Living in Vienna

Vienna is the cultural capital of Central Europe - a modern metropolis with a unique atmosphere, history, and charm. It provides excellent infrastructure, cleanliness, safety, and a stimulating cultural calendar. Even its drinking water is the purest of any European city, coming straight from the Alps. All this contributes to a remarkable learning and living experience.

Quality of Life

Numerous international surveys consider Vienna the top city in the world for quality of life. It is also one of the safest - much more so than any US city. Here are few recent rankings:

  • The Economist: 
    • Vienna = 1st in “Global Liveability” index
  • Mercer:
    • Vienna = 1st for “quality of life” (10 years in a row - no US city made the Top 10)
  • Global Peace Index:  
    • Austria = 5th most peaceful country (US = 131st)


Spring weather is unpredictable, but temperatures range from 10 to 25 Celsius (50 to 80 F), with fresh mountain air blown in from the surrounding wooded hills. Best to come prepared for anything. But it will be oh so much more pleasant than Marquette in May...

City Life

First-time visitors to Vienna from Marquette are often dazzled by its diversity and slightly overwhelmed by its size. However, Vienna is a walking city with its treasures hidden around every corner. Whether exploring the open-air markets, the pedestrian zone of the Inner City, the museums of the Museum Quarter, or the performing arts scene scattered over the entire city, Vienna yields a pearl in each small area of the city.

Vienna offers more than the guidebooks can show you. We will visit tourist spots such as St Stephan's Cathedral, the Hofburg Castle, and Schönbrunn Palace, but so much more.

We venture down side streets and mingle with the locals in their own neighborhoods. We make Vienna our home while we are there; you will look and act less like a tourist and be well received. We sit and enjoy a mélange in a Viennese coffee house during the day and go for a glass of wine at a Heuriger in the evening. We let the relaxed Vienna atmosphere take hold.

Our Apartments

  • Our 19th century historicist building is located at the edge of Vienna's old city core, a few blocks from the Belvedere Palace and the Botanical Gardens.
  • We are stay in Vienna's 3rd District, the Pheasant's Quarter (Fasanviertel) so called since it was once home to fields outside the medieval walls.
  • We are walking distance to the Ring Boulevard, the Karlskirche, the Vienna State Opera, the main train station, and the center of town.
  • Our neighborhood is a vibrant, multi-ethnic, working-class district with numerous shops, restaurants, and pubs. 
  • Mass transit is immediately accessible to take you in whatever direction you desire.

Travel in Europe

1. Mass Transit Pass

  • We provide you with a monthly pass (31 Tage WIEN) to cover your entire stay.
  • This gives you unlimited access to all of Vienna’s mass transit options, including all buses, trams, the subway, and light rail. 
  • Your pass is pre-validated; you do not need to stamp it, but you must have it with you at all times (fines are heavy).

The following lines deliver you to our neighborhood:

  • Trolley (Strassenbahn aka Bim):        O, 71 to “Kölblgasse” or “Rennweg”
  • Light rail (Schnellbahn aka S-Bahn):  S1, 2, 3, 15 to “Rennweg”

2. Metro Stations (U-Bahn)

  • Metro stations can be recognized by the blue sign with a white U ("U-Bahn") on it.
  • On the platform, check the platform indicator to make sure you are boarding the correct train. Trains are indicated by their terminus (end station), and the indicator also shows how long you have to wait for the train.
  • Once the train arrives, you must open the door yourself by either pulling the handle or by pressing the illuminated button unless passengers are exiting.
  • On leaving the train, check the overhead station name signs for the exits.
  • Exits are always marked in white letters on black background.
  • Most stations have two exits; on the street level these can be more than 300 meters apart, so picking the correct exit matters.
  • If you want to change to another metro, tram or bus line, take the exit marked with the respective underground, tram or bus symbol.
  • The metro operates seven days a week with first trains departing around 5:00 am and last trains leaving the city center around 0:30 am.
  • During the day, intervals are typically 5 minutes, with 2-4 minutes during peak hours and 7-8 minutes after 20:30.
  • Except for construction, all trains run over the whole length of each line, calling at all stops.

3. Night Travel

A dense network of night buses operates daily between 0:45 am and 5:00 am.

4. Travel on Your Own

Travel in Europe remains much safer and better organized than in the US, but care should always be taken when traveling. Since everyone travels differently, how you organize your excursions will depend on your budget and preferences. Here are some general ideas.

By Rail

  • Pros
    • The European rail system is fast and efficient.
    • It is comfortable and social - one of the best ways to meet fellow travelers or to travel as a group.
    • Rail passes covering multiple regions and timeframes are available for a single set price.
    • The main train stations are always in the city centers and connected to mass transit.
    • Train stations provide excellent travel services.
    • Student discounts are numerous.
    • Longer routes include overnight trains so that you do not waste a day traveling (and you save on housing). If you splurge, you can even get a sleeping coach.
    • Food and drinks (in some trains a food car) are offered on most long-distance routes.
  • Cons
    • Sometimes you can find a less expensive alternative.

By Bus

  • Pros
    • The bus is generally the most affordable option.
    • A dense network reaches the heart of every major European city.
    • Longer routes include overnight busses so that you do not waste a day traveling (and you save on housing).
  • Cons
    • They may be slower and not travel to as many destinations with the same flexibility as trains.
    • Some busses depart and arrive at less central locations.

By Air

  • Pros
    • Budget airlines offer basic services at rates that rival even the bus companies.
    • It is the fastest way for long distances
  • Cons
    • The affordable seats fill up fast, so you need to book well in advance.
    • You will have to arrange transportation from the airports to the city centers.
    • Environmentally this is a disastrous way to travel.
    • It is much less social and comfortable than trains and busses.

By Car

  • Pros
    • Cars offer the greatest possible flexibility for your itinerary.
  • Cons
    • Rentals are expensive and are rarely offered to anyone under 21 and often include additional fees for those under 25.
    • Parking in cities is difficult and expensive.
    • Gas is 3-4 times more expensive than in the US.
    • Restrictions and fees apply if you drive to Eastern Europe. 
    • You cannot (or should not) sleep while driving.


  • We do not recommend hitchhiking under any circumstance. Avail yourself of the many other options.

More Information


  • Frommer's Travel Guides
  • Let's Go Europe
  • Michelin Guides
  • Rough Guide
  • The Lonely Planet
  • International Travel Health Guide - Stuart R. Rose, M.D.