5 Dos & Dont’s for Tourists in Vienna

What tourists should do during a visit to Vienna – and what they should rather not do

Vienna is a world-class metropolis and extremely popular with tourists. In addition to the many museums, theatres and places of interest, it is above all the excellent cuisine and the unique Viennese philosophy of life that attract visitors. But if you are visiting Vienna for the first time as a tourist, you should really pay attention to a few things. We have compiled a short list of things that you should do or rather not do as a tourist in Vienna.


The Viennese are proud of their dialect


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Austria may be a relatively small country in terms of size but you will hardly find any other country that offers such a broad spectrum of different dialects. But regardless of the many different ways that Austrians speak, they all have one thing in common: an aversion to High German words.

Dos & Dont’s: Replace High German words like Tüte (bag) and Brötchen (roll) with Sackerl and Weckerl. If you want to make yourself especially popular, you should also remove the classic Guten Tag (Good day) from your vocabulary and greet the Viennese instead with a hearty Grüß Gott (originally Grüß dich Gott, meaning May God bless you) – but possibly not in the underground, where the Viennese prefer their peace and quiet.


Experience the Viennese coffee house culture


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Vienna is probably one of the countries with the greatest variety of different types of coffee and methods of preparation. There is the classic Melange (coffee with frothed milk), a kleiner Schwarzer (espresso), a Verlängerter (espresso with water), a Cappuccino (espresso with frothed milk), a Häferlkaffee, … this list simply goes on and on!

Dos & Dont’s: As a visitor to Vienna, you should not simply order “coffee” or even just a coffee-to-go but instead sit down comfortably in one of the many coffee houses of Vienna, carefully study the menu and you are sure to find something that exactly matches your taste and preferences. Why not try one of the delicious cakes and pastries which Vienna is famous for? Take in the full charm of a Viennese coffee house – including its furnishings, the occasionally grumpy but always polite waiters and, above all, that unique atmosphere.


Avoid fare dodging


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Vienna is especially known for its extensive public transport network. Besides buses and trams (affectionately referred to as Öffis by the Viennese from the German word for public, Öffentlichkeit), the subways are especially busy. The Viennese like to be on time and expect the same from their means of transport.

Dos & Dont’s: Even if it may not look like this to many people: if you are going to travel by public transport in Vienna, you absolutely need a ticket which you have to buy in advance! There are ticket machines on every corner and the purchased tickets must be validated. And watch out, because if you do travel on public transport without a valid ticket and a ticket inspector catches you, you could have to pay a considerable amount as a fine.


Understanding Viennese charm


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What can we say about the Viennese charm? It is characterised above all by its nonchalance, Gemütlichkeit (cosiness) and sarcasm. But Viennese can also be grumpy individuals who often moan and groan. In any case, you should not take this personally, as the Viennese have no problem expressing their displeasure in public, but they do not mean it badly.

Dos & Dont’s: Especially in coffee houses or restaurants, many tourists confuse professional distance with unfriendliness. In Vienna, service has a high priority, but this is expressed among other things by polite distance. Viennese waiters give their guests the time they need and if you have finished your drinks or food, they will not try to make you pay immediately or to order something else. If you still want to order something, want to pay or cannot make up your mind about what to order, simply ask and the staff will be more than happy to help you out.


Shopping in Vienna


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Vienna does have its bustling shopping miles, like Mariahilfer Straße or Kärntnerstraße, but it is also well known for its great markets. Fresh ingredients, an unbelievable variety and a traditional attitude to life – you will experience all of these at the markets in Vienna. The markets are often also an alternative on a Sunday when the majority of shops in the city are closed. Because here you can buy fresh ingredients even at weekends and prepare them comfortably in your own kitchen in a CheckVIENNA apartment.

Dos & Dont’s: At the many market stands, in particular, it is often the case that you can only pay in cash. But also in many smaller cafés or pubs, credit cards are rarely accepted. The best thing is to always have some cash on you.


Vienna offers a wealth of culture that is second to none – which can be a little overwhelming for some people. It is best to find about about the main attractions in advance or visit the CheckVIENNA Blog.


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