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REVEALED: The best districts to live in Vienna

Vienna has 23 districts (Bezirke) each with its own characteristics, advantages and disadvantages. So whether you are looking for an elegant, central flat on a cobbled street, or a family home near vineyards and forests, there is something for you. 

A woman in Cafe Sperl in Vienna
DANIEL GARCIA / AFP

The first district or Innere Stadt – for rich, elegant people wishing to soak up Vienna’s history and culture 

The first district of Vienna is the historic centre and the city’s beating heart. Living here means being surrounded by classical architecture, art galleries and museums, having an opera house in your neighbourhood and walking home along cobbled streets past the city’s most exclusive designer boutiques. 

Naturally this area comes with a price to match its elegant surroundings.

The first district is the most expensive neighbourhood not only in Vienna but all of Austria, with a price tag of €19.30 per square metres according to the latest survey by rental website Willhaben (The runners up are Innsbruck at €18.50 and Kitzbühel at €17.30).

Parks, bars and the Danube Canal in Vienna’s second and third districts

People enjoy late afternoon near the Danube canal in Vienna (JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

However, just a short walk from the first district, is the former Jewish quarter of the second district, also known as Leopoldstadt. This vibrant area includes the huge Prater Park, the baroque Augarten and the Danube Canal which comes to life in summer with its outdoor bars.

Cheaper than the first district, it is still central and close to all the main attractions, with rentals averaging €14.10 per square metre.

The third district, Landstrasse, has the city’s Stadt Park on the doorstep. It is also home to the beautiful Belvedere Palace and the colourful housing complex designed by Austrian architect Hundertwasser. An added advantage are fast trains to the airport from the Landstrasse Mitte station. Rentals average out at €15.30 per square metre in this district. 

Karlskirche, good restaurants and top train connections in the Fourth and Fifth districts

The Fourth District, also known as Wieden, is not so full of green spaces, but makes up for it with great bars and good restaurants, especially in the streets around the 18th Century cathedral Karlskirche. Karlskirche is also home to one of Vienna’s nicest Christmas markets in the winter months. Wieden’s housing costs around €15.10 per square metre.

Nearby Margareten in the fifth district is a little less glamorous but is convenient for Vienna’s main train station. It’s also cheaper at €13.80 per square metre.

Hipsters, shopping, architecture and cobbled streets in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth districts

A waitress steps out of the Cafe Sperl in Vienna’s sixth district.(Photo by ALEXANDER KLEIN / AFP)

Mariahilf

The cluster of small, central districts are all great options, while each is subtly different from the other. Mariahilf’s sixth district features Vienna’s main shopping street alongside a giant aquarium housed in an old Second World War Flak Tower. It’s also home to  the historic Naschmarkt food market surrounded by some of Vienna’s most stunning Art Nouveau buildings,

Neubau

Hipster hotspot Neubau in the seventh has the largest selection of indy fashion and record shops and is a great place for brunch at the weekend. 

Josephstadt and Alsergrund

The tiny eighth district, Josephstadt, is Vienna’s theatre district, and has a more old fashioned and elegant feel, while the nearby ninth district is home to the city’s French Lycee, US Embassy and Vienna University, which boasts links to Beethoven and Freud.

The ninth district also features one of Vienna’s most charming areas, the Servitenviertel with its cobbled streets. It’s close to the city’s Freud Museum too. 

Rentals in these areas are €14.80 per square metre in Mariahilf, €15 per square metre in Neubau, €14.50 per square metre in Josephstad and €14.70 per square metre in Alsergrund.

Once you leave district nine, you find yourself outside Vienna’s ring road, the Gurtel. While these districts are less central, they give better access to Vienna’s vineyards, woods and surrounding hills, including some of Vienna’s most exclusive areas. 

A palace, vineyards and acres of woodland in Hietzing, Grinzing, Währing and Döbling

You can drink wine in a vineyard when you live in the 19th District (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Hietzing or the 13th district is best known as the location of Vienna’s Schönnbrunn Palace, a gorgeous summer palace set in acres of gardens topped by a gloriette looking over the city. People living here tend to be more traditional and well off. However, apartments can be rented for around €14.30 per square metre.

Währing and Döbling are both greener, quieter locations on the outskirts of Vienna. The 18th District, as Währing is also known, is home to the city’s international schools and larger villas, centred around the beautiful Türkenschanzpark.

Währing apartments cost around €14.30 per square metre. The 19th District, Döbling, features truly jaw-dropping homes, vineyards and wine taverns lining cobbled streets, with hiking trails into the Vienna Woods starting from the back door. Döbling prices are more expensive, around €15.30 per square metre. 

River views and an international feel in Donaustadt. 

A restaurant on Danube Island in Vienna (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Donaustadt, or the 22nd district, is a huge area of Vienna, best known for its river beach areas along the Old Danube and near the Uno City, which is home to Vienna’s UN and international organisations.

There are some great parks and a very international feel in this area of Vienna, close to Danube Island, a man-made island devoted entirely to recreation and wildlife. However, rents are not cheap in Donaustadt, averaging out at €15,1 per square metre. 

Hipsters meets hiking trails

One up and coming area is the 16th District, also known as Ottakring. Traditionally a very multi-cultural district with a large Turkish and Balkan population, it is now becoming more fashionable, though it’s still possible to pick up Turkish food at the huge open air Brunnen market near Yppenplatz.

Other landmarks of the area include the Ottakring brewery which hosts events throughout the year. This district borders the greenery of Wilhelminenburg, with its beautiful hikes, vineyards and views to enjoy at weekends. Rentals come in at a reasonable €13.60 per square metre in this neighbourhood.

The cheapest areas to live in Vienna. 

According to rental website Willhaben, the cheapest district in Vienna is Simmering (€12.60), although Penzing (€13.60), Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus (€13.20) and Hernals (€13) also represent good value for money. 

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One day in Vienna: How to spend 24 hours in the Austrian capital

Vienna is undoubtedly one of the best and most beautiful cities in the world. If you only have 24 hours to spare, here's what not to miss.

One day in Vienna: How to spend 24 hours in the Austrian capital

Vienna is by far the most visited Austrian city. Data from Statistics Austria shows that the capital received more than 17 million tourist overnight stays a year – at least in a pre-pandemic year.

Austria’s second most visited city is Salzburg, with more than three million tourist overnight stays in 2019.

With a long history and the beautiful buildings and constructions that only a city which was the capital of an empire for hundreds of years can have, Vienna – Wien, to the locals – is definitely worth the visit.

READ ALSO: Austria: Six German expressions to entice your Wanderlust

Also, definitely worth an extended visit. But as weekend train rides become more common in Europe and low-cost flights make it possible for quick holidays across the continent, many visitors only have a few hours to spend in this historical town.

While it might seem impossible to see all, there is to see in Vienna in only 24 hours (and it is!), The Local has asked for the help of Robert Eichhorn, a Vienna-accredited tourist guide and a born and raised Viennese with an eye for the unique parts of town.

If you only have 24 hours in Vienna, arriving around 2 pm on a Saturday and leaving at around the same time on a Sunday, here are a few things you could do to make the most of the city.

Vienna’s St. Stephen Cathedral, in the first district (Photo by Dan V on Unsplash)

Start out with the first district

The Austrian capital is divided into 23 districts. The first is the central, where many historical sightings and political buildings are located. The remaining districts spiral from that, with 21 and 22 located just across the Danube river.

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In the first district, you will find many of the most impressive places.

“Even for those who are not church fans, a visit to St. Stephen’s Cathedral should not be missed”, Eichhorn says.

The landmark stands for centuries in the heart of the city. It offers not only a postcard picture (literally) and a beautiful interior but also amazing views, as our tour guide explains that it is possible to reach the top of the big spire (343 steps by foot) or the smaller taller (by elevator) to enjoy the city from above.

If you enjoy the religious history, it is also possible to, from St. Stephen’s, reach Ruprechtskirche, one of the oldest churches in Vienna. “From there, it’s just a stone’s throw to the City Temple of the Viennese Jewish Community in Sitenstättengasse and the Ankeruhr at Hoher Markt”, describes Eichhorn.

READ ALSO: Six of the best things to do in spring in Vienna

Heading East from Ankeruhr, you will reach one of Vienna’s beautiful city parks. Actually, the city park: Stadtpark, the 19th-century park with a lake and a river. This is a fantastic starting point to Vienna’s incredible Ring Road.

“The Ringstrasse was built in the second half of the 19th century, and there are numerous buildings important for the city”, Eichhorn explains. Walking from the Stadtpark, with a short detour to visit the beautiful Karlskirche, it is possible to follow the road and see some of the main attractions, including the Vienna State Opera, Burggarten, the Hofburg, the Museumsplatz, the Parliament and Vienna’s City Hall (Rathaus), all the way to the beautiful Votivkirche.

“I would recommend taking a break in the coffee house in the Burggarten Palm House”, our tour guide notes.

“The historic ambience makes it a great place to relax”, he adds.

READ ALSO: The best spots to recharge on the weekend in Vienna

For the evening attractions

Truth be told, the Ringstrasse and its beautiful buildings also shine with the facade lights, and a walk around the first district could seem totally different depending on the time of the day – or the season in the year.

But if you want to have “old-school Viennese”, as the born-and-raised Eichhorn says, then a trip to a Heurigen would be suitable. Those are the typical and traditional Viennese wine taverns.

“They are located on the city’s outskirts but can be reached by public transport well”.

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A less rustic option, but central, is the so-called (even by locals!) Bermuda Triangle, an area in the first district with plenty of pubs and bars.

“Or maybe end the day with a concert?” suggests Eichhorn. “Vienna has an incredible amount of music events to offer, from classical to modern music”.

The next morning

As you prepare to enjoy your final hours in the beautiful city, how about heading to a genuinely imperial and impressive palace?

The beautiful Schönbrunn Palace, in Vienna, viewed from the Gloriette, accessible from the palace gardens (Copyright: Schloss Schönbrunn Kultur-und Betriebsges mbH, Severin Wurnig)

It only takes about 30 minutes with the metro from the first district to Schönbrunn Palace. “It is the summer residence of the Habsburgs, the imperial family. An impressive palace and a beautiful garden complex”, Eichhorn explains.

Schönbrunn is really a crown jewel, and no visit to Vienna would be complete without going there. The palace gardens also house a modern zoo worth visiting – but could be cutting it close with the time, according to Eichhorn.

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There might be still just enough time for a traditional Austrian meal as you head out your way: try the schnitzel and potato salad if you eat meat. For vegetarians, the Käsespätzle is a very typical one (especially in the Austrian mountains).

Unfortunately, there aren’t many vegan choices for traditional meals, but more and more restaurants offer vegan options.

Vienna also houses several beer gardens, where you can eat and drink local foods and beers just before taking your train back home.

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