Tag Archives: driving

Handy Parken – The more convenient way to pay for parking in Vienna

When we arrived in Vienna last summer and learned about having to place “Parkscheine” on the windshield to pay for parking, I thought to myself “there has to be a better way.”

Well, it turns out – there is!

Handy Parken is an Android/iPhone/Blackberry/Windowsphone application available for free from your phone’s app store.  To register for the free service, go to Handy Parken using Google Chrome to ensure that some of the important info is translated into (broken) English.  Make sure you have your license plate number handy and your mobile phone number.

Scroll down to “Jetzt Registrieren.” Enter your mobile number, license plate number and preferred city.  Select whether or not you want the option to use the service in other Austrian cities (there is a limited group of cities).  Then, complete the registration information below.

When you click enter, it will ask you to review your information and select the standard charging time.  Select whatever number of hours suits your parking needs. Check the boxes below and enter the code that was sent to your mobile phone via SMS.  That completes the registration.

Now go to your account and select how you would like to fund your account.  You have three options:

1)   Pay by phone will link your account to your mobile provider (i.e T-mobile) and the parking fee will be deducted by the provider. You pay for it in your monthly bill.

2)   Bank Transfer – follow prompts

3)   Credit Card – follow prompts.

This completes the computer registration portion.

To install the Handy Parken app on your phone (only in German!):

Go to your app store and download “Handy Parken.”  Once downloaded, press the button that says “Kennzeichen” and enter your license plate number.  If you ever change plate numbers, you can update that information here as well, but don’t forget to do the same on the website. You are now ready to use the app.

√ To review, since the app is entirely in German:

  • The “Parken” button allows you to select the Stadt/City you wish to park in. Your default should be set to Wien.
  • Under Startzeit (Start time), you can leave it at “jetzt” (now) if you are starting now or you can choose the start time by scrolling through the setting.  You then select the time increments from 10 -120 minutes.
  • Press “Parkschein bestellen” (order parking voucher). An SMS box will pop up on your phone containing the amount of time you purchased, the city and your license.  It looks like this:

                   30 Wien#(license number here)

  • Click “send.”
  • You will then receive a text message indicating that you purchased a given amount of time for parking, the date and start time, the cost for that time increment and how much you have left in your account.  If at any time you run out of funds, an SMS will ask you if you want to replenish and if so text back “ja”.  Ten minutes before your parking is set to expire, you will receive an SMS telling you that you have 10 minutes left.
  • The “Guthaben” (remaining credit) button is another way to replenish your account.  Just select how many hours you want and press the “Guthaben aufladen” (add more credit) button.
  • The “Historie” (history) button gives you a history of every Parkschein you have ever used via Handy Parken.

So simple but how do the police know not to give you a parking ticket?

Well, for the cities that use Handy Parken (including Vienna), the police check against a computer to see if the vehicle in question has purchased a Parkschein.

That’s all there is to it. No more purchasing paper Parkscheine! Happy parking!

Handy Parken (and this post) was researched, tested, and loved by Milena!


Parking in Vienna

After carefully reviewing the wonderfully written “driving in Vienna guide,” you are now a pro at navigating the streets (and Viennese drivers, pedestrians, and trams) but there is just one little thing remaining….where on earth to park in this city!? You can do what I do which is scout out the closest parking garage and then pray you can back into a parking spot without hitting a pillar, wall, car, or person; pay the (hefty) parking fee and go on your merry way.

Or, you can be brave and park on the street (I hope you know how to parallel park) and cross your fingers you are parking legally and not at the risk of getting towed. Check out the links below for all you need to know!

For more information:

Driving in Vienna

Vienna’s public transportation network is among the best in the world but if you want (or need) to drive here, getting behind the wheel and navigating the city and its small streets can be a bit of a nerve-wrecking experience so here’s a little primer on all things related to driving in Vienna and Austria! Did we miss anything or get something wrong, let us know!?

Trams, bikes, and people – oh my!

You know you’re driving in Vienna, when you are constantly checking your mirrors and never taking your eyes off the road in the fear of hitting another car, a tram, and/or a pedestrian or two….yes, all these factors make driving here so exciting – there’s no shortage of things to look out for (including those bike riders that zip right past you when you are stopped in traffic). A few things to keep in mind:

  • trams ALWAYS have the right away. Seriously, do not mess with a tram….you (and your car) will lose
  • when driving behind a tram , be careful of slipping and sliding on the tracks especially when the street/tracks are cold and/or wet
  • you are allowed to pass trams when there is no on-coming traffic but be aware of pedestrians crossing or getting in/out of the tram


  • pedestrians ALWAYS have the right away at a cross-walk (“Zebrastreifen” in German = zebra stripes as my kids still call it; in fact there’s a little handy children’s song about what kids should do when wishing to cross the road)
  • when making a right turn, check that there is no bike rider who wants to pass you on the right (bike riders are supposed to ride all the way on the right side of the street)

Who kidnapped all the stop signs? And what’s this circle-thing doing in my neighborhood?

  • Repeat after me: “Do NOT turn on red here” Never …ever.  It just doesn’t happen…trust me.
  • In a round-about, cars driving on the  inside ALWAYS have the right-away. As a curtesy, you are expected to indicate when you are leaving the round-about so cars can move in quickly.
  • When driving on a main street (think big street), you have the right-away so that cars wishing to enter a main street must wait until traffic  allows them to enter.
  • When driving on a side street (i.e. not a main street; think neighborhood streets), the CAR ON YOUR RIGHT ALWAYS has the right-away. It’s a little rule called “rechts vor links” (=right before left) – so, slow down, make sure there’s no car on your right, and then proceed; stop if there is a car on your right, let it go first. You can proceed when there is no car on your right …. This system works, really, but is often confusing! The same rule applies pretty much all across Europe everywhere including parking lots. In German, the rule is sometimes abbreviated “StVO” which stands for the short and simple word “Strassenverkehrsordnung” (=traffic rules; yup in English it sounds so simple, right?)

Faster than the speed of light?

Speed limits are enforced here (very much, I can attest to that…ahem) so forget the notion of going as fast as you like on the Autobahn here….yep, there is a limit!

For cars and motorcycles:

  • within the city  -> 50 km/h unless otherwise indicated (there are LOTS of 30 km/h zones so beware)
  • streets outside the city that are not highways -> 100 km/h
  • Autobahn -> 130 km/h (there are MANY radar check points)

Other things to keep in mind:

  • Austrians don’t believe in honking unless it’s a real emergency; rather if you want to “yell” at someone, flash your lights (and don’t be surprised if people flash their lights at you to let you know they think you’re too slow or caution you if there’s a speed trap ahead)
  • Drivers are not allowed to talk on cell phones while driving (unless it’s hands-free)
  • To drive on the Autobahn, make sure you have a valid vignette taped to your windshield (you can purchase monthly or yearly ones at your local Trafik)
  • Children up to age 14 and 150cm in height must be in appropriate child/booster seats
  • Everyone must wear a seat belt
  • Don’t drink and drive (limit is 0.5 promille; there are severe fines!)


  • Radiostation Ö3 has up-to-date traffic information
  • If there is an accident, you must call the police
  • A “Rettungsgasse” (=rescue lane) is supposed to be formed during emergencies to let first responders pass; the lane is supposed to emerge in the middle between two existing lanes so cars on the right lane are supposed to pull over to the right and cars on the left lane should pull over to the left. See the example below.
Rettungsgasse in action

Rettungsgasse in action

For more information:

Summarized by Nicole who learned to drive while living in Germany and has since driven widely (wildly?) around Europe, North and South America. She is a  firm believer of the “rechts vor links” and giving cars inside the round-about the right-away. When she is not driving, she likes to collect speeding tickets.