A smartphone can be anything from a useful tool to a constant nag. Just don’t gawk at the screen while crossing the Gürtel and it can do much to improve your Vienna experience
Updating Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for the smartphone generation, it’s probable that free WiFi, the gateway to cost-free app wizardry, is the primary concern. Good to know, then, that the Freewave app shows the location of over 640 city WiFi hotspots in eateries, shopping centers and public places.
Now you’re ready to roam, and as in any sprawling metropolis, getting from A to B is first on the agenda. Luckily there is a plethora of apps that can get you where you want to go. For public transport, the “qando Vienna” app from the Wiener Linien is your go-to. Using real-time information, the app takes the hard work out of route planning. It provides up-to-date -details about maintenance, delays, and, crucially, the departure time for the last tram home from the Beisl.
To be even more flexible, car sharing companies like DriveNow and Car2Go provide you with affordable and easy-to-use rental cars. After registering, simply use the app to find the nearest car, then just get in and drive. A comparable concept – with considerably greener credentials – is the Citybike Vienna project. Like similar schemes in other European capitals, the bicycles are available after a one-time registration, guaranteed with a credit card. There are many apps – of which bikar and Citybike Vienna are two of the best – that sort out which of over 120 city bike stations is nearest to you, and how many bikes are available.
For a handy overview of all transport in Vienna – public, car sharing, bike or taxi, or a combination – the WienMobil Lab comes highly recommended.
Evolution of the epicure
The Viennese are increasingly spoilt for choice in dining out, as alongside the traditional Gasthaus, Schnitzelwirt and Heuriger, more and more international cuisine joins the mix. The Wien Isst app from Falter helps you find the location, contact details and opening hours of any restaurant worth its salt. In the app’s paid version, you get selected piquant critique from Falter’s very own gastronome Florian Holzer (in German only).
Fans of the young third-wave coffee scene will be pleased that there is now an app, Vienna Independent Coffee, with locations and opening hours of all the capital’s best coffee shops. Your fix awaits, no matter what part of town you’re in.
The most innovative app of all may be kWallet. Founded in 2014, the app allows for seamless instant payment from an iPhone in a growing number of outlets in Vienna, ranging from restaurants, to bars and even sneaker stores. As well as providing a quick and secure payment option from your phone, the app allows you to accumulate “kPoints” – collect enough and you are rewarded with a free drink, dinner or the like. There are also regular kWallet flash sales, whereby something tasty is offered for a short time at one of the participating retailers for a mind-boggling one euro cent. Having recently expanded to Berlin, this app may be on to great things.
For those who like to cook at home, the Wiener Märkte app may be just the ticket, with layout plans and opening times for all of Vienna’s open-air farmers’ markets – 17 in all – from the beloved Naschmarkt near Karlsplatz, to the diverse Brunnenmarkt in the 16th, or the popular Karmelitermarkt in the 2nd district.
In and out
For the arts, museums and gardens, there are apps aplenty to guide you through Vienna’s vibrant cultural scene and sprawling green spaces. Ticket Gretchen is the definitive app for the theater, allowing you to check upcoming stage highlights and book tickets at a wide range of city venues. Cultural highlights like the Belvedere, the Kunsthistorisches Museum and Schönbrunn Palace each has its own app, with opening times and a virtual visitor’s guide.
For those with a family to entertain, the Prater app has info on all the attractions at Vienna’s famous amusement park, as well as weather updates for those wishing to stroll through the vast city park to the south. If you’re feeling sporty, then Strava is a must. Whether running along the Donaukanal, or mountain biking in the Vienna Woods, use this app to track your activities and compare your efforts with local athletes.
Finally, as an honorable mention for a noble outdoors app that isn’t Pokémon Go, the “Die 48er” app maps every trash and recycling point in the city, plus all of Vienna’s public toilets, should you get caught out along the way!
Whether you’re looking for internet, food, culture or the next trash bin, there’s an app for that.
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