This is a review of the second edition of 2002.
This slim 224-page volume is packed full of good information. It is the perfect size to fit into a pocket and yet contains more useful knowledge than most other guides twice the size: and Vienna being one of my favourite cities, I have my fair collection of other guides to this enchanting and charming city with which to compare it.
It commences with thirty pages of practical information from planning your trip, getting there, getting around the city, where to stay, eating and drinking and all the other usual `stuff' that guides books are there to provide. But for me, what makes this guide stand out is the concise history of the city that the author provides over another thirty pages. This must be one of the best detailed and yet succinct histories of the city in English. Moreover, there are three full pages of recommendations for further reading. What I particularly liked is that there is more than usual coverage of earlier centuries, whereas most histories tend to start with the 1683 Siege or with Mozart.
The bulk of the guide consists of fourteen walks in and around the city, all with easy-to-follow maps and directions, and all packed full with fascinating cultural and historical information. There are seven walks in the inner city, two along the Ringstrasse, and five beyond it (including Schonbrunn and the Prater). Not only this, but the author provides guides to places further afield such as the Karl-Marx-Hof, Klosterneuburg and even out to Heiligenkreuz and Baden.
There is an index at the back, and the rear cover has Vienna's U- and S-Bahn system displayed in colour. Unfortunately, this is the only aspect of the whole book that is in colour. My other gripe is that the author perhaps dwells too much on his love of the Baroque! But these are mere quibbles. Who wants colour in a book when it is all around you as you walk the streets of Vienna. And a love of the Baroque is only a minor sin that can easily be forgiven.
Professionally produced and with the cachet of the `Blue Guide' status, this is my choice for walking the Wienerstrassen.