Shopping in Vienna
Wealthy Vienna drips in shops: from city centre multiples to bespoke designer boutiques. The Austrian capital is thankfully free of much of the modern scourge of malls – instead wide and beautiful pedestrianised streets are home to rows of stores that are a pleasure to browse in.
The most interesting shopping locale in Vienna is the inner city, with its narrow streets and elegant facades. The large pedestrian zones along Kärntnerstrasse and Graben meet at the strikingly modern Haas Haus, which is full of exclusive shops whose mirrored facade seems to mock St Stephen's Cathedral, standing opposite.
The traditional shopping street of the Viennese is Mariahilferstrasse, between the Sixth and Seventh Districts. This street is home to major international stores selling clothing, music and other familiar commodities.
Schliefmühlegasse, adjacent to the Naschmarkt, is fast becoming one of the city's trendiest and most individual shopping streets, including shops devoted to Austrian champagne and recycled art, plus several interesting little bars and cafés.
Among the many markets in the city, the most popular is Naschmarkt, a colourful array of fruit and vegetable stalls, shops and eateries, located between the Linke and Rechte Wienzeile Streets, near Karlsplatz. The market is open Monday to Saturday. The Flohmarkt (Flea Market), at the far end of the Naschmarkt, comes alive on Saturday mornings, with some incredible bargains in second-hand clothes and goods, as well as more than a few unusual items. During the festive season, the most popular Christmas and Advent market is the Christkindlmarkt, which is held in front of the Rathaus overlooking the Ringstrasse.
The Ringstrassengalerien, at Kärtner Ring 3-7, offers the convenience of a shopping centre, a short walk from the Staatsoper. One of Vienna's main shopping streets, Mariahilferstrasse, in the Seventh District, is home to another department store, Gerngross.
Shops are generally open Monday to Friday 0900-1800/1830 and Saturday 0900-1700. Many shops also stay open until 2130 on Thursday, and/or 1930 on Friday.
Forget cheesy souvenirs, Vienna is the place to come and really pick up pieces of quality craft and design. The MAK Design Shop, at Stubenring 5, is one of the best places to find high quality examples of artisan design, from glasses and furniture to posters and sculpture. As the home of the Wiener Werkstätte (a group of visual artists who produced fine prints, wallpapers and cutlery 100 years ago), the shop also sells similar hand-crafted design and hipster one-offs.
VAT can be reclaimed by visitors from outside the EU, on goods with a value exceeding €75. To make a claim, the tax-cheque must be filled in at the time of purchase. The rebate can be up to 15% of the purchase price.