Having a look at Mozart’s house

Mozart lived in several houses in Vienna during his all-too short life, but only one building remains standing today. The Figarohaus (as the locals call it because it’s where he wrote The Marriage of Figaro), opened as a museum on January 27 2006 (what would have been his 250th birthday). The composer lived on the first floor between 1784 and 1787, a period regarded as his happiest and most productive.

The Figarohaus offers visitors a detailed history of Mozart’s life in Vienna and there are displays of his original sheet music, letters, instruments and interactive displays. After a visit here you’ll almost certainly want to buy some Vienna opera tickets.

Visiting the world’s oldest zoo

The Tiergarten is built on the site of Franz Stephan’s royal menagerie (build in 1752) on the west side of the gardens. The displays and cages are arranged radially around an octagonal pavilion built in the 18th century (it was once the imperial breakfast room). Some of the original buildings and cages are still used, although most enclosures are modern-day. There’s a rainforest house and a polarium, but you’ll want to see the giant pandas, of course.

Lunching on ethical, conscience-clearing food

Tongues offers lots of organic produce from local growers, but best of all is the fact that the deli (and record shop!) offers meals made from unsold vegetables and other produce (all organic). These filling and nutritious lunches are also very cheap – as little as €3.90 for a main and €2.40 for soup. It sells out fast, though, so work up an appetite early in the day.

Viewing the city from on high

You have to hitch a ride on the huge ferris wheel – or Riesenrad – that played such a big part in classic film The Third Man. This wheel is the last remaining work of Walter Basset, the Brits engineer who also built wheels for Paris, London and Blackpool.

The wheel opened in 1897 to mark the Golden Jubilee of Franz Josef and it takes 20 minutes to complete the full circle. At the highest point you’re 65 metres high.


Scoffing some street food

You have to grab a sausage from a street vendor. Würstelstand, or sausage stands are everywhere in Vienna. They sell sausages on sticks or in buns, as well as sodas and beers. One of the best stands is the Würstelstand am HohenMarkt or the Bitzinger concession on Albertinaplatz. This is gross, but a Viennese favourite is the cheesy Käsekrainer. The locals call it the Eitriger – the pus-stick. Nice.

Paying homage to The Third man

Film fans won’t be able to resist the lure of The Third Man Private Collection. It’s been compiled by a movie aficionado and features a huge range of film marginalia and documentation revealing life in Vienna just after World War II. There’s a new area of the museum devoted to life in the city under the Allied occupation that lasted from 1945 to 1955. One of Anton Karas’ original zithers is there too, and you will leave the museum (and Vienna) singing that iconic theme…