An original gift for a friend back home or a pretty keepsake for yourself – shopping is a vacation treat in Vienna. This text presents an overview of the city’s best shopping destinations, along with a number of insider tips.
The range of shopping options is particularly rich and diverse in Vienna’s historic first district. Here, the three main shopping streets of Kohlmarkt, Graben and Kärntner Strasse form a pedestrianized area, which is known locally as the Golden U. Kohlmarkt, Vienna’s most exclusive shopping street, is lined with international brands such as Chanel, Cartier, Gucci, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani and Tiffany. The Austrian capital’s exclusive shopping district is growing: around 11,550 square meters of retail space has been added at the Goldenes Quartier. This complex of historic buildings between Tuchlauben and Am Hof will house some of the world’s most sought after labels. Emporio Armani, Miu Miu and the Louis Vuitton flagship store (Europe’s second largest Louis Vuitton “maison”) were among the first stores to open at the Goldenes Quartier at the end of 2012. By the time the new luxury development is completed in the first quarter of 2014 it will include a five-star Park Hyatt hotel, exclusive offices and luxury apartments as well as countless other exclusive international labels (Prada flagship store, Etro, multi-brand kids store Bambini, Brioni, Roberto Cavalli, Saint Laurent Paris, Brunelli Cucinelli, Church’s, 7 for all mankind). Vivienne Westwood and Agent Provocateur have selected a prime site just opposite the Goldenes Quartier for their Vienna stores.
And in the midst of all this luxury, former Imperial court confectioner, Demel (est. 1786) provides a reminder of Vienna of yore with its sweet treats and eye-catching window displays that showcase the high art of confectionary. A few buildings down is the equally illustrious Meinl am Graben, with its delectable delicacies. On Graben, Altmann & Kühne awaits with its fine pralines, lovingly packaged in little boxes. Meanwhile Schwäbische Jungfrau is the place for exclusive tableware, bed linens and bathrobes; J. B. Filz’s stock in trade is upmarket cosmetics.
Founded as a perfumery in 1809, J. B. Filz is a former purveyor to theImperial Court. The title Purveyor to the Imperial Court dates back to 1782 and was a distinction bestowed upon merchants deemed worthy of supplying the Imperial Court thanks to the exceptional quality of their products. Over the years, the distinction became a highly prestigious honorary title and a truly first class seal of quality used by over 500 companies. While the Imperial Court disappeared long ago, the German-language title k.u.k. Hoflieferant endures as an assurance of quality to this day. Examples include noble glass and chandelier maker Lobmeyr; jewelers Köchert, Rozet & Fischmeister and Anton Heldwein; elegant gentlemen’s outfitters, Knize & Comp; Augarten Wien porcelain; traditional shoe maker, Rudolf Scheer & Söhne; and the Hotel Sacher home to the original Sacher-Torte — all of which are located in the First District.
Traditions must be upheld, as they say. It is therefore no accident that there are so many antique shops in the First District. The side streets around Graben, (incl. Dorotheergasse, Stallburggasse and Bräunerstrasse) are brimming with boutiques selling Baroque armories, renaissance chests, fine carpets, magnificent timepieces, paintings, porcelain and antique jewelry. Wiener Silber Manufactur in Spiegelgasse offers authentic reproductions of Viennese silverwork. Pieces include a dinner service based on original designs by Josef Hoffmann and Oswald Haerdtl. The antique section of Musikhaus Doblinger still contains a number of original sheets of Viennese classical music. The Dorotheum auction house (est. 1707) – one of the world’s largest – is a magnet for lovers of attractive antiques.
The Old Town’s attractions go well beyond the traditional. Anyone looking for international designer fashion will find what they are looking for at Firis, Chegini, 2006FEB01, Amicis, inked and Sterngasse 4e, where gems from Dries van Noten, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, Chloé and other designers line the racks. A number of Viennese designers have shops in the First District as well. Highlights include couturiers Michel Mayer, and Schella Kann, Mühlbauer with hats from its own portfolio and international fashion labels, accessory specialist Robert Horn, and luxury shoemaker Ludwig Reiter.
Kärntner Strasse is home to one of just a handful of department stores in the city. Split across several floors, Steffl’s offers fashion, fragrances and accessories. The nearby Ringstrassen Galerien is a spacious, indoor shopper’s paradise. Peek & Cloppenburg has moved into a new building created by British architect David Chipperfield on the famous shopping street, opposite another relative newcomer, world-famous crystal maker Swarovski, which has a three-floor boutique packed with jewelry, fashion, accessories, design objects and its highly collectable crystal figurines.
Emperor Franz Joseph used to travel along Mariahilfer Strasse as he shuttled between Schönbrunn Palace and the Hofburg. This street connecting the Ringstrasse boulevard and the Gürtel beltway cuts an almost two kilometer path through the 6th and 7th Districts. Today it is Vienna’s number one shopping destination. This large thoroughfare features broad sidewalks and has attracted hundreds of shops and flagship stores carrying international brands, with a particular focus on fashion, footwear, accessories and interior design. There are also countless eateries, including cafés, ice-cream shops, fast food restaurants and pizzerias. Echoes of times gone can be heard at traditional shops like Walter Weiss which stocks virtually everything the heart desires when it comes to grooming – from combs to shaving brushes and mirrors.
A detour from the beaten shopping path is well worth it. A hip shopping zone and bar and restaurant scene has sprung up on and around Gumpendorfer Strasse in the 6th district on the south side of Mariahilfer Strasse. “das möbel” stocks home furnishings and interior design accessories created by young Viennese and international product designers. At Lichterloh there are furniture classics of the 20th century and at St. Charles Cosmothecary premium natural cosmetics are the order of the day. Fashion devotees will find collections by the next generation of design talent at Nachbarin, We bandits is the place for fashion created by young international designers, while Anukoo and anzüglich sell laid-back organic wear that comes complete with a fair trade certificate.
In the 7th District on the north side of Mariahilfer Strasse there is an even greater range of products for individualists to choose from. This district isVienna’s creative hub. The recently gentrified Baroque buildings and narrow streets around the Spittelberg quarter are home to numerous highly-original shops. Lindengasse is a great example. The street primarily concentrates on highly original fashions and fashion-related products with many pieces from up-and-coming Viennese designers. There are attractive leather bags at Ina Kent, children’s fashion at Herr und Frau Klein, exquisite underwear in Sandra Gilles’ “la petite boutique”; and handmade one-of-a-kind jewelry at Werkprunk. Just around the corner on Kirchengasse, highlights include clothing from Viennese green fashion label Göttin des Glücks, while onMondscheingasseParkstocks innovative designer labels. In Gutenberggasse Lena Hoschek’s presents a playful take on traditional Austrian dress.
A few streets further down, on Westbahnstrasse, “be a good girl” wins converts as a hairdresser-cum-boutique. Russian-born Lena Kvadrat’s showroom “ArtPoint” on Neubaugasse offers young fashion. Breite Gasse is home to Carina e Vincenzo, a concept store that sells a quirky mix of clothing, vintage knick-knacks and interior accessories. Meanwhile, at St.-Ulrichs-Platz 4 eigensinnig awaits with an original showroom for fashion and photography on the idyllic square. The nearby MuseumsQuartier fits in perfectly with this creative ambience. Cultural and epicurean delights are accompanied by stores such as the stylish Combinat with a fine selection by young fashion designers. At Musiktank customers can simply and inexpensively download the latest music directly onto MP3 players. Select shops in the 7th District are presented at www.7tm.at.
Vienna’s largest market is a mandatory destination for lovers of fine food and drink, featuring fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, cold cuts and cheeses, spices and gourmet vinegar. There is practically nothing that the Naschmarkt doesn’t have. And if that was not enough, there are countless chic bars and restaurants where visitors can enjoy a culinary break. On Saturdays the area adjoining the Naschmarkt is transformed into a flea market where antique dealers and private stallholders sell treasures and trinkets. While in the area, the neighboring streets are always worth a visit. Schleifmühlgasse boasts a burgeoning gallery scene and a variety of great shops. Choose between high quality vintage fashion from Flo, austere clothing designs from Pregenzer Fashion Store, classic 20th century furniture from Rauminhalt or one of the hundreds of cookbooks from Babette’s. Kettenbrückengasse, at the end of the Naschmarkt, has come on strong in recent years. Attractive knick knacks are on sale at Anna Stein, alongside eye-catching retro fashion from Bananas and delicious desserts and pralines from Fruth. Designer boutique Elfenkleid is just a stone’s throw away, and just a short walk from feine dinge, where Sandra Heischberger’s porcelain designs are on sale.
The 2nd District is only separated from the 1st District by the Danube Canal. Just a short stroll over the bridge is designer boutique Song, with collections from international fashion stars such as AF Vandevorst, Walter van Beirendonck and Bernhard Willhelm. The spectacular Jean Nouvel-designed high-rise on the left bank of the Danube Canal contains the luxury Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom, as well as the 30 or so interior design and furniture stores that make up the Stilwerk design center. The area around the Karmelitermarkt is coming back to life thanks to countless excellent shops and bars. Guter Stoff on Glockengasse prints custom logos on organic fairtrade t-shirt, while Nagy knits pullovers and dresses from its own wools. Taschenausgabe in Haidgasse carries a number of offbeat labels, and Wundertüte always has the right gift for adults and children.
The 16th District’s two large markets in Brunnengasse and on Yppenplatz are a magnet for new business ideas.Vienna jelly makers Staud’s has long been a fixture at the Yppenmarkt where a lively bar and restaurant scene has gradually emerged. A short walk from the market, Mano Design on Grundsteingasse offers designer hand-finished porcelain.
More than 210 discounts and unlimited free travel by underground, bus and tram for 72 hours. Available in hotels and at the tourist information centre on Albertinaplatz (open daily from 9.00 am to 7.00 pm) and the tourist information point at the airport (open daily from 6.00 am to 11.00 pm), at sales and information points of the Vienna Lines (e.g. Stephansplatz, Karlsplatz, Westbahnhof, Landstraße/Wien Mitte) or by credit card on tel. +43-1-798 44 00-148.
The information, and photos, on our Vienna pages has been compiled with the help of Wien Tourismus – http://www.wien.info/en– to ensure quality, up-to-date information on the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria.
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