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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

How Vienna’s parking system will change in March

From March 1st, Vienna's parking permit system will be expanded to cover the whole city. Here's a look at what that means for drivers.

How Vienna's parking system will change in March
Photo: Andrej Isakovic / AFP

What’s happening?

Free parking will basically no longer be possible in Vienna.

Short-term parking zones and resident’s parking permits will be brought in to each of Vienna’s districts, meaning that in the entire city, parking a car is only possible with either a resident’s parking permit (Parkpickerl) or a ticket (Parkschein) for the short-term zones.

For residents in districts 1-9, there is no change as these rules were already in place. In the 11th, 13th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd districts it’s the first time that short-term parking zones and resident’s permits are being used. For the remaining districts (10, 12, and districts 14-19), short-term parking already existed but the rules will now be standardised to match the 1st-9th districts, meaning drivers can only park between 9am and 10pm Monday to Friday, for a maximum of two hours, in the short-term parking zones.

The changes come into effect from March 1st.

READ ALSO: Five underrated towns you can visit in a day from Vienna

What do I need to do to be able to park in Vienna?

If you have your main registered residence (Hauptwohnsitz) in Vienna, you will still be able to park in your home district.

You need to apply for your resident’s parking permit (Parkpickerl), which you can do either online or by making an appointment at your municipal office (Magistrat). This might take around one week, according to city authorities.

The sticker costs €10 per month and the cost will be the same whichever district you live in (meaning a €2.50 increase for some of the outer districts), and you can buy it for between three and 24 months at a time. When you first apply, you also need to pay a one-off admin fee: €50 if you register in person and €39.30-€45 if you apply online, with the cheaper price available if you have a HandySignatur.

The resident’s permit allows you to park only within the district (Bezirk) where you are registered as having your main residence, and there is no time limit on how long you can park. In shopping streets, there are separate regulations, so if you have a resident’s permit for that district, you can park for free but only for up to 1.5 hours.

If you have multiple residences in Vienna, you can still only apply for one permit, for the district where you are registered as having your main residence. Owners of allotment gardens (Kleingarten) can apply for an additional seasonal permit (Saisonpickerl).

READ ALSO: What can I do about noisy neighbours in Austria?

What if I don’t live in Vienna?

The cheapest way to park in Vienna if you don’t have a resident’s parking permit is to park at Vienna’s Park and Ride garages which are listed here. It costs around €3.60 per day, and the garages are all close to underground line (U-Bahn) connections.

You can also park temporarily at the short-term parking zones (Kurzparkzonen) throughout the city. You need to buy a ticket to stop at these, and tickets are available from Wiener Linien ticket machines and offices, most tobacconists or newsagents, or via the Handyparken app.

The short-term tickets only allow you to park between 9am and 10pm Monday to Friday, for a maximum of two hours.

If you have a disability and a valid disabled identification card, you can also use the parking zones for Viennese residents (Anwohnerparken) without costs or time restrictions. You will usually see signs under no-parking signs saying: “ausgenommen Fahrzeuge mit Parkkleber für den (number) Bezirk sowie Behinderte” which means “except for residents of (number) district and for disabled people”.

As an alternative to navigating the parking rules, it’s worth remembering Vienna has an excellent and cheap public transport system, costing just €1 per day if you get an annual ticket. Many Viennese employers cover the cost of these tickets for employees.

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The five best places for stargazing in Austria

If you live in a city, chances are light pollution is stopping you from seeing many of the stars in the sky. But there are many areas in Austria where you get completely dark skies and can enjoy stars and constellations in all their glittering glory.

The five best places for stargazing in Austria

Unsurprisingly, there’s generally less light pollution in the Austrian Alps and away from urban areas.

Night skies in Europe are reportedly getting some six percent lighter each year, with Austria’s skies exceeding this average by six to eight percent. Yikes.

“If it carries on like this, then by 2040, there will be the first few areas where you won’t be able to see any stars at all with the naked eye,” Stefan Wallner, astronomer at the University of Vienna told Austrian newspaper Kurier.

You can see just how bad light pollution is in your area here.

Fortunately, Austria has so-called star parks (see below) where they are making a conscious effort to keep light pollution down to a minimum.

It’s always a good time to check the skies out, but it should be particularly special from August 11th to August 13th with the Perseids meteor showers – possibly the most beautiful night of the year for stargazing as you should see between 50-110 ‘shooting stars’ per hour!

You might need to set your alarm, though, as the best time to see them is between 9pm and 6am, looking to the north-east.

No telescope? No problem. We’ve put together a list of the best places across Austria where it’s dark enough to see stars even with the naked eye.

Sternenpark Naturpark Attersee-Traunsee, Upper Austria
In 2021, this park was certified as Austria’s first star park by the International Dark Sky Association.

This means everyone in the area makes it their job to keep light pollution at very low levels – you’ll struggle to find any brightly lit buildings or advertising hoardings here. Street lighting is kept to a minimum, too.

You can find out more in the video above (in German).

The park offers many different trails and discovery tours, as well as photography workshops for beginners and more advanced snappers, and other creative courses, such as natural drum-making.

Durrenstein hut to Locatelli hut by night

The Dürrenstein wilderness area is Austria’s first World Natural Heritage site. Photo by Mia Battaglia on Flickr.

Ybbstaler residence in the Dürrenstein wilderness area, Lower Austria

Fans of stargazing can stay in this chalet on the 1,343-metre-high Ybbstaler Alps, in the Dürrenstein wilderness area.

Unesco declared Austria’s only wilderness area the country’s first World Natural Heritage Site in 2017 – giving it the same protection as the likes of the Dolomites and the Grand Canyon.

Given its position and protection, it’s easy to spot the milky way and zodiacal light (that faint white triangular glow you see just after sunset or before sunrise), as well as thousands of stars, with the naked eye.

And it’s a great place to spend a bit longer, too: there are 3,500 hectares of wilderness to discover via tours, excursions and hiking trails.  

Visitors can explore the wilderness area on guided tours and excursions, which also provide a view of the Rothwald, or on the official hiking trails.

Hohe Dirn Star Park, Upper Austria

Grab your torches and something and reach for the stars – and the milky way – at the 1,100-metre-high Star Park observation point in the Upper Austrian municipality of Reichraming.

They also hold special events and public observation evenings (see above video) where you’ll get a short intro to the starry night. They’ll point out key constellations, answer your questions on astronomy and, depending on conditions, you might be able to see some objects up close with a telescope.

You can register for the next ones here.

Frauenberg and Hochtor

The summit to the right is the Hochtor, part of the Gesäuse National Park and the highest mountain in the Ennstaler Alps in Styria, Austria. Photo by Bernd Thaller on Flickr.

Gesäuse National Park, Styria
This 12,000-hectare national park in the mountainous region of Upper Styria extends over Admont, Johnsbach, Weng, Hieflau, Landl and St Gallen – Jonsdach was recently found to be the darkest place in Austria, so you know the views are going to be good here.

It’s said that people have even been able to see the milky way here without a telescope.

As well as stargazing opportunities a-plenty, they also have exhibitions, a photography school, and climbing, cycling and boating routes.

Plus, there’s a designated camping area.

telescope in front of mountain residence

There’s no light pollution on the Emberger Alm. Photo by Sattleggers Alpenhof

Mountain residence with observatory, Carinthia
If you fancy spending more than an evening with the twinkly ones, then how about a star-watching holiday?

Sattleggers Alpenhof on the Emberger Alm in Carinthia offers just that – there’s a mini observatory at 1,800 metres, a weather-proof star-watching hut with a retractable roof, astronomy photography workshops, and crucially, very dark nights with no light pollution.

waiting for the stars in grossmugl

Waiting for the stars at Großmugl. Photo by captain.orange on Flickr.

And Vienna (!)
Even if you’re in Vienna, all is not lost.

Just outside the city, you’ll find the Georgenberg Sterngarten observatory.

They hold lots of events for star fans, including tours, lectures, observation evenings, shooting star nights and picnics under the stars.

There’s also the Großmugl star walk just 30 minutes from Vienna.

The path is suitable for all ages – it’s about 1.5km long and has information boards all along it describing the phenomena you might see in the night sky.

And what about if it’s raining? Then head to the planetarium!

Austria’s largest planetarium allows you to stargaze whatever the weather.

There are events for young and old star-spotters alike, including watching the spectacular Perseids meteor shower (12th August, 2022) and private tours.

You can even dine under the 9,000 twinkling stars. Prices start at €149 per person.

The Urania Observatory, Austria’s oldest – yet most modern – observatory is also in Vienna. Thanks to a super-powerful automatic double telescope you can still observe the skies despite the brightness of the city.

And if you’re wondering when the best time to stargaze is, you better set your alarm clocks, as it’s between 2-3am, ideally during a new moon.

Happy stargazing!

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