Vienna is the beautiful capital of Austria with a rich history and architecture. I remember, 7 year back, when I first came to Vienna, I was absolutely taken by the impressive and imposing buildings and its vivid cultural life. If you want to take a walk through the ‘good old times’ this is the capital to be, and you will be reminded of it every step of the way. So here are a couple of tips to prepare you for your first-time travel to this destination.
When should you visit
Actually every season has something to offer in Vienna. In mid-November to end of December you can enjoy the Christmas spirit and a cup of hot wine at Vienna’s Christmas Markets. January and February is the ball season: so if you ever dreamed of putting on a nice ball gown and dancing to classical music, now’s the time! Spring and summer lets you enjoy beautiful walks around the Danube river, or even a swim! Which brings us back to autumn, the season of ‘Jungwein’ (Young wine), where you can go to wine tasting and try out a glass of ’Most’. As you can see, anytime you come, is a good time to visit Vienna! Always something special to experience! If you are interested to find out more about things you can do in Vienna, you can read my article on top attractions.
Vienna is super safe!
No matter which time of the day or night I never felt unsafe in Vienna! If you are a night person I have to say there are not many people in the streets after 10PM, nevertheless I would say you are never in danger.
Use public transport
When it comes to public transport, Vienna has you covered. And I mean really covered! Anywhere you go, you can reach it via public transportation. It is super-efficient, super cheap and super easy to find your way around Vienna. I attached a map of the public transport to this post, for your orientation. I would strongly suggest to not use taxis here as they are completely redundant and cost a lot of money. If you absolutely MUST use a car, then I would rather go with Uber as the prices are almost half than those of taxis.
Here you can find my article on the public transport daily/weekly etc. tickets. They can be purchased online (link in the above mentioned article). Also, to help you plan your way from the Vienna International Airport to the city center, check this article I have written.
Is Vienna Pass worth it?
Vienna pass allows the buyer to enter to multiple tourist attractions, use the hop-on-hop-off buses (ONLY the ones from Vienna Sightseeing Tours), fast-track entry and travel with public transport unrestricted (bus, metro, trains etc.).Everything for one price and for the duration of your pass.
The pass can be purchased for 1 day (Price: 79 EUR), 2 days (Price: 89.10 EUR), 3 days (Price: 116.1 EUR) and 6 days (143.1 EUR). My honest opinion is that you can do cheaper than that, by buying your own day passes (as described here) and online tickets to the museums. Sometimes museums offer very nice combo tickets on their online shop. If you think you can visit more than 8 museums in 3 days than maybe it will be worth it, but honestly I would rather recommend to visit the most important museums and give yourself some time to stroll also through the city. Otherwise you would have seen the inside of a lot of places, but not gotten the actual feeling of the city you visited. Try to find a balance that suits you and if you need more information about the Vienna pass, you can also check their official page, here.
Culture! Culture! Culture!
If you love opera or symphonic music, then this is the city for you! It is definitely worth one trip to the Staatsoper (State Opera) or a symphonic concert. But please take time and reserve your tickets beforehand ( for the Opera at least 2 months before). You can buy them online here. There are a lot of concert tickets sold in front of the Opera or the Stephansdom, by people dressed in 18th century attire, but those are quite turisty. I would say, if you want to have a real experience, try booking them yourself one here. I know, especially Opera tickets can be quite expensive, you will have however an alternative possibility to book tickets to the ‘Volksoper’ (People’s Opera). These are cheaper, but of course…it is not the famous ‘Staatsoper’… so you have to also take that into account. Either way, if you enjoy doing cultural things, I think this is money well spend and you will definitely not regret it.
The night is used for sleeping!
Unfortunately, I cannot say that it’s such a young and vibrant city. It has amazing history, amazing cultural events…but when it comes to the nightlife it’s not quite making the top. Hence, if you are a person that enjoy having some drinks in the evening, you will quickly notice that apart from a couple of pubs, bars and restaurants, the most are empty. Also during the week nothing happens anymore after 11PM. In the weekends, you might still find something until 2AM, but that’s it! The streets are also quite empty in general during the night or late evening, but that’s not a concern! Like I mentioned above, Vienna is super safe! So go out, do your thing and don’t worry! By the way…a lot of restaurants and bars are closed on Monday…sometimes also on Sunday…don’t ask me why…
24/7 Shops…what’s that?
If you are the type of person that enjoys ‘do it yourself vacations’, cooks on their own in the AirBnBs, or simply would love some milk in his coffee in the morning…well I have news! Whatever you do…do NOT forget to buy eve thing you need until Saturday, 6PM! Even the milk, yes! On Sunday everything is closed! If you are lucky enough to stay close to a petrol station, then maybe you can buy yourself that milk you forgotten to buy (happened to me a lot!), otherwise, you can forget it! Also, if you planned to do some shopping during the visit, then don’t put it off until Sunday. Nothing is open. I repeat, nothing is open! (not even Pandorf..If that crossed your mind).
This is not a spelling mistake. You might find different spelling mistakes in my articles, but this isn’t one Well, to be honest with you I kinda’ enjoy eating meat (since I am myself from the Balkans), so for me it was not a problem. But Viennese cuisine is very meat based in general. Whether you want to taste the Wiener Schnitzel, or the Frankfurter sausage, it’s all about the meet baby! (That’s by the way the name of a very good steak house in Vienna, link here). Also, if you are hot for Asia, Vienna dose offer some really good Asian restaurants to choose from. I will write an article on this soon.
Waltz away, during the Vienna Ball Season
If you ever dreamed about to dress up in a nice glamorous ball gown (or smoking), then Vienna is your destination! In January and February Vienna lights up with music and dance. Test your ball dancing skills at one of the numerous balls in Vienna, and try to show off your Viennese Waltzer dancing skills in the city on the Blue Danube. You can find here the list and the dates of the balls. However, if you do chose to participate to this unique experience, then please buy tickets ahead of time.
Wine hiking in Vienna
If you happen to visit Vienna in September, then you’re in for a treat! End of September is the “Jungwein”(young wine) season. You can go hiking up the Kalenberg (honestly it’s just a hill), where you have every 200 meters a wine stop. There you can taste wine and most, and enjoy the beautiful view over the city. There are different routes which you can take; here is an overview if you are interested.
Kalenberg, enjoying the view and the wine
Back to Kalenberg! Kalenberg isn’t a highlight just during the wine hiking days, but you can also make a stop here during the summer days. In the midst of the vineyards, there are many beautiful wine bars with amazing gardens, where you can enjoy a nice cold glass of white wine, in the midst of nature and with a breathtaking view. Here is the link to my two favorite Heurigen in Vienna: Herigen Sirbu and Heurigen Am Nussberg.
Let’s not forget about the Blue Danube
A visit to the Donauinsel is a must! The Donau Island is an artificial island, on the Donau River in Vienna. It is 20 km long and you can easily reach it via public transport. You just need to take the red line (U1) to the station “Donauinsel”. In the summer it is a great place for outdoor activities, such as skating, biking or swimming, but even a nice walk through nature is particularly pleasant, at this place.
So…I think I haven’t forgotten anything important. If you guys can think of something else, let me know in the comments below. Now you should be prepared for your trip to Vienna.