Vienna’s best courtyards
Walk in, take a deep breath and enter an oasis of calm hidden just behind the entrance to a building on a busy street. Numerous old Viennese courtyards have now been painstakingly restored and remodeled. Vienna is famous for its Pawlatsche access balconies which provide access to the various apartments from the courtyard. Sometimes, two or more adjacent courtyards create a practical shortcut between two parallel streets which is accessible from each end.
Vienna's first district is home to some of the city's most attractive courtyards. Just behind St. Stephen's Cathedral, the buildings around Blutgasse (Singerstrasse, Grünangergasse, Domgasse) are among the oldest in the capital. The entrance to Blutgasse 3 conceals a remarkable 17th century building with open access balconies. Meanwhile nearby Singerstrasse boasts several interesting courtyards. The Deutschordenshaus Singerstrasse 7) has two courtyards and facades in the 17th century style.
A magnificent horse chestnut tree stands in the quiet courtyard of Singerstrasse 11, and the baroque Palais Neupauer-Breuner (Singerstrasse 16) also has an attractive courtyard with open access balconies. The pretty courtyard at Weihburggasse 16 is home to the Vermischte Warenhandlung shop with an adorable collection of original gift ideas and souvenirs.
Still in the 1st district, Viennese actor, dramatist and satirist Johann Nepomuk Nestroy was born at Bräunerstrasse 3. Wrought iron bars, wall fountains and hanging baskets adorn the elegant courtyard with its striking elevated balcony walkways. The 16th century renaissance Arkadenhof is a residential building to behold (Bäckerstrasse 7) - its wrought ironwork is from the collection of Biedermeier painter Friedrich Amerling. A stone's throw away, the generously proportioned Heiligenkreuzerhof joins Schönlaterngasse and Grashofgasse.
Beautiful courtyards are not the exclusive preserve of the 1st district. Elsewhere, the Raimundhof (Mariahilfer Strasse 45, 6th district), an arcade consisting of several adjoining courtyards, joins the Mariahilfer Strasse shopping street and Windmühlgasse. The passageway is lined with bijoux boutiques, bars and restaurants. In the 7th district three courtyards combine to form a passageway that links Neustiftgasse 16 and Lerchenfelderstrasse 13. The arcade has something of a Mediterranean feel with its sidewalk cafés. Things are a little quieter at the Adlerhof (constructed 1874). This restored passageway has five terraced courtyards giving access to ten buildings from Siebensterngasse 46 to Burggasse 51.