Hidden Attractions in Vienna
Vienna Insider Walk. A courtyards walk through some of Vienna’s historic Pawlatschen houses lets you discover some of the most charming hidden attractions in Vienna and is one of my top Vienna travel tips.
Sneaking into publicly acccessible historic courtyards takes you off the beaten track. Many of these courtyards are in a central location and shopping area, such as those in the first and seventh district.
I like these courtyards because they get me under the skin of Vienna’s urban life as it was 400 years ago.
What Are Pawlatschen?
Vienna Insider Walk. Pawlatschen is the Viennese word for traditional courtyards of residential buildings. The term was imported from the Czech word for ‘open house entrance’. Pawlatschen houses have characteristic wooden galleries that run in the atriums outside the buildings. Each flat can be accessed through the gallery.
The atriums and Pawlatschen were common meeting places of the tenants in the 18th century, where laundry was dried and water was gathered from the well in the middle of the atrium.
The Pawlatschen on the top photo belongs to the building of the German Fraternity(Deutscher Orden) in Singerstrasse no. 7 (see no. 20 on the map). The façades of the two courtyards which form part of the German Fraternity date from the 17th century. Composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johannes Brahms lived here for a short while.
If you just want to see a fewpawlatschen focus on two streets in the city centre: Singerstrasse and Bäckerstrasse. Don’t miss number 2 in Baeckerstrasse, which also hosts a well sorted art and design bookshop with German and English language books. (Buchhandlung Lia Wolf). Glimpse into Kohlmarkt number 11 when you pass this area during your Old Vienna Walk. It has quite original baroque carriage sheds and houses an attic that was used by Austrian composer Joseph Haydn for many years.
If you take the Art Walk which leads you through the historic Spittelbergdistrict, walk in to Amerlinghaus in Stiftgasse 8/Schrankgasse 1, another beautiful example of an 18th century inner courtyard, with a 200 year old vine climbing up the walls!
Guided Courtyards Tour
Vienna Insider Walk. If you don’t have much time and want an excellently laid out route including secret alley ways, get a savvy local guide. They blend hidden courtyards with prime landmarks, providing a rounded experience of the historic centre.
You may not need a general tour through the centre of Vienna if you ask your guide to include the best highlights.
I did a private tour with Regina, who was a fantastic story teller. Learn more about her Secret Vienna tour.
Vienna InsiderWalk: Route And Map
The map below from Vienna’s municipal office provides an excellent guide to courtyard walks in Vienna. The suggested tour is huge, therefore this map zooms in on the core area. (Click below for the full online map.)
Local Pawlatschen Hotel
The Hotel am Brillantengrund is one of the few hotels located in a Pawlatschen house.
The building in Vienna’s trendy seventh district dates from the 19th century. Guests at the three star house can have breakfast at the ultra romantic inner courtyard or just relax.
More photos and information