Do you want to learn more about Vienna’s history than what is offered in a typical, tourist-y group tour? Then you should definitely look into Wiener Spraziergänge, guided walking tours of Vienna centered on various historical themes. A quick overview of the logistics of the tours:
— Tours take place in any weather
— Duration is normally 1 1/2 – 2 hours
— The minimum number of participants is three
— No advance booking required, unless you’re part of a group
— The cost is 15 Euro (13 Euro with the VIENNA card)
— You are given a City Explorer card on your first tour and after five tours through the group, you get a free tour
The group’s website lists all of the tour themes, meeting places, and extra fees (for example, the Sigmund Freud tour includes a visit to the Sigmund Freud museum and you must pay the entry fee). The tours are conducted in German, though some but not all are conducted in both German and English. These are the bilingual tours:
Vienna at First Glance
The Old City of Vienna
Jewish Vienna Past & Present
Jewish Vienna in Leopoldstadt
1000 Years of Jewish Tradition in Vienna
Unknown Underground Vienna
Vienna in the Footsteps of “The Third Man”
The Turkish Siege of Vienna 1683
The Hare With Amber Eyes: The Story of the Ephrussi Family
Turn of the Century Vienna around Sigmund Freud
The group’s website also lists contact information for each of the tour guides. It’s worth it to contact the tour guide and/or visit their individual website because they might offer additional tours to those which they do through the group. For example, I took the Turkish Siege tour and the tour guide handed me a sheet listing 12 additional tours that he conducts. You can also arrange private tours and bus tours directly with the tour guides.
So, what of the tours themselves? I was very impressed with the tour. I was the only English-speaker in the group and while the tour guide knew that I understood some German, he repeated all the crucial points in English to ensure they were clear to me. He had all manner of historical maps, diagrams of bastions and fortifications, and pictures to illustrate the history of the Turkish siege that he was discussing. He patiently answered all questions and encouraged group participation and discussion.
What struck me the most about the tour is that we walked around parts of the 1st district that I’ve seen many times, but the guide pointed out placards in relation to the city’s fortifications that I’d never noticed. He explained the history behind several of the statues that I’ve seen in passing, and he also shed new light on familiar subjects such as the Hofburg. It is amazing that 330 years after the fact, there are still so many reminders around the city of the Turkish siege.
This tour was very informative and enjoyable, and I intend to full up my City Explorer card. I highly recommend this group to anyone else with an interest in the history of the city.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
— Visit the group’s website
— Visit the Tourist Information Center on Albertinaplatz