|General Information about Vienna
Vienna, a city with about 2 million inhabitants, is situated at the heart of Europe. Owing to its geographic and geopolitical location, Vienna has become a centre of international events. It is a popular conference venue. Vienna hosts one of the United Nations headquarters and is home to a number of other international organisations. Vienna’s ever-changing history has left an indelible mark on the city, a mark also manifested in a rich cultural heritage. The city’s ultimate fascination stems from combining imperial grandeur with cosmopolitan spirit, a composition which emerged after the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Viennese writers, musicians, artists, and scientists have influenced many aspects of our modern world. Vienna has taken part in all major political developments of the 20th century. Shaped over the centuries when it served as capital of a huge empire, Vienna will always arouse a feeling of nostalgia. Today, Vienna offers old historical palaces and modern shopping centres, traditional hotels, Austrian food and haute cuisine, typical Viennese coffee houses and restaurants, outstanding opera performances, classical concerts and open-air festivals, antique shops and elegant boutiques – all joined in incomparable Viennese harmony.
In July, average temperatures in Vienna vary between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius. There is always a chance for occasional rain.
Central European Time (MEZ), one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), is used in Austria except during the period between late March and the end of September, when daylight saving time is in force (GMT + 2 hours)
The language spoken in Austria is German. Most Austrians speak English, some also speak French or Italian.
Austrian networks supply 220 V and a frequency of 50Hz. Plugs are continental-style two-pin. A plug adaptor should be taken along, if incompatible electric/electronic gadgets are to be used.
Vienna is one of the safest cities in the world and in general, you can go anywhere without any danger even late at night. As rare exeption to this rule, however, we recommend some caution at the Karlsplatz U1 station and in the sourrounding area. Here, you might see some people which you do not want to meet. However, they are normally not aggressive, so simply stay away from them and they will ignore you.
You are strongly recommended to arrange your own personal insurance, as the organizers do not accept responsibility for any personal damage.
Fire brigade 122
Taxi (+43 1) 40 100, (+43 1) 60 160, (+43 1) 31 300
Hofburg Congress Centre (+43 1) 587 36 66
The official currency in Austria is EURO (€).
BANK AND EXCHANGE
Most Austrian banks will change traveller’s cheques as well as cash. Banking hours in general are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 08.00 - 12:30h and 13:30 - 15.00h, Thursday 08.00 - 12:30 and 13:30 - 17:30. Automated cash dispensers are located outside most banks, cash can be withdrawn there 24 hours a day. National and foreign Maestro cards (cash cards) as well as Mastercard, American Express, Visa and Diners are accepted. Credit cards are also accepted by numerous hotels, restaurants, shops and gas stations. Money can be changed at the airport, at banks, exchange bureaus and larger hotels. Please ask about charges before changing money – these may vary considerably.
Vienna’s restaurants range from gourmet-type restaurants to informal restaurants and Heurigens (Austrian wine taverns). There are also many international restaurants in the city, offering a choice of almost any kind of cuisine. In Austria, lunch is generally served between 12.00 and 14.00h, dinner around 19.00h. There are hundreds of restaurants in the first district and around the Hofburg Congress Centre. Just walk out of the conference centre in any direction and discover the hidden secrets of Vienna while looking for a restaurant. As a more scientific approach to find your favourite restaurant, we offer the following restaurant guides on the web :
German restaurant guides to Vienna :
English restaurant guides to Vienna :
In addition to the normal restaurants, we would also like to draw your attention to the Naschmarkt area (Wienzeile close to Karlsplatz), which is a market where you can eat various cuisines from Viennese to Japanese style. Further, there is the film festival directly in front of the Rathaus. Here they offer various cuisines from 11am to midnight. Musical programs are shown in the evening free of charge.
Service is usually included in the prices in bars and restaurants, but tips are welcome.
Shopping hours are Monday to Friday 09:00 - 18:00h and Saturday 09:00 - 17:00h. Except for some tobacconists and small supermarkets at petrol stations and at the main railway stations, shops are closed on Sundays. Luxury shops for an elegant clientele can be found in the pedestrian zone along Graben and Kärntnerstrasse (underground U1,U3/Stephansplatz). Street entertainers and outdoor cafés contribute to the special atmosphere of this area. Another well known shopping area is Mariahilferstrasse (underground U3/Neubaugasse). Visitors from non-EU countries should ask for VAT refunds when purchasing goods.
REFUND ON VALUE ADDED TAX ("Tax -Free-Shopping")
A 10% or 20% value-added tax is included in the list price of items for sale in Austria. Tourists of Non-EC-Countries must pay this V.A.T. ("MWSt") at the time of purchase but may obtain a refund of the tax on unused merchandise of at least EUR 75,01. . Ask the salesperson to fill out a Global Refund cheque for you (name and foreign address must be completed) and to give you the Global Refund envelope with a list of all cash refund offices. The original invoice must be stapled to the Global Refund cheque. At the airport in Vienna, you will find Global Refund payment offices as well. The average refund after deduction of a handling fee by Global Refund amounts to about 13% of the purchase price.