The capital of Austria has left an indelible mark on history through music, culture and its status as a venue for international diplomacy. Home to both the United Nations and the birthplace of Sigmund Freud, Vienna experiences rich cultural diversity and a high standard of living. Immortalised in a waltz by composer Johann Strauss, Vienna’s blue Danube has been a key feature of the city for hundreds of years. Today, many visitors to Vienna come by boat as part of a trip down the Danube, and you’re sure to be impressed by the distinguished beauty of the city and its lavish historical buildings, great restaurants and cultural legacy.
River cruises dock at the Reichsbrücke Terminal, just next to the Reichsbrücke bridge, with easy access to the Donauinsel station, part of Vienna’s U-Bahn network of underground rail. There is another smaller port towards the northern end of the city, which cruises also occasionally dock at called Nussdorf, a suburb with its history rooted in wine production.
How To Get Around
Getting around Vienna is best done via public transport. The U-Bahn is very efficient and cost effective, with the closest station being right next to port. There are also trams that run throughout the city and they are a great way to get a feel for the place above ground. From Schwedenplatz, a special tourist tram service operates with guided commentary of some of the city’s major sites.
Vienna has a bike hire system whereby bikes are picked up and dropped off at various designated spots. The service comes free of charge for the first hour, and then costs 1 euro for each consecutive hour.
- Currency - the currency in Vienna is the Euro (EUR). Coin denominations include: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. Note denominations include: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros.
- Time Zone - Vienna uses Central European Summer Time (CEST) from April to October, and Central European Time (CST) for the rest of the year. CEST is +2 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) whilst CST is +1 hour ahead.
- Weather - the weather in Austria is typified by an oceanic climate, with average daily temperatures ranging from 0 degrees Celsius in January to 20 degrees Celsius in July. Peak snowfall is generally in January to February.
- Schönbrunn Palace - Vienna’s most popular tourist destination, Schönbrunn Palace, is a large Rococo Palace only 10 kilometres from the Danube. The site was once home to the Habsburg monarchy, with the formative structure dating back to the 16th century. An opulent European-style palace, it features fine sculpture, baroque detailing and even a garden maze.
- State Opera House - the Vienna State Opera, or in German ‘Wiener Staatsoper’ is a neo-renaissance style opera house in the heart of the city. Showing over 50 operas per year and 10 ballet productions, there is always something to see. Cheap standing-room-only tickets are made available close to opening time, although these can attract a fairly boisterous crowd. From April to September, performances are broadcast for free on a large screen outside the Opera House.
- Naschmarkt - a great atmosphere and some fine fresh produce typify a day at the Naschmarkt, a 1.5-kilometre stretch near Karlsplatz U-Bahn station. The origins of this market are in the 16th century, and today it continues as a popular spot for visitors to buy exotic herbs and spices, and food and drink from all over the world. The surrounding area has grown to complement the market district and offers fine restaurants and takeaway spots for market goers.
- Wiener Riesenrad - this 65-metre ferris wheel has stood at the entrance to the world’s oldest amusement park (the Wurstelprater) since 1897. It has been a popular location for film crews throughout its life, and offers a spectacular view of the city from the top of its circle, with a round trip taking around 20 minutes. The Wurstelprater itself is just nearby and contains many carnival amusements such as bumper cars, a ghost train and sideshows.