MU Student Guidebook
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Welcome to Vienna and congratulations on your choice of studying at MODUL University. You are
about to embark upon an exciting adventure that will enrich your life on both academic and personal
levels. Each semester, MODUL University Vienna (MU) welcomes students from all over the world to
its BBA, BSc, MSc, and MBA programs as both full-time and exchange students. Our commitment to
your education extends beyond the classroom; we are dedicated to providing you a high quality of
student support and services, helping you grow MU into a vibrant community, and ensuring you feel
comfortable and prepared to study and live in Vienna, a city that was recently named as having the
#1 quality of life in the world.
Successful preparation for student life has been proven to result in academic success, and we hope
that this guide helps you prepare in the best possible way. It offers information to lead you and your
fellow students towards a smooth beginning as you transition to studying at MU and living in Vienna.
It contains information about not only being new in town, but also being new at university. If some
of the links lead you to German forms or German pages and you don’t speak German, please ask the
SSC for help. If you are from Vienna or Austria, we also hope you find this guide useful. There is
information about arriving, getting settled, being a student, and exploring around town. Once you
are familiar with the contents of this guide, keep it with you for future reference; yet remember that
MU’s Student Service Center is always here to assist you.
Whether you are Austrian or International, or a BBA, BSc, MSc, MBA or Exchange Student, we are
delighted to have you with us and will do all we can to make your stay at MU both successful and
We wish you every success—in the classroom and out of it—at MODUL University Vienna.
Antonia Baumgartner, Oscar Pacheco and Darrah Lustig
Student Service Center
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Vienna is the capital of the Republic of Austria. It is the country's biggest city and seat of many
international organizations (official UN seat, OECD headquarters). Its roughly 1.7 million inhabitants
live in a space of 414 square kilometers. Vienna is divided into 23 districts. Each district has a name
and a number. You can easily tell by the postcode in which district an address is situated. The middle
two digits give you the number of the district, for example an address with 1010 would mean the 1st
district. Each street sign in Vienna also displays the number of the district where it is situated before
the street name.
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Arriving in Vienna
Vienna’s public transportation system is of the highest quality, so whether you arrive by train or
plane, it shouldn’t be too difficult to arrive at your final destination. If arriving at the Vienna
International Airport, you have the possibility of taking the “fast train” (Schnellbahn or S-Bahn) to the
city center or the Vienna City Airport Train (the CAT), which zips you into town in 16 minutes.
http://www.wienerlinien.at/ (Vienna’s Public Transportation)
http://www.cityairporttrain.com/ (Vienna’s City Airport Train)
There is an airport taxi service which charges around €35 for the ride to town, but check
www.airportservice.at as you might need to reserve ahead.
You may also contact a local organization with which MU cooperates: Feels Like Home. They are an
organization that helps international newcomers to Vienna. They can also help you arrange an
airport pickup in Vienna. Check out http://feelslikehome.at/ for more information.
Settling Into Town
This section should aid you during your first days and weeks after your arrival in Vienna. As always,
do not hesitate to contact the Student Service Center
(http://www.modul.ac.at/studentservicecenter) if you have questions.
Residence Registration and De-Registration (Anmelden)
Persons moving to Austria from other countries, persons changing residence within Austria, and
persons changing their primary residence all need to register with the Municipal District Office within
3 working days of arriving. This is Austrian law.
For your convenience, forms are available from the Student Service Center. They are also found
online: http://www.help.gv.at/Content.Node/documents/meldez.pdf. The form is written in
German, so those requiring help with translations should come to the Student Service Center.
Students must register in person. You should go to the Municipal District Office in the district where
you will be living. Exact addresses of the municipal district offices are available on the website:
The confirmation of registration (Meldebestätigung) should be kept safe because you will need it for
certain dealings with the authorities.
Please be aware that you are also required to de-register before you leave Austria, or re-register if
you change addresses!
It is important that you are insured for your whole stay in Austria. Usually EU- and EEA-citizens’
insurance policies are recognized here, but if you need medical care you will normally have to pay for
the treatment yourself and claim the reimbursement from your insurance company. If you are
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insured in another country you need to check with your insurance company if and how you are
It is advisable to insure yourself here in Austria, as the rates for students are very favorable. If you
are a regular student at an Austrian university with a regular residence (registration as a secondary
resident is sufficient) in Austria you can apply for the students’ insurance at the WGKK. Monthly rates
are around €54 for full coverage. www.wgkk.at.
A plastic insurance card, called the ‘E-card’ is issued by your Health Insurance Company. The E- card
proves that you are eligible for treatment by a medical doctor without additional payments. The Ecard is valid as long as you have valid health insurance. You should contact your health insurance
company if you lose your card.
Opening a Bank Account
In order to facilitate cashless transactions, which you will need to pay the tuition fees, it is necessary
to open a bank account in Austria. Most of the banks offer especially attractive student accounts to
students up to the age of 30. MODUL University Vienna recommends you to review the student
banking options and choose a bank conveniently located to you. Some common local banks:
Bank Austria (http://www.bankaustria.at/en/index.html)
Erste Bank (https://www.sparkasse.at/erstebank)
Vienna has a well-developed public transport network operated by ‘Wiener Linien’
(www.wienerlinien.at) with buses, trains, trams and underground lines that will take you almost
anywhere in the city.
Where to Buy a Ticket
Tickets can be used for all public transport in the core zone. Tickets are available at ticket machines
at most underground stations or at points of advance sale. Tobacconists also sell tickets. You may
also purchase a ticket on board the bus or tram at an increased rate per ticket.
Reduction for Students
Semester tickets (valid for the whole semester) are available for regular degree program students
under the age of 26. You will need to get it from the points of advance sale of the Wiener Linien or
their Customer Service Center at Erdberg (U3-stop Erdberg) producing the following documents:
An authorization card (Berechtigungskarte) (info available at the SSC) which you obtain by
taking a confirmation of studies (Studienbestätigung) from the university to their Customer
Service Center at Erdberg (U3-stop Erdberg)
A completed application form (available at the SSC)
A proof of registration in Vienna (Meldebestätigung)
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The ‘Wiener U-Bahn’ Map
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The 38A: The Bus to MU
Many MODUL University students, staff, and faculty take the 38A bus up to Kahlenberg every day.
Here are the schedules for the bus in both directions to help you plan.
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Doctors on call:
141 (night and weekend)
406 43 43
In any case you can also dial the European emergency number 112 from your mobile phone. You can
enter that number at any time, even without a SIM-card, without contract or positive balance or
even if the key-pad is blocked. The phone will choose the strongest network, even if it is not yours
and the call is free of charge. Misuse on the other hand is severely punished.
The international dialing code for Austria is 0043. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant
country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). The area code for Vienna is (0)1. Public telephone
boxes can be used for direct dial calls within the country and overseas.
There are various accommodation options for students depending on individual needs and lifestyle.
MODUL University Vienna helps arrange accommodation for students who do not wish to look for
accommodation on their own. Our aim is to provide you with a high-quality, safe, affordable and
happy environment for both academic and social life.
As a guide, the cost for the student residences with which MODUL University cooperates ranges from
ca. €300 to ca. €500 depending on the type of room and residence a student selects.
The SSC arranges accommodation for students through Wihast (http://www.wihast.at) and
through Base 19 (http://www.base19.at/). Both residences are conveniently located close to public
transport, the university and the city. (Ca. 30 minutes to the university and ca. 15 minutes to the
For more information about the accommodation options that MODUL University can help you
arrange, including whom to contact and how to reserve, please visit:
Finding your own Housing in Vienna
It is wise to start informing yourself about the housing market early on, and come prepared to begin
your search. It is best to be located in Vienna while you are searching. You may want to stay in a
hostel or hotel for that period. Through http://www.wien.info/article.asp?IDArticle=9425 you
can find short-term accommodation.
A rental terms dictionary can be found on the following page:
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These are websites where you can search for a suitable place:
Feels Like Home: http://www.feelslikehome.at/living.html (in English)
Bazar: http://www.bazar.at/ (in German only)
Cybermarkt : www.cybermarket.at/ (in German only, follow ‘Immobilien’)
Jobwohnen: http://www.job-wohnen.at/ (in German only)
Willhaben: http://www.willhaben.at/ (in German only)
Immobilio: http://www.immobilo.at/ (in German only)
Here are a few online resources that will help you with information about life in Vienna
Helpful information for English speakers new to Vienna:
Info on food, events, shopping, touring and more at http://vienna.unlike.net/
Cool information about Vienna from locals: http://www.spottedbylocals.com/vienna/
WienXtra jugendinfo: Cheap concert and event tickets, culture and life info and
counseling for youth at http://www.jugendinfowien.at/ (German).
City of Vienna website: http://www.wien.gv.at/english/
Vienna Tourism Office site: http://www.vienna.info/en
Being a Student at MU and in Vienna
Reaching MODUL University
MODUL University Vienna is located on top of Kahlenberg, a scenic hill with an altitude of 484
meters. It offers a view over the entire city of Vienna. The address of MODUL University Vienna is:
Am Kahlenberg 1, 1190 Vienna, Austria
To reach the university building using public transportation:
Take the 38A line with “Kahlenberg” or “Leopoldsberg” written as the final destination from
Heiligenstadt (U4) or from Grinzing (tram 38) and get off the bus at the Kahlenberg stop.
Working in Austria while you’re a student
If you wish to work in Austria whilst studying, please make sure that you enquire about the legal
regulations before commencing employment. Working in Austria illegally may lead to fines, prison
sentences or expulsion from the country. The type of gainful employment foreign students are
allowed to take up in Austria depends on their nationality, level of education, and other factors. The
work must not affect the students’ progress with his/her studies and the studies have to be the
primary purpose of staying in Austria.
As this information and the rules often change, MODUL University prefers that students check up on
the current status at the source; namely, by checking the website of the OeAD, the Austrian Agency
for International Cooperation in Education and Research. They have a very helpful website regarding
student employment that clearly outlines the regulations and procedures. The website may be
accessed here: http://www.oead.at/welcome_to_austria/legal_practical_issues/working/EN/
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Life in Vienna
The official language of Austria and Vienna is German, but each area of Austria has its own dialect—
Vienna of course, too! “Wienerisch” is different from “Hochdeutsch” mainly in pronunciation, but
also in its slightly more relaxed approach to the difficult German grammatical rules. Many Austrians
speak English, but they are pleased (and generally more friendly) when foreign visitors make an
attempt to learn and speak German. If you don’t know German, we suggest that you make it a
priority to at least learn the basics. It will make your time here much more enjoyable!
More than 80% of the population of Austria is Roman Catholic, while most of the remaining 20% are
affiliated with other Christian denominations. In Vienna, however, there are a variety of religious
organizations representing every major world religion who meet freely around the city. Check out
http://www.virtualvienna.net/ to inform yourself accordingly.
General Attitudes and Greetings
The standard greeting in Austria and Vienna is “Grüss Gott” which literally means “greetings to God.”
You should always greet your neighbors and shopkeepers in this way, even if you do not know them
personally. In Austria, it is considered unusual to smile at or to greet total strangers. Friends and
acquaintances always greet by shaking hands or by kissing each cheek once.
Kissing cheeks is as common among same sex friends as it is among opposite sex friends. You need
to be aware of the importance of formality for Austrians, specifically the Viennese, and most
specifically Viennese adults. The formal word for you (Sie) must be used in addressing a person in
German until you are given permission to use the informal you (du) even if it is someone you feel
that you know quite well.
Titles are also very important and should be used whenever addressing adults (Herr, Frau. Dr.) Some
foreigners mistakenly interpret the Austrian formality as unfriendliness. Please remember that it is
Austria is notorious for having rather reduced opening hours. Most shops are closed on Sundays and
some take a break at midday for lunch. As a rule, it’s best to check up on your intended destination’s
opening hours to avoid nasty surprises.
Vienna is one of the safest cities in the world. There are no slums or districts you should avoid. In
general you can visit any part of the city at any time of the day without taking much risk. At
nighttime, just use your common sense. It is wise to avoid parks, as to be prepared for some
unsavory characters at big underground stations such as ‘Karlsplatz’ station and ‘Schwedenplatz’
station at night.
If you are a victim of a theft or any other crime, report it immediately to the police. If credit cards
were taken, call the issuing store bank immediately, so that you will not be charged for the misuse of
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the card. Should your passport be stolen, call your country’s consulate or contact the local police
station (to file a report) immediately.
Finding a Doctor
In the event that you need a doctor and even a doctor who speaks your native language, Vienna has
a helpful website to aid you on your search: http://www2.aekwien.at/997E.py
Pharmacists in Austria are specialists and are prepared to make suitable recommendations for
common minor illnesses (colds, cramps, headaches etc.) Pharmacies (apotheke) tend to be open
daily until 6PM and also on Saturdays until noon. Pharmacies generally post the address and phone
number of the nearest pharmacy that is on 24 hour call or on weekend service.
Vienna Day to Day
Food & Drink
You can find a variety of different foods in every town in Austria, for example Italian, Greek, Chinese,
Mexican and fast food. Yet if you are looking for something traditional, it’s important to understand
what Vienna has on offer: three types of typical gastronomic establishment: the ‘coffee house’, the
‘Beisl’ and the ‘Heuriger’.
Coffee Houses and Cake Shops
The literature on the subject of Viennese coffee houses could fill whole libraries. Today you will find
more than 500 of these oases scattered across the city, where you can sit for hours in peace over a
‘Melange’ – a coffee with 50% espresso and 50% frothed milk– and the obligatory glass of Viennese
spring water. You will also be provided with a large selection of newspapers in a wide range of
languages, and even chess boards, bridge cards or billiard tables to help you while away the time.
The classic ‘Viennese breakfast’ is served everywhere: a pot of coffee or tea plus bread rolls with
butter, jam or honey and a boiled egg. During the day, in addition to various cakes, many places
serve snacks such as sausages or toasts, omelets or goulash soup. Many of the larger, more famous
cafés in the city Center are also full blown restaurants, serving excellent meals. To be precise,
Viennese coffee houses offer you at least twelve variations of coffee. To start with, there’s the small
or large ‘Schwarze’ (mocha without milk) or ‘Braune’ (with milk). The ‘Melange’ is a coffee with 50%
espresso and 50% frothed milk and dusted with coffee, cinnamon or cocoa powder. A
‘Kaisermelange’ has an egg yolk stirred in! The ‘Fiaker’ is a glass of mocha and the ‘Einspänner’I is a
Fiaker with a portion of whipped cream. A coffee diluted with added water is a ‘Verlängerter’. When
the weather turns cold, get out and explore the various types!
Daily, 1st district, Stallburggasse 2
Daily, except Sunday evenings, 1st district, Herrengasse 14
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Daily, 13th district, Dommayergasse 1
Daily, 1st district, Wollzeile 10
Daily, 1st district, Dorotheergasse 6
Daily, 1st district, Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 4
Café Alt Wien
Daily, 1st district, Bäckerstrasse 9
The second bastion of the Viennese way of life is the ‘Beisl’, the traditional inn, today more popular
than ever thanks to the incredible rejuvenation process taking place in Viennese cuisine which
combines Bohemian, Hungarian, Italian, Jewish and other central European culinary traditions. For
decades, the city of the ‘Schnitzel’, ‘Tafelspitz’, ‘Beuschel dumplings’ and ‘Palatschinken’ was
criticized by gourmets for its high-calorie, high-fat fare, but recently a new generation of ambitious
chefs has adapted the traditional dishes to modern-day eating habits. Several Viennese gourmet
temples have even been awarded a ‘chef’s hat’ or star by stern restaurant critics.
Daily, 13th district, Auhofstrasse 1
Daily except Sunday, 7th district, Neubaugasse 52
Mid-March–October: daily, 2nd district, Prater 116
This Viennese chain of restaurants is for everyone with big stomachs and low budgets, i.e.
students. There are 6 restaurants around town offering basic foods in big portions for little
money. The restaurants are geared towards a student clientele and the interior reflects this.
Stiftgasse 4/Siebensterngasse 16a
Liechtensteinstrasse 42/Bauernfeldplatz 1
Schleifmühlgasse 7/Margaretenstrasse 21
Gersthoferstrasse 58/Herbeckstrasse 1
Währinger Gürtel 1/Jörgerstrasse 2
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The third Viennese institution enjoys undiminished popularity: the ‘Heuriger’. These traditional wine
taverns, mostly with picturesque vaulted ceilings, courtyards and gardens, in which you can savor the
new wines and good home cooking – often to the sound of live Viennese music – are to be found
concentrated in the old wine-making villages on the outskirts of the Vienna Woods in the northwest
of the city. Just as popular are those in the quieter wine-growing regions such as Strebersdorf and
Stammersdorf right up in the north on the other side of the Danube, or, close to the southern city
boundary, in the district of Mauer. The genuine Heuriger, also known as a ‘Buschenschank’ can be
recognized by the ‘Föhrenbusch’, the sprig of Scots pine and the sign saying ‘Ausg’steckt’ by the
Vienna restaurants work mainly on cash, but most restaurants today will accept credit cards. It is
customary to add a 10% tip when you pay your waitress/ waiter. (You usually have to ask for the bill
(‘zahlen’) when you are ready to go. Waiters/waitresses in simple restaurants still add the bill up at
table. You add the tip and tell them what the total is.
A dream of a dessert, consisting of grated apple, chopped nuts, sultanas, flavored with
cinnamon and sugar, in wafer-thin flaky pastry.
Small pieces of innards (mostly heart and lung) in a spicy sauce.
Yeast-risen pastry, shaped like dumplings, filled with jam and often served with vanilla sauce.
The sausages, which are otherwise known as ‘Wiener Würstchen’, surprisingly enough.
Egg pancakes, fried in fat and cut into thin strips. Served in clear, beef bouillon.
Bohemian pastry dish, a sweet specialty consisting of potato pastry cases filled with stewed
Dessert made of torn or shredded pancakes, sprinkled with sultanas and sugar and covered in
stewed plum sauce.
Not unlike Italian gnocchi – these dumplings, made with semolina or butter, find their way into
soups, or with whisked egg become the legendary ‘Salzburger Nockerln’.
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Sweet pancakes, filled, in the classic style, with apricot jam (‘Marillen-marmelade’). There are
also widely-available variations which are filled with quark (‘Topfen’), chocolate sauce or icecream.
Addictive substance for chocaholics: the ultimate gateau, made from egg yolk, sugar, a little
flour and stiffly beaten egg whites, sandwiched together with apricot jam and covered with a
layer of chocolate.
Grilled lower leg of pork or veal, typically served with sauerkraut and bread dumplings.
Tafelspitz mit G’röstel
Prime piece of boiled beef, thickly sliced and generally accompanied by chive sauce, fried
potatoes and apple or bread sauce with horseradish.
The classic veal cutlet, coated in breadcrumbs and fried golden brown. Ideal accompaniment:
Beer is generally sold in the following sizes: 0.2 litre (a ‘Pfiff’), 0.3 litre (a ‘Seidel’ or ‘kleines Bier’) and
0.5 litre (a ‘Krügerl’, ‘Halbe’ or ‘großes Bier’). The most popular types of beer are pale ‘lager’,
naturally cloudy ‘Zwicklbier’, and ‘wheat beer’. During holidays like Christmas and Easter ‘bock’ beer
is also available.
Wine is principally cultivated in the east of Austria. The most important wine-producing areas are in
Vienna, Lower Austria, Burgenland and Styria.
Other Alcoholic Drinks
In Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Styria and Carinthia, ‘Most’, a type of cider or perry is widely
produced, whilst ‘Sturm’, a semi-fermented grape-juice, is drunk after the grape harvest.
At the close of a meal, ‘Schnapps’ or fruit brandy is drunk, which in Austria is made from a variety of
fruits (for example apricots), as well as rowanberries, gentian roots, or various herbs. The produce of
small private Schnapps distilleries, of which there are around 20,000 in Austria, is known as
‘Selberbrennter’ or ‘Hausbrand’.
The traditional Viennese fast food is sausage. You can buy hot sausages and hot dogs at snack bars
called ‘Würstelstand’ all over town and at almost any time as there are quite a few ‘Würstelstände’
open 24hrs a day. The famous ‘Wiener Würstel’ is mostly known as the ‘Frankfurter’ in Vienna, but
most inhabitants prefer ‘Burenwurst’ and ‘Käsekrainer’ (sausage filled with melted cheese).
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A relatively new addition to the local snack culture is ‘Döner Kebap’, sandwiches of Turkish origin
with roasted meat, salad and yogurt sauce. Places that sell kebap often sell take-away pizza, too.
Good kebaps can be bought at the ‘Naschmarkt’; the lower end of the ‘Naschmarkt’ (furthest away
from Karlsplatz or city Center) is cheaper than the upper end. Another good place to find snacks
(especially while going out) is ‘Schwedenplatz’.
By far the cheapest way to get a fast food meal in Austria (and probably the only meal available for
about 1 €) is buying an Austrian sandwich (bread roll + ham/cheese + gherkin) from a supermarket.
Besides these Austrian ‘solutions’ most international fast food chains have restaurants in Vienna.
Vienna is one of the main cultural capitals of Europe, or even the world. All kinds of cultural
expressions find their stage in Vienna. Here we can only mention but a few, but please check
www.wien.info for further and up-to-date information. The main Tourist Information Office at the
Albertinaplatz (right behind the State Opera) offers a little booklet every month with the program for
the next month.
Concert Halls and Theatres
Conservatory Vienna (www.konservatorium-wien.ac.at)
Musikverein a.k.a. Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien (www.musikverein.at)
Raimund Theater (www.musicalvienna.at)
Theater an der Wien (www.theater-wien.at)
Vienna State Opera (www.staatsoper.at)
Vienna's English Theatre (www.englishtheatre.at)
Wiener Konzerthaus (www.konzerthaus.at)
Reductions for Students
Most opera houses and theatres, especially the state-run ones, offer very good deals. 15 minutes
before the start of the performance left-over tickets are sold to students at €10-17, but if you don’t
mind standing you can get one of the standing room tickets. They are only sold from about 45
minutes before the show and cost between €1-3. For sold-out shows you might need to be there
fairly early to get one as they are sold on a first come, first served basis where one person can only
buy one ticket and they are available to anybody. Don’t forget your student I.D.!
Performance of Past, Present and Future
Vienna’s art scene is legendary. In addition to established museums (‘Kunst-HausWien’, ‘MAK’ and
others), spectacular new openings have garnered strong praise during the past few years. One of
those has been the transformation of the former imperial-royal stable into the ‘MuseumsQuartier
(MQ)’. Behind this baroque facade, one of the largest cultural complexes in Europe is located. In
addition to the three huge museums – ‘Museum of Modern Art’ (‘MUMOK’), ‘Kunsthalle’, and
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‘Leopold Museum’ – ‘quartier21’ is a hot tip offering workshops and presentation areas for young
artists and designers. And of course, there are many gastronomic delights at the ‘MQ’: an interesting
ambiance for a short culinary pause is the ‘Café Leopold’. Different from the ‘MQ’ the ‘Albertina’
offers a unique contrast: a modern museum in a historic palace with art exhibitions (graphic arts,
paintings and photos) from the Renaissance era to the present day. Only a few minutes away, near
the ‘Secession’, the most exciting galleries of the city are to be found. The list of more ‘classical’
museums is very long, but the most important ones with great collections and constantly changing
temporary exhibitions are definitely the ‘Kunsthistorisches Museum’ (Museum of Fine Arts), the
‘Naturhistorisches Museum’ (Museum of Natural History) and the Belvedere.
Museumsquartier Wien (www.mqw.at)
Café Leopold (www.cafe-leopold.at)
Österreichische Galerie Belvedere (www.belvedere.at)
Kunsthistorisches Museum (www.khm.at)
Naturhistorisches Museum (www.nhm-wien.ac.at)
Normally films are shown in German. There are however, a number of cinemas in Vienna showing
films in English or in their original language. To find the right version look out for the following
abbreviations in the cinema program: OV (original version), OU (original version with subtitles) and
OmeU (original version with English subtitles).
There are also cinemas which show films exclusively or mainly in English. These include:
English Cinema Haydn http://www.haydnkino.at
Artis International http://www.film.at/artis_international/
In the summer there are open-air screens for cinema enthusiasts to enjoy their favorite films.
Vienna’s biggest annual open air film festival is held in front of the City Hall (1st district,
‘Rathausplatz’). This is a good place to watch films on classical music.
Reductions for Students
Be sure to always ask at movie theaters if a student reduction is possible; many offer great discounts!
Vienna is famous for its ball-season which runs from November to February (sometimes March)
every year. Instead of celebrating carnival out in the streets with masks, the Viennese dance to the
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waltz. Maria Theresia prohibited the use of masks in public so carnival moved inside and over the
years became the ball-season. There are around 280 balls every year and that for all tastes and
budgets. Further information is available at: www.ballkalender.at
Everyone knows the world famous ‘Vienna Opera Ball’ as the epitome of glamour and tradition.
Around this highlight of the Viennese carnival, a culture of alternative counter-events has developed
over the years. From shrill to trendy – everything is represented. If one looks for glamour and glitz
but doesn’t want to be part of the Opera Ball, there is a great alternative: the ‘Life Ball’ in May. Every
year, for a day, Vienna’s City Hall is transformed into a backdrop for the most strident and successful
charity event. The proceeds from this spectacle go exclusively to organizations that help combat
AIDS. If you don’t obtain one of the much-desired tickets, you can watch a grand fashion show on the
square in front of the City Hall – free of charge!
Like the ‘Life Ball’, the ‘Rainbow Parade’ has become a symbol for free and open society: It is a
parade along the Ring Boulevard for gays, lesbians and transgender persons – but not exclusively.
The biggest party, not only of the city but in all of central Europe, however, is the ’Danube Island
Festival’: for four days in June, hundreds of bands, cabaret artists and other performers draw
millions of visitors to the Danube Island – and there’s no admission charge! Further information:
The ‘Film Festival’ at Rathausplatz (City Hall Square): During the summer months, it turns the square
in front of City Hall into a stage for classical music films, ranging from Mozart to musicals and is open
to everyone for free. The big culinary market, where local restaurants set up temporary stands,
around it is sometimes more interesting than the films themselves.
New Years Eve is a huge event in Vienna, when many people from surrounding countries travel into
the city to join in with the party. At the turn of the year, the New Year’s Eve Trail transforms the
entire Center of the city into a giant party location, and at the Prater, snowboarders meet at the
Giant Ferris Wheel at ‘Soul City’. Further information: www.viennahype.at
Vienna's major film festival ‘Viennale’ took place for the first time in 1960. Since then it has aimed to
present international and Austrian films of high-quality and is proud of its international reputation.
Venues are spread over Vienna's historic Center. Usually, about 200 films, documentaries and short
films are broadcast and attract more than 70,000 visitors! First screenings, tributes, retrospectives
and various theme-specific shows offer diverse and fascinating insights into contemporary and past
achievements of movie making! Further information: http://viennale.at
During the advent season leading up to Christmas, Vienna offers a great number of so-called
‘Christkindlmärkte’. They offer all sorts of traditionally crafted items, modern knick-knacks, and a
wide variety of food and drink. ‘Glühwein’ (mulled wine) and ‘Punsch’ are a very popular way to
warm up in the cold days. The biggest, and most touristy, market is held at the Rathausplatz, but
there are many other smaller and more unusual markets to be found all around the city. For more
information see: www.vienna4u.at/christmasmarket.html
Apart from these ‘Big Events’ there are many more that are too many to list (e.g. the Wiener
Festwochen, Summer Stage etc.). Check the programs at the Tourist Office (Albertinaplatz or
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This metropolis on the Danube is pricey, especially when it comes to international brand-name
accessories and fashions. A more interesting prospect are the local, traditional products – items in
gold, silver or enamel, ‘Tracht’ (traditional costumes), ‘Loden’ wear, fine glassware, wines, made-to
measure suits and shoes, Biedermeier or Art-Nouveau materials. For a classic souvenir, take a look at
Augarten porcelain, petit point embroidery and the legendary ‘Sachertorte’. The pawnbroker’s and
auctioneer’s Dorotheum never ceases to amaze, a place where you can browse for hours to your
heart’s content. The so-called ‘Antiques Quarter’, between the Hofburg and St. Stephan’s Cathedral
is a collector’s paradise. More than two dozen shops sell a wide range of items, including everything
from Gothic angels and Baroque cupboards down to affordable, second-hand gifts.
A surprising number of small and unusual shops are to be found in the side streets, most notably in
the 8th, 7th and 6th districts. The major shopping streets in the City Center are ‘Graben’, ‘Kohlmarkt’
and ‘Kärntner Strasse’, and then there are of course the pedestrian zones. Here you will find most of
the old, traditional top addresses which still bear the title ‘K. & K. Hof’ (Royal and Imperial Court) or
even ‘Kammerlieferant’ (Purveyor to the Sovereign) on their company plaque. Their wonderfully oldfashioned elegance in itself makes them worth a visit.
Less aristocratic – but consequently a lot cheaper – are the shops on the bigger shopping streets,
such as the far end of ‘Favoritenstrasse’ and ‘Landstrasser Hauptstrasse’ and most importantly
‘Mariahilfer Strasse’,. Here you will find typical High-Street store such as H&M, Zara and Mango as
well as other Austrian store and department stores such as Gerngross. Other department stores
worth checking out are ‘Steffl’ and the ‘Ringstrassengalarien’ arcade in the first district.
Many shops are open until 7 or 8 pm on weekdays, on Saturday’s doors close at 6pm at the latest.
6th district, Mariahilfer Strasse 28–48
1st district, Kärntner Ring 5–7
1st district, Kärntner Strasse 19
Peek and Cloppenburg
Mariahilfer Str. 26-30 or Kärntner Str. 29
Markets and Flea Markets
Every Saturday, the ‘Fetzentandler’, as the second-hand dealers are called in Vienna, set up
their stalls near the U-Bahn station Kettenbrückengasse. Rummaging around here is a favorite
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Saturday pastime for many Viennese.
5th district, Kettenbrückengasse
Quintessentially Viennese with a smattering of the Balkans thrown in! The largest and probably
most attractive food market in the city, stretching over 500 m – a feast for all the senses. The
market offers mainly Austrian cuisine but there is also a great range of products from more
exotic places like India and China. It is also become a trendy meeting place and you will often
have to fight for a table in one of the many bars and restaurants during the evenings.
Along the ‘Wienzeile’, between ‘Kettenbrückengasse ‘and Karlsplatz.
In Austria (as generally in Central Europe) even the cheapest supermarkets sell food of exceptionally
high quality. Perhaps most remarkable for people visiting from outside of Europe is Austria's strong
affinity for organically grown food. You can buy organic products almost anywhere (look out for
items labeled 'Bio'), and often at the same price as non-organic products. Furthermore, every
product that claims to be organic is rigorously controlled by independent organizations.
Most stores in Vienna are open from around 8am until 7pm, Monday through Friday. Most stores
close around 5pm on Saturdays, sometimes 6pm. A few are open on Sundays (e.g. ‘Billa’ at
‘Praterstern’ (2nd district), ‘Billa’ at the Franz Josefs-Bahnhof (9th district) and the grocery stores at
‘Westbahnhof’ and ‘Südbahnhof’).
How to Shop
There are a few points to remember when shopping in an Austrian supermarket. First of all, you must
bring your own bags, as you will have to pay for them if you forget. Secondly, you have to weigh
your produce at small scales throughout the shop and attach a sticker from the scale’s printing
machine that has the food’s price. Thirdly, you have to pack your own grocery bags at a rather rapid
pace, so be ready.
Well-known supermarket chains are: Billa, Spar, Merkur, Zielpunkt, and Hofer. Hofer is also known as
Aldi in other parts of the world. It is a very cheap supermarket chain and carries primarily generic
brands of very good quality in a warehouse-like atmosphere.
Whilst the major supermarket chains stock most of the food you could wish for, other British and
American foodstuffs can be found at ‘Bobby’s Foodstore’ www.bobbys.at, and International food
can be found at ‘Prosi supermarket’ www.prosi.at .
The two main drugstore chains are BIPA and DM. Be aware that Austrian drugstores generally carry
more toiletries than pharmaceuticals. For most pharmaceuticals (including common over-thecounter drugs such as ibuprofen) you have to go to a pharmacy (‘Apotheke’).
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There are several English-language bookstores in Vienna:
1st district, Weihburggasse 24 http://www.britishbookshop.at/
Shakespeare & Company Booksellers
1st district, Sterngasse 2 http://www.shakespeare.co.at/
You will also find a range of English books in the bigger Austrian bookstores. Thalia on
Mariahilferstrasse is one example.
For school textbooks, MU recommends that you shop with Amazon. (Either Amazon.com or
Amazon.de for the best prices!)
Approximately 50% of Vienna (about 200 square kilometers) is green areas. Many of these green
areas are free for public use. Check the opening hours though, as many
parks close at night.
Internationally renowned (formerly imperial) parks in Vienna such as
Schönbrunn, Belvedere, Burggarten, Volksgarten, and Augarten have been
administered by the Republic of Austria since 1918.
For more details check http://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/parks/anlagen/index.html
Public Baths in Vienna
Thousands of people throng to the public pools in the summer to cool off
and enjoy the season. There are plenty of sports activities for those who do
not want to laze about in the sun. Football, beach volleyball and mini-golf
are yours to enjoy. Or train your brain with outdoor chess.
No need to wait for the summer to visit our pools. There is plenty to choose
from in the winter, too. Wellness areas and saunas for a good dose of relaxation are available on a
cold winter day. For more info see http://www.wien.gv.at/freizeit/baden/
Running in Vienna
More than 25,000 runners from 80 nations participate in the Vienna City Marathon, Austria’s biggest
running event. Apart from the Prater Park with its popular running mile, the long Hauptallee, there
are numerous other routes and tracks in and around Vienna.
A recent addition to running comfort in Vienna is well-signposted running
tracks complete with useful information and milestones.
Bicycles will get you from A to B quicker than anything else in the city
(especially for distances up to 5km). They have many advantages over
cars. Environmentally friendly (no exhaust fumes, no noise) they are a
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good way of keeping fit as well. They require little space so traffic jams are never a problem. No need
to look out for parking space either.
Over 1000km of bike paths are already completed and there are more to come.
Bicycles are allowed on the underground from 9 am to 3 pm and after 6 pm on weekdays, and all day
Saturday and Sunday. Half-price tickets are required for their transport.
City Bike Vienna
The ‘City Bikes Wien’ introduced in 2003 is among the most modern free city
bike systems worldwide. There are several bike terminals throughout the city.
To use a City Bike you need a Bankomat (cashpoint) card, a credit card or a
Citybike-Card. You need to register at one of the terminals or on their website
before the first use. The first hour is free with prices rising progressively from
there on (minimum 1 Euro from the second hour). If you do not return the bike to one of the stations
within 120 hours (i.e. 5 days) you will be charged the cost of the bike (600 Euro). All terminals are
equipped with touch screens, which also give access to Vienna’s internet pages. For more
information, terminal locations and registration see www.citybikewien.at.
Adventurous bikers really get their fill in the Vienna Woods. There are many sign-posted mountain
bike routes for average and advanced bikers. The routes are between 10 and 42 kilometers long.
Bike Rental Hochschaubahn
2nd district, Prater 113
Bike Rental Pedal Power
2nd district, Ausstellungsstraße 3 (right by the Prater)
19th district, Donaupromenade/on the bike route
Rad- und Skaterverleih Copa Cagrana
22nd district, Am Damm 1( Reichsbrücke/Neue Donau)
Traffic Rules for Bikers
Bikers have right of way on all areas reserved for them, such as cycle paths, combined
pedestrian and cycle paths, cycle lanes and multi-purpose lanes, street crossings for cyclists.
They must yield their right of way once they leave the above areas to pedestrians.
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Pedestrian (a.k.a. Zebra) crossings
Cyclists must not endanger pedestrians when using a pedestrian crossing. Pedestrians have
right of way on pedestrian crossings.
Street crossings for cyclists
There is a speed limit of ten KM/h for cyclists on crossings not controlled by traffic lights or manual
signals. Trams and service cars have right of way.
Cycling against a one-way street
Cyclists may ride in the opposite direction on a one-way street, when indicated by the opposite
traffic sign; they may generally do so in residential areas.
There are numerous skating events in Vienna. Friday Night skating on
Heldenplatz every Friday at 9:00 pm from May to September. The ‘Austria
Skate Marathon’ in summer and the ‘Vienna Inline Marathon’ in autumn.
The Skatelab in the old Remise (old coach house, Engerthstraße 160-178,
1020 Vienna) is equipped with mini ramps, half pipes and fun boxes and
offers training courses for skateboarders and inline skaters.
The Austrian Inline-Skater Club offers many activities that are geared more towards a sporting
environment than a relaxed recreational activity. For more information, see their website:
Important for inline-skaters in the city: Usually inline-skaters can use the bike-paths, but there are
many exceptions, especially on important streets or thoroughfares.
Ice Skating, Downhill and Cross-Country Skiing
The ‘Wiener Eistraum’ (Vienna Dream on Ice) is a popular attraction for people of all ages from the
end of January till the beginning of March. Here you can dance to waltz melodies and disco sounds
on an ice rink set up on the Rathausplatz right in front of the Rathaus covering a total of over 2,000
m² (skate hire is possible). For details see: www.wienereistraum.com.
Skiers can hone their ‘wedel’-technique on the slopes at Hohe Wand Wiese (U4: Hütteldorf, bus 249).
And cross-country skiers can join the trail at Cobenzl. Further information:
Close to Vienna you will also find lots of more interesting ski-resorts that are easy to reach by public
Reductions for Students
There are various reductions for students interested in sports. A wide range of sports activities and
courses are offered for students, alumni and staff of Vienna’s universities. The sports department of
the Austrian Students' Union organizes camps for students (skiing, tennis, wind surfing, sailing, horse
riding etc.; see www.oeh.at). It’s also a good idea to check out the Vienna University Sports Institute
for their generous offer of courses and programs: http://www.univie.ac.at/USI-Wien/
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