A whole new neighborhood is currently springing up in Vienna's 10th district. The 109 hectare site will accommodate the new state-of-the-art main station, residential properties, offices, a school campus and a park. In fact, the new development occupies a plot roughly the same size as the capital's well-heeled 8th district. Once it opens, the new Hauptbahnhof will make uninterrupted trans-European rail services along the main east-west and north-south routes a reality. The new main station will bring shorter journey times for travelers, a more enjoyable travel experience thanks to easier changes, improved connecting services and barrier-free access in line with all the latest standards. Until its completion in 2015 visitors can track construction progress at the Hauptbahnhof site from a purpose-built tower 66 meters above ground. Known as bahnorama, the observation deck provides bird's eye views of the whole site. The uppermost platform is accessible via two panoramic lifts. A multimedia exhibition and 3D flight simulation inside the tower provide an insight into what the finished project will look like.
Vienna's new international hub is located at the intersection of the 3rd, 4th and 10th districts. And there is a lot happening elsewhere in the vicinity of this future hotspot. At the end of last year the 21er Haus, an architectural gem directly opposite the new Hauptbahnhof, reopened as a venue for exhibitions of Austrian art from 1945 to the present day. Another of the city's key cultural sites is also more or less within sight of the new main station. The Belvedere was originally built as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy at the start of the 18th century. This baroque masterpiece consists of two palaces (Upper and Lower Belvedere), beautiful formal gardens, the Orangery and the Palace Stables. It also houses a collection of Austrian and international art dating back as far as the Middle Ages, among the highlights of which is Gustav Klimt's world famous painting The Kiss.
Just around the corner from the Upper Belvedere, the new Hotel Daniel has provided city travelers with a smart and luxurious accommodation option - complete with its own bakery - since it opened at the end of 2011. Urbanauts is an unusual accommodation concept, converting disused stores into hotel rooms. The first of these "street lofts" opened in a former 4th district tailor's shop just a couple of minutes' walk from the Hauptbahnhof. Urbanauts dispense with conventional hotel amenities, preferring to let selected restaurants, coffeehouses and bars in the local area step in instead. More street lofts are due to follow in the local area in 2012.
When it comes to eating and drinking, the range of options close to the Hauptbahnhof just keeps on growing. Classic nearby options include traditional Viennese café Goldegg with its stunning Austrian art nouveau interior, luxury deli Opocensky (both in the 4th district) and quintessentially Viennese restaurant Meixner's Gastwirtschaft in the 10th district. Among the interesting newcomers are the tiny Kaffeefabrik, which serves and sells coffee from its own roastery, hip bar/restaurant Zweitbester, which is famed for its radically pared-down interiors, fine food and packed program of cultural events, and finally Gasthaus Wolf, an old pub in new clothing which puts an exciting spin on traditional Viennese cuisine. From here, it is just a short hop to the Freihaus district which is brimming with bars, restaurants, shops, and a plethora of art galleries. And then it's really not far to the Naschmarkt market, but that's a story for another day.
- Hauptbahnhof, www.hauptbahnhof-wien.at
- bahnorama, Favoritenstrasse 49-53, 1100 Vienna, www.hauptbahnhof-wien.at
- 21er Haus, Arsenalstrasse 1, 1030 Vienna, www.21erhaus.at
- Belvedere, Oberes Belvedere, Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27, 1030 Vienna, Unteres Belvedere, Rennweg 6, 1030 Vienna, www.belvedere.at
- Hotel Daniel Wien, Landstrasser Gürtel 5, 1030 Vienna, www.hoteldaniel.com
- Urbanauts, Theresianumgasse 35, 1040 Vienna, www.urbanauts.at
- Café Goldegg, Argentinierstrasse 49, 1040 Vienna, www.cafegoldegg.at
- Meixner's Gastwirtschaft, Buchengasse 64, 1100 Vienna, www.meixners-gastwirtschaft.at
- Opocensky, Favoritenstrasse 25, 1040 Vienna, www.opocensky.at
- Kaffeefabrik, Favoritenstrasse 4-6, 1040 Vienna, www.kaffeefabrik.at
- Zweitbester, Heumühlgasse 2, 1040 Vienna, www.zweitbester.at
- Gasthaus Wolf, Grosse Neugasse 20, 1040 Vienna, www.gasthauswolf.at