They say that once you get to visit Vienna you want to move there with your entire family and long-distance relatives. Vienna has a mesmerising effect on people from all over the world, and rightly so, it attracts 14 million visitors every year.
When visiting Vienna, the city will seduce you with the mix of historic architecture, musical culture and the never-ending amount of things to do and see. And if that’s not enough, Vienna has a strong coffee culture and a variety of bars, galleries, shops, and street markets – what else could you possibly need?!
See also: 5 Completely Magical Places in Vienna You Need to Visit
Here’s your essential guide to visiting Vienna:
“Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true. When will you realize… Vienna waits for you.” – Billy Joel
When is the best time to visit Vienna?
Vienna truly is an all-year destination as every month and season has something special to offer.
During Christmas time, despite the cold, Vienna turns in one of the most magnificent European capitals, full of Christmas markets, lights, concerts, and fairs.
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But it’s in Spring and Summer that the city shows off its musical taste with outdoor festivals and parties all around reaching their peak at the free annual three-day Donauinselfest – Europe’s largest open-air party.
From September onwards, all sorts of cultural activities make their way back to the city, including with concerts, ballets, and festivals. So, it’s really up to you, but you can rest assured, whenever you go, Vienna will never let you down.
Getting there and Vienna transportation
Traveling by train from other European cities is easy and quite comfortable, thanks to the latest fast trains. If arriving by air, there is a very convenient train from the Vienna airport to the city center (Wien Mitte) which only takes around 20 minutes and costs not more than 2 euros. It’s a cheaper option to the CAT – City Airport Train which takes you to the city centre in 16 minutes but costs €11 euros one way; €17 round-trip.
The best way to get to know Vienna is to take advantage of the city’s public transport, which includes trains, subway, trams, and buses.
What to see in Vienna?
When in Vienna, you must visit the classics of Imperial Vienna:
- 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
- Vienna State Opera House
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What to eat in Vienna?
Wherever you are from, I’m sure you heard of the Apple Strudel as well as the Chicken Schnitzel, since these two are probably the two Austrian dishes who became more popular and have been exported all over the world. While you are in Vienna, you should also totally try the Frankfurter (sausage) and the Kebabs from Naschmarkt.
Coffee drinking culture
There is a big coffee culture in Vienna and you should learn to order it in the Viennese way: Melange is a milky coffee, Mocca is a black one while espresso is, of course, an espresso. The most famous coffee institutions are Cafe Central and Cafe Sacher.
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English is widely spoken in Austria and especially in Vienna, but it doesn’t hurt to know a couple of words and sentences to use as icebreakers:
- Hallo / Guten Tag (good day) – Hello
- Entschuldigen Sie” or “Entschuldigung” – Excuse Me, Sorry
- Danke – Thank You
- Tschüß! – Bye
Visiting Vienna: useful information
- Climate: Cold, snowy winters / warm summers with occasional heat waves
- Visa: if you are from outside the EU, you will need a Visa to enter the country.
- Currency: Euro
- Languages: German, Hungarian, Slovenian, Austrian German
- Telephone code: Dial 00 43, followed by 1 for Vienna numbers from abroad
- Time difference: GMT +1 hour.
- More info: wien.info, the website of the Vienna Tourist Board or you can visit and pick up maps, leaflets and other information from the Tourist Info Vienna (00 43 1 24555) at the corner of Albertinaplatz and Maysedergasse, 1010 Vienna. Daily: 9am-7pm.