Welcome to our new feature column, Vienna Insider! Each week we are excited to introduce you to an interesting person in Vienna. This week we and will be talking to Barbara, the tourism genius behind Vienna Unwrapped.
If you haven’t visited Vienna Unwrapped then you’re in for a treat. Barbara has put together a wonderful collection of articles, tour guides, and that insider local knowledge that only a local can.
Barbara is a native Viennese and is always up on what’s going on in the city as well as helping out others new to the area. Please join me in welcoming Barbara!
Please introduce yourself and your brand
I’m an Austrian communications professional traveling between London and my home city Vienna. Vienna Unwrapped is an English-language destination site for independent travelers from all over the world: those who wish they had a friend in Vienna sharing her native perspective of the city, and above all, insider tips off the mainstream.
How did you end up running Vienna Unwrapped?
Our international friends in London kept repeating the classic stereotypes about Vienna. I talked myself blue in the face because the city offers so much more on top. My native view of Vienna is more diversified and connected with contemporary life. (Each summer, for example, tourists run past that fantastic local swimming pool hidden at Schönbrunn Palace gardens.) When I researched ideas for setting up an online business in 2010, the internet search demand for Vienna clicked with my favourite subject – and Vienna Unwrapped was born.
What would surprise people about you?
I run Vienna Unwrapped single-handedly – and love it -, despite its sizable content and business partnerships. We speak three languages in our family (English, German, Portuguese). I have never been to the Danube tower or dressed up as Empress Sissi.
What hopes/ goals do you have for it in the next 2 years?
First, the Print-on-Demand version of the Vienna Unwrapped ebook should be publicized by the summer. Second, I’ve started to look into offering some of Vienna Unwrapped’s key content in Mandarin, and optimizing it for Chinese search engines. And third, my social dinner series Vienna Coffeehouse Conversations may expand further into the international conference market.
What is your favorite thing about your job that you don’t think you could get elsewhere?
I can nurture and develop a key passion with people from around the world.
What advice do you have for someone new to Vienna?
Allow yourself time to dig beneath the stereotypes, and enrich yourself with an authentic experience: Even many popular landmarks hide beautiful spots; Viennese are more open to engaging with travelers than you think (see Vienna Coffeehouse Conversations); music events that also appeal to locals tend to offer better quality.
How would you spend a perfect weekend in Vienna?
My perfect weekend would start on Saturday with brunch with friends at Café Drechsler or Zimmer 37 at Karmelitermarkt. Next we would visit an exhibition at Museumsquartier or Wien Museum, then head for a platter of open sandwiches to iconic Trzesniewski sandwich bar.
After that I would shop for those Viennese things that remind me of my late local grandmother and explore regional delicacies at Markterei food market. And I would top it off with a visit to Volksoper or Burgtheater;
Sunday would start with a jog through the woodlands of Schönbrunn Palace gardens or Lainz Natural Reserve, both of which are beautiful and are a delight to go for a run through. Then you must have a Wiener Frühstück at Landtmann’s Jausenstation (Schönbrunn) or Hermesvilla (Lainz), then maybe head for Neustift am Walde for lunch at a good Heuriger.
After that I would return to town and rent a City Bike to tour Ringstrasse boulevard. Along the way I always like to stop
at Café Diglas for redcurrant cake, pass by my favourite permanent exhibition at nearby MAK – the collection of Thonet coffeehouse chairs, and of Biedermeier chairs.
And to finish off a perfect weekend, a visit Thomas and Martin at private dining place Mezzanin7.
Thank you so much, Barbara, for a wonderful tour of your business and your view of this amazing city. I love the passion you have for Vienna and find it very contagious!
Are you living an inspired life in Vienna? Why not share your experience and insight with the rest of us? Drop me a line if you or a friend would like to be featured in this column. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!