Vienna on a Budget: Cheap Food, Drinks & Activities
Vienna is one of the most beautiful, yet expensive cities in Europe. You really need to try hard not to spend a fortune in the capital of Austria.
To help you save money and still have a great time, Daniela created this Vienna on a budget guide with the best things to do, see, eat and drink at a low cost.
Keep on reading!
Visiting Vienna, the magical and beautiful capital of Austria, is definitely an experience you won’t forget.
Upon entering the city, you’ll feel transported to a different dimension. It’s a dimension of historical, artistic and intellectual legacy with names such as Mozart, Strauss, and Beethoven to boast with.
You’ll be mesmerized by the Baroque architecture and the city’s famous buildings which date way back but are perfectly preserved and authentic.
It’s no wonder it’s on Forbes magazine’s list of top 20 European destinations for 2019.
However, if you think about the price of visiting Vienna, your enthusiasm might just drop down.
According to some lists and sources, Vienna is often found among the top 20 most expensive cities in Europe and is widely considered to be quite pricy for tourists. The accommodation, attractions, food, and transportation might be a bit too much for someone traveling on a tight budget.
Or, does it? The truth is there are ways for you to save money in Vienna and visit the city on a budget. You just have to learn a bit about the tricks and money saving tips.
Let’s break it down together.
Your Strategy for Vienna on a Budget
If you’re planning to travel to Austria and immerse yourself in the mythical historic part of the city, or enjoy the modern activities and locations, but save some money, you definitely cannot go on a whim.
On the contrary, Vienna on a budget requires some strategic planning and gathering all the right information.
Luckily for you, we’re here to help.
Together, we’ll discuss all your options and review the best ways for you to enjoy the city, yet save some money.
We’ll cover the following aspects of your trip to Vienna:
- food and drinks
- Vienna attractions
- entertaining activities
Once you finish reading, you’ll be able to plan your Vienna on a budget trip and make the most out of your money.
Let’s dig in and see where that takes us.
To plan a perfect itinerary in Vienna, check this post
Budget Accommodation in Vienna
As in any other European city, Vienna offers accommodation for everyone’s pocket. From fancy hotels to modest yet satisfying hostels, you’ll manage to find something according to your own needs.
The cheapest way to find accommodation is often via:
The website offers a hospitality service and options for those looking for ways to save some money on accommodation.
You can apply the filters for your Vienna trip and see if there’s anything for your pocket.
You can find studios and apartments for 2 people starting from $44 which is $22 dollars each.
Use this link to get 23 euros off your first booking via Airbnb!
Another way for you to find cheap accommodation is to look for it on Booking, a website which gives you insight on all the available accommodation in hotels, hostels, and apartments, ranking them according to price, location, and other users’ reviews.
The prices for a one-night stay for two persons start from $22 dollars a person. In addition, you can cancel the accommodation and get a full refund in most cases.
The cheapest options are usually renting a standard double room with a bathroom, and a kitchen available for people from several rooms to share. Sometimes you’ll manage to get a buffet breakfast in the offer, as well.
Make sure you visit both websites for a couple of days in a row and you may even stumble upon some last minute offers.
Set your accommodation budget and stick to it by finding the best offer for you and your companions on these websites.
Low-Cost Transportation Options
The next thing you need to consider is how to save money on transportation in Vienna. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem, especially if you plan your trip carefully and know exactly what you want to visit.
If you come to Vienna by plane, you’ll need to find transportation from the airport to the city. Make sure to:
- avoid the City Airport Train. The ride does take only 16 minutes to Wien Mitte, and it is the fastest non-stop ride. However, the ticket is €11, or $12 dollars and you’re on a tight budget.
- Instead, use the regular train. It goes every 30minute from the airport to Wien Mitte. The ride is around 25 minutes long and the ticket price is €4.10.
- You can also take one of the three buses from Vienna Airport to the Central train station or the Morzinplatz for 8 Euro one-way or 13 euro for the return trip.
- The most convenient option would be ordering an airport transfer. It may be expensive if you travel alone, but for 3-4 people, it would cost about the same as public buses or trains. Find the best option here.
- If you only want to visit Vienna, renting a car wouldn’t be a good option for you, but there are many interesting places outside of the capital that would be interesting to visit. To explore less touristic Austria, I recommend you to rent a car, as trains in the country are expensive.
Once you get to the city and settle down in your accommodation, it’s time for exploring the city and sightseeing. Here are the best and cheapest options for saving more money on transportation in Vienna:
Walking around Vienna
Vienna is not that big of a city, and some of the most interesting touristic destinations and attractions are rather close to each other. For example, it would take you around 55 minutes to walk from the Maria-Theresien Platz to Schönbrunn.
If you think ahead and come up with a plan, you’ll be able to walk around most parts of the city and enjoy its beauties.
Train, metro, tramway, and buses
In case you’re tight on time as well as on money, and you don’t have enough leisure time to roam around the streets on foot, you can make use of public transportation. The following tickets and prices are valid for all means of public transportation in Vienna:
- a single ticket- €2.40
- a daily ticket- €8
This is a great choice for someone planning to visit the city for only one day or use one day to do all the sightseeing.
- Vienna City Card– from €13.90
With this card, you can travel around the city for 24, 48 or 72 hours for as much as you want. It also includes one child under the age of 15 to travel with you. In addition, you can get some discounts for some museums, shops or restaurants.
Remember, all tickets have to be validated before you enter the transportation of your choice. Don’t forget to do it or else you might get a fine.
There are other options for you to save money, so make sure you know exactly where you want to go and how much of the city you wish to see. Then, make the best choice and save money by using the cheapest form of transportation.
Taxi and Uber
If you’re in a hurry or simply want to accommodate yourself, you can find a taxi in a train station or call one via telephone. The taxi rates start at around €3.80 and cost the additional €1.40 for each kilometer that you ride.
This is just a rough estimation and can vary depending on the time of day, traffic jams and other factors.
This means that a 4 km (2.5 miles) ride would be around €9.50 euros.
The same distance ride with an Uber might range from €10 to €23, which is obviously the most expensive option.
Therefore, it’s best for you to have a clear idea of your journey through Vienna, and find the best, yet the cheapest means of transportation.
Vienna on a Budget: Food
Just like in any other major city, those restaurants situated closer to the city center can be quite expensive, while those further away offer more reasonable prices.
The same goes for Vienna, so you might save money following these guidelines:
- avoid eating in restaurants in the city center
- check out the Vienna cheap eats on TripAdvisor
- look for restaurants with the so-called “mittagsmenü” which is a special type of lunch offer served at lunchtime, at a more affordable price
- visit the Naschmarkt where you can find food in all shapes and forms: take away, fast food, fresh ingredients for cooking, restaurants and much more. You can also book a food tour around the market.
- go to one of the several Spar supermarkets you’ll find in the city and visit the food sectors
In addition to these cheap food options, you still need to give yourself a treat and make your Vienna trip complete in the food department. This requires that you try out the famous:
The famous chocolate cake is one of Vienna’s must-try delicious desserts. The famous Sacher Café is allegedly the only one serving the original recipe of the cake, but you can find it in other places in the city, at a lower price.
When in Vienna, make sure to try the famous apple strudel. For €6 you may even attend the strudel show in café Residenz in Schönbrunn, and see how the strudel is made plus have a slice of it.
Be smart about the way you spend your money on food in Vienna and stretch your euros to the very last day of your trip.
Vienna on a Budget: Attractions
There’s so much you can see and visit in Vienna on a budget, and there are cheap options for sightseeing anyone can afford. Let’s break it down a bit and see what you could do:
Take a walk along this circular boulevard called the ring road, and it will take you through the old town region in Vienna.
Along the road, you ‘ll see notable buildings such as Vienna State Opera, Palace of Justice, Rathaus (Town Hall), Museum of Applied Arts, Imperial Palace and many others. You can even take the free guided tour through the City Hall.
This majestic baroque palace was the main summer residence for the Habsburg rulers. You can pay it a visit and walk around the palace and through its gardens for free.
If you want more than just a walk, there are different tickets and tours you could pay for. The cheapest one which takes you inside the palace is €16. The visit is definitely worth the price.
If the weather serves you right, make sure to visit Vienna’s most beautiful parks such as the Stadtpark, Volksgarten, or Burggarten.
Here were just a few attractions out of dozens that Vienna has to offer. You can find a full list of Vienna attractions here.
Keep in mind that you could buy the Vienna City Card if your main goal is to visit as many museums, galleries, exhibitions, and other touristic attractions as possible. It will help you stay within your budget and save some money.
Vienna has a lot to offer when it comes to entertainment, and if you know where to go, you can have fun even on a tight budget.
- When it comes to music, the Wiener Staatsoper or the State Opera House is where you want to be. You may not know it, but they offer cheap standing tickets that you have to queue for but are a real bargain. You can also buy tickets to listen to Mozart and Strauss here.
- If you want to have a bit of fun, especially if you’re visiting with children, you need to go see Prater. It’s a large entertainment park with rides for everyone’s taste: from the famous Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel which is €5 for children and €12 for adults, to crazy rides such as the Black Mamba, you’ll have plenty of fun. Most of the other rides and attractions in Prater are €5.
- If you’re interested in seeing a bit of street art and relaxation, you should head out for a walk along the Donaukanal.
You’ll be able to have during your entire stay in Vienna, without having to spend a lot of money.
Here are some more inexpensive tours and ideas for spending a day out of Vienna or half a day in Vienna:
- Vienna full-day winery tour on a bike (book here)
- 3-hour craft beer tasting tour (book here)
- Boat trip to Durnstein (book here)
- Day trip to Budapest (learn more)
- 1-Day trip to Slovenia (find out more)
- Day trip to Croatia (book now)
- 1-Day Trip to Prague (check here)
If you want to explore Central Europe, check this trip. If you like Christmas markets, you should definitely go on this trip.
As you can see, traveling to Vienna on a budget is far from impossible and all it takes is some extra effort and a bit more planning, and you’re all set. Make sure to read the advice above and use them to create your perfect Viennese trip, enjoying your time in this Austrian city.
Be wise about the way you plan on spending your money, and stick to your plan. This way, you’ll have nothing to worry about during your stay in Vienna.
If you find our tips to be useful, feel free to share your experience with us. If you need help putting together a trip review check out Top Writers Review.
Daniela McVicker is a freelance writer and blogger. She graduated from Durham University and has an MA in psychological science. Her passion is travel and finding ways to enrich students’ learning experience.