It was once said that all roads lead to Rome, but in Austria, all roads lead to Vienna. Located in the heart of Europe, this capital city is an extremely accessible location by plane, car or train. The Vienna International Airport connects travelers with over 180 destinations worldwide, while train stations shuttle passengers to and from major European cities. Meanwhile, a modern public transportation network eases any confusion over inner-city travel. In fact, Vienna's public transport services, comprising nearly 70 kilometers, are known to be among the best in Europe.
Accessibility is one of many reasons that Vienna has been a top choice for meetings throughout history. Its role as a conference site dates back centuries to when it hosted the famous Congress of Vienna peace talks in 1815. Though its meetings infrastructure has certainly modernized since then, the city has not lost its reputation as a first-class host. It now sees over 1,700 events annually, including those held by prestigious groups such as OPEC and the United Nations. It has also maintained a top spot on the International Congress and Convention Association's list of top conference destinations for many years.
Among the most notable traditional meeting facilities in the city, the Austria Center Vienna (ACV) boasts 17 meeting spaces of various size, from the 4,000-square-meter Exhibition Hall X to the more intimate Green Level lounges, which offer anywhere from 92 to 540 square meters of space. Total capacity is 15,000 people. The Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center boasts 55,000 square meters of exhibition space.
Meanwhile, self-described as "Europe's first address," the Hofburg Congress Center features over 35 meeting rooms. A former imperial residence, the Hofburg's halls have hosted weddings of emperors and international dignitaries. Today, events ranging from concerts by the Vienna Hofburg Orchestra to international medical symposiums are given the royal treatment.
A number of other museums and palaces are also on hand to give events and meetings a taste of Viennese opulence. The Palais Ferstel and Palais Daun-Kinsky, breathtaking pieces of Wilhelminian and Baroque architecture, are capable of hosting events of 20 to 750 people. The red-brick Vienna Stock Exchange, one of the most notable structures on Vienna's famous Ringstrasse, is an elegant backdrop for events of 50 to 580 guests.
Events in Vienna need not be all pomp and circumstance. Kick back with cocktails on a cruise offered on one of six ships sailed by the DDSG Blue Danube. A whimsical dedication to Vienna's musical heritage, the Haus der Musik is another innovative space for receptions and presentations.
Thanks to its role as the 3rd United Nations city after Geneva and New York, its reputation as one of Europe's safest and greenest cities, and its central European location, Vienna is a hub for business and culture. The 10th largest city by population in the European Union, Vienna's economy relies greatly on the banking, insurance and manufacturing sectors; corporate conventions and conferences are also major contributors. The city is home several universities and international schools, including the prestigious University of Vienna.
From its origins as a Roman defensive outpost in the first century AD, Vienna has evolved into one of the world's grandest cities. It was the resident city of the famed Hapsburg Dynasty, and later became the capital city of the Holy Roman Empire. It has gone through many incarnations, from thriving as the resident city of the illustrious Hapsburgs to regaining its independence following German occupation during World War II. Today, Vienna's 1.7 million residents continue to celebrate their colorful past in a number of storied attractions.
Certainly one aspect of Vienna's rich heritage that cannot go unnoticed is that of music. The once-undisputed music capital of the world, Vienna was home to luminaries such as Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss. Although they are gone, their music is not, as the city offers a number of ways to connect to these musical greats. At Mozarthaus Vienna, guests explore Mozart's former apartment and learn about his time in Vienna and major works. Or, experience live music at the State Opera House, one of the busiest opera houses in the world with approximately 200 performances each year.
However they are enjoyed, the sounds of waltzes and concertos are a fitting soundtrack to this regal city, ruled by the House of Hapsburg for six centuries. In fact, it was the patronage of the Hapsburgs that drew many musical prodigies to Vienna. Today the legacy they left behind continues to draw visitors from across the globe who wants to see the majestically-designed palaces and awe-inspiring churches built during their reign.
Schonbrunn Palace, purchased as a hunting ground by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II, now offers unparalleled insight into the lives, parties and memorable moments of imperial family members. Or, visit the Vienna Hofburg, one-time winter residence of the Hapsburgs and now home to the imperial silver collection and a museum dedicated to Empress Elisabeth.
Despite its grandeur, Vienna is not a stranger to leisure and relaxation. Taking a few moments – or hours – to "sit and sip" at a Viennese coffeehouse is a celebrated tradition and a must-do for any guest. Grab a table at one of the many 19th century cafes such as Cafe Hawelka, known as one of the city's most famous intellectual cafes. Or, find great java and perhaps even inspiration at Cafe Central, a favorite of writer and poet Peter Altenberg and one of the most famous coffeehouses in Vienna.
Non-coffee lovers need not worry about missing out on a Viennese specialty, however. The city is well-known for a number of other food and drink options. Wiener schnitzel, a flat, breaded veal cutlet fried in clarified butter, and Tafelspitz, lean boiled beef, are among the many Viennese favorites served at traditional establishments such as Restaurant Korso.
Those with a sweet tooth can indulge at one of Vienna's popular ice cream parlors or bakeries, which uphold the city's long tradition of cakes and desserts. At the Sacher Hotel, guests can savor the world-famous Sachertorte, a dry chocolate cake served with apricot jam. It's a rich indulgence that will undoubtedly have guests coming back for more – the same of which can be said for Vienna itself.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Vienna has a temperate continental climate, with warm, sunny summers and cold winters. The average temperature range in January is between -4°C to 1°C, while in July temperatures range between 15°C and 25°C.
Thunderstorms occur frequently in summer and snowfall is common in winter. Spring, autumn and the beginning of summer are perhaps the best times to travel to Vienna.
Austria Center Vienna
A premier venue in Vienna's conference market, the Austria Center Vienna is located in the modern Donau City District. The ACV is a 25-minute drive from the airport and just 15 minutes from the city center.
The state-of-the-art center boasts 17 fully equipped, air-conditioned halls and 190 additional rooms that range in size from 22 square meters to 203 square meters. Its total of 22,000 square meters of exhibition space is spread among five color-coded levels. The Gray Level has 42 offices and meeting rooms that total 1,130 square meters; the Red Level has 24 offices and meeting rooms totaling 1,060 square meters, as well as three foyer restaurants; and the Green Level is made up of nine lounges totaling 2,332 square meters, four integrated meeting rooms totaling 220 square meters, eight offices of 176 meters square, and one foyer restaurant.
The Yellow Level has 33 offices and meeting rooms, two suites at 127 square meters each, and two restaurants. Finally, the Blue Level consists of 47 offices and meeting rooms and three restaurants.
In addition to its flexible spaces, Austria Center Vienna is equipped with modern conference equipment and a digital signage system of over 120 plasma screens. Catering and decoration services can be arranged, and an on-site business center with Internet access is available for attendee use. The center also has 1,000 parking spaces and is accessible by public transportation.
Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center
Located at the edge of the inner city, the modern Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center is only 30 minutes from the Vienna International Airport. Its ideal location places guests in the heart of the popular Prater Park and within walking distance of 500 hotel rooms at two nearby hotels. Inaugurated in 2004, the center is one of Austria's top meeting venues.
The center has 55,000 square meters of exhibition space spread across four halls, one of which, the 9,000-square-foot Hall D, is also equipped for entertainment events. The Congress Center boasts 7,000 square meters of space, or room for up to 3,300 people, across 15 meeting rooms. The five separate buildings of the Messe Wien are all conveniently linked by covered walkways.
The Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Center has parking for 4,300 vehicles. For guests without cars, the center is accessible via public transportation thanks to two on-site underground U2 stations, the Messe/Prater and the Krieau.
Located in the historic Hofburg Palace, a formal imperial residence, the historic Hofburg Congress Center offers an unbeatable backdrop of opulence and Old World charm. With 35 meeting rooms, the center encompasses over 16,500 square meters of space.
Conferences, receptions and events of 50 to 4,900 people can enjoy convening in one of the Hofburg's historical rooms. The 248-square-meter Kleiner Redoutensaal room played house to the wedding banquet of Joseph II and Isabella of Bourbon-Parma in 1760, while the 158-square-meter Geheime Ratstube was the venue of choice for Emperor Franz Joseph I to welcome Austro-Hungarian delegates. Four modern spaces in the rooftop foyer also afford commanding views of Vienna.
The Hofburg Congress Center offers catering services and professional event management assistance and has several recommended partners for floral, audio-visual, interpretation and more. Located in the heart of the city, the center is within walking distance to several hotels, restaurants and many of Vienna's top sites. It also offers up to 80 parking spaces by reservation.
47 - 49Vienna, Austria
Total Meeting Space - 3,500 Sq. Mtr.
Vienna International Airport (VIE)
Approximate taxi fare: 30 EUR
The Vienna International Airport, or Flughafen Wien-Schwechat, is the largest and busiest airport in the country. Located near the town of Schwechat, about 11 miles southeast of Vienna, it is the hub of Austrian Airlines as well as budget airlines Niki and Sky Europe. Comprised of three terminals, the airport sees about 11 million passengers traveling to one of 187 destinations served.
To accommodate increasing passenger traffic, the airport launched a terminal extension project known as Skylink in 2006. The sickle-shaped extension will join the current Terminal 2 building and boast 76,000 square meters of terminal area.
For travelers with long layovers and waits, the airport has more than 70 shops and a plethora of restaurants and cafes. Travelers can grab a quick bite at familiar chains such as McDonald's and Starbucks, or taste some Viennese specialties such as veal goulash at Johann Strauss café. Vienna International also has free wireless Internet access in its lounges and on the Pier East and Pier West. Two post offices and a number of banks and money exchanges can be found throughout the airport.
The airport has parking facilities for over 23,000 cars. The public City Airport Train (CAT) takes visitors directly from the airport to the city's Wien-Mitte Station in 16 minutes for a charge of €16 round-trip. The local S-Bahn train also travels directly to Vienna in 26 minutes for a cost of €6.80 round-trip, with stops at Wien-Mitte, Wien Nord and Wien Handelskai stations. Two direct bus lines also depart to the city center every 30 minutes.
Airline carriers serving Vienna International Airport
Vienna has two major train stations that serve the rest of Europe. Wien Westbahnhof, or the Vienna Western Station, is the starting point of the Austrian Western Railway and serves trains to western and northern Europe, including the cities of Munich, Frankfurt and Budapest.
Wien Sudbahnhof, or Southern Railway Station, is Vienna's largest train station. It serves trains running to Italy, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, as well as southern Austria. Local trains run in and out of Franz Josefs Bahnhof and Wien-Mitte Bahnhof.
Vienna has one of the best public transportation systems in Europe that sees roughly 1.31 million people per day. A 69.5-kilometer network of buses, trains and trams cover the city.
Travel within Vienna city limits is integrated, so one ticket is valid on any form of public transport. Single tickets cost €1.70. Travelers can also purchase a 24-hour ticket for €5.70 or a 72-hour ticket for €13.60.
Wiener Linien operates the largest part of Vienna's public transit system.
Wiener Linien operates a fleet of about 500 buses that run on 80 bus lines, 21 of which are night lines. Night lines run from 12:30 to 5 AM.
The U-Bahn is Vienna's mostly-underground rapid-transit system consisting of five color-coded lines and 84 stations. Line U1 (Red) runs roughly north-south, while line U3 (orange) runs east-west. These two lines cross at Stephansplatz/City station in the center of Vienna. Line U2 (purple) originates from Karlsplatz and ends at the National Stadium (Ernst-Happel-Station) with a stop in front of the Vienna Convention Center (Messe-Wien).
Line U4 (green) links the north with the west via a loop around the east side of the center. Line U6 (brown), running between Langenfeldgasse and Spittelau, is the longest line. The U-Bahn network is interconnected with the S-Bahn.
U-Bahn trains generally run from 5 AM to 1 AM and are supplemented by the Verkehrsverbund Ost-Region (VOR) – the transport association for the country's eastern regions.
The city's tram system is a leisurely alternative for travelers. Weiner Linien operates a fleet of about 600 tram cars. One of its most popular is the yellow Vienna Ring Tram, which runs 23.5-minute trips through Vienna to the end station in Schwedenplatz. In addition to making stops at major tram/subway interchanges, trams travel around the Ringstrasse and give views of some of Vienna's top sites, including the Opera House, Hofburg Palace and Parliament.
The Vienna Ring Tram runs daily from 10 AM to 6 PM. Trams arrive at the end station every 15 and 45 minutes and depart again after six minutes. The ring tram is €4 for children and €6 for adults. A 24-hour ticket is €9.
Austrian Federal Railways, or osterreichische Bundesbahnen (oBB), runs the S-Bahn. Short for Schnellbahn, or fast train, the suburban S-Bahn serves Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland. Its 382-kilometer network operates 10 lines and serves 137 stations, 51 of which are in Vienna.
Schedules vary based on route. Night service is available.
Citybike Wien has more than 60 bike stations throughout Vienna for those who wish to travel via bicycle. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Citybike offers the first hour free and only €1 for the second hour, €2 for the third hour, and €4 per hour for the fourth to 120th hour. All that is needed to use the system is a credit card or Citybike-Card.
Many major rental car agencies operate from the Vienna International Airport, including Avis, Budget, Europcar and Hertz. Numerous companies have other locations throughout the city.
Taxis in Vienna are relatively inexpensive. In Austria it is customary to round up the fare to cover the tip.
Taxis do not turn on the meter from the airport to downtown so travelers must agree on a fixed price beforehand; requesting airport rates from providers prior to the trip is recommended. Fares often vary based on number of people but can start at about €25 to €30. Taxis can be found in front of the arrival building at the airport.
Photo Credit : WienTourismus / Popp & Hackner
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