Vienna’s Naschmarkt is a wonder. On this little strip of pavement between two busy roads, you can find some of the city’s best foods and inexpensive gifts.
Visiting Naschmarkt is an experience in itself with its narrow lanes and small shops. On the left is a Japanese restaurant; on the right is a wine bar. Next is a bakery, and across from that is a produce stand. The sights, sounds, and smells create almost create sensory overload. And once you decide what to eat, your taste buds take over. Many of the food vendors will let you try a sample: aged cheese, bits of chocolate, dried or fresh fruit.
Farther down, past the treasures for your taste buds, are handmade crafts and gifts. This is a great place to pick up a scarf, handbag, wallet, or any number of small items.
On Saturdays, the large parking area starting at the Kettenbruckengasse U-Bahn station is turned into a huge flea market with vendors coming from kilometers away to showcase their treasures. The farther along you walk, the more diverse the languages get. I bought a T-shirt there about twenty years ago, and I still have no idea what language the vendor was speaking!
Next to Naschmarkt are two important venues for art and music. The Secession is an important art museum that was where Gustav Klimt and others at the turn of the last century exhibited their new art. Today, it also holds Klimt’s “Beethoven Frieze” on permanent exhibition. This large mural depicts Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and is a “must-see” for music lovers.
The Theater an der Wien, also next to Naschmarkt, has been an important theater in Vienna from Beethoven’s time through today. The “Waltz King”, Johann Strauss Jr., led the first performance of “Die Fledermaus” here in 1874. Be sure to walk down Millöckergasse to see the Papageno Door.