Vienna is a city with a very high quality of life, a feature that is highly appreciated by the many visitors who come to the Austrian capital. Its famous for its cultural events, eclectic sights, cozy baristas, inclusive wine taverns, and the very special Viennese charm. With a population of 1.8 million (nearly a third of Austria’s) the Baroque streetscapes and imperial palaces set the state for locals and tourist alone to fall in love with Vienna’s artistic and musical masterpieces alongside its coffee-house culture and vibrant epicurean and design scenes
Where do I fly into?
VIENNA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Address: Wien-Flughafen, 1300 Schwechat, Austria
Telephone: +43 1 70070
The city has relatively warm summers that can reach its most in June and July and average high temperatures of 21 to 27 degrees Celsius (70 to 81 Fahrenheit), however with periodical precipitations.
Winters are dry and very cold with average temperatures at about freezing point. Spring is variable and autumn usually cold, with potential snowfalls already in November.
Precipitation is moderate throughout the year, averaging 550 mm (21.7 in) annually, with considerable local variations. Snow in winter is common, even if rare compared to Western and Southern regions in Austria.
Passport and Visa Information
Vienna Visa and Passport Requirements
|Passport required||Return ticket required||Visa required|
A passport valid for three months beyond the length of stay and issued within the past 10 years is required by all nationals listed in the chart above except (1) EU nationals holding a passport or national ID card which is valid for the durations of stay.
If traveling from one border-free Schengen country to another, however, EU nationals are not required to show a passport or national ID card. It is still recommended that you travel with your passport or ID card to prove your identity if necessary though. Note that Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania, and the UK are not part of the Schengen area, so a passort or ID card is required if traveling to/from these countries. However, Romania and Bulgaria are currently in the process of joining the Schengen Area.
EU nationals are not required to possess a return ticket or show sufficient funds.
The following are unsuitable for travel to Canada: any passport claiming to have been issued by Somalia non-machine-readable passports issued by the Czech Republic; temporary passports issued by the Republic of South Africa and provisional passports issued by Venezuela.
Visas or Austria are not required by all nationals referred to in the chart above. EU nationals may stay for an unlimited period but must register with the local authorities if staying longer than three months. Nationals of Australia, Canada, and the USA may stay for up to 90 days without a visa.
Short term Schengen visa: 60 EURO. Reductions are available for nationals of a few countries and for children. They are valid up to 90 days within a six-month period.
Applications are done in person at the consulate or consular section of the embassy; appointment required.
Health and Safety
Vienna is a very safe city and in general women and men will have no trouble walking around at nights. Vienna is run by the LPD; Landespolizeidirektion, and the Federal Police.
059133 connects you to the nearest police station in Austria.
133 is the emergency number,
Danger or Annoyance:
Karlsplatz station and Gumpendorfer Strasse can be boisterous late in the evening.
The Prater and Praterstern can get dodgy at night. Ausstellungsstrasse is best avoided due to street walkers and curb-crawlers.
The Gürtel has a sprinkling of red-light clubs: north of Westbahnhof along the Neubaugürtel has a high concentration (with fewer around Thaliastrasse), and directly south to Gumpendorfer Strasse can be seedy.
S-Bahn and tram stop along Margareten and Wiedner Gürtel can be edgy.
Comprehensive travel insurance to cover any medical problems is strongly recommended.
Citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Liechtenstein receive free or reduced-cost, state-provided, health-care cover with the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC; called the ecard in Austria, EKVK in German). If you qualify, make sure you arrange it in your home country prior to travel to Austria.
No vaccinations are required when traveling to Austria, but the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all travelers be covered for diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, and polio, regardless of their destination.
Vienna’s main hospital, Allgemeines Krankenhaus, better known as AKH, has a 24-hour Accident & Emergency department. Nachtapotheken (night pharmacies) rotate; check www.vienna.at/apothekendienst-und-nachtapotheken-wien for locations and opening times.
Large shopping centers have facilities that are free to use. Facilities at U-Bahn stations and public places marked by a ‘WC’ sign usually incur a small charge (around €0.50). Museums reliably have good, clean facilities. At cafes and bars, facilities are only for paying customers; ask first or consider investing in a coffee.
Austria Currency Exchange
The Euro, the single European currency, is the official currency of Austria and 12 other participating countries. The symbol of the euro is a stylized E: €. The Euro is subdivided into 100 cents. Euro coins are issued in denominations of 2, 1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c, 2c. and 1c. To avoid the use of the two smallest coins, some cash transactions are rounded to the nearest five cents. Euro banknotes are issued in 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5. Each banknote has its own color and is dedicated to an artistic period of European architecture.
Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, and American Express cards are usually accepted at establishments throughout Vienna. However Austrian stores are famous for only accepting cash at smaller shops and grocery stores. So it’s always wise to carry cash with you.
** Chase & Citibank charge a 2% to 3% service fee for transactions in a foreign country ***
You can buy traveler’s checks at most banks. They are offered in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $500, and sometimes $1,000. Generally, you will pay a service charge ranging from 1% to 4%. The most popular traveler’s checks are offered by American Express, Visa, and Mastercard, they offer foreign currency traveler’s checks, which are useful if you’re traveling to one country, or to the Euro zone; they’re accepted at locations where dollar checks may not be.
Banks and taxes
Mon-Wed, Friday 8:00AM-12: 30 PM, and 1:30-3PM.
Thursday 8:00AM-12:30PM, 1:30-5:30PM
Some banks may have extended opening hours, operate without noon-hour breaks, or be open on Saturdays.
Most bank branches offer currency exchange services. Currency can also be ex-changed at the main railway stations and at the airport every day (Vienna West: 7:00AM-10: 00 PM; Vienna airport 6:30AM-11: 00 PM), and from Monday to Saturday in all travel agencies.
ATM’s are widely accessible, and foreign debit cards can often be used to withdraw cash, without charging on-sight withdrawal fees.
The not so great news is that when you make purchases with your card, or withdraw money from an ATM, you may run into a service called Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC). If this happens, the card merchant or ATM will offer for you to be charged in your home currency rather than in euros. At first glance, it seems rather convenient and much more comfortable to do the transaction in a currency you’re much more familiar with. However tempting as it may seem, you’ll need to keep in mind that you’ll be marked up in price, sometimes at four or more percent,for the convenience of merely seeing the numbers in your home currency. With DCC, you essentially sign over the right of the local ATM to give you whatever exchange rate they feel like for the day – which is almost never in your favor. You’re better off doing transactions in the local currency, euro, where your home bank will give you a much better exchange rate, and save you a lot in the long run.
*** Make sure that the PINs on your bankcards and credit cards will work in Austria. You’ll need a four-digit code, so if you have a six-digit code, you’ll have to go into your bank and get a new PIN for your trip. If you’re unsure about this, contact Cirrus or PLUS. Be sure to check the daily withdrawal limit at the same time.***
An Austrian customer must pay the net sales plus 20%, value added tax, which is listed separately on the supplier’s invoice.
Value added tax is reduced to 10% on certain products, this applies to basic foods and printed material, for example. Additionally, there is a VAT of 13% for hostel rooms.
All visitors not resident in the EU are entitled to a refund of Austrian value-added tax, which is included in the price. Minimum purchase: 75.01 EURO.
Present your purchase to the customs officer when you leave the European Union, and have the tax-free form stamped with the customs emigration stamp. No refund is possible without the stamp! You can either get a cash refund at any of over 700 refund points worldwide (e.g at airports or in your home country), or you can send the compiled tax-free form, including the original receipts, in a pre-paid envelope to your tax-free service provider for a refund to your credit card.
At the Vienna airport, you will find the refund points in the shopping area and near the customs desks at gates, D, F, and G. For further refund points in Vienna, see the websites of the taxfree providers:
As a rule, Austrians like many of their European neighbors, dress in a sophisticated, fairly conservative way, and overly revealing clothing are frowned upon. When preparing for your trip, pack classic pieces in neutral shades that you can easily mix and math, and add some color and style with accessories or one or two stand-out items.
For Austria, there are two associated plug types, type C and F. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins and plug type F is the plug which has two round pins with two earth clips on the side. Electricity can vary from anything between 100V and 240V.
Austria operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
If the appliance or its power supply is not dual voltage rate, the single voltage appliances will have to be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly (unless the appliance operates at 230v)
North American’s will need to bring a voltage converter and/or travel adaptor, which is a device that simply allows you to plug any USA electrical appliance into a foreign electrical socket.
It’s important to understand that some travel adaptors are not suitable for any appliances that require an earth connection. These types of travel adaptors should only be used with double insulated equipment, which will be clearly marked with the symbol shown below.
In restaurants It is customary to tip 5-15% on the total bill, rounded up to a convenient number. For example, if the bill is 8.7 Euro, you should round up to 10, when it is 23.5, round up to 25. Tips are paid in the initial amount you hand over.
In bars, it is customary to tip 5-10%. Always clarify the amount is in EUROS are many bars are compared to major western countries.
Cabs/Taxis: 10% is expected. This is usually given by rounding off the figure of what you are supposed to pay. For instance, if your bill is EUR 12.7, you can pay EUR 14. If you give an EUR 20 you can say EUR 14 and the driver will give you change.
Airport/Hotel Shuttle: Not necessary to tip your driver, but feel free to give 1 EURO per bag, if they help with your luggage
Hotels: Tips are given commonly to employees. Large tips are not necessary for Vienna hotels since 10% has already been included in the price; however, you are expected to give a tip to the porter and chambermaid.
Doorman: A simple thank you is appreciated, but a tip of the EURO for truly exceptional service is acceptable.
Bellman: 1-2 EURO per bag
Chambermaid: 1-2 EURO per night, left on the bed.
Room Service: 5-15% of the bill
Parking Valet: 2 EURO
Concierge: Only for special services, or in response to special requests
Vienna can be proud of its tap water. After all, the city is supplied with 400,000 m3 of fresh spring water daily from two mountain spring pipelines from the areas around Schneeberg, Rax, Schneealpe and Hochschwab. As a result, most of the tap water is very high quality, low in nitrogen, has no measurable pesticide residues and, frankly, tastes as good as any mineral water you’re ever likely to drink.
In most cities, the undrinkable water fountains will be labeled “Kein Trinkwasser” (not suitable for drinking) and out of the 900 fountains around you’ll have plenty that are labeled “Trinkwasser” (drinking water).
Language & Time
Vienna’s official language is German, but they do speak English is general areas.
Vienna is in the Central European time zone (CET = GMT / UCT + 1) Daylight saving time applies from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October (CEST)
The four main forms of transport are U-Bahn (subway), Schnellbahn or S-Bahn (local train), StraBenbahn (tram) and Autobus (bus). Vienna works on a honey system. There are no ticket barriers at stations and no formal ticket checks on trains, trams, and buses. This does not mean public transport is free.
Single ticket costs EUR 2.20
Explore Vienna with a travelcard and get to know the city, inside out. With unlimited travel, ride the city’s network of undergrounds, trains, and buses and discover all the Vienna has to offer.
Benefits of a Travelcard:
- One ticket to cover all networks within the inner zone
- 24,48, or 72-hour ticket variations for flexibility
- Networks include: underground, train, tram and buses, including Nightline buses
- No need to carry spare change for daily tickets
- Discounts at various tourist attractions
Cost starting at EUR 15.00
The undergrounds (U-Bahn) run from around 5 am until midnight, but run 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays and the night before public holidays.
What to pack for a trip to Vienna
- Dress & Sandals (save the flip-flops, they are not seen as appropriate footwear in Europe)
- Cardigan & Scarf
- Tee & Shorts
- Bathing Suit & Sunglasses
- Jeans & Sneakers
- Backpack & Jacket (with a hood – in case of rain)
- Sun protection
- Some medicines are delivered only with a medical prescription. Bring your own medicine.
- Bring electrical outlet adapter and Voltage Converters
Things to carry on with you
- A copy of your passport and driver’s license.
- Money If you are going to make a purchase or go out to dinner, take more and take a credit card as well. Use the card only if you don’t have enough cash.
- Your emergency telephone list of phone numbers from back home.
- A business card showing the phone and address of your hotel.
- Credit cards only if you plan to go to the bank.