... Vienna, Austria?
In recent years, Vienna has been rated among the top 5 (!) most livable cities in the world. Giving it a closer look this is no surprise. Vienna offers a great combination of lifestyle, culture and activities. Trendy restaurants, lots of museums, well-working pubic transportation, old fashioned shopping streets and its close location to vinyards in the north and the Alps in the south west make it an ideal place of residence.
The seasons give Vienna a special flair at any time of the year – mild spring brings the first touch of sunlight, summer reigns with hot temperatures and sunny days, fall colors the trees in shades of red orange and yellow, and winter promises snow and a cozy Christmas feel.
The Viennese, althought known to be grumpy, love their afternoon coffee, dining out at night, exhibitions and operas, and are very proud of their proper little Vienna.
Here is a map of Austria’s capital city:
Wikipedia features an extensive article about Vienna:
Vienna is a very well connected city with lots to offer. Here are the most important details about living in Vienna, from getting there to moving in.
How to get there and around.
Vienna has one international airport, Wien-Schwechat (VIE) [http://www.viennaairport.com], which is located in the South East of the city. You can catch the City Airport Train (short CAT) [http://www.cityairporttrain.com], which takes 15 mins to the center and costs 11 EUR for a one way, and 17 EUR for a return ticket. Alternatively there is the airport bus (Flughafenbus) which goes to Meidling train station and West train station (Westbahnhof), and costs 6 Euros.
The Austrian national railway company is called Oesterreichische Bundesbahnen (short OEBB) [http://www.oebb.at]. Vienna offers great connections to any destination in Austria and Europe.
Public transportation in the city:
Vienna disposes of a great public transport system [http://www.wienerlinien.at]. Subway stations can be found throughout the city, tramways are common, especially in the centre and bus lines run 24/7. Daily, weekly, monthly and annual passes are available.
Taxis are mostly operating in the city center but do take you wherever you need to go. Fares start at 2.30 EUR when getting on the cab. A surcharge applies for service after 10pm.
All major rental car companies have outlets in Vienna.
Finding a place to stay and starting a new life.
The 1st, 13th and 19th district are famous, fancy and expensive. Both the 15th and the 10th district are known for their large Eastern European population, whereas the 22nd almost feels like a suburb instead of part of the city. Due to the fantastic public transport system it pays to select a neighborhood that allows you to take advantage of it.
Apartments for rent/share:
On http://www.jobwohnen.at, www.willhaben.at and other internet platforms you may encounter listings for apartments/houses in Vienna. If you are shooting for a shared flat, try www.wg-gesucht.de. Usually rental agreements are signed on annual terms, and the collection of a security deposit is common practice.
Power plugs and sockets:
Austria uses AC power plugs.
Water, gas, electricity:
Depending on your contract with your landlord, these services may be included in your rental agreement. Check carefully before signing.
There are some major stores where you can get furniture – XXXLutz, Moebelix, Leiner etc. They are typically located in the outskirts of the city.
All major telephone providers in Austria offer internet service for your home. Check with your landlord for the best signal quality in your apartment.
Supermarkets, pharmacies and other stores:
Most supermarkets are chains. That could be Hofer, Billa, Penny and Spar to name a few. It is very unlikely that there won’t be one in close reach. Pharmacies are privately owned and carry a green symbol of a snake as a signage up front. For electronics, Media Markt is probably your best choice.
You’ll find lots of stores in Vienna’s shopping streets (Mariahilferstrasse and Kaerntnerstrasse are the most popular ones), but also in shopping centres like Lugner City. Austria’s biggest shopping center is located in the South of the city, and is called Shopping City Sued.
Cell phone service:
A few years ago, A1 – Austria’s biggest telephone service provider – launched a new daughter company called Bob [http://www.bob.at]. The prices are very reasonable, and there is no contract necessary.
Bank Austria, Erste Bank, Volksbank, Raiffeisen are only a few banks that offer banking services in Austria. While Bank Austria can only be found in rural areas, Raiffeisen is widely found in the provincial areas of the country. Big international banks such as HSBC and UBS only offer wealth management services in Austria.
Starting a job/business and becoming a local.
All major newspaper have a job ad section which is updated frequently. Websites like www.jobrapido.at, www.stepstone.at and others are common to use. Best search results will though yield from industry specific websites and magazines.
Businesses are separated in different categories, for which different prerequisites are necessary. To open a company in Austria you have to speak to an advisor at the economic chamber (Wirtschaftskammer, short WKO) [http://www.wko.at].
Reporting your residence (Meldezettel):
Once you are established, you will need to register your place of residence at the local authority (Bezirkshauptmannschaft, short BH, or Magistrat), which exists in every district.
Whether employed or independent, health insurance is an obligatory service in Austria. A part of your income will go towards this each month, for which you will receive free health care (including dental) in all public hospitals and doctor offices. Once registered, you will get an ‘e-card’ which is carries your personal information.
Driver’s license & vehicle registration:
You may drive in Austria with a foreign driver’s license. If you wish, you may exchange it to an Austrian license at any time.
You may drive a foreign registered car in Austria. If you purchase a vehicle in Austria, you will be required to register your vehicle at the BH or Magistrat.
Fun things to do and places to go.
Restaurants, bars and clubs:
Vienna offers a wide range of establishments. Particularly the 1st district has many good restaurants to offer – Steirereck (Austrian), Fabios (Italian), Motto am Fluss (perfect to hang out in the afternoon), Onyx Bar, Café Sacher, The Box (night club), Comida and many more.
There is no place like Vienna. Museums, exhibitions, operas, musicals, historic buildings & gardens, castles – you’ll find it all!
Vienna is close to the skiing region of the Semmering, while the Viennese enjoy the close proximity to lake Neusiedl (Neusiedlersee) and the vineyards in the north in the summer.
Gyms are very common in Vienna, a membership costs around 100-150 EUR a month. There are indoor climbing centers, public swimming pools, skating rinks and much more.
Foreign authorities and legal help.
Find the representative authority you are looking for in this list [http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-in/austria]
You may find all necessary information you require on http://www.help.gv.at.