Vienna city trip with minimum spending? Here’s how
How can you ever decide what to do in a city with so much history as Vienna, there’s a museum at every corner of the street and an attraction at each part of the city. Whether you’re interested in art, history, architecture, food, nature or even animals, there’s something for everyone.
Doing all those things, however, can be quite expensive. The admission prices to museums and attractions range from 12 to 30 euros and often result in tourists either spending a fortune or skipping places they’d actually love to go. Nevertheless, there is a solution! I visited the city with a Vienna Pass , which gave me unlimited access to the museums and attractions for two full days plus free transport with the city sightseeing busses that literally bring you to every place you would like to see in and around the Austrian capital.
After two amazing days, with an incredible amount of museum visits, I decided to make a list of the eight places you definitely can’t miss on your Vienna city trip:
Museums and attractions
Schloss Schonbrunn used to be the summer residence of Sisi, one of the most famous emperors in Austria. It’s a stunning place and I would recommend to not only visit the Palace itself but to also wander around the gardens (for free). If you walk up the hill at the other end of the Palace you’re rewarded with an amazing view over the Austrian capital.
In a city with so much charm and elegance I love this expressionist landmark. It’s designed by Friedrich Hundertwasser, an Austrian artist who was against straight lined functional architecture which he said is “something cowardly drawn with a rule, without thought or feeling”. I have to agree and can only say that his concepts are unbelievable! I also went to his museum (Kunsthaus) where you can learn more about his work and his vision on architecture.
Usually I’m not a big fan of places where animals aren’t free but the “Tiergarten Schönbrunn” is truly amazing. You can see polar beers, rhinos, penguins, lions and even get a spectacular view of jelly fish. However, the highlight of the Viennese zoo are the giant pandas (especially the baby-panda twins!). Did you know there are only 25 zoos in the world where you can see pandas?! Enough said, fall in love with the most cute animals alive yourself!
Giant Ferris Wheel
One of the most fun things to do in Vienna is to go on a ride in the “Wiener Riesenrad” (Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel), which is in the city’s old amusement park, Prater. The Ferris Wheel is built in 1987 and still runs every day. You will get a breathtaking view over the city and the Danube River! There are also a lot of other things to do in the park in case you want to hang around for a while.
There is something about old libraries that always catch my attention. It feels like you go back in time and find yourself in a magical place of wisdom. Especially this one, the Austrian National Library, located in the Hofburg imperial residence where you can find 200.000 books published between 1501 and 1850. It’s the biggest baroque library in Europe and I especially liked the four globes (which are the work of Vincenzo Coronelli) in the central oval of the hall. It’s absolutely breathtaking and a must-visit when you’re in Vienna!
In the middle of the old city center you can find Hofburg Palace, a stunning building from the 13th century surrounded by horse-drawn carriages. There are three museums within the palace: the Imperial Apartments, Sisi Museum and the Silver Collection that give an incredible insight into the life of the emperors. You can walk through their apartments, learn more about Empress Sisi and the culture of dining at court. The palace today still stands as official seat of the Austrian President.
Art History Museum
Vienna has some of the most amazing museums in the world. Most of them are located close to each other at Museum Quarter (which is also a really nice area to hang around with a coffee or a beer). My favourite museum is the Art History Museum as not only is the building is incredibly beautiful but you’ll also find masterpieces such as the Tower of Babel. Walking around there is an experience on itself as it’s the biggest museum in Austria. If you don’t have much time make sure to at least visit Picture Gallery.
If you think you’ve seen it all if you’ve visited Schönbrunn and Hofburg you’re wrong. Schloss Belverdere is a stunning baroque palace (actually consisting of two palaces: Upper and Lower Belverdere) with an incredible art collection inside. You can see some of the most famous works of Gustav Klimt, such as “The Kiss” but also get an amazing view over the gardens of Belverdere in between the two palaces. You can visit the gardens free of charge.
Another way to save minimize spending on your Vienna city trip is by choosing the right accommodation. In the case of this city, you’re lucky because there’s an amazing hostel where you will love to stay!
I can hear you think “In a hostel?! No way!”, but did you know most hostels have private rooms too? Most of these rooms are better than the average hotel and much cheaper! Also, you get so many facilities you won’t get at your AirBnB, such as a bar, breakfast buffet, laundry service and a place to make friends and get all the information and tips you need.
The hostel I highly recommend is Hostel Ruthensteiner, where I stayed in a dorm with people from all over the world. There was a 70 year old Scottish researcher staying there as well as young Aussie backpackers. Everyone had a beer together in the evening and it was perfect to find out what I had to do the days I was staying in the city.
Other Vienna tips
✧ Take the bus up to Kahlenberg to get an incredible view over the city from one of the surrounding hills!
✧ Try the biggest and best ever schnitzel at Figlmuller.
✧ Wander around the city center and visit Stephansdom, Rathaus and the Parliament.
Final note: I lived in Vienna for 5 months during my studies and went back last month to visit all these museum and attractions. The list is based on my own experiences and if you have any questions about Vienna Pass or how to plan your trip let me know!