As many of you know by now, my favorite weekend activity involves a good book and a glass of wine, preferably in a foreign country. So naturally, my favorite Viennese outing involved wine. Nestled in the hilly outskirts of Vienna are clusters of local vineyards and wine taverns (also known as heurigers), stacked together on quiet cobblestone streets. As you walk from one tavern to the next, sampling a glass of Gemischter Satz here, grabbing a plate of schnitzel there, you’re overcome with a sense of Gemütlichkeit…or as we say in English, coziness and warmth.
Need any more convincing? I’ll give you five reasons why you absolutely MUST take the time to while away an afternoon in an Heuriger:
1. You need a Break from the City
Although I am a city girl, through and through, even I needed a break from the hustle and bustle of our Vienna sightseeing. The heurigers are about 30 minutes outside of the city, up on the foothills of what eventually becomes the Alps, so we got impressive views of the city while also enjoying some blessed peace and quiet! We spent an afternoon in the heuriger region, which was the perfect amount of time to enjoy a slower pace of life.
2. You Want to Interact with Locals
Vienna is quite the ex-pat city. The majority of people we met inside the city itself were Americans or British citizens who had moved to Vienna. Although it certainly was nice to have so many people who could speak proficient English, we craved experiencing local culture. The heuriger region delivered – we avoided the more “touristy” heurigers (you’ll be able to tell by their large size and crowds of buses parked beside them) and instead headed to the small local areas of Ottakring and Stammersdorf. Didn’t meet a single other American, which was absolutely perfect.
**Note: Unless you speak German fairly well, I would grab a tour guide for the day for this type of trip. The tavern proprieters are much friendlier this way. Our tour guide was named Claudia through Boutique Journeys and she was EXCELLENT! **
3. You want to Enjoy Local Food and Wine
The food is home-made by the families who own these taverns…taverns that have been around since the 17th century, no less! My husband and I gorged on the delicious food while sipping on wine or a glass of Süssgespritzter (wine mixed with lemonade, a perfect drink for the summer weather!).
The wine is made by each family in small batches, and the large vineyards are shared by the neighboring taverns, so you’re getting some truly original wine that’s cared for with passion.
4. You want a (mild) Adventure
Because the heurigers are clustered in little villages between vineyards, there is an abundance of well-trodden paths between these areas so that you can walk off those delicious wines and snacks! You will be surrounded by vineyards while also taking in the foliage and waterways of the area.
During our walk, we came across an unexpected travel partner, who gave our tour guide a little bit of a fright 😉
5. The Views, of course
How could you resist this ridiculous amount of pretty in one place?! Don’t just take my word for it, see for yourself!