I’ve lived in Vienna for over over a year now and here are my top tips if you are visiting the city.
Where to stay
Vienna is fairly contained so it doesn’t take too long to get between places, however here are some of the best districts to stay in along with some of the things nearby.
- District 1 (postcode 1010) – Vienna’s historical inner city is close to many of the main attractions including Stephansdom, Hofburg Palace, the Graben and more.
- District 2 – (postcode 1020) – Close to Prater Park which is great for running or walks. The Prater amusement park with Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel is also here. From Praterstern station it’s easy to get into the center of the city using the subway.
- Districts 3-4 (postcodes 1030,1040) – These are below district 1 and depending on where you stay you may be close to the Belvedere, Stadtpark (City Park), Karlskirche, Naschmarkt and various theatres and opera houses.
- District 6 and 7 (postcodes 1060, 1070) – These districts straddle Mariahilferstrasse which is the biggest shopping street in Vienna. There are also lots of great restaurants around here such as as along Burgasse. Depending on where you stay you may be able to walk to District 1, or you can just get the subway or trams.
Vienna has a well developed transport system and you shouldn’t have many problems getting around. Below you will find some tips related to getting to and around the city.
Getting to the City
It’s easy to get to Vienna by air, train or bus.
- The closest airport is Vienna International which is just on the outskirts of the city.
- For train connections look on www.oebb.at or www.goeuro.com.
- For bus connections from major cities consider using FlixBus for cheap tickets.
It’s also worth nothing that Bratislava airport is very close to Vienna and only about 1 hour 15 away on a bus. Flixbus mentioned above have connections.
From the Airport
I recommend taking the S7 train instead of the CAT (City Airport Train) as your fare will be less half the cost and the S7 doesn’t take much longer than the CAT train. Here is an example of the prices (at time of writing):
- S7: Fare approx €3.9 between Wien Mitte/Landstrasse and Flughafen Wien) | Takes roughly 23 minutes.
- CAT: Fare €11 single, €17 return | Takes roughly 16 minutes.
Of course you can also get an Uber or Taxi which costs around €30 (depending on travel time). If you have an early flight or would prefer to get a taxi then a service I’ve used before is www.vienna-airport-cab.at which allows you to book in advance.
Travel Within the City
Travelling within Vienna is cheap and you can buy single fares, or travel cards for longer and unlimited use. Here are examples of the costs (correct at time of writing):
- Single fare: €2.20 adults/ €1.10 child.
- 24, 48 or 72 hour ticket: €7.60, €13.30, €16.50 respectively.
- Week tickets: €16.20 (only runs from Monday to Sunday, so no good if you arrive mid or late week).
Head to www.wien.info…transport/tickets to read more about the options and see up to date prices. Also make sure you validate your ticket when you start using it using the stamp machines at the entrance to the platforms.
As well as the public transportation you can also use local taxis and Uber, and you can also consider using the Vienna City Card mentioned below.
The Vienna Card
As I live in the city I’ve never had one, but the Vienna Card is a good way to save money if you intend to visit many attractions during your visit and in a short period. Here are some of the benefits:
- Free travel on the subway system.
- Over 210 discounts, including museums, shops and restaurants.
Before buying check what you want to do and how much you are planning to use public transport, to get an idea of how much you are likely to spend and to determine if it’s worthwhile. You probably have to visit a few museums, attractions and use the subway or trams several times to make it worthwhile.
For more info go to www.wien.info….vienna-card
Wifi is generally easy to find and most hotels, hostels and apartments should provide this as well as many coffee shops and restaurants. You can also get free WiFi at Vienna International Airport and at OEBB stations (main train stations).
If you are out and about and still can’t find WiFi, but need it, then pop into a McDonalds or Starbucks.
Food and drink
Here are some tips related to food and drink.
Remember cash for restaurants
Quite a lot of restaurants still don’t take bank cards which means you could easily get caught out. I have previously had dinner and then had to go and get cash out whilst the other half waits in the restaurant for me.
Generally I often round up and add a little extra for tipping although I’ve never really been sure if there’s an exact rule.
Most Groceries Stores are Closed on Sundays
If you are in Vienna over the weekend and would prefer to cook it’s best to get groceries before Sunday. But if you do need to get groceries on a Sunday there are several places around the city such as:
- Spar near MuseumsQuartier – Address: Babenbergerstraße 9, 1010 Wien
- Billa at Praterstern – Address: Wien Praterstern Bahnhof, Praterstern, 1020
- Spar at Wien Mitte/Landstrasse – Address: Landstraßer Hauptstraße 1B, 1030 Wien
- Merker at Westbahnhof – Address: Wien Westbahnhof, Europaplatz 3, 1150
These stores are generally quite small and get extremely busy on Sunday due to the limited options hence why it’s best to get groceries before this day.
Local food and drink
Here are a few items that are local to Vienna and Austria.
- A Vienna local coffee is called a Wiener Melange which is espresso with steamed milk and milk foam.
- One of the most famous dishes is Wiener Schnitzel which comes as pork or veal (more expensive). My favourite in the city is at Hotel Imperial Vienna.
- Common beer includes Puntigamer and Gösser.
- Also good in Vienna are open sandwiches. My favourite are from Duran which is a small cafe along Mariahilferstrasse although lots of other places sell them too.
- Torte – This is a delicious cake available at most cafes. The best I’ve tried is also at Hotel Imperial Vienna.
- A heuriger is a great way to experience local food and wine and are located slightly outside of the center and towards the Vienna Hills. Some of them can be found here.
Tap Water is Drinkable
Vienna tap water is great and comes straight from the mountains. It is drinkable in most places. If you order tapwater at a restaurant they are likely to charge you (around 50c).
Here are a few tips related to money and currency.
Throughout Austria the local currency is Euros.
ATMs are not that easy to find. Keep an eye out for banks and also blue and green signs such as above. Here are a few places that you may find an ATM:
- Along highstreets such as Mariahilferstrasse, Graben and Kärntner Strasse.
- Main OEBB stations such as Praterstern, Hauptbahnhof, Westbahnhof, Wien Mitte.
- Occasionally at some subway stations.
- Banks and also at the Post Office (the post office has a bright yellow sign).
Credit and Debit Cards
Most high street shops and grocery stores accept cards (Bankomat), although it’s a good idea to have some euros available for smaller places, cafes and restaurants.
Although the main language is German, many people especially in modern restaurants and touristy places will probably be able to speak good English.
In the city there are some things which you have to pay including:
- Public bathrooms – Although most good restaurants allow free toilet use, fast food places and other public toilets generally charge for use.
- Grocery store bags – You generally have to pay for bags when getting groceries but not in many retail stores.
- Sauces at fast food restaurants – Sauce at fast food restaurants including McDonald’s and similar places you have to pay for. Including ketchup and other sauces.
Do you have any other tips for visiting Vienna? If so please leave a comment below.
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