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Vienna: Insider Tips

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Insider Tips for Vienna: Live like a local

Bryony

Apr 04

Austria is a beautiful country. Internationals simply flock to its towns and cities, in search of the wealth of culture, food, a number of world-class universities and exciting career opportunities.

And if you could choose any new home-away-from-home in Austria, Vienna is definitely the right pick. This capital city is unique in a way that other European cities can only strive to imitate. With so many things to do in Vienna, you’ll never find yourself looking for rainy-day activities or wondering how you’re going to spend your free time.

Whether you’ve decided to live in Vienna as a student, an intern or a young professional, you’re going to need a few insider tips. This guide will take you off the beaten track and help you envision the true Vienna, so that you don’t waste a moment of your precious time on tourist traps or cookie-cutter museums that pop up all over the globe (we’re looking at you, Madame Tussauds).

While we may offer information about the must-see things to do in Vienna ‒ the ones that consistently make their way to the top of everyone’s to-do lists ‒ you’ll be able to mix these more obvious recommendations with a handful of others. We've brought together a collection of our favourite, unique and low-key ways to fill a Viennese afternoon.

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

First Things First

Before you jump into all of the places to see in Vienna, you may need a few practical living tips. For example:

  • There are close to 2 million people in Vienna, so expect a bustling locale, brimming with diversity.

  • The average monthly cost of living in Vienna typically ranges between €800 and €1100. This includes housing, food, transportation and even a little to set aside for entertainment.

  • The official language of Austria is German. If you live in the city center or in areas close to the universities, you’ll sometimes be able to get by with speaking English. However, it won’t hurt to learn at least some basic phrases in German.

  • When it comes to the weather in Austria, you’ll be happy to find that you will experience all four seasons. So, be sure to pack your bags accordingly!

  • Using the public transportation system in Vienna is easy, affordable and efficient. You can take your pick from a sprawling network including the Metro, buses and trams. Riding a bike is also a popular way to get from Point A to B in Vienna.

Vienna Eats

There are so many benefits that come with living abroad, but perhaps one of the best is the never-ending array of new foods to sample. Even if you’re on a student’s budget, or you’re digital nomad lifestyle has you constantly on the move, there’s something for every taste, price and preference in Vienna. You just have to know where to look!

But when in Vienna, there are several specialties that you have to try, and why not taste them for the first time at some of the best eateries in the city?

Wiener Schnitzel

This thin slice of veal, coated in breadcrumbs and fried to a crisp, is the most popular food in all of the city. Figlmuller Wollzeile in the center is known as the “Home of Schnitzel,” with a second location at Figlmuller Bäckerstraße. A good alternative is Marienhof, in the 18th district.

Apfelstrudel

Vienna is known for its coffee culture, and having a generous portion of this tasty apple pastry perfectly complements the experience. You can try it at a little, but well-known cafe called Aida, or at one of the many patisseries like Anker Bakery. Almost every coffee house will also offer this delicious treat.

Goulash

This simple dish may be served as a soup or a thick stew, and it includes beef, tomato sauce, spices and sometimes either noodles or dumplings. While it may have originated in Hungary, it is a staple food in Vienna. You should try it at Ilona Stuberl or at Café Mozart.

Wiener Würstel

This Viennese sausage is extremely popular as street food, and it is usually enjoyed with a local beer. Another version is the käsekrainer, which is filled with cheese and is served alone or on a bun. This favorite can be found at food stalls all over the city, especially at the large Naschmarkt. There’s also the sausage stand Bitzinger at the Albertina museum.

Erdäpfelsalat

This potato-salad-style dish is a healthier option, replacing mayonnaise with white vinegar, mustard and spices. If served as an entrée, it sometimes includes chicken or other meats. It is also the popular side dish for Schnitzel. Once again, Figlmuller Wollzeile is a great place to try this specialty.

Electrifying Nightlife

When moving abroad and craving the adventures every young expat dreams of, you’re going to want to sample the local nightlife during your weekends.

Additionally, checking out the bars and nightclubs throughout Vienna is also a great way to meet new people, whether they be other internationals or locals. Expanding your network is very important when you move to another country — for both professional and personal reasons. Everyone needs a great support system, no matter where you happen to be on the planet!

If you’re planning to head out, the Travel Shack is a popular spot for backpackers and expats living in Vienna. You’ll also want to check out Donau Techno if you’re into techno and dance parties — even if it’s a little out of the way. You can also try Albertina Passage, Volksgarten, U4 and Babenberger Passage.

Buildings and Architecture

If you’ve ever seen images of Vienna, then you probably already know that it’s renowned for its intricate, historic architecture; there are dozens of beautiful properties to visit and explore.

The Schoenbrunn Palace may be high on most tourists’ agendas, but any local will tell you that you have to see it to believe it. Not only can you feast your eyes on the splendid architecture, but you can also glimpse how the royal family lived.

The Vienna State Opera House is another architectural wonder to check out, either by attending a performance or simply touring the building.

The Hundertwasser House in Vienna is one of Austria’s architectural highlights. It was designed by the architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The Kunst Haus Wien was also designed by him, and displays his signature style. The house contains a permanent Hundertwasser exhibition and temporary exhibitions of other artists.

Another unique spot to see is the Imperial Crypt (also known as the Capuchin Crypt) which is located beneath the Capuchin Church in Vienna. It is an engaging way to learn even more about the royal Hapsburg family.

Things to Do

Vienna is filled with markets, with the largest being Naschmarkt, set in the 6th district, Mariahilf. This market can get a little touristy, but it’s also filled with locals, as it’s also the city’s oldest market; it has become a bit of a tradition for many Austrian people. Plus, every Saturday in the car park, there’s a large flea market, offering up everything from books to clothing and furniture. If you happen to be lucky enough to see Austria during the holiday season, the Christmas Markets are a must-see too, as well as the Spittelberg and Wilhelminberg!

As there’s so much to see in Vienna, a great way to have a relaxing look is to take a boat ride on the Old Danube River, which can also get you away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a few hours. You can even get from Vienna to Bratislava via a boat.

However, if you want to step back in time at an old amusement park, you have to visit the Prater Amusement Park and ride the old Ferris wheel, the Wiener Riesenrad. Locals still swear by it for the perfect fun afternoon out in the city!

Nature and Green Spaces

Even though it’s a large cosmopolitan city, Vienna also has several pockets of nature. Some of the best parks and green spaces in Vienna include:

The Türkenschanzpark is where the Turkish trenches were built, but today there’s a lookout water tower, walking paths and a waterfall.

The Kahlenberg, just northeast of the city, is a 480-meter-high summit with fantastic views of the city. It’s also a wonderful place to relax and experience the quieter side of Vienna.

Danube Island is a man-made green space right on the Danube River. Once designed as a flood barrier, it is now a large recreational attraction, where you can enjoy picnic areas, a waterpark, walking trails and even a beach.

If you want to get a little exercise and go for a run, the Prater Hauptallee is a great option!

Vienna is also the only major city in the world with significant vineyards (around 700 hectares) that are actually located within the city limits. Stammersdorf in the 21st district offers beautiful vineyards as well. Wilhelminenberg is another excellent choice.

Events and Festivals

Vienna is home to a large number of fairs and festivals — all year round. They can range from art and international culture to music and fashion. Whatever your tastes, they’re almost sure to have a festival or event dedicated to it in Vienna. The Donauinselfest (Danube Island Festival) is the largest open-air music festival in all of Europe, welcoming in more than 3 million visitors over the course of three days. It’s a free event that gets larger every year, filled with artists, musical performances and all sorts of other entertainment. The Vienna Ball Season is also something to take in; with over 450 different balls throughout the winter, the Vienna Opera Ball is the most popular.

The Sommernachtskonzert in front of the Schönbrunn Palace is an annual, free outdoor concert held by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Around 100,000 people attend every year.

Now that you've seen a fraction of what’s in store for you at this exciting destination, you’ll probably want to find a room in Vienna right away. There are a couple of ways to go about doing this, but the safest and most efficient is to work with an online rental platform like HousingAnywhere. With housing being in such high demand in Vienna (especially with students and digital nomads), it’s important to know when new properties are listed; with HousingAnywhere you can receive alerts when a place that matches your preferences becomes available!

Additionally, you can download our safe rental checklist today to ensure that you steer clear of scams, understand exactly what you’ll be agreeing to in your housing contract and numerous other helpful tips and suggestions. Enjoy livin' la vida local!

Bryony

Apr 04
Ready for your adventure abroad?Find a room in Vienna
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Ready for your adventure?Find a room in Vienna