Published on February 1st, 2019 | by Daniel Nikulin0
See, Taste & Tour: London & Vienna with Air Canada
More and more, travellers are booking trips that focus on more than a single destination. Hey, seeing more for less is just smart travelling, especially in Europe, where there’s so much to see and always something going on. Are you looking for more out of your travels?
Toronto – London/Vienna – Toronto August 21 – September 4, 2019 $1020 CAD*
If so, feast your eyes on Air Canada’s fantastic multi-city flight, pairing two legendary capitals everyone should see, London, England, and Vienna, Austria. Notable here is that the fare does not include a flight between London and Vienna, leaving that leg of the journey entirely up to the whims of the traveller.
And in case you’re wondering, summer fares between London and Vienna start as low as $63 CAD (tax incl.) one-way, with Ryanair. It’s a two-hour flight.
What can be said about London that hasn’t been said already? If you’ve yet to go, you don’t need a reason – you just go. London is all you’ve ever heard about and more. It’s electric, and nothing can diminish the infectious energy of the world’s most exciting city.
If it’s your first time, you’ll be kept busy catching up on the usual sightseeing most dive into on their first visit, and all the musts should be seen. If you’ve done it all before, you might want to focus your stay on a particular interest, or on one of London’s many brilliant neighbourhoods, like Notting Hill.
Notting Hill Carnival (Aug 24-26)
Europe’s biggest Caribbean party takes over the streets of West London at this free annual weekend full of fun, music, food and parties.
Find your spot along the parade route and get ready for a steady stream of elaborate floats and colourful costumes as they whip the crowd into a dancing frenzy to steel drum bands, soca and calypso, and countless mouth-watering Caribbean food stalls.
Inspired by the original Trinidad Carnival, London’s version was first held in 1966 with a humble 500 attendees. Today, the event draws around 50,000 performers alone and more than a million weekend revellers from around the world.
Arrive early to experience one of the city’s most desirable districts, enjoying Portobello Market, colourful Victorian homes and trendy shops, and leafy nearby green spaces like Holland Park and Kensington Gardens.
The Curry Capital of the World
Filled-up on flavours of the West Indies, you need to try the East Indian curries that have made London the unofficial curry capital of the world. From cheap hole-in-the-wall favourites to posh Punjab eateries, London boasts a staggering amount of authentic and delicious curry houses that can both satisfy the late-night crowd or be an evening’s main event.
For an inexpensive dose of traditional South Indian and Sri Lankan cooking, head over to Dosa n Chutny in Tooting. Here, you can chase your aromatic veg or meat curry crepes with sweet Chennai chutneys, fresh watermelon juice or masala chai. It may not be a looker, but this is one of London’s best highly-affordable meals.
In Theatreland, Talli Joe busts out modern and inventive half-plates of heaven, sporting a perfect rating by patrons (Time Out Magazine). Promising ‘full-drinks’ alongside their small-plate-big-flavour offerings of specialties like crab Scotch egg, Goan pork and seafood curries, this fun Indian cocktail spot is already a Covent Garden favourite.
And that’s just a couple. Ask a local or your hotel staff for their favourite and get ready to bask in that wonderful curry glow.
Impromptu or well-planned out, a London pub crawl can take on many forms, all of them an art. If you didn’t know already, London loves to drink and has the pubs, bars and lounges to prove it. Whether you choose to go full-James Joyce or to just dabble, do go along for this London rite of passage – it might end up being the most British thing you did all trip.
If you’re pressed for time, make it a part of your sightseeing, doing the famous Circle Line Crawl. Fairly straightforward, the journey hops on and off the stops on the tube’s Circle Line (yep, all 27 of them!), taking in Tower Bridge, King’s Cross Station, Barbican Theatre, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, among other London attractions, along with your drink of choice at a pub at each stop, of course.
Similarly, there’s the Monopoly Crawl, named after the famous board game, taking in 26 designated local pubs along another stretch of tube stops, this time visiting Trafalgar Square, Eros Statue and Handel & Hendrix Museum. There are themed bar hops, too, like the expertly-guided London Literary Pub Crawl, touring favourite watering holes of famous writers from Shakespeare to Virginia Woolf. Out in Wimbledon or the hipster-haven Shoreditch? They each have their own pub crawl, too. Yep, it’s a way of life here.
Waltzing into Vienna after being cultured in London makes perfect sense. You’ll feel comfortable amongst its stunning Baroque buildings, masterful cafes and markets from the moment you arrive. Vienna is yet another European gem full of imperial grandeur and artistic brilliance, laden with world-class museums packed with masterpieces you can easily get lost in for days.
After you’ve picked your jaw up off the ground gawking at Vienna’s incredible architecture, tuck into one of its many markets for a slice of local life and maybe even a treasure or two.
You might find yourself the only tourist in Riesenflohmarkt, in Vienna’s less-visited 12th district. Here, on Sundays all year long, mounds of old-world stuff is carefully sifted through for traces of antique value, and anything and everything is on the table, from clothes and toys to books and glassware.
More popular and more central, is Naschmarkt, Vienna’s most well-known food and flea market. This one starts early and can easily be coupled with breakfast at Café Ando nearby. Peddling everything from junk to jewelry, it’s the selection of exotic foods that steal the show. Going strong since the 16th-century, it’s the ultimate spot for people-watching, shopping and eating – all at the same time. For the largest selection of items, go on a Saturday.
Viennese Coffee Houses
Vienna takes its cafes seriously, and so should you. First, forget the takeaway cups. Enjoying a proper coffee with a slice of apple strudel or chocolate cake in an elegantly decorated space is where it’s at, and where it’s always been.
Start at a Viennese staple, the historic Café Mozart. Visited by both locals and tourists alike, this institution is accustomed to hosting everyone from socialites to famous authors and has even been used as a movie set. It could be its classic imperial ambiance, or it could be the recipe for their strudel, the same recipe used by the prestigious bakery at the palace of Schonbrunn.
Softly lit and warmly decorated, Café Pruckell can easily make a Wes Anderson film, bow-tied waitstaff included. This is a serious Cultural Heritage Site though, deemed so by UNESCO, and has been a stalwart in Vienna’s coffee house scene for over 100 years. Just try to leave without sampling at least one of their many pastries, strudels and cakes… nah, don’t even try, dive in! You only live once.
Whether you want a peek into the past or to see the future, Vienna’s dynamic array of museums and galleries have got you covered. The Museumquartier in the 7th district is a good place to start, where an entire enclave of the city is devoted to exhibitions celebrating art and culture. But it doesn’t end there.
For art buffs, and especially for fans of local symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, the gallery in the Belvedere Palace is a must. Housing the instantly recognizable Klimt masterpiece, The Kiss, Austrian Gallery Belvedere is also home to the most important pieces in the country.
Albertina is the place to go for the greats; Picasso, Degas and Monet, amongst others, all housed in a stunning neo-classical palace, while Leopold Gallery is home to the best domestic painters. Tuesday evenings are free at MAK (Museum of Applied Arts), where exhibitions focus on art in fashion, architecture and design, and the country’s best contemporary art can be found at MUMOK.
There’s also the spacey Globe Museum, tasty Schnapps Museum (that’s right), Sigmund Freud Museum, and the prehistoric Naturhistorisches Museum, all worthy of a visit if you’ve got the time.
Book our fantastic Fare of the Month to spend this summer exploring two glorious capitals on a single ticket. This fare can’t be booked online so speak to one of our Expert Travellers to tie up all the loose ends. Come, see, taste and tour London and Vienna on a truly immersive European escapade you’ll cherish forever.
*Air Canada fare including all taxes and fees for departures during dates listed. Fare does NOT include a flight between London and Vienna. Subject to change and availability.