The Schick Tip from Hotel Stefanie
Find peace and calm in the Botanical Garden
In search of new topics about Vienna I thought, “Who ought to have the best tips if not my colleagues at the Schick Hotels reception desks?” They know what interests our guests and the questions they ask. I decided to interview them.
This time, my colleague David Szymaszek, receptionist at the Hotel Stefanie, has a very special tip for you. Herr Szymaszek completed training at a hotel & hospitality assistant at the Pakat Suites Hotel and since February 2015 has looked after guests at the Hotel Stefanie with lots of charm and joy.
The Botanical Garden at the Belvedere
The Belvedere Palace is a must-see for every visitor to Vienna. Everyone wants to see “The Kiss” by Klimt, maybe shout out “Austria is free” and, yes, see the palace garden too. “But,” David Szymaszek said, “nobody knows the Botanical Garden, which is right next door.” It’s easy to overlook the entrance – and unfortunately many people do… but once you’ve found it, a whole new world opens up to you.
Take a walk through the park past giant redwood trees or find the crossing that leads through a little bamboo forest, for instance. You almost have the feeling that a panda will be sitting around the next corner. Herr Szymaszek is convinced: “This is the ideal place to recover during your sightseeing tour of Vienna!”
The Botanical Garden was created under Empress Maria Theresa in 1754, with the intention that training in botany be made possible for medical students. To the present day, the garden, with its approximately 11,500 types of plants, is in the possession of the University of Vienna and offers visitors the opportunity to experience nature and plant trivia – on 8 hectares of open-air ground and in various greenhouses.
Opening hours and guides tours
The garden is accessible at no charge. It is open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and accessible from three sides: the main entrance in Mechelgasse, the Jacquintor side entrance and from the fore court of the Upper Belvedere. Here is a map.
For those eager to know more, some days at 4:30 PM you can take part in a tour of the garden, starting at the main entrance (Mechelgasse).
Alternatively, you can visit the Alpine Garden, with over 4000 types of plants from alpine areas throughout the world. This collection hearkens back to Archduke Johann and Emperor Franz I at the beginning of the 19th century. Admission to the Alpine Garden is not free of charge, however. (The entrance is at the Upper Belvedere, on the right).
“And what do I do when nature has made me really hungry?” Here, too, David Szymaszek has a tip: “Then go to the Restaurant Sperl, right next to the Belvedere in the Karolinengasse. There, you can eat classic Viennese cuisine such as a veal Wiener Schnitzel with parsley potatoes, best enjoyed with good weather in the cozy green courtyard garden.”
Copyright pictures in this article: Rudolf Hromniak, Botanischer Garten der Universität Wien