If you want to spend a European halal holiday Vienna is a good place once you know where to go and stay. Halal travel to Vienna is on the rise. I’ve pulled together this guide and tips to ‘travel Muslim’ in style with your family in my homecity. Includes qibla locator and Muslim prayer times.
Muslim Holiday Destination Vienna?
Halal holiday Vienna. My home city hasn’t been one of the obvious Muslim holiday destinations. Why is it becoming irresistible to an increasing number of Muslim tourists? They share our love of elegant culture, relaxation and the good life: Imperial palaces, sumptuous coffeehouses and cakes, classical concerts and operas, and the vast number of parks and green spaces. Vienna is also easy for family strolls through town because it is safe and super clean: My family’s favourite walk is from Stadtpark (great playground and river-side dairy!) past the book and cake shops of Wollzeile street to the pedestrian area of the historic centre with its street musicians, luxury shops and cafés.
Our local Muslim community is quite strong. Approximately 13 percent of Viennese (216,300) are Muslims. For years now, Vienna’s mayor Michael Häupl has been holding his annual Iftar feast with the local Muslim community. Representatives from leading Arab countries live in or regularly travel to Vienna, headquarters of OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) and one of the United Nations three headquarters. As a consequence, people wearing hijabs in Vienna are unlikely to get funny looks.
Best Vienna Halal Restaurants
Halal Holiday Vienna. There are more than 50 halal restaurants in Vienna. Some of them are really good, and all of them serve Arab or Asian food. Gourmet temples such as Hotel Imperial’s OPUS, Kempinski’s Kitchen, Hotel Sacher’s Anna Sacher or Park Hyatt Vienna’s The Bank are the best and most elegant places for the Muslim traveller. You can pre-order fantastic halal food on request. The Bank, for example, cooperates with butchers who produce halal meat. Equally, Kempinski’s Kitchen works with trusted external halal suppliers. During July and August, most of these restaurants offer halal kitchen on a regular basis.
Outside the hotels, Persian restaurant Pars is my favourite choice for serving full halal food (with alcohol on the menu). The Marandí family dishes out fine kababs, Persian stews and mixed grill platters, alongside fresh pomegranate juice, dough, saffron tea and Turkish coffee.
Location: Lerchenfelderstrasse 148, 1080 Vienna;
Opening Times: Monday to Saturday 11.00 am to midnight; Sunday closed;
Another widely praised halal restaurant in Vienna is fine Turkish eatery Kent. Along with tender grilled lamb and chicken skewers, refined dolma and fresh baklava comes the success story of owner Hüseyin Tütüncü, a first generation immigrant who runs four sprawling outlets in Vienna.
Locations: Hütteldorfer Strasse 117 (1140); Märzstrasse 39 (1150); Brunnengasse 67 (1160); Jägerstrasse 45 (1200);
Opening Times: Monday to Sunday 6.00 am to 2.00 am
Spanish Riding School
I already had kids when I first visited the Spanish Riding School in my home city. Watching a performance was a lovely family experience. Read more what to see and how to get tickets for the Spanish Riding School Vienna.
Classical Music Events
Elegance can be heard in Vienna: Every evening between September and June we stage more than a dozen classical concerts, operas, ballets, and operettas. If you travel with family, this is a great opportunity to introduce your children to the world of classical music. (We took our daughter to the opera when she was eight, see photo.) Access my personal shortlist of Vienna concerts, and find out how to book Vienna opera tickets.
Cake Shops And Coffeehouses
Comparing your culture with the Viennese over cake and coffee will be ultimately inspiring. Whenever I eat apple strudel I muse over its common roots with Baklava… Choose a traditional coffeehouse and an indulgent patisserie, such as Gerstner’s Salon Privé (photo). Menus usually include details of those cakes and coffee specialities that include alcohol. Between April and September many cafés offer outdoor seating, such as Kleines Café, Café Landtmann, or Café Prückel. Find my list Vienna coffeehouses: Favourites and best cake shops in Vienna.
Parks And Gardens
Some people say the scent of freshly cut grass beats that of coffee. The best places in Vienna to try and follow the lawn mowers are our manicured parks and gardens such as Schönbrunn gardens, Volksgarten and Stadtpark. Between May and September they burst with beautifully arranged colourful flower beds. Stadtpark boasts a romantic lake and the golden statue of waltz composer Johann Strauss. Schönbrunn, Burggarten and Stadtpark also host elegant cafés/restaurants. Volksgarten is well known for its relaxed shady Pavillon café. Augarten is Vienna’s oldest baroque garden, and home to the eponymous porcelain manufactory and the Vienna Boys Choir. Most romantic experience in a green space: a candle lit dinner inside a wagon on the Giant Ferris Wheel.
Food and Gift Shopping: Before I travel back from Vienna, I would visit two places to stock up on food and gifts from home. Deli Meinl am Graben is best to buy coffee, chocolates, jams and general gift boxes. Naschmarkt is best for regional produce, from honey, oil and vinegar to sweet desserts.
Luxury Shopping: You will find shopping for luxury items in Vienna like entering a boutique full of boutiques. Most international brand shops concentrate in the historic centre. For shopping tips and a luxury shopping map go to Vienna Shopping for Luxury. If you want great bargains from international brand shopping consider visiting designer outlet Parndorf.
Green Retreats Outside Vienna
Halal Holiday Vienna. Our green outdoors are lushest between April and September. Combine them with the waterside, historic places and with luxurious stays. One of my Arab travel planning clients spent a weekend along the river Danube in Wachau Valley at Hotel Schloss Dürnstein and loved the boat rides and walks through historic villages up to medieval ruins. She found it was one of the best Muslim holiday destinations in the countryside.
If you want to spend a lavish day out with the family consider visiting baroque country castle Schloss Hof.
As soon as the temperatures rise many Viennese head for nearby Semmering mountain. They have done this for almost 200 years, when lush green Semmering started to become a fashionable summer retreat for affluent Viennese. The best thing to do there is to take the cable car up the mountain for a walk on the hilltops. Find out more.
Best Accommodation For A Halal Holiday
Halal holiday Vienna. Muslim travellers to Vienna love Hotel Imperial. When I spent a night there in 2015 the hotel hosted an elegant conference with more than a hundred Arab muslim guests. When you stay there expect a compass for the qibla, a prayer rug, Arab newspapers and TV, female and male butler service; and halal champagne, pistachios and dates on arrival (for guests booking the butler service). Find out more in my independent Hotel Imperial Vienna review.
Halal holiday Vienna. The best modern luxury halal hotel in Vienna is Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom. You get your own prayer mat, compass to Mecca and a Koran. Rooms and suites have Arab TV channels. You can order halal dishes from an Arabic menu to your room, and ask for your own female housekeeping staff. There is also a playing room for children and a family programme upon request. The Sofitel’s wellness area has two hammams with separate male and female areas. Alternatively you can get your own private hammam. The SPA area has also female only nights.
Other great places to stay are Hotel Sacher, Hotel Sans Souci, Palais Coburg, Ritz Carlton and DO&CO. Find out more in luxury hotels in Vienna.
Halal Holiday Vienna: Travel Service
Halal holiday Vienna. If you need assistance planning your trip to Vienna and surroundings, consult the Vienna Travel Concierge for bespoke travel itineraries by Vienna Unwrapped’s boss herself. You will find classical and insider travel tips with links to transportation, musical events and attractions for easy booking. Your personal email hotline before and during your trip is included.
I know a few Muslim travellers who love to travel in comfort and privacy with their loved ones during a city break. They would spend the first day of their stay to get to know the city in depth with a private driver/guide. If a good guide drives and walks you around, you can easily combine Schönbrunn Palace on one side of the city with Prater park on the other side while having enough time to explore the historic centre in between. There are two tours that do exactly that. Checkl my review of a private Vienna sightseeing tour, and find out more about the private day tour through Vienna. (My tip: discuss a visit to Empress Sissi’s Hermesvilla at Lainz Natural Reserve with your driver, open during the summer months.)
A word on public transport in Vienna: It is super clean, safe and has one of the most reliable networks in Europe. Don’t miss a tram ride. Best value for sightseeing and public transport is the Vienna Travel Card.