Travelers to Vienna would probably be aware that the city is the capital of the Republic of Austria. Vienna is considered the largest city in Austria and there are about 1.7 million people living in it, making it the tenth-largest city in the European Union. It is the
country’s cultural, economic, and political center. The city is close to the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.
One important information on Vienna that every traveler must take note of is the city climate. Summer season is warm with temperatures hitting 22°C to 26°C (72°F to 79°F). The temperature during winter reaches freezing point and snowfall from December until March. There is usually mild to cold weather during spring and autumn. Rainfall averages at 620 mm (24.4 inches) yearly.
Here are some useful facts about Vienna:
- Business Hours: Businesses normally operate from 9 am to 6 pm from Mondays through Fridays but limit operation only until noon or an hour past noon on Saturdays. But Vienna holds a tradition called langer Samstag where shops are open until 4:30 or 5 pm on the first Saturday of every month.
- Drugstores: Pharmacies are open from 8 am to noon and 2 to 6 pm, and Saturday from 8 am to noon on a weekday. Signages with names of the nearest open shops are posted outside every drugstore on a weeknight and on a Sunday.
- Electricity: 220 volts AC. A transformer/converter is needed for U.S.-made appliances. Viennese hotels usually have adapter plugs but not power transformers.
- Time: Central European Time (6 hours later than U.S. Eastern Standard Time). Clocks are advanced an hour during summer.
- Tipping: Bills in hotels and restaurants have a 10% to 15% charge for service but you might spare a few extra euros for waiters and hotel maids that assist you.
- Transit Information: Tickets, information, and transport maps are all available from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm and Saturday, Sunday, and holidays from 8:30 am to 4 pm, at Vienna Transport’s main offices located at Karlsplatz or at the underground station in Stephansplatz. 24/7 information is provided in German and English about public transport anywhere within greater Vienna by calling the number 01/7909100.
- Fire: 122
Hospitals: 01/40400 (Allgemeines Krankenhaus, Währinger Gürtel 18-20)
- Restrooms: Public toilets labeled WC are found at convenient locations all over the city. These restrooms are clean, safe, and well maintained so visitors may use them. Public facilities are also available in Vienna’s major tourist attractions.
- Safety: It is highly advised to be discreet in carrying cash with or without wallets/purses. Snatchers and pickpockets are also common in this part of the world. If possible, wallets should not be opened in public and it helps to be cautious and guarded when talking to strangers.
There’s a lot about Vienna that a lot of people aren’t so familiar yet. Not so many would know that this city offers life’s comforts and enjoyment.
Vienna is one of Central Europe’s largest and most important cities in terms of its rich history and culture. It is located on the rail lines between Venice, Budapest, and Prague. It is at the crossroads between Eastern and Western Europe.
This Austrian capital city is comparable to other European cities like Barcelona, London, Milan, Paris or Rome. What makes Vienna a bit unique is that some people consider it compact and easy to negotiate where a mix of urban layers and old historic center makes up that Vienna feel. And speaking of a mix, various traditions of a European city is evident in the city ranging from Roman influences to Gothic, Baroque and Historicism. Some of the famous musicians and artists that considered Vienna their home are Mozart, Hayden, Strauß, Beethoven, Schubert, Otto Wagner, and Hundertwasser.
Visitors will find Vienna’s historical past fascinating as this royal-imperial flair blend with the latest trends. The Hapsburg dynasty ruled the city for centuries and remnants of their reign are seen in many of the city buildings like the Schönbrunn Palace, the Imperial Palace found at the city center, the Vienna State Opera, the museums on the Ringstraße, and the University of Vienna. Other past conquerors that include the Celts, Romans, Babenbergs also left their marks in the city.
Museums and exhibitions in Vienna have various themes and topics. The city is adorned by fine art collections and world-renowned works of art. Apart from these, there are about 50 theaters, three opera houses, two theaters staging musicals, and 100 other museums to choose from. Other Viennese points of pride are the Burgtheater, one of the best theatres among German speakers, and its branch, the Akademeitheatre.
Cafés and Austrian wine taverns are also a few of the things about Vienna that people love. Vienna’s warmth is readily seen in lively coffee shops, where people spend their day in leisure while enjoying the city.
Viennese cuisine is influenced by regions that surround Vienna as well as events in the history of the city. Some of those that delight the palate are the “Sachertorte” (a rich chocolate cake), the “Apfelstrudel” (apple strudel) or the “Kaiserschmarrn” (sugared, cut-up pancake with raisins), or the “Wiener Schnitzel” (breadcrumbed and fried veal escalope), the “Tafelspitz” (choice pieces of boiled beef). The Wiener Naschmarkt is a popular Vienna street market reflecting the city’s mix of nationalities and food cultures.
The Viennese people are famous for the “Wiener Schmäh” (Viennese charm). Viennese are a friendly lot which is contrary to negative stereotypes.
Vienna is host to international organizations like the United Nations (UNO), the OPEC, the OSZE and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In fact, Vienna is the only EU capital with a UN headquarters set up within its soil.
Before you decide to fly off to Vienna, you have to make sure that everything is well prepared. It is essential to know more about Austria visas. So who requires a visa? People who have a Swiss or EEA (EU Member States, Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway) passport do not need a visa to enter Austria. Nationals from EU member countries and Liechtenstein and Switzerland may stay in the country for an unlimited time.
Also, you don’t require an Austrian visa if you hold a British passport. There are no limitations regarding the remaining validity of the passport, provided that you leave the country before it expires.
All holders of Certificates of Identity (CID) and Travel Documents require a visa!
Vienna was considerably a melting pot of the Austria-Hungary Empire.
DEMOGRAPHY: Population in the city grew due to immigration and Vienna became one of the six largest cities in the world in the early 20th century. Despite becoming a city with the second-largest Czech population in the world, many Czechs and Hungarians returned to their ancestral countries after the first world war.
Today, the population of Vienna is a mix of different nationalities. Aside from Austrians, nearly half of the population is composed of people from the Czech Republic and Serbia. Other people are Turks, Poles, and Germans.
LANGUAGE: Although German is mainly used in Vienna, some of the locals speak other languages. Turkish is the language among the ethnic minority. Other languages spoken by ethnic minorities are Slovenian, Croatian, Hungarian, and Serbian. Young people are usually fluent in English.
RELIGION: Vienna has a lot of different religious denominations but the biggest group are Roman Catholics. The rest are Protestants, Muslims, and others.
FASHION: One important thing that you notice in the city is the well-dressed people. In fact, Viennese people are likely to respect others who are nicely attired. They aren’t ultra-conservative but they just prefer that guys don’t show off too much muscle. Also, they seem to take on an importance and consideration in how they appear in front of others. Thus perhaps the Viennese know that in order to fit into this good-looking city, they must look good too. This means that they aren’t obsessed with weight or body, but they like getting dressed well.
But for those people who are adventurous, there are designated areas along the Danube River which the Viennese call “FKK” where you can walk around naked, much like being in the Garden of Eden!
Like all cities in the world, Vienna also has its own customs that make it unique. And you will need some pieces of information to survive and be accepted in the city. Here are some things that you should know about Vienna local customs before traveling to this Austrian capital:
Whether they know each other or not, Viennese people would greet each other with “Guten Tag” (Good Day), “Gruss Gott” (Hello), or “Wiedersehen” (See you again or Goodbye) every time they enter or leave a room. Greeting or bidding farewell to each other is a polite custom in the city. Then, they also thank each other a lot saying “Bitte” (Please) or “Danke” (Thank you).
If you eat out and drink in cozy taverns like a Heuriger, do not be surprised if you suddenly find yourself sharing a bench and long table with total strangers. This is a Vienna custom. Do not try to wait for your own table. Take note – you will wait long and may go thirsty.
Tipping is one of the most important local customs in Vienna that visitors must pay attention to. Most likely, the service fee in Vienna bars and restaurants will not be included in your total bill. The waiters or waitress usually expect about 10% tips. You can give 10%-15% tips to hairdressers and cab drivers and about €1 – €2 to bellboys or doormen. Porters often expect at least €3, especially if you have heavy luggage!
Standing on the right side
Standing on the right side is one of the more unusual Vienna customs. When you use the escalators or stairs, always stand on the right side if you go up/down manually. Locals explain that the left side is for people in a hurry. Insist on standing on the left side if you want to be pushed or curse by impatient people.
Speaking up loud
Vienna is a city where people speak up loud. So, when necessary, your voice should be loud enough to get what you want. Sometimes, local residents tend to ignore you or cut queues. But do not be rude; be firm, courteous, and polite. Take heart, most Viennese are friendly and nice.