Vienna vs. Berlin – A city comparison
Why life is better in Vienna
Reading time: 6 minutes
Regarding the cityscape, mentality, culture, cuisine, fun factor and quality of living - which city has more to offer? Why Vienna remains ahead in almost every category and why also the Germans commend us, can be read here in our comparison.
Location – Where is the weather
Vienna is the capital of Austria with the coordinates 48°14’ N and 16°21’ E. Germany’s capital Berlin is located further north and a bit further west than Vienna, at 52°13’N and 13°24’ E.
If you want to travel from Vienna to Berlin, you have to overcome 524 kilometres (linear distance). This takes you about 7.5 hours per car. If you go from Berlin to Vienna by train or bus, you’re 9 to 11 hours on the road (or rails). The flight Vienna-Berlin takes 1.5 hours.
No matter which means of transport you prefer, there is one thing that you’ll notice after your arrival: Berlin’s further north location has influence on the weather.
While Berlin has an average high temperature of 13.4°C (56.12°F), the city centre of Vienna has an average high temperature of 15.4°C (59.72°F). Precipitation is pretty moderate in Vienna – the average number of annual precipitation days is 88 while in Berlin, you have to take your umbrella with you on 103 days per year. If you count the average hours of sunshine per day, the two cities are almost equal although Vienna is in lead with 5.1 vs. 4.76 hours. All in all, the weather in Vienna is on the average warmer, drier and sunnier than the weather in Berlin – point for Vienna!
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Cityscape – Which city shines more?
Of course you cannot compare the two cities in terms of size. Next to Berlin with an area of 891.8 square kilometres Vienna looks quite cute with its size of 414.6 square kilometres. Well, but as they say: often it simply does not depend on the size.
Vienna convinces especially with its beautiful city centre which does not exist in Berlin at all. Vienna's architecture astonishes a lot of visitors. From the Art Nouveau, to the Gothic and the Baroque as well as the historical “Ringstraßenstil”, you can find everything in Vienna. But not only the older buildings look magnificent, also the modern architecture has made a name for itself in Vienna. The skyline along the banks of the Danube is constantly growing and in 2013, thanks to the famous architect Dominique Perrault, the tallest building in Austria was created. When you are in Vienna and have no fear of heights you should go to the restaurant of the DC Tower. From nowhere else you will have such a fascinating view over the city. Not to forget the newly built Central Station considered as one of the most modern in Europe.
Let’s come to the point of cleanliness, although the most of you probably already know that Vienna is one step ahead than Berlin. The sidewalks in Vienna - you might think, the cleaning mania has broken out. Be careful: We even have “WasteWatchers” in Vienna, who are strictly controlling the waste disposal.
What else is special about the Austrian capital, can be read here.
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The country and the people – A mentality check
We Viennese are often called "Grantscherme", meaning it’s not easy to make things right for us. There’s no chance to deny that, because in fact we are really good at complaining. In winter it’s too cold, in summer it’s too hot and we love to discuss about politics. So don't take it personally. Austria was and still is a multicultural country, even if it is much smaller today than it was during the Habsburg period. In this multicultural diversity, the Austrians have learned to make compromises and to live with them. Hard to believe but we also can be relaxed and optimistic. "Schau ma mal" is one of our standard statements and describes the looseness with which we take on new tasks. We exactly know how to wrap someone around the finger – not without a reason we are known for the Viennese charm. One of our favourite words is self-irony which is also a fixed part of our everyday life. We know our strengths but we also know when it’s better to be silent. For example when it comes to soccer!
In Berlin, on the other hand people greet you like this on the airport: "Welcome to the world metropole". It seems if there is no lack of conviction. If you ask for the “Brandenburger Tor” it’s not uncommon that people answer: “It didn’t change the location since yesterday.” Now we also know where the term “Berliner Schnauze" is coming from. In general the Berliners have a great urge for freedom what also means you shouldn’t mind spontaneous parties in the middle of the night.
In our opinion: Viennese charm beats Berliner Schnauze!
Find out what Munich and Viennese people have in common and why the cities are still very different.
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Art & culture – Who offers more to see?
Regarding this a city comparison seems much more difficult but let’s starts with Berlin. In the German capital you can find 3 opera houses, countless theatres and one stage after another. As the largest theatrical and orchestral city in Germany, Berlin has a lot to offer for culture lovers. In addition, the city is famous for its unique museum landscape which provides insights into the history, the different sciences as well as the modern age and modern art. The history of Berlin especially in times of the terrible Nazism can be traced in numerous memorials and at historical places of expulsion. In recent years also a very young and creative art scene has established in Berlin. With the rebuild of the “Hamburger Bahnhof” into the museum of contemporary art a new meeting place for artists was created and attracts people from all over the world.
Let’s have a look at Vienna. Vienna is the world capital of music because nowhere else have lived more famous composers than here. The classical music is the heart of our music history and the work of the great composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Beethoven or Gustav Mahler is still noticeable, you can visit a classical music concert almost every day. Today the Viennese Philharmonic, the ensemble of the Viennese national opera and also the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra contribute to this very important part of our culture. If you would like to experience this you should not miss the world famous Viennese opera ball or the New Year concert in the Viennese “Musikverein”. Another important part of our culture is the historical inner city where some of the imperial buildings can still be visited today. Among these are many museums with collections of world-famous artists, such as the “Kunsthistorisches Museum” or the Albertina. A highlight in the art scene is the viennacontemporary which is Austria’s largest international art fair and brings together artists from all over the world and promotes cultural exchange. And of course our “Museumsquartier” which is not only one of the world's largest art and cultural centres, but also has become a popular recreation and leisure hotspot in the city. That ends with nothing more than a draw Berlin! Both cities have a lot to offer on the cultural field and earn one point each.
By the way: If you want to combine a German course with music lessons, the ActiLingua Academy has a great offer for you.
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Food & drinks – Who offers the better delicacies?
“Currywurst” kiosk vs. Viennese “Würstelstand”? No not at all because the Austrian capital city has way more to offer. As the only city in the world, we are the namesake of our own eating style, the "Viennese cuisine". From the typical “Beisl” with a hearty cuisine to the luxurious gourmet restaurants, Vienna offers a mixture of local and international tastes. A place where all generations meet today is the Viennese Heuriger. With its cozy and quaint atmosphere the Viennese Heuriger is part of Vienna just as the Schönbrunn Palace, the Riesenrad and our unique coffee house culture. By the way nowhere else in the world you will find so many different types of coffee as in Vienna. A classic example is of course the "Wiener Melange", which tastes best in combination with a piece of the world-famous “Sachertorte”.
Even the Berliners have already expressed their preference for the Viennese cuisine. That is why you will often find a “Wiener Schnitzel” (engl. Viennese escalope) and “Kartoffelsalat” (engl. potato salad) on a Berliner menu. Also known as “Imbissstadt” (Engl. city of snacks) Berlin convinces with currywurst and doner kebab. Did you know that Berlin even was the inventor of the doner kebab? The locals appreciate the simple cuisine which is offered at a fair price. It is all about simple dishes with some fresh ingredients. If you want to order a typical drink just ask for a “Berliner Weiße”. You will then get a wheat beer with a shot of raspberry syrup or woodruff. Not sure if that is drinkable.
We just love the Viennese cuisine! Here you find some of our favorite places where you can enjoy a wide range of different tastes at affordable prices.
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Entertainment – which city has the higher fun factor?
If you like to party, Berlin is definitely the right city for you. There is an enormous number of clubs where you can dance through the night – for example the Berghain, one of the world’s most popular techno clubs. Vienna has not that much to offer in this field. There are a few clubs and concert locations where you can spend fun evenings, but the scene is not as tight as in the German capital. But there is a special place, where you can have fun outside: the Viennese Wurstelprater, a huge amusement park in the middle of the city. Here you can find ghost trails, carousels, roller coasters and, of course, one of the most famous sights of Vienna, the giant wheel (“Riesenrad”).
Our two compared cities also have something to offer for all animal lovers, especially children. The zoo in Berlin (“Berliner Zoo”) is located in the city centre (“Berlin Mitte”), opened its doors in 1844 and is Germany’s oldest zoo with about 1444 animal species. Vienna’s zoo (“Tiergarten Schönbrunn”) with 746 animal species is located in the huge park of Schönbrunn Palace (“Schloss Schönbrunn”) and was opened in 1752. This fact makes it the oldest zoo in the world. Both cities get a point for entertainment – you can have a good time in Berlin AND Vienna.
With the ActiLingua leisure programme you won't miss one of the coolest places and hot spots in Vienna.
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Quality of livling – Where is it a privilege to live?
Have a look at the latest results of the Mercer study and you will immediately know which city will win this race. For the eight time in a row, Vienna has been recognised as the city with the highest quality of living.
Vienna provides a huge educational offer, has a well-developed public transport system which can be used for € 1 per day and we feel more than safe here in the heart of Europe. If you like to spend a lot of your time outside, Vienna is a great place to be. Two hundred and eighty imperial parks and gardens enrich our cityscape and improve our very good air quality. There are many recreation areas like the Prater, the Lobau or the Wienerwald, which invite you to enjoy beautiful walks and hikes.
Vienna not only got commended by New York, Great Britain but also by our German neighbour. In the newspapers they wrote: “Vienna makes Berlin looking old”. Got any further questions? If you would like to get a foretaste of the beautiful city of Vienna, you should have a look at our “Experience Vienna video".
More reasons to convince you of Vienna? This way please...
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Vienna is not as big as Berlin and we may have not these hip clubs and shops, but Vienna has a unique charm and a lot to see. We love Vienna and are happy to live here, but the most important thing is that we are pleased to share this happiness with all our visitors.
FINAL RESULT: 7 : 2 FOR VIENNA
And how does Vienna beat Munich? Click here for the Vienna vs. Munich city comparison!