Vienna has some of the greatest hotels in Europe, but finding a room can be a problem if you arrive without a reservation, especially in August and September. During these peak visiting months, you might have to stay on the outskirts, in the Grinzing or the Schönbrunn district, for example, and commute to the Inner City by streetcar, bus, or U-Bahn. If you're looking to cut costs, staying outside the Inner City is not a bad option, as you can pay a fifth to a quarter less for a hotel in the areas outside the Ringstrasse.

High season in Vienna encompasses most of the year: from May to October or early November, and during some weeks in midwinter, when the city hosts major trade fairs, conventions, and other cultural events. If you're planning a trip around Christmas and New Year's Day, room reservations should be made at least 1 month in advance. Some rate reductions (usually 15%-20%) are available during slower midwinter weeks -- it always pays to ask.

Note: A new anti-smoking ban went into effect throughout Austria on January 1, 2009, transforming all hotel rooms into nonsmoking rooms. The smoking ban encompasses all public spaces, so the lobby is now off limits to smokers as well.

Accommodation Agencies

Any branch of the Austrian National Tourist Office (tel. 01/588660), including the Vienna Tourist Board, will help you book a room if you arrive without a reservation. The Vienna Tourist Board has branch offices in the airport, train stations, and near major highways that access Vienna.

If you prefer to deal with an Austrian travel agency, three of the city's largest are Austropa, Friedrichsgasse 7, A-1010 (tel. 01/588-00510); Austrobus, Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 8, 1010 (tel. 01/534-110); and Blaguss Reisen, Wiedner Hauptstrasse 15 1040 (tel. 01/50180). All can reserve hotel space in Austria or anywhere else, sell airline tickets both inside and outside of Austria, and procure hard-to-get tickets for music festivals. Many of the employees speak English fluently.

Seasonal Hotels

From July to September, a number of student dormitories in Vienna are transformed into fully operational hotels. Three of the most viable and popular of these are the Academia Hotel, Pfeilgasse 3A; the Avis Hotel, Pfeilgasse 4; and the Atlas Hotel, at Lerchenfelderstrasse 1. All are within a block of one another, and each is a rather unimaginative-looking, angular, 1960s-style building. They're comfortable and reasonably priced alternatives, only a 20-minute walk west of St. Stephan's. The lodgings will definitely take you back to your college dorm days, though each room has a phone and a private bathroom. Many of them are booked well in advance by groups, but individual travelers are welcome if space is available. Depending on the hotel, doubles cost from 65€ to 85€ ($104-$136) a night, and triples run from 88€ to 105€ ($141-$168) each. Breakfast is included in the rates. Bookings at all three hotels are arranged through the Academia Hotel, which functions as the headquarters for the entire Academia chain. For reservations and information, call tel. 01/401-76-55, or fax 01/401-76-20; To get to the Academia and Avis hotels, take the U-Bahn to Thaliastrasse, and then transfer to tram no. 46 and get off at Strozzistrasse. For access to the Atlas Hotel, take the U-Bahn to Lerchenfelderstrasse. These hotels accept American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard, and Visa for payment.

Private Homes & Furnished Apartments

For travelers who like to have more space than an average hotel room, a limited number of private homes and furnished apartments are available. These accommodations can be money-saving options, depending on the season and the size of the place. An agency that deals with rentals of apartments, villas, and chalets in both Germany and Austria is, GmbH, Ludwig-Erhard-Str. 4, 34131 Kassel, Germany (tel. 0561/920-950-10; fax 0561/920-950-150;

Dream Dates in Vienna

Imagine waking one morning to the sound of church bells from St. Stephan's Cathedral, having champagne with your sumptuous breakfast at an elegant hotel, then strolling the cobblestone streets of the city center or visiting famed museums and marveling at old masters. Not a bad way to spend a honeymoon or anniversary. Some of Vienna's most elegant hotels, such as the Grand Hotel Wien and the Dorint Hotel Biedermeier, offer excellent wedding packages as well as honeymoon and anniversary arrangements. For more information on wedding and honeymoon packages, contact the Vienna Tourist Board, Obere Augartenstrasse 40, 1020 Vienna (tel. 011-43-1-24-555; fax 011-43-1-24-555-666;

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.