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Vienna – How to get there & what to do

Welcome to Vienna!

Here tradition and modern exist side by side!

Those who take a short walk along the Danube not only enjoy the first rays of the sun, but also appreciate the extraordinary interaction between nature, a jovial and playful creativity and the most beautiful architecture of Vienna.

In the historical centre of Vienna, the traditional and the new architectural have a great harmonized blend. Here we can witness how historic buildings and contemporary architecture can merge into an impressive urban landscape. The city's residents are always there to relax, talk or enjoy the sunset.

Being a culture-rich city you will have a lot to visit, from Mozart's house (Mozarthaus Vienna), to the Museum of Art History where you can see the works of art gathered by the Habsburg family over the centuries, to the many beautiful churches such as the famous St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) in the heart of Vienna or even lost in Hundertwasserhaus, a residential complex with a very original look built between 1983 and 1986 giving a leap in the local markets. For the more adventurous you can visit the nearby towns like Bratislava and Salzburg.

How to get there?

There are many ways to get to Vienna – by plane, train or car

By Plane:

Vienna's central position in Europe makes it a hub offering optimal transportation connections to the whole world. 195 destinations across 70 countries are regularly served from Vienna by 74 airlines.

The most common ways to get to Vienna are by airplane and by train. Due to its location and its importance as the capital of Austria, Vienna is a city that is perfectly connected with the rest of Europe.

How to get from the Airport to the City?

City Airport Train (CAT)
A quick way to get from the airport to the city centre is to take the CAT train. In just 16 minutes it takes you from the airport to the Wien Mitte station in the center of Vienna.

The train operates every day from approximately 5:30 am to 11:30 pm, and departs every 30 minutes. The single ticket price is € 11 for adults and is free for children under 14 years.

If, when you return to the airport, you do not have much time, you can dispatch in Wien Mitte to arrive quieter.

Suburban train Schnellbahn (S-Bahn)
The S-Bahn train is not the fastest way to get to the city centre, but the cheapest way. It takes approximately 24 minutes to reach Wien Mitte station in the heart of Vienna.

Trains run every day of the week, between 4:30 am and 11:45 p.m., and leave every 30 minutes. The price of the single ticket is € 3.60, but if you have the Vienna Card it will be € 1.80.

To travel towards the airport, you have to take the train to "Wolfsthal" or "Flughafen". If you travel towards Vienna, take the train that goes to "Wien Mitte," "Wien Nord" or "Floridsdorf."

Taxi
The ride to the centre is usually about 30 minutes and there are usually fixed fares depending on where you are staying, costing between € 45 and € 55.

Bus
It is possible to go by bus from the airport to the centre of Vienna, but it is the least recommended option, since it is more expensive than the train, slower and more difficult to use.

By Train:

The train is a comfortable way to travel to Vienna. The products of ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) and the Westbahn are aimed at individual travel needs.
ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) https://www.oebb.at/en/
Westbahn (private train company) https://westbahn.at/en/

By Car or Bus:

You’ll have a safe journey to Vienna by car and bus on Austria’s excellent network of motorways, expressways and federal highways.

Getting around

For detailed information on Vienna’s public transportation system please visit:
https://www.wien.gv.at/english/transportation-urbanplanning/public-transport/

Subway
The Vienna subway (U-Bahn) began to be built in 1969, making it one of the most modern in Europe. Before the arrival of the subway, the Viennese used a similar system known as a pre-meter, which began operating in 1898.

Vienna’s Subway Map (click for map)

The Vienna subway is formed by 5 lines, all with underground sections and some on the surface.

  • Line U1 (Red):
    Walk through Vienna from north to south, from Leopoldau station until you reach Reumannplatz. This is an interesting line, since it has a station next to the cathedral and serves to reach the Prater.
  • Line U2 (Violet):
    It traverses the center of the city forming a kind of semicircle that connects the station Stadion with the one of Karlsplatz. It is a very useful line to get to Prater, the City Hall, the Museum Quarter and the Church of St. Charles Borromeo. 
  • Line U3 (Orange):
    Cross the city from the southeast to the northwest, from Ottakring station to Simmering station, passing some tourist attractions like Stephansplatz, the Sisi Museum and the Imperial Apartments.
  • Line U4 (Green):
    It traverses the stations that go from Hütteldorf to Heiligenstadt, with an important stop in its path that coincides with the Schönbrunn Palace.
  • Line U6 (Brown):
    Connects the outskirts of Vienna practically from north to south, from Siebenhirten station to Florisdorf.

Time and frequency
The Vienna subway schedule is approximately from 5:00 a.m. to 00:30 p.m. The frequency of the trains is usually 5 minutes at the most normal times. At peak times, the frequency increases and trains take from 2 to 4 minutes, while from 20:30 hours, trains run every 7 or 8 minutes.

City cable car
Most interesting lines are 1 and 2 being the most useful for tourists, as they make a trip around the Ringstrasse, stopping at some of the city's charismatic buildings, such as the Opera, the Hofburg Palace, the Parliament or the Stock Exchange.

Vienna Ring Tram

It’s a tourist tram that runs through Ringstrasse making 13 stops, while offering information in various languages ​​about the places to visit. It circulates every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm at 30-minute intervals (July and August until 7:00 pm).

Time and frequency

The tram schedule is very similar to the subway’s schedule. Although it depends on each line, it’s normal for trams to start operating at 5:00 and end at midnight. It’s best to consult in advance, as some lines only work until 9:00 PM or they change their schedules on weekends and holidays.

Night Bus
Night buses run approximately between 00:30 and 05:00 hours with a frequency of 30 minutes.

The price of these lines is the same as the daytime and the ticket can be bought on the bus, although, like the rest of the tickets, it is cheaper if you buy in advance.

Places of interest

Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palace is one of Europe's most beautiful Baroque complexes and has been in the possession of the Habsburgs since 1569. The wife of Emperor Ferdinand II, Eleonore von Gonzaga, had a pleasure palace built on the site in 1642 and called the property "Schönbrunn" for the first time. The palace and garden complex created from 1696 onwards following the siege of Vienna was complete redesigned under Maria Theresa after 1743. Today, due to its historical significance, its unique layout and magnificent furnishings, the palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

St. Stephen's Cathedral
St. Stephen's Cathedral is the symbol of Vienna. Construction commenced in the 12th century. Today, it is one of the most important Gothic structures in Austria.

The tower room, from which there is a gigantic view across Vienna, is reached via 343 steps. A total of 13 bells hang here. However, the best-known bell of St. Stephen's Cathedral, the Pummerin, is located in the 68.3 meter-tall north tower. It is the second-biggest free-swinging chimed church bell in Europe. On the roof of St. Stephen's Cathedral, colorful roof tiles were laid to create the Royal and Imperial double-headed eagle and the coat of arms of the city of Vienna. The interior of St. Stephen's Cathedral was changed again and again over the centuries, right through to the Baroque period.

Danube Tower
252 meters high, two fast lifts, 35 seconds up: the observation terrace of the Danube Tower at a height of 155 meters offers the best view over Vienna.

The 360° panorama view of the city is breath-taking. Freshly renovated, the Danube Tower presents itself in a new splendour. Or rather, in its old glory. The restaurant and café at the top of the tower revolve around its own axis at a height of 170 meters. The interiors have been restored to the style of the 1960s but of course the technology has been brought completely up to date. The Danube Tower was built on the occasion of the Vienna Garden Show in 1964.

Naturhistorisches Museum Vienna (Natural History Museum)
The history of the earth and the breath-taking variety of nature can be practically experienced due to 20 million objects: From insects to gemstones and minerals and pterodactyls, the Habsburgs united everything under the roof of this museum near the Imperial Palace. Numerous taxidermy specimens of animals that are either extinct or threatened with extinction make the collection all the more valuable.

Kunst Haus Wien

Colourful areas, irregular forms, many grown over with lush green plants: this is how painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928 - 2000) encouraged new impulses – and not only to Vienna’s architecture. He also created an exhibition centre offering a permanent exhibition of Hundertwasser’s works as well as changing exhibitions of exciting contemporary art.

Master Hundertwasser has completely transformed the former Thonet bentwood furniture factory in his characteristic style. Today, irregular elements of glass, metal, bricks, wood and ceramic tiles in many colours give a unique character to the formerly inconspicuous building. Opened in 1991, Kunst Haus Wien houses a permanent Hundertwasser exhibition on two floors and two additional floors are devoted to changing exhibitions. On the ground floor, there is a café-restaurant and a shop.

Giant Ferris Wheel
The Giant Ferris Wheel in the Prater is one of the city's symbols. Almost 65 meters tall, it offers a breath-taking view of the city on the Danube.

The Giant Ferris Wheel was erected in 1897 to mark the 50th year of Emperor Franz Joseph's accession to the throne. Since then, It has been an enduring feature of the city's skyline. Situated right near the entrance to the Wurstelprater amusement park, its cabins offer a wonderful view of the city and the Prater. The diameter of the wheel is almost 61 meters, the entire iron structure weighs 430 metric tons. The wheel turns at a speed of 2.7 km/h.

If you want to buy some crafts or some special gift, be sure to check out the shops of Hundertwasser Village.

Probably the most typical Austrian gift is the decorated chocolate with a Mozart portrait, known as Mozartkugel. Although there are different types of chocolates, the most traditional ones are made of marzipan with praline and a chocolate coating.

What and where to eat?

Typical Viennese dishes
Watching the menu of some restaurants can be a bit tricky to decide; in these cases, we recommend having this list with some typical Viennese dishes:

Wiener Schnitzel: Patty meat escalope, usually accompanied by a salad of potatoes. It’s the most typical dish in Vienna.
Tafelspitz: beef cooked with vegetables, wines and seasonings.
Forelle nach Müllerin Art: breaded trout.
Tiroler Gröstl: potatoes with ham.
Rindsuppe: beef soup.
Selchfleish: smoked meat.
Gulash: beef stew with onions and spices.
Powidl: stew of plums.
Beuschel: ragout with viscera of cow (the heart and the lungs).
Wienerbrød: Viennese bread.
Marchfeld: asparagus.
Knödel: meatballs made from wheat semolina, potatoes or bread crumbs.
Käsespätzle: Spätzle (egg pasta), cheese, onion on the grill and butter.
Kasnudeln: pasta stuffed with cheese, mint leaves and plums.
Schweinebraten: pork roast with garlic.
Topfenkolatsche: Puff pastry stuffed with cheese.
Buchteln: sweet stuffed with apricot jelly.
Krapfen: sweet pasta with filling.
Vanillekipferl: vanilla wafers and hazelnuts.
Sachertorte: black chocolate cake with apricot jam (Sacher cake).
Palatschinken: crepes.
Apfelstrudel: apple pie.
Salzburger Nockerl: soufflé of egg whites. Cafes
Konditorei: coffee shops and souvenirs.
Kleiner Brauner: coffee with a little milk.
Melange: coffee with milk.
Schwarzer: espresso.
Moka: black coffee.
Kapuziner: Viennese coffee with whipped cream.

Typical pastry: Sacher cake
The Sacher pie (Sachertorte) is one of the most famous desserts in Vienna. It is a chocolate cake stuffed with a thin covering of apricot jam and then with a chocolate coating.

A confectionery student created the pie in 1832, and since then it has never stopped being sold. Forty years later, the son of the creator founded the Hotel Sacher, where today there are endless queues to taste the famous pie.

In the hotel's cafeteria the pie is as good as any other city's cuisine, but because it is such a well-known place, the price is twice as high as anywhere else.

Heuriger e beisl
One of the best ways to get to know the typical Viennese food is to eat in a heuriger. They are rustic places that serve wines of their own harvest along with typical Viennese dishes, all accompanied by live music. Most of these places are located in the vicinity of the city, although there are some in the center.

The beisl are also an interesting option when it comes to eating in Vienna. The beisl are simple restaurants with an informal atmosphere offering a wide variety of local specialties.

Business hours

The Viennese usually have lunch and dinner early. Coffee is served between 7:00 and 10:00, lunch is usually between 12:00 and 14:00. The dinners begin to be served at 18:00, but, accustomed to tourism, usually stay open until approximately 23:00 hours.

Restaurant areas

In all the city areas we can find restaurants of almost all kinds, although one of the most famous area is the cathedral quarter. In the vicinity of Stephansdom you’ll have one of the largest number of patisseries and restaurants of all kinds, including some heuriger.

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