8 Travel Tips You May Have Overlooked
Vienna Tourist Checklist. Have you ever thought ‘I had no idea…’ or ‘If I had known…’ after your first day in a strange place? It happened to me a few times. I completely underestimated the magnitude of wonderful things to do in a relatively small city. If you travel to a place like Vienna on a regular basis, that doesn’t matter. If it’s once in a while opportunity, get help with my checklist of 8 Vienna travel tips you may have overlooked.
❑ 1. Adjust Your Clock
Vienna tourist checklist Vienna is a comparably small European capital, but has a high density of local attractions per square metre. Then there are places like coffeehouses and social events like outdoor festivals and balls that will make you stop the clock. On top, Vienna’s surroundings are full of UNESCO World Heritage sites and other must sees. Consult travel guides, off-the-beaten-path blogs and sites like Vienna Unwrapped (of course I would say this), for an overview of what you absolutely want to see and do, and for the best day trips. Then adjust your travel clock.
❑ 2. Check Out Free And Discount Opportunities
Vienna tourist checklist There are a few free events and discount opportunities in town. Come summer, there are loads of free outdoor festivals. On special occasions, such as The Long Night of The Museums and European Heritage Day, you get free access to museums and cultural sites. The annual Summer Night Concert at Schonbrunn Palace allows you to listen to the Vienna Philharmonic Concert for free. And a few local coffeehouses regularly provide free piano music and small concerts. Visit my event calendar for some ideas, month by month.
The best discount pass for travellers is the Vienna Discount City Card. It includes free public transport and more than 200 discounts for museums, restaurants, shops and attractions.
❑ 3. Book MUCH In Advance
Vienna tourist checklist Booking Vienna opera tickets is often no mean feat. My city should double the number of opera performances, quality Vienna concerts, and Vienna balls. But then we would be a culture factory. Hence, make sure you get what you want by booking your tickets as early as you can. Do I say this because I want to make money? Honestly, I am happy about the small commissions I get from some ticket sales. But that doesn’t stop me from recommending things I don’t earn on.
As for hotels, there is usually no rush, unless you plan to visit during peak times, such as the ball season (January to March), the summer or during large-scale international congresses (Vienna is the number 1 congress destination in the world, attracting events of 20,000 people or more.) Therefore, keep an eye open for a good place at an early stage.
❑ 4. Orientate Yourself
Vienna tourist checklist If you have time on your hands, you can grab a city map on arrival at the airport. Otherwise, do consult a map of Viennabeforehand to create area clusters of what you want to see, and perhaps to find the best free Wi-Fi spots in town. Add some time for unforeseen gems that you will no doubt discover on site.
❑ 5. Go On and Off The Beaten Track
Vienna tourist checklist My hometown is made up of different layers – historic architecture, famous landmarks, guidebook ‘must dos’, secret tips and hidden corners, plain mundane areas, shabby neighbourhoods, ‘why-would-I-go-there’ ugly suburbs, ‘never-heard-of-before’ events. Make sure you mix on and off-the-beaten-track things to do to capture the city’s full flavour. If you need assistance with your travel planning, I may be able to help.
❑ 6. Know Seasonal Closures And Opening Times
Vienna tourist checklist Local institutions and businesses love to take time off: The Vienna State Opera, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the Spanish Riding School, the Vienna Boys Choir and other cultural institutions take annual summer breaks. Many restaurants in Vienna and most local shops, even in the city centre, are closed on Sundays, and public holidays. Vienna Museums, even the most popular ones, each have their individual opening hours. And Christmas Eve and New Year’s day can turn Vienna into a dire place if you don’t know where to go.
❑ 7. Avoid The Obvious Tourist Traps
Vienna tourist checklist Unless you are an unforgiveable escapist on a historic theme ride, avoid tourist-only attractions. It is hard to connect with real life at multimedia theme shows, ‘folkloric’ evenings and remote viewing towers. Why not take the local tramway for a sightseeing ride, rent a bike, join a small group or private tour, attend local events and climb up the best city roof tops for that intimate overview of Vienna?
When gift shopping, go for traditional local products that are loved by both visitors and locals. Some ideas: a gugelhupf baking tin and a Viennese cookbook, playing cards, Meinl coffee and jams, a coffeehouse newspaper holder, a set of 1/8l wine glasses. Go to Vienna shopping for more inspiration and tips of good shops.
❑ 8. Learn Some German
Vienna tourist checklist Knowing a few German words and phrases will connect you better with Vienna. Even the grumpiest Viennese (and there are a few of them) will likely show their sunny side if you manage to say ‘Grüss Gott’, ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ and ‘danke’, order your ‘Semmerl’ at the bakery, and possibly ask for a direction in German. There is no need for linguistic perfection nor mastering Viennese dialect, though. Most locals, especially those in the tourism industry, speak English.
Access my resources to learn German.