[Regarding the Coronavirus / COVID-19 situation, please check this page. As regards any security issues, consult your embassy or consulate for specific advice.]
Vienna is (normally) relatively – even remarkably – safe for a city approaching 2 million inhabitants.
This reputation reflects the country at large: the 2021 Global Peace Index, for example, ranked Austria as the sixth most peaceful country in the world, just ahead of Switzerland.
- See also: Common visitor questions
High rankings, low crime
In terms of Vienna itself, a 2019 report by Mercer ranked the city sixth in the world for “personal safety” (see below).
Reported crime then fell by 11.3% in 2020, but that was not exactly a normal year as we had significant periods in lockdown, for example, and far fewer visitors.
I’ve lived here over 25 years and the only time I felt personally threatened was when a rather dishevelled-looking man approached me on an empty tram and pulled what I thought was a knife from his jacket.
It wasn’t a knife…it was his ID and he was an undercover ticket inspector (for the record, I had a ticket).
More evidence for Vienna’s safety comes indirectly from its regular high rankings in global quality of life surveys. For example, Monocle magazine ranked Vienna sixth in its 2021 Quality of Life Survey.
Vienna topped the 2019 Quality of Living rankings produced by Mercer (for the tenth time in a row).
This same report included a separate ranking for personal safety, which is where Vienna placed sixth in the world, one spot below Zurich.
The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Vienna first in the 2019 Global Liveability index. It scored top in the 2018 report, too, when the survey’s editor was quoted as saying, “It’s proven to be one of the safest cities in Europe.”
(Vienna dropped to 12th in the EIU’s 2021 ranking thanks to the COVID situation in Europe, but I anticipate a return to its more normal heights in the next survey!)
Despite all that good news, you should still take the same care you would when travelling to any large European city, particularly as regards parks and subway stations late at night.
Crime in Vienna is generally low, but there is still crime. Pickpockets may be about in busy areas (particularly during the Christmas markets) and on packed trams and trains.
Do consult your embassy or consulate for specific advice, especially in the context of any potential security incidents. For example, see the security and safety advice for Austria provided by the US State Department, Australian Government and the UK Government.