7 Things you should know when visiting Vienna

This post is something completely different and new but I thought about why I am blogging and one of my main inspiration is to not only post my photography and keep myself motivated, I am always reading up blogs when I am going on vacation and love to read tips and guides from locals. It took me some time to think about things most people and tourists may not know about Vienna and hopefully are helpful to some of you :)

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1) When arriving at the airport, you don’t have to take the CAT to the city centre.
I don’t know anybody who uses the CAT unless you are on a business trip and need to save time, or are a tourist and don’t know that there are other options. The CAT is a fast train that brings to Vienna in around 15min and costs one-way 11€ but you can also take the Schnellbahn for only 2,2€. True, the S-bahn takes way longer (25 mins.) but it is a lot cheaper and both trains are only available twice every hour.
Most tourists and even some Austrians don’t know that you should buy your ticket from the airport only till the city borders because the Viennese public transport covers the rest automatically.

2) Cash is accepted everywhere unlike credit cards.

In Austria, it is not very common as in other places, to pay with credit card.
Most places only accept cash so keep that in mind when exchanging money, it is better to withdraw a bigger sum.

3) Where to exchange your money.

As in most cities, at big tourist destinations you always have the option to exchange your money but those places are just rip-offs. I can recommend you the bank Schellhammer & Schattera which is located near Stephansplatz, here. It is a bank with religious values and that’s why the customers are not cheated with fees. I also got the most accurate exchange rate from Euros into Dollars from them.

4) Sunday equals no-shopping-day.

Most of you may know this but Austria is a catholic country and nearly everything is closed on Sundays. If you want to go shopping, you need to plan it on some other day. This day should be reserved for sight-seeing or other activities that does not involve shops. You can find some supermarkets at bigger train stations that are open but prepare for long queues!

5) Always stand on the right side of the escalator.

This is a huge sign for Viennese that you are a tourist or from the countryside ;)
There are signs posted around the stations to stand right but most tourists are probably too excited to notice these. You may encounter a grumpy Viennese who asks you to stand on your right side so he/she can pass. I actually really like the rule to stand on your right because the people who are in a rush can run up on the left side (also the escalators here are pretty slow so I rarely just stand on the right).

6) How much should you tip in Vienna?

Austria is not really strict about giving tips. Of course you are more than welcome to leave tips for any service you were happy with and if you were not satisfied, you can leave no tips. With small sums most people just round up to the next big number to make it even. For example, if something cost 4,5€ you can give 5€ or if it is 6,7€ you can give 7,5€. With bigger sums in restaurants, most people usually give around 10% but there is really no rule here and you just give what you are comfortable with, according to the service.

7) You should order tap water instead of still mineral water.

Vienna has one of the cleanest waters in the world and you can absolutely drink the tap water here. Depending on the district, the taste can vary but it will never taste like chlorine as in other cities. You can safe money by ordering tap water in restaurants which is often free or about 50cents. Other drinks that are cheap and popular here is soda water with lemon or raspberry flavour.

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I hope my list helps you while visiting Vienna. In case you have any questions just let me know in the comments but you can also send me a personal email at shooting.vienna@gmail.com!

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30 thoughts on “7 Things you should know when visiting Vienna

  1. Very useful, thanks a lot! Especially about the transportation from the airport and the fact that mostly cash payment is accepted everywhere!! Will keep that in mind and re-read your post the day I’m traveling to Austria!

  2. das mit der bank wusste ich nicht, das muss ich mir glatt merken… die anderen dinge – für einen selbst ist es immer selbstverständlich aber ich finde die idee für so eine hinweisliste super :)

    1. Ja die Bank ist echt super, also falls du mal Dollar brauchst ist das der perfekte Ort ;) hat bei mir auch etwas gedauert, da hast du Recht dass man es nicht mehr wirklich mehr merkt :)

  3. Haha! At least I know 4,5 and 7. I never used the airport and money exchanges as my last two visits was via car where I drove from Zurich, also had some Euros ready

  4. Great tips from a visitor’s perspective! Most things are already natural for us Viennese, so we don’t even think about it ;) I might have to repost that anytime soon :)

  5. Fab list :) So just making it more clear for myself, when I am at the airport should I take a train?? Aren’t the shuttle buses useful?

    Also, what do you suggest for Sunday? day trip outside Vienna (maybe Salzburg or Budapest)

    1. Oh thanks for pointing that out, I completely forgot about the shuttle bus since I never take it. I guess they are ok but I don’t know anyone who took one since it is cheaper to take the train. I also think the train is the better option because the bus can be (worst-case scenario) trapped in traffic.
      That’s a great suggestion, I will brainstorm about that and write a different post. Salzburg is fine but Budapest is too far away for a day-trip (also too much to see) but I can really recommend Bratislava! Only an hour away and lovely especially in summer.

      1. Yes, the train station is located right at the airport, you just have to follow the train symbol :) haha believe me, you will eventually after you have seen it all :P

  6. Reblogged this on sweet/escapes and commented:
    My friend Bea from shootingvienna recently posted some handy tips for anyone who’s planning to visit Vienna. From transportation to tipping this covers some important subjects many visitors may not know yet about our gorgeous home city ;)

  7. Danke für die guten Tipps!! Punkt 7 ist ja in ganz Österreich ein Thema, dass – obwohl ich schon oft dort war – mir erst letzte Woche im Faschingsurlaub in Südtirol klar wurde! :-) GLG Heike

  8. Thanks for the tips on Vienna. Sounds like Vienna is a lot like the cities in Denmark, except for in Denmark, a lot of places have tried to enforce the “stand to the right, walk to the left” for escalators, but it just doesn’t work:)

  9. Thank you for the tipping advice – that was confusing me – I think I over tipped a lot last time – we usually tip 20% in the US – and since I have friends who waitress or bartender I know how hard they work.

    1. I bet the waiters were all super excited about your generous tip! Compared to the US, the waiters are paid more decently per hour and they don’t have to rely that heavily on tips here. I worked in gastronomy also and wish that everyone would be that understanding :)

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