Vienna may not be the cheapest place to shop but it is certainly one of the most interesting, considering the tremendous variety of products.
For a sparkling window shopping extravaganza head to the better known pedestrian precincts of Graben, Kohlmarkt and Kärntnerstrasse in the city centre.
Most Kärntnerstrasse stores can be visited online at: www.viennashopping.at. Among the most famous companies you'll find traditional crystal chandelier makers Lobmeyr; Österreichische Werkstätten, which sells finest Austrian arts and crafts products; and Popp & Kretschmer, one of the best places for fabulous ball gowns and one of the only places you'll find the collectable Viennese bronzes on sale.
The most commercial magnet is Mariahilfer Strasse, the longest shopping street in town located between Westbahnhof and Ringstrasse.
Shopaholics might not have Vienna on their radar – yet – and when it comes to famous labels and brand-name fashion, best found on Kohlmarkt and Graben, Austria's capital is pricey. However, all kinds of goodies – extravagant and casual, trendy and less expensive – can be found in emerging neighbourhoods. Fashionistas might want to take a look at what's available at www.7tm.at. A total of 36 boutiques dotted along Neubaugasse, Lindengasse, Kirchengasse and other smaller streets – just off the very busy Mariahilfer Strasse – offer an real alternative to the big retail department store fashion scene.
Apart from some of the best museums in the world Vienna has a huge number of art galleries; to get an idea see the comprehensive list at: www.wien-kunst.at. The main cluster is in Vienna's city centre but there are a couple of very interesting ones in district 4 on Schleifmühlgasse, close to Naschmarkt, which also has an interesting assortment of other shops too.
Food shopping and markets
Shopping at one or more of Vienna's lively markets is another way to experience this vibrant city's flavour. Fresh fruit and veg, exotic edibles and local wines are sold by as colourful a bunch of market folk as the produce is itself. The main four street markets in Vienna are Naschmarkt, Brunnen-, Karmeliter- and Rochusmarkt, each with its own flair and clientele.
Vienna's best and biggest delicatessen is Julius Meinl am Graben - www.meinlamgraben.at. Similar to Harrods, it's a great place to shop for exquisite edible gifts to take back home.
For more information on shopping in the city, read my guides: Shopping in Vienna: luxury items and tasty goodies and Shopping in Vienna: lively street markets.
What you need to know
- In general shops are open Monday to Saturday from 9am–6pm, while most department stores, markets and shopping malls remain open till 7pm and on Thursdays and Fridays malls close at 9 or 10pm. On Sundays shops are closed, the only exceptions are a few city centre souvenir stores and museum shops.
- Credit cards are widely accepted, but might be refused when paying just a small amount. At markets you'll need cash.
- If you need to draw cash look for a “bankomat” (teller machine) or bank (open Monday to Friday 8.30am-3pm, Thursdays till 5pm), where you'll get a better exchange rate than in any hotel.
- Customer service is not as good as in the UK and only a couple of the bigger chain stores will actually refund cash on return of a purchase.
Further shopping advice can be found in my guides: