Vienna is the capital of Austria and is a city full of history and places of interest: beautiful palaces, interesting museums and wonderful parks. The city has a somewhat elderly image, but the last couple of years the city's night life has changed so much that this image is not correct anymore.
Vienna is the largest city of Austria with a population of 1.7 million (2.3 million including the surrounding urbanizations). Anyway, this amount of inhabitants is much lower than during the empire Austria-Hungary (end of the18th century, beginning of the19th century) when Vienna was the sixth largest city in the world.
Austria's capital city is situated in the north of the country, along the Donau River. The oldest part of the city was built on the southern bank, nowadays Vienna covers both banks of the Donau. The city is not far from the borders of the Czech Republic (north), Slovakia (east) and Hungary (southeast).
Vienna has a land climate with rather warm summers and cold winters.
Vienna's economy is very diversified, first of all the city offers a lot of employment in the public sector due to its function as seat of government. Also many international organizations are located with their head office, including various departments of the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
There is mainly light industry: productions of food products and electronic equipment. After the fall of the communism in Eastern Europe, many international companies saw Vienna as the gateway to new markets and opened an office.
Furthermore there are many high educational institutes in the Austrian capital. Tourism is also important, the city is visited by 2.5 million people each year.
The international airport of Vienna lies 18 kilometers southeast of the city, near the town Schwechat, after which the airport was named. The airport is connected with the capital city via the highway A4 and the Bundesstraße B9. There are also subway and train connections between the airport and Vienna's city center.
Budget airlines often make use of the international airport of Bratislava in Slovakia, only 40 kilometers east of the Austrian capital.
Vienna has an excellent public transport system, consisting of city tracks, the subway, streetcars and buses. The subway network is very efficient and consists of 5 lines. For visitors it is the ideal transport to visit the city's places of interest. The most important subway station is Karlsplatz in the heart of Vienna.
Children up to 14 years of age have free public transport on Sundays, during holidays and on official holidays, children under the age of 6 can always make free use of public transport.
Another form of public transport is the so-called City Bike. Everywhere in the city you can find electronic bicycle racks, where you can rent a bicycle,you can pay by credit card.
At night (between 12.30 am and 5.00 am) Vienna has a wide network of night buses. There are as many as 21 night lines.
Traffic and parking
Outside the heart of the city you can get to know Vienna very well by car but in the center it is quite difficult. The streets are not only narrow but many streets are one-way which can get confusing for a visitor who does not know his way around. Furthermore it is hard to find a parking space in the center, you can only park for a short space of time in the center and surrounding districts, with a filled out parking permit behind the windshield. These parking permits can be bought at tobacco stores among others.
On the city border there are five Park+Ride parking spaces, you can leave your car behind and continue with public transport to the center.
Be aware that pedestrians always have right of way when crossing a pedestrians crossing without traffic lights. In other words: when you see a pedestrian at a crossing place, planning to cross the street, you must stop. Vienna's inhabitants count on that.
There are a vast amount of hotels in Vienna, in all price categories. The prices are moderate, especially if you book a room well in advance. Most hotels are situated in the city center, close to all places of interest. By the way, it should not be a problem to book a hotel outside the center because of the excellent public transport network.
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