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Stuart Messham
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In the first part of our 'Pretty Cities' series we take a cultural deep-dive in Vienna, voraciously guzzle every enriching morsel Dublin has to offer and marvel at the magnificence of Munich. All available via Heathrow.
"Ooooooh, Vienna!": even a short trip to Austria's charming capital is enough to make the heart sing.

Vivacious Vienna!

The capital of Austria and one of the most famously beautiful cities on the planet, Vienna is home to incredible restaurants, elite museums and art galleries, breath-taking architecture and one of the most venerated café scenes on the continent.

If you’re a fan of the intense works of expressionist painter Egon Schiele you’re in luck as the wonderful Leopold Museum is home to 44 of them, as well as eye-opening pieces from Oskar Kokoschka and Gustav Klimt (his most famous works “The Kiss” is at the Upper Beleveder Palace). If you’re after more contemporary visuals, you should try the MUMOK which has some extraordinary pieces from Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Even if you know nothing about art, just hanging out in the MuseumsQuartier, – or MQ as it’s referred – will make you feel a touch more debonair and cosmopolitan than usual.

Vienna is a wonderful walking city and most tourists use the Ringstrasse – or Ring, for short – to get their bearings. It’s a rather special boulevard that wraps around the historic city centre and walking it reveals some of the city’s grandest sights, from the State Opera House, the Burggarten and the Hofburg to the National Library, the Art History, Natural History, Parliament, the Volksgarten, the Burgtheater, the Town Hall and the University.

When you’re done with all the mind-expanding cultural jiggery-pokery, you'll need a treat, and we heartily recommend lashings of Sachertorte (Vienna’s signature chocolate sponge cake, with dark chocolate ganache and apricot jam!) or perhaps an Inbetweiner at Veganista, the city’s first fully vegan ice cream parlour: get your favourite scoops wedged between two chewy cookies.

Both are totally delightful, joyously edifying and rather moreish, much like the city from whence they came.

The city's nightlife is famously high-spirited, but its myriad other cultural diversions are equally exuberant.

Dandy Dublin!

Dublin enjoys a staunch reputation across the globe for its lively pubs and raucous entertainment, but there’s plenty to do in the city that doesn’t involve pints of (the world’s best) black stuff, with a burgeoning foodie scene, top-notch museums, art galleries and parks to hoover up aswell.

Let’s start with the black stuff though: Arthur Guinness signed a lease for the St James Gate brewery in 1759 and over 250 years later his is the most famous name in Dublin. You can tour the brewery and top it off at the seventh-floor Gravity Bar that overlooks this tremendous city.

The Abbey Theatre, founded in 1904 by W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, is an internationally famous playhouse that runs illuminating tours and first-rate shows. The Little Museum of Dublin – tucked away inside a charming Georgian townhouse – gives a perfectly brief social, cultural and political history of Ireland with diverting guides, compelling exhibitions and a life-size Bono to boot. Trinity College – Ireland’s oldest university and one of the world’s top schools – is another must-see. It’s venerable cobbled lanes have an uncanny ability to transport you back to the days of Samuel Beckett, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde. Its Old Library houses an impressive collection of 200,000 books, one of which is the Book of Kells: an illuminated religious manuscript from the medieval period that was probably crafted by Celtic monks circa 800AD.

When you do feel it’s time for a drink, the Temple Bar area never disappoints or you could go on the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl and Phoneix Park is the ideal place to gently walk off a hangover the morning after.

There's plenty to keep you occupied in Munich and always a beer garden close by.

Magnificent Munich

There’s not many places in the world that can be described as a “beer city”, but that lofty, foamy nomenclature certainly applies to Munich. There’s great food, culture and history too, but beer is definitely top of the menu.

So, let’s start with a beery breakfast: at the Schnieder Brauhaus it’s encouraged to have a Weisswurst – a tender minced veal and pork Bavarian sausage – a super-soft (and absolutely delicious!) pretzel and a wheat beer to start the day. It’s a hearty, punchy way to kick things off and way more popular than you might imagine.

With the rest of your day free you may choose to mooch the streets of the lively, edgy Glockenbachviertel district and browse its myriad boutiques, cafés and bars. You may want to ogle Olafur Eliassson’s double helix ‘Umschreibung’ sculpture at Ganghoferstrasse 29. You could visit Viktualienmarkt, the city’s oldest farmer’s market to stock up on Weisswurst, pickles and cheese. You could test yourself at the BMW and MINI Driving Academy Maisach. And then later scour the many vintage bargains to be had at the Midnightbazar.

Wherever you choose to go, there’s probably a beer garden close by and some first-class people-watching to be done in this wonderfully vibrant, totally addictive city.


Vienna, Dublin and Muinch are all accessible via Heathrow with British Airways.
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