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 a serious strain on your travel money allowance. Fortunately, there are so many things to do in Vienna that are either free or very affordable, so you can enjoy staying in this wonderful city without breaking the bank. Here are the top ten recommendations for free or very affordable experiences in Vienna.
Take a walk or have a picnic in Schönbrunn Palace gardens
Schönbrunn Palace is among the top five attractions in Vienna and visiting it is a must. The visit also costs money. But, behind the Palace there is a vast and very well maintained garden where you 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, a visit to the 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 the entrance is free. If you want to have a guided tour, this will cost you, of course, and larger the group, it’s cheaper per person. But, you can enter the 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 the 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 audio guide (also for free) in English and other languages.
Visit Wien Museum MUSA (Contemporary art exhibitions)
MUSA Museum has one of the largest collections 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 the 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 summertime at open air Karlsplatz movie theater. Aptly named Cinema under the Stars (Kino Unter Sternen), this free service is provided by the 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 is an 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 a 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 in June and features a 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 a decent price of 3-4 Euro.
Take a tram around Ringstrasse (Ring Road) to see most of Vienna for a few Euros
You can just buy daily tickets for Vienna Public transport and take trams around Vienna. The ticket cost is under six euros and this is more than an affordable way to see most of Vienna’s old town from a 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 the 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!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Vienna
Vienna is very safe, especially in general tourist areas. General caution should be applied as you would in any other city. For more details about travel safety in Vienna, please see our post.
Vienna is not that expensive and you can fit a full day in the city, including meals, attractions, and transport within $120 per person. More info in our post about Vienna travel budget.
Anything from one full day is good enough for Vienna. You can see many things during a day visit, but we recommend a minimum of two days and ideally three full days in order to see everything that is a must-see in Vienna.
If you have more time, it is recommended also to visit other cities in Austria, such as Linz, Graz, and Salzburg, which can be visited ob a day trip each.
Your lodging decision should depend on several things: your budget, your preferences, and what you want to do while you are in Vienna. Whatever your needs are, Vienna is surely capable of fulfilling them, since it is very developed in the hospitality sector. More info in our post about Vienna lodging tips.
Vienna is a city that can offer you something all year round, just look at the list of events in our other article here. However, if you consider the weather, how crowded are the main attractions, the prices of airline tickets and accommodation, and other elements, the decision on when to visit might be influenced by those factors. Here are our recommendations.
Top attractions in Vienna
Here are some top attractions in Vienna you could visit and enjoy. There are, of course, dozens of attractions and landmarks in Vienna worth visiting and learning about the history of this amazing city.
St. Stephen's Cathedral, or Stephansdom, as it is known locally (also affectionately called Steffi by Viennese), is a central landmark of Vienna, Austria.
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...
Vienna and Austria travel guides
Here are handy travel guides about Vienna and Austria so you can learn a thing or two about these destinations. For a comprehensive list of our travel guides, please visit our travel guides page.
Vienna travel guide - what to see, things to do, where to stay, where to eat, move around, travel budget, best time to visit, safety, weather, and more.
Austria is a Central European country with stunning nature, rich history, and amazing cultural heritage. Mozart, Schubert, Strauss, are notable famous composers born in Austria and are just a small...
Top hotels in Vienna
Vienna has dozens of hotels of various star ratings, together with other lodging solutions, such as guest houses, hostels, and Airbnb. Bellow are some top hotel recommendations from our website. For a general hotel search, check the form at the bottom of this page or our hotel booking page.
Radisson Blu Palais Vienna is a 5 star hotel located in the city centre of Vienna and was established in 1872. It is close to the St Stephens Cathedral and...
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. Property...
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 in Vienna, Austria. Featuring a complete list of amenities, guests will find their stay at the property...
Cheap flights and hotels discounts for Vienna
The peak season for flights to Vienna is January, March and December. The low season for purchasing tickets is May, June and July.
Vienna is served by Vienna International Airport. Direct flights to Vienna are offered by 68 airlines. Most flights are with Austrian Airlines. Direct flights from Vienna, United States are airlines: United Airlines, Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines from New York and Miami.
Vienna and Austria attractions and landmarks
Here are some of the most popular attractions and landmarks in Vienna and in Austria.
Last Updated on March 16, 2022 by Tours Editor @ gotravelyourself.com
Last Updated on March 16, 2022 by Tours Editor @ gotravelyourself.com