In this Destination Guide you will find information for : Vienna
♦Currency: Euro €
♦Zone: +1 GMT
♦Phone Code: +43
♦Best time to visit: March-October
♦Must eat: Wiener Schnitzel
♦Must drink: Glühwein
♦Don't miss: A Mozart/Beethoven Concert
Number of times visited: 1
Getting there and transportation: Austria is well served by all means of transport. Travelling out of Europe the obvious choice is by air, the country has 3 main airports all serving international destinations. Vienna, the capital, is the major gateway and can be reached direct from a number of American and Asian destinations. Salzburg, Innsbruck and Granz are Austria's second biggest airports and can be reached domestically or by European and low cost airlines. The national airline is Austrian Airlines (Part of the Lufthansa Group), with its hub in Vienna. Other major European airlines also serve Vienna at least once a day. Additionally it's easy to reach Austria with low cost airlines such as Easyjet.Tip: If on a budget, you will find that travelling to Vienna by air is rather expensive. The cheapest option is to travel to nearby Bratislava (Slovakia), and make your way to Vienna by coach which is much more economical. Low cost airline Ryanair serves Bratislava from many European capitals.
Travelling by train is also very popular, as part of touring other countries and cities nearby, getting the train is more relaxing and has the advantage of passing some amazing scenery. Direct services are possible from Budapest, Prague, Brno, Győr, Berlin, Munich and Salzburg to reach Austria and it's main city, Vienna.Busses, specifically Eurolines, is the most popular way to travel around cities in Europe. Vienna , Salzburg, Graz and Innsbruck are all well served from other capitals in Europe. It's worth checking if you are not travelling too far away.
Within the country, public transportation is very effective, comfortable, punctual and reasonable. There any numerous transportation options within the cities. You can use electronic cards to prepay your travel and even visit museums and attractions. This will also save money if you planning to keep active and visit the points of interest. Refer to the tourism information centres of each city to obtain prices and the inclusions for each tourist card.
Weather and temperature: Austria has a continental climate, meaning it can get very hot in the summer, temperatures reaching 25C and hotter, whilst in the Winter it can be cold and snowy, with temperatures ranging about 0-10C. Summer months (July and August) are popular to travel, but it's the high season. The sun can be intense if walking outside for too long. Winter's are good option if you planning to ski in the region but not so nice for tourism as it can be very cold and often sub zero in December and January.
Therefore the best times to visit are Spring ( March to June) and Autumn (September to November). This is best for city tourism, walking and enjoying the city with not so many people as in the summer.
Food and drink: Viennese cuisine in influenced by it's European neighbours, most notably Hungary, Serbia and Romania. Broth-based soups, dumplings, cheese spreads, and stewed and breaded meats are all commonplace. The real star of the show is confectionery. Austria’s desserts and cakes are renowned, and the lavish patisserie window displays, piled high with towers of tortes adorned with intricate icing, are photograph-worthy. Gourmet culture is particularly evident in Vienna’s cafes and restaurants where eating and drinking is at high standards by stylish settings at quality establishments.However as the city grow's and more cultures live in Vienna it's to no surprise you can find cuisines from around the world and budget dinning restaurants.
Specialities in Austria include: Wiener Schnitzel, a traditional dish of bread crumbed and fried veal escalope. Tafelspitz, boiled beef topside in broth, typically served with horseradish. Tiroler Speckknödel, a fried bacon and bread dumpling. Palatschinken, thin crêpe-like pancakes with savoury or sweet fillings. Liptauer, a paprika-infused creamy spread made from sheep’s milk cheese. Apfelstrudel, Austria’s most famous dessert consists of delicate layers of crisp pastry with an apple and raisin filling. Salzburger Nockerln, a baked vanilla soufflé designed to resemble Austria’s snow-capped peaks. Sacher Torte, a dense chocolate cake with a layer of apricot preserve, served with a compulsory dollop of whipped cream. Mehlspeisenis, the national term for cakes and puddings. There are around 60 varieties of torte, which is often consumed with coffee.
As for drinks you can find: Stroh, potent spiced rum available in several variants, ranging from 40% to a whopping 80% alcohol. Glühwein, a warming mix of hot red wine blended with sugar, orange, lemon, cloves and cinnamon stick. Obstler, fruit schnapps, usually very strong and relatively cheap. Wiener Mélange, a small espresso served with steamed milk and topped with froth.
Transportation: Vienna is very accessible by public transport, a modern and efficient system of trains, metro, trams and busses will take you to every part of the city and the outskirts. From the airport when arriving you can take several options.
The cheapest way to travel is by local train from the airport, get the S-Bahn to Wien Mitte (City Centre) Number S7 and for €4 single you can be in the city in 25 minutes. The quickest way is the The City Airport Train (Cat). when you arrive at the city, it's terminal is located (10 minutes by foot) from St. Stephan’s Cathedral at Wien Mitte station and can be reached easily by public transport. The trip is 16min long and costs €12 single or €19 return.
In the city there are five underground lines, 29 tram and 127 bus lines, of which 24 are night lines, great for going out at night! You can buy passes for longer periods of time. Passes are available for 24 hours and 72 hours, or as weekly, monthly or annual passes.
Below you will find maps for Vienna's transport.
What to see and do: Vienna combines, culture, architecture, history, music, shopping and entertainment. You can still see the remnants of Austria's expansive kingdom, with not just one, but two palaces in Vienna. The Schönbrunn palace, and the Hofburg Palace. You can also visit the Tiergarten, the oldest zoo in the world. But once you have had enough of city walks and buildings why not travel to the calm and idyllic towns with some incredible scenery and sit back and relax the views whilst having some local made coffee.
With so much culture and history in one place it would take you many weeks to visit all that Vienna can offer, specially in the outskirts with many Castles and Palaces dotted around. Below you will find the highlights of Vienna.
Tip: If you are planning to do active tourism in Vienna, visiting museums and sights, it's very recommended to buy the Vienna Card, to save money on the entrance fees and have access to the public transport system for one price. For more info check, Vienna Card.
St. Stephen's Cathedral
Suggestion: Go to a classic music concert. The city is naturally associated with the great Composers like Mozzart or Beethoven, and the whole city echo's their history. It's very recommended to go to a concert, whether you like classic music or not, not only it's music, but a history lesson as well, where you can feel how it was to attend one of those concerts back in time and enjoy the great surroundings in which these concerts are held.
Often the concerts are played in majestic classical buildings of the era. Prices range from €15 right up to the €100's, depending which concert, time, sitting area and availability. It's always better to check online which concerts are available as they can sell fast during high season and weekends. Duration of the concerts generally last from 75min to 2 hours.
Suggestion: Take some time to travel out of Vienna and visit the outskirts to sample the spectacular scenery and relaxed countryside life. Trips out of Vienna include the Melk Abbey and Danube Valley, To visit you can take the Train which leave frequently from Vienna's Westbahnhof to Melk, with two brief stops en route (about 1 hr. trip time).The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you see many medieval castles, impressive monasteries and a breathtaking landscape. Activities you can do are: see the the ruins of Dürnstein castle on a nearby hill, board the boat and sail upstream to Melk, visit the Benedictine Abbey or see the wine vineyards. You can do all the activities with an organised tour as well departing from Vienna.
Accommodation: The city of Vienna offers accommodation at a high price for the first time traveller. It's high end status and good quality of life make prices go up and unfortunately for travellers, Hotels are really expensive if staying central. But it's not all bad news. Thanks to the good public transportation network staying further away from the city centre will bring prices down. Look out for hotels near train stations or major bus lines into the centre. A reasonable Hotel is €25-30 per room. Additionally, Airbnb is popular for private accommodation and naturally hostels can be found as well if you don't mind sharing.
Recommended duration: Despite the price tag which Vienna is associated with, it's actually not that big to stay extra long. A comfortable stay of 3 nights is enough to sample the city and take advantage of going to at least one music concert. However there are day tours and visits that can extend your stay easily to see more of the landscape and scenery. For this up to one week would be recommended.