If you’re used to 24h shopping, you might get a shock in Vienna.
- Supermarket weekday opening hours are usually from just before 8am to 8pm
- Other stores generally open up later and close earlier
- Stores close early on Saturdays and stay closed on Sundays
- Main exceptions are certain stores in stations and designated tourist areas
- See also: Shopping in Vienna
The information in this article applies to normal times. Unfortunately, we’re not in normal times right now. The prevailing COVID situation and associated regulations may affect whether particular shops currently open at all and for how long, so check.
To date, full lockdowns have still allowed grocery stores, post offices and other essential stores to remain open, for example. But their opening times have often still varied from the norm. My local supermarket has opened up earlier, for example, but closed earlier, too.
Store opening hours
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 cannot open before 6am or after 9pm (weekdays) or after 6pm (Saturdays), or total more than 72 hours of operation per week. Shops must also close on Sundays and most public holidays.
There are exceptions to those rules. For example, bakers can open from 5.30am and souvenir shops can open on Sundays. But here are typical opening times in Vienna:
Supermarkets open sometime between 7am and 8am (tending toward the later end of the range) and close sometime between 7pm and 8pm on a weekday (ditto), depending on the chain and location. Saturday they typically close at 6pm. They do not open on Sundays (but see below for exceptions).
These open later in the day, even as late as 10am – so consider your early-morning shopping route carefully. Their closing times vary but are typically 6pm or 7pm.
Stores in very busy shopping areas may stay open as late as 9pm during the week. As with the supermarkets, stores close by 6pm 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 may stay open on Sundays and operate longer on other days.
For example, at the time of writing, the mini supermarket at the Westbahnhof station opens every day from 5.30am to 11pm. The Billa supermarket at Franz Josefs Bahnhof opens daily from 6am to 10pm. Outside of normal shopping hours, 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: 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.