Strolling Through Vienna: Navigating the City’s Unwritten Rules

Updated on 05 Aug 2023

Exploring a new city like Vienna, Austria is always exciting. This gem is a fusion of historic grandeur and contemporary cool, and it’s essential to respect its unique norms. From the fine dining experiences to the ancient architecture, there are certain do’s and don’ts in Vienna to be mindful of. Not only will this list enhance your experience, but it will also ensure that you blend right into the local culture. So, let’s dive right in and master the art of Viennese etiquette.

Vienna Do's and Dont's


  • Watch out for potential pickpockets: Although Vienna is generally safe, it’s always good to stay vigilant, especially in crowded areas like St. Stephen’s Cathedral or on bustling streetcars and subways. Pickpocketing isn’t rampant, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?
  • Escalator etiquette is essential: Make sure to stand on the right side of escalators, specifically in the U-Bahn (subway), allowing the folks in a rush to pass on the left. It’s a simple yet crucial rule to keep the flow going.
  • Be patient with public transport: Wait for the passengers to alight before boarding, and respect the designated seats for those who need them more.
  • Preserve the greenery: Enjoy the lush green spaces but remember to respect the signs requesting you to stay off the grass. After all, the next visitor would also appreciate the scenic green.
  • Get your public transport ticket: It may seem like an honor system, but inspections are common. Save yourself the trouble and always have a ticket.
  • Dress for the occasion: The Viennese appreciate a well-dressed individual. Whether you’re headed to an opera or a fine dining restaurant, looking sharp is always a good idea.
  • Use restroom facilities and coat checks: Some establishments charge a small fee for restroom use and most public events have coat checks. It’s the norm, so just go with the flow!
  • Cash is king: Small restaurants and hotels often prefer cash. Always have some Euros handy for such places.
  • Look out for canine surprises: Vienna loves its dogs, but be cautious of the occasional ‘greeting’ they might leave on the sidewalks.
  • Allow older ladies to move ahead: It’s a charming Viennese tradition. Plus, they might just squeeze past you anyway!
  • Tip your servers: You don’t necessarily need to tip a full 10%, but rounding up to the nearest Euro is a polite gesture.
  • Respect shop closing times: Shopkeepers value their time off, so don’t be surprised if you are ushered out a few minutes before the closing time.
Vienna Do's and Dont's


  • Don’t expect everyone to wait their turn: This is Europe, and queuing cultures can be different here. A bit of assertiveness and a stern look can work wonders.
  • Don’t bank on everyone speaking English: While many Austrians do speak English, it’s not universal.
  • Don’t look for air-conditioning everywhere: Vienna’s buildings are often quite old, and AC is not always a given.
  • Don’t assume ice water is standard: Unlike in some places, ice water isn’t usually served by default. If you want it, don’t hesitate to ask!
  • Don’t expect English menus everywhere: Often, the waiters will be happy to translate or explain, so just ask.
  • Don’t count on diet drinks and non-smoking areas: While more common now, they aren’t as ubiquitous as in some other places.
  • Don’t wait for the bill: Unlike in many countries, the waiters won’t bring your bill until you ask for it.
  • Don’t expect stores to be open late or on Sundays: Most stores close by 6:00 pm on weekdays, and Sunday is a day of rest.
  • Don’t make noise after 10 pm: Austrians value their peace and quiet, except on New Year’s Eve, of course!

There you go! Now you’re well-versed in the do’s and don’ts of Vienna. Enjoy your journey and soak in the local culture. Happy travels!

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