Jul232018

Advisable to bring cash when dining in Vienna

Dining in Vienna surprised me when we ate in five different restaurants and none accepted credit cards. My plan was to get through three days in Austria on the 20eur in bills and coins I had brought from California. I figured I would credit card my way through Austria, since the remainder of my trip is in countries not on the euro currency.

Cafe Raimann in Meidling 1120, Vienna’s home district of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz, seemed to me like it was probably a one-off outlier when the waitress said “cash only”. I had to leave Kelley at the table, while I walked down the street to a bank ATM for a cash withdrawal of 100eur to pay our 25eur lunch bill.

Cafe Raimann in Meidling district of Vienna.

Prater in Leopoldstadt is the 2nd municipal district of Vienna with a 1020 address.  Vienna is divided into 23 districts and the 4 number postal code pinpoints the municipal district.

Prater is a park area with an amusement park and Wiener Riesenrad, one of Vienna’s most famous tourist attractions.

Wiener Riesenrad 1897 was the tallest Ferris wheel (212 ft.) in the world from 1920-1985.

Kolarik’s Luftburg beer garden has an interesting feature of a few tables offering a Budweiser tap on the table. Czech Budweiser is an entirely different and unrelated brew from the American version. Czech Republic is the only place worldwide that refused to sign over their historic rights to the beer name Budweiser. Around Europe, Budweiser from České Budějovice, CZ is marketed as ‘Original Budweiser’ and ‘Budvar’.

Budweiser-Budvar self-pour table tap at Luftburg in Prater, Vienna. Price 12eur/liter.

When it came time to pay the bar tab, those words came up again “Cash Only“.

Good thing we did not drink our pants off at Luftburg.

Schweizerhaus Wien beer garden is one of the most popular places in Vienna and also in Prater close to Luftburg. This restaurant serves thousands of glasses of beer everyday in assembly line fashion. Check out this one minute YouTube video to see just how assembly line the process is for providing beer in a timely fashion when Schweizerhaus gets really busy. There were around 300 to 400 people in the beer garden during our visit. This 7-minute Schweizerhaus video (in German) gives the full experience for everything except the taste sensation.

Schweizerhaus beer line.

Schweizerhaus Budweiser beer 4.90eur/0.5l

I had to fork out another 35eur cash.

The next day we stopped for a quick bite and drink at daylounge cafe bistro bar in Landstrasse, Vienna 1030 District 3.

From where we sat outside in sidewalk patio seating surrounded by smokers, I watched the waitress standing inside the doorway of the restaurant smoking a cigarette. Austria has a high percentage of smokers.

Cash only. Another 20 eur.

At this point we started looking for restaurants with credit card signs on the door. I still had 30eur in my pocket.

I had come to the conclusion that cash is king in Vienna when it came time for our final meal in Vienna’s 15th municipal district 1150 Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus.

A late night pizza to sop up some of the beer in our bellies was just what we needed.

Pizzaria Mafiosi hit the spot with a 5eur mushroom and ham full-size pizza and 2eur bottles of beer.

Pizzaria Mafiosi, Vienna 1150

We left Vienna for Czechia with 8eur in my pocket. In the past three days I have yet to dine at a Czech restaurant that does not accept credit cards.

Lonely Planet’s Vienna Eating Guide says, “Paying the Bill – Many places don’t accept credit cards”.

My experiences in three days of dining around Vienna attest to that fact.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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Comments

  1. Agreed! I visited there for the first time about 2 months ago. I was also surprised at the lack of places accepting credit cards. The taxis from the airport did not accept them, and many of the little coffee houses like Cafe Ritter also did not accept them.

  2. I’m really surprised that you’re surprised. You travel to Europe a lot. On the continent, especially the Germanic speaking areas, I’ve been reminded it is quite common to find the restaurants do not accept cards and the waitresses direct patrons to the nearest ATM. When the ATMs go down, all hell breaks loose. 🙂

  3. I generally withdraw enough cash when I arrive in a country to cover my expenses for meals and pay cash at restaurants and bars when I travel solo. I don’t spend much for restaurant meals and most of my food is store bought. My solo travel is mostly spent outside walking around taking photos.

    Traveling with Kelley is a different style. Most of our time is spent in restaurants and I tend to use a credit card when we spend over $20 at a place to conserve foreign currency cash in my pocket.

    I have not traveled in Germany outside of airports in past 5 years. I spent a week in Berlin in 2013 and likely mostly spent cash and would not have noticed credit cards not being accepted.

    Netherlands is one place I spent a lot of time where credit cards were not widely accepted. The last time I had to leave Kelley in a restaurant to find an ATM for cash was probably 15 years ago in Amsterdam. I have noticed Netherlands credit card acceptance improved significantly in past 5 years.

    Scandinavia, London, Dublin, Rome, Bratislava, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia and Lithuania are places I have spent most of my time in past four years and all these countries seemed to have wide acceptance of credit cards for restaurants.

    I have never even see Swedish currency in the dozen times I have been there. All transactions credit cards.

    Credit card purchases keep a better record of my travel expenses, places I ate and exchange rates at time of travel.

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