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heading to Vienna this weekend! any last minute tips?

We are finally heading to Vienna this weekend for our week long adventure! Are they any last minute details or info we need to know? Looks like the weather will be cold but clear most of next week.

Posted by
971 posts

Hey! We are heading there in a few weeks and registered with the STEP thing and just got this alert for Vienna for Saturday.. justi might steer clear of the area.

Kim

Local media report that two competing demonstrations are scheduled for this Saturday, 3 December in the vicinity of the Westbahnhof. A rightwing group plans to protest at 1900 hours. A counter demonstration by a leftwing group is scheduled to start earlier, at 1730 hours. Reports include speculation on the possibility of violence in the event altercations materialize between opposing groups of protestors or opportunistic agitators, as well as the potential for vandalism. These reports have not estimated the number of participants, but since both demonstrations have been registered with the police, an appropriate security presence is expected.

Please note that in addition to a foreseeable potential for localized protest-related violence and vandalism, disruptions to pedestrian and vehicular traffic and tram service in the immediate vicinity of Westbahnhof and Mariahilferstrasse are also possible. Plan accordingly.

As always, remember to take personal security precautions to include being aware of your surroundings and avoiding large gatherings.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Austria enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy to contact you in an emergency.

Posted by
3111 posts

Yes the weather does look like it's about as good as it can be for December! Enjoy the Christmas markets, especially with some gluhwein after dark!

Posted by
4695 posts

Thursday next week (Dec 8) is a national holiday, so shops and groceries will be closed. Children are off school on Friday as well, so it is a big four day weekend for most.

I really wouldn't worry about the demonstration. Just don't go to Mariahilferstrasse or Westbahnhof that evening and you'll be fine.

Best Christmas markets, in my humble opinion, are Spittelberg, Karlsplatz, Schonbrunn and Belvedere.

It will be colder than usual. Weather forecasts can change quick, so really prepare for anything.

Posted by
46 posts

We just got back from our week in Vienna . . . ditto the above about which markets are the best . . .in addition we took a day and a half to go to Salzburg and another day to Bratislava. Salzburg was really worth the time. . . the market was great, and the city was beautiful and easy to get around in. The market in Bratislava was mainly great food and very friendly people. The trains to either city are easy . . . just get on the train and pay once you're on the train. Check the information in your RS guide book.

We used the 8-day pass in Vienna . ..worked great. We ended up using only one pass for two people since we were gone some of the days.

Posted by
103 posts

Thanks to all! One last question--if I understand correctly, if we arrive on Saturday we cannot use the 8 day pass until Monday? So should we get a 48 hr pass to get us through until Monday and then buy the 8 day? TIA for some clarity :)

Posted by
103 posts

Thanks to all! One last question--if I understand correctly, if we arrive on Saturday we cannot use the 8 day pass until Monday? So should we get a 48 hr pass to get us through until Monday and then buy the 8 day? TIA for some clarity :)

Posted by
4695 posts

The 8 day strip ticket can be used on any day, even non-consecutive days. You simply validate one box for each day and each user.

The weekly and monthly passes are the ones that start on Monday 12:00 am and the first day of the month, respectively.

24, 48 and 72 hours passes are validated by the ticket machine upon purchase, unless you select otherwise.

So the bottom line is that an 8 day strip ticket will be your best choice from Saturday, which you give two people four days of travel. Note: punching one of the 8 day boxes only pays off if you make 3 or more trips in a day. Otherwise, if you only think you'll make 1-2 trips in a given day, individual tickets are the most economical.

Posted by
1492 posts

Re: Vienna - Bratislava

The trains to either city are easy . . . just get on the train and pay once you're on the train.

That is not very economical. Best is to buy the so called "Bratislover" ticket in advance (€ 16), This is a return ticket from Vienna to Bratislava whch includes free use of any public transport in Bratislava for one day.

There are two different train routes to Bratislava, ending in train stations on either side of the danube river. Busses will bring you from there to the historic center.

Posted by
971 posts

Hijacking a bit but same questions... Is it easy to get the Bratislover ticket? I can just buy it at the station? And is pubilc transport easy once you get to Bratislava?

Thanks!

Posted by
4695 posts

The bus is a much better option to Bratislava as the stop is right downtown. You can buy bus tickets at the VIB (international bus terminal) which is clearly signposted at the Erdberg stop of the U3 line. Tickets can be purchased just prior to travel.

The train stations in Bratislava are far from the center and not convenient for sightseeing, in my opinion.

Posted by
971 posts

Alyssa: Did you sign up for the alerts? They seem really helpful as to areas that might be really crowded... just got this one:

Local media has reported that this Saturday, December 03, at approximately 2pm there will be a demonstration taking place in Vienna related to Sunday’s Austrian Presidential election. The demonstration plans to start at MuseumsQuartier and march via the 8th district to a location behind the Rathaus and in proximity to the Christmas Market.

These reports have not estimated the number of participants, but as the demonstration has been registered with the police, an appropriate security presence is expected.

Please note that disruptions to pedestrian and vehicular traffic and tram service in the immediate vicinity are possible. Plan accordingly.

As always, remember to take personal security precautions to include being aware of your surroundings and avoiding large gatherings.

Posted by
103 posts

Yes Kim, I did sign up and received that alert earlier this morning. Given that tomorrow is an election day (and from what I have read a pretty important one) can anyone tell us if there will be anything different than a normal Sunday that we should be aware of?

Posted by
4695 posts

The election is on Sunday. I plan to go about my business as usual. It is a re-vote for the President, who has very little power in the Austrian system. The interesting thing about this election is that the teo finsl candidates are from extreme opposite ends of the political spectrum, with one being exceptionally right-wing scary.

Posted by
183 posts

Don't get too worked up about the demonstrations. There are likely to be some moving barricades and disruptions to trams, maybe some crowded periods on the U Bahn as a result. But that will be about it. You actually might find it interesting to see the marches. It has been kind of an intense political year here.

Posted by
1492 posts

Is it easy to get the Bratislover ticket?

Yes. You can buy it at a vending machine or - preferrably - at the ticket counter at "Wien Hbf" (main train station). You have to go there anyway because all trains to Bratislava leave from this station.

I never bought this ticket from a machine; possibly you will find it under "Euregio Slovakia", but I am not sure. I prefer to buy it at the ticket counter because you will get a folder with a timetable, city map, sights, other benefits with this ticket, etc.
See: http://www.oebb.at/file_source/reiseportal/angebote-und-ermaessigungen/EURegio/Folder%20BratisLover.pdf

This folder shows the hourly trains to "Bratislava hl. st." (main station), only, which is closer to the center. But there is also an hourly train to "Bratislva Petrzalka", which is on the other (i.e. right) side of the Danube river. Both train lines run alternating with an offset of half an hour, resulting in a train leaving for Bratislava every 30 minutes.

Petrzalka is a bit further away from the center, but easy reachable by bus. Bus line 93 connects both train stations, passing the historic center in the middle. Public transport is as easy to use as in Vienna, although the signage is not so sophisticated.

This is the complete train timetable to/from Bratislava:
http://www.oebb.at/file_source/reiseportal/strecken-%20und%20fahrplaninfos/Fahrplanbilder/Fahrplanbilder/kif701.pdf

This is the public transport map of Bratislava:
https://www.visitbratislava.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Mapa-MHD_JUL_2016_print.pdf

General information about the "Bratislover" ticket:
http://www.oebb.at/en/angebote-ermaessigungen/euregio-slowakei

I prefer to go by train to Bratislava, as opposed to bus. I find it more comfortable, and there is not much difference in travel time. To make the most out of this trip use different train routes for going back and forth.

Posted by
103 posts

Again, thank you all for your thoughtful responses. We are so looking forward to visiting your great city!

Posted by
971 posts

Yes, thanks everyone!

We too are excited!! Hoping not to freeze... it used to be relatively cold in San Francisco year round but it has been warmer the last few years and now I'm out of practice... we just got into a colder snap again (but only like low 50s!!!) and we are freezing! I have forgotten how cold it will be there! But we have our layers ready!

Kim