Vienna on A Budget: The Best Things To Do

Cazzy Magennis
Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
Last Updated:
November 14, 2023
If you're planning on visiting Vienna on a budget, then check out our ultimate guide of things to do, where to eat and where to stay. We've got you covered
Vienna on a budget

Oh, Vienna. The captivating capital of Austria. A city filled with charm, beauty, and life. Vienna is often considered the most expensive area of Austria (it’s a city!), but Vienna on a budget is achievable.

Check out my guide on how to master Vienna on a budget and of course, a list of the best things to do in Vienna on your visit.

vienna on a budget
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Where To Stay: Cheap hotels in Vienna on a budget

Vienna accommodation is slightly higher than average than the rest of Austria. However, depending on your exact budget you can find something to suit you. There are hostels, hotels, and VIP stays on offer. Brad and I stayed in an Airbnb. We found this give us the most choice for our stay in Vienna. We ended up getting an apartment for £60 for two nights. This was the cheapest we could find, without sharing a room.

If you are thinking of using Airbnb, you can get 15 off your first booking with our referral link. (Which will make staying in Vienna on a budget even better). See? We’ve already saved you money :P

Vienna is located in different “districts”. So if you want to stay in the main tourist area of Vienna, the Innere Stadt is the area for you. However, that will be more expensive since you are in the heart of the city. 

Why not stay a few districts out (like we did!), and get the bus or metro into the city. It’s super cheap….more on that next.

Travelling around Vienna city

If you are visiting Vienna on a budget, then it’s important that you take full advantage of your legs, and of course cheap public transport. Metro, bus and tram travel is all cheap, and you can get a day ticket that allows you transport on all three for €8. This is the best value for a budget traveler and will allow you to see the best things in Vienna for a lot less.

If you opt for a single tickets it's €2.40 each trip. Find out more here.

When you purchase a travel ticket, you need to “validate” it at your starting point! This is done by popping the ticket into the little yellow boxes that will be at the entrance/exit area. It will make a small sound and pop a date and time on it and you are ready to go.

Failure to validate could result in a fine if asked. I will be honest with you, there are no “in-and-out” barriers in Vienna, so it’s trusted that you will buy a ticket for your journey. 

A few of our journeys could have been done free if we were dishonest people, but they do random checks throughout the day, and we saw someone get fined over 100 euro because they were travelling without a ticket!

It’s not worth the risk, considering it’s so cheap.

Eating in Vienna on a budget

One of the top tips for traveling on a budget is to avoid overspending on expensive restaurants geared towards tourists. But luckily for you, Vienna is filled with plenty of amazing food places and restaurants that cater for all budget types.

If you are travelling on the low-end then there are plenty of “Spars” which sell sandwiches and snacks for on-the-go, or if you would like a sit-down meal for cheap, we would recommend the “Noodle King”. It’s a chain restaurant, but they cook their Asian dishes fresh and it’s super cheap and delicious (3-4 euro for a full meal).

If you want to splash out then there are lots of dining places around the city. I will recommend the TGI Fridays of Vienna as a food place. We were in Vienna on Valentines Night and TGI Fridays is always our choice.

The food is great, the portions are good, the drinks are cheap (They do a BOGOF offer until 7 pm) AND, you can get a cocktail pass online to get 6 cocktails for 20 euro. This is great value when the average cocktail in TGI’s is around 8-9 euro.

tgi fridays vienna

The staff are also brilliant and it has a good vibe. It’s not for budget travellers though. We spent 100 Euro…….(including tip). But HEY! It was Valentines night! (So, don’t judge me)

The Best Things To Do In Vienna

Okay, now we have it!

My list of the best things to do in Vienna. This list includes the things we did and some things we didn’t get the chance to do, but I think you should do! I will mention this later again, but Viator offers some really good deals for top  things to do in Vienna, so I’d take advantage of some of the offers (like I did!)

1. Take a Waltz Lesson

Vienna is the original place of the Viennese Waltz, so there is no more perfect asetting to attend a dance lesson if you're travelling with your partner. (Ps, it’s the perfect Valentine's Date- it’s what we did prior to over-indulging in TGI Fridays.)

I booked my Waltz Lesson with Viator which was around £34 each. This was the cheapest available. It really is, I shopped around a lot, and going “direct” isn’t cheaper. Viator was the cheapest.

For the price, we got a “semi-private” couples lesson in a small ballroom is a beautiful, old, building at the Vienna Waltz Dance Academy. The lady who taught us was so sweet, and we had so much fun. She even recorded us dancing as a souvenir. The lesson depends on who turns up, so if it’s just you and your partner, then it’s a private lesson. 

There was only one other couple with us, an American couple from Arizona. It was a wonderfully intimate experience and we truly learned a new skill whilst dancing to fantastic classical music.

Bradley and I aren’t dancers btw- apart from a terrible attempt at learning Salsa in Brazil, we really don’t do dance lessons. But you don’t need to “know how to dance” in order to have fun and enjoy this experience. Trust me- you will love it!

I have included the link to the EXACT tour I did from Viator- because I can 100% vouch for its authenticity and good value.

2. Visit Royalty

One of the most recognised and best things to do in Vienna is a visit to the Schonbrunn Palace and the surrounding grounds. There is also a cool maze you can visit, but it’s only open in the summer (and we were there in Winter).

vienna royal

This palace is beautiful and the grounds are filled with waterfalls, walks, and in Springtime and Summer, I imagine lots of beautiful blooming flowers.

Bradley and I didn’t go into the castle itself, though we've heard it's one of the nicest in all of Austria! If you do choose to go in, there are many tours available to visit particular rooms in the palace. If this is something you are interested in, then again Viator offers some decent deals if you are travelling to Vienna on a budget.

We enjoyed walking amongst the grounds and I think it’s a great place to stop for a picnic. Although, in Spring and Summer time- not winter! It’s a busy area with lots of tourists, and I expect in “peak” months it’s even more so.

vienna budget travel
These come to live in spring!

This palace is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and definitely should be on your list of things to do in Vienna, whether you go inside or not.

There are other palaces to visit such as Hofburg, and Belvedere which both look beautiful, but if you are visiting Vienna on a budget, then maybe just view them from the outside.

 Belvedere vienna

3. National History Museum

national history museumvienna.

This is definitely one of the best places to visit in Vienna and should be included on your list if you love history (and dinosaurs). I am unconsciously making my way through all the National History Museums of the world. If a city has one, you will most likely find me there at some stage. I find everything about the National History Museum fascinating. However, my two biggest interests are dinosaurs and Egyptians.

The cost of entrance is € 10 for an adult, Students: € 5,- and if you have the Vienna card then it’s 8. I have an international student card (which runs out this year), but ANY student card will get you discount. You can include an audio guide for an extra 4 each.

This is a BIG museum and there is lots to see, so I would recommend giving yourself around two hours (or more depending on your pace). The actual building this museum is housed in is beautiful. Its grand, old and the interiors are STUNNING. When you see the grand staircases, you will know what I mean. 

I’ve never been to a museum that was in such a beautiful building. There is also a lovely coffee shop within the museum to grab a caffeine fix if you need it.

So if you’re thinking of what to do in Vienna on a budget- then I think this should definitely be included on your list! Also, it’s perfect for all ages.

4. St Stephen's Cathedral

st stephens catherdal

This is basically a big Catholic church, but its included in the list of things to see in Vienna because of its absolute beauty. If you are into architecture, then you are going to love it. You can visit inside, or simply walk around, but either way, it’s a great place to visit. Plus, it’s close to a food street market, where you can pick up a snack. Perfect for budget travellers in Vienna!

5. Prater Park

Oh, how I wish I was able to visit Prater park in season. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Vienna when it’s functioning. It’s an outdoor theme park type of destination, but it’s FILLED with amazing rides, and things to do, including an ancient and cute Ferris wheel.

map of prater park
Pretty big!!

It’s reasonably priced for the rides, but unfortunately, when we were there it was a ghost town. It’s free to enter, you just pay for what you want to do. But I am so jealous that in the spring and summer months, the locals have access to this amazing park at their fingertips. It’s also massive and there is something to suit all ages. 

It’s easily accessible via the metro and you should 100% include it on your list of things to do in Vienna.

Since you control your spending when you are inside, it’s also the perfect activity for visiting Vienna on a budget.

6. Ice Skating In Vienna

If you are visiting Vienna in the winter or Christmas period, not only does it host some of the best Christmas markets in Europe (there is one on the grounds of the palace!), but it also has lots of amazing outdoor ice-skating rinks located throughout the city. They truly aren’t too expensive, and it’s such a fun and romantic activity to do in the evenings.

The biggest outdoor ice skating rink in Vienna is located at  Rathausplatz. Opened from 17.11.2017 until 4.03.2018. Ticket Prices per adult: approx. 7,50 Euro

Price for skate rental: approx. 7,00 Euro

The Vienna Pass- Should you get it if travelling on a budget in Vienna?

The Vienna pass is available for 1, 2, 3 or 6 days and the prices as of 2018 are as follows. The following prices are in Euro.

  • 1-day adult: 59    
  • 1-day child: 29.50
  • 2-day adult: 89
  • 2-day child: 44.50
  • 3-day adult: 119
  • 3-day child: 59.50
  • 6-day adult: 154
  • 6-day child: 77

What does the Vienna Card include?

The Vienna Card Includes Free Entry To:

  • Schönbrunn Palace
  • Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel
  • HOP ON HOP OFF Bus Tours
  • Hofburg Imperial Palace
  • Schönbrunn Zoo
  • Madame Tussauds
  • Albertina
  • Danube Tower
  • Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna
  • Spanish Riding School
  • The Vienna Pass also includes your public transport and discounts on meals etc

Look, if you are doing Vienna on a budget, then no I do not think this pass is suitable, because being on a budget means that you wouldn’t be able to visit absolutely everything anyway. BUT, if you are on the sort of budget where you don’t want to miss anything, then yes, of course, the Vienna card will offer you more value IF you visit all or most of the attractions it includes.

Remember public transport is cheap anyway and if you want good deals on attractions, then websites like Viator offer a good choice for those travelling to Vienna on a budget.

I prefer to budget myself and use Viator and other types of discount sites for attractions or “bundle” deals, and this way I can stick to my budget whilst seeing the best things Vienna has to offer for me.

I recommend you make a list of everything you want to visit in Vienna. Calculate the total cost of entry including your day travel pass, and then compare it against the cost of the Vienna Pass. Then you will know if its worth it.

Other things to see in Vienna

vienna waterfalls

I’ve included the following in this list of best things to do in Vienna because they have either been recommended to me, or I wanted to do them but ran out of time. (Or my diabetes was just pissing me off)

Visit an opera show at an Opera House: Vienna is filled with them, and considering Mozart was born in Austria, then has a strong influence on the amazing culture and music scene. You can attend an opera dance and practice your new Waltz moves! Viator offers really good dinner/dance deals with opera.

I considered doing one for Brad and I on Valentines, but I was doing Vienna on a budget so needed to hold back on some things!

  • Sigmund Freud Museum: If you studied psychology (like me), then you’re going to want to visit here.
  • Jewish Museum Vienna
  • Mozart Museum

After your trip to Vienna, you should take a visit to Innsbruck in Austria. It’s accessible via train or rental car and it’s another budget-friendly destination with lots of wonderful things to see and do.

If you need any other ideas, I recommend this great article here: One Day in Vienna: The Perfect Itinerary

If you need help packing for a city break with type 1 diabetes, then check out my post. Otherwise, comment below if you’ve been to Vienna and any places you would recommend.

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Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
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