Walk down the tree-lined streets and beautiful plazas in the heart of Vienna and it is hard to resist the temptations waiting at every corner.
You can smell the heady aroma of coffee beans drifting from historic coffee houses that locals frequent daily and were once the haunt of literary giants.
Cake shops displaying famous Sacher torte and delicate pastries simply make your mouth water while modern cafes located in interesting bookshops and famous museums beckon.
Viennese cuisine has long been associated with Wiener schnitzel and apple strudel but these days, acclaimed chefs are creating new dishes and putting creative twists on traditional favourites.
Hearty fare has given way to meals of subtle textures and flavours.
Austrians love to drink as well as eat and there’s an exciting group of young winemakers producing world-class white wines, including the indigenous Austrian gruner veltliner, the unique rose schilcher - which is only grown in certain parts of Austria - as well as some excellent reds.
There are so many wonderful sights in this city start with a walk along the Ringstrasse, one of the most majestic boulevards in Europe, just steps away from St Stephan’s Cathedral, the Opera House and many museums.
Nearby Stadtpark, home of the gilded bronze monument of Johann Strauss, is one of the most frequently photographed monuments in Vienna.
For lunch, head to the world famous sandwich cafe Trzesniewski on the Karntner Strasse, which was opened in 1902 by Franciszek Trze, an early 20th century gourmand and cook.
His house specialty was, and still is, sandwiches made of fresh local dark bread and egg paste with different toppings. The snack became so popular throughout former Austria-Hungary that his name remains associated with all sandwiches in most of central Europe.
Stand side by side with the locals and enjoy a sandwich or two washed down with small beers known as pfiffs.
For something sweet, head around the corner to Schokoladekonig, meaning King of chocolate, which is not far from St Peter’s Church. If you are a chocoholic this is paradise with a past.
The 150-year old premises previously housed Knopfkonig button makers, former purveyors to the Imperial Court.
It’s hard to resist purchasing the delicious golden Vienna hearts made from tasty hazelnut crunch.
A visit to the Museum of Applied Arts known as MAK on the Ringstrasse is enriching.
Built in 1871 by Heinrich von Ferstel and inspired by London’s V and A Museum, it is a must if you are interested in design.
Stay on for dinner at the acclaimed cafe Osterreicher im MAK where the cuisine is a mix of Bohemian, Hungarian, Italian and Austrian and merges the traditions of the Hapsburg Empire.
Top architects Eichinger and Knechtl have transformed the opulent rooms into a bar and restaurant with a contemporary flavour.
A highlight of any visit to Vienna is the colourful Naschmarket, which sells everything from exotic fruits to fish, spices and flowers.
It is full of the old and new and for something different stop at Gegenbauer’s Vinegar Brewery where you can sample more than 30 types of vinegar. The former winemaker is now exporting his wonderful vinegars worldwide.
For lunch, head to the legendary Cafe Drechsler that underwent a style make-over by the famous British designer Sir Terence Conran in 2007. It still retains its great ambience and is open 23 hours a day.
Visitors to Vienna will also enjoy calling in to traditional heurigens, which refers to both the wine from last year’s harvest and the tavern. One of the most popular is Mayer on Pfarrplatz nin Heiligenstadt that is also known as Beethovenhaus, as the composer lived there when he wrote his ninth symphony.
You can recognise a genuine Viennese heuriges by the sprig of pine branches hanging outside together with an ausg’steckt sign.
Save some time to visit the magnificent Museums Quartier housed in the former Imperial stables and carriage houses, now one of the biggest cultural complexes in the world.
Back on food, high on the must-do list is a visit to Demel on Kohlamrkt, which offers a range of mouth-watering cakes, served by waitresses in black uniforms who ask the time-honoured phrase ‘have you chosen yet?’.
For some of the biggest and crispiest schnitzel, try Figlmuller, and leave room for delicious original Sacher torte at Hotel Sacher.
And you couldn’t depart Vienna without a slice of its famous apfelstrudel often served warm; connoisseurs say you should be able to read a newspaper through the paper-thin pastry.
As for coffee houses, Cafe Sperl, which dates back to 1880, is one of the oldest where you are graciously served from a silver tray.
It’s easy to fall in love with Vienna and its cuisine. Two handy words you will hear often -- ‘mahlzeit’, which means enjoy the meal, and ‘prost’, or, cheers!
Published under license from Well Travelled