Why move to Vienna?
Vienna… Home of Kings and Queens, of musicians and actors, and hopefully your home too! Here we can give you a quick overview of the city, to help you make that all-important decision of whether this should be your new home!
Now you’ve probably heard or read somewhere, that Vienna has the highest quality of living in the world. Let us tell you that this is not only a statistic but it is a fact that you will see with your own eyes once you step foot in it! Nowhere else will you find streets as spotless and air as fresh as in Vienna. Vienna is the perfect hybrid of a full-functioning big city combined with the flair and atmosphere of a lovely small Austrian town. If you can’t imagine that, just take a walk downtown as soon as you arrive! You will be mesmerized by the sight of horse carriages gliding in front of beautiful baroque buildings, amidst high-profile business men in suits and trendy coffee shops!
One thing you’re also likely to notice is the calm atmosphere in the streets. Even in a crowd you won’t feel hectic. What’s the reason for this distinctive trait? It might be because Vienna is one of Europe’s greenest cities! After every few blocks you’ll notice a calming park or a small garden. It might also be because the Viennese know very well, that if they ever get stressed or tired or feel like they’re losing touch with nature, it takes them an hour’s drive to get to the real Austrian country-side.
Another thing Vienna has to offer, is its 24/7 sight-seeing! Almost every building in Vienna will make you feel like you’ve been taken back to another century and just seeing all this beautiful architecture while walking to school or work will brighten up your day for sure!
It’s important that we mention Vienna’s food as well! The Pizza you’ll eat here will take your mind to Italy, the kebab will transport you to Turkey and the schnitzel will take you to the typical Austrian household. And if that wasn’t enough, Vienna will soon awaken a love for chocolates and pastries (if you didn’t already have one!). It’s not hard to see that for the people of Vienna, food is a passion, not a need.
If you’re a culture addict and beautiful buildings won’t be enough for you, don’t worry at all! In every corner you’ll find brochures and flyers containing information about new concerts and what’s currently being shown at the State Opera. Furthermore you will find a museum in nearly every district, promising either art, history or science!
This beautiful city with it’s countless coffee shops and bakeries, its amazing culture and architecture, and its wonderful atmosphere and people will take your breath away.
We’re sure you’ll enjoy exploring everything Vienna has to offer and we highly recommend you to start by reading through the other posts on FeelsLikeHome that will offer you a helpful and detailed insight into life in Vienna!
Austria is not Australia
When you search for Austria on a world map you will notice that it’s pretty small next to other European countries. Despite Austria’s rather small size, it is a country that attracts millions of tourists every year due to its abundance of green spaces, its historic architecture and its rich culture. The beautiful thing about Austria is that there is so much going on all year round: while the winters are popular for skiing in the Austrian alps, the summers offer a great getaway to Austria’s many refreshing lakes. But don’t be put-off by all this if you consider yourself a city-person! Vienna has been voted to be “the best city to live in” for several years in a row Graz and Linz are also bustling cities to live in if you prefer to be surrounded by modern society and lots of people.
Throughout history Austria has played a large role in the shaping of Europe, especially regarding the Habsburg Dynasty. It used to be a huge territory back then, with most of Austria’s now eastern bordering countries belonging to the Austrian empire. In 1866 Austria was defeated by Prussia at the Battle of Königgrätz, which led to the reformation of the empire into Austria-Hungary in 1867.. After the collapse of the Habsburg (Austro-Hungarian) Empire in 1918 at the end of World War I, Austria adopted and used the name “the Republic of German-Austria”. The First Austrian Republic was established in 1919. At the time of World War II, Austria was occupied by Nazi Germany, which as we know lasted until 1945. In 1955, the Austrian State Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state, ending the occupation. The Austrian Parliament created the Declaration of Neutrality which declared that the Second Austrian Republic would become permanently neutral.
Austria not only played a huge role in political history, but in the history of arts and music. Some argue that much classical music holds its origin in Austria, with Haydn, Schubert, Mozart (they can be seen in the picture below) and J.Strauss being former residents. If you are a fan of classical music then you should definitely pay a visit to Salzburg, Mozart’s hometown. Not only can you visit his former apartment there, but you can also enjoy the city’s scenic landscape and beauty.
Famous artists also had their homes in Austria, like Hundertwasser and Klimt. If you go to Vienna you can visit the amazing HundertwasserHaus which is a piece of art in itself. At the Belvedere Palace you can admire Klimt’s wonderful and enlightening paintings and portraits.
But not only throughout history has Austria set the scene for many legendary personalities, but today we can also find many famous Austrians, known all around the world especially in the music and film industry. Famous actors like Romy Schneider, Christoph Waltz and Arnold Schwarzenegger, car racers like Niki Lauda and musicians like Falco, Udo Jürgens and Freddy Quinn are all Austrians.
If you’ve been learning German as a foreign language, don’t worry if you don’t understand everything the first time you visit Austria. Most Austrians speak with a dialect, depending on which city in Austria they are from. Like most countries in this world you will find that Austrians living in the country-side have a stronger dialect than Austrians living in the cities. Apart from that,each region in Austria has a different dialect. However it may be hard for you to differentiate them when you’re not a native. For example in Vorarlberg, a region which borders Switzerland directly, you will detect some words that are very similar to the Swiss dialect.
Another thing Austria is famous for is its cuisine, especially its desserts and pastries. No matter where you eat your Schnitzel, may it be in Linz or Innsbruck, it will always taste delicious and no matter which bakery you go to in the morning, you’ll always be welcomed by the warm smell of freshly baked bread.
Every city, every mountain and every forest in Austria has its own story, flair and beauty. Every place in Austria will astonish you and you will never get enough of it. We recommend you to hop on a train as soon as you have the time, and just explore the country.
Vienna is divided into 23 districts (“Bezirk” in German). In Vienna’s center, you can find districts 1-9, the “inner districts“, surrounded by the Gürtel. The first district is the most central district of Vienna and used to be surrounded by city walls, the outlines of which are still followed by the Ringstraβe. Back in the day, only this walled part was considered Vienna’s center, which explains why districts 2-9 are still called Vorstädte (suburbs), although they are now central and densely populated parts of Vienna. In addition there are the districts 10-23 or the “outer districts“.
Below, you can find a rough description of each of the districts. Please note that these descriptions only give you a general idea of Vienna’s districts and that there are also differences within the districts.
The 1st district, also called Innere Stadt, is the oldest and most central district of Vienna. Here, you can find the historic city center, surrounded by the Ringstraβe. The numerous historical sites and sightseeing opportunities attract tourists like a magnet. In addition, the first district is also the political, administrative and economic center of Vienna. All of this leaves little room for accommodation or residents, turning the first district into the most exclusive and also most expensive district to live in. Finding long-term accommodation here will be an enormous challenge.
Situated between the Danube and the Danube Canal, there is the 2nd district, also known as Leopoldstadt. Thanks to the Prater Park, a big part of the district consists of green space. The Prater (can be seen in the picture below) itself – an amusement park, mostly famous for its giant Ferris wheel – also has its charm. Right next to the Prater, there’s also the Ernst-Happl-football stadium, the biggest stadium of Austria and home to the Austrian National Footballteam. Furthermore it is the official venue for national football games, games of the UEFA-Cup and the Champions League. Because of the low real estate prices, the district is mostly populated by immigrants and students. However, be aware that there are some small areas around the Messe Wien or along the Handelskai where you should be careful at night.
Landstraβe, Vienna’s 3rd district, is located on the right bank of the Danube. The Belvedere and the Hundertwasserhaus are some of the most popular tourist attractions in this district. The district is mostly urban and populated by the working-class, apart from the diplomatic quarter, a small section of the third district where you can find several embassies.
The 9th district, Alsergrund, is sometimes referred to as the academic quarter, because of the proximity of the university, the existence of many hospitals and clinics and the presence of Sigmund Freud’s house. You can also find the WUK here, a museum with modern art exhibitions, where they sometimes even throw parties, attended by a hip crowd.
Josefstadt, named after Habsburg Emperor Joseph II, is Vienna’s smallest district. The 8th district is situated near the the Parlament (as can be seen in the picture below) , the Rathaus and the University. This quiet and friendly neighbourhood houses charming cafes, restaurants and shops as well as elaborate monuments and churches, and even the Josefstadttheater. This contributes to the popularity of its residential area, and you will notice that in your wallet.
On the other side of Mariahilferstraβe, you can find the 7th district. It may not look green from the outside, but almost every building has a courtyard, so you’ll have a green space right at your fingertips. Neubau is just as trendy as Mariahilf, but offers some smaller bars and shops instead of the big chains. Thanks to MuseumsQuartier, Neubau has a vibrant cultural community, appreciated by both young and old.
Vienna’s longest shopping street, Mariahilferstraβe is located in the 6th district, accordingly named Mariahilf. The impressive Haus des Meeres is only a stone throw away and offers you an amazing view over the city. The surrounding area is packed with small eateries, cafes, theaters and pubs, attracting mostly a young and hip audience to Mariahilf’s streets.
In between the Gürtel und the Wienzeile (Street along the Wienfluss), you can find Margareten. With its narrow streets and only few green areas, the 5th district is one of the cheaper districts to live in. Wieden and Margareten used to be one district, but they separated due to their reputations. Wieden was considered a nice part of Vienna, whereas Margareten was thought to diminish Wieden’s prestige. Until the 1990s, Margareten’s reputation deteriorated, but recently there have been some successful revitalization projects. Although not having overcome its dark past entirely, it is now a reasonably-priced, well connected area to live in.
Vienna’s 4th district, Wieden, is a small neighbourhood south of the first district, but just as fashionable. It consists largely of residential areas. Karlsplatz is probably the most lively area in this district, also famous for the Karlskirche, although Naschmarkt – Vienna’s biggest fresh food market – is pretty cool too. This area is in general a little bit more upscale than the surrounding 3rd and 5th district, but there are some ugly blotches here and there.
Favoriten, the 10th district, has the largest population of Vienna’s districts. In Austrian terms, this is kind of a “bad” district, but compared to other metropoles, it is actually okay. There is not a lot to see here, but the proximity to the “Wien Hauptbahnhof” Station is a huge advantage for the 150,000 people that call Favoriten home. Despite the presence of Hauptbahnhof and quite some green spaces in the area of Oberlaa (as can be seen in the picture below), this is one of the cheapest districts concerning real estate.
You will recognize someone who was born in Meidling through his/her pronunciation of the letter L: a “Meidlinger L” is pronounced like in Czech. Predominantly, these people will be labourers, as the 12thdistrict is yet another working class suburb. However, there are some upmarket real-estate opportunities here and there.
The greenest district in Vienna is the 13th: 72% of Hietzing consists of parks, forests and other green areas. It has attracted a very specific crowd: highly educated, elder Austrians with an unusually high income. Hietzing is mostly famous for one of Vienna’s main attractions Schloss Schönbrunn (the castle can be seen in the picture below), but actually the heritage of the wealthy Habsburgers is still present throughout the entire district.
Penzing no longer belongs to Hietzing, but the 14th district is still worth your while. Almost 50% of the district is taken up by the forests of the Wienerwald and Penzing’s amazing suburban flair will make you forget about the city – although it is actually pretty close by. However, you should be aware that if you are very close to the railway or the Gürtel, there might be a lot of noise.
You can find remarkably cheap real estate in the 15th district Fünfhaus, probably because of its horrible reputation, including stories about punks, prostitution or drug traffic. Although it may not be the nicest district, these stories are an exaggeration. The district is multicultural and very diverse, which indeed results in some nicer and shabbier areas (especially near the Gürtel), but within Vienna, it is actually safe to live anywhere, especially compared to many other cities.
The 16th district is the birthplace of three products that are very typical to Austria: Manner Schnitten, Meinl coffee and Ottakringer beer. Nevertheless,Ottakring is mainly inhabited by immigrants. Nowadays, Ottakring only has half the population it had a century ago, resulting in low rent prices. Ottakring has somewhat of a dubious reputation as well, but it’s really not bad. It has very charming areas, especially in the West, and the area around the Ottakring cemetery is even very pricey with many luxurious villas!
Describing the personality of the 17th district is very hard, since it seems to lack a real personality. The areas range from “bad” (only for Viennese standards!) to great, resulting in low, intermediate or high prices for accommodation and the residents are socially and ethnically mixed. In any case, the Wienerwald occupies more than half of Hernals, making it a great place to live for people who love the forest.
The 18th district, Währing, is predominantly residential and doesn’t offer a lot of sightseeing opportunities. Nevertheless, it has a lot of green and it is known to be rather up-market regarding real estate. It is, for example, inhabited by many doctors who work in the hospitals of the 9th district, just across the Gürtel.
Döbling, Vienna’s 19th district, is perceived as even more posh than the imperial Hietzing. “Bling Bling Döbling” looks very exclusive, if not snobbish, at a first glance, but actually middle-class families and students live here just as well.
Brigittenau is situated on the same island as Leopoldstadt and actually belonged to Leopoldstadt until the 1900s, but then got separated. Just over 20% of the 20th district consists of canals from the Danube or the Danube Canal, making it a particularly watery district. Sightseeing opportunities are limited here, but they do have one of Vienna’s only skyscrapers: the Millenniums Tower (as can be seen in the picture below). Apart from this tower, the district recently created many office spaces. Real estate prices are relatively cheap.
The 21st district, Florisdorf, and the 22nd Donaustadt are the only two districts on the “other side” of the Danube, earning them the name Transdanubien. Both districts are really big and together they comprise the biggest lake of Vienna: Alte Donau. There are only few touristic attractions here and due to their location, these districts are very often ignored by international tourists. However, many expats live in this area near the UN and some international schools. Being on the “wrong” side of the Danube results in affordable housing prices.
Vienna’s last district, Liesing, is mostly urban and commercial. Concerning sightseeing, the 23rd district can easily be skipped as it just doesn’t have a lot to offer. It’s the district that is the least-densely populated and public transportation is not very good. You are pretty far away from everything.
Bordering to Landstraβe and housing the last stop of the U3, Simmering is rather busy in the North, while suburban if not rural in the South. However, at the southern border of the 11th district you also get access to Vienna’s airport Schwechat and the Viennese woods at the onset of the National Park Donau-Auen. Within the district itself, there is not a lot to see, but there is a lot of green. You can also find Vienna’s main cemetery “Zentralfriedhof” here. Nevertheless, Simmering is also one of the cheaper districts, dominated by flats that are generally inhabited by the working class.