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Thanks to the numerous pompous buildings from the Roman-German and Austrian imperial time, the diversity of activities and the reputation being the musical capital, famous for its classical musicians as Beethoven and Mozart, Vienna became worldwide famous and a popular destination for tourists. Fiaker drive visitors through the city centre whose central place is the Stephansdom (Stephan’ Cathedral). Close by you can find the State Opera House, the Kärtner Straße, the most frequented street of Austria, colourful pastry shops and hotels and last but not least the pompous Ringstraße, which goes around the old city. Since 1980 a very lively and diverse scene has developed in Vienna, hosting galleries, cabarets, pubs and bars, jazz bars and different events. A lot of tourists visit Vienna in December when the city comes up with its Christmas markets, the “Silverpfad” through the old town and the “Kaiserball”. But most of the attractions in Vienna can be visited all year, for example the Castle Schönbrunn, the Hofburg, the Belvedere or the MuseumsQuartier. That’s why about 60% of the visitors come during the summer.
Vienna's weather can change quickly due to the continental Austrian climate. Winter highs can be as warm as 55°F/13°C and the low can fall below freezing. Summer highs can reach 90°F/32°C and the lows can be around 50°F/10°C. Heavy rain is most prevalent in the months from May-August. The best times to travel are spring, summer, and fall, although the lines tend to be longer for the tourist attractions, especially in the summer. If your main interest is skiing, it would be best to wait until the middle of winter.
German is the official language spoken in Vienna, although there is still a difference between standard German (Hochdeutsch) and Viennese German. It also differs to other Austrian dialects. English is widely understood and spoken in most of the touristy places.
The tip is usually included in restaurants in Vienna, but it is customary to round up the bill (ie €2 on €1.90.) The same is true for taxis. In hotels, it is normal to leave €1 to €2 per room per night. For other services, such a haircut, it is normal to leave a tip of €2 or more.
The VAT of 20% can be reclaimed by visitors from outside the EU. In order to do that you have to fill a tax-cheque by the time of purchase. At the airport your purchased items need to be taken to the customs clearance where the customs official will provide a tax stamp which can be cashed at any of the airport banks in a variety of currencies.
To call Vienna from abroad dial +43 for Austria and then 1 for Vienna. Calling from hotel is in general pretty expensive. To use a public phone you need a telephone card. Coins are not very common anymore. Telephone cards can be purchased in any post office.
There are many internet cafés over the whole city. Bazar Cyberlounge in Mayerhofgasse 1, BIGnet internetcafe in Hoher Markt 8-9, Blue Box in Richtergasse 8, Cafe Bierbeisl Einstein in Rathausplatz 4, Cafe Stein in Währingerstraße 6 – 8 an many more.
Police Tel.: 133
Fire department Tel.: 122
Ambulance Tel.: 144
Physicians on Standby Tel.: 141
Physicians (Hotline for Visitors 24 hours a day) Tel.: 513 95 95
Dentists (emergency service during the night and weekends) Tel.: 512 20 78
Pharmacies (night and weekend service) Tel.: 15 50
Most of the shops are open from 9 am - 7.30 pm during the week and on Saturdays until 6 pm. Small shops usually close around 7 pm, though some very small family run businesses have longer opening times. Banks are open Mon, Tue, Wed and Fri between 8 am - 3 pm, and on Thursdays they are open longer. Small banks are closed over midday.
·1 January: New Year's Day (Neujahr)
·6 January: Epiphany (Heilige Drei Könige)
·Easter Monday: (Ostermontag) - traditionally observed on both Sunday and Monday.
·1 May: Labour Day (Tag der Arbeit)
·Ascension Day: (Christihimmelfahrt) - always on a Thursday and nine days prior to Pentecost/Whitsun. Pentecost/Whitsun: (Pfingsten) - 50 days after Easter
·Corpus Christi: (Fronleichnam) - on the second Thursday after Whitsunday
·15 August: Assumption Day (Maria Himmelfahrt)
·26 October: Austrian National Day (Nationalfeiertag
·1 November: All Saints'' Day (Allerheiligen)
·11 November: St. Martin''s Day (Martinstag)
·Advent: - begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas
·8 December: Immaculate Conception (Mariä Empfängnis)
·25 December: Christmas Day (Weihnachten)
·26 December: St. Stephen''s Day (Stephanitag)
·December 31: New Year''s Eve (Silvester)
Despite being a big city Vienna is as safe as some villages would like to be. It is no problem to walk alone during the night but as it is a touristy city it is always useful to use common sense and not to challenge pickpockets and thieves.
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