Fresh Eire Blog
Here are our Top Attraction, Hotel & Restaurant Recommendations in Vienna, as prepared by intern Mathieu.
Vienna, Austria's capital city is a wonderful destination in its own right. Although on the pricey side, Wien (as it's known by the locals) makes for a enjoyable weekend visit at the end of your Fresh Eire Adventure from Prague to Vienna. Here, Mathieu has shared with us his top recommendations:
Our Hotel Recommendations:
5 Star Hotel Sans Souci Wien :
The Sans Souci Wien hotel is a fabulous establishment in the elegant neighborhood of Spittelberg. You will appreciate its spacious rooms all decorated with famous paintings. To relax, the hotel offers a sumptuous indoor pool, a spa, atmospheric bar and La Veranda restaurant. Situated at the heart of Vienna’s cultural and artistic centre, near Vienna’s museum quarter, Hotel Sans Souci Wien is ranked first in TripAdvisor’s top Vienna Hotels. At Hotel Sans Souci nothing is left to chance, its luxurious, well-designed rooms make a stay at this hotel a memorable experience. After a day of visiting Vienna’s outstanding sights, you will appreciate the Hotel Spa facilites.
4 Star Rathaus Wein & Design :
The Rathaus Wein & Design 4-star hotel located in the heart of the city offers you an unusual, but intriguing concept. All rooms are dedicated to winegrowers so you will discover the sumptuousness of Austrian wine culture even as you sleep.
3-Star Hotel Austria :
The 3 star Austria Hotel is very interesting because of its location in the Old City. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna State Opera, The Hofburg are nearby. Rooms are clean and comfortable.
Our Dining recommendations:
Steirereck restaurant :
A unique 2 Michelin star establishment in Vienna, the Steirereck restaurant is located close the stadtpark, an wonderful municipal park in the heart of Vienna. Austrian chef, Heinz Reitbauer is pleased to share with you his creative cuisine combined with local references. The restaurant, has been ranked ninth out of the 50 best restaurant in the world, and for a good reason: almost everything is cooked with regional seasonal products, like citrus from the orangery at Schönbrunn and ‘Reinake’ from lake Hallstat. Housed in a monolithic glass cube, it’s a bright vision of wood, concrete and starched white table linen, making this restaurant one of the most famous and evocative in Vienna.
Gasthaus Poschl restaurant :
Located between the St-Etienne Cathedral and Franziskanerplatz, this affordable restaurant offers you a typical cuisine in a cosy atmosphere. This is an informal, affordable option frequented by locals.
Naschmarkt is the most popular market of Vienna. Every Saturday, this meeting place brings you on an unexpected journey throughout many cultures through food (think Vietnamese, Indian and Italian). You will be surprised by this colourful market.
Vienna Opera (Wiener Staatsoper) :
Vienna is famous for its Opera and no visit to the city would be complete without investigating what is on. Be part of a Beethoven, Mozart or Wagner atmosphere inside this prestigious arena.
Mozarthaus Vienna :
Music lovers should visit Mozart’s house, now a museum, to discover his life. This prodigious musical artist is especially known for his composition "The Marriage of Figaro".
Belvedere Palace :
The two Belvedere Palaces were built in the eighteenth century to welcome Prince Eugene of Savoy during the summer. It’s one of the biggest Baroque palaces in Austria. The Austrian Treaty of Indepedance after the World War 2 was signed here. The Belvedere in an historic building complex consisting of two baroque palaces, the upper and lower Belvedere, the orangery and the Palace Stables. The complex is surrounded by outstanding French formal style gardens enhanced with sculptural fountains. The Belvedere complex also houses the greatest collection of Austrian art dating from the Middle Age to the Present Day. It is here where you can find the stunning Gustav Klimt ‘Kiss’, and other works of international artists.
Schonbrunn Palace :
This remarkable baroque palace (known as a Schloss) provides an insight into the private lives of Sisi or Maria-Theresa. Schönbrunn Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A former Imperial summer residence of the Habsburg dynasty since the 18th century, with its 1,441 rooms, it is one of the most important architectural, cultural and historical monuments in Austria. In the enormous gardens you can find 32 sculptures representing deities, a maze, a botanical garden , an orangery and a Roman Ruin. From the top of the hill in the gardens you’ll be able to enjoy a fantastic, breathtaking panaroma of marvellous Vienna.
The Hundertwasserghaus building is completely unique in Vienna. You will be fascinated by the design and the facade architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser offers us with all these colours. It is one of the most popular attractions in Vienna, its exterior façade is colourfully decorated and everyone living there has the right to decorate the façade around their windows to their own taste. Although the house can only be viewed from the outside, right opposite there is the Hudertwasser Village, a shopping centre with a village square and numerous stores in Hundertwasser style.
Here are our top Attractions, Hotel & Restaurant recommendations for Prague; ideal as a pre-trip destination for our
Golden Well Hotel
The Golden Well is a 5 star Hotel located under the Prague’s Castle walls. Close to the Royal Garden of Prague Castle, near from the Charles Bridges and in front of the Parliament, the Golden Well is a relaxing and comfortable place for a night or two. The Hotel was built in the 16th century and today it’s simply the best luxury hotel in the city. From Spring to Autumn guests can use the private entrance of Rudolf II to the Royal Garden of Prague Castle.
Elected the best fine dining restaurant in the city, the Portfolio combines high quality food and a charming environment. After a long and exiting day visiting Prague, enjoy a delicious dinner comprising of many local products.
v And excellent affordable informal alternative is the restaurant St Martin.
Royal Garden of Prague Castle
Located in Prague Castle, the Royal Garden is a stunning renaissance park that was founded in the middle of the 16th Century. Spend an afternoon strolling alongside exotic plants, the singing fountain and visiting the infamous tennis room - an homage to the origins of the game.
The Clam-Gallas Palace
The Clam-Gallas Palace, located in the Old City Centre of Prague is inspired by the early 18th century baroque style.
The Charles Bridges is the oldest bridge in Prague. It was constructed in the 14th Century and its name refers to the famous Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV. Full of musicians, artists, caricature painters and all kind of Bohemians, the Charles Bridge is a fascinating place for a short stroll. Be sure to make a wish midway when you are midway across.
The Plevel is one of the best “Vegetarian friendly” restaurants in Prague, which focuses on organic seasonality, the food is mainly prepared with home grown produce. The restaurant offers both traditional and unusual meals made with exotic ingredients. The interior is pleasant, simple and relaxing.
Padraic, founder and managing director of Fresh Eire Adventures, tried this restaurant and reviewed it on TripAdvisor :
‘’One of the better European raw food places I've tried...My friend and I shared a hummus platter with some delicious breads, a veggie broth, followed by an enormous serving of noodles and raw veggies. I also tried a delicious French Sauvignon Blanc. Service was fun and friendly and our check was minimal. Bathrooms were spotless. Recommended.’’
Majestic Plaza Hotel
The Majestic Plaza is a basic 4 star hotel that we can suggest in Prague. The hotel was built with the joining of two interconnected historical buildings that now offer 182 wonderful rooms in Biedermeier and Art Deco styles. Located in Skolska Street, the first building (from 1880) is the deluxe version. It is composed of 50 spacious and sumptuous rooms. The other construction (from the early 20th century), located in Stepanska Street, offers 132 rooms that are clean, comfortable and fully equipped. Between both, you can enjoy the large and freshly redecorated open-terrace, which is uses especially for breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee break or any other guests distractions. You should also spend a moment in the private pool centre, which has a Sauna, a Turkish Hamman and various relaxing whirlpools.
Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures, stayed here to evaluate it for future guests. Here is his review from TripAdvisor :
‘’I stayed here for a night recently; check in was very straightforward and the lobby expansive and impressive. Lifts are behind a separate lobby door operated by a key card - so if you are expecting guests you must go downstairs to greet them. My room had an abysmal view - effectively a light well overlooking a roof. Grim. The room itself however was very good; excellent bed, excellent bathroom with good quality linens and towels. Limited power sockets however. Wi-Fi worked well. Noise from the neighbours room was a little excessive insofar as they weren't being excessively loud, rather the sound proofing was quite poor. I asked for a late check out - 1pm was no problem at all for the hotel. The whole hotel, while well-maintained, is quite old-fashioned and needs updating. The location is quite central but downmarket. Great value for money however - around €50 per night. I wouldn't stay again, nor would I expressly recommend it...however it is not a bad option. Stayed February 2015, travelled on business.”
The Café Jen is pleased to offer only high quality products and homemade food & drink. Located in the Vrsovice, The Jen is an excellent and relaxed café that could qualify as a boutique coffee-roasting house. The work team and the waiters are really friendly, knowledgeable and the service is well known across all of Prague.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Café Jen by Padraic, owner of Fresh Eire Adventures :
‘’Delicious eggs, wonderful coffee and friendly helpful service, Cafe Jen is one of those wonderful little neighbourhood cafes which make me envious of those who live in cities. Our simple breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast was clearly made with loving care - and so tasty!’’
Per Te Restaurant
Located on Korunni Street, 150 meters from Church of Saint Ludmila, Per Te (“for you” in English) is one of the best Italian restaurants in Prague. Its aims to highlight Mediterranean flavours using exclusively high quality meats, fresh fish and natural greens or other ingredients such as fresh Italian pasta and so on. The restaurant received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2015.
Here’s a review from TripAdvisor of Per Te Restaurant by Padraic, director and owner of Fresh Eire Adventures :
“This excellent, authentic and stylish modern Italian restaurant has a lot going for it. First of all it's location is fantastic, the area has lots of bars and restaurants from which to chose. Our server had a turn of quite odd comedy when presenting us with our menus (in Czech with English translations); a series of 'jokes' which fell flat and had no punchline... Both myself and my friend ordered the shrimp salad (179 CZK) to begin; excellent, succulent shrimp well presented in a pretty ordinary salad. For our mains I ordered Tagliatelle with Rocket and shrimp (185CZK) - this was excellent and served in a light oil dressing with some sun dried tomatoes. My friend ordered the Spaghetti Carbonara (159 CZK). I had a couple of glasses of excellent house Montepulciano (40 CZK per glass) and my friend also had a Pilsner (45 CZK). Our server was watching our table like a hawk - each time one of us put down our fork he was over asking to clear the plates...very annoying after a while. The ambience was very laid back; a few romantic couples and a large group were having some sort of celebration. However, if you are a sensitive non-smoker you will be a little surprised to see people smoke with gay abandon inside the restaurant; it’s quite some time since I saw this in a European restaurant and, in times gone past (as an ex-smoker myself) I would once have loved this. Our bill came to 827 CZK which we rounded up to 900 CZK to include tip. In Euro this was €33. Amazing value for money.”
Amsterdam is one of the most romantic and surprising cities in the world, with its history, canals, museums and cultural way of life. This is an city to spend some time in either before or after your Fresh Eire Adventure in Holland.
Here are our top attraction, hotel and restaurant recommendations in Amsterdam, as prepared by intern Mathieu
The Toren is a romantic, welcoming 4-star hotel in the middle of the Jordaan in Amsterdam, the most famous neighbourhood in the city. These charming rooms offers you a Spa Whirlpool bath. To relax, you must enjoy one of the cocktails, wines or champagnes in their sumptuous bar.
The 5 star Hilton is located in the city center. Its rooms are very spacious and comfortable. This Hotel was the location of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's famous "Bed-In for Peace".
The Vinkeles restaurant boasts a Michelin Star since 2009. In the heart of Amsterdam, this historical establishment offers you a contemporary and refined French cuisine. You will admire the setting - an old bakery, redesigned to create a chic and unique dining place in Amsterdam.
Hands down, the very best way to discover Amsterdam is from the many canals. I invite you to embark on a boat ride and be guided around the city. Indeed, floating down canals might be a memorable way to discover and understand best the beauty and the history of Amsterdam. Since 2010, the city’s canals were recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Brown cafés are institutions in Amsterdam. For over 300 years, they invite you into their authentic and warm atmosphere, where walls are scorched by centuries of smoke. It’s not only a bar, it’s a meeting place for locals. Simplicity, proximity and conviviality will charm you for sure.
Van Gogh Museum
Located in the middle of Amsterdam, this museum will let you discover the biggest collection of Van Gogh's paintings. Allow 2 hours for your visist and you shall be handsomely rewarded as you will travel with one of the greatest painters in history and appreciate his masterpieces like "Sunflowers" or "The Sower". If you are indeed a Van Gogh fan you should consider our Provence Bike Tour where we visit the asylum in St-Remy-de-Provence where he painted two of his most famous works "Starry Night" and "Vincent's Bedroom".
LEEK & POTATO SOUP
Try this delicious, warming, winter soup recipe. We've been loving the homemade soups prepared by Padraic every day during our internship at Fresh Eire Adventures. There's nothing better than a hot soup in the middle of a winters day. Leek & Potato soup is a staple on Irish menus so you're bound to see it on any one of your Ireland bike trips with Fresh Eire Adventures.
Ingredients : (for 4)
♣ 5 medium potatoes
♣ 1 Red Onion
♣ Half bulb of garlic
♣ 1 large leek
♣ 4 celery stalks
♣ 200g Butter
♣ Large bunch of parsley
♣ 1L of water
- To begin, wash and slice the leeks, garlic, onions and celery. Make sure all your ingredients are perfectly clean.
- Wash and peel potatoes, cut into pieces. Then, par-boil your potatoes for 20 minutes.
- Put the potatoes into another container, let them rest. Wash your pan, you will need it for the vegetables.
- Into the pan, melt butter and when the butter starts to bubble add the leeks, onions, garlic and celery and begin to sweat them.
- Add your remaining ingredients into the pan, simmer for 5 minutes and then add water to ensure a smooth blend.
- Mix them all, cover and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Using a hand blender mix all ingredients into a smooth velvety texture.
- Let stand and, just before serving, add chopped parsley.
- Serve, and perhaps consider a light drizzle of Truffle-infused olive oil for a final touch.
I really appreciate discovering a vegetarian cuisine during this work experience. Usually, I don’t eat too much soup, but here with Padraic’s help I was truly surprised savouring this leek and potato soup in particular. We hope you will enjoy it.
Bruges is a charming Belgian city, easily visited either before of after your Holland Fresh Eire Adventure. Accessible by train from Amsterdam it offers a first time visitor a charming insight into Belgian culture in an extremely photogenic setting.
Heritage Hotel (Relais & Châteaux)
Located 50 meters from Bruges market place, the Heritage hotel is an ideal anchor point to discover the historical, mythical and romantic city of Bruges. Built in the nineteenth century in a classic style, combining calm and comfort, this 4 star hotel is definitively a perfect place to have a really pleasant night or two.
The Beffroi(Le Beffroi)
Belfry (or The Giant at 83 meters!) is decidedly one of the most popular monuments in Bruges. It was forged for the first time in the 13th Century and it has been re-built 3 times since its creation. Located at the foot of the market place, the Beffroi is a historical symbol of Bruges and a highly recommended visit. Take your time to observe the tower in detail - it leans a little to the south-east, but only by 80cm.
The Rosaire Dock (Le Quai du Rosaire)
The Rosaire Dock is the most photographed place in Bruges and it is easy to understand why once you see it. The large canal, the refined architecture of the monuments, the reflection in the water and the Beffry in the background; the view is just stunning!
The canals of Bruges (Les canaux de Bruges)
Many canals cross Bruges and it has earned the moniker "Little Venice". The visit of Bruges by boat along the canals is an activity that allows you to enjoy the unique perspective from the water.
The Park Restaurant will be delighted to welcome you to their 1 star Michelin gastronomic restaurant in front of the Kon Astridpark, the largest park in the city, in the Bruges Centre. The renowned Bruggeman’ Brothers place enormous emphasis on their use of many regional products in their gastronomic creations.