Travel back in time to when branding was something you did to cattle. When the shopkeeper measured out your purchases on a set of scales. When Mrs Miggins still owned her pie shop. And when coffee was just coffee, not an iced caramel macchiato.
Store opening times haven’t changed much since then in Vienna.
I exaggerate, but if you’re used to 24/7 convenience, then you might have to ratchet down your expectations. In general, shops are not allowed to open before 6 am or after 9 pm (weekdays) or after 6 pm (Saturdays), or total more than 72 hours of operation per week. Shops must also close on Sundays and public holidays.
There are exceptions (for example, souvenir sellers can open on Sundays), but here are typical opening times in Vienna:
Supermarket chains – open sometime between 7 am and 7.45 am and close sometime between 7 pm and 8 pm on a weekday, depending on the chain and location. Saturday they typically close at 6pm. They do not open on Sundays.
Department stores first open later in the day, even as late as 10 am – so consider your early-morning shopping route carefully. Their closing times vary but are typically 6 pm or 7 pm. Stores in very busy shopping areas may stay open as late as 9 pm during the week. As with the supermarkets, stores close by 6 pm on Saturday and stay closed for Sunday.
There is considerable store-by-store variation within the allowed opening hours, so check before shopping.
What to do if you’re desperate
- Tip 1: Smaller food stores located in train stations, bus stations, airports etc. have a special status, so tend to stay open on Sundays and operate longer on other days. For example, at the time of writing, the small Interspar supermarket at the “Wien Mitte” station was open every day from 6 am to 11 pm. Be prepared to fight your way through the crowds of shoppers who forgot to buy bread earlier.
- Tip 2: Most petrol/gas stations now feature a small store selling food essentials and more. These are often supplied (and branded) by one of the supermarket chains, and open much longer than their high street cousins.
- Tip 3: Some small grocery stores away from the main shopping streets ignore the rules and open longer.
- Tip 4: Quite a few bakeries open on Sunday morning. Not sure what the rule is, but it’s rather nice to pick up fresh rolls, croissants and (if we’re throwing caution to the wind) chocolate muffins for a late Sunday breakfast.
(Photo credit: © krasnevsky / Fotolia)