Here’s 13 things we wish somebody had told us about Vienna when we first moved here
1. The old people of Vienna will tell you off, but don’t take it personally
Think of them as the custodians of the city – they keep order in the streets. We actually think they should be installed as the UN security council – they’d do a better job.
2. Life always wins in the work-life balance
Don’t fight it, but instead, go with it. You are living in a city with a culture that encourages emptied out offices at 12pm on a Friday. They may not be as known for it as the French, nor have a fancy French word for it, but Austrians are pros at living by the ethos – Joie de vivre The only difference is, Austrians will do a lot of complaining about it (‘it’ being life) in the process.
3. Schau ma mal valley: things take time when it comes to business in Vienna
This is what makes Austrians hard to work out – they like rules and they complain a lot, but they can also be a very relaxed people. Business is a slow beast in this country because of the ‘no stress’ and schau ma mal mantra that is pulled out in many professional scenarios. California has silicon valley – Vienna has schau ma mal valley.
4. Rules are verrrry important
There is an Orwellian respect for rules in Vienna. They are loved, cherished, and put on big signs around the city (see example above). Don’t fuck with them, and you and Vienna will get along just fine.
5. You don’t need to speak German to get around. You need to speak Viennese!
You’re not alone with your confusion when you walk out of a German class full of confidence, right up until the point you speak to somebody on the street and you don’t understand a word they’ve said. This lovely, melodic kind of German they’re speaking is the Viennese brand of it, and the people of this city are damn proud of it. As soon as somebody starts speaking in thick Viennese dialect at a party, you’ll notice that many others will get really enthusiastic about it and join in, all trying to better each other in who can speak the thickest Wienerisch. At first, you’ll sit there with a nervous smile on your face wondering to yourself, ‘what’s going on?’ but it will soon pass. And before you know it, you’ll have learnt enough Viennese to join in too!
6. You’ve got to look hard to find the party
Vienna’s nightlife won’t serve itself to you on a platter, but instead, you have to go looking for it. This is part of the fun, we think. We can guarantee you, there’s some wild parties happening in this city, so they are out there, but you just have to go looking for them. One good place to start is our insider-tip-rich weekly event guides.
7. Customer service – what the fuck is that?
Don’t take offense when a cashier or waiter gives you some primitive grunt when you ask for something, or seek a bit of friendly service… you know… the service you’re actually paying for – it’s not personal! Expecting customer service in Vienna is like expecting your grandmother to keep your condom supply in the chest of drawers next to your bed topped up – you’re seeking for the wrong thing from the wrong person that just don’t want to know about it.
8. Always carry cash
This is a golden piece of advice. You will, sooner or later face that moment when you’re in a restaurant, you ask to pay with card and the waiter looks at you like you’ve asked him to sing a number out of the opera, Aida, for you. And sometimes in these situations, walking around looking for a bank machine can be like wandering around the desert looking for water, so once more – always. carry. cash.
9. Buy a bike – Vienna is a biker’s dream
With plentiful bike lanes, and a relatively flat landscape, Vienna’s a biking utopia. Buy yourself a bike, and pedal your way into a much better lifestyle in this city.
10. Choose your district wisely – it matters where you live
Even though Vienna is small for a capital city, which district you live in really does define your experience of the city. Each neighbourhood is individual, just like you, so choose wisely before you go signing any contracts. Check out our guide which makes moving in Vienna easier.
11. Going to a Gasthaus and downing some Austrian food after a night out is the best hangover medicine
A country with beer and wine interwoven so deeply into their culture is always going to have a cuisine to counter a hangover. When waking up with a hangover, forget the headache tablets – just book yourself a table at your favourite Austrian Gasthaus.
12. The public transport’s ‘Jahreskarte’ is soooo worth it, and the Niederösterreich-CARD is an awesome insider tip
The public transport’s so-called Jahreskarte (aka. yearly membership card) will cost you a little over 1€ a day and have you catching whatever public transport you like within city limits. Sometimes we just jump from bus to tram to U-Bahn for the sake of getting our moneys worth!
Also, while we’re on the subject of getting some cards in your pocket, the Niederösterreich-CARD is a brilliant insider’s tip. For 61€ you get over 300 experiences in Vienna and in Lower Austria, including stuff like a ride on the Prater Riesenrad and other museums in Vienna. It’s a great way to tick off the sights and explore Vienna and its surroundings.
13. Sunday is quiet time
There are actually laws stating that you should refrain from hammering nails into walls, drilling, doing your laundry or making any other kind of disruptive noise on a Sunday. Noise pollution is a thing taken seriously in Vienna, which makes Vienna feel like a library on a Sunday sometimes. Like we said above in point 11 – it’s the best city for hangovers.