There are many great cities to visit and explore, but having lived in Vienna for the past two years we have to agree.. its a pretty great city to live.
Here is a list of things that WE love about living in Vienna:
As you already know- we love to travel. Therefore living in Vienna we are pretty spoiled. Austria is surrounded by Switzerland, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and Italy. Feel like visiting Slovakia for lunch? Not a problem- it is only an hour away.
We try to get away most weekends- visiting a small city or town- and every time we come home we are satisfied and content. Knowing that adventure awaits around the corner plays a role in our happiness.
When you think of Vienna it is hard to not think of culture. The city has a rich history and this can be seen from the architecture to the food to the music. There was a time when Vienna was one of the major cities in Europe. Some of the great minds and thinkers resided in this city, including Sigmund Freud, Gustav Klimt and of course, Mozart.
One of our favourite things to do on a sunday afternoon is to visit one of Vienna’s many coffee houses and indulge in a coffee and cake. UNESCO has listed Vienna’s coffee houses as an intangible heritage–one to be protected- and we can understand why.
Vienna is known as a pioneer in the “coffee house” culture. Back in the day these coffee houses were filled with the likes of the royal Austrian family, famous musicians and politicians. In fact there was period in 1913 when Freud, Hitler, Trotsky, Tito and Stalin all lived in Vienna at the same time, most likely sipping on a coffee at one these cafes.
Whether you are a fan of coffee or not, be sure to stop by to one of these cafes when visiting the city. It has become a part of our weekly ritual and we love the experience every time.
3.) Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly
Some might argue that Vienna is behind in certain areas (smoking is still allowed inside restaurants, cafes and bars), but recently there has been a movement of new age healthy living.
When we first arrived to Vienna, Jessica was a vegetarian and coming from the west coast of Canada (where organic and vegan friendly food can be found everywhere), it was a challenge to find the right products.
Since then we have noticed the opening of vegan restaurants and grocery stores within our neighbourhood and around the centre (with some of them even offering vegan options of traditional Austrian cuisine….schnitzel and all).
4.) Best Transportation System
We have visited many cities in Europe and North America, and from our experience Vienna, hands down, has the best transportation system. The U-bahn(subway) runs all over the city, with a travel journey of no longer than 10-15 mins. On the weekend you don’t have to worry about staying out too late, or paying for a cab as the subway runs 24/hours. Both of us lived in London ( where the tube stops running at midnight) so we were thrilled to find this out.
If you are not located near a subway station there are trams or city bikes available, with bike stations fairly close from one another.
With a population of around 1.7 million people, Vienna is still one the safest cities in the world. We both have lived in other cities (London, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Lausanne) and we both can agree we have felt the safest here. As a female you can ride home late on the subway or walk home by yourself and not have to worry about crime. Of course every big city has its case of crime, but Vienna’s crime rate is low compared to other major cities.
Vienna is known for it’s clean drinking water. Growing up in Canada, access to clean water is expected but when you visit other areas of the world (including Europe) this is not always the case. It is nice to be able to order tap water at a restaurant without any stress or the extra charge (for bottled water).
7.) Green all around
On weekends (when we are not visiting other towns or countries) we like to take the city bikes and explore the nearby Schonbrunn Palace. This beautiful Palace is Vienna’s answer to Paris’s Palace of Versailles.
Although you have to pay to explore inside the palace, access to the gardens is completely free. On weekends you can see families walking around or runners doing their daily jog through the grounds.
*Heres an interesting fact: Vienna is the only major city to produce it’s own wine.
When we first moved to Vienna, we did a tour of the different districts in the city and when we got to the outer districts we were blown away by the beauty of what looked like “wine country”. It is pretty cool to still be in the city but feel like you are in a small wine region outside of France or Italy.
8.) Christmas in Vienna
Christmas time in Vienna is magical (especially for a north american like Jessica). In the winter it gets quite cold in the city, but that doesn’t stop people from going out to the various Christmas markets. Here you can try Glühwein (a mixture of warm wine and spices) as well as delicious food and sweets. Visually Vienna is a beautiful city, but when everything is lit up with Christmas lights it is even more stunning.
Vienna is a multicultural city. With organizations like the United Nations based in Vienna, people from all over the world visit the city every year. Vienna is also a student city, which helps give the city it’s bustling nightlife.
10.) It has become ‘Home’
Everyone is different and what works for some people might not work for others. We have lived in London (which holds a special place in our heart and we still visit often), but compared to Vienna, it is hard to compare the two in terms of QUALITY of life. Some people stay in the same city their whole life, and we are not like that. We find it hard to stay in one place for too long ( hence we travel as much as possible), but we always find when we return back to our cosy apartment in Vienna we are happy. It just feels good.
There is so much to say about Vienna, and although most people reading this are not planning of moving here anytime soon, for those who are thinking about it…you wont regret it.
There is a reason why this city has been voted best place to live in the world.