Vienna, Austria’s capital, is a popular destination for lovers of art and fine culture. Every year, about eight million people visit the iconic city to take in its history and culture.
Vienna has spectacular buildings that were built by the Habsburg Empire, such as the Hofburg and Schönbrunn Palaces, the Opera House, and many more.
The city is also home to some of the world’s most famous museums, such as the Belvedere, which houses Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss, and the Kuntshistorisches Museum Wien. However, Vienna is not just a staid history and culture.
It offers so much more to visitors, from the family-friendly Prater Park with its Ferris wheel to the iconic Christmas markets.
Before visiting, it is a good idea to do some research about what you want to do in the city and how to do it safely. Keep reading this travel guide to learn everything you need to know about visiting Vienna safely, including crime information.
Is Vienna Safe to Visit in 2023?
Yes, Vienna is very safe to visit. It has some problems common to big cities, such as crime and risks of violent events, but, in general, it is a very safe city.
As such, it makes sense that its capital would also be very safe. In fact, Vienna routinely tops lists of the safest cities in the world, or at least in Europe.
For example, The Economist’s 2023 Global Livability Index ranked Vienna the most livable city in the world. The ranking includes a few different factors to decide if a city is livable or not, including safety.
Most foreign governments agree that all parts of Austria, including Vienna, are safe to visit. Countries such as the United States issue Level One travel advisories for Austria.
That means that all of Austria, including its capital, Vienna, is safe to visit as long as visitors take basic common-sense precautions. All that being said, Vienna is still a city with a population of several million people.
No matter how safe it is, it still has some of the problems that affect big cities around the world, such as:
- Bag snatching
Since Vienna is the capital of Austria, it is also the center of political discourse in the country. Protests in Vienna are frequent, especially around major international events such as the European Gas Conference.
Although most demonstrations are peaceful, there have been clashes between police and protesters in the past, resulting in some injuries.
Vienna is not a city that is known for its vibrant protest culture (in fact, it has a joking reputation for being quite boring). However, whenever you are abroad, it is a good idea to stay away from demonstrations.
You don’t know enough about the local political context to understand the full implications of what you are supporting or how to notice when a protest might turn tense.
Although Vienna has some problems that you may experience in any big city, it is overall a safe city. As long as you don’t leave your common sense at home, you should have a safe time when visiting the city.
Crime in Vienna
Crime is a bit of a concern when visiting Vienna, which it is when visiting any major city. The good news is that you don’t need to be very worried about crime when you are in the city.
It has a fairly low crime rate, especially for a city of its size. In 2022, the police reported 168,303 total crimes. Not counting the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, when strict lockdowns reduced crime, this total is far lower than the crimes reported in previous years.
In fact, crime in Vienna has decreased by 21% over the past decade. Most crimes in Vienna are property crimes.
In 2022, there was a 25% increase in property crimes compared to 2021 (although not when compared to 2019). The property crime that increased the most was home burglary.
Pickpocketing, scamming, and cybercrimes are also common problems in Vienna, and the police have announced they will be focused on combatting those crimes in the future.
In fact, pickpocketing is the most common property crime in Vienna, making up about 9% of all reported property crimes. This is also the most common type of crime that will affect tourists. Vienna has a fairly low violent crime rate.
Such crimes make up only 16% of total crimes committed in Vienna, with the rest being property crimes or other minor offenses. In 57% of violent crimes, the perpetrator and victim knew each other.
Random violent crimes are rare, although robberies are increasing in the city. Most people living in Vienna agree with the assessment that the city is safe to live in.
According to Numbeo, which collects crime data based on respondents from residents and expats, Vienna scores a 26.32 out of 100 on the crime index. That is a low value. In fact, Vienna has one of the lowest scores of major European cities.
When the responses are broken down into crime by categories, the level of crime remains low for almost all types. Viennese people are most concerned with drug abuse, vandalism, and theft, which are all petty, non-violent offenses.
These crime statistics paint a picture of Vienna that shows it is a fairly safe city.
Of course, it has some problems — it’s nearly impossible to have a city of over two million people be completely crime-free. However, most common offenses are non-violent and preventable with the right precautions.
Violent crime does happen in Vienna, but it usually doesn’t occur in the city center. Plus, most incidents of violent crime occur as part of disputes between people who already have some sort of relationship.
Vienna is one of the safest cities in the world and is becoming a safer city every year. It is a great destination for traveling and for long-term residency.
Pickpocketing and other forms of petty theft are the most common street crime in Vienna and the crime you are most likely to encounter as a tourist there.
Many travel advisories for Austria, such as this one from Australia, mention that pickpocketing is common in popular tourist attractions, especially those in Vienna.
Theft hotspots include:
- Hauptbahnhof train station
- Westbahnhof train station
- St. Stephen’s Cathedral
- The Hofburg Imperial Palace
- On the U-Bahn metro system and trams
- In the Christmas markets (in winter only)
Generally, whenever you are in a crowded place, especially when you are in a place crowded with other tourists, keep an eye out for pickpockets. The good news is that Vienna’s pickpockets are fairly easy to foil with just some basic precautions.
Make sure that you stay alert in crowded areas. Avoid getting distracted by looking at a map, scrolling on your phone, or admiring your surroundings.
Moving with purpose will also help you blend in with the locals. Make sure that your valuables are in a safe place. Leave your passport in a hotel safe and only carry around a photocopy.
Keep backup cards and some extra cash in your hotel safe as well. Put your wallet with cash that you need for the day, phone, and ID in a secure place, such as your front pocket, an inner jacket pocket, a money belt, or a zipped cross-body bag.
Hold your bag close to your body when moving in crowded areas, especially bottlenecks where you have to squeeze past people, such as U-Bahn entrances.
Thieves tend to work in groups, so be mindful of that as you move around the city. Be careful when someone is causing a commotion in public or attracting attention, such as street performers. Thieves then tend to circulate among the distracted crowds.
The risk of terrorism is a concern in many European capitals, and Vienna is no different. The city had the misfortune of suffering a recent terrorist attack.
In November 2020, terrorists went on a shooting rampage near the Vienna Synagogue and in a popular nightlife district, killing four people and injuring dozens of others. The terrorists had links to the Islamic State.
Governments such as the UK warn about the risk of terrorism in their travel advisories for Austria, including in Vienna. Predicted targets include places of worship, airports, government buildings, and popular tourist attractions such as Christmas markets.
However, the risk of terrorism in Vienna has gone down in recent years. According to the Australian government’s travel advisory for Austria, Viennese police have relaxed their warning about potential terrorist attacks targeting places of worship in the capital.
Increased anti-terrorism efforts since 2020 have also foiled many potential plots and broken up terrorist cells. Terrorism is a risk in many places in the world, and unfortunately, it can’t be ruled out in Vienna either.
As an average citizen, you can’t predict or prevent it. However, you shouldn’t let the fear of an attack ruin your trip to Vienna. The chances of an attack affecting you while you are in town are very low.
Avoiding Bad Areas
Like any big city, Vienna has some areas that are less safe than others. These aren’t so dangerous that they become no-go zones, but they do tend to have higher crime rates.
Sketchier neighborhoods in Vienna include:
- Reumannplatz in Favoriten
- Simmeringer Haide
However, even these areas are fairly safe, especially during the day. They are mostly residential areas on the outskirts of Vienna, so you won’t likely wander there during your visit.
Tourists should definitely be careful in the neighborhoods immediately around Vienna’s major train and bus stations, such as the Hauptbahnhof. Thieves and other criminals tend to hang out around public transportation hubs, so these areas can feel a bit sketchy.
Things to Consider
Here are a few things to consider before visiting Vienna:
- Always purchase and validate your public transportation ticket. The U-Bahn and tram have frequent ticket inspectors, and fines can get pretty hefty.
- Be careful when watching street performers. Living statues and street musicians can attract a crowd. Often, thieves circulate around the crowds and relieve people of their wallets while they are watching the performances. The performers are not always accomplices in this crime, but unfortunately, criminals use the crowds they attract for their own purposes.
- Avoid parks late at night. Although Vienna is a safe city with a low violent crime rate, you still want to take some basic precautions. You should avoid dark side streets and alleyways for the same reason.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions people have asked about visiting Vienna before:
Is it safe to walk in Vienna at night?
If you stick to the main streets and well-lit areas with plenty of other people, Vienna is safe to walk around at night. However, you should still avoid parks, alleyways, and areas that are known to be unsafe, such as the area around the train station.
Is it safe to go to Vienna right now?
Yes, it is safe to go to Vienna right now. The crime rate is still at a historic low, and the terrorist alert level has been lowered.
What is the most common crime in Vienna?
Different types of property crimes are the most common in Vienna. Pickpocketing is one of the most common crimes.
Is it safe to walk alone in Vienna?
Walking alone is safe in Vienna, and the city is actually very popular among solo travelers. You should take a few extra precautions when alone than with a group, such as avoiding sketchy areas at night.
Can I wear jeans in Vienna?
Of course, you can wear jeans in Vienna! Some high-end restaurants may not let you in if you wear jeans, but for just walking around, jeans are fine.
So, Is Vienna Safe to Visit?
Vienna is one of the safest cities to visit in Europe. You should watch out for some common big city problems, such as pickpockets, but besides that, there are few dangers in town that will threaten your vacation. Happy travels!