Vienna is one of the most popular European destinations and it ranks very high on a travel bucket list of many travelers. With so many attractions to see, it is certainly very easy to lose track of your budget and overspend. Some attractions are not cheap and when put together, they can put serious strain on your travel money allowance. Fortunately, there are so may things to do in Vienna that are either free or very affordable, so you can enjoy stay in this wonderful city without breaking the bank. Here are top ten recommendations for free or very affordable experiences in Vienna.
Take a walk or have have a picnic in Schönbrunn Palace gardens
Schönbrunn Palace is among top five attractions in Vienna and visiting it is a must. The visit also cost money. But, behind the Palace there is a vast and very well maintained garden where yo can spend hours walking, running, having a picnic or just sit on the bench and enjoy the greenery. The gardens are especially beautiful in spring and summer.
Visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom)
Yes, visit to number one attraction in Vienna (and arguably in Austria) is free. Not many people know this as there are always groups of tourists entering the cathedral, but entrance is free. If you want to have guided tour, this will cost you, of course, and larger the group, it’s cheaper per person. But, you can enter cathedral on your own without a charge and enjoy this Gothic architectural masterpiece.
Take a free guided tour of Rathaus (Vienna City Hall)
Another spectacular building, built in Neo-Gothic style in 19th century, features free guided tours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The tours are in German, but you will be probably able to get an audioguide (also for free) in English and other languages.
Visit Wien Museum MUSA (Contemporary art exhibitions)
MUSA Museum has one of the largest collection of contemporary art in Austria. The admission is free, but please pay attention to its relocation info due to renovation. It is provided in the link.
There are several other free museums in Vienna and if you happened to be there on 26 October (Austria National Day), all the museums are free, so put it in your calendar!
Watch Vienna Opera performances for free
During months of April, May, June, and September, Vienna Opera broadcasts live many performances on the large screen in front of its entrance. Limited numbers of chairs are available, so you should plan ahead and reserve your seat. The list of operas and schedules can be found here. All performances are subtitled in German.
Watch movies in the open air theater
You can watch free movies during summer time at open air Karlsplatz movie theater. Aptly named Cinema under the Stars (Kino Unter Sternen), this free service is provided by Austrian Film Museum. UPDATE: screenings of open air cinema have stopped. We will update you here when and if they resume.
Open Air Music Films Festival
Every summer there are open air screening of music events, opera, pop and rock concerts, jazz and kids music. It s happening in front of Rathaus (Town Hall) during July and August and with very diverse program. Admission is free and you can order food from food stalls.
Attend Danube Island Festival (Donauinselfest)
This spectacular music festival is happening last week on June and features some crazy number of musicians (1,500) and some sporting events. More info here.
Wander around Christmas markets
From mid November until Christmas/end of the year, there are several Christmas markets around main city squares and churches. It is fun to wander around and look at the souvenirs and sweets for sale and maybe have a cup f mulled wine, that comes at decent price of 3-4 Euro.
Take a tram around Ringstrasse (Ring Road) to see most of the Vienna for few Euros
You can just buy daily ticket for Vienna Public transport and take trams around Vienna. Ticket cost is under six Euro and this is more than affordable way to see most of Vienna old town from comfortable seat on a public tram. Here is the info:
Take tram 1 heading northwest from Schwedenplatz, and change to tram 2 at Stadiongasse/Parlament, Burgring or Kärntner Ring-Oper to finish back at Schwedenplatz.
These are just top 10 things you can do in Vienna for free (or for very few Euros). There are, of course, so many other things you can do in Vienna for virtually no cost and especially in summer. We will try and update this post whenever we discover something new and useful. Enjoy!
Top attractions in Vienna
St. Stephen's Cathedral, or Stephansdom, as it is known locally (also affectionately called Steffi by Viennese), is a central landmark of Vienna, Austria and one of the most recognizable attractions.
Schönbrunn Palace was the Habsburg rulers‘ primary summer residence in Hietzing, Vienna. It’s one of the country’s most significant architectural, cultural and historical landmarks, built in Rococo style. It is...
The Hofburg is the former Habsburg dynasty rulers‘ main imperial palace and today serves as the Austrian President’s official residence and workplace. Located in the middle of Vienna, it was...
More travel info about Vienna and Austria
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Top hotels in Vienna
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In 4 historic palaces in the middle of Vienna, the Ritz-Carlton, Vienna combines luxury with modern architecture. There is a 24-hour room service. Within a few minutes walk you can...
Stop at Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom Hotel to discover the wonders of Vienna. Featuring a complete list of amenities, guests will find their stay at the property a comfortable one.
Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna is a 5-star hotel originally built for the World Exhibition in Vienna in 1873. It is a luxurious hotel on a Ringstraße boulevard and just a...
Located in Austria's highest skyscraper, the DC Tower, the Melia Vienna offers luxurious, modern rooms and a rooftop terrace with a cocktail bar with stunning views of the Danube River...
Grand Ferdinand Vienna is conveniently located in the popular 01. Innere Stadt area. Featuring a complete list of amenities, guests will find their stay at the property a comfortable one.