More about Vienna
Why go to Vienna?
Vienna, with its compact layout, is markedly easy to explore
Some shops and attractions are closed on Sundays; others close for lunch daily
Most points of interest are found in or around Ringstrasse, offering something for everyone
Vienna Cruise Port Facilities?
The big attractions are all in the city center, so there's not much to see around the Reichsbrucke area. The Prater amusement park is about seven blocks from the river, and the Danube Island (Donauinsel), a skinny, 21-kilometer strip of land running along the center of the river, is very close. The island serves as the city's recreational area in summer. It's used for jogging, walking, cycling and roller-blading and is lined with bars, restaurants and river beaches.
Good to Know?
Vienna is a very safe, clean city, although pickpockets inevitably operate in the most crowded tourist areas, such as around St. Stephen's Cathedral.
Keep an eye on shop opening hours; stores are closed on Sundays, and some shut for lunch every day.
Pay attention to good manners; it's customary to greet shopkeepers when you walk in and to say goodbye when you leave. In a coffee house, never, ever ask for a take-out cup. Viennese like to take their time, and coffee drinking is considered sacrosanct, unless you're in Starbucks.
Public transport is so easy to master in Vienna, there's barely any need to take taxis. If you're planning to use public transport for more than a couple of journeys, buy a 24-hour ticket for unlimited rides. Tickets need to be validated in the machine onboard the trams or at the gate into the underground stations.
By Subway: There are five underground lines (the U-Bahn), and the service is fast and efficient. The nearest U-Bahn to the Reichsbrucke, where most ships dock, is Vorgartenstrasse, served by the U1, which takes you straight into Stephansplatz and St. Stephen's Cathedral.
By Tram/Streetcar: Above ground, the trams are fun and offer the best views; tram line No. 1 goes right round the Ringstrasse for a bargain-priced sightseeing tour of all the main Baroque buildings. Or for a circuit of the Ring by tram with commentary and a multimedia presentation for tourists, a special, yellow Vienna Ring Tram departs every half hour from Schwedenplatz (although you can get on or off at any of the stops around the Ring).
By Horse-Drawn Carriage: You can also tour Vienna by Fiaker, the shiny, horse-drawn carriages that carry romantics around old town, day and night. You can book in advance online at fiaker.co.at.
By Bicycle: Citybike Wien is a free bike system with more than 100 stations around the city center at which you can pick up and drop off bikes. The first hour is free, and it's only 1 euro for the second hour and 2 euros for the third.
On Foot: The city center is compact and a real treat to explore on foot, especially the tangle of narrow streets around St. Stephen's Cathedral. Pick up a free map from the tourist information booths around the city.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
The currency is the Euro. For current currency conversion figures, visit www.oanda.com or www.xe.com. There are ATM's all over Vienna. Always check whether a credit card will be accepted when you visit a smaller shop or restaurant; some places are cash only.
German is the official language of Austria, although Austrians speak with a particular accent. (This will not be distinguishable to a non-German speaker.) In tourist areas, everybody speaks English, but it's polite to say guten Morgen (good morning) or guten Tag (good day) when you walk into a shop or restaurant, and auf Wiedersehen (goodbye) when you leave.
Where You're Docked?
Most river cruise ships tie up on the Danube at the Reichsbrucke terminal on Handelskai, a seven-minute ride by U-Bahn (underground railway) into the center. There is no actual city center mooring because the Danube was diverted years ago to the east of the city to avoid flooding.
Some ships dock at Nussdorf, a pretty wine-growing village to the north, at the foot of the vineyards. It's easy to travel into town by tram from there, although it's a longer ride than from the Reichsbrucke dock.