Lifestyle in Vienna

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Lifestyle in Vienna

There is a joke that circulates among expats in Vienna. If the world ends, just move to Austria in order to have an extra twenty years. The suggestion that Austria is somewhat behind the times reveals itself not in technology but lifestyle – life in Vienna does not appear to be driven by any external pressure.

The Viennese do work to live, as opposed to living to work, a concept that many North Americans and people from other cultures throw their arms up at and wonder how anything gets done. Be assured, things do get done. It just takes longer sometimes.

The only way to effectively deal with this is acceptance and taking steps to enjoy the slower pace, or to find a good therapist to deal with the rage. After all, Vienna was home to Sigmund Freud and psychotherapy. 

Lifestyle in Vienna

There is a strong sense of family in Austria. Family comes first as does individual wellness. Vienna is full of health and wellness facilities that can be enjoyed by the entire family.

Saunas and pools are in abundance. Be sure to check out the renovated Oberlaa Therme. This complex houses ten pools, complete with water slides, and one that is completely in the dark except for coloured mood lights. The pools are therapeutically warm. Also in the complex are saunas, massage therapists, restaurants and a movie theatre.

For the more active expat there are hikes and gentler walks within and just outside Vienna.


Café culture in Vienna

The Viennese love to drink coffee and they also love to smoke. In fact, it wasn’t until July 2010 that a law was passed that required cafés and restaurants to have a non-smoking area.

Expats will find that in Vienna it is normal for people to sit in cafés enjoying coffee and eating cake for hours on end, without anyone minding. 

Arts and culture in Vienna

Vienna is a lovely city to stroll through. The Museum’s Quartier is home to the Albertina Museum, the Leopold Museum (which is a great introduction to some of Austria’s well-known artists), the Natural History Museum, and ZOOM Children’s Museum – and this is only the tip of the iceberg.

Vienna is bursting with high-class performance venues where a wide variety of musical sensations can be found. The Wiener Staatsoper is an exquisite opera house that dates back to the nineteenth century. Standing tickets cost very little so that even the students can enjoy a night at the opera. In the summer, a big screen is assembled outside the opera house, where performances can be watched for free on the street.

Vienna is steeped in classical music history and anyone wanting to hear the great Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra can find them at the Wiener Musikverein, the most famous concert hall in Vienna. Theatre also has a large place in Vienna’s entertainment scene; the Burgtheatre offers a fantastic variety of plays as well as the odd music performance.
For alternative music, head down to Ostklub on Schwarzenbergplatz where young up-and-coming musicians get a chance to showcase their talents.


Shopping in Vienna

Expats who enjoy shopping will be pleased to find that there are several main shopping streets. The Ring is alive with expensive high-end shops and restaurants. Mariahillfrastrasse is a street of shopping with large stores such as Zara, Esprit, and department stores like Peek and Cloppenberg.

Vienna is known for its food markets, most noticeably the Naschmarkt and Brunnenmarkt. The Naschmarkt is located next to the Kettenbrückengasse stop on the U4 line and is filled with unusual and tasty foods from every corner of the world. The markets, which are open on Saturdays, are popular and usually crowded with people. A flea market is also set up on a Saturday, and those wanting to catch a bargain should go as early as possible. The Brunnenmarkt is located near the U3 station, Ottakring, and is said to be the longest street market in Europe, offering a wide selection of goods, such as fruit and vegetables, textiles and fish, amongst others. 

Stop for a coffee at Tchibos, a German chain that has delicious coffee and an ever-changing selection of clothes, household items and jewellery – don’t ask for a Starbucks in this town, ask for a Tschibos.

Travelling from Vienna

Vienna’s central location in Europe allows for quick and generally inexpensive European travel. It is not unusual to get a flight to Paris or Rome for less than EUR 150. With such close proximity to Italy (it is a five-hour drive to the beach town Bibioni) it is easy to get away to the sea for a short vacation. Of course, come summer, the Viennese will pack up and become water bound for destinations such as Croatia, Italy and France.

Furthermore, Austrians love to ski. Schools in Vienna officially have a ski week in February. The Austrian public schools are very testy about children being absent during non-designated holidays. But not to worry, there are many school holidays.

It is true that Vienna does not pulse with the same energy as cities such as Paris or Berlin, but there is never a shortage of things to do here.

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