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How to behave in Vienna

Austria´s Do´s and Don´ts for Tourists

Dec 25, 2017 | Travel guide

how to behave in vienna austria

Traveling in a foreign country often requires the visitors to behave in a certain way, meaning that different customs apply, while some (common) behaviors are really not encouraged. The same goes for Vienna. Austrians are in general polite people, however to keep their widely known politeness, they follow principles of certain Do’s and Don’ts. To assist every traveler in their first encounter with this historic city, we have composed a list of what’s acceptable and what’s not when staying in Vienna, which you can read while catching the airport transfer from the Vienna airport to city. Here we go.

What to Do


  1. The area of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna is the most popular one and is always full of tourists. This is where the pickpockets most often operate, working in groups of two or three people, while some of them even use children as a distraction. The same warning goes when you find yourself in crowded streetcars (trams) or in the subway (U-bahn), so do be careful.
  2. When using Vienna’s U-bahn, you will see a lot of escalators put in place to enhance the movement of the subway users. What you need to know is that you always must stand on the right side of the escalator and leave an empty space on your left for all of those who are in a hurry. The same applies for every other place where you might use escalators.
  3. When your tram or train arrives and the doors of the wagon open, always let those getting off depart first. Once everyone is out, then it is your turn to hop in. This minimizes the chances of making an unnecessary hold-up.
  4. Always check the seating marks in public transport. There are seats designated for the blind, old, sick, pregnant etc., usually placed right next to the entrance doors, so do leave them available.
  5. Be observant and respective of "Keep off the Grass" signs. The reason why Vienna is so green is because the locals comply with this rule, so do help keep the place green for longer.
  6. Do buy a ticket when using public transport. The Viennese operate by an honor system, however inspections might take place. Inspectors are skillful and heard it all, so if you get caught without a ticket you will need to pay a high fine.
  7. If you find yourself at an event, always use facilities to check your coat.
  8. Do pack a piece of smart wardrobe and use it if you plan to visit any concerts and opera performances, or clubs and fine dining contemporary restaurants in Vienna.
  9. Some restroom facilities charge a small sum (50 cents) to use, so be prepared in advance.
  10. Many small restaurants and hotels don’t take cards so do expect to pay cash for their services.
  11. Vienna has many dogs and they leave traces in many places, hence do watch where you walk.
  12. If you find yourself next to an old Viennese lady, do let her move in front of you. If you don’t, she will probably push their way in front anyway. This is sort of a tradition, so keep it in mind.
  13. Do tip the servers after finishing your meals. It is not mandatory to leave 10% of the total, however you can round up the sum to the nearest euro amount.
  14. Viennese are respectful of their working hours, so do leave 5 minutes before closing time, or you would be chased out of the shops.
  15. This city is a museum so do expect long lines in the Vienna’s most important spots.


Don't Do


  1. All Austrians (and Europeans in general) respect the custom of waiting their turn in line, no matter how long. Many people sometimes try to push those who wait patiently, but a sharp look right in the eyes is always enough for them to retreat. Don’t be one of these people.
  2. Even though Viennese residents are usually fluent in English, don’t expect that all of them will speak English.
  3. Don’t expect that every place will offer air-conditioning, so do your research before making any booking.
  4. The water in Vienna is drinkable and is in fact of high quality. However, don’t expect to get ice water when you sit at a restaurant.
  5. Even though Vienna is an English-friendly place, don’t think that all places have English-language menus. In case you find yourself in a place that doesn’t have an English-language menu, your waiter will explain everything to you.
  6. Viennese are people of many pleasures, so don’t expect to order any diet drinks, or find non-smoking areas everywhere.
  7. When dining at a restaurant, don’t expect the waiter to bring you the bill once you finish with your meal. You need to ask for the bill in order to receive it. This is the case since Viennese often like to sit, chat and digest the meal a bit before they get up and leave.
  8. Don’t leave your shopping for later in the day or for Sunday. On weekdays, most stores close at 6:00 pm (the 1st District is an exception) and all day on Sundays, so if you plan to do any shopping, adjust your agenda.
  9. Don’t make any noise after 10 pm (except on New Year's Eve) or you may have problems with the neighbors.
  10. If you need transportation, don’t just catch a taxi off the street, but do call a credible taxi company from your hotel. Even though Vienna is a safe city, tourist can still be ripped-off.

Vienna is a wonderful place for a brief visit or for a long holiday and it is swarming with tourists all year round. Along with the Vienna tips and resources by the locals, make sure to have these Do’s and Don’ts in mind when hopping on to your Wien-Schwechat Airport transfer.

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