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VIENNA

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)

Cinemas

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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VIENNA

What makes Vienna the ‘most liveable city’ and where can it improve?

Vienna is once again at the top of the global liveability index, but what does it mean and where can Austria's capital still improve?

What makes Vienna the 'most liveable city' and where can it improve?

The Austrian capital city of Vienna made a comeback as the world’s most liveable city after it tumbled down to 34th place due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

Now, Vienna tops a ranking dominated by Western European cities, and it scores highly in nearly all criteria, including stability, healthcare, education, and infrastructure, according to a report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

READ ALSO: Vienna returns to top ranking as world’s ‘most liveable city

What does each of these points mean and in which areas is the city still not the best?

The liveability score is reached through category weights, each divided into subcategories. The indicators are then scored based on either judgement of “in-house expert geography analysts and a field correspondent based in each city” for qualitative variables.

In the case of quantitative variables, the rating is calculated based on the relative performance of a location using external data, such as information from the World Bank or Transparency International, for example.

Karlskirche, or St. Charles Church, in Vienna (Copyright: © WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)

Stability

Vienna got a 100 percent score in this category, which is measured based on several indicators. The EIU rating evaluated the prevalence of petty crime and of violent crime. It also looked into the threat of terrorism, military conflict, and civil unrest threats.

Healthcare

This was another category Austria’s capital aced – and an improvement from the pandemic years, when it lost points on healthcare.

READ ALSO: Ten essential apps to download for living in Vienna

The rating considers the availability and quality of both private and public healthcare. It also looks into the availability of over-the-counter drugs and general healthcare indicators provided by the World Bank.

Education

Vienna got a total of 100 points for this category, which considered the availability and quality of private education and looked into World Bank data on public education indicators.

Infrastructure

Another 100 percent for Austria’s capital which was found to have a good quality of road network, public transport, international links, energy provision, water provision and telecommunications. The ranking also considered the availability of good-quality housing.

Theater in Vienna (© WienTourismus/Paul Bauer)

Culture & Environment

This was the only category where Vienna did not get 100 points. Instead, it scored 96.3, which was still higher than many of the top ten cities. Vancouver, Canada, was the only city at the top of the ranking that got a 100. Melbourne and Amsterdam also fared slightly better than Vienna.

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

The category looks into humidity and temperature rating, the discomfort of climate for travellers, level of corruption, social or religious restrictions, level of censorship, sporting availability, cultural availability, food and drink, and consumer goods and services.

Among all of these indicators, only the humidity/temperature rating, which is adapted from average weather conditions, didn’t receive the highest grade.

What can Vienna do to get better?

Even in the indicators where the Austrian capital did well, there are always things to improve, especially concerning the risks to the quality of living that rising inflation and the Ukrainian war bring.

When it comes to weather, though the city cannot control when it rains or shines, there are many things it can do to improve living conditions on those scorching summer days or freezing winter evenings.

READ ALSO: ‘Cool streets’: How Vienna is preparing for climate change and heatwaves

As summer and heatwaves arrive, it is already looking to bring more green areas and avoid “heat islands” building up in the city centre. It also has built fog showers, drinking fountains and increased offers of “cool” areas where people can escape the extreme heat.

Also, looking to reduce the use of cars and make life better for residents, Vienna is betting on the “15-minute city” concept. This means that Austria’s capital is trying to make the essential everyday routes and destinations, including metro stations, reachable by a 15-minute walk.

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