An introduction to the city of Vienna
Vienna, also described as Europe's cultural capital, is a metropolis with unique charm, vibrancy and flair. It boasts outstanding infrastructure, is clean and safe, and has all the inspiration that you could wish for in order to discover this wonderful part of Europe.
- Facts: Vienna, the capital of Austria, 2 million inhabitants, is situated on the banks of the Danube. The influx of visitors from all over the world has made Vienna the most popular urban tourist destination in Austria.
- Austria's climate is generally moderate and mild and reliably follows the four distinct seasons. Average summer temperatures range from 20°C to 30°C, the average winter temperatures are around 0°.
- Vienna - a romantically imperial city: Vienna is a dream city for anyone with a romantic streak or an interest in history. Slightseeing opportunities are to be found in abundance. Wander along narrow, medieval alleyways or across imperial squares, view Schönbrunn Palace or the Imperial Palace (Hofburg) in the footsteps of Sissi and Emperor Franz Josef, and marvel at the majestic architecture along the Ring boulevard. Be inspired by an atmosphere steeped in history - which also boasts the comforts and infrastructure of a modern city!
- Vienna - city of culture: Vienna possesses a lively and vast array of cultural attractions. Whether classical or experimental theatre, film or dance festivals, opera or operetta, or exhibitions and concerts - no matter when you come and how long you stay, there is sure to be something exciting for you to discover. Or if your tastes are not quite so culturally refined, then visit one of Vienna's famous coffee houses or traditional wine taverns ("Heurige") and work your way through famous culinary specialities. We your appetite!
- Vienna - city of music: Vienna has been synonymous with music for centuries, and was home to Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Johann Strauss. This outstanding musical heritage has been preserved right to the present day. The Wiener Philharmoniker is one of the world's top orchestras, the Vienna Boys' Choir is triumphantly successful wherever it tours, and the Vienna Conservatorium has produced innumerable international award-winners in all musical disciplines. Yet Vienna also boasts a lively scene for young people - if you love music, you are sure to profit from Vienna.
- Vienna - City of art: Down the centuries, Vienna has always produced and nurtured world-famous artists. The collecting passion of art-loving rulers and monarchs has made Vienna a treasure house par excellence. The Museum of Fine Arts, for instance, is one of the world's largest and most distinguished museums, housing priceless works of art. Art accompanies you wherever you go in Vienna - even some of its underground stations are listed properties (on account of their elegant, ornamental Jugendstil style designed by Otto Wagner)! And Vienna is also uniquely zestful as far as its literature is concerned. After all, where else in the world will you find a city with its own "coffee house literature"
Travelling to a foreign country is always an experience.
To avoid any difficulties, always check the following in advance:
- if you need a visa to go to Vienna (Austria)
- if your passport is valid
- health: generally, no particular vaccinations are needed for visiting Austria but do bring a first-aid kit
- health insurance: medical care is expensive, get health insurance esp. if you plan to stay longer
- find out about local etiquette, Austria's dos and don'ts
- if you need an adaptor (electricity: 220 V, 50 Hz)
- pack carefully: Austrian wether is not the most reliable, be sure to bring clothing for all types of weather.
- Austria follows the metric system.
- currency: Euro!!
- time zone: 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Medium Time (+1 GMT)
Don't forget!: Austria observes Daylight Saving Time from March to October
Vienna Schwechat is Austria's main airport, but you can also fly to Linz, Salzburg, Klagenfurt or Graz. Austrian Airlines (AUA), is a holding company that includes Lauda Air and Tyrolean Airlines as well, flies to numerous international destinations.The Austrian rail network is comfortable, modern and reliable. International bus connections are cheaper but also slower and less comfortable.
The network of streets and highways is excellent and well maintained. You can cross the border 24 hours a day at major crossing points.
The Austrians are known to be a car-loving nation. As a result, Austria boasts an excellent road network. However, almost all of the bigger cities suffer from severe parking availability problems. Spaces are scarce and prohibitively expensive. If you do find a space, the time you are allowed to park for is usually around 90 minutes in central districts. One way streets and traffic jams also take enjoyment out of the journey.
If you do decide to drive your own car here to Vienna you will need to purchase a Vignette which is a form of toll that allows you to drive on Austria's motorways. These vignettes can be purchased at gas stations, border crossings etc.
Drivers in Austria are also required to carry safety warning equipment, namely a reflective warning triangle to place on the road in the event of an accident, a first aid kit and a reflective vest. Failure to carry these items in your car will leave you liable to a fine.
The public transport system in Austria is excellent. Austria's rail network is comfortable, reliable and fast. The main rail website offers excellent information on timetables, services and discounts. The quality of service offered by the rail network makes it far more appealing than bus links.
Vienna boasts several major train stations. Most people will arrive either at the Southern or the Western main train stations which are well-connected with the rest of the city. Cities such as Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, Munich, Venice are all are regularly served from the cities main stations. For the more adventurous there is also the possibility to travel further a field to destinations such as Warsaw, Berlin, Kiev etc.
All of Austria's major cities including Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz and Klagenfurt and Vienna have their own international airports. Austrian Airlines, Austria's national carrier, serves all of the above cities and connects Austria with many international destinations. There are now a range of low cost carriers which connect Vienna, Linz and Bratislava to a number of European destinations e.g. AirBerlin, FlyNiki, Ryanair, Sky Europe and German Wings.
Vienna features an impressive public transport system. the subway, trams and buses assure reliable and clean transportation. The underground/subway system is particularly easy to navigate. At night, there exists a network of night buses, a cheaper alternative to taking a taxi. All of these transport options are available at very reasonable prices ranging from Euro 1.50 for a single Journey, Euro 12.50 for a weekly card and Euro 45 for a monthly ticket.
Much of Vienna encourages cyclists through designated cycle lanes. Since 2002 the city has even offered public bicycles ('Stadtrad') in central districts. Tourists and locals use them for short distances. They are free save apart from a small deposit.
There are many beautifully tended cycling routes throughout the country esp. along the Danube river.