Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Vienna for gay travelers

Fri Mar 29, 2013 5:48am EDT
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By Derek Brooks

VIENNA (Reuters) - Vienna's opulent Habsburg-era coffee houses, architecture, palaces, operas, and other cultural institutions give the city an air of imperial grandeur.

Yet the Austrian capital with 1.7 million residents is not stuck in the past, regularly topping quality of life lists and hosting numerous large-scale gay events such as the Life Ball, Rainbow Parade, Rainbow Ball, and Identities Queer Film Festival.

This month Vienna reviewed its gay and lesbian tourism strategy and is now promoting its music, culture and imperial history to LGBT travelers with money to spend.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a short stay in Vienna, once home to the likes of Sigmund Freud, Austrian author Arthur Schnitzler and Empress Elisabeth, known as Sisi to her family and friends.


4:30 p.m. - Start with a visit to Schloss Belvedere, the former residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736),that houses the world's largest Gustav Klimt collection. The baroque palace is a showcase of the prince's power in Habsburg Austria, after he repelled the Turks who were laying siege to Vienna.

Rumored to be gay, his sister-in-law is reported to have said: "He doesn't trouble himself with ladies, a nice couple of page boys would be more his thing." The palace is home to Klimt's most famous painting, "The Kiss".

6:30 p.m. - Time for some food and philosophy at a Viennese coffee house. Legend has it that when the Turkish army was repelled in 1683, they left sacks of coffee beans behind, thus sparking the coffee houses for which Vienna is famous. For an expensive coffee try Cafe Central, whose patrons included Freud, Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Lenin, and Leon Trotsky in 1913 alone. (here)   Continued...

A room is seen in Kaiserbruendl men's sauna, a gay bathhouse, in Vienna March 21, 2013. Vienna has joined a growing list of European cities seeking to attract lesbian and gay tourists who are expected to remain willing to spend on travel while other recession-hit travellers cut back. City authorities in Vienna this month released a review of the Austrian capital's gay and lesbian tourism strategy, deciding to focus on travellers interested in music, culture and history -- and with money to spend. Picture taken March 21, 2013. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger