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Oh Vienna

As you probably know, the annual Swift bash is taking place in September and as you might expect Finextra will be shipping out a crack team for on-the-spot coverage of key issues, events and the inevitable late night parties. If you're going you're probably about to book flights and the like and plan your week, hence the launch of our now traditional and thoroughly researched city guide.

I was actually in Vienna as recently as 1977 and have a copy of the popular Ultravox single which I recall buying in 1980 (tho' I preferred their earlier material with John Foxx as singer) therefore it seemed logical with such in-depth knowledge at my disposal that I should write the guide to Vienna for SibosOnline 2008.

So - where to start? Probably worth checking the weather forecast for Vienna  before you go any further - then you can decide whether to opt for indoors or outdoors activities.

The hills are alive....

Famous Viennese personalities include Sigmund Freud, Arnold Schwarzenegger and of course The Trapp family.  


Vienna has been described as Europe's cultural capital, but then again so has Liverpool, so we'll see. Situated on the banks of the Danube with a population of around two million it is an incredibly popular tourist destination, positively oozing historical charm from its narrrow, medieval alleyways to its imposing imperial squares.

Culture vultures should be kept busy with a long tradition of music including Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Johann Strauss. The Wiener Philharmoniker is one of the world's top orchestras and the Vienna Boys' Choir is a household name.

You can't move for bumping into art galleries including the traditional museums, galleries and attractions and more cutting edge items such as quartier 21.

Transport infrastructure

Vienna features excellent public transport with subway, trams and buses - cheap, reliable and clean. Night buses provide a cheap alternative to taking a taxi. Cycling is popular and there are even free bikes. 

Putting your foot in it - avoidance of

In a business meeting it's a good idea to use someone's title as well as their name.

Shaking hands is the established form of greeting - don't have your other hand in your pockets and make sure you make eye contact.

Say 'hello', 'Guten Tag' ('Good Day') or 'Grüß Gott' (typical Austrian greeting) when you enter a (small) shop.

The Viennese are punctual. It's rude to be late - apologise if you're fashionably tardy.

Before eating say 'Mahlzeit' or 'Guten Appetit'. Keep your hands but not your elbows on the table.

In restaurants and bars service is not included in the bill with staff expecting around 10%.

Local delicacies

Foodwise it's a bit on the meaty side - with Wiener Schnitzel and Tafelspitz being typical delicacies. For dessert and snacking I like the sound of Kaiserschmarrn and Cheese danish


Note that smoking is still permitted in many places in Vienna.

Reinthaler (Gluckgasse 5, +43 1 512 3366) - an authentic, low-priced chop house of wood-panelled rooms with a mix of punters. Carnivore heaven.

Gasthaus Wild (Radetskyplatz 3, 920 9477) - traditional food with a modern twist.

St Josef (Mondscheingasse 10, 526 6818) - organic vegetarian restaurant and shop


Café Sperl (Gumpendorfer Strasse 11, 586 4158)

Café Prückel (Stubenring 24, 512 6115)

Espresso (Burggasse 57, 5268951).

Any suggestions?

If you've been to Vienna more recently than 1977 - then do comment on this or email us at and we'll add your information.



Comments: (1)

Paul Penrose
Blog group founder
Paul Penrose - Finextra - London 05 June, 2008, 12:49Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes As a Liverpudlian, I feel it's my duty to point out that anybody wanting to sample a bit of Viennese culture in advance of Sibos should really head up to...Liverpool. It's too late for the Viennese Balls at the magnificent St George's Hall (all tickets snapped up within two-and-half hours of going on sale), but you can marvel at the most comprehensive exhibition of Gustav Klimt’s work ever staged in the UK, courtesy of a three-month exhibition at Tate Liverpool.

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