Vienna is full of many shopping treasures. Its historic centre, completely encircled by the Ringstrasse, is small and easily walk-able and the fantastically efficient public transport means that you will never have need for a car. A culture vulture’s dream, Vienna was the home of the mighty Habsburg dynasty for 640 years and their palaces are just one of the many attractions that Vienna has to offer.
Main shopping areas
Mariahilferstrasse is the main shopping drag in Vienna where you are most likely to find the locals doing their shopping. In Dorotheergasse and the surrounding streets you can find antiques, second hand furniture and art.The streets of Graben and Kohlmarkt are filled with designer boutiques and cafes.
The U-bahn, or underground, is fast, efficient and covers everywhere in the city centre and beyond. The trams are also a great way of getting about if you remember the golden rule – tram 1 circles the Ringstrasse clockwise and tram number 2 follows the same route anti-clockwise. Other routes take you all over the city and out into the suburbs. Buses cover the areas that aren’t covered by tram. The level of English spoken in Vienna by the locals is outstanding so feel free to ask for directions.
Most shops open between 9am and 10am. Although gradually getting better, many shops in Vienna still close at 5.30pm, so make sure you don’t start shopping too late!
One thing to remember when you come to Vienna is that it isn’t as credit card orientated as other cities such as London or New York, although this too is getting better. It’s best to carry some cash with you just in case. ATM cash machine are common place and there are plenty of banks to exchange traveller’s cheques.
Retailer to royalty, A.E. Koechert was jeweller to the Hapsburg’s from 1814. Housed in a 16th century landmark building, it is now run by the 6th generation of the founding family. They offer an excellent, friendly and professional service – and jewels fit for a king.
Neuer Markt, 15
Tel – (00 43) 1 512 5828
Fax – (00 43) 1 513 4022
Even the Viennese aristocracy would go through tough patches at times, and so in 1707, Habsburg Emperor Joseph I founded the Dorotheum – now the oldest auction house in Europe. The aristocracy needed somewhere to go and get quick cash for their antiques, and so Aunty Dorothy’s was born.
A – 1010
Tel – (00 43) 1 515 60 200
Fax – (00 43) 1 515 60 508
First invented as a camera for the Russian army and the Russian people, the LOMO camera comes with an entire lifestyle. Funky, unfocused images combined with 4 in 1 photographs make this camera like no other. The shop in the Museums Quarter of Vienna is full of quirky gadgets, including clothing for dogs and mini-fridges.
Tel – (00 43) 1 899 440
Fax – (00 43) 1 899 4422
J &R Lobmeyr
When it came to decorating the royal palaces with glass, crystal and chandeliers, there was only one organisation fit for the job. Since 1828, J & R Lobmeyr has been creating masterpieces large and small by artists such as Adolf Loos and Joseph Hoffman. Today their creations can be found in the Kremlin, the Kennedy Centre in Washington and the King’s Palace in Saudi Arabia.
J &R Lobmeyr
A – 1015
Tel – (00 43) 1 512 0508
Fax – (00 43) 1 512 0508 85
Ludwig Reiter is considered to be one of the top makers of quality shoes in the world with branched in Tokyo, Paris and New York. He started making shoes for the Imperial dynasty in Vienna in 1885, and now has modern, trendy lines as well as the classics. The inventor of the funky ‘bowling shoe’ design, Ludwig Reiter makes handcrafted, unusual trainers for the same price as plastic high-street ones. And friendly professional service is also included in the price.
A – 1010
Tel & Fax – (00 43) 1 533 420 422
If you fancy some traditional Austrian clothing, then Tostmann Trachten is the place to come. For over 50 years, Marlen Tostmann has been making dirndls, lederhosen and traditional Austrian costumes for both adults and children. She’s such and expert, she’s even a published author on the subject. Exceptionally friendly service and impeccable quality add to the charm of this lovely establishment. The mini Lederhosen for children are the cutest souvenir to be found anywhere in Vienna.
Tel – (00 43) 1 533 5331
Accommodation & Travel
Viriotgasse 5, A-1090 Vienna
Tel – 00 43 1 310 0837
Fax – 00 43 1 310 7686
With the friendliest staff in Vienna, the Arkadenhof has wonderfully spacious rooms. Though not situated in the very centre of the city, it only takes 10 minutes to get into town and you have the advantage of being away from all the hustle and bustle of the town centre.
Prices range from EUR137 in low season to EUR150 in peak season for a double room.
Pension Altstadt Vienna
Tel – 00 43 1 522 6666
Fax – 00 43 1 523 4901
Pension Alstadt has 25 rooms, all individually decorated. Prices start at EUR129 for a double room.
Time Out Vienna
Various authors (Publisher: Penguin Books, 2000)
Funkily written and very accurate.
Various authors (Publisher: Dorling Kindersley, 1999)
Lots of photographs & picks out the more unusual details.
The Rough Guide to Vienna
Rob Humphreys (Penguin Group, 2001)
Very in-depth writing and history.