Worried about the Vienna dress code and wondering what to pack to stay stylish yet comfortable sightseeing and at the opera? Find all your answers in our detailed Vienna packing lists for all seasons.
I love packing but deciding what to wear in Vienna took a good bit longer than I had expected. A few things concurred to make my packing list for Vienna a hard one to come up with.
First, Vienna has changeable weather and so I needed to be ready for both rain and sunshine at all times. Second, I needed to have comfortable clothing for the large amount of sightseeing I had planned.
Last but not least, I know Vienna has a dress code for theater nights and I wanted to have clothes and shoes appropriate to the opera, which I wanted to attend if not in full evening attire, in something better than just jeans and sneakers!
All this made packing light a little harder than usual but thanks to my loyal Osprey backpack and some planning, I managed well and found myself appropriate and comfortable at all times.
If you are about to go to Vienna and stressing over what to pack, don’t worry! This is my full packing list for Vienna for you to be ready, rain or shine!
If you are going to Vienna as part of a longer Europe trip, have a look at our packing list for Europe too
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Vienna style guide: need to know
You may have heard that Vienna is an elegant city and indeed, the Viennese are a stylish bunch.
While the city is not known as a fashion capital such as let’s say Paris or Milan, it is noticeable how well dressed everyone is and how classically elegant especially the ladies are.
As soon as you step out of the air terminal, you notice tidy hairdos, beautiful coats and well curated make up and while there is no judgment under those elegant eyelids should you not be sporting your Sunday dress, I was immediately thankful I had opted for a smart casual type of outfit.
Indeed, if I was to give a definition of the Vienna fashion style for the day it would be: smart casual attire with a slightly conservative twist.
The style of the city reminded me a little the Italian sense of fashion and if I was to make comparison I would say Vienna is much closer to Rome and Paris, in style, than a city like Amsterdam.
In the fashion spectrum between classic and hipster, Vienna is solidly on the classic side!
What to wear in Vienna for sightseeing
In Vienna you are going to do a lot of sightseeing, most of it on foot, so it ill be important to pack clothes that make you feel comfortable as well as stylish.
Opt for good walking shoes, may they be loafers, fashion sneakers or ankle boots and go for well cut trousers and a shirt or cute short sleeve top, adding as many layers as needed to match weather conditions.
In terms of tops, both for weather and style try avoid strappy tops or very low cut ones. The Viennese tend not to show too much skin and you will be visiting several churches too, an activity that always calls for modest attire.
If you like jeans, like I do, you can wear them no problem in Vienna: just make sure you select a well fitting pair, clean and match if with a nice top so that you dress them up rather than down.
Pair them up with fashion sneakers, ankle boots or ballerina shoes (no runners if you want to remotely blend in!)
What to wear at Vienna opera? Vienna dress code
The Vienna opera house is an elegant theater with grand staircases, frescoed walls and ceilings and chandeliers so it goes without saying that the best way to feel like you fit into such an environment is to dress up, rather than down.
But how elegant do you need to be to go to the opera in Vienna? Do you need a ball gown? And what if you are traveling long time and only have casual clothes: can you wear jeans?
Well, I have good news. The Vienna opera house is an upscale environment but they do not enforce a very strict dress code.
Unless you are going to a gala night or ball (in which case, read this), it is sufficient to be wearing a smart casual type of attire.
This might be more on the dressy side (a ballerina skirt and a cute top) or on the more casual end of the spectrum (good quality jeans and well cut shirt), which are both looks achievable even if traveling light or long term.
What is really a no-no here are shorts, leggings, tracksuits and leisurewear in general.
While good quality denim will not keep you out of the opera theater, this type of outfits may mean you can be refused admission even if holding a valid ticket.
However, if i can give a personal tip: if you can, do embrace the classier dress code as this is part of the fun!
The theater is truly magnificent and some of the patrons will show up wearing ballgowns, bow ties and truly elegant evening attire and it is fun not to be dressed in rags beside such beauty!
Top things to pack for Vienna in all seasons
Opera night aside, these are my must have items to pack for Vienna in all seasons.
Good walking shoes
Vienna is a city best discovered on foot and a good pair of walking shoes in this city will be your best friend.
Depending on the season, you can opt for comfortable ankle boots, ballerina shoes or fashion sneakers but if you opt for this last idea, pick wisely.
Like in Italy and other stylish countries in Europe, sneakers are acceptable but only if the fashion type, not the gym type!
Opt for new balance, vans or Adidas gazelle type styles to blend in with the locals.
Cute shoes for a night out
Unless you are very comfortable in ballerinas and you can use them for sightseeing too, I do recommend you pack one pair of cute shoes for nights out in Vienna.
Depending on the space you have in your bag, opt for heels or flats: I personally love foldable flats as they are cute enough for an nigh out but do not bulk up your luggage.
Weather in Vienna is changeable and most of the time you will be grateful to have with you layers you can add or peel off.
When we visited last, we went from short sleeves to puffy jacket, large woolen scarf and hat in less than an hour…. better be prepared!
In Vienna you are likely to stay out sightseeing for most of the day and a good cross-body bag with your essentials is a good investment.
They are better suited than backpacks to go into museums and to use public transport and if you choose a reasonably stylish one, it can accompany you from day to night.
A travel umbrella
in Vienna rain is frequent and a travel umbrella will most likely come in handy! Do opt for a lightweight one and stash it in your handbag for ease of access.
Well cut tops / shirts / trousers
The easiest way to look stylish and blend in with the locals in Vienna is to opt for well made, well fitting clothes.
Tailored trousers, below the knee fashion skirts with ankle boots and a cute knitted top are very popular and make excellent day-to-night outfits.
I don’t wear a lot of make up but Viennese women are really well put together so if you like make up and sometimes embrace it, do bring it with you as they will make you want to do your face up!
Accessories are your best friend when it comes to dress up without over-filling your bags. For Vienna, embrace earrings and necklaces, scarves and shawls and, in spring and summer, sunglasses.
Travel adapter / charger/ electronics
One you look the part, don’t forget to equip yourself with usual travel essentials. In Vienna you will need a 2 pin European adapter for plugs and you will find yourself using google maps extensively, so having an extra charger will come in handy.
The weather in Vienna: what to pack in each season
Vienna sees 4 distinct seasons and, essentials aside, you will need to pack differently for each of them.
What to pack for Vienna in spring
Vienna in spring is hit and miss when it comes to weather.
At this time, the very cold Viennese winter slowly lets go of its grip but especially at the start of the season it can still get very cold days and rain is frequent.
During my last trip in early April I got to Vienna under torrential rain, then got a bright and chilly day and finally one with warm afternoon that got me peeling off my coat and jumper. When I say spring in Vienna is changeable, it really is!
The best way to stay comfortable in Vienna in spring and blend in with the locals is to be ready for rain. For Vienna in spring pack:
- Mid-season jacket, scarf, hat
- Long and short sleeve tops for layering
- Long trousers / jeans / skirts (in this case, pack tights)
- Your essentials (underwear, toiletries etc)
What to pack for Vienna in Summer
Vienna is close to the Alps and while you do get hot days in summer, sometimes even very hot, this is not the type of city that allows you pack one sundress and just go with it.
When packing for summer in Vienna, make sure you pack:
- An outer layer for chilly days and summer nights
- Not excessively short skirts
- Good walking shoes that are not flip flops (like in Italy, these are not deemed appropriate footwear away from the beach or the pool)
- Long and short sleeve tops for layering
- Your essentials (toiletries, underwear etc)
What to wear in Vienna in autumn
The fall is a lovely time to visit Vienna but like all transitional seasons it calls for layers and versatile clothing.
When packing for Vienna in the fall, make sure you bring:
- Rain proof attire
- Close toe shoes
- Hat and scarf
What to pack for Vienna in winter
Vienna is freezing in winter. When visiting at this time you will need to be sensibly clothes for rigid temperatures and frequent showers of rain and you will find yourself often hiding into Vienna’s warm interiors to escape the grip of the cold.
The best way to dress at this time is to be ready for outside temperatures but embrace layers so you can take the warmer ones off when entering a cafe or museum.
When packing for Vienna in winter, make sure you bring:
- Warm coat / proper winter jacket
- Hat, scarf, gloves
- A thermal layer – you can find a selection of good ones for city travel here
- Proper winter shoes
- Warm jumpers
- Shirts and thinner jumpers for layering
- Your essentials (underwear, toiletries etc)
I hope you found this Vienna packing list and Vienna dress code overview useful. Safe travels!
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