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11 life hacks to help you feel like a local in Vienna

Famously one of the most liveable cities in the world - Vienna casts its charm over millions of visitors every year. But what are some great hacks for getting the most from  this beautiful Austrian city without breaking the bank?

You can have a great night out at the Danube canal in Vienna without breaking the bank. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
You can have a great night out at the Danube canal in Vienna without breaking the bank. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Save money on food

During the pandemic we’ve all been ordering more takeaway food. One way to cut down on your spend is the ‘Too Good To Go’ app.

This app hooks you up with restaurants, bakeries and delicatessens, who can send you dishes which didn’t get ordered during the day at a large discount.

You’ll also help cut down on food waste!

Save on travel

One thing you don’t have to worry about in Vienna is spending a lot of money on public transport.

With the yearly Wiener Linien Jahreskarte, transport all over the city costs just €1 per day. 

If you are just visiting the city with friends, and plan to use transport for a few days, it may be worth investing in the 8-day network card (8-Tage-Klimakarte) which costs €40.80. This is a card with eight strips, once a strip is stamped, it is valid until 1am the following day. You can also share this card with other people. Otherwise, a 24 hour ticket costs €8, a 48-hour ticket costs €14.10, and a 72-hour ticket costs the same as a weekly travel pass, €17.10.

READ MORE: 365 Ticket: Everything you need to know about Vienna’s cheap annual metro pass

Admire street art on the Danube canal in Vienna. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Street art

Enjoy a free walking tour of Vienna’s street art, using this map to guide you, or wander along the Danube Canal, stopping for a cocktail or a snack at one of the lively bars along the way.

If you are on a really tight budget, just bring a bottle of wine and some cups and enjoy a picnic on the banks of the river. You can even go for a swim on a boat along the canal at the Badeschiff Wien

British actress Tilda Swinton with Hans Hurch, at Austria’s international “Viennale” film festival (Photo by DIETER NAGL / AFP)


Film-crazy Vienna is filled with beautiful atmospheric kinos (cinemas), many of which show English language films (as well as other films in their original language too).

One great time to binge on cinema is during the city’s annual Viennale film festival in October which gives a chance to see new releases before they hit most cinemas.

You might also spot a celebrity – Tilda Swinton and Michael Caine have both made guest appearances at previous festivals, and directors are often available after screenings for question and answer sessions.

Open air cinemas

Every summer, Vienna operates a range of open air cinemas in the city’s parks and open spaces. The Kino Am Dach at the rooftop of Vienna’s main library has a programme until mid September.

Enjoy the sights of Vienna by bike. (Photo by ALEXANDER KLEIN / AFP)

Get on your bike

There are great cycle paths around the Ring road of Vienna and along the river Danube to the cute cobbled streets and wine inns of Nussdorf and Grinzing. 

If your bike needs a service, the Green Party in Vienna organises popup bike repairs all over the city.

Go to the Grüne Radrettung Facebook page to find out more. It’s also possible to hire a bike in Vienna for just one euro an hour from the city’s bike rental service.  Another option for keeping fit is to head to many of the city’s outdoor green gyms, you can find a list here

Swim on the cheap – or even for free

When the weather gets hot, the banks of the Neue Donau and Alte Donau (New Danube and Old Danube) throng with bathers, picnickers, sunbathers, cyclists and joggers. It is possible to go SUPing, hire boats and kayaking on both rivers, or even go wake-boarding on the Neue Donau. The water quality is good and the grassy beaches are great for relaxing. 

If rivers are a little too wild, swimming in Vienna’s many public pools is very cheap. Marvel at the glass roof of Vienna’s oldest swimming pool Jörgerbad or enjoy views across the city from Krapfenwaldbad, set in the Vienna Woods. Swimming is free for infants (children aged under seven), while children aged between seven and 14 pay just one euro for a swim. Even adults pay only three euros for a dip. In 2021 the summer season will last until September 19th.

Spend the summer living at the swimming pool 

A little known fact is that in Vienna during the summer months it is possible to rent a cabin in the city’s Stadionbad, for around 400 – 1,800 euros a season and stay overnight, allowing visitors to wake up and go for a swim before breakfast.

There is a long waiting list, but it could be a good way to find a cheap let for the summer.

A visit to the Albertina Modern art museum is included in the Bundes Museencard (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Save money on museums

There is a chance to visit many federal museums in Austria with the Bundes Museencard, which costs €59.

This includes a single visit to the Albertina, Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Belvedere, Vienna’s Imperial Treasury, the Welt Museum, MAK or Museum of Applied Arts, the Mumok modern art museum, the Theatre museum, the Austrian National Library and family favourites the Technisches Museum and the Natural History museum. In addition, many museums have free entry on the first Sunday of the month, and most have free entry for children aged under 18.

Later in the year, the Long night of the museums  on October 2nd gives a chance to visit 130 museums in Vienna for 15 euros.  

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‘Bad-tempered locals’: Vienna ranked the world’s ‘unfriendliest city’

Foreigners in Vienna say the city offers excellent health and transport benefits but has an exceptionally unfriendly population.

'Bad-tempered locals': Vienna ranked the world's 'unfriendliest city'

The Spanish port city of Valencia is the most popular city among international employees this year, followed by Dubai and Mexico City, according to the “Expat City Ranking 2022” by Internations, a network for people who live and work abroad.

The ranking is based on the annual Expat Insider study, in which almost 12,000 employees worldwide participated this year. The report offers insights into the quality of life, settling in, working, personal finances and the “Expat Basics” index, which covers digital infrastructure, administrative matters, housing and language.

Vienna ranks 27th out of 50 cities in this year’s ranking. Although it scores very well in terms of quality of life, many expats find it difficult to settle in and make friends in the Austrian capital.

READ ALSO: REVEALED: The best and worst districts to live in Vienna (as voted for by you)

Vienna ranks last in the Ease of Settling In Index and also in the Local Friendliness Subcategory. 

Nearly half the respondents in the city (46 percent) say that people are unfriendly towards foreign residents (vs 18 percent globally), and 43 percent rate the general friendliness of the population negatively (vs 17 percent globally). 

An Australian immigrant told Internations they were unhappy with the seemingly “bad tempered locals”, while a survey respondent from the UK said they struggled to get along with the “conservative Austrians” in Vienna.

Unsurprisingly, more than half of the expats in Vienna (54 percent) find it challenging to make friends with the locals (vs 37 percent globally). Moreover, around one-third (32 percent) are unhappy with their social life (vs 26 percent globally), and 27 percent do not have a personal support system in Vienna (vs 24 percent globally). 

“I really dislike the grumpiness and the unfriendliness,” said an immigrant from Sweden.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Vienna you should be aware of before moving there

In the Quality of Life Index, Vienna snagged first place last year, but it reached only seventh place this year. In terms of administrative matters such as getting a visa for residence, Vienna is only 38th, and the federal capital also scores poorly for cashless payment options (42nd).

Where does Vienna shine?

The Austrian city ranked particularly well in categories including Travel and Transit (first place) and Health and Well-being (second place). International employees rated the availability, cost and quality of medical care as particularly good.

“I like how much you can do here and how easy it is to get around by public transport,” said an expat from the US. 

In addition, Vienna is not particularly expensive and ranks ninth worldwide in the personal finance index. 

READ ALSO: Five unwritten rules that explain how Austria works

Vienna ranks 26th out of 50 cities in the Working Abroad Index. Sixty-eight percent of expats rate their job as secure, and two-thirds rate their work-life balance positively – compared to 59 percent and 62 percent globally. However, 23 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with their career opportunities, and a third feel that the corporate culture in Vienna lacks creativity and unconventional thinking.

In the “Expat Basics” index, international employees consider housing in Vienna particularly affordable (9th). In addition, eight out of ten find it easy to open a local bank account (vs 64 percent worldwide).