Or better yet, you're moving here! So I'm going to share some helpful tips to be being a boss tourist or to make your transition to become Viennese easier.
Most of these tips are being said because these things threw me for a real looooop when I moved here just 1.5 years ago. Whoa, time flies. Anywho, some of these things, I'm still getting used to and some I've learned to love. Some differences are nice, like how amazing the public transportation is (especially compared to Atlanta, the MARTA is not SMARTA), some are not so nice like how early everything closes. And some are both, like the amount of bakeries on these streets (good for the soul, bad for the summer bod). Anyway, should you ever find yourself roaming the streets of Vienna, I hope you remember and find these tips useful for your trip.
1. Shopping in Vienna You can get everything you need that's a given but the time frame when you can is shortened. All retail stores and grocery stores close between 6-8 pm. And with Austria being a Catholic country, for religious reasons, most stores are closed on Sundays, so plan your trip accordingly. Most bars, cafes and restaurants are open but don't plan on going grocery shopping or hitting up your favourite designer store for a bit of retail therapy on a Sunday, because they will be closed.
There are a select few grocery stores open, for those emergency purchases, but I would plan to spend some time at a museum, dinning out, sightseeing at Belvedere Palace to utilise your time in Vienna better.
2. Using public transportation.
It can take you anywhere you need to go and it's super affordable, coming out to be 2,20 euro per ride and if you get a week ticket, depending on how often you use it, it's much less.
Here's the thing. Weekly tickets always start on Monday. So if you get here on a Saturday and buy a weekly ticket, you actually don't have a valid ticket until the following Monday and risk getting fined by the random ticket checkers on the train or tram. So depending on the length of your stay, the better option would be to buy a 72-hour ticket, which begins whenever you first stamp it. Or just buy a single fare ticket, if you're not doing too much traveling via tram, train or bus.
3. People of Vienna
To me, Vienna is more on the conservative side of the spectrum. I mean being a girl raise in the South, I am used to strangers on the street being warm and friendly with other strangers. So when I moved here I found the Viennese to be more closed off and reserved. I was hurt when someone on the street didn't return a smile or say thank you when I opened the door for them. Now my skin is thick and I've learned to accept and respect this as a cultural difference.
4. Coffee, cafe and Konditorei culture
Austrians take very seriously their bread and coffee. At any given time, on any given day, on any given street, you will pass a plethora of cafes or Konditorei's (cake shop) and there will be at lest one person sitting down, drinking a coffee, enjoying a pastry and reading the newspaper. It's just how you do it here. It makes sense too because gooood gravy, the bread and the coffee are good. You can taste the goodness in every cup and crumble. Some of the popular chain bakeries; Anker, Strück, Der Mann, Aid, Joseph Brot, there's honestly too many to name.
5. Animal friendly
Weird point, but something I noticed and it might be a game changer for you! Vienna is very dog friendly. They are allowed in cafes, restaurants, trains, museums, hotels, grocery stores, everywhere. As long as they have a muzzle and are on a leash on the train, they're good to go. So if you treat your dog like a human (like my siblings and dad), and are looking for a place to call home, Vienna is it for you.
6. Cheap eats
For those of you traveling on a budget, the best advice I could give you is to eat a restaurant outside of the 1st district. In general, everything is more touristy and expensive, so eating at restaurants or cafes that aren't directly in the inner city will help with your spending.
There are also a number of take-out stands that dish out some not so healthy, but delicious and cheap options for filling your stomach! Kaserkrainers (cheesey weiners), doner kebaps, pitas, falafels, pizzas, frankfurters, and Asian take-out, just try it all and thank me later. The best "Kafka" (Kaiserkrainer with curry powder, onions and mustard) in the city is on the corner of Währinger Straße and Währinger Gürtel It's the bomb.
7. Biking in Vienna
It's one of my favourite ways to get around in Vienna. It's perfectly safe, fun and a beautiful way to see the city. Just make sure to have a front and rear lights when it gets dark, obey the traffic signs, stay on the bike paths and off the sidewalks. A special caution for using one way streets and biking in the inner city, there are some designated areas where you are not allowed to bike through.
If you don't have your own bike, Vienna has 'City Bikes' which is an extremely cheap, bike sharing opportunity, if you want to explore Vienna above ground. If you register for free at any of the 120 kiosks around Vienna or online, you can rent a bike for free for up to an hour, 1€ for the second hour, 2€ for the third, etc. But if you just return is to any open kiosk, before your hour is up, then you're riding for free my friend!
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