Spinning Austria: Culture, Coffee and 37 Little Numbers

Austria is home to some of the finest casinos in Europe, second of course to Monte-Carlo (but we’ll save that for another post). This was always going to be one destination that I had to visit during my Spin 2014 trip!

I was in the country for the first time ever, so naturally there was only one place to start: Vienna. With its postcard-worthy cobbled streets, brightly painted houses and seemingly never-ending supply of cafes overlooking the many boulevards and squares (I love a bit of people watching), I instantly took a liking to this city. Best of all, the people are genuinely friendly and eager to strike up a conversation, be it in German, Italian or English. I just kept to English, with my tattered phrasebook not making an appearance this time.

While my two days in Vienna were mostly filled with culture, coffee and wandering around gazing at the architecture like the unashamed tourist that I am, my nights were spent – you guessed it – in the casino!

First up was a visit to Casino Wien. A friend had tipped me off about this place before, and for some reason I had imagined that this was some kind of insider’s knowledge. Turns out that Casino Wien is the number one tourist casino in town, with three floors of action and not much of a dress code. There are a good few reasons for its popularity, though. First of all, its location couldn’t get any better, right in the center of Vienna’s buzzing pedestrian zone. It is also worth noting that the casino is housed in a wonderful old building, while the interiors are brought up to date. Over two nights on the roulette table, I can definitely say I had a good time; friendly staff, others players of all nationalities and a bit of luck is a recipe for success.

Moving on from Vienna, I had one more stop to make in Austria. This time, my destination was the western city of Salzburg, which sits right on the border with Germany.

First impressions… wow! Admittedly, Salzburg doesn’t compete with Austria in terms of the number of attractions like museums and galleries, as it is far smaller. But in terms of the landscape, it’s actually more impressive. You have the Salzach River to one side of town marking the German-Austria border, an ancient castle sitting on a hill overlooking the whole city, and the chiselled mountain range all around forming an impressive backdrop.

Salzburg is famous for two things: Mozart and the Sound of Music. Well, three things if you count that scenery. I wasn’t here to see Mozart (even if it was possible) or reenact the classic film – I was here to spin my way through the magnificent Casino Salzburg!

From the outside, this is truly one of the most beautiful casinos I have ever seen. Housed in a Baroque palace and surrounded by some spectacular gardens, you really do feel like a VIP before you have even entered. Needless to say, I was in my best suit and tie, adhering to their ‘smart’ dress code.

I spent two evenings on the roulette tables, taking in the glamorous surroundings, glamorous people and of course, trying to inflate my bankroll! The good thing about this casino is that your EUR 30 entrance fee buys you EUR 30 worth of chips to play with. They also throw in two free number bets (I had no luck), a free drink upon entrance and free chocolates. If you win big, you can skip on the chocolates and order a fillet steak from their swanky in-house restaurant.

That concludes my Spin 2014 journey in Austria – hope you enjoyed the read!