Vienna on a Budget: 6 Free Things to do in Vienna, Austria by

Vienna On A Budget: 6 Free Things To Do in Vienna, Austria

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With just 2 days in Vienna, Austria we wanted to explore the city, but we also wanted to keep our budget intact. A quick look at the high Vienna prices for a cup of coffee let us know that Vienna is not a budget destination. Is Vienna expensive? Well, that’s subjective.

Vienna, Austria is not the most expensive city in Europe (Zurich has that honor), but it regularly ranks as one of the top 10 priciest cities on the continent and in the top 25 most expensive cities in the world. However, it is possible to visit Vienna on a budget – and we’ve highlighted 6 free things to do in Vienna that will suit everyone’s budget – from Vienna backpackers to European River Cruise passengers (because who doesn’t like free?).


6 Free Things To Do in Vienna, Austria

St. Stephen's Cathedral on Stephanplatz in Vienna, Austria

Let’s get right into our list of the Best Things To Do in Vienna, Austria!

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#1 Free Walking Tour Vienna

Metro tracks and pedestrian bridge on Wien River in Vienna, Austria

One of the best ways to experience Vienna for free is to discover the city by foot. Much of Vienna’s charm lies is the streets adorned with opulent architecture. The grandiose museums, ornate churches, spacious gardens and royal palaces can be admired from the outside without spending a single cent (and some churches are free to enter!).

Golden Johann Strauss Monument in Stadtpark in Vienna, Austria

We alternated our Vienna sightseeing between following a map to the top sights and simply wandering through the city along the riverside (where we found some incredibly interesting art!).

Urania Planetarium and riverwalk in Vienna, Austria

Top Tip: If a structured tour suits your style, the Vienna Free Tour offers guided, tip-based tours of the city (Free Tours Website) – or you can follow the self-guided free tour of Vienna, Austria by Big Boy Travel.



#2 Schonbrunn Palace Gardens, Vienna

Palace view from Schonbrunn Palace Gardens in Vienna, Austria

Schonbrunn Palace is Vienna’s top sight – but touring the palace requires a high-dollar ticket. What many tourists don’t know, however, is that the Schonbrunn Palace Gardens are open to the public – and one of the best things to do in Vienna for free! Stroll the grounds and follow the path up the hill for breathtaking views of the palace and city beyond.

Pro Tip: Want a cheap lunch in Vienna? Pack a picnic and a blanket to dine on the hill with a stunning palace view!



#3 Naschmarkt, Vienna

Stalls at Naschmarkt in Vienna, Austria

Visiting local markets is one of our favorite ways to get to a know a place. Perusing the produce and goods gives insight into the local cuisine – and in Vienna, the Naschmarkt is the market to see. Naschmarkt, which dates to the 1780s, has 100 market stalls, making it the city’s largest market.

Produce for sale at Naschmarkt in Vienna, Austria

Fresh vegetables, meat, spices and sweets are sold from the historic stalls. While purchasing anything requires money, checking out Naschmarkt – and partaking of any samples that are offered – doesn’t cost a dime. Naschmarkt should definitely make your list of Vienna free things to do!

Spices for sale at Naschmarkt in Vienna, Austria

Top Tip: Wondering what to eat in Vienna Naschmarkt for cheap? Find the Heise u Kalte Wurstwaren window at the Naschmarkt where they sell delicious sausages.



#4 57 Lounge at DC Tower

DC Tower on Danube River in Vienna, Austria

Standing on the Danube riverside at the height of 820 feet is the DC Tower – Austria’s tallest building. The upper floors are occupied by 57 Restaurant and Lounge, both of which offer incredible views of the city below.

City View from 57 Lounge at DC Tower in Vienna, Austria

While it will cost a pretty penny for a meal with a view or a cocktail at the bar, there is no cover charge to enter the lounge (making it one of the top free things to do in Vienna, Austria).

Bar at 57 Lounge in DC Tower in Vienna, Austria

Pro Tip: Head to 57 Lounge just before sunset. Order a moderately-priced beer from the bar so you can stay awhile and watch the city lights come on!



#5 Wurstelprater Amusement Park, Vienna

Historic Wiener Riesenrad Ferris Wheel at Wurstelprater Amusement Park in Vienna, Austria

One of our favorite free attractions in Vienna is the Wurstelprater amusement park. Home to the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel, which was built in 1897 and ranked as the world’s tallest Ferris wheel from 1920 until 1985, there is no admission charge to enter the amusement park.

Roller coaster tracks at Wurstelprater Amusement Park in Vienna, Austria

The Wiener Riesenrad and other amusement park rides require tickets (ranging from €1.50 to €5 for most rides; €10 +tax for Ferris wheel), but the park itself is one of the free places to visit in Vienna.

Wurstelprater Amusement Park at Prater in Vienna, Austria

Top Tip: Tickets to the Wiener Riesenrad can be purchased in advance on Viator or save money with a Ferris wheel and Zoo combo ticket



#6 Visit Free Museums Vienna, Austria

Empress Maria Theresa Monument on Maria-Theresien Platz in Museumsquartier in Vienna, Austria

There are more than 100 museums in Vienna – and some offer free admission days (often the first Sunday of the month). Visiting the museums on gratis days are one of the most popular Vienna things to do for free. You can find a list of free museums Vienna here, but always check the official site to confirm they still offer complimentary admission.

Ring Road at Volksgarten in Vienna, Austria

Pro Tip: If visiting museums is high on your Vienna to-do list, consider the Vienna museum pass that can save time and money. There are two options to choose from, so you will need to decide which works better for you.

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Top Tips for Visiting Vienna on a Budget

Baroque St. Peter's Church in Vienna, Austria

The Vienna currency is the Euro. Check current exchange rates.


Vienna Card vs Vienna Pass

Archduke Charles statue at Neue Burg Hofburg Palace on Heldenplatz in Vienna, Austria

In Vienna, there are two popular sightseeing cards that can help tourists save money. The Vienna Card offers discounts to more than 200 Vienna attractions. The Vienna Pass offers free entry into more than 60 attractions.

Both are available for multiple days (which cost more money) and include discounts/entry into the cities top sights. A third option is the Vienna Flexi Pass, which is probably more suitable for longer stays, but for a flat rate, offers entry into 3, 4 or 5 sights over a 30-day period. 

Top Tip: Sightseeing passes can be purchased in advance. 


Where to Eat in Vienna

Sausage vendor Heise u Kalte Wurstwaren at Naschmarkt in Vienna, Austria

Seeking out cheap eats in Vienna isn’t the easiest task, but it’s not impossible. A trip to the grocery store will be the most cost-saving way to eat in Vienna. However, street food in Vienna – like kebabs and sausages to-go – are fairly inexpensive. With our two days in Vienna, we avoided eating in sit-down restaurants.

Top Tip: The Vienna café culture is difficult to resist, but usually comes at a high price – we saw ‘specials’ for a coffee and cake for €10.


Where to Stay in Vienna

Art Nouveau Majolikahaus by Otta Wagner at 40 Linke Wienzeile in Vienna, Austria

Our go-to resource for affordable accommodations is Airbnb. We have found that staying in apartments is often less expensive than hotel rooms – with the added benefit of a kitchen and, usually, more space. Vienna holiday apartments can also be searched on FlipKey (which is part of TripAdvisor) or on VRBO – Vacation Rentals By Owner

However, for those who prefer staying in traditional accommodations, there are many Vienna hotels to choose from in – or close to – the city center. Check out these top-rated hotels (based on guest reviews) priced under $200 USD/night for your upcoming trip: Novotel Wien Hauptbahnhof, Boutiquehotel Stadthalle or Hotel Austria – Wien

Budget travelers can search for Vienna Hostels – like Vienna Hostel Ruthensteiner and Wombat’s City Hostels Vienna Naschmarkt

Start your hotel search now for your trip to Vienna on 


Before You Go To Vienna

  • Vienna is a walkable city…but only if you pack the right travel shoes! Don’t forget a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes for your trip. I (Sarah) have always packed these shoes by Columbia, Skechers and Reef. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell and Sanuk.
  • We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip to Vienna. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos. We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures and is a slim and lightweight budget camera).
  • It’s easy to get turned around in any foreign city (including Vienna), so make sure to have a good city map and/or guidebook before arriving.
  • If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip to Austria, consider traveling protected with World Nomads.
  • Whether you travel with a backpack or a suitcase, you’ll also want a great day pack to carry all your everyday travel essentials in!
  • Get (and stay) organized by using our Trip Planning Printables for your next vacation!

Start planning your trip to Vienna, Austria! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!


Looking for Budget Travel Tips to other Top Europeans Cities? Great! Check out our detailed guides to Dublin, Edinburgh, Dusseldorf, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris, London, Rome and Berlin!


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