Vienna, Austria is a beautiful city of just under 2 million people. The current capital city of Austria, and once the seat of the Hapsburgs Austro-Hungarian empire, millions of tourists flock to the museums, gardens, and palaces of Vienna each year. But is Vienna, Austria safe? After spending over a month exploring Vienna, and checking with experts, we can say a resounding “Yes, Vienna is Safe!”
In 2022, the Global Peace Index ranked Austria the fifth most peaceful country on this earth! That’s pretty hard to beat (unless you are in Iceland, New Zealand, Ireland, or Denmark). With over 17 million tourists visiting each year, Vienna sees a lot of travelers, and yet is still one of the safest cities, with one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
We visited Vienna in December to take full advantage of its legendary Christmas Markets. Our visit was part of our Family Gap Year (what is a Family Gap Year?) when our kids were 5 and 8. In over a month of running all over town we never once felt unsafe or worried about our environment. We found the locals to be friendly and helpful, despite the fact that our German skills are rusty (Waker) and non-existent (Cynthia).
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At the bottom of this post, download a free guide: 6 Safety Tips for Traveling with Kids: What You Should Know Before You Travel.
Is Vienna Safe for Tourists?
Ready to explore Vienna, known as the home of such famous creatives as Mozart, Beethoven, and Freud? You’re more likely to be fined for jaywalking than be the victim of a crime. Yes, that’s right, you may be fined for crossing the street on a red light (full disclosure, as an ex-New Yorker, I do this all the time. I struggle to just stand there with no traffic in sight, and no, I haven’t been fined yet).
Most crimes against tourists fall under the category of “petty crimes” and include pickpocketing and stealing cell phones. These types of crimes usually happen in crowded areas around Christmas Markets or other large events. Take normal precautions, and you should be fine.
Vienna is extremely safe for tourists, especially in zones 1-9 which most tourists frequent. Vienna is arranged in a circular pattern around Zone 1, where you’ll find the old town and the center of the city. As you move away from the center, the spiraling numbers increase. You can see each district’s number on street name signs.
Getting around Vienna is quite easy, but be sure to validate your transit pass before entering a subway station (usually at the top of the stairs or escalator), and validate it once on board a bus or tram. Look for the blue box to insert your ticket so the machine can print the date and time on your ticket. In a month of taking public transportation around Vienna nearly daily, we never had our tickets checked, but if you are checked and haven’t validated you will owe a hefty fine.
Also, watch for bicycles! Vienna is full of bike lanes, and meandering tourists can be surprised by a high-speed bicycle coming up behind them. Pay attention and try and stay in the pedestrian lanes.
As with any city, practice street smarts, and be alert, especially at night and in crowded areas. Do not display any flashy jewelry, and keep your purse and cell phone secure. If you take standard safety precautions, you should not encounter any safety issues in Vienna.
Is Vienna Safe for Solo Travelers?
Yes, Vienna is very safe for solo travelers. There are no areas in Central Vienna where one needs to be in a group for safety. In fact, you’ll often find crowds in the Old Town Center, on the pedestrian walkways, especially in the high season of summer, or the Christmas holidays.
There is so much to see and do in Vienna, from sitting at a cafe to strolling through endless palaces and museums, it makes a great destination for solo travelers.
Is Vienna Safe for Women?
Yes, Vienna is very safe for women. Some travelers report hearing the occasional cat call, but none reported feeling unsafe transiting around Vienna. Locals are very polite and alert, and police are quick to respond when called.
Is Vienna Safe at Night?
Public transportation is safe even in the early morning hours, and visitors report no problems journeying back and forth from bars late at night. Most trams run until just after midnight, with night bus service covering specific routes.
Part of the magic of Vienna in the winter is that all the lights come on when the sun sets just after 4 pm. From classic white Christmas lights to floodlights on grand palaces, the city comes alive in the evenings.
Is Vienna Safe for LGBTQ Travelers?
Vienna has a lively bar scene for LBGTQ travelers and is considered the queer capital of Austria. However, travelers report that the country as a whole is a bit behind neighboring Germany in terms of overall acceptance and the prevalence of homophobia.
Is Vienna Safe for Families?
Yes, Vienna is safe for families! From portraits of Empress Sisi to the clop-clop of the old-fashioned horse carriages rolling through old-town, Vienna is a terrific and safe family destination.
Many of the Christmas Markets of Vienna are located outside of grand palaces, making this a delightful and bucket-list-worthy destination for families! Whether it’s in the summer when the parks are green and the sun is shining, or in the winter when the Christmas kinderpunsch is flowing, families will love all that Vienna has to offer.
If you are traveling with kids, don’t miss the Children’s Museum at Schonbrunn Palace- we booked timed tickets for 3:30, and ran out of time to do all the fun things the kids were interested in. We had to come back a second time!
Which Neighborhoods in Vienna, Austria are best for Tourists?
Tourists should stick to zones 1-9 in the main tourist areas, though long-term travelers do not report safety issues in more outlying areas. The closer to Zone 1 you stay, the less walking you’ll do to reach the major tourist attractions. We spent a month in Zone 3 just East of the Belvedere and enjoyed the more local feel of our neighborhood, but had a short tram ride into the city center to visit most museums or city highlights.
Is English Widely Spoken in Vienna, Austria?
Yes, English is widely spoken in the main tourist areas of Vienna. In fact, vendors often used English to clarify my poorly pronounced German. If you speak no German at all, you’ll have no problem getting around Vienna.
FAQ: Is Vienna Safe
Vienna, Austria has a crime index rate of 26.85. Compare that to Paris (61.21) and London (53.77). In context, Vienna’s crime rate is astonishingly low, especially for such a large city.
In general, Vienna is very clean. We did notice overflowing garbage in touristy areas after a long holiday weekend, but it is quickly cleaned up again. Vienna is very eco-conscious and works on a complex recycling system that includes separating out recyclables into multiple categories including colored glass from clear.
The water in Vienna is also clean and healthy to drink, you do not need to buy bottled water or even purify tap water before drinking it.
The fine in Vienna, if you are caught without a properly validated transit ticket, is 105 euros. Compare that to a standard full fare of 2.40 per ticket if bought before boarding the bus or tram, and it’s a pretty hefty fee.
Austria has an officially neutral policy in regard to Russian aggression. Austria is one of only six European nations that are part of the EU, but not part of NATO. Austria is a landlocked nation, that shares borders with Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, and Switzerland.
There You Have It: Is Vienna Safe
Vienna is a very safe city- with a lot to offer tourists, whether they are solo, a couple, or a family. Whether you have a month to explore this wonderful city or just three days in Vienna, you’ll find plenty to love in this safe, clean, European city.