What to do in Vienna: A Low Cost Guide

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The Austrian capital is a true jewel in the heart of Europe. A diamond in the rough that will warm and move even the coldest (we believe it…with those temperatures) of hearts. To come to Vienna is to immerse oneself in a fairy tale and to wander among baroque art and the fragrance of extraordinary dishes. There are so many things to do in Vienna and selecting just 10 was difficult. However, the first thing to do in Vienna (in fact, do it before you even arrive) is to prepare to be amazed: this city will definitely make you want to come back!

  • Habsburg Palace


Today the residence of the Austrian President, the Habsburg Palace (Michaelerkuppel) has been home to the Austrian royal family since 1279. Covering an impressive 240,000 square metres, you can visit the 18 wings, 19 courtyards and 2,600 rooms of the complex, as well as the Silver Museum and the museum dedicated to Sissi. Tickets from € 12.90.

  • Street art


Vienna’s Museum Quarter is full of art installations, artists’ stands and street art, especially the ‘Street art Passage’. Not far away you will find the ‘INOPERAbLE Gallery’ (Stiegengasse 2/3) dedicated to street art. Don’t miss the area around the Donaukanah either!

  • Prater


The large city park in the centre of Vienna (near the Praterstern Bf station) is a real magnet for the city’s young people who, especially in the warmer months, flock to this beautiful park in search of some relaxation and a few hours away from the tourists and the crowded areas. You will also find many people jogging and cycling here.
Just a few steps away from the Planetarium you will find the Würstelprater, Vienna’s amusement park. In addition to many attractions (to satisfy the child inside everyone), you can take a ride on Vienna’s famous Ferris wheel from which you can admire this ‘royal’ city in all its beauty from above.

  • The genius of Hundertwasser


Art and architecture. Rain of colours. Not a single euro to pay. Three magical things so dear to us travellers. The Austrian painter, architect and sculptor Hundertwasser designed the Landstrasse area with asymmetrical, brightly coloured houses, ‘unusual’ fountains, spiral staircases and bumps. All under the creative sign of a rebellious genius. Take advantage of this to draw inspiration and indulge your own genius.

  • St Stephen’s Cathedral


Not all of us are lovers of art and history and many prefer to ‘just live’ the city. However, there are some historical sites that just cannot be missed. One of the places to visit in Vienna is definitely St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansplatz 3): go through the ‘Giants’ Portal’ and explore the Gothic style of Vienna Cathedral and, if you have time left, drop by the catacombs too.
And then… how can you say no to Stellf (literally ‘little stephan’)! What are we talking about? The 20-ton bell that towers above the cathedral bell tower. Where did the Austrians get so many tons? No less than from the casting of cannons taken from the Turks during the siege of the city in 1683. What better way to recycle? Well done Vienna!

  • The Naschmarkt & Brunnenmarkt Markets


Our favourite thing to do in Vienna (or maybe second? Or the third? We really can’t choose… this city is so beautiful!) is to go to the markets. Starting with the Naschmarkt. This is the city’s main market and is perfect both for a snack and for finding lots of restaurants and bars with fabulous food and cocktails! Also, if you are a bargain hunter, here you will find a beautiful flea market with antiques and all sorts of items that will make your Instagram profile super cool. #vintage
The Brunnenmarkt (Brunnengasse), on the other hand, is an ‘up-coming’ among young Viennese. Here, too, you’ll find plenty of places to grab a drink and it’s also perfect for eating in Vienna as it’s cheaper than other areas in the city centre.

  • Schoenbrunn Palace

The wonderful Schoenbrunn Palace is one of the most beautiful examples of Baroque architecture in the world. From the palace’s yellowish façade, rooms and gardens spread out over more than 120 hectares, with the royal flats, theatre and carriage museum absolutely unmissable.
But you know, we prefer to stay away from the main tourist attractions whenever possible so we can’t fail to mention that here you will find the oldest zoo (Maxingstrasse 13b) in the world, where many of the structures still in use date back to the 18th century! Cost 16.50€ 

  • The Belvedere


The Belvedere (Prinz Eugen-Straße 27) is perhaps Vienna’s most famous postcard image. Here you will find the Baroque Art Museum, the Museum of Medieval Works and the Art Gallery with works by Monet, Renoir, Makart, Schiele and Gustav Klimt’s world-famous ‘Kiss’. A wonder for your eyes. Salvation for your soul.

  • Unusual’ museums

If traditional museums are not for you, don’t worry: Vienna is full of ‘unusual’ museums. A circus museum (Ilgplatz 7/1) will bring you back to childhood with everything you can imagine and hope to find here. If, however, you are still dreaming of Stephen King’s famous clown, stay away from this museum. Free admission.
The Condomini Museum (Esterhazygasse 26) is not in Amsterdam but in the wonderful city of Vienna! Inside an old medieval prison you will find all kinds of, well, condoms! Free entry here too.
Another museum in the same vein is the Museum für Verhütung und Schwangerschaftsabbruch (Mariahilfergürtel 37), the museum on contraception and abortion. Cost 8€. We give you the options, you choose.
The Narrenturm (Spitalgasse 2) is the oldest asylum in Europe (built in 1784). And for only 4€ you can observe animal and (!!) human brains in ‘cute’ glass jars.

  • A dip in the Danube


It may sound strange to you because of the temperatures in the city, but the people of Vienna are real water divers. So much so that they do it in the Danube! We know, it doesn’t surprise us either (you know it well: we are big fans of skinny dipping) but many others are amazed. If you want to take a dip in the Danube, start at Strandbad Gänsehäufel where they are super-equipped with deckchairs and parasols.
Finally, we cannot fail to mention the many historic theatres in Vienna. First of all, the national theatre the Burgtheater (Universitätsring 2): a jewel in the heart of the city. Don’t miss the Volkstheater (Neustiftgasse 1) and the English Theater (Josefsgasse 12) either.
Ah! When to go to Vienna? Certainly at Christmas time, Vienna is filled with beautiful stalls and red ornaments that give the city an absolutely unique atmosphere. However, many tourists go at this time so take that into account! In spring, the city is wonderful anyway!
What to do in Vienna:

  • Habsburg Palace
  • Street art
  • Prater
  • The genius of Hundertwasser
  • St. Stephen’s Cathedral
  • Naschmarkt & Brunnenmarkt
  • Schönbrunn Palace
  • The Belvedere
  • Unusual” Museums
  • A dip in the Danube

Many thanks to Roderick Eime for the beautiful photo on Flickr!

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