With its grand imperial architecture and historic coffeehouses, visiting Vienna is like walking into a fairy tale. Blooming with art galleries and museums, the Austrian capital was once home to Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss, Freud and Gustav Klimt.
Whether you’re travelling for a weekend or a sightseeing adventure, there are plenty of things to do in Vienna. Rich with culture and music, Vienna has a fantastic mix of cafés, bars and hostels that can be enjoyed on the cheap.
Here’s our top tips on how to survive Vienna on a backpacker’s budget.
Free things to see and do
One of the best ways to see Vienna’s most famous attractions is to walk around the Ringstrasse.
The monumental buildings along this tree-lined boulevard capture the majesty of Austria’s imperial past. On this special route you can see the Vienna State Opera, Imperial Palace, Austrian Parliament and City Hall.
Backpackers can also go on a free guided tour around the City Hall (Rathaus) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1pm.
Schönbrunn Palace Gardens are also free of charge for backpackers. Likewise so are the city’s parks, such as the Burggarten and Stadtpark and during the warmer months, you can head down to Danube Island, which has 42km of beaches.
Vienna Card discount
The Vienna Card is available for only €21.90 and offers discounts for city’s top attractions and this includes shops, cafés, restaurants, the ‘Heurige’ wine tavern, and free travel on Vienna’s public transport system for 48 or 72 hours. Some of the discounts available for the city’s biggest museums and galleries range from 5% to 50%.
Save money on museums and galleries
If you’re on a tight budget, then it might be easier to buy joint tickets for museums to save paying full entry.
You can get a combined ticket for the House of Music and Mozarthaus that will save €5. A combined ticket for the Leopold Museum and Kunsthistorisches Museum saves up to €4. If you’re lucky enough to be under 19 then the Wien Museum is free at all times.
The Austrian Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) has free entry on Tuesdays from 6pm–10pm and the MUMOK modernist art museum is free for Vienna pass holders and under 19’s too. The House of Music has half-price entry for €6.50 from 8pm–9.30pm every day.
Cheap opera tickets
You can get standing tickets for the State Opera House, the Staatsoper, for only €4. Tickets are available at the special ticket office at the Operngasse, they go on sale about 80 minutes before the performance starts.
Remember its only one ticket per person and there will be a big queue outside. Make sure you arrive early and if you’re with a partner or friends, they’ll need to queue up with you to get one too.
Get a cheap lunch
If you’re a tight budget then head to the Naschmarkt, which has over 120 market stalls selling food and drink (open Monday–Friday from 6am–7.30pm and Saturday from 6am–6pm).
Backpackers should also go to the university districts, Neubau and Josefstadt, where you’re guaranteed a cheap meal every day of the week. Here you will find traditional Austrian dishes, plus a variety of pizzas, kebabs and pan-Asian cuisine available for under €5.
Sleep cheap in a hostel
We have a spectacular range of budget hostels available in Vienna from only €16 per night. Perfect for backpackers wanting to sleep cheap in the city centre, there’s never been a better time to explore the majestic wonders of imperial Vienna.
*You can read more about our top ten favourites here.
**Header image by J. A. Alcaide (Flickr/Creative Commons)