Are you looking to make the most of your budget trip to Vienna with some free things to do? You’ve come to the right place.
Vienna is often associated with wealth and luxury, thanks to its aristocratic history. But that doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate the beauty of the city and its famous landmarks for free today.
Here are 12 ideas to get you started…
Jump to your destination:
Jump to your destination:
1. Wander along the Danube
Peaceful riverside walks are the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of cities, and fast-paced sightseeing weekends.
A walk by the Danube in Vienna is no different.
This quiet walkway along the river is a great place to spot unique Viennese architecture and works of art. Keep your eyes open for historic buildings, as well as quirky ones such as the colourful Hundertwasser House.
2. Admire Hofburg Palace
A trip to Vienna must include admiring the incredible architecture this city has to offer. And a great place to start is the Hofburg Palace – one of the most attractive and impressive palaces in Vienna.
Once home to the Habsburg Royal family, it now houses the offices of the Austrian President and offers baroque and rococo architecture in abundance.
Its spectacular green dome will be the first thing you’ll notice. You’ll then notice other intricate details such as golden tiles and impressive stonework statues.
Take a few moments to admire this palace and take in its beauty from all sides – you will be in total awe!
3. Walk the famous Viennese Ringstrasse
Vienna is the perfect city for walking tours and exploring its beauty on foot. Partly because the city is fairly small in size but also because its ring road (Ringstrasse) has formed around its main sights.
If you choose to follow this circular route then you’ll be treated to the most iconic landmarks this city has to offer, plus plenty of sights of the most beautiful buildings.
From the Vienna State Opera House, to the incredible Hofburg Palace, this route will give you so many gems to photograph. Take your time and follow the circular route and marvel at the many wondrous sights you will pass.
You may even like to embark on a free walking tour that follows this same route to also learn some history along the way. There are plenty of tours available, or you can choose to follow the route at your own pace alone. Either way, this is a walk you will have the utmost pleasure in taking.
4. Visit the gardens of Schloss Schonbrunn
Although Vienna’s palaces themselves all require an entry fee to get inside, you are more than welcome to explore some of the gardens completely for free. Certainly within the spring and summer months, the gardens can be just as striking as the palace interiors.
Schloss Schonbrunn, outside of the main city, is particularly impressive. Here, you will be in awe of the Neptune Fountain, replica Roman ruins and vast parklands.
Although it costs €3.80 to see Vienna from the top of the Gloriette, there is nothing stopping you from climbing the sloping hills towards it for free. Turn around and you will spot some views of Vienna that you wouldn’t have had the pleasure of seeing without wandering up the hill.
5. Visit the quirky Clock Museum
This is one for those of you who want to experience something rather unique in Vienna on a budget.
The Urhenmuseum (or Clock Museum) presides over one of the most significant collections of time pieces in Europe. Seven hundred clocks from around the globe mark time in an enchanting, old Viennese building.
From classic mahogany ‘Grandfather’ clocks, to sparkling mantel clocks, you will have an entirely different Viennese experience here.
And with free entry on the first Sunday of every month, what have you got to lose?
You’ll also find a number of other museums open their doors for free on the first Sunday of every month too, including the Vienna Museum.
6. Marvel at St Stephansdom Church (both inside and out)
Vienna has a variety of churches on offer within the city. Perhaps the most iconic and famous of them all would be St Stephansdom Church, which is beautiful both inside and out.
When viewing the church from the outside, you will be struck by the gothic feel of it – from the sloping chevron tiles on one side to the majestic Austrian eagle on the other.
When wandering through the inside of this church (for free), you will notice the Gothic stone pulpit taking pride of place, as well as the sparkles of gold and polished mahogany pillars.
7. Chill out in Museumsquartier
Throughout your budget stay in Vienna, you would have marvelled at the incredible architecture and rich heritage that this city has to offer. Vienna offers lots of neoclassical buildings, rococo furnishings and baroque masterpieces.
However, wander to the middle of Museumsquartier and you will very quickly see the baroque heritage collide with the colourful avant-garde.
Here, you will be faced with quirky seating areas calling out for you to put your feet up and do some people watching. Go ahead – it’s free!
8. Tour the gothic Rathaus building
Rathaus is a building like no other.
From up close, you will get the full effect of its facade of lacy stonework, pointed-arch windows and spindly turrets.
And the best bit? You can take a free guided tour of Rathaus every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1pm. Although the tours are in German, there are free audio guides available in English, French, Spanish and Italian.
This is one city hall that you will not want to miss!
9. Ride for free (or cheap) at Prater Theme Park
The Prater is home to two distinct areas of parkland, which together culminate in Vienna’s most favourite outdoor playground. While you’re here, you will forever be ten years old.
From authentic bumper cars, to American-inspired fun houses, you will want to spend hours here rollercoastering, laughing and joking around.
And… if you head to a tourist office before arriving at the theme park, you can pick up one of many coupon books allowing you money off the attractions and even some free rides in the funfair.
10. Appreciate baroque architecture at Karlskirche
In the flower-strewn Resselpark, a pond centred reflects the splendour of Karlskirche like a celestial mirror.
You will most immediately be amazed by the neoclassical portico, spiralling pillars and magnificent marble angels adorned on the front of this baroque building.
This church is an iconic symbol within Vienna and one which you will be amazed at – both from afar and up close.
Even the U-Bahn station here is a wonder to behold with neoclassical influences and shimmering golden details.
11. Cycle around Vienna for an hour
Citybike, the main bicycle rental service in Vienna, allows you access to their bikes for free for an hour.
This can be a great way of seeing the city and its main sights – why not cycle around the Ringstrasse instead of walking it?
And if you happen to run over your hour’s time slot, it’ll only be €1 for the second hour, so either way, this is a very cheap way to get around Vienna.
12. See an opera for free at the Staatsoper
Between April and June, a small variety of opera performances are shown on a large screen outside the Vienna State Opera House (Staatsoper).
With only 180 seats available, you’ll need to get there early, but this is a great way of seeing a classical Viennese opera – without the hefty price tag!
I hope this budget guide for Vienna and 12 of the best free things to do proves useful. What do you think you’ll see (or do) first?