They must be hanging out in the underground stations, in our case, the Karlsplatz! I usually carry most of the money, but somehow this time, my husband had it and forgot he had it. Needless to say, he wasn't wary of the "bumping" crowd.
Not that I'm an avid shopper but I was disappointed to find most of the stores closed on Sundays , even many of the souveneer shops . I knew the shopping hours are a little stringent...closed at least by 6PM . Then I missed the big flee market which I assumed was on Sunday and then found out it was on Sat. I had visions of wonderful old crystal that for me was not to be!!
Reports of rise in petty crime is one of the sign that Vienna city is getting more and more visitors - both the good and the bad!
I was shocked when I heard recently (May 2008) that nowadays daring petty thieves are snatching handphones right from the hands of the users - in broad daylight.
So, if you have a very nice expensive handphone or cellphone or smartphone, just be careful and aware of your surroundings when you're talking on the phone. Be vigilant. Hold tight to your gadgets. Don't expose them unnecessarily.
Vienna, they say, is quite a safe city. Still tourists should be aware of:
- middle-aged people's ignorance of any language other than German
- cigarette-butts and dog boops spread on the sidewalks like flowers in meadows
- alcoholics, penhandlers and pickpockets in subways
- drug abuse in areas like Stadtpark, Karlsplatz and U6-stop Burggasse
- partly racist attitude to black people
- intrusive glances by locals if you wear something bright and colorful or speak
a foreign language
I've been to Vienna for 3 years, I should know. As long as you're a tourist though, all will be
Be careful with your money and how much you want to pay the waiters. Viennese waiters, especially in the cafes and restaurants around Museumsquartier (MQ) and Stephansplatz
in the touristic Viennese 1st District, like to cheat both locals and tourists. They often ask
for about 50 cents more than the price actually is, hoping that the customer will not notice
because the bill number is uneven (for instance, they charged me 6,30 Euros even though
the real price should have been 5,70). This happened to me several times already, I was
not clever enough to check the prices on the menu. Always calculate the sum and then only add a small tip - a tip YOU decide, not the waiter by overcharging you without informing you! If you notice that the waiter cheated you, please always inform the chef of the cafe/restaurant - it's neither fair nor should it become "daily routine".
We recently came back from a great trip to Vienna, staying in the first district in a lovely hotel, which shall remain nameless since the event which took place has happened elsewhere but was the first occasion for this place.
There is a man (probably he is not the only one playing this type of game), no racist intentions here but he looked very like a Sikh without the turban (may or may not have had a beard). He was dressed very smartly in a light grey (I believe checked) suit, with a mobile phone, laptop/briefcase. He went past me rather quickly so the lasting impression I had was of a smartly dressed Asian in rather a rush after receiving a phone call on his mobile.
He was shortly followed by a poor lady shouting after him that he had taken her purse (U.S.; clutch bag?). A taxi driver at the door paid no attention whatsoever. Needless to say, I don't know whether the thief ran or not but he had vanished pretty quickly.
This Asian man had been masquerading as a hotel guest at breakfast. The mobile ringing was obviously a ploy for his escape as he put it to his ear and left. He had been seated near to the lady who had left her purse while going up to the buffet table. Saw his chance, grabbed the purse and made off. I would have paid little attention if it hadn't been for the fact he practically walked into me and it struck me as odd that a hotel guest would have to go off so urgently in response to a mobile call.
Beware at breakfast. Especially in hotels where the reception does not have a clear direct view of the entrance, or where the entrance doors are automatic (unfortunately this aids escape). Do not take your purse or valuables to breakfast with you unless you can balance your breakfast tray/plates with your gear. Leave valuables at the desk or locked in your room. Where possible don't keep all your money, tickets, passports etc all in one place - if they are found you could lose the lot.
This lady was very lucky in that the thief took her cash and threw the purse and remaining contents outside a guest house, so she got her passport ad tickets back.
Don't expect a great deal from the police - I dropped in to give what I could of a description: it was simply noted on a piece of paper (a piece of paper not any kind of form).
You should know, that bread and sauce (mustard, ketchup) aren't included in the price and you'll pay for it. For example, we (2 persons) paid additional 3 Euro for 3 slices of bread. At the same time we paid 6 E for main dish (so it was 25% of total price) . In another restaurant we spend additional 2 euro for ketchup.
My mouth opened and closed like a goldfish, with no sound coming out (it’s not often I’m lost for words)! When Pauline told him, the Manager of the Vienna Volksoper was aghast that someone should do such a thing in Vienna! What had happened to cause such outrage? We’d just found, on arrival at the theatre through the crowded Metro, that our tickets had been taken from what I thought was safekeeping in my shoulder bag.
I’d read warnings in VT about the light-fingered people found in most European cities but had thought I was safe. My shoulder bag hangs in front of me and is zippered across the top. The opera tickets were in an envelope in the ‘first opening’ part of the bag. Fortunately my wallet was in a separate internal zippered pocket.
How had it happened? The Metro was crowded and I found myself standing, separated from Pauline and at times unable even to move; not thinking about it, I held an overhead rail, leaving the bag exposed; as we left the train, a woman jostled me, then turned to abuse someone in the carriage before disappearing in the crowd. Going down the stairs from the Metro I noticed the bag’s zipper mostly open and closed it, thinking no more at the time. Reality dawned at the door of the theatre! The moral of the story is that it just is not possible to be too cautious, especially in crowds.
There is a happy end to this story. The good people at the Volksoper checked our VISA card to confirm our previous reservation – then gave us new tickets to some of the best seats in the house, adding that they wished to help restore Vienna’s good name. I can only say that they certainly did that – we shall forever remember their kindness: it does restore one’s faith in humanity.
While in Prague, Budapest, some nice person(s) crept into our tent (while we were sleeping in it!) searched through our clothes and took my friend's car keys out of his jeans pocket. They then helped themselves to everything of value from our car. This is not the first time this has happened to campers in various places in Europe - we actually caught someone in the act in Vienna so please heed the warning!
What is perhaps more scary, is that the unscrupulous so-and-so was in my 'bedroom' and so could have done anything to me while I lay asleep, so this is warning goes double for all you female travellers.
A simple padlock on the tent zip may easily have prevented this.
In Wien,Australia airlines except the luggages up to 20,after 20 kilos,they want 20 Euro for each kilo!!!!.
And don't put any drinks into your handbag unless you don't buy them from free-shops.
Believe me they are throwing away your drinks if they find out!!!
Vienna in November/December is a bad idea.Especially if you want to visit the gardens of Schonbrunn. They are a sad sight in winter - statues are wrapped to be protected from cold weather , flowers carpets are gone ,crows and wind haunt the place, the naked branches of the trees and bushes scratch you as you pass...
TOB BE AVOIDED IF POSSIBLE
Make sure that if you rent a car outside of Austria, you stop at a border shop and purchase a 'Vignette'. This little sticker is sold at most gas stations along the borders of Austria and its neighboring countries. The sticker will run you about 7-8 Euro and it's worth it. If you're caught on the highway without one, be prepared to pay a hefty fine.
Also, if you're driving in from Germany, just because there's no speedlimit on the German Autobahn, it doesn't mean there isn't a speed limit in Austria. Austria does have a maximum speedlimit of 130 kph. Watch out for bad traffic around Salzburg. It seems like they've been doing counstruction on that highway for almost a decade (I'm being facetious of course!). It probably won't be necessary in Vienna itself, but will be necessary getting to Vienna.
Be careful where you put your feet down next time. Vienna has a shocking dirty "secret" - dirty as in doggy poo or dog droppings. Dog poops/droppings are litterred on the streets, alleys, pavements and walkways.
Vienna has a lot of dog lovers, and the viennese dogs seemed to be pampered creatures. You can see young and old ladies carry their cute doggies in their arms, in doggy bags, etc., in the metro U-Bahn, restaurants, cafes, parks, etc. You can also see men walking their big dogs in the streets, parks, restaurants, etc.
I was at first shocked, later disgusted to see the dog-owners allowing their dogs to pee and poo everywhere they like, especially againsts building walls, on sidewalks, and near parked cars. I am just glad that the dogs don't drop their smelly droppings in the metro or restaurants.
Vienna has started a campaign against dog poo and dog owners are now required to clean after their dogs. Hopefully, this action will help to make Vienna a cleaner and better smelling city. :-))
Well you might ask why is this in the "Warnings and Dangers" Section ... is Vienna the capital of a police state where you have too be careful not too run into trouble with the police ?
Absolutley not ...
I am just writing this so you know what to do once you run into trouble.
The Police force is getting new uniforms so after 2007 there should be only guys in the new blue uniforms around.
Generally those guys are helpful, most speak some english (if you need somebody who speaks good english look for the younger guys in uniform ... lots has changed there).
Ok where too find police officers : Well either on the street ... or at a police station. If you are in the Center of Vienna then you ll find a small police station in the Stephansplatz Subway Station. Its at the exit to the "Kärtnerstrasse" just look for the "POLIZEI" Shield and ring the bell.
They can help ya if something was stolen, or if someone attacked you and so on ... the usual stuff.
Ok and now a warning ... i think i should write it down cause well ... it does affect some visitors.
Vienna has a drug dealing problem, and most of the street sellers are from africa. (Well you see where this is going). So if you are black be careful ... well more careful then white guys have to be.
I am not saying that the whole police force is racist or something ... by god not. But there are some black sheep as everywhere.
So especially if you are at "Karlsplatz" and "Sigmund Freund Park - Votivkirche" be careful.
Lots of busts happening there and its easy that you might end up between the two groups.
Basically there are none. Well ok not more than in any other Big City.
But with about 20 murders / year Vienna is actually one of the most safe cities in the world so dont be afraid.
The only major problem are pickpockets. Be careful about your stuff. And plz ... DONT LOOK LIKE A VICTIM : This does include : Dont wear your backbag in front (They will just think you got valubales in there and grab from ya anyways). Dont walk around looking at a street map.
Look at it. get a direction, ask people if you need more info.
Walk as if you know the area (even if you dont) ... They wont steal from ppl which look as if they live here or know the area even if they dont live here. (Think this goes for all places all over the world)
There are some areas which you should not go to but as a tourist you wont end up there anyways. But even then its not really dangerouse .. just well ... creppy.
Best thing too do if you are in an area in which you dont feel safe is call a cab. (All Cab company have cabs that take credit cards ... but be sure too mention it when you are calling.)
Just go too the next street corner look at the street signs call (Best company is 31300 cause they give their drivers schooling on how too deal with foreigners). Cab should be there within 3 - 4 minutes.