Not only is Vienna the capital of Austria, but it is also the unrivalled cultural hub of all things Austrian: cafe culture, a dedication to the Opera, impressive art collections, and stunning architecture. It is perhaps little surprise that the historic centre of Vienna has been UNESCO World Heritage Listed, given its unique insight into imperialism throughout the various empires.
Population: 1.741 million +
Known for: Imperial Buildings, Fabulous Art Collections
Climate: Continental Climate – mild but with warm summers
A Quick Guide to Vienna
Prior to Arrival
As Austria is a part of the EU, arriving in Vienna from other EU countries is seamless. It is helpful to note that the Vienna train stations (there are a few) start with their German name “Wien”, which should be useful when searching for train tickets! If you’re visiting Vienna as part of a larger European trip, some great connections with ICE (High Speed Trains) include Munich, Prague, Budapest, and Zurich.
If intending to fly into Austria, Austrian Airlines offer the best international connections.
If arriving by air, the cheapest transport to the city is by S-Bahn (rail) for €4 one way, however does require some connections. Another option is the City Airport Train, which will take you direct to Wien Mitte (central) in 16 minutes for €11 euros one way; €17 round-trip.
Vienna is incredibly large with many points of interest at different sides of the city. Thus, the best mode of transport is public, which includes trains, subway, trams, and buses. The most common of these for visitors is the U-Bahn which provides great connections throughout the city. Vienna is also very pleasant to walk around in the warmer months but expect to walk some distances!
The official dialect of Austria is German, but many in the tourism industry are also fluent in English so it is quite an easy city to visit as a foreigner. Perhaps the best idea as a visitor is to memorise a few German phrases to help get you by!
Hello: Hallo / Guten Tag (good day)
Excuse Me, Sorry: Entschuldigung
Thank You: Danke
What to See
Imperial Vienna is fascinating and there are so many wonderful displays of architecture to enjoy. Be sure not to miss Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral); Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts); The Belvedere (home to The Kiss by Gustav Klimt); Hundertwasserhaus (apartment block by Hundertwasser; Schonbrunn Palace; Hofburg Palace; and the Vienna State Opera House.
What to Eat & Drink
Typical Austrian foods to try include Apple Strudel; Chicken Schnitzel; Frankfurter (sausage); Bosna (sausage with curry and onion – vegan options sometimes available); and Kebaps from Naschmarket.
For drinks, you can’t go past the chance to indulge in Viennese cafe culture, as it is here where the tradition began and is still very much alive today. Famous coffee houses include Cafe Central and Cafe Sacher, with many others located in the Inner Stadt. If you’re a wine-lover, Austrian is renowned for its wines so you’ll be spoiled for choice!
Wondering where to go beyond Vienna? Some great day trips include St. Pölten; Wiener Neustadt; Eisenstadt and Bratislava (Slovakia – only 55km east of Vienna).