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FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS AND OTHER ANNUAL EVENTS IN Vienna

There are a number of festivals, holidays and other events celebrated in Vienna each year.
The main ones are listed below.

January 1: New Year's Day (national holiday)

Epiphany (January 6)–Ash Wednesday: Fasching (celebrated nationwide)

Carnival season in Vienna runs from Epiphany until Ash Wednesday. Celebrated with a mix of centuries-old popular traditions and religious festivals, this time of year is highly anticipated by all Viennese. Street parties, costume and masked balls, parades and dances are held throughout the city to banish the winter blues.

May 1: Labour Day (national holiday)

Late September–early October: Vienna Design Week (local event)

Austria's largest design festival, Vienna Design Week aims to showcase the latest creations – objects, furniture or industrial products – of leading and emerging designers and also features works commissioned especially for the show. Exhibitions, workshops, talks and guided tours are among the 150 events programmed over the 10-day period, many of them taking place at the Brotfabrik Wien, a 19th-century building that was once Europe's largest bread factory.

October 26: National Day (national holiday)

Commemorates the passage of the law on Austria's “permanent neutrality” on this day in 1955. Highlights include official ceremonies, military parades, concerts and fireworks.

Mid-November–late December: Christmas Markets (local event)

During this six-week period, Vienna perpetuates a tradition dating back to the Middle Ages, its Christmas markets. The most authentic market, held on Rathausplatz, is also one of the oldest in Europe. Truly festive and magical, its delights include local handicrafts, Christmas decorations, seasonal gifts and a range of mouth-watering treats, from roasted chestnuts, candied fruits and cotton candy to mulled wine. Inside the city hall, there is an entire area devoted to activities for children and a number of visiting international choirs sing carols on the weekends.

December 6: Saint Nicholas Day (celebrated nationwide)

In Austria, the feast of Saint Nicholas is almost as important as Christmas. And for good reason, because this is the day when children receive their presents! In processions and visits to homes, businesses or schools at this time of the year, Saint Nicholas often appears accompanied by a devil called Krampus, who reminds children to be good. The feast of Saint Nicholas also marks the beginning of the end-of-year holiday season.

December 25: Christmas (national holiday)

December 31: Hofburg Silvesterball (local event)

On New Year's Eve, one of Europe's most prestigious and elegant dance balls takes place in the imperial state rooms of the Hofburg Palace on Heldenplatz in the centre of Vienna, which was the winter residence of the imperial family until 1918. The former Kaiserball has recently undergone a makeover, dispensing with Habsburg folklore in favour of Viennese classics and jazz and followed by a gala dinner, although formal evening wear is still expected.

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CLIMATE AND WEATHER IN Vienna

Vienna has a continental climate. Winters are cold, with occasional light dustings of snow. Summers are warm, with frequent thunderstorms. Nestled between the foothills of the Alps to the west and the Pannonian plains stretching to Hungary in the east, and cut through by the Danube from north to south, Vienna is exposed to winds year-round.

Month Min. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Max. Average Temperature (°C/F°) Average Rains (MM) Best Time to Travel
January -2/28 3/37 37/1.5 Not the best period to go
February -1/30 5/41 39/1.5 Not the best period to go
March 2/36 10/50 46/1.8 Not the best period to go
April 6/43 15/59 52/2.0 Not the best period to go
May 10/50 20/68 62/2.4 Good period to go Good period to go
June 13/55 23/73 70/2.8 Good period to go Good period to go
July 15/59 26/79 68/2.7 Good period to go Good period to go
August 12/54 25/77 58/2.3 Not the best period to go
September 12/54 20/68 53/2.1 Not the best period to go
October 7/45 14/57 40/1.6 Not the best period to go
November 2/36 7/45 50/2.0 Not the best period to go
December 0/32 4/39 44/1.7 Not the best period to go
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Vienna Schwechat International Airport

Vienna's Schwechat International Airport is located about 18 kilometres (11 miles) south-east of the city centre.

  • Four terminals:
    • Terminal 1 (Air France)
    • Terminal 2
    • Terminal 3
    • Terminal 4

Getting from the airport to Vienna and back :
  • By car
    • Accessible via the A4 (Ostautobahn).
    • Three short-term parking facilities are available: K1 and K4 for drop-offs on the departure level; K3 for pick-ups on the arrivals level (EUR 4.70 per hour).
    • For long-term parking, there are two parking garages: P3, recommended for Terminals 1 and 1A, and P4, recommended for Terminal 3 (EUR 4.70 for 1 hour and lower rates per hour for a stay of 3 hours or longer).
    • An additional parking lot (PC) a bit farther from the terminals offers lower rates (EUR 3.90 for 1 hour and lower rates per hour for a stay of 2 hours or longer).
    • Several car rental companies have counters at the airport's car rental centre, located on Level 0 of P4.
  • By rail
    • City Airport Train (CAT) offers non-stop service between the airport and Wien Mitte station. Trains run daily every 30 minutes from 5:36 a.m. to 23:36 p.m. with a travel time of just 16 minutes. Fares are EUR 12.00 one way and EUR 19.00 round trip (free for children aged 14 and younger).
    • Line S7 of Vienna's S-Bahn commuter rail system connects the airport with Wien Mitte-Lanstraße station in about 25 minutes. The fare is EUR 2.40 each way (EUR 1.20 for children aged 14 and younger).
  • By bus
    • Vienna Airport Lines, operated by Postbus, offers three routes departing from the airport, with connections to all of Vienna's U-Bahn underground lines as well as the Wien West and Wien Meidling train stations. Travel times range from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the destination. Single tickets cost EUR 8.00 and may be purchased directly from the bus driver.
  • By taxi
    • Taxis are available at the ranks outside each terminal. The trip to the city centre takes at least 30 minutes and costs around EUR 40.
  • Services: shops, bars and restaurants, Internet access (Wi-Fi) available in the airport.
  • Telephone: +43 (0)1 7007 22233
  • Website: http://www.viennaairport.com

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GETTING AROUND Vienna

Getting around Vienna is very easy. The city's public transport network has a total length of more than 900 kilometres (559 miles)! With its five U-Bahn underground lines, 29 tram lines and 145 bus routes, you can quickly reach any destination within the metropolitan area.

By rail

Vienna's U-Bahn system is a convenient and reliable way to get around the city. Its five colour-coded lines (U1, U2, U3, U4 and U6) serve 105 stations. A single ticket costs EUR 2.20 for adults and EUR 1.20 for children and is valid for all U-Bahn lines, trams and buses, with transfers included. The Vienna Weekly Ticket costs EUR 16.20 and offers unlimited travel throughout the city.

By bus

Vienna's bus routes offer extensive coverage of the city, including the narrow streets of the 1st district, served by the City Buses, specifically designed for this purpose. Night buses (whose numbers are preceded by the letter “N”) operate every night of the week from 12:30 a.m. and then at 30-minute intervals until 5 a.m. A single ticket costs EUR 2.20.

By tram

Vienna's tram network is one of the largest in the world, with 28 routes and a total length of over 172 kilometres (107 miles). In addition to traditional models, with wooden seats and retro interiors, wheelchair-friendly and modern low-riding trams also circulate on the network, indicated by the ULF (Ultra Low Floor) sign. A single ticket costs EUR 2.20.

By taxi

Taxis are a convenient option for getting around the Austrian capital and fares are reasonable. The initial charge is EUR 2.50 during the day (EUR 2.60 at night) and the total fare is then based on the distance travelled and the time elapsed.

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Visitor information

Upon your arrival in Vienna, you can get in touch with local tourism professionals for further information and to help organize your stay.

WienTourismus (Vienna Tourist Board)

Offers practical information and many useful recommendations (accommodation, restaurants, public transport, festivals, cultural events, etc.).

  • Address: Albertinaplatz, corner of Maysedergasse, 1010 Wien (open daily 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Telephone: +43 (0)1 24555
  • Website: http://www.wien.info

Tourist Info centres

Apart from its main tourist information office at Albertinaplatz, WienTourismus operates two other Tourist Info centres, offering information and recommendations for visiting Vienna and its surrounding area:

  • Tourist Info Hauptbahnhof (main train station): Am Hauptbahnhof 1, 1100 Wien (open daily 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Tourist Info Schwechat: In the arrivals hall (open daily 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.)

Further information available online for visitors to Austria

The official website operated by the Austrian National Tourist Office provides a wealth of information on Vienna.

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Currency and Exchange Rates

The currency used in Austria is the euro (€).

HKD 1 = EUR 0.11

EUR 1 = HKD 9.09

The above exchange rate is given for information because is variable.

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Medical information

See your doctor before you travel.

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements for visitors to Austria.

For more information, contact Air France's international vaccination centre:

Water

Tap water is safe to drink in Vienna.

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Administrative formalities

For a stay of less than three months, travellers from the Schengen area, as well as those from the countries of the European Union not included in the area, need only be in possession of a national identity card or a passport valid for the duration of their stay in Austria.

As a general rule, all other travellers are subject to visa requirements, although citizens of the following countries may enter Austria for a short stay of up to 90 days without a visa: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Timor-Leste, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela.

For further information, visit the Austrian government’s website for migration information: http://www.migration.gv.at/en/

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Essential phrases

Here are a few basic German phrases that will make your stay in Vienna a little easier:

Hello / How do you do?: Guten Tag

Good morning: Guten Morgen

Good evening: Guten Abend (there is no equivalent of “Good afternoon” in German)

Good-bye: Auf Wiedersehen

Yes: Ja

No: Nein

No, thank you: Nein, Danke

Thank you very much: Vielen Dank

I don't understand: Ich verstehe nicht

Could you repeat that: Können Sie bitte wiederholen?

Please: Bitte

What time is it: Wie spät ist es?

Excuse me: Entschuldigung.

Airport: Der Flughafen

Train station: Der Bahnhof

Taxi: Das Taxi

Hotel: Das Hotel

Hospital: Das Spital

Bank: Die Bank

Telephone: Das Telefon

I'm (…): Ich bin (…).

I'm looking for (…): Ich suche (…).

How much is this: Wie viel kostet es?

Do you have (…): Haben Sie (…)?

Where can I find (…): Wo kann ich (…) finden?

Where can I buy (…): Wo kann ich (…) kaufen?

I'd like (…): Ich hätte gerne (…).

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Good to know

intl. access code + 43
+ phone number without the 0 (calls to Vienna)
-6 : 00
of time difference with
Hong Kong
Start of daylight saving time: last Sunday in March
End of daylight saving time: last Sunday in October

Banks
Usually open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Government offices
Usually open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
230 V / 50 Hz

And what about tipping?
Tipping is expected in Austria, especially for waiting staff in bars and restaurants, for taxis and at gas stations. It is customary to leave a tip amounting to between 5 and 10 percent of the bill, depending on how satisfied you are with the service.