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Vienna Newbie

We are heading to Vienna for 5 days in September. I will of course be boning up on sites to visit but would like advice on where in the city to look for an apartment and any other advice from experienced Vienna travelers. Are there tickets that need to be arranged well ahead?

Any other advice for a newbie.

We are excited to be going someplace where we actually more or less speak the language since more of our travels in Europe have been in France, Spain and Italy where we don't.

Posted by
565 posts

My favorite neighborhoods for hanging out are the Mariahilf (District VI) and Neubau (District VII). Both are right off the Mariahilferstrasse and close to the Westbahnhof and have numerous small restaurants, pubs, and shops.

Be sure to visit the Museumsquartier, up the Mariahilferstrasse near the Ringstrasse. Both the Kunsthistoriches and the Leopold are quite worthy of visits.

It's fantastic you speak German! But if you stumble, don't fret. Nearly everyone in the city speaks at least some English.

I broke my leg there in 2012, so my advice to you would be don't break your leg! Also, only eat schnitzel once, unless you hate yourself ;) Seriously though, I really couldn't handle schnitzel and ate a lot of Turkish food, which was quite excellent. Consider a day trip to Bratislava. Drink a lot of coffee. Visit the Judengasse, especially since you will be there around the High Holidays.

Posted by
3329 posts

We were recently in Vienna for a week, and stayed at the GAL apartments. We had a studio for 99 euro/night. (See my posting under Austria Reviews.) What I liked about dealing with a business, as opposed to an indiviual owner, is:
1. They take credit cards.
2. There is someone manning the desk part of the time; and it's easy to get help, if for any reason you need it.
3. There are absolutely no questions or doubts about the legitmacy of the rental.

I don't think you need to pre-arrange any tickets. We didn't, and we had no problems with admissions or waiting lines in late April.
English is widely spoken, but I'm sure some words in the local tongue would be taken as a friendly gesture.
PM me if you have other questions. We loved Vienna!

Posted by
6950 posts

We always stay at K&T Boardinghouse. It's not an apartment, but the rooms are huge. And the location cannot be beat--with the stairs to the Metro being across the street. They're just 1 stop West of the Ring.

Posted by
15037 posts

How exciting, Janet! I was in Vienna in June and it was beautiful . . . and hot and no AC, but still beautiful. The tram and metro systems are good, both to get to places that aren't right in the heart of the old town and to save your feet in the old town. They are extensive and the maps are confusing but they are easy to use once you figure out which line to take.

I enjoyed Rick's audio guides and walking tours - especially the lunch stops.

I was disappointed with the flea market. There was little variety and a lot of goods imported from India (I think). It was worth a short walk-through.

If you like opera, get the schedule and then sit outside the beautiful building and watch the live performances on the huge screen. If you get there early enough, there are some seats. Otherwise, you sit on the sidewalk or stand.

Visit the Schonbrunn Palace and its gardens, skip the Hofburg Palace. The imperial rooms are nearly identical to those at the Schonbrunn (surprise, the same people lived in both) but there are more rooms to view at the Schonbrunn.

I had planned a day trip to Melk, but it was so hot, I decided not to overtax myself. There was plenty to see and do in Vienna itself.

Try your German, but don't be surprised or disappointed if everyone answers you in English.

Posted by
12040 posts

Are there tickets that need to be arranged well ahead? For the most part, no. Exceptions, though, might be performances by some of Vienna's internationally known groups, like the Philharmonic, Boys Choir, Opera or lipizzaner horses (the actual staged performances, not the morning riding sessions).

Posted by
394 posts

No tickets to be booked ahead, to the best of my recollection. However for the Opera, I recall having to queue up about an hour or so before the tickets went on sale. I would recommend walking by the ticket office on your first day there, checking out when tours are available for the next few days and when tickets go on sale. Then get back 30 minutes to an hour before the tickets go on sale.

I would strongly recommend going to a heuriger. These are family run wineries with good restaurants. They are mostly informal, fun places, often with live music and great outdoor eating areas. It was our favorite meal in Vienna, so much so that we went to two of them in our three nights in the city! We followed Rick's advice, picked a neighborhood where there were a few near each other, and picked the liveliest one. I assure you, you will not be disappointed.

Posted by
6721 posts

thanks for all the advice. Just booked Sept 17 tickets for the opera. Now to find a central apartment.

Posted by
12970 posts

"Any advice for a newbie." Great that you have five full days for Vienna. Use the subway system (the U-Bahn), very easy to get around. Great that you know German, keep plugging away at the German if you are answered in English. The locals will respond in German when they know you don't want to lapse into English.

Posted by
31 posts

City Hotel Deutschmeister located in the 9th District is in a great location and very safe neighborhood. They have some apartments if you ask. Near public transportation.

Posted by
6721 posts

thanks for all the good advice. I booked an apartment near St. Stephans that friends of ours had used earlier and it looks well positioned and like a nice place for 5 nights.

I will do the Melk/Durnstein/Krems trip on one of our days.

Welcome any other advice -- about central restaurants a bit off the beaten track or at least good value or any less obvious sights to seek out.

Posted by
15037 posts

On Rick's Vienna city walk, on Dorotheergasse there are 3 places for lunch. I only tried 2, my hands-down favorite was Trzesniewski (closed on Sundays). I had dinner once at Plachutta's Gasthaus zut Oper (a block from the Opera), and it was elegant (sat inside for the AC and non-smoking) and it was upscale and reasonably priced.

Posted by
5697 posts

Rick also lists Schnitzel Wirt on Neubaugasse -- if you go there, ONE order of schnitzel feeds two. Or the leftover schnitzel makes a fine lunch. Yummy potato salad.

Posted by
4698 posts

Which 5 days? There are many delightful festivals happening around this time and I can point you in the right direction with dates.