-White and Yeezy: the Amicis aesthetic is ‘easy luxury’.
When you’ve shopped to your heart’s content, be sure to pay a visit to Japanese fine dining restaurant Aï, which opened towards the end of 2017. Aï is the Japanese word for love and the kitchen presents innovative Japanese and Asian cuisine, offering a restaurant with a robata grill and a sushi bar as well as a luxurious cocktail bar and lounge.
Aï is just one of a number of outstanding restaurants that have cemented Vienna’s position on the global food map. The city is home to 10 venues with one or two Michelin stars, and a host of other eateries that the prestigious guide highly recommends. Try Opus for a modern, elegant take on Austrian cuisine, or Steirereck for dishes that make the most of local and seasonal produce. Experience some of the best meat-free dishes in the world at vegetarian and vegan restaurant Tian.
Between meals, enjoy a leisurely coffee at one of Vienna’s famous historic coffee houses, or sip an aperitif at a luxurious cocktail bar; Das Loft offers panoramic views across the city.
Vienna is home to a number of talented fashion designers, many of whom came to the city as students of its prestigious university of applied arts, where high-profile lecturers have included Viktor & Rolf and Raf Simons. Petar Petrov is one designer to have benefited from such stellar tutors. Born in the Ukraine, Petrov was inspired during his studies by the principles of Viennese modernism and by a love of fine materials and purist forms. He based his eponymous label, launched in 2009, in the city.
Petrov’s womenswear collections take beautiful materials as a starting point. His detailed, impeccably crafted pieces are conceived to show fabrics at their best, and he eschews excess and gratuitous decoration. The resulting collections have a timeless feel that reflects his belief in sustainable luxury. ‘If products and ideas have quality they do not lose value,’ he says. ‘This is the tenet of Viennese modernism I want to honour today.’ Petrov’s garments combine relaxed fluidity with precise tailoring, and are stocked at such exclusive locations as Park, one of Vienna’s most acclaimed concept stores.
Whether you’re visiting Vienna for the first time or the 10th, this charming city is filled with cultural delights just waiting to be explored. From luxury fashion to world-famous art, by way of mouth-watering food and drink, this is a place with more its fair share of elegance and style.