Vienna is a safe, clean and beautiful town. The Viennese are proud of living in such an exceptional city and do the utmost to preserve it for themselves but also for visitors. Please read through the attached list to find out a bit more about do's and dont's, about sending packages home and internet, etc...
- Do keep the city tidy and use trash cans and bins you can find everywhere. You could be prosecuted.
- Do keep the city tidy of "pet residues" in case you travel with them. Viennese are pretty strict following these rules, you will definitely get fined approx € 35 in case you are caught. Little plastic bag dispensers are found all over the city.
- Do ignore any beggars that may approach you and keep your valuables close to you at all times. This does not happen too often, but the amount of beggars in the centre of town has increased during the past years.
- Do carry ID on you at all times. Actually it is against the law to not be able to identify yourself.
- Don’t let your parking voucher expire.
- Don’t cycle in pedestrian areas.
- Don’t use the street as a toilet.
- Don’t create or cause a nuisance, such as making loud noises, screaming or playing loud music in public areas.
- Don’t camp in public places, as there are special campsites available.
In any case...Vienna is a city, that is used to visitors and people are pretty relaxed if it comes to rules and traditions, but one is better off following them.
Getting in touch with Home:
Telephone: You need a telephone? There are phone booths catered across the city, but not too many afterall and they are not very visible. Some of them take coins, however, most are card-operated. Telephone cards can be purchased at any post office. To be able to call abroad from Austria add 00 before the country code, while calling into Vienna from abroad requires you to add 0043 (for Austria) and 1 (for Vienna - also requested when from within the country) before the phone number.
Sending a package home:
Sending mail is fairly standard in Vienna. You just need to buy the appropriate stamps at any of the post offices around or at the many tobacco stores all over the city. If you have a package to send you will need to go to the post office as the package needs to be weighed. Once the letter or card is stamped, just drop it in any of the yellow mailboxes throughout the city.
Opening hours at the post offices are: Monday-Friday 8am-12am, 2pm-6pm, Saturday 10am-12am. The main post office at Fleischmarkt 19 (Underground: Schwedenplatz) is open all day and night - same as the post offices at our main train stations.
Business hours in Vienna:
Business hours are limited by law in Vienna. And once the shops close, they remain closed, even if there is still people in the store.
Regular shops are open Monday through Friday from 9am till 6pm and Saturdays from 9am till 5pm. Supermarkets are a bit more flexible and have longer opening hours: from 8am till 7pm, but it could be an extra hour if they are downtown or at key locations. In case you really need to do food shopping after-hours there are only a few options: The gas stations have a grocery department (but it is quite overpriced), or some of the very few convenience stores (7x24hrs) in Vienna.
By the way: Visitors from outside the EU can reclaim the 20% Value Added Tax at the airport! Might be worth considering...
Electrical sockets and Adapters:
As everywhere in Europe, Austria uses electrical appliances with 220-240 volts. You will have to make sure that the plug has 2 round pin plugs though - this varies from other European countries! Another useful advice: if you are travelling from Canada or the US, we recommend you to bring converters - they are not that easy to get in Austria. If worse comes to worse - check with the concierge at your hotel. They usually carry some extra samples, just in case...
Most of the public restrooms are placed around the city center, they are clearly marked and well kept. Cafés, restaurants or large department stores also must offer access to public restrooms, however, some would only admit customers or will ask for a fee (usually € 0,50). On Austrian motorways restrooms require payment too - you would generally find cleaning personell in these restrooms and it is appreciated if you leave 50 cents donation for her work.
Visitors with special needs:
Vienna has done a lot to welcome visitors with disabilities.
All public transport and most of the official buildings feature adjustments for wheelchairs. Specialist wheelchair taxis can be called upon to travel around the city. Airports, train stations, museums, tourist attractions have special arrangements for wheelchair users as well as the partially sighted people.
Lost and Found:
In case you have lost or found anything of value - your best bet is to call the Lost Property Service Hotline at 4000-8091 (Mondays to Wednesdays and Fridays from 8am to 3:30pm, Thursdays from 8am to 5:30pm).
If you have lost any document, i.e. driver's licens, your car licence plate - best thing to do is to report the theft or loss to the police immediately. The police will produce a document serving as a temporary replacement for the lost document(s).
Although not a big problem at all in Vienna, you might encounter stray animals wandering around - but this is extremely unlikely - Viennese llove their pets, sometimes even more than children (especially if they are not their own!). Austrian law obliges citizens to take lost animals to an animal shelter. A stray animal is not a "lost and found item". Please phone the Animal Welfare Helpline at 4000-8060. The Animal Rescue Service will take it to the animal shelter free of charge.
Crime and Safety: