The capital city of Austria is full of attractions. It’s commonly associated with cultural events, concerts and atmospheric cafés. That’s why it’s not easy to visit everything in a short period of time. Vienna is undeniably endowed with a special charm, that will delight everyone. Read our travel guide and see what things to do in Vienna. Let this glamorous city become your dream destination!
How To Get In Vienna
Vienna International Airport is full of good connections with many cities around the world. Unfortunately, most of them are run by traditional carriers, which results in more expensive tickets. But still, there are several airlines that won’t drain your wallet. The cheapest option is British low-cost easyJet. It provides budget routes to Vienna from Amsterdam, Dublin, Lyon, Naples and a couple of UK cities. Also you can find great deals to lots of places in western Europe via Eurowings. In addition, many other budget companies operate only one or two routes to Vienna and have tickets in resonable prices as well (like Norwegian or Pegasus).
In many cases it’s better to take a low-cost flight to the capital city of Slovakia – Bratislava and then have a cheap and fast bus ride to Vienna. So don’t stop searching for offers most suitable for you as there are plenty of them and they change frequently. Good luck :)
FROM AIRPORT TO THE CITY
Communication between the airport and the city is well-developed and includes wide range of means of transport. That’s why we decided to present you only the best one in our opinion:
Vienna Airport – Wien Mitte ”city center” (S7 train, costs €3.90 OW, goes every 30 min, takes 25 min)
You can get off the train at every station you want during the ride for the same price, e.g. at Wien Praterstern (it’s just after Wien Mitte). It may be convenient for you, if you want to arrive in Leopoldstadt to visit Prater amusement park at first.
The price above includes two types of single tickets (€3.90 = €1.70 for Vienna outer zone + €2.20 for Vienna city zone)
Vienna is perfectly communicated with nearby capital cities. You can comfortably travel between Vienna and Bratislava, Prague, Budapest or even Berlin with a company called Regiojet – Student Agency. They provide luxurious rides with stewardess, free hot drinks, screen for each passengers and toilet onboard. We chose them and it was one of the most pleasant bus journeys we’ve ever had. What’s more, tickets was fairly cheap. For a route from Bratislava to Vienna and then to Prague we paid in total €16 per person.
Bratislava – Vienna – Prague: €1 + €15 = €16 (approx. $17, two buses of Regiojet Student Agency)
Austrian trains have a very good press. However, they are much more expensive than buses so we decided to skip them in our guide.
How To Get Around Vienna
Just use metro. Vienna has 5 lines and get you wherever you want in the city. It’s fast and clean, but often crowded too. Tickets for public transport can be used not only for metro, but also for trams and buses. Single tickets include transfers.
Prices of tickets:
Single – €2.20
24h – €7.60
48h – €13.30
72h – €16.50
Weekly (from Monday 9 am to Monday 9 am) – €16.20
Things To Do In Vienna
SCHONBRUNN PALACE AND GARDENS
The pearl of Vienna located on its outskirts. The Palace contains over 1400 rooms and used to be a summer residence of Habsburg monarchs. Behind the palace there are vast and well-kept gardens with many colorful flowers and 18th century Neptune Fountain in back. To see the Palace inside you need to choose between a shorter Imperial Tour and longer Grand Tour. First one allows you to visit 22 rooms in 30-40 minutes for €13.30 (students pay €12.30). On the other hand, Grand Tour includes 40 rooms in 50-60 minutes and costs €16.40 (students pay €15). Entrance to the gardens is free of charge.
The oldest zoo in the world. It’s situated next to the Schonbrunn Palace and have one thing that make this place special – Giant Pandas !!! Vienna’s zoo is proud of having these sweet animals and they are its biggest attraction. Pandas sleep almost all day, so you need to be patient to see them active. There are thousands of other animals in the zoo, even rare species like koalas or red pandas, but giant pandas are irreplaceable. Reserve at least 4-5 hours for this place as it’s a big area. Trust us – it’s really worth to spend €18.50 for a ticket.
A gothic cathedral in the heart of Vienna and the most important church of the city. You can visit it inside for free. A free area is limited, but still enough. If you’re more interested in the topic, you can attend in Cathedral Tour, Catacombs Tour and Treasure Tour for €5.50 each. Also you can reach the top of 136 meters high South Tower on foot for €4.50. There’s also an ”all-inclusive” ticket with all these tours together (plus a smaller North Tower) for €17.90.
The winter residence of Habsburg royals located in the center of Vienna. It’s a complex of many buildings like museums, treasury, beautiful Austrian National Library and other ones. There’s an option to visit two parts of Hofburg – Imperial Apartments and Sisi Museum with a guide (€15.90) or with an audio guide (€12.90). Students get a discount and pay ….. get ready ….. €1 less! :)
An amusement park in Vienna. It’s full of different attractions – extreme ones or not. Everyone can find something for themselves. Probably the most famous is Praterturm – the highest flying swing in the world. It takes you to 117 meters above the ground, goes 60 km/h and lasts 5-6 minutes. What’s more – it costs only €5! By the way all rides in Prater are cheap – from €1.5 to €5 and the admission to the park itself is free of charge.
VIENNA STATE OPERA
Opera house in the center of Vienna on the famous boulevard Ring. If you want to book your seat for a performance, you need to do it online, preferably far in advance. It can be expensive, but there’s a solution for those on a tight budget. 80 minutes before an event the box office starts selling tickets for a standing area – for €3 on the balcony and for €4 downstairs. Although the visibility from it is limited and you must stand for the whole performance, but it’s still better than nothing. If you want to be sure you will get these tickets, try to arrive there early, because long queues may happen. Don’t forget to bring a scarf and tie it to the guardrail where you stand, so you will be able to come back to the same place whenever you want e.g. when you go to the toilet.
Moreover you can visit the Opera with an English guided tour (other languages are also available). It includes State Apartments of the Opera, the auditorium and even a look at the stage. It takes 40 minutes and starts at different time every day. You need to plan your visit earlier, because one day there are a few tours and another day there can be no tours at all. Check the official website of the Opera for a current schedule. A ticket costs €7.50, but students pay only €3.50.
VIENNA CITY HALL SQUARE
A large square in front of the City Hall. It’s a spot popular among locals where in summer’s evenings a lot of cultural events take place. You can watch sport, concert, ballet or opera records played on the huge 100 m2 LED screen installed on the Hall’s facade. There are plenty of benches, food counters and many many Vienneses. It’s worth to spend some time there because of cozy atmosphere that let you feel authentic and less touristic Vienna. Free admission is a plus as well. If you plan your trip for winter, you won’t be bored there too – every year the Square is transformed into a big ice rink.
ST. CHARLES’S CHURCH (KARLSKIRCHE)
It’s a well-know baroque Roman Catholic church from the 18th century. Its style stands out from other religious buildings in the city and it’s worth to see it especially in the evening when the lights brighten the monumental facade.
Sleeping, Eating, Safety and Other Tips
It’s sad to say, but we have to – accommodation in Vienna is quite expensive. Double rooms start from €30. To cut your spending you can find a bed in a hostel for €10-12. In our case we found a Couchsurfing host and had a great time with her. She was wandering around Vienna with us and showed us best spots of the city. We wouldn’t see so much if we were sightseeing there alone.
Food in Vienna is simply delicious! Although we haven’t tried a famous Vienna Schnitzel, we ordered another national specialty – Vienna sausage. We tried it at the Wiener Wurstl stand, which is very close to the St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The place was great and sausages even better. Nice spot to have a quick and traditional dinner when visiting the heart of Vienna. One portion (one sausage) costs there about €4. Moreover Vienna can offer you a tasty traditional desert – Apple Strudel. It’s a tender cake with sweet apple filling. It’s served in many bakeries around the city – we tried it in AIDA Cafe close to the Ring and paid €5.85 for one.
Any problems occurred during our trip. Just have an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded places like touristic spots and public transport.
It’s allowed to smoke almost everywhere in Vienna e.g. in clubs, stations, restaurants. For us it was the most annoying passive smoking ever :(
How Much Does It Cost ? (per person)
two buses on the route Bratislava-Vienna-Prague: €16 (approx. $17)
public transport (24h + 2 single): €12 (approx. $13)
accommodation: free – Couchsurfing
Zoo Vienna: €18.50 (approx. $20)
Opera visiting: €3.50 (approx. $4)
Praterturm: €5 (approx. $5.50)
TOTAL for the whole trip (1 day): €85 (approx. $91)