General Information about Vienna
Vienna, the capital of Austria with 1.8 Million inhabitants, is situated in the heart of Europe. Surrounded by the “Viennese woods” and located along the Danube River, Vienna has developed into an international meeting place for people from all over the world.
The city offers a great diversity of locations, from historical sites such as the 14th century St. Stephan’s cathedral in the very center and the “Ring street” surrounding the inner city with 19th century buildings including the “Hofburg” (former castle of the Habsburg emperors), the Opera, the famous Natural History and Art History Museums, and the Vienna City Hall, etc.
The public transport system, consisting of subways, streetcars and buses, is the most efficient and cost effective way to travel within Vienna. One day, three day and other tickets can be purchased at every tobacco shop “TABAK” and in all subway stations. Devaluation has to be done once, when entering a subway station, streetcar or bus. Please see www.wienerlinien.at for more details!
Passport-holders from all EU countries as well as from North America and Australia will not need a visa to enter Austria. For some nationalities, the visa can be issued at the airport in Vienna upon arrival. Others may have to apply before. If in doubt, please check with your nearest Austrian embassy, consulate (www.austria.org), or your airline.
In June-July, the average temperature in Vienna varies between +17 and +27 degrees Celsius. Despite the high temperature of the air and an average of 8 hours of sunshine per day, there is almost always a few cool and rainy days here. Thus, taking it into account, it is advisable to bring warm clothes alongside with light ones with you.
The official language of the Conference is English. No simultaneous translation will be provided. The language spoken in Austria is German, but most Austrians speak English and some French and Italian as well, and are happy to be of service to visitors.
Most Austrian banks will change traveler’s cheques as well as cash. Banking hours in general are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 8am – 12:30pm and 1:30pm – 3:00pm, Thursday 8am – 12:30pm and 1:30pm – 5:30pm.
Hotels, restaurants and most shops accept major credit cards. Please note that American Express credit cards may not be accepted everywhere in Austria. Cash machines (Bankomat) are located throughout the city.
The Austrian cuisine is a world -famous blend of specialties from all the countries that once belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Masters of Viennese cookery have adapted Hungarian, Serbian, Bohemian and Polish dishes, as well as the excellent thought less sophisticated genuine Austrian food. Pastries and desserts are superb in Austria and are available in a fascinating variety. Austria’s world-known white wines have a fragrant bouquet and call for the highest appreciation by connoisseurs. Beer is extraordinarily good. Coffee was introduced to the western world through Austria and comes in a variety of versions, all worth trying. In Austria, lunch is generally served between 12am and 2pm, dinner around 7pm.
The Viennese Coffee Shops (Cafe) are a cultural institution, which has been a landmark for the past 300 years. The Cafe was and still is a place of encounter for the Viennese. And there are special pastry shops where you can buy delicious Viennese pastry and taste it “on site”.
For foreign tourists Austria is a treasure trove of high quality, valuable, pretty and very often hand-made articles: Austrian glassware, fancy jewelry, petit-point handbags, chinaware, clothing, mountain and ski boots, skis and other sports equipment and traditional dress (“Austrian look”) appeal by their tastefulness and the use of the finest materials.
Shopping hours are Monday to Wednesday and Friday 9am (10am) – 6pm, Thursday 9am (10am) – 7pm (8pm) and Saturday 9am – 5pm. Except for some tobacconists and small supermarkets at petrol stations and at the main railway stations, shops are closed on Sundays. Luxury shops for an elegant clientele can be found in the pedestrian zone along Graben and Karntnerstr. (Underground U1, U3/Stephansplatz). Another well-known shopping area is Mariahilferstrasse (underground U3/Neubaugasse).
A 10% or 20% value-added tax is included in the list price of items for sale in Austria. Tourists of Non-EC-Countries must pay this V.A.T. (“MWSt”) at the time of purchase but may obtain a refund of the tax on unused merchandise, which is taken with them when they leave Austria. Official refund form you can complete in the corresponding shop.
Service is usually included in the bill in bars and restaurants, but tips up to 10% are welcome.