The currency in Austria is the Euro (symbol: €) and has been ever since January 1st, 2002. One Euro is made up of 100 cents.
- In Vienna, be sure to carry some Euro notes and coins with you (it’s not a cashless society here by any means)
- €1 coins are useful for operating lockers at museums and other tourist sites
- 50 cent coins are great for those public toilets that are not free
- 1 cent coins are useful for absolutely nothing
- See also: Common visitor questions | Credit card use
The Euro currency is, of course, shared with numerous other European countries within the so-called Eurozone: Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Austria uses the full range of eight Euro coins (one, two, five, 10, 20 and 50 cent coins plus the one and two Euro coins) and notes (five, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euros). Vienna appears on three of the Austrian-minted coins:
Since each country’s coins are accepted across the Eurozone, you’ll find different designs on the actual coins used in Vienna. The German designs seem quite common, for example.
Before the Euro
Between 1925 and 2002, Austria had the Schilling (symbol: ATS) which replaced the Krone used in the time of the monarchy. There was a small break between 1938 and 1945 when the German Reichsmark became official currency (for reasons which are both obvious and unfortunate).
You’ll still hear people using the Schilling in conversation, especially older folk. However, the transition to the Euro went relatively smoothly, though it wasn’t helped by an exchange rate of 13.7603 Schillings to 1 Euro. People simply don’t have the right number of fingers for that calculation.
- Cash is still popular in Vienna. Credit cards are accepted, but not everywhere. You should certainly take some cash for the Christmas, Easter and New Year markets
- Using €200 and €500 notes in Vienna is likely to get you a nasty look from stores and many places do not allow staff to accept these denominations. Frankly, I’ve never seen those two designs out in the world (which might say more about my income than their popularity)
- Obviously, small shops and market vendors may not have much change, so will appreciate smaller notes and coins
- Most ATMs in Vienna allow you to withdraw your choice of notes
- Always carry a few 1 and 2 Euro coins with you – they’re needed for shopping trolleys and many lockers at museums and other sights only lock if you insert a (returnable) €1 or €2 coin
- ..and maybe carry a 50 cent and 20 cent coin, too. Some public toilets require a 20 cent or 50 cent payment, or a tip (50 cents or €1 is acceptable) for the attendant