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Moving to Vienna

More and more expats are moving to Vienna in order to enjoy one of Europe’s most beautiful and culturally vibrant cities. Located in the east of the country on the Danube River, Austria's capital combines majestic architecture with an abundance of tranquil green space and plenty of vibey cafes and eateries.

Vienna is home to the famous State Opera House, a host of art galleries, museums and other cultural attractions – all accessible by bike paths which wind through Vienna's quaint streets and neighbourhoods.

The Austrian culture can be insular, which is why there are so many social groups set up by expats, with groups for interests as various as book lovers, hikers, museum-goers, Australian-Austrians, mothers, writers and sports enthusiasts of every kind.

Contrary to what one might think, language is not an insurmountable barrier. The Viennese speak English very well and seem to enjoy practising their skills with expats. That said, there are many opportunities to learn German, and expats who make some effort to master the local language will certainly improve their career prospects.

Finding suitable accommodation in Vienna is no easy task. Housing is generally quite expensive and getting to grips with the property market can be frustrating. For this reason, most expats hire an estate agent to assist with finding a home. On the plus side, the city is highly accessible and getting around Vienna is easy. Extensive train, tram and bus systems allow expats to traverse Vienna in minimal time. Transportation is on schedule and inexpensive compared to many other cities.

Expats moving to Vienna with children will be pleased to know that the standard of education throughout Austria is excellent. The capital boasts a number of reputable international schools offering various curricula from around the world.

Whether moving alone or as part of a family, expats in Vienna will never run short of interesting things to see and do. Aside from the culturally and historically rich attractions the city offers, there are also plenty of exciting events throughout the year that are well worth attending.

Weather in Vienna

Vienna has a temperate continental climate, with warm, sunny summers, and bitterly cold winters. The average temperature in winter (December to February) ranges between 23°F and 34°F (-5°C to 2°C), while in summer (June to August), temperatures fluctuate between 75°F and 91°F (24°C and 33°C). Thunderstorms occur frequently in summer and snowfall is common in winter. Spring, autumn and the beginning of summer are perhaps the best times to enjoy the city, except for avid skiers and snowboarders who take to Austria's exceptional slopes during the winter months.

 

Pros and Cons of Moving to Vienna

Balancing expectations when moving to a new city can be daunting, and moving to Austria's capital is no exception. For those expats wondering about what life in the City of Music is really like, we've put together a list of pros and cons to consider before moving to Vienna.  


Transport in Vienna

+ PRO: Easy travel to neighbouring European countries

Austria's position in the heart of Europe allows for convenient and inexpensive travel to other European countries. Vienna is also connected by rail to various European cities, making overland travel effortless. 

+ PRO: Well-developed public transport system

Public transport in Vienna makes getting around Vienna relatively easy. The many public transport options in Vienna are extensive, timely, safe and comparatively inexpensive.

+ PRO: Vienna is bicycle friendly

Ample bike paths run throughout Vienna, ensuring that the whole city can be navigated by bicycle. These paths are maintained in winter, which means expats can cycle year round.


Accommodation in Vienna

- CON: Housing is expensive and challenging to find

As finding housing in Vienna is difficult, most people rely on estate agencies. This, along with the high initial costs involved in securing a lease, further increases the costs of setting up a home in Vienna. 


Weather in Vienna

- CON: Long winters

Although Vienna is warmer than most regions in Austria, those used to more tropical climes will find that winters in Vienna can feel exceptionally long and grey. 


Lifestyle in Vienna

+ PRO: Thriving arts scene

As well as being a haven for the performing arts, Vienna is home to an abundance of things to see and do. Expats living in Vienna will be spoilt for choice when it comes to cultural pursuits. 

+ PRO: Fantastic food

As an international city, Vienna's restaurant scene is a collection of cuisines from around the world. Then there's also Viennese fare, which is famed for its apfelstrudel among other baked delights. Vienna also boasts a sophisticated wine culture. 

- CON: Austrian culture can be challenging

Although Austrians enjoy meeting foreigners, making friends with locals can be difficult as Austrians tend to be quite guarded and tend to keep their personal lives private.

+ PRO: Active expat community

Despite any difficulty expats may face in integrating into the reserved Austrian culture, the city's large and diverse expat community organises many expat social groups and events, making it easy to befriend like-minded people. 

- CON: Service can seem rude

Wait staff in Vienna are famed for their apathy. This is best understood as a cultural difference between serving cultures rather than as a personal affront. 


Language gap in Vienna

+ PRO: English is readily spoken

Although not all Austrians speak English, many do. English is also a popular business language, leading more and more Austrians to speak it. 

- CON: Austrian German is challenging

Learning Austrian German is difficult as the language is full of nuance and, despite Austria's small size, regional idiosyncrasies. Those already fluent in German should expect many vocabulary differences.


Healthcare in Vienna

+ PRO: Excellent healthcare

Austria has one of the best healthcare systems in Europe, and expats living and working in Vienna will be given access to Austria's high-quality public healthcare. 

Working in Vienna

Finding a job in Austria isn't easy. The majority of expats relocate to Vienna as a result of a transfer from within their company. That said, there are a number of strong industries in Vienna, and highly skilled expats may find they have the expertise to fill a gap in the local workforce.

Expats who are citizens of EU-member states can legally work in Austria without having to obtain a work permit, but those from outside the EU will need to qualify for a work permit.

While English is generally spoken in business circles, expats who speak some basic German will certainly find it advantageous when it comes to securing a job in Vienna.


Job market in Vienna

As the capital of Austria, Vienna contributes approximately 25 percent of the country’s GDP. Vienna has prominent real-estate, engineering, banking and business sectors, while tourism is also a major employer in Vienna.

The city has a booming media sector and is home to the headquarters of several newspapers, radio stations and television channels. Many international media agencies have subsidiaries in Vienna and there is a large number of correspondents and journalists based in the city.

Vienna is also a major business hub within Europe and home to both branches and headquarters of major multinational corporations.


Finding a job in Vienna

Browsing online listings and social-networking sites such as LinkedIn before arriving in the country is a good idea as it allows for a quick cursory glance at the current state of the job market within a particular field. The classified section in local newspapers, and their online versions, are also a good source of information. 

Expats should also make use of any personal contacts to find out about job opportunities. Networking and personal relationships are incredibly important in Austria. Austrians tend to trust friends, so personal recommendations are highly valued. 


Work culture in Vienna

Vienna may be a lively and cosmopolitan city but its work culture still has old-fashioned values and perhaps less egalitarian structures than some expats may be used to. Most companies have a definite hierarchical structure, and those in senior positions, particularly those who have high qualifications and many years of experience, are highly regarded and deferred to.

Viennese work culture prides itself on the concept of Sozialpartnerschaft, or social partnership, which promotes cooperation and dialogue in matters relating to industrial relations. It is important for expat entrepreneurs and business owners to work closely and cooperate with local business partners and Austrian subsidiary companies.

Cost of Living in Vienna

Having ranked 54th out of 209 cities in the Mercer Cost of Living Survey for 2020, Vienna is an expensive destination for expats. It's important that expats moving to the city for work ensure that their salary is high enough to comfortably cover the cost of living.

The good news is that Vienna is still cheaper than a number of European destinations, including Zurich, Copenhagen and London. In addition, Vienna caters for all budgets and generally has a wide selection of choice for those looking to save some money, as well as those after a more luxurious Viennese lifestyle. 


Cost of accommodation in Vienna

Accommodation is one of the biggest costs that expats moving to Vienna will face. Rental costs vary depending on the area of the city and the size and condition of the property. Living in the city centre is more expensive than staying in outlying suburbs.

It can be challenging to find a suitable property in Vienna and most expats enlist the help of a real-estate agent. Expats should be aware that additional fees, which are equivalent to two or three months’ rent, can be charged by the agent. Tenants are expected to pay a security deposit which is usually the equivalent of one to three months’ rent.


Cost of transport in Vienna

The second-largest expense for people living in Vienna is that of car ownership. While purchasing a vehicle in Vienna is not always expensive, the cost of maintaining a car and paying for parking can become quite expensive over time.

However, this is one expense that can quite easily be avoided. The public transport network in Vienna is excellent and most of the city’s residents get around by using buses and trains. Cycling is also popular in Vienna.


Cost of groceries in Vienna

Vienna is home to an abundance of grocery chains such as Billa, Spar and Hoffer. At these stores, expats should be able to find a good choice of groceries at reasonable prices.

Those looking to indulge can head to Spar Gourmet or Merkur, which sell a variety of luxury items. Expats who are looking to save money should visit Penny Markt, which has a lot of budget grocery options. Shopping at local markets is also a great way to save money on local seasonal produce.


Cost of eating out in Vienna

Expats moving to Vienna will find many good restaurants with diverse pricing, representing a variety of dining options. Ethnic restaurants are not overly abundant, however, and the good ones tend to be on the pricey side.


Cost of education in Vienna

Expat residents in Vienna can send their children to Austrian public schools for free. That said, the curriculum is taught in German and if a child isn't already familiar with the language, it can be a difficult adjustment.

On the other hand, Vienna has many international schools that cater for expat children, but these can be quite expensive. Tuition fees vary depending on the school and generally increase for higher grade levels. 


Cost of living chart for Vienna

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below is based on average prices in Vienna for February 2021.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 880

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 630

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

EUR 1,500

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

EUR 1,200

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)

EUR 1.10

Cheese (1kg)

EUR 10

Dozen eggs

EUR 3

Loaf of white bread 

EUR 1.60

Rice (1kg)

EUR 1.65

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

EUR 5.50

Transportation

City centre bus/train fare

EUR 2.40

Taxi rate per km

EUR 1.40

Petrol/gasoline per litre

EUR 1.20

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

EUR 8

Coca Cola (330 ml)   

EUR 2.70

Cappuccino

EUR 3.40

Bottle of domestic beer

EUR 3.90

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant

EUR 50

Utilities

Internet (uncapped ADSL per month)

EUR 34

Mobile call rate (mobile-to-mobile per minute)

EUR 0.06

Utilities (average per month for a standard household)

EUR 193

Hourly rate for domestic help

EUR 15

Accommodation in Vienna

Vienna is a well-planned city and is organised into 23 districts, the first being the city centre. Generally, the further one moves from Vienna's centre, the cheaper the property prices are.

Vienna has an efficient transportation system, and expats can essentially live anywhere and still keep their work commute to less than 30 minutes. 


Types of accommodation in Vienna 

Accommodation in Vienna is mostly in the form of apartments housed in multi-storey buildings. Older buildings have classic Viennese black wrought-iron balconies, with the interior being characterised by high ceilings and parquet floors. New buildings have more modern, flat facades and will tend to have lower ceilings, new floors and modern windows.

The standard of accommodation in Vienna is high. Expats will find that features such as indoor heating and double glazing are standard.

Shared accommodation is likely to be partly furnished, but most apartments in Vienna are unfurnished. There are a number of good furniture stores in Vienna, where new arrivals will find everything they need.


Finding accommodation in Vienna

Finding a suitable new home in Vienna can be a challenge for new arrivals, as the city's property market can be difficult to navigate. 

While property portals and listings in local newspapers can be good sources, they are mostly in German. We therefore recommend that expats utilise the services of a professional real-estate agent. While their services do come at a cost (up to two months' worth of rent), they are well equipped to find properties that meet expat needs and lifestyle preferences.

Expats moving to Vienna should note that it is easier to find rental properties during certain times of the year than others. September is the beginning of the academic year in Austria and the influx of students to Vienna increases competition for rental properties.


Renting accommodation in Vienna

Most expats choose to rent accommodation rather than purchase property in Vienna. Both furnished and unfurnished rentals are available.

Making an application

Once expats have found a property that meets their requirements, they will be expected to complete a detailed application form and provide evidence of their income and legal status in the country. In some cases, they may be asked for a reference from a previous landlord or a certificate indicating they have no outstanding rent due.

Leases and deposits

Before signing a lease it’s important to understand exactly what the lease requires. Long-term contracts can be binding and the idiosyncrasies of Viennese apartments can be intimidating. The standard lease length is three years, with required deposits ranging from one to three months' worth of rent. After a set period (usually a year), the tenant can end the lease as long as they give three months' notice.

Utilities

Generally, tenants are responsible for all their utility bills. But expats may be offered the option of paying a flat fee each month to cover the utilities – this often works out to be more economical, especially in the winter months.

Areas and suburbs in Vienna

The best places to live in Vienna

The areas and suburbs in Vienna are organised into 23 distinct districts (bezirke), each with their own unique character and assortment of pros and cons. Each of the districts has a name but are also universally known by their number. The first district is closest to the city centre, with the numbers increasing the further a district is from the centre. 

Districts 1 to 9 make up the inner city of Vienna. These areas tend to be much more densely populated than districts that are further away from the city centre. The major advantage of city living in Vienna is that residents have easy access to Vienna’s cultural offerings and best amenities.

While there are no distinct expat areas of Vienna, generally speaking, young professionals tend to live closer to the city centre, while expats with families tend to live in districts further afield that lie in close proximity to good international schools.

Vienna has a sophisticated transportation network so getting around isn’t much of an issue. Choosing where to live will depend significantly on an expat's lifestyle preferences, priorities and budget. Below are some of the most popular areas among Vienna’s expat population.


City living in Vienna

Vienna city centreDistrict 1 – Innere Stadt

District 1, or the Innere Stadt, is the city’s most expensive area by far. It boasts a vast array of architectural delights including St Stephen’s Cathedral and the Hofburg Palace.

Developers here have created luxury apartment buildings while maintaining the historic facade of the buildings. Rental properties are hard to come by in District 1, so expect to pay a hefty price.

District 2 – Leapoldstadt

District 2, or Leopoldstadt, is significantly cheaper than District 1 and has more of a multicultural feel, having once been popular with various immigrant groups and students. Property tends to be small with a mix of old and new interiors. A prominent feature of this island district located between a major river and a canal is the Prater, a beautiful green park which was once a royal hunting ground.

Districts 3, 4 and 5 – Landstrasse, Wieden and Margareten

These urban districts are located south of District 1. Expats will find a greater choice of housing options in each of these areas. All of these are well located in terms of public transportation routes so getting around won’t be a problem at all. In District 3, expats will find a number of historic sites including the castle and gardens of Belvedere. District 4 is home to the Naschmarkt, Vienna's largest food market.

Districts 8 and 9 – Josefstadt and Alsergrund

These areas are popular with wealthy locals and expats alike who are looking to live centrally. Josefstadt has a bohemian feel and is located just a stone’s throw away from City Hall and Parliament in District 1. Both Josefstadt and Alsergrund are popular with students and academics because these areas are close to the University of Vienna.


Suburban life in Vienna

Vienna outer districtsDistricts 18 and 19 – Währing and Döbling

Further away from Vienna’s city centre, expats will find more options in terms of family-friendly housing. Districts 18 and 19 are home to some popular international schools and nurseries. Lots of new arrivals choose to base themselves here because of the strong expat community that surrounds these schools, as well as the availability of houses instead of apartments. There are also many beautiful parks in the area for a day out with the family.

Expats who choose to live in these suburbs might feel a little cut off from Viennese culture, however, and will benefit from having a car for getting about.

Healthcare in Vienna

Expats moving to Vienna can rest assured that when it comes to their health they will be well catered for as Austria boasts one of the best healthcare systems in Europe.

Thanks to tax contributions, everyone living and working in the city is entitled to healthcare services in Vienna. As a result of this and the excellent standard of public healthcare in Austria, most people do not need to invest in private health insurance policies. However, expats who have the option of private healthcare as part of their employment package should take up this incentive as it allows them access to a greater number of services and shorter waiting times.

Pharmacies are well stocked and readily available in Vienna. They can be found along any major shopping street, mall or located close to a hospital.

Below is a list of prominent hospitals in Vienna.


Hospitals in Vienna

Confraternität Private Hospital

Websitewww.privatklinik-confraternitaet.at
Address: Skodagasse 32, 1080 Vienna

Elisabethinen Hospital Graz

Websitewww.elisabethinen.at
Address: Elisabethinergasse 14, 8020 Graz

Franziskus Spital Margareten

Websitewww.franziskusspital.at
Address: Nikolsdorfergasse 32, 1050 Vienna

Goldenes Kreuz Private Hospital

Website: www.privatklinik-goldenes-kreuz.at
Address: Lazarettgasse 16-18, 1090 Vienna

Education and Schools in Vienna

Expats moving to Vienna with children will need to make a few important decisions, specifically whether to send their children to an international school or to a public bilingual school. Primary factors to consider are the cost of school fees and the curriculum taught, as well as the location of the school.

As there are many schooling options in Vienna, it is important to know what is available in order to make an informed decision.


Public schools in Vienna

Education in Austria is compulsory between the ages of six and 15. Schooling is separated into four years of Volksschule (primary school), and eight years of Gymnasium (secondary school). The latter is further divided into lower secondary school (four years) and upper secondary school, with vocational or academic training being offered for the final four years.

Registration takes place in March, and most schools have an open house (Schnuppertag) in February, which is when parents can speak to teachers and directors. Children are not zoned according to where they live – they can attend school anywhere in the city subject to acceptance.

Bilingual schools

Due to a significant language barrier, standard public schools are not a feasible option for most expats who only plan on spending a short time in the city, but bilingual schools are a good alternative. At Viennese bilingual schools, students are taught in both German and English. These are effectively public schools, so fees are low or non-existent.

Bilingual schools are popular among expats and local Austrians alike, so competition for places is high. There are just a handful of these schools in Vienna so we recommend expats apply for a place as soon as possible.


International schools in Vienna

There are several international schools in Vienna where students are taught in English. They are highly regarded but incredibly expensive. The benefit of attending an international school is that it allows students to continue studying in their home curriculum, and children as well as parents can mix with fellow expat families.

Many expats choose to live in the same neighbourhood as the school their child attends. The transition to a new city is made easier thanks to the resources and facilities available at the school. However, some would say that the cultural experience of being in a foreign city is limited by expats surrounding themselves with other expats.


Special-needs education in Vienna

Children with special educational needs attend mainstream schools as far as possible or, for severe disabilities, special schools designed to cater to their specific needs. According to Austrian law, parents have the right to choose the kind of schooling they prefer for their child.

Special schools educate disabled children through a variety of methods, depending on the disability by means of small learner groups, specially trained teachers, curricula which pay attention to the respective disabilities and special methods and materials.

Education in special schools covers the whole period of compulsory schooling. After academic education, a pre-vocational year takes place in special schools, during which learners are supported in the transition period from school to the labour market.


Tutoring in Vienna

Tutors are widely used in Vienna to improve and assist children's schooling. They might be employed to assist in specific subjects such as maths or science, or expat parents will often hire a tutor to improve their child's German language proficiency. Tutors are further used in preparation for important exams or for university entrance exams.

Newcomers to Vienna might also find that their child may benefit from having a guiding hand in navigating a new school system or just to build some confidence. Top private tuition companies include GoStudent and TeacherOn.

International Schools in Vienna

Expats moving to Vienna with children will be glad to know that there are a number of international schools in the city. These schools are well equipped to deal with the challenges faced by students who have relocated to a new city and country. International schools follow the national curriculum of their home country or globally recognised programmes such as the International Baccalaureate. 

While international schools typically offer a high level of education in a diverse setting, they are also often prohibitively expensive. Expat parents moving to Vienna for work purposes are advised to try to negotiate an education allowance into their relocation contact.


International schools in Vienna

Amadeus International School Vienna

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18
Website: www.amadeus-vienna.com

American International School 

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: American and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 4 to 18
Website: www.ais.at

Danube School 

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18
Website: www.danubeschool.com

International Christian School of Vienna

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: American and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 5 to 18
Website: www.icsv.at

Lycée Français Wien

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: French
Ages: 3 to 18
Website: www.lyceefrancais.at

Vienna International School

Gender: Co-educational
Ages: 3 to 18
Curriculum: International Baccalaureate
Website: www.vis.ac.at

Lifestyle in Vienna

Many expats notice that the lifestyle in Vienna has a distinctly laid-back feel to it. Rather than live to work, the Viennese tend to work to live – and the vast array of things to see and do here reflects that.

Though known as the classical-music capital of the world, Vienna also has a lot to offer in terms of food and entertainment. There is always time to linger and enjoy a good cup of coffee or spend an afternoon browsing a street market.


Shopping in Vienna

Expats who enjoy shopping will be pleased to learn that there are plenty of places in Vienna to indulge in a bit of retail therapy. Mariahilfer Strasse is one of the longest shopping streets in the city and all sorts of department stores can be found there, with smaller shops and quaint street cafes tucked away in between.

Another must-see shopping street is Kärntner Strasse, which has the notable distinction of hosting the flagship store of Swarovski, which was founded in Austria. Fashionistas will feel right at home Kärntner Strasse, which has everything from designer labels to high-street fashion close at hand. 


Markets in Vienna

Vienna is known for its food markets, most notably the Naschmarkt and Brunnenmarkt. The Naschmarkt is filled with unusual and tasty foods from every corner of the world and has plenty to offer expats and tourists alike. The Brunnenmarkt is located in a trendy art district and offers a wide selection of goods, including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, exotic spices, and much else. Somewhat less touristy than the Naschmarkt, expats are more likely to meet and mingle with locals at the Brunnenmarkt.


Eating out in Vienna

Expats looking to eat out in Vienna will find it difficult to choose between the many international dishes and restaurants on offer. From classic Viennese fare to teppanyaki or modern vegan cuisine, expats in Vienna have access to a variety of global flavours. 


Arts and culture in Vienna

Vienna is a lovely city to stroll through and is full of cultural pursuits. The Museumsquartier is a great place to start. It's home to several museums, including the Leopold Museum, which is a great introduction to some of Austria’s well-known artists. For those with kids, the whole family is sure to have a fun day out filled with activities at the ZOOM Kindermuseum.

Living up to its nickname of the City of MusicVienna is of course bursting with high-class performance venues where a wide variety of musical talent can be found. The Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera) is a must-see, and with an average of 50 operas a year, it's easy enough to find a performance that fits one's schedule.

See and Do in Vienna

Expats in Vienna will find a spectacular and vibrant city with countless things to see and do on any day of the week. The city is a cultural and historical paradise, with many museums, architectural landmarks and entertainment possibilities on offer throughout the city.


Recommended attractions in Vienna

Hofburg Palace

A visit to the stunning Hofburg Palace in Vienna provides guests with an authentic view of life in what was once the centre of the powerful Habsburg dynasty, the family that once ruled over Austria.

St Stephen’s Cathedral

This impressive Catholic Church is located in Stephansplatz, right in the heart of Vienna. It is the most important and recognisable church in the Austrian capital. Thanks to its distinctly colourful roof, it can easily be spotted from just about anywhere in Vienna.

Schönbrunn Palace

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Vienna, Schönbrunn is a Rococo-style building which was once the summer palace of the Habsburg monarchy. The palace has more than 1,400 rooms and lovely gardens which can be enjoyed by visitors during the summer months.

Belvedere Palace

This is one of Europe’s best examples of baroque architecture. It actually consists of two palaces – Upper Belvedere and Lower Belvedere – as well as a modern art museum known as Belvedere 21.

Stadtpark

This sprawling park is a great place for a relaxing afternoon after a busy morning of sightseeing. The grounds of the park are leafy and tranquil, with the Wienfluss (Vienna River) running through it. Stadtpark is also known for its many sculptures of famous Austrians.

Das Schmetterlinghaus (The Butterfly House)

Formally part of Hofburg Palace, this special tropical butterfly house displays and breeds hundreds of live, free-flying butterflies from all over the world. Be aware that it is quite humid inside, as they have tried to replicate a natural rainforest environment for the butterflies.

Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien (Museum of Art History Vienna)

This is regarded as one of the best art museums in the world and the scope of the works found here come close to the collections of the Louvre or the Prado. The museum is housed in a magnificent building which is located close to Hofburg Palace and holds an impressive collection of Egyptian and Greek art as well as many European pieces.

What's On in Vienna

There's plenty of fun things to do in Vienna throughout the year, especially in the summer months. Whether it’s a music or film festival, a fun market or an ice-skating spectacle, there is rarely a dull moment in this vibrant capital city. Events are also a great way for newcomers to Vienna to meet locals and other expats, and to make some friends in their new city.


Annual events in Vienna

The New Year’s Concert (January)

Kicking the year off with spirit is the New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. It is broadcast on television and radio all over the world – many tourists visit the Wiener Musikverein just to see the Golden Hall where it takes place. Tickets are sold out well in advance of this momentous annual event, so it's best to book early.  

Ball Season (January to March)

The ball season in Vienna starts in January and consists of a range of small to extravagant balls that are organised throughout the city. These balls present a chance to dress up and dance the night away to a Wiener Waltz and other traditional dances. The most famous is the Opera Ball. Attracting Vienna’s elite, it takes place at the Vienna State Opera House. 

Vienna Ice Dream (January to March)

For ice-skating lovers, the Wiener Eistraum (Vienna Ice Dream) is held in front of the Vienna City Hall. The area is transformed into a winter wonderland with skating trails snaking underneath trees. This is a fun outing that the entire family can enjoy together.

Donauinselfest (June)

The world's biggest free open-air music festival takes place in the summer along the banks of the River Donau. Vienna's residents and people from around the world come together to enjoy all kinds of music in the heart of the city.

Vienna International Film Festival (October)

Also known as the Viennale, Austria’s main film festival takes place each year in October and offers a wide selection of international films across various genres. From short films and documentaries to experimental films and full-length features, movie buffs are sure to enjoy this event. 

Christmas Markets (November to December)

As the summer comes to an end, it’s not long before the eagerly awaited Christmas markets open in November. These can be found across the city, where visitors can warm themselves with Glühwein and do some gift shopping in the cold weeks leading up to Christmas. 

Getting Around in Vienna

Getting around in Vienna is simple and straightforward. The city centre is within half an hour of the outskirts of Vienna via the capital’s extensive, varied and efficient public transport system. With an abundance of cycling paths, Vienna is also an extremely bicycle-friendly city with many expats embracing the romance of cycling culture. Conversely, and as parking in Vienna is both expensive and difficult to find, most expats don't own cars.  

Because many commuters use public transport, the city centre is not as congested by traffic as other European capitals. Within the city centre itself, getting around on foot is best.


Public transport in Vienna

The Weiner Linien public transport service operates a number of tram, bus and subway lines.

A single ticket is valid for travelling one way anywhere within Vienna, using any form of transport. Tickets can be purchased online, at ticket offices or at station ticket machines. For those who plan on using public transport regularly, there are other ticketing options available, such as for weekly or monthly travel. This can save money in the long run.

Tram

Trams are easily found throughout the city. Though they are probably the slowest way of travelling, trams are a fun way to get around Vienna in short hops or for sightseeing.

While the Viennese use trams on a day out, most people opt to use buses and the U-Bahn for regular commuting because they cover a more extensive area and are more efficient modes of transportation.

Bus

Vienna’s bus network is extensive and most parts of the city are served adequately by the bus network. However, travelling by bus can sometimes be slow during rush hour.

Vienna’s commuters make use of the bus lines but tourists tend to stick to a combination of subway, tram and foot to get around. There are night buses which operate when other transport options aren’t available.

U-Bahn

The U-Bahn is Vienna’s subway system. It has an extensive network of lines throughout the city and is the most popular and quickest way to get around the city.

Trains run regularly and arrive at 15-minute intervals, depending on the line being used and the time of day. It is important to note that U-Bahn services run less frequently at weekends and in the evenings.

S-Bahn

The S-Bahn is a rapid-transit train system. S-Bahn lines extend beyond Vienna's city limits and are largely used for regional travel. However, there is a line known as the Vorortelinie (Vienna suburban line) which is entirely within the city and is frequented by commuters living along its route.


Taxis in Vienna

Generally reliable and affordable, taxis can be found at designated stations and taxi ranks throughout the city. Journeys in the city are charged according to the taxi meter. If expats are travelling to or from the outlying suburbs, they should consider booking a taxi ahead of time. This can be done online or by phone.

Ride-hailing apps

Although not as popular as they are in other European cities, ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft operate in Vienna. These services generally cost the same as taxis, but some expats prefer the control that these apps give them over their route.   


Driving in Vienna

The city centre of Vienna is best avoided by drivers. It's not an easy area to navigate, and parking can be extremely expensive. There are a number of park-and-ride areas close to public transport where one can leave their car, which is a good alternative to driving into the city. It's easy to get around the city centre on foot or on public transport, and most visitors to the city find that a car is more trouble than it is worth.

Those who do decide to drive in Vienna should ensure they have a valid international drivers' licence.


Walking in Vienna

The city centre in Vienna is compact and picturesque, with narrow cobblestone streets. Most people find that a combination of the U-Bahn and walking is the easiest way to get around the city.


Cycling in Vienna

There are bike paths across Vienna and over 120 bicycle-renting stations. Bicycles can be hired at and returned to any station in the city. Otherwise, expats who intend to cycle a lot can easily purchase a new or second-hand bicycle.