© B. Achermann
© B. Achermann
Each year, the international consulting firm Mercer carries out a study to assess the quality of living in more than 450 cities worldwide based on 39 criteria including health standards, political stability, the economic situation, education system, housing market and quality of the environment. The results of the study in 2019 once again gave Vienna top marks and made the Austrian federal capital the most livable city in the world for the tenth time in a row.
You would never realize how bad the tap water is back home until you experience the Viennese equivalent; over 95% of the water used in Vienna in one year comes through two pipelines directly from springs the Alps. They don’t even need to pump it into the city…gravity does the job for them. These mountain areas sit in water protection zones with no significant industry and few inhabitants (it’s basically mountains and not much else). As a result, the “Alpine” tap water has a very high quality, is low in nitrogen, has no measurable pesticide residues and, frankly, tastes as good as any mineral water you’re ever likely to drink.
In fact, in contrast to most cities, it’s the undrinkable water that tends to get labelled. If you see a “Kein Trinkwasser” (Not drinking water) sign, this means the water is not suitable for drinking. You’ll see such signs, for example, on some large fountains.
The public transport system is cheap, frequent, fast, clean, efficient, relatively safe, and rarely overcrowded.
The four main forms of transport are U-Bahn (subway), Schnellbahn or S-Bahn (local train), Straßenbahn (tram) and Autobus (bus). Vienna works on an honesty system: there are no ticket barriers at stations and no formal ticket checks on trains, trams and buses. You just hop on and off unchallenged. This doesn’t mean public transport is free, though. You need to buy a ticket.
If you arrive before the conference or leave after the event, we recommend using the App “WienMobil”. During the conference days the means of transport are included in your fee.
Tickets for the public transport in Vienna can be purchased easily. From the airport to Vienna there are 2 options. You can either take the City Airport Train (CAT) or the public Schnellbahn S7. One-way ticket costs EUR 11,00 / return EUR 19,00 and the ride takes 16 minutes to Landstraße (U-Bahn/metro line U4), whereas tickets for the public S7 cost only EUR 4,20 and the average travel time is 25 minutes. Stops are Landstraße (U4) ore Praterstern (U1 or U2).
Remember, that a lack of formal ticket checks does not mean there are no ticket checks. You may suddenly find the unassuming gentleman next to you whipping out his transport authority ID and asking to see everyone’s “Fahrschein” (ticket).
These plain-closed transport inspectors are just doing their job and there can be a heavy fine for travelling without a ticket, plus the cost of a ticket. Incidentally, smoking is also banned in stations and on public transport.
In Vienna almost all the forms of public transport belong to the same organization (Wiener Linien), so the tickets you buy can be used on nearly all the means of public transport.
If you buy a ticket from A to B, it doesn’t matter if you take the tram, train, subway, or catch the bus. Or you can make the trip using all four. There are very few exceptions (essentially private airport transfer services by bus or train, plus sightseeing services like the yellow Ring Tram).
Children under six do not need a ticket., while those under fifteen qualify for reduced-price single tickets. Kids under 15 travel free if it’s a Sunday, public holiday or official school vacation period in Vienna (e.g. the summer holidays). This applies to all nationalities, not just locals.
No entry permit (visa) is needed to stay in Austria as either tourists or on a business trip for a period of up to three months.
US passportholders do not require a visa in order to enter Austria. US travellers have at least six-month’s validity remaining on your passport whenever you travel abroad. Check the expiration date on your passport carefully before traveling to Europe – especially children’s passports, which are valid five years, not 10 years like those issued to U.S. citizens aged 16 and older.
Carry your passport when traveling to another country in the Schengen area. For US travellers you have at least six-month’s validity remaining on your passport whenever you travel abroad. Check the expiration date on your passport carefully bevore traveling to Europe – especially children’s passports, which arre valid five years, not 10 years like those issued to U.S. citizens aged 16 and older.
Carry your passport when traveling to another country in Schengen area. Even if there is no border check at that time, officials may reinstate border controls and ask to see your passport without notice.
|Good Morning||Guten Morgen (Goo-ten Morgen)|
|Good Night||Gute Nacht (Goo-te Nah-cht)|
|Goodbye in person||Auf Wiedersehen (Owf Vee-da-zane)|
|Informal Goodbye||Baba; you can also use Tschau (Chow)|
|Goodbye On The Phone||Auf Wiederhören (Owf Vee-da-hur-run)|
|Thank You||Danke (Dunk-ah)|
|You’re Welcome||Bitte (Bit-tah)|
|Do You Speak English?||Sprechen Sie Englisch (Spa-wreck-ins Zee Ing-Lisch)?|
|Cheers for drinking||Prost (Pro-st)
Zum Wohl (sum voil), meaning To Your Health, can be added at the end of any cheers, but is most commonly used when toasting with wine.
|How Are You||Wie Geht Es Dir (Vee Gates Deer)|