Vienna has ranked #1 on the Mercer Quality of Living report for the last 5 years and is also great for visitors. London ranks around 38-40 over a similar timeframe. In terms of personal saftey, Vienna ranked 5th in 2016 behind the likes of Luxembourg, Bern, Helsinki and Zurich.
This former capital city of the Austro‑Hungarian Empire has a great range of museums, concert halls and buildings of architectural interest, catering for all tastes from classical to modern. Vienna is a seat of the United Nations and Austria has been in the European Union since 1995, benefiting from the expansion of the EU into Eastern Europe as many companies base their Eastern European HQ in Vienna.
All this makes it a very international city.
The central 1st district is busy and has many coffee shops offering an extensive range of cakes (including the famous chocolate Sacher Torte) as well as smart boutiques and several flagship stores.
The summers are hot, the winters are cold, so the very best times to visit are mid April – mid June and September. Advent is also a great time to dress up warmly and visit Vienna’s Christmas markets which range from commercial (Rathausplatz) to oldey-worldey (Schönbrunn, Belvedere Palace and Spittelberg). Be sure to taste the mulled wine, which also helps to keep warm!!
local business etiquette and customs
The Austrians adore titles and recognise even the lowest of academic titles. Some find this charming, other find it obsequious, but it pays to be aware of your opposite part’s titles and to address them by that. For example, Herr Professor Schmidt, Frau Diplom-Ingenieurin Walter, and so on.
As in French, German differentaites between the formal Sie and the informal du, depending largely on whether you are on first name terms or not. The imperial history of Vienna, especially, means that formality still play a big role, in paricular in business. I have heard stories that employees at a bank are expected to get out of the elevator if the Herr Direktor wants to travel on it at the same time!
Dress code has changed here over the last 20 years and become more conservative. However, some men still attend business meetings in jacket, shirt and tie and jeans. For women, if you feel comfortable, then you’ll be fine. Dress according to the impression you which to make on your opposite number and consider what they might be used to – e.g. banks are more conservative, IT companies are less formal.
The language in Austria is German, although Viennese has a distinct pronunciation and many words not used elsewhere in the German-speaking realm. Whilst Viennese appreciate punctuality in others, they are likely to take advantage of the “academic 10 minutes” when dealing with their own personal time-keeping. Waiters in traditional coffee shops and restaurants do not allow themselves to be rushed, so if you’re in a hurry, it may be better to go to Starbucks!
dining and bars
Do & Co – either Stephansplatz opposite the Stephansdom or Albertina which is in the same building as the famous museum. http://www.doco.com/de/
Plachutta – recommended is the Tafelspitz. http://www.plachutta.at/de/home/
Visit the Wollzeile restaurant – central
Motto am Fluss – Especially in the summer, this has a great terrace overlooking the Danube canal. http://www.mottoamfluss.at
Vienna is the home of the coffee house:
- Café Landtmann on the Ring close to the Rathaus
- Café Schwarzenberg, also on the Ring close to the Schwarzenbergplatz
- Café Museum close to Karlsplatz
- Café Sperl behind the Technical University and close to the Naschmarkt
Apart from delicious and highly calorific cakes, most coffee houses also have food available all day.
WOMEN’S NETWORKS AND EVENTS
I have been an active member of the Vienna chapter of the PWN for over three years.
PWN Global is a dynamic fast-growing offline and online networking and leadership development platform for professional women of all sectors and industries. With over 3,500 members and more than 90 nationalities, our volunteer-led organisation delivers over 600 events a year in our community of 25 city networks. We welcome you to our events; as a mentor or mentee; to explore our rich knowledge and resources; to learn, grow and leave your legacy, whilst volunteering across the Federation and our City Networks. Find out more about our city networks, here ; join our mission, here ; or, sign up for our monthly event mailer and quarterly newsletter, here. If you want to find out more from a ‘live’ person, don’t hesitate to contact Rebecca Fountain, PWN Global’s Head of Global Marketing and Communication.
BEAUTY AND FITNESS
For runners there are two parts of Vienna which are very popular – the Prater Hauptallee, a four kilometer long flat stretch, lined with trees and free of traffic and the garden of the Schönbrunn Palace.
Cyclists and rollerblade skaters appreciate the long flat pavements on the Donauinsel, a huge open area by the River Danube where the annual Donauinselfest with many music acts is held. There is a wakeboarding area and many bars and eating places, as well as picnic areas.
The city has many municipal swimming baths: https://www.wien.gv.at/english/leisure/bath/bathlist.htm
Most larger hotels offer hairdressing and beauty salon services. In the 1st district/city centre, there are many beauty salons, nail studios and massage institutes.
SAFETY and emergency services
In general, the pace of the city is one of laid-back comfort. In the last few years, unfortunately, safety of property can no longer be taken for granted. In crowded and touristy areas, it is necessary to be careful, but personal safety is generally not a problem.
TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT
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Vienna has an extensive public transportation network and getting around Vienna by public transport is very easy, relatively inexpensive and generally safe. Touchscreen ticket machines can be switched to English. Tickets are available for all day travel and need to be validated before the first journey and shown on demand if you encounter a conductor. Otherwise, there is no need to show your ticket. Underground trains run all night from Fri-Sat and Sat-Sun. There are also good NightBus services. Taxis all have an illuminated taxi sign on the roof and there are many taxi ranks around the city so waiting times are short.
ambassador: KARIN RICHMAN
I have been living in Vienna since 1995 and my mother was originally from here, so it really feels like home for me. My husband is also from the UK and our son was born in Vienna in 2000.
I have gained extensive experience as a non-tech Project Manager and Executive Assistant working for American multi‑nationals and have been involved in some interesting additional projects, including proof‑reading the Master’s thesis of a well‑known Austrian journalist.
As I used to be a cinema manager, watching films is one of my favourite pastimes and I go to the cinema regularly (several cinemas offer films in English with subtitles and the Haydn Kino shows the latest releases in the original version without subtitles.
I like to eat out and, as I book tables for colleagues as well, am always on the look‑out for good places. I am a member of the Austro‑British Chamber which is a small and interesting network for business people with regular Business Breakfasts on interesting topics.
Networking: See who is networking in Vienna now
Read the doing business in Austria guide.