“Freiwilliger Durchgang” is a funny term because literally translated it would mean “walk through voluntarily.” In fact, this is very old German language, so the actual meaning is slightly different from that: In the early 19th century more & more houses were built in Vienna so that people had to walk around blocks. Here I must mention that the typical Viennese is a bit lazy. So the owner of buildings that were connected by their courtyards voluntarily allowed pedestrians to take a shortcut through their property.
Nowadays there are only a few of those hidden ‘time machines’ left in Vienna. Why time machine? Those alleyways are now considered precious architectural heritage and are therefore listed buildings. You can enter one of these connecting passages on shopping street Mariahilferstraße 45 and walk down it until you get to the Naschmarkt.
In the Raimundhof alleyway, you’ll find a nice jewelry shop right where you enter and a bit further down on the left is one of my favorite shops, called Gräfin vom Raimundhof and its male counterpart, the Graf vom Raimundhof. They all got a new neighbor: the juice bar.
Find lovely bars and restaurants, all set in the small and quiet passage where you might get a sense of what Vienna was like in the Biedermeier era.
An architecturally even more intriguing and very hidden “Freiwilliger Durchgang” is the nice Adlerhof in the 7th district, find it here (on my Instagram)!