Our Experience Visiting Wine Gardens in Vienna, Austria
Vienna, Austria is one of the most classically beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. Due to the reign of the Habsburg Empire and a wealthy monarchy, the whole city feels like a gallery of artwork.
One of the things that we enjoyed the most from our time in Vienna was the “Heuriger” or wine garden scene. Due to some old fashioned tax law, Vienna is lined with small wineries. If you go a mile or two out of the city in any direction, you will run into one of these Heurigers.
From our experience, these wine gardens are the perfect place to grab a casual bite to eat, have a few glasses of wine, and enjoy a truly local experience.
Here is a little bit about our Heuriger experience and why it it will always be one of our favorite travel memories:
After a long day of sightseeing, we were feeling a little hungry and in need of a place to rest our feet. Using Google Maps, we found a highly rated Heuriger called Sissi Huber. From the royal palace, we took an Uber a few miles out of the city center. The Uber took us about 15 minutes and cost around 10 Euros.
Where we sat:
When we got to Heuriger Sissi Huber, we were a little nervous to go inside because it felt like a very locals-only place. Our appetite persuaded us, and we headed inside where we found a glass counter with various foods (salads, meats, cheeses) and some large wooden tables. When we turned to our left, we saw the beautiful courtyard which was lined with shrubbery and decorative lights.
What we drank:
We opted to sit outside and were able to ascertain that it was open seating. We were greeted by our waiter, who spoke very little English. He handed us a wine menu. The wine was all produced on site and there were about four different house wine options, each served in a carafe or by the glass. We started with some chardonnay.
What we ate:
After ordering our wine, we realized that the food had to be ordered right at the counter. Tom was brave enough to head up to the counter to try to order some appetizers for us to share. He realized that the woman at the counter exclusively spoke German so he used the “point and smile” method to place our order.
He ended up with a “mixed salad” plate, which was weighed on a scale and only cost around 8 Euros. The plate had various cheeses, including a delicious and creamy goat cheese, as well as some lightly pickled cucumbers and a potato salad.
After devouring the appetizer plate and a basket of bread, I took my turn heading up to the counter to order some meat. I was able to get some thinly sliced roast beef and decided that we needed more of that heavenly cheese.
After round two of the delicious food and wine, it started getting dark. We said our goodbyes and thank you to the waiter and waitress that were so patient with us.
Overall, we felt like we had a truly local experience in a place that no one spoke more than a few words of English. As Americans, we sometimes take it for granted that everybody can speak English. Although that is an unintelligent premise, it was eye opening to be in a situation where no one spoke our language in a large European city.
Although I know that some Heurigers are more tourist curated, I highly recommend Heuriger Sissi Huber for an authentic experience.
Even though this is the only wine garden we can recommend from experience, one of our travel role models, Rick Steves, recommends a few others in his guidebook on Vienna. Some of the ones he mentions are Schubel-Auer Heuriger, Heuriger Kierlinger, and Steinschaden.
Let us know if you’ve ever been to a Heuriger and your experience below in the comments!