Category: Austria

Vienna Travel Guide – Deals

Quick Links:

A – Overview

B – City information

C – Attractions & Things To Do

D – Family Fun Attractions

E – Events & Entertainments

F – Vienna Travel Deals

Before the Second World War, Vienna stood side by side with Paris and London in importance, beauty, and power, thanks to its status as a major transit point between Western and Eastern Europe. The rich and elite of Europe vacationed here while the poor viewed it as an opportunity to escape their miseries. Here, artists and composers sought inspiration and revolutionaries ironed out their plans and theories.

vienna overview

Vienna, however, has not always been considered such a romantic destination. The city found itself just a few miles from the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. Hence, trade ceased with the East, and foreigners found little reason to visit a war-torn city. However, with the sudden popularity and growth of the Eastern Jewels (Budapest, Prague, and Kraków), Vienna rediscovered its role as a gateway. In-transit tourists, as well, have rediscovered Vienna’s old-world charm, often making an unexpected extended stay. There is no better time than now to visit this magnificent city.

People traveling to Vienna looking for fin-de-siècle architecture and a relaxed atmosphere will not be disappointed. Imagine a city shaped by artists and composers 150 years ago. Huge palaces seem to appear on every major street corner, and the sky is pierced with towering church steeples. The buildings along the Ringstrasse seem to offer a bit of every European building style, from the medieval Rathaus, Gothic Stephensdom, to the Greco-Roman parliament building.

Visitors quickly embrace the old-world style of Vienna. The streets are lined with quaint shops, cafés, and bakeries. Men are still gentlemen, while women still dress themselves up before strolling around town. The locals are generally conservative, well educated, and well mannered. They will notice you looking at a map or deciphering a sign, but are too polite to bother you. However, if you ask them, then you will find that most Viennese speak a bit of English and are happy to help a traveler.

Country:
Republic of Austria

Capital:
Vienna

Time:
Austria uses Central European Time (CET). Hence, clocks are one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Currency:
Currency is the Euro (EUR). The notes are in denominations of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 euro. The denominations of coins are 2 euro, 1 euro, 50 euro cent, 20 euro cent, 10 euro cent, 5 euro cent, 2 euro cent, and 1 euro cent.

Weather:
Vienna experiences quite pleasant weather during the summer. However, winters can be cold and icy, so be prepared by bringing warm clothing and high-grip shoes.

Custom Regulations:
Customs have become even easier with membership in the European Union. EU citizens need an ID card, while all others require a valid passport. Americans can stay in Austria without a visa for up to 90 days. However, arrivals from neighboring EU members (Germany, Italy) are rarely checked, regardless of citizenship.

Electricity:
Austria uses 220 volts AC and the continental-style plug. If your appliance has a 120/240-volt switch, all you will need is a plug adapter. Otherwise a current converter is required. Pay attention to sockets in bathrooms and on trains marked “Shavers Only!” While these put out 110 volts, they will burn out with a more powerful appliance.

Tipping:
Offer a 10-15% tip to taxi drivers and attendants at theatres and cloakrooms. Restaurants and cafés are generally ‘Bedienungszuschlag inbegriffen’ (service included). Vienna service staff, however, seem to ignore this and expect something extra.

Dress Code:
Austria is no different than the rest of Western Europe. Business attire, of course, consists of suits for both men and women. Outside business hours, Austrians are generally casual dressers, with young people often wearing shorts and t-shirts. A jacket and tie are usually worn to exclusive restaurants and for a night out at the theatre or opera.

Greetings:
Address people by their title, and offer a handshake. Take a small gift of wine or chocolates if you are invited to someone’s house.

Getting Around:

Car:
Austrians are renowned for their law-abiding traits, and this is most evident in their polite driving habits. Roads are well-marked Drivers in Austria require their national driving license, all relevant car documents, and proof of car insurance. In addition, all vehicles require a first-aid kit. Keep in mind that all of Austria’s highways are toll roads. Tickets are available at border crossings and must be presented on demand to avoid a fine.

Public Transport:
Vienna has an excellent subway system that is very easy to understand. Buy tickets from machines in subway stations. Be sure to purchase normal tickets, and not discounted ones, even if you have an international student ID. The buses and trams use the same tickets. Large maps are near every tram stop detailing routes throughout the city. Day tickets are available, and are a good buy if you plan to see a lot of sights.

Bicycles:
Cyclists, rejoice! Vienna’s streets are very bicycle friendly, and offer a perfect way to see the city in no time. Rent bicycles at the Westbanhof.

Taxis:
Taxis in Vienna are nearly impossible to hail. Try taxi stands in front of hotels.

Trains:
Austia’s rail system is right on par with neighboring Germany and Switzerland in quality. Vienna has several stations, but most people arriving from the West arrive at Westbahnhof. Trains heading east and south usually depart from Sudbahnhof. Trains from Germany generally arrive at Ostbahnhof. The major train stations offer information services

Schloss Schönbrunn
Schönbrunner Schloss-strasse, A-1130 Vienna
Tel: +43 1 811 13
The biggest attraction in the Western part of Vienna is the summer palace. Sometimes called the “Versailles of Vienna”, this huge Baroque residence has more then 1400 rooms and grand formal gardens. Two tours that guide visitors through 100+ rooms are available. However, the palace itself is a minor attraction compared to the entire property. The palace grounds also include a terrific zoo, marvelous tree-covered paths, and Roman ruin Follies. Open from Nov – Mar, daily 08:30 – 16:30 and from Apr – Oct, daily 08:30 – 17:00.

schloss schoenbrunn

St Stephen’s Cathedral (Building, view map)
Stephanspl., A-1010 Vienna
Tel: +43 1 515 52526
St. Stephan’s gothic structure seems a little out of place among the modern glass and steel buildings lining the Stephansplatz. However, it’s the things that stand out that make it such an attraction. For one, the 390-foot tower can see seen from all over the city. Climb to the top of the spire to see the tiled roof. The colorful tiles are laid out in such a way as to create pictures. Take the tour through the catacombs and see neat stacks of skulls and bones, open Monday through Saturday, 9-11:30a.m., and 12:30-4:30p.m. Sunday 1-4:30p.m. Tours begin every 30 minutes and cost 40 ATS.

Hofburg (Imperial Palace)
A-1015 Vienna, Austria
Many Austrian rulers have made their own input on the shape and style of this palace since Rudolf I took control of it in 1278. It now principally contains several museums and points of interest, some of which are listed below. Open everyday 9a.m. through 5p.m., 60 ATS)

Schatzkammer
A-1015 Vienna, Austria
The impressive museum contains the Royal treasury, which includes the 10th centuryn crown of the Holy Roman Emperor and a lance, which legend says is the one that pierced Jesus’ side (actually only 1000 years old).

Burgkapelle (Palace Chapel)
This small room is where the World Famous Vienna Boys’ Choir sings for Mass. Obtian free tickets for standing room only from 8:30a.m. September through June. Sundays at 9:15a.m.

Spanish Riding School
Michaelpl. 1, Hofburg, A-1010 Vienna
Tel: +43 1 533 9032
This is where the famous Lippizaner horses train and perform dressage. While the school is closed in July and August, make an effort to see their shows and training sessions. Tickets are 240-800 ATS for a seat, and 190 for standing room only. Training sessions are Tuesday through Saturday, 10a.m. to noon. Tickets are 100 ATS. Be sure to reserve in advance.

Donau Insel
This 8 mile long island is located in the middle of the Danube. Originally built for flood control, it is currently dedicated to leisure activities. Nom motor traffic is allowed on the island, but it is easy to reach on foot or bicycle. The U1 subway also serves the island. From here, you can see the third headquarters of the United Nations. During the summer, Viennese escape the city and head to the island for some sun and fresh air.

Karlskirche (St Charles’ Church)
Karlspl., Vienna
This famous Baroque landmark dominates Karlsplatz. Emperor Karl IV commissioned Austria’s best architect, Fischer von Erlach, to build this monument to the eradication of the plague in 1713.

Schloss Belvedere (Building)
3 Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27, A-1037 Vienna
Tel: +43 1 795 570
Lukas von Hildebrandt built this palace for Prince Eugene of Savoy between 1714 and 1723. The structure is actually two baroque buildings separated by 500 meters of gardens. It now stands as a museum displaying the royal apartments, gardens, and art galleries. Many people flock to these buildings, since Klimt, Schiele, and Kokoschka all had a room here. Open Tuesday through Sunday 10a.m. through 5p.m. Admission to the buildings are 60 ATS.

Hundertwasserhaus
Tram N to Hetzgasse from Schwedenplatz U-Bahn
This building is by far Vienna’s most unusual apartment building, and a popular tourist destination. Architect Friendensreich Hundertwasser built this childlike house, keeping in mind that “the straight line is godless.” Hundertwasser also designed the garbage-burning tower in the ninth district. Look for the golden onion pierced on the blue tower.

Freud’s Apartment
Berggasse 19, A-1090 Vienna
Tel: +43 1 319 1596
Sigmund Freud moved to this apartment with his family in 1891, and lived here until 1938, when he felt to London. Freud took most of his possessions with him, but the building is still a major point of pilgrimage. Open July through September, 9a.m. to 6p.m. October through June, 9a.m. to 4p.m. Admission is 60 ATS.

Kunsthistorisches Museum
Maria-Theresien Pl., Vienna
Tel: +43 1 525 240
With impressive exhibits of Egyptian, Greek, Roman collections, German renaissance, and paintings by Rubens, Velázquez, Rembrandt, and Caravaggio, this museum stands as one of the best in the world. The real crowds, however, come of the collection of Bruegel the Elder. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10a.m. to 6p.m., and Thursday 10a.m. to 9p.m. Admission is 100 ATS.

Prater
U-Bahn Praterstern
This large segment of parkland offers a glince at a slightly seedly but nevertheless interesting side of Vienna. There you can visit the Riesenrad and ride one of the oldest Ferris Wheels in the world. Operating hours vary throughout the year, but the park generally opens at 9a.m. and closes between 10 p.m. and midnight.

Staatsoper, 1
Opernring 2, Vienna
Tel: +43 1 514 442969
Catch High-class opera and ballet here in what people consider to be one of the best opera houses in the world. Other venues include Musikverein “Elizabeth”1, Karlsplatz, home of the Vienna Hilharmonic, and Konzerthaus, 3, Lothringerstrasse 50. Volksoper, 9, Währingerstrasse 78, is good for slightly-kitschy operetta. Check schedules and buy tickets at Bundestheaterkassen 1, and Hanuschgasse 3.

UNO-City – Vienna International Center
Wagramer Strasse 3-5
1220 Wien
+43-1-26060-3328
Fax: +43-1-26060-5899
This group offers tours of the city specifically for children. Best of all, the tours are available in languages besides German.

Schloss Schönbrunn Schönbrunner Schloss-strasse, A-1130 Vienna
Tel: +43 1 811 13
The biggest attraction in the Western part of Vienna is the summer palace. Sometimes called the “Versailles of Vienna”, this huge Baroque residence has more then 1400 rooms and grand formal gardens. Two tours that guide visitors through 100+ rooms are available. However, the palace itself is a minor attraction compared to the entire property. The palace grounds also include a terrific zoo, marvelous tree-covered paths, and Roman ruin Follies. Open from Nov – Mar, daily 08:30 – 16:30 and from Apr – Oct, daily 08:30 – 17:00.

St Stephen’s Cathedral (Building, view map)
Stephanspl., A-1010 Vienna
Tel: +43 1 515 52526
St. Stephan’s gothic structure seems a little out of place among the modern glass and steel buildings lining the Stephansplatz. However, it’s the things that stand out that make it such an attraction. For one, the 390-foot tower can see seen from all over the city. Climb to the top of the spire to see the tiled roof. The colorful tiles are laid out in such a way as to create pictures. Take the tour through the catacombs and see neat stacks of skulls and bones, open Monday through Saturday, 9-11:30a.m., and 12:30-4:30p.m. Sunday 1-4:30p.m. Tours begin every 30 minutes and cost 40 ATS.

Schatzkammer
A-1015 Vienna, Austria
The impressive museum contains the Royal treasury, which includes the 10th centuryn crown of the Holy Roman Emperor and a lance, which legend says is the one that pierced Jesus’ side (actually only 1000 years old).

Spanish Riding School
Michaelpl. 1, Hofburg, A-1010 Vienna
Tel: +43 1 533 9032
This is where the famous Lippizaner horses train and perform dressage. While the school is closed in July and August, make an effort to see their shows and training sessions. Tickets are 240-800 ATS for a seat, and 190 for standing room only. Training sessions are Tuesday through Saturday, 10a.m. to noon. Tickets are 100 ATS. Be sure to reserve in advance.

Donau Insel
This 8 mile long island is located in the middle of the Danube. Originally built for flood control, it is currently dedicated to leisure activities. Nom motor traffic is allowed on the island, but it is easy to reach on foot or bicycle. The U1 subway also serves the island. From here, you can see the third headquarters of the United Nations. During the summer, Viennese escape the city and head to the island for some sun and fresh air.

Schloss Belvedere (Building)
3 Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27, A-1037 Vienna
Tel: +43 1 795 570
Lukas von Hildebrandt built this palace for Prince Eugene of Savoy between 1714 and 1723. The structure is actually two baroque buildings separated by 500 meters of gardens. It now stands as a museum displaying the royal apartments, gardens, and art galleries. Many people flock to these buildings, since Klimt, Schiele, and Kokoschka all had a room here. Open Tuesday through Sunday 10a.m. through 5p.m. Admission to the buildings are 60 ATS.

Hundertwasserhaus
Tram N to Hetzgasse from Schwedenplatz U-Bahn
This building is by far Vienna’s most unusual apartment building, and a popular tourist destination. Architect Friendensreich Hundertwasser built this childlike house, keeping in mind that “the straight line is godless.” Hundertwasser also designed the garbage-burning tower in the ninth district. Look for the golden onion pierced on the blue tower.

Kunsthistorisches Museum
Maria-Theresien Pl., Vienna
Tel: +43 1 525 240
With impressive exhibits of Egyptian, Greek, Roman collections, German renaissance, and paintings by Rubens, Velázquez, Rembrandt, and Caravaggio, this museum stands as one of the best in the world. The real crowds, however, come of the collection of Bruegel the Elder. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10a.m. to 6p.m., and Thursday 10a.m. to 9p.m. Admission is 100 ATS.

Prater
U-Bahn Praterstern
This large segment of parkland offers a glince at a slightly seedly but nevertheless interesting side of Vienna. There you can visit the Riesenrad and ride one of the oldest Ferris Wheels in the world. Operating hours vary throughout the year, but the park generally opens at 9a.m. and closes between 10 p.m. and midnight

January to February
Carnival
Balls take place at many beautiful locations across Vienna, including the Wiener Opernball on the last Thursday of February at the Staatsoper. This is considered the most important social event of the year.

Late January to Early March
Viennese Dream on Ice
Watch as skaters whisk around on the square in front of the City Hall.

May 1
The city celebrates the opening of the Prater.

May
Vienna Spring Marathon
Feel the need for a little exercise? The Vienna Marathon runs every year, taking runners through the most beautiful streets in the city. More Info

Mid-May to Mid-June
Wiener Festwochen
The city celebrates its achievements as a European art and music city with expositions of music, opera, films and other exhibitions. There is free admission to the opening ceremony at the Rathausplatz.

June to September
Schönbrunn Art Open Air
Fascinating musical events in the beautiful surroundings of the Schönbrunn castle.

Late June
Donauinselfest
Europe´s largest pop-music festival takes over Vienna for an entire weekend! Listen to hundreds of bands as you wander through the carnival atmosphere. Best of all, admission is free!

Early July
Jazz Festival Vienna
The Vienna Jazz Festival is held every year at the Staatoper and on Donau Insel, drawing acts and artists from all over the world. It has become one of the leading jazz events in the world. Visit www.viennajazz.og for more information.

July-August
Rathausplatz Classical Music Film Festival
Take advantage of this free festival! Kiosks offer up a good selection of international cuisine as you watch open air classical music films.

Mid-October
Viennale
Vienna’s film festival has beening drawing a large international crowd now for over 40 years. More Info

Mid-November to December
Christmas Markets
From the famous “Magic of Advent” and Viennese Christkindlmarkt at the Rathausplatz to the romantic Christmas markets at the Spittelberg and Schönbrunn castle.

November/December
Vienna holds an international equestrian and jumping tournament in the Wiener Stadthalle.

December 24th
Midnight Mass
Experience Viennese tradition by attending the midnight Christmas Eve mass at St. Stephen’s cathedral. Devout Catholics and others pack the building for a magical ceremony. Get there early for a seat. Of course, the mass is held in German.

December 31st
New Years Celebration
Vienna offers a tremendous party scene. With imperial balls, fireworks, and out-of-control street parties, New Years Eve offers something for everyone

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