Noshing in Vienna

Sandra Shevey visited some Austrian markets. The Naschmarkt in Vienna was of course on top of her list. So, what does she have to say about it?

“Of Vienna`s 26 permanent markets, Naschmarkt is the oldest with a charter dating back to the 17thc.  It probably however was going long before that as an unincorporated market.Naschmarkt, Wien, 2009, Copyright

Meaning `wares` or `spices` Naschmarkt was repatriated to Wienzeile over the Wien River in 1917 when the Vienna River was covered over and city planners had decided to demolish the old city walls and redevelop Vienna`s `Ring`.  The original market site now hosts Vienna`s fine Opera House.  Naschmarkt spans 1.5 kilometres.

The old quarter still has a link with the ancient markets as old street names prevail such as meat market, fish market, honey market, bread market, milk market, cheese market and others.  It is on Meat Market that `Some Like It Hot` director Billy Wilder lived as a boy when attending grade school in Vienna.

The Naschmarkt was rebuilt within city walks just before the market was moved to Karlsplatz (its present site) in 1917….moved along with the old market building which still serves as its primary administrative centre.  Architecturally it is impressive- a rotunda market building with a majolica frontpiece symbolising fecundity- cherubs, grapes and vines. Read More

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 Martina Jamnig on 26.06.2014  |   No comments

A Summer Journey to Austrian Wine

Wine & Travel (c) AWMB

The picnic basket filled with scrumptious Schmankerl delicacies is ready. The bicycles are geared up for the first tour of the season, and the joy of a warm spring day in an Austrian vineyard can barely be contained! Austria’s wine growing regions from Vienna to Steiermark and from Donauland to Südburgenland offer endlessly delightful adventures and experiences.


The warmth of the sun entices to go outside and into nature. The blissful months of April, May and June play host to 4.5 million Austrian holiday trips – the second highest number after the summer holiday period. So now would be an optimal time to plan, book and enjoy an Austrian wine journey.


There are so many things to discover – beginning with a bike or walking tour along the Danube river; the opening of the Viennese Schanigärten sidewalk cafés; a visit to see the Lipizzaner horses in Styria and the beautiful nature parks near the Neusiedlersee (Lake Neusiedl). But that isn’t all. For those who are particularly attracted to regional delights and enjoyment on the highest level, a wine and pleasure journey is exactly the right thing. This kind of travel is mainly an all-round experience, where wine and pleasure along with nature, culture and attractive places of interest make up a well-rounded holiday. For some food for the soul, take a romantic stroll through the Kellergassen (cellar lanes) in Lower Austria, visit the winery of your favorite producer, or take a walk through the vineyards and then enjoy a hearty Brettljause platter of coldcuts with a glass of good wine in a Buschenschank tavern.


“Wine & Travel” made easy

Where, when and how long is a Heurigen or Buschenschank “Ausg´steckt” – open to serve their own wine and food? Which winery has guest rooms? When do regional wineries hold their Weinfrühling – wine springtime open-house? Where are the places of interest? The answers to your questions and much more can be found on the wine-tourism platform This tool offers the possibility to search for and find interesting points and locations such as winemakers, wines, vinotheques, hotels and restaurants, and to combine them together in one or more travel routes. So, go ahead and plan your Austrian wine and pleasure journey, upload photos and videos, rate your target destinations and share it all with other users and begin your summer with Austrian Wine!


All travel tips and advice are available on the “Wine Travels in Austria” platform from the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB) at

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 Anna Blum on 06.06.2014  |   No comments

Innsbruck Market: On a Clear Day You Can See George Clooney

Sandra Shevey visited some Austrian markets. The Innsbruck market was one of it. So, what does she have to say about it?

The train to Innsbruck was jammed with evangelists on their way to Oberammergau for the Passion Play which runs every 10 years.  Seating was difficult as I had to make my way around the placards which obstructed the corridors. Window views appeared like a film montage- images of mountains and sheep and deer (right out of `The Sound of Music`). Five hours later I arrived dog tired at Innsbruck, the capital city of Tyrol (western Austria) and one of the best ski resorts in the world.  It has hosted the Winter Olympics twice (1964 and 1976) and has also hosted the Paralympics (1984 and 1988).  In 2008 it was chosen to host the first Winter Youth Olympic Games to be held in 2012.Innsbruck_Copyright Innsbruck Tourism

Meaning `Bridge over the River Inn` Innsbruck was and is an important trade crosspoint of both Germany and Italy.  Lake Como is just across the border and on a clear day you can see George Clooney who has a villa there. The counts of Andechs were given rights over the Tyrol valleys by the Roman Emperor and in 1180 established a market, built a bridge to facilitiate movement of goods between north and south regions of the Alps. It is conceivable they merely regulated an existing market in as much as the location has always had an enviable proximity linking trade routes and the Brenner Pass.

In this Innsbruck would not be unlike our own Borough market in London which originally existed on the north side of the Thames and was expanded by the Romans who built the bridge linking north and south London.

The market began in the open amidst the cobbles and alleys in the old town square.  It still exists to some extent today in the same form and the same place. An Art Noveau indoor market hall was built in 1921.  A bit of the old building exists and you can view it from the rear of the New Food Hall which was built in 1960. In times past the 1921 hall was doubtless used to sell perishables whilst outdoor stalls sold fruit and veg and other produce.

There still is an outdoor market, generally specializing in antiques, bric-a-brac and other flea items but it was cancelled during my trip.  Two outdoor stages had been erected for band concerts taking place in the market square later that evening. I think this is a good omen…..a progressive omen…a healthy omen.  Rock concerts sure beat the kinds of entertainment previously generated for the amusement of sovereigns who would sit on their thrones peering down from terraces as some poor soul got his arm or leg hacked off in a tournament or some other blood sport.

The difference between New Hall and Old Hall is that between farm-fresh and organic.  New Hall reminds a bit of Harrods.  Everything is pukka, smart and expensive.  It`s like Saturday at the Borough market in London. Old Hall produce is not only local and home-grown.  It is organically grown which means the taste is that much more rarefied.  The houmas was thick and rich.  Fillets of roast pork were so tender you could eat them with your fingers. Pumpernickel and creme fraiche sprinfled with parsley were definitive in both taste and texture.Food_Copyright Innsbruck Tourism

The General Food Hall is open Monday – Friday 6am – 6:30pm and on Satuday from 6am – 1pm.  The Farmers Market is open Monday – Saturday 6am – Noon. I must admit at this stage that I speak not a word of Austrian.  Not a word.  And yet it didn`t seem to matter.  I had long conversations during my trip but they weren`t always verbal. I was asked to try a cheese which translated means `love cheese`.  I was given a single taster.  `Nothing`, I said to the cheesemonger. `I need more than one taster to get me going`.  A local behind me in the queue quipped, `Natural Viagra`.  I howled.  I laugh every time I think of the remark, even now as I write the blog. Another stall purveyed homemade onion cake and also a delicious bread called `Feigen cake` which is stuffed with nuts, apples and raisins.

Saturday also hosts two small Farmers markets in other parts of Innsbruck.  Visiting them gives you the chance to walk around the city.  You feel diminished by the grandeur of Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo architecture- also somewhat daunted by the wooden Durer-like crucifixes which still dominate this lovely, lost Austrian valley, shrouded in mist, mountains and magic.

And it`s not just on the streets.  I was booked into the Hotel Adler, around the corner from the old marketplace.  A large part of the hotel was originally a Capuchin convent.  This 400 year old hotel owned by the Ultsch family since 1900 and currently part of the Best Western Group remains architecturally true to its monastic origins and those origins include a singificant amount of religious iconography. As I savoured some of the best cheese I have ever eaten, I departed this last Austrian market venue.  It was the end of the tour.  I was sorry it was over.  But I thought I`d come back.  Like the cheese, it had left a pleasant taste in my mouth.

Copyright 2010 Sandra Shevey All Rights Reserved
Sandra Shevey runs tours around local markets worldwide.
 Hospitality courtesy of the Austrian National Tourist Office,

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 Martina Jamnig on 07.05.2014  |   No comments

‘Best of’ Tirol – national park on the roof of Austria

Here’s a tall feat – 241 peaks over 3,000m. Wow.

The undisturbed rugged mountain terrain of East Tirol (nicknamed the ‘roof of Austria’) is a true reminder that we are really just guests within the natural habitats of our world, and the best way to experience these inspiring settings is by simply – and respectfully – letting nature lead the way.

Those who choose to follow this ‘best of’ experience can be part of a newly launched ‘hands on’ adventure in National Park Hohe Tauern that allows volunteers, accompanied by a park ranger, to lend a hand with sustainable practices such as planting young trees, laying down climbing routes or cutting grass on the farm.

The theme of preservation continues on your visit to Villgratental, one of the most remote valleys in the Alps. A delightful surprise then to find out that this unspoiled valley is the setting for an award-winning restaurant. Enjoy fine dining with a menu of regional specialties made with fresh, local products in a traditional farm house dating back to 1879. You’ll continue to admire authentically Austrian wooden architecture at Oberstaller Alm in nearby Innervillgraten, often cited as one of the most interesting villages in the Alps with its 16 wooden farmhouses and a small chapel.

Your overnight on this tour is at the Zedern Klang Spa Hotel, which holds the distinction as the first hotel in Austria to receive the International Climate Award for its energy-saving and eco-friendly construction. Here, ‘green energy’ is produced through the power of water, and the salt water pools and thermal baths in the hotel’s spa landscape offer natural regenerative effects. A gourmet dinner before you rest upon a sheep wool mattress on a cedar wood bed built with no metal joints. Even sleep seems to come more naturally here!

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 Anna Blum on 26.06.2013  |   No comments

‘Best of’ Salzburg – enjoy a lead-free holiday

While the city of Salzburg has firmly established itself in visitors’ Austrian itineraries year after year due to a host of attractions which include the Mozart birth house, a grand selection of vibrant festivals, an Old Town famous for its baroque architecture, and of course the city’s draw as the setting for the beloved film The Sound of Music, the province of SalzburgerLand, home to Austria’s ‘Lake District’, proves no less alluring.

In fact, on this ‘best of’ experience, you’ll be introduced to a charming mountain town that, for the past 15 years, has been trailblazing its way into eco-friendly (and cool!) mobility initiatives. For guests in the all-season, alpine resort of Werfenweng, getting around is all part of the fun on a car-free holiday. You’ll be introduced to the town’s own soft mobility project – SAMO – as you test drive some of the unique e-vehicles available to visitors and on a horse-drawn carriage ride en route to a hearty snack at an inviting summer lodge amidst high alpine pastures. After adding to Werfenweng’s 250,000 annual visitor overnights tally with one of your own, day two beckons with the promise of outstanding views as you ride the Ikarus cable car up Bischling mountain where you’ll have an incredible vantage point of over 40 peaks.

Be in awe of some of the native inhabitants of SalzburgerLand’s peak region as you enjoy a birds of prey show at 1850m, followed by a circular hike that’s sure to whet the appetite for lunch at one of SalzburgerLand’s 161 certified alpine huts and Bioparadies establishments which take great care in serving fresh, regionally-grown products. Before your ‘so longs and goodbyes’ to this part of Austria, stop in at a farmer’s store for some demonstrations, sampling, and no doubt a bit of ‘take away’!

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 Anna Blum on 11.06.2013  |   No comments

‘Best of’ Lower Austria – the cradle of Austrian wine

In what may be Mother Nature’s most perfect shade of green, let your eyes wander over the gorgeous rolling landscape of Lower Austria, where the distinctive rows of some of the country’s finest grape vines stretch in almost limitless directions. Time changes little in these parts, and to its residents they wouldn’t have it any other way, for here, in this sprawling northeastern province, a laid-back relaxed atmosphere makes everything just that little bit more enjoyable.

Immerse yourself in true Austrian wine culture on this ‘best of’ experience that introduces you to the beautiful sights and tantalising tastes of the Weinviertel (“Wine Quarter”) of Lower Austria.

Gain a bit of history into Austria’s most popular white grape variety, Grüner Veltliner DAC, covering some 50 percent of the vineyards in the Weinviertel. Known for its trademark peppery accent, it can have smoky characteristics but also hints of fruity flare, and has the wonderful adaptability to accompany most foods.

Now, who’s ready to raise a toast? As you sit down to a cosy evening meal in one of the area’s charming ‘cellar alleys’ (Kellergassen), you’ll no doubt add your approval to the many accolades that Austrian Grüner Veltliner DAC has already been honoured with by the international wine community. You’ll overnight in one of the region’s specially appointed Genießerzimmer rooms (literally meaning to ‘savour’ / ‘enjoy’). These rooms are in beautifully located hotels / guest houses that proudly reflect the bon vivant spirit of Lower Austria and are filled with luxurious amenities and delightful surprises. Sweet dreams!

Fully revitalised, you’ll visit the 2013 Lower Austria “Bread & Wine” exhibition – bread being another proud regional tradition – then take part in a guided bike tour taking you through the area’s wine-growing villages en route to a ‘vintner’s picnic’ (scrumptious!).

Your visit to Lower Austria ends with a stop at the castle of Schloss Hof. A magnificent display of baroque style and architecture, this 18th century castle, once a country escape for the Imperial family, has grounds covering some 50 hectares including terraced gardens and a manor farm. So, for a royal good time, why not visit Lower Austria?

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 Anna Blum on 07.06.2013  |   No comments

‘Best of’ Styria – get to know the culinary side of Graz


Sure, “bon appétit” works too, but when in Austria, why not give the local lingo a try and wish your fellow travelers “Mahlzeit” (“mealtime”) as you sit down to your latest delicious discovery on this ‘best of’ experience to Austria’s capital of culinary delights.

Graz is a foodie’s dream come true, an epicurean experience at every turn amidst a vibrant city scene. Here, in the Styrian capital on the banks of the River Mur, a host of internationally-acclaimed restaurants, friendly bars and colourful local markets can be found dotted amongst the visually-striking buildings. It is clear that in Graz the architectural highlights of the region come together and the various styles collide in the most pleasing of ways.

On a culinary themed city tour, you’ll have a chance to stroll through one of Graz’s 16 farmers’ markets that are a source of fresh and organic products to the city’s culinary outlets. Bet you won’t resist a tempting taste here and there! At a relaxed pace, discover the historic Old Town (a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site) as you exchange stories with fellow visitors. You’ll also enjoy an exclusive tour of the newly re-opened Natural History Museum.

Attention chocolate lovers – a special treat for you: a guided visit to the Zotter Chocolate Factory is sure to make a sweet impression. At Zotter, an Organic and Fair Trade philosophy starts with the bean and there is no flavour that’s unimaginable. Olive & lemon anyone? Or how does “I’ll try a bit of the peanuts & ketchup bar” sound?!

Just a short journey outside the city takes you to the Rogner Bad Blumau thermal spa hotel, where two natural hot springs provide not only the mineral-rich waters for the hotel’s thermal pools, but are also a key source of the hotel’s power. This unique resort is a true visual feast for the eyes and relaxation for body and soul. Ahhh…

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 Anna Blum on 04.06.2013  |   No comments

‘Best of’ Carinthia – natural cuisine and jewels of nature

In its enviable sun-kissed location on the ‘southern balcony of the Alps’, Carinthia truly splashes out on visitor fun with over 200 warm bathing lakes, the majority of which have drinking water quality!

Marvel at the sights of National Park Hohe Tauern, home to Austria’s highest mountain, the Grossglockner, and the largest natural protected area in the Alps. Originally established in Carinthia in 1981, its boundaries now stretch over three provinces – Carinthia, Salzburg and Tirol. Surrounded by mountains that stretch some 3000m skywards, and amidst tranquil greenery, on a ‘best of’ experience you tuck into lunch on a terrace at the charming 4-star Holiday Village Moserhof, set upon a historic manor house estate.

With energy levels up, it’s then time for a tour through the impressively scenic wilds of the Rabisch gorge in the company of a national park ranger. Cameras at the ready for even a waterfall or two! Dinner is at your choice of one of the cosy, traditional guesthouses which uphold a centuries-old tradition and a culinary philosophy adhering to organic ingredients.

Overnight at the Hotel Alpengarten in the 1200m resort town of Mallnitz, with dreams of tomorrow’s guided e-biking tour through the Seebachtal Valley, followed by a walking excursion with the national park’s animal warden. And, just one last taste of Carinthia to be had: a traditional buffet lunch – the so-called ‘Jause’ – with the freshest of products from local farms and businesses.

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 Anna Blum on 31.05.2013  |   No comments

‘Best of’ Vienna – two wheels instead of the big wheel

While many visitors to Vienna enjoy a unique bird’s eye view of the city from atop its landmark 200m Giant Ferris Wheel, another unique vantage point can be had on two wheels along Vienna’s 1200km of cycle paths.

This ‘best of’ experience in the Austrian capital gives you access to Velo-city 2013. Held at the impressive city hall, this is the largest international conference on cycling, bringing together some 1000 participants ranging from planners and architects to social marketers, environmentalists and industry representatives. Highlighted themes this year include ‘cycling cities’ and ‘cycling benefits’, along with the newly introduced topic of ‘cycling cultures’.

What better way to toast Vienna’s rich cycling traditions than with a fine award-winning wine! Treat yourself to a spot of wine-tasting at Heuriger Wieninger, a traditional Viennese wine tavern, where your third-generation host Leo Wieninger will guide you through the tavern’s wine cellar and offer you a taste of authentic Viennese wine. And did you know that Vienna is only city in the world that boasts vineyards fully within its boundaries? We say a hearty ‘cheers’ to that!

Enjoy a dinner at Vestibül Restaurant, impressively set within Vienna’s ornate Burgtheater, serving fresh and innovative new twists on well-loved Austrian specialties. Follow with an overnight stay at the Boutiquehotel Stadthalle, the world’s first city hotel maintaining a zero energy balance. Your ‘best of’ experience concludes the next day with a guided cycling tour through Vienna, passing by some of the city’s most celebrated sights.

And this is just one of your choices…

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 Anna Blum on 16.05.2013  |   No comments

An Irish Storyteller visits Austria – Part 3

As a professional storyteller I had already heard about the Fabelhaft International Storytelling Festival  from colleagues in the United States and Germany. I caught up with festival director Tessa Tegetthoff in Café Promenade, a light airy coffee house and popular meeting place in Graz.

This international festival was founded in 1988 by Tessa’s father, storyteller Folke Tegetthoff. Originally based in Graz, the festival is nowadays centred on Bad Schönau in the Bucklige Welt region, with other festival locations in St. Pölten, Baden and the Schallaburg Castle. By taking the event out of the city, the aim is to attract visitors to the beautiful landscape and to encourage local people to share their stories.  Special signs have been erected at places of interest, telling stories about them. There are specially organised tours so that visitors can meet local craftspeople and learn about the culture of this picturesque and “un-touristy” part of Austria.

The rich culture of music is also to be found all around the city of Graz. I was fortunate to have been shown around by Professor Hermann Härtel, an expert on Austrian folk music. We drove to Gasthof Jaritz in Gratkorn, a picturesque little place just 15 miles from Graz. This inn is one of a wide network of places where visitors can stay and experience true Austrian folk music. Johann Jaritz, the owner, is himself a fine singer, and on the night we were there I heard some wonderful yodelling from people who had gathered to join Hermann. I plan on returning to stay at the place that offers a wonderful welcome. What they say on their  brochure was true for me  – “Come as a guest and leave as a friend”.

The next day saw us heading up into the Alps. I was charmed to see the cows grazing on the upland pasture and to hear their bells just as I had read about in my childhood stories. Our destination was a mountain hut above the village of Übelbach where music sessions often take place. A treat awaited us as husband and wife singing duo Veronika and Hansjörg Aigner performed some folksongs with a beautiful backdrop of the valley.

I had the good fortune to experience one of Veronika’s home-cooked meals the next day. She had promised local Styrian fare and we were not disappointed. We scoffed the lot, from the delicious noodle soup to a main dish of Styrian pot roast, dumplings then delicious cake, washed down with chilled home-made elderflower wine. I felt that this was the real Austria – the mix of scenery, excellent local food, folksongs and yes, even some more yodelling!


LIZ WEIR is a professional storyteller who works with all age groups promoting the traditional art for which Ireland is world famous. A children’s librarian by training, she now travels the world telling stories to adults and children, organising workshops on storytelling, and speaking at courses for parents, teachers and librarians. Her wealth of stories is drawn from both the oral and written traditions.
Find out more about Liz’s work at:

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 Anna Blum on 16.11.2012  |   No comments