Untersberg – A Mystic Mountain

The stunning Untersberg in the background of the picture below is one of Salzburg’s six house mountains, always a nice companion when you take a walk on Mönchsberg (another one of Salzburg’s house mountains where the big fortress Festung Hohensalzburg is built on). The mountain is so massive that you can almost always catch a glimpse on it.

Untersberg - View from Mönchsberg

Untersberg – View from Mönchsberg

The magic of this special mountain

For me, this mountain has so much power, always has, since I’ve been living here, even before I found out all these magical things, myths and stories about it.

When the Dalai Lama was visiting Salzburg in 1992, he apparently said that the Untersberg is the Heart Chakra of Europe, some even say it’s the Heart Chakra of the World. Now to all of you who are not so much into spirituality 😉

Chakras are energy points along our spine. There are seven main ones and one of them is situated where the heart is, the Heart Chakra.

Now, I can’t say that much about this fact but I know from my own experiences that this mountain truly has some magical powers.

Untersberg - View from Mönchsberg in Winter

Untersberg – View from Mönchsberg in Winter

My favorite Story about the Untersberg

As mentioned above, there are many more myths and stories around the Untersberg. One of my favorite ones is the story about.

“The Lost Wedding Group”

Many years ago, a rich farmers couple and a small group of people were on their way from one village (St. Leonhard) to another one (Grödig) to celebrate their wedding party at the parents house of the bride. Everyone was in a good mood and the musicians they had with them played some music while they were walking towards the Untersberg.

Untersberg - On the way up

Untersberg – On the way up

Then someone of the group started to tell a story about an emperor and his army who had disappeared in this area. Ever since this event, it’s said that ghosts appear in this area and give presents to rovers.

As soon as the story was told, the groom started to call for the ghost to ask him to give them a present. All of the sudden, the mountain opened and a small man with silver-white hair appeared. The man pointed to a door which leads into the mountain.

Food & drinks in the mountain

Untersberg - View towards Störhaus

Untersberg – View towards Störhaus

The whole wedding group followed him until they arrived at a beautiful room. There was a big set up table full of delicious food and drinks. The engaged couple and the rest of the group sit down to eat and drink. After the meal, as they had been eating and drinking a little bit too much, they required a little nap. Still seated at the table, they all slept for quite some time.


When they woke up again, the mountain ghost showed them the way outside. It was daylight when they reappeared on the surface of the mountain again.

They had a look around and noticed that with the time they had spent in the mountain, everything had changed. The people living in the village close by didn’t speak their language anymore, it seemed like they had arrived in a whole different country.

The Wake Up After The Sleep

Untersberg - View on the way down from Störhaus

Untersberg – View on the way down from Störhaus

Even after a couple of days of walking, when they finally arrived in their known village, it didn’t seem like home anymore. At the place where their houses had been standing before, there were other houses built now.

They went to the priest of the village and told him everything what had happened. The priest opened his books and actually found an article where it said that 500 years ago, a young engaged couple, along with a group of people got lost in the area and had never been seen again.

I just love this story as it a great reflection of all the myths and stories about time loop wholes and other magical things happening on and around the Untersberg. If this is all true? Well, who knows… for my part, I love to believe in stories and myths that are beyond any logical reach.

Learn more about Salzburg

If you want to have a look at the mountain and hear some more stories about it, come for a visit to Salzburg. We’ll get a good look at it on our walking tour through the city. From a safe distance of course 😉

Cakes and Strudels


This is the sixth part of our series on Viennese cuisine.

You can find the other parts here:

A lot of countries and even cities have their food specialties and so does Vienna. And one thing we can tell you: You really shouldn’t miss out on them. Most of the options might not exactly be considered healthy, but they for sure are DELICIOUS.

Today we would like to introduce you to typical Austrian Cakes and Strudels which you should give a try when staying in Vienna.

The Sacher Cake

In German: Sacher Torte

The Sacher Cake is probably one of the most well known cakes we have. It is a traditional chocolate cake with chocolate topping and a thin part of apricot jam. The very traditional recipe is from the Sacher family and you can still get the cake at the high-end hotel and Café Sacher in the first district.


Photo by Fooding Around on Foter.com / CC BY

Whether this is the best Sacher cake out there? This depends on who you ask 🙂 There are for sure also other great and maybe even better options. But as we said, it depends a lot on whom you ask. An alternative for example would be the Sacher Cake from Café Landtmann.

Apple Strudel

In German: Apfelstrudel

The Apple strudel is another very famous dessert in Vienna. It is made of – as you might be able to guess – apples. Together with a mix of cinnamon, raisins and sugar they are the delicious fillings of the strudel pastry.

Apple Strudel

Photo by jlastras on Foter.com / CC BY

If you want to take your apple strudel experience one step further than just trying, you can also go to the “Strudelshow” at the Café Residenz in Schönbrunn. There they show you how to actually bake the strudel so that you can make this Austrian pastry at home also.

Esterházy Cake

In German: Esterházy Torte or Esterházy Schnitte

To be fair, we have to share the credit for the Esterházy Cake with Hungary (as its name already reveals). It is a cake named after Prince Paul III Anton Esterházy de Galántha who was a Hungarian price, part of the Esterházy dynasty and diplomat of the Austrian Empire.

Photo by Rich B-S on Foter.com / CC BY

But enough about him, we are here in order to talk about food. The cake has several layers and is made of a hazelnut sponge cake and butter cream with hazelnut nougat. You better not have a nut allergy when having this one. The cake is glazed with a special pattern as you can see on the picture. One of our favorites you can get at the Kurkonditorei Oberlaa.

WestLicht, Center of Photography

Rainy Days in Vienna


Weather in Vienna can be beautiful, but no matter in which season you are coming to visit the capital, there is always the possibility of a rainy day. That’s no problem at all though, because there are a bunch of great things to do in Vienna when you’re not lucky with the weather. We already talked about the National Library and The Butterfly House and today we even have a photography-related option for you: WestLicht.

This is our third tip:

WestLicht, center of photography.

The WestLicht gallery pretty much is the center of photography in Vienna. It features a permanent collection of hundreds of historic cameras as well as changing photography exhibitions, such as the World Press Photo every year or right now August Sander.

Westlicht Galery

The WestLicht is located in the hip 7th district, an area which is popular with creative people and you will stumble upon several photography related stores close to the gallery.

Our other tips:

Surviving Vienna On A Gluten Free Diet


This is the fifth part of our series on Viennese cuisine.

You can find the other parts here:

Today we talk about how to enjoy the wonders of the Austrian cuisine despite being not able to eat (or drink) products that contain Gluten. If you are Gluten intolerant you’ll about to experience that almost no traditional dish is free of them. Schnitzel – NO, Sacher Torte – NO, even Schweinsbraten (roast pork) often has flour in it’s delicious sauce.

So, what are you going to eat when you are having a Gluten intolerance? Nothing?

Hell no 😉 We’ve got you covered!

Our friends from Road Affair, Ben and Jazzy went on a tour with us and they wrote a comprehensive article on surviving in Vienna on a Gluten free diet.

Read their guide in full length:

You might ask yourself, are there any traditional dishes that don’t contain Gluten? The answer is: Yes!

But always check back with the restaurant if they really prepare it Gluten free (Or check the menu. In Austria, places that serve food have to declare various allergens, including Gluten and Lactose).


Würstel (Sausage) can come in many forms and most of them should be Gluten free. Bring your own bread (you can buy Gluten free bread at most supermarkets) for the original experience.

Photo credit: Bitzinger / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA


Read more about Austrian “fast food”


The people of Vienna are enthusiastic Carnivores. Schnitzel sadly is not Gluten free by “nature” but other Classic meals, like Tafelspitz (boiled prime beef) are. Tip: Always ask if the sauce is prepared Gluten free.


Photo credit: hpoberlin / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA


Read more about traditional meat dishes

Did you find another Viennese Classic that is prepared Gluten free? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments.

The Butterfly House

Rainy Days in Vienna


Sadly not all days on a trip are blessed by blue skies and sunshine. The very best conditions for an Instant Tour around town. But sometimes we are out of luck and it rains. A lot. What to do? You are on a trip, in wonderful Vienna. Therefore sitting in a your hotel room isn’t really an option. That’s what this series of tips is all about.

Our other tips:

What are some good things to do in Vienna on a rainy day? Good question. This is our second tip:

Butterfly House in the Vienna Burggarten


Visit the imperial Butterfly House in the Hofburg’s Burggarten, very close to the State Opera House.

Butterfly House

Inside the Butterfly House in Vienna’s Imperial Palace (Hofburg)

The National Library

Exploring a treasure on a rainy day


We all know, not all vacation days are blessed by blue skies and sunshine. The very best conditions for exploring a city with us. But sometimes we are out of luck and it rains cats and dogs. What to do? You are on vacation, in lovely Vienna – so sitting in a boring hotel room isn’t really an option. That’s what this series of tips is all about.

Our other tips:

What are some good things to do in Vienna on a rainy day? Good question. This is our first tip:

State hall of the Austrian national library


Photo credit: Manfred Morgner / Foter / CC BY-SA

Visit the magnificent state hall of the national library at Josefsplatz 1, 1010 Vienna. It’s a baroque historic library that was founded by emperor Charles VI in the 18th century and designed by famous court architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach.

Globe at state hall of the national library

Globe at the state hall
Photo credit: Manfred Morgner / Foter / CC BY-SA

In addition you can visit the Globe, the Papyrus and the Esperanto museum. The admission to the state hall is 8 EUR and there’s a reduced price for the combination-ticket.

Drinking Like A Real Austrian

Soft Drinks & Beverages (non-alcoholic)


This is the fourth part of our series on Viennese cuisine and it’s about beverages, the non-alcoholic kind.

You can find the other parts here:

Today we cover non-alcoholic beverages. I am sorry we fooled you with the title, but sometimes Austrians drink other things then beer or wine too.

My research on the topic revealed, that a lot of my childhood favorites aren’t actually of Austrian origin, but of German.

I was shocked to find out that stuff like Afri-Cola or Frucade aren’t made by my fellow county men and women. Frucade for example got famous when Austrian entertainer Hermes Phettberg offered it to his guests at his late night show Nette Leit Show. The other drink he offered was Eierlikör (eggnog).

Anyway, I was able to locate those authentic Austrian beverages. Let’s find out more:



Radlberger Ananas (pineapple)

The company that produces this sweet lemonade is located in St. Pölten, the capital of Lower Austria. Their slogan is: “Radlberger, ein Sommer wie damals.”, which translates to “Radlberger, a summer like back in the days.”. Usually this is not available at restaurants. You can buy it at the supermarket tough.

Obi & Obi g’spritzt


Obi apple juice

Obi is an apple juice brand. It’s that famous in Austria that it i/was used as a generic name for apple juice. So ordering half a liter off Obi g’spritzt will get you apple juice with soda. A very good idea for quenching your thirst. Available at the supermarket. When ordered in a restaurant you’ll get whatever apple juice they have. Did I mention that Austrians love apple juice? They do!




The classic bottle

This beloved herb lemonade can be compared to ginger ale, less the ginger. It’s one of the best known beverages from Austria. You can order it at almost every restaurant. Also popular: Mixing it with beer for a refreshing Radler

Learn more about Almdudler



Latella Maracuja

A sweet drink made from whey, Mango being my favorite flavor. Or an ugly cheese drink, as my Canadian friend Emilie called it 😀

Our tip: Try it! Even if you don’t like it, you have a story to tell.

Latella is available in the dairy section of every supermarket.

Red Bull


Red Bull cans
©Red Bull

Well, what can we say about the energy drink from Salzburg? It started as a drink and now is a worldwide movement, publish house, sports sponsor and much more. You either love or hate Red Bull. But no need to try it in Austria, because you’d probably had one somewhere around the world before.

Viennese Street Food

What to eat when out in the street


This is the third installment of our series on Viennese cuisine.

You can find the other parts here:

Today we cover food that can be consumed on the go. So let’s jump right into the action:




A beloved classic – for both children and adults. And a ridiculously long word. So let’s take tackle it piece by piece. Extrawurst is a pork sausage speciality that will be served in a roll (Semmel). You get extra points for ordering the popular add-on: Gurkerl (sliced pickles).

Where would you order this? You can order it at the, another long word, Feinkosttheke (counter at the supermarket for ham, sausages and cheese) or at the butcher of your choice.

A more upscale version would be a roll with Beinschinken (bone-in-ham) and Kren (Horseradish).




Photo credit: Foter / CC BY-SA

This speciality (literally “liver cheese”) is made of corned beef, pork, bacon and onions that were finely grinded and then baked until it has a crunchy brown crust. Usually served warm, this comes in delicious variations: classic, spicy, pizza or, a fan favorite, with cheese.

This can be ordered at both supermarket and Würstelstand (sausage stand). Some popular outlets are:

Photo credit: Bitzinger / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA


Our tip: Try the horse-meat version from the family run butcher Gumprecht at Karmelitermarkt (A good way to reinvigorate on our Urban tour).





Photo credit: nicola / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

A vegetarian option at last, this spread is made of curd and peppers. My personal favorite is getting it in a Salzstangerl (a long bread roll with salt on it). Available at supermarkets like Billa and Spar, but not at the sausage stand. It’s also quite popular at the Heurigen. We’d probably get back to that Viennese classic in a later post 😉




Photo credit: Bitzinger / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Representative for the various other sausages you could order at a sausage stand we’d like you to meet the Käsekrainer. A cheese infused grilled sausage. Traditionally it is served with bread (Brot) and mustard (Senf – either sweet or hot, the latter being the more popular one) on the side. Some Ketchup is fine as well. If you want to treat yourself you can add horseradish (Kren) and/or chili peppers (Pfefferoni, which aren’t as spicy hot as regular chilis).

What else can be ordered at the sausage stand? Let’s do some name dropping:

  • Frankfurter (which are wieners, but we call them Frankfurter because we are in Vienna)
  • Debreziner (a spicy version of the Frankfurter)
  • Waldviertler (which I personally don’t like)
  • Bratwurst

There is more, but one can only eat that much 😀

Probably the most popular stand is Bitzinger’s at Albertinaplatz (which you can visit on our Classic tour).

Satisfy Your Cravings

Sweet Dishes & Deserts


This is the second installment of our series on Viennese cuisine.

You can find the other parts here:

We started this series because of a number of questions that people usually ask us when wondering on what the Austrians like to eat and drink. So we thought, why not answer them here 🙂

Today we cover sweet dishes. Austrians love sweet stuff, but who aren’t.

But in Austria it’s okay to have a sweet dish as the main dish for let’s say dinner. Really? Yes, really.

Sounds like paradise to me, doesn’t it. We also have quite the number of sweets, cakes, strudels and so on, but today we focus on dishes.



Photo credit: shoot_me_now / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

This famous Viennese dessert is made out of pancake dough and usually served with Zwetschkenröster (plum sauce). It is equally delicious and impossible to pronounce for a non-native. But one could try!



Photo credit: Der Kaktuszüchter / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The Austrian version of the French crêpe comes with various fillings. Apricot jam being a classic.




Photo credit: woowoowoo / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Buchteln are baked yeast buns, usually with a plum jam filling and served with warm vanilla sauce. We think it’s not a coincidence that yeast and yummy both start with a Y.



Photo credit: mrva5572 / Foter / CC BY-NC

A speciality of the Wachau region are apricots. One of the many ways to create delicious things out of apricots are these filled dumplings. A meal each Austrian thinks of fondly when swelling in childhood memories.

You are back home and in the mood for some Austrian delicacies? The Vienna tourism board has a great collection of recipes. Follow the link for their sweets and desserts recipes.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this mouth watering read. Stay tuned for the next part that covers non-alcoholic drinks.

Not For The Faint of Heart (If Your A Vegetarian)

Viennese Meat Dishes


A while ago we wrote an entry on where to get the best food around our office. The “Sophort Headquarters” are located in the ninth district of Vienna. The district is called Alsergrund and the area – “Grätzel” in Viennese, is called Servitenviertel (Serviten Quarter).

This entry will be the first part of a number of posts that cover the questions that are asked by many visitors to Vienna. They are asked over and over again and they are legitimate questions. But they’re also a hard to answer. But let’s try 🙂

What are typical Austrian dishes? What should I order at a Restaurant?

It’s a difficult question because the Austrian cuisine is influenced by so many other cultures and derives from the Austrian-Hungarian empire. Therefore you’ll find similar dishes in Restaurants in Hungary and the Czech Republic. Not the exact same, but for example you can get Gulyas in all three countries.
Today we cover dishes that contain meat. Sorry vegans, you have to wait a little longer. But, you’ll be served (pun intended).

You can find the other posts here:

So, here we go:

Wiener Schnitzel


Wiener Schnitzel
Photo credit: ルーク.チャン.チャン / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The CLASSIC! Typically every carnivorous visitor to Vienna is craving a Wiener Schnitzel. Traditionally this is breaded and fried veal, but most of the times you can also choose the cheaper pork, chicken or even turkey.

We recommend potato salad as a side, but potatoes with parsley is great to. Quite common as a side are fries, which, well, are fries. You can have them everywhere so get something else. Your Schnitzel comes with a slice of lemon, that’s not just for decoration!

Pierce your Schnitzel with your fork and drip the lemon juice over it. Why? Just do it 😀

We can recommend the Schnitzel at Rebhuhn. Figlmüller is in every tour guide. They are famous for the size. Also at Plachutta at the Opera you can get great Schnitzel as well as all the other Viennese cuisine staples.

Backhendlsalat (Breaded chicken on salad)


Photo credit: Hellebardius / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Not exactly Viennese cuisine – it’s origin is in the Austrian state of Styria, but a great option if you’re looking for some tasty breaded chicken! It is served on a mixed salad (leafs and potatoes) and marinated with the dark, delicious Styrian Kürbiskernöl (oil from pumpkin seeds).

Stelze (pork knuckle)


Photo credit: Bitzinger / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Crispy! Look out for crispy. Usually served with mustard and fresh horseradish. Get a large beer and relax. Famous for this dish in Vienna is the Schweizerhaus at the Prater.

Tafelspitz (boiled beef fillet)



Photo credit: hpoberlin / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Beef fillet from the shoulder, cooked for hours in a hearty beef-soup and then served with an apple-horseradish and a chives sauce. Popular side: Extra-crispy fried potatoes.

Our tip: Plachutta is famous for this dish and it’s the best I’ve tried in Vienna.

There are obviously many, many more delicious Viennese meat dishes, but we think this list is a good start.

You are back home and in the mood for some Austrian delicacies? The Vienna tourism board has a great collection of recipes. Follow the link for their meat recipes.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this mouth watering read. Stay tuned for the next part that covers sweet dishes. Yum!