A little tip for those visiting Vienna’s zoo. If you make your way to the far side of the zoo, to the left of the elephant enclosure, you’ll find a path going up a wooded hill.
This eventually takes you to the Tirolerhof, a genuine farmhouse from the mountainous Tyrolean region of Austria.
A genuine farmhouse from Tyrol sounds like an oxymoron in the middle of Vienna, but it isn’t. The building dates back to 1722, and was transferred to Vienna stone-by-stone, beam-by-beam a few years ago. Inside, and in the surrounding enclosures, are rare breeds of farm animals, including horses, sheep, goats, cows and chickens.
Tip: At the bottom of the Tirolerhaus, where there are also toilets, there are often incubators and small glass enclosures with young farm animals, usually chicks or baby rabbits. Great for young kids.
Curiously, the farmhouse turns out to be about the best place to eat in the zoo. Inside the ground floor there’s a small farm shop selling bread, cheeses, hams, fruit juices and other traditional rural fare.
We often go for a couple of open sandwiches, with cured ham and a strong Bergkäse (mountain cheese), plus a drink of natural apple juice.
The bread is a thick wholemeal and soon fills you up. And the cheese might just be the best in the city. You can eat your sandwiches in the room opposite the shop, which is well heated in winter.