Vienna expensive? It can be, but not when you're a budget savvy Cheapo. Follow our tips and you'll leave Wien with a spring in your step, and it won't be because your wallet now weighs less.
Vienna Budget Tips
Tourist Office Information
We always recommend stopping by an official tourist office as soon as possible. Tourist offices carry loads of information and pamphlets detailing special events, free concerts and art festivals. Vienna's main tourist office is located at Am Albertinaplatz 1 and is open daily from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. See what the Vienna Tourist Office has to offer on the Web by visiting their Web site.
Always be sure to ask the staff at your hotel for information and tips about things to see and do in Vienna. Local knowledge is always extremely valuable.
Museum Prices and Passes
Museums in Vienna cost as much as €15, depending on the age of the visitor and EU member state citizenship status. Some museums offer one free evening a week. Always check for reduced ticket prices for children. Discounts, as always, vary.
Admission prices to popular museums in Vienna:
Opera (Staatsoper): tour of Vienna State Opera €5 (adults)/€4 (seniors)/€2 (students and children); tour Vienna State Opera and Opera Museum €6.50 (adults)/€5.50 (seniors)/€3.50 (students and children)
Albertina Museum: €9.50 (adults)/€8 (seniors)/€7 (reduced)/free (children under six)
Imperial Apartments at Hofburg Palace: €9.90 (adults)/€8.90 (reduced)/€4.90 (under age 18)
Treasury: €10 (adults)/€7.50 (reduced)
Haus der Musik: €10 (adults)/€8.50 (reduced)/€5.50 (under age 12)
The Vienna Card for €18.50 provides discounts, reductions, or benefits at 190 museums and sights, theaters, concerts, shops, restaurants, cafes, wine bars, and public transportation. The Vienna Card is valid on the day of issue and the following three days. It is available at hotels and the tourist offices. In terms of tangible and direct benefits, the Vienna Card is one of the best tourist board-offered discount cards in Europe. If you are planning to stay in Vienna for three days or more, consider purchasing one.
The Vienna Opera
One cannot visit Vienna, the city of Opera, without seeing a show. Surely we jest, you're thinking? Opera tickets must be out of Cheapo budgets. And yet. While the many tickets are upwards of €200, the good city of Wien knows that not all can afford to see the Opera at such prices. Enter the nosebleed seats, where a Cheapo can score tickets for between €10 and €32. Cheaper still? If you are willing to stand for the duration of the show (call it an adventure), the Opera could cost you a mere €3.50. Now don't say we never told you anything good.
Check out this blog post for more info on how to get high culture on a low budget at Vienna's Opera.
Walking tours of Vienna are wonderfully rewarding, with Hapsburg leftovers popping up left and right. For most tourists, the Baroque and Jugendstil Art Nouveau architecture, the pristine, manicured parks, and the views of the Hofburg Palace are all exquisite sights.
Don't forget the free royal sites. The Hapsburg grounds are absolutely spectacular. The Augustinian Church is a Gothic and neo-Gothic masterpiece. The remains of the Hapsburgs are coffined up at Kaisergruft (site in German). After all the closed up spaces of the dead, you might be in the mood for a stroll around the Palace grounds. Get lost in grass, flowers, and perfection that rivals Versailles.
The beach near the Danube River is also a fun place to people watch during the summer. Locals migrate to the beach to get their seasonal fix of rays. The beach itself is made up of traffic-free concrete and grass, but is filled with in-line skaters and bikers. The Prater, a famous amusement park, is nearby.
Senior travelers will find some discounts in Vienna, but not as many as in other cities and countries. Sometimes, seniors must be members of a particular association in order to receive discounts. Members of the AARP get discounts on hotels, airfares and car rentals. The AARP can be reached in the United States at 1-800-424-3410 and visited online.
The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is the most widely accepted form of student ID and provides discounts on sights, accommodations, food and transportation. Some museums in Austria offer admission discounts of between 20% and 50% to ISIC members. Applicants must be working toward a degree at a secondary or post-secondary school and must be at least 12 years of age. The card costs US$22 and is valid until the end of the year issued. All cardholders have access to a 24-hour emergency helpline. In the United States call 1-800-223-7986 or click onto the ISIC site.
For non-students 25 years and younger, the International Youth Travel Card, IYTC, also offers many of the same benefits as the ISIC. The card costs US$22 and is valid for one year from the date of issue.
Travelers with student cards, such as ISIC and IYTC qualify for big discounts from travel agencies. Most flights from budget agencies are on major airlines, though peak season deals might be on less reliable chartered aircraft.
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