Visiting Vienna: Free concerts, cool hotels and a new tourist card

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Kunsthalle Wien
The Vienna Card offers good discounts at over 210 sites like the contemporary art musuem Kunsthalle Wien. Photo: Klasse im Garten

2014 is on track to be an exciting year in Vienna for Cheapos with a host of exciting new developments and dependable annual traditions.

From an unforgettable (and free!) summer evening concert at Schönbrunn Palace’s Gardens to a brand new 48-hour tourist card that offers an incredible value, it’s time to think about adding Vienna to your 2014 travel plans. And be sure to keep reading for an affordable hotel option that offers something truly different!

Vienna tram

All city public transit is included with the new 48-hour Vienna Card. Photo: Luca Sartoni

New 48-hour tourist card launches April 1

In years past, visitors to Vienna only had the option of getting a 72-hour tourist card, but that all changes on April 1, 2014. Perfect for those in town for a quick two-day trip, the soon-to-be-launched 48-hour Vienna Card offers all of the same perks as before, but for a cheaper price (€18.90). If you plan on riding public transit during your stay, it almost pays for itself, since fares are a little over €2 each way. Enjoy unlimited travel on all city public transit including buses, trams and subways within the city borders (Zone 100). You can hop on and off as you please, without having to worry about not having an extra single ticket in your pocket.

The Vienna Card also gives you discounts on 210 attractions and musuems around the city. Good luck trying to cram all of them in during your 48-hour period, but even if you hit a handful, you’ll save big because discounts range from 10% to 40% off regular admission prices.

And when you get hungry or thirsty, you can even show your card and score savings of up to 25% for some authentic Austrian fare at local coffeehouses, restaurants and wine taverns. We always like to eat cheap in Vienna, but this card allows you to splurge a bit without hurting your budget. We’ll drink to that.

Summer Night Concert

The Summer Night Concert finale in 2009. Photo: dorena-wm

Summer Night Concert on May 29

A true highlight of the summer season, this annual event draws thousands of music fans to Schönbrunn Palace for an epic night of live sounds from the world-famous Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Christoph Eschenbach. This year’s Summer Night Concert takes place on May 29, 2014 and stars piano superstar Lang Lang.

The best part? It’s totally free. Seeing an unforgettable concert performed in front of an UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Site will cost you nothing, so you’ll have extra euros to spend on an Austrian beer or glass of wine after the show. And it’s not the only freebie taking to the stage in Vienna throughout the summer. Check out EuroCheapo’s report from last year.

Cafe Goldegg is your breakfast hangout when you stay at Urbanauts. Photo: melquiades1898

Cafe Goldegg is your breakfast hangout when you stay at Urbanauts. Photo: melquiades1898

Cool sleeps: Urbanauts Street Lofts

This boutique hotel is not new (it opened in 2011), but the innovative concept is still a pleasant surprise to many savvy travelers. Empty retail spaces on the ground level have been revamped into hip hotel rooms at Urbanauts Street Lofts. There’s no central lobby, but that’s the fun—you enter right into your room from the city street. The local block is literally your hallway, the cafe down the road is your breakfast room, and the sleek bar a few doors down is your hotel lounge.

Rates start at a surprisingly reasonable €120, on the higher range of typical cheapo stays, but a great deal for Vienna. If you’re up for a unique way to experience the city, this is the hotel for you. Of course if that’s a little out of your price range (or comfort zone), EuroCheapo has plenty of other great stays in Vienna that start as low as $55 per night.

About the author

Craig Nelson

Craig is a New York-based writer and editor who has worked with many travel and food publishers including Not For Tourists, Frommer's, Google Maps, Zagat, and is now the blog editor for EuroCheapo. When he's not out exploring the five boroughs for his blog, he's dreaming up plans for his next trip across the pond.

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2 thoughts on “Visiting Vienna: Free concerts, cool hotels and a new tourist card”

  1. .
    With tourist tickets, it’s always worth looking at exactly how much extra you are paying to secure the museum discounts. The new two-day Vienna Card might seem at first sight to be a good deal, as you suggest Craig. But remember that a one-day ticket for the same travel area, if purchased through SMS or app, costs €5.10. Look for the “WD-Handy-DayTicket”.

    So that makes your transport for two days €10.20. BSo you’d be paying €8.70 extra for a Vienna Card that gives variable discounts. Some of the discounts can be as high as 40%, but these are exceptional, and generally only for oddball museums that would not feature on most visitors’ itineraries.

    For plum sights in the city centre (ie. museums and galleries that many tourists flock to), the discounts are very modest, generally less than 10%. The café discounts are in the main also quite modest, eg. a one euro discount off the total bill for a group, or one free drink (though there is one coffee-house that offers 25 per cent).

    So, for visitors to Vienna thinking of buying the Vienna Card, it is worth checking if you are indeed planning such intensive visits to places on the discount list to justify the initial outlay on the card. For those who might limit themselves to just two or three museums or galleries a day, there may be cheaper options than the two-day Vienna Card.

    Reply
    1. Craig Nelson Post authorCraig Nelson

      Some good points, but the article is pointing out this new option that didn’t exist before. The 48-hour card will be very helpful to travelers that want to see a lot of places in a quick two-day trip. When I was in Vienna years ago I visited Kunsthalle Wien, KunstHausWien, and the Mumok (I’m a fan of contemporary art) in one day, so just on those three sites alone I would have saved €6. I’m not a senior or student, so I don’t qualify for any regular discounts. Plus, if you throw in a jazz, classical or nightclub discount, a free drink at one of the restaurants, a discount at one of the cafes, and not to mention the €1 you save on airport transport if you buy it at the tourist info center on your way into town, it can be a good deal. I didn’t even get to the shopping discounts that range from 5 to 15% — not bad if you’re planning on buying a few souvenirs to take home.

      Reply

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