Far from just a time cap­sule of im­pe­rial palaces and fin- de­siè­cle flour­ishes, this mul­ti­cul­tural me­trop­o­lis has long been at the cross­roads of cul­tures

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What's the best way to spend 36 hours in Vi­enna? Tips for a wistlestop tour of the Aus­trian cap­i­tal

IN 2018 VI­ENNA is com­mem­o­rat­ing the cen­ten­nial of four mod­ernists’ pass­ing. Myr­iad ex­hi­bi­tions will hon­our the artists Gus­tav Klimt, Kolo­man Moser and Egon Schiele, and the ar­chi­tect Otto Wag­ner, who dared to colour out­side the rigid lines of the sta­tus quo and dream of a dif­fer­ent fu­ture — a feat that re­mains rel­e­vant to­day.

But we don’t need such an­niver­sary events to re­mind us of Vi­enna’s rich con­tri­bu­tions to the world. Far from just a time cap­sule of im­pe­rial palaces and fin-de-siè­cle flour­ishes, this mul­ti­cul­tural me­trop­o­lis of 1.8 mil­lion has long been at the cross­roads of cul­tures, prov­ing that even a place steeped in tra­di­tions – like its fa­mous ball sea­son – can also be cre­ative and worldly.

Fri­day 3pm: Rooms with a view

Schloss Belvedere of­ten draws com­par­isons to Ver­sailles — no sur­prise, con­sid­er­ing Prince Eu­gene of Savoy, who com­mis­sioned the two Baroque palaces as his summer res­i­dence, grew up around the court of Louis XIV.

While the im­pec­ca­bly sculpted grounds and over­the-top in­te­ri­ors are in­deed rem­i­nis­cent of the fa­mous French château, the Up­per Belvedere houses a proudly Aus­trian art col­lec­tion that in­cludes works by Schiele, Moser and Klimt, whose gilded tableau ‘ The Kiss’ mes­merises vis­i­tors.

Ex­plore the tiered gar­dens that lead to the Lower Belvedere, which hosts tem­po­rary ex­hi­bi­tions in op­u­lent halls. A com­bi­na­tion ticket to both palaces and the ad­ja­cent con­tem­po­rary art pavil­ion 21er Haus is EUR23, or about $27.10.

5pm: Made in Aus­tria

Bou­tiques cel­e­brat­ing in­die la­bels from Vi­enna and beyond have flocked just south of the in­ner city’s his­toric core. Along Mar­gareten­strasse you’ll find such con­cept stores as Unikatessen, which mixes up vintage Chanels and Saint Lau­rents with lo­cal lines like Na­tures of Conflict. Across the street, Sam­stag cham­pi­ons its own brand, Su­per­ated, along with de­sign­ers like the Vi­enna-ed­u­cated and Paris­based jewellery-maker Sawako Ishi­tani. The el­e­gantly muted Elfen­kleid and in­ter­na­tion­ally minded Wolfens­son round out the street’s fash­ion of­fer­ings. For the less sar­to­ri­ally ori­ented shop­pers, Feinedinge throws a youth­ful spin on Vi­enna’s proud porce­lain her­itage with hand­made table­ware.

8pm: Lo­cal bites

Af­ter shop­ping, opt for one of the many non-touristy

dining op­tions on and near Mar­gareten­strasse. Ran­dale presents a ro­bust line-up of DJs along with in­ter­est­ing piz­zas like smoked pro­volone (EUR12.90). Just as lively is the bar/restau­rant Zweitbester that pairs dishes such as goulash (EUR14.90) with art ex­hi­bi­tions and, oc­ca­sion­ally, con­certs tak­ing place in the bath­room. Pop­u­lar among stu­dents is Vollpen­sion, a self­pro­claimed ‘in­ter­gen­er­a­tional café’ of mis­matched fur­ni­ture and simple fare like wurst salad (EUR6.20). Or, for homey com­fort, head to the neigh­bour­hood stal­wart Sil­ber­wirt for its thick pump­kin oil soup (EUR4.60) and free-range beef stewed in onion sauce (EUR16.80).

Satur­day 8am: Gar­den of good and evil

Open to the pub­lic since 1775, Au­garten is the city’s com­mu­nal back­yard, where leafy paths take you past girls in hi­jabs play­ing soc­cer and Ha­sidic men on bi­cy­cles. Home of the Vi­enna Boys’ Choir and Europe’s sec­ond long­est-run­ning porce­lain man­u­fac­turer, this 129-acre park also har­bours two Naz­ibuilt flak tow­ers that stand as a re­minder of one of the city’s dark­est chap­ters.

10am: Eat your veg­eta­bles

The un­pre­ten­tious Karmeliter­markt caters to the city’s di­verse palate. On Satur­day morn­ing, when the food mar­ket is at its liveli­est, you’ll find tra­di­tional Aus­trian sausages along­side kosher cuts; next to old-school veg­gie ven­dors thrive young en­trepreneurs like Is­abella Lindinger, who sells sea­sonal jams and chut­neys. Drop by the brick-and-mor­tar store Kaas am Markt for a wide range of re­gional cheeses and hams be­fore head­ing out to ex­plore the sur­round­ing area, which is in the process of be­ing trans­formed with busi­nesses like the home­ware and fash­ion pur­veyor Der Affe und der Bräutigam, the ve­gan-friendly bak­ery Fett und Zucker, and the bring-your- own- con­tainer gro­cer Lun­z­ers, which bol­sters Aus­tria’s green cred.

1pm: A sense of won­der

Des­ig­nated as an In­tan­gi­ble Cul­tural Her­itage by UNESCO, Vi­enna’s many his­toric cof­fee houses trans­port guests to an era when vi­sion­ar­ies like Freud min­gled over Mélange, Vi­enna’s an­swer to cap­puc­cino. No other Kaf­fee­haus has per­fected anachro­nism like the three-year-young Su­per­sense. In ad­di­tion to host­ing in­die con­certs and let­ter­press work­shops, this cafe- cum-store stocks vintage stamp kits and record play­ers.

Quirkier items on sale in­clude a Smell Mem­ory Kit (EUR99) that cap­tures scents in tiny am­pules. You can also

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