Even in today’s electronic world, you might want to send a few postcards home to friends and family. There are two places selling stamps in Vienna.
The first is the Trafik, equivalent to a tobacconist or newsagent, who sell the standard range of stamps and not a lot else as far as postal services go – see the Trafik article for information.
The second is the Austrian postal service (German: Die Post, with the Po pronounced as in pot, so the word rhymes with flossed). You’ll find post offices all over the place, clearly identifiable by the bold yellow color on signs and displays.
Opening times vary, but are typically from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. Larger post offices are open later and on Saturdays. If you’re very keen to get your mail away urgently, the post offices in the main railway stations and airport are open much longer.
Inside the post office there are various counters and you want the one marked “Briefe” (letters) or “Briefabgabe” (deposit letters) so you can buy your stamps there.
You can choose between two tariffs: priority and economy. Always use the priority tariff if you can. Priority gets the mail sent via air and not via horse and cart. The price difference is relatively small, but the difference in delivery times can be immense.
If you go for priority delivery, you need to put a “priority” sticker on the envelope or postcard. The Trafik or post office will give you these for free. At the time of writing a postcard needs an 80 cent stamp for Europe and a €1.70 stamp for the rest of the world.
If you know what stamps you need, you can buy them at the Trafik or post office and stamp and send the letters / postcards yourself. Deposit them in the yellow postboxes dotted around the city (see photo).
Alternatively, just hand them over at the post office and they’ll weigh and stamp them for you.
If you hand them over, be sure to ask for airmail / priority, and also ask them to put pretty stamps on your mail, otherwise they’ll just put a printed sticker on with no picture, which kind of spoils the look a little.
Tip: When you write the address on your postcard or envelope, you can normally get away with using English for the country name. But if you’d like to use German, here are some of the common translations…
- UK / GROSSBRITANNIEN
- USA / use USA
- Canada / KANADA
- Japan / JAPAN
- New Zealand / NEUSEELAND
- Australia / AUSTRALIEN
- Ireland / IRLAND
- India / INDIEN
- France / FRANKREICH