Vienna, Austria

If there were ever a city made specifically for romantic strolls, long outdoor cafe chats, or horse-drawn carriage rides through acres of parks, Vienna would be it.  Home of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss, and Brahms (not to mention the world's first psycho-analysis, Sigmund Freud), Vienna celebrates its classical past while savoring its modern treats---the city can easily transport you back to the time of the Habsburgs before shooting you out into a punk cafe or some window shopping at Forever 21 around the next bend.  

Vienna fully embraces its baroque-dipped and modern museums in the vast Museums Quarter.  Visiting one of its many museums, art galleries, instillations, or festivals is a must during any stay in Vienna (my recommendation:  you can't go wrong with the Leopold, especially if you're a Klimt fan)! 

Hanging out on and around Mariahilfer Stra├če, Vienna's longest shopping street and the pulsating vein running through downtown, and the surrounding area it's hard not to get your fix of Motzart novelties, people-watching, gorgeous architecture, and all kinds of curiosities to tug at your wallet:

If Vienna is in your future travel plans, plan on budgeting a good month-long diet beforehand.  The city is no place to resist the urge to indulge, and this is especially true when it comes to its sweets and desserts.  There are over 200 kondetori in the city, and while they may look like ordinary coffee houses from the outside, inside addicts are getting their torte, strudel, and pastry fixes without further intentions of lingering too long.  There are certainly dozens of artisan culinary delights wanting to seduce your senses, but the two must-gets are of course apfelstrudel and any variation of the Sacher torte (a divine, bittersweet chocolate cake with a layer of apricot jam running through the middle).  Dare I say that it's Mozart for the mouth?

At least walking it off is scenic and lovely...

As one of Europe's most elegant capitals (and the one with the lowest crime rate and one of the highest standards of living), Vienna is a magical place for any leg of a European journey.  A visit to this dynamic city makes it easy to see why so many royals, musicians, poets, and artists have called it home.