7 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Vienna
During our food tour, we pride ourselves on telling you the real deal about Vienna. Less historic facts, more information about how life is really like in the city that has been named the most livable city in the world for the past 5 years running or so. Like with so many things, not everything is always like it seems - which is why we want to share these 7 things you should know before you visit Vienna.
1. We have become quite popular.
Forget Rome, Paris or London - in recent years, people have seemingly discovered Vienna as the more affordable and just-as-fascinating option for their vacation destination. Be aware that some of our beloved sights such as St. Stephen’s Cathedral or Schönbrunn Palace can get quite crowded and try to book tickets online whenever you can to avoid a long queue. The same goes for your culinary wishes: If you want to be sure to try certain restaurants, definitely book ahead - even during the week.
2. We are very catholic (at least on paper).
To this day, approx. 60% of Austria’s population is catholic. Of course this does not say anything about the number of people who go to church every week, but our catholic ways still have plenty of influence on daily life. For example, all shops and stores (and many restaurants, unfortunately!) are closed on Sundays because the law prevents them from opening up. So stock up on your breakfast, snacks or shampoo on Saturday where most shops are open until 6pm.
3. We love dogs.
A recent statistic mentioned that in Vienna, there are approx. 50,000 dogs. That number is higher than the amount of people who live in the city’s 5th district! If you are visiting during the warmer months, chances are you’ll be seeing our best friends everywhere - even in restaurants and cafés. As most pups are well-behaved and very cute, this is totally normal.
4. Our public transport system is top-notch.
While the locals like to moan about delays and long waits, Vienna’s public transport system is actually really amazing: It’s extensive yet affordable, the stops and wagons are clean and safe, the intervals are great and the subway even runs 24 hours on the weekends and the night before public holidays. On the off chance that you may need a car, Uber or those cute electric scooters are the way to go!
5. We have grumpy waiters (sorry!).
Yes, Vienna’s famous grumpy waiters. While we’ve had many discussions with locals who feel like they are part of the old Viennese charm (huh?), we just don’t feel it. Be aware that while the food and drinks may be great, the service, unfortunately, isn’t always. Just remember: It’s not personal - and feel free to adjust your tip (10% is customary, if you were satisfied with your service).
6. You don’t need to visit the Heurigen in Grinzing.
Vienna’s wonderful wine taverns are situated on the outskirts of the city and are wonderful hangouts. The food is great, the drinks even better and it’s truly a real slice of Viennese life. Except most of the Heurigen in Grinzing, which have unfortunately become overrun with busloads of visitors and lack the authentic, original charm. Our Heurigen Guide has tons of other options listed - or if you want to try out one of our brand-new Vienna Heurigen Tours (launching in Spring 2019!) sign up here to be notified as soon as they become available.
7. Drinking in public is totally fine.
It’s true: You have come to a special place. A place where not only can you buy a beer from any supermarket or sausage stand, you can also leisurely drink it on a comfy bench, in the park or during a picnic. The only exception: Drinking alcohol is prohibited on all forms of Vienna’s public transport network.