Published on May 1st, 2015 | by Lindsay1
A Budget Traveller’s Guide to Vienna, Austria
Let’s get one thing straight, Vienna doesn’t automatically come to mind as a budget travel destination, does it? Nope. Didn’t think so. Well after we found a bargain flight to Brno, we couldn’t resist a quick trip to Vienna. And with just €37 for a day and half, it was going to be tight.
Vienna is easily reachable by bus and train from pretty much every big city across Europe and is a great hub to head out of and into. Coming from Prague, we came by the cheaper bus option, aboard the amazing ‘Student Agency’ (Nothing to do with students, just a bright yellow bus), arriving at the terminal on the outskirts of Vienna, at a small shopping mall.
This, in theory, should have been a great place to load up on cheap food, drink and snacks for a super cheap visit to Vienna. However, it was shut….the mall….was shut.
Luckily, we managed to find the metro (€2.10 each), and we got on the next strangely quiet metro to the centre of Vienna.
As we passed stations and streets of the outer city, we couldn’t help to notice that Vienna looked deserted. What was going on? Was the population of Vienna really that small or was it that no one got out of bed till noon?
Nope, turned out it was national holiday and unlike the UK, where shops seem to see bank holidays as an excuse to ‘sell more for less’, Vienna saw it as an excuse to go to emergency lock down on anything fun or cheap.
Now, with a national holiday in full lock down on all the supermarkets, we were ‘forced’ to indulge in the delights of the city cafes and restaurants. Yum. Vienna lends its name nicely to Viennese breakfast, Weiner schnitzel, Sachertorte and, of course, the Vienna Whirl.
Unfortunately however, our budget didn’t quite stretch to a Weiner schnitzel in one of the main restaurants. Instead we opted for a Curry würst, something Ash had been keen to try ever since seeing the first sausage stand at the closed mall! We ate ours in a Bitzinger branch and although it was good, it cost €3.90 and it didn’t come anywhere near filling that hole left from the journey in….So we were forced to have a cake each from an underground train station bakery as well for €1.50.
Before arriving, we did plan at some point on buying a slice of Sachertorte, however, with a wafer thin slice ranging from €2.90 to a small mortgage, we stayed on the lookout for a cheaper option.
Vienna is a big city with a lot to impress. Regardless of how you spend your time there or what ever weather happens to be falling on you, you’ll still come away thinking its a heck of a beautiful place. For me, the architecture is the biggest wow factor – and free, which is great.
The museums we found all charged sadly, as did all the famous attractions such as the Spanish riding school. But we did have a pretty good adventure meandering around the classical streets on our own, staring in awe at St Stephen’s Cathedral and the Albertina, as well as disappearing among the crowds and emerging upon even more architecturally beautiful buildings. Vienna is stunning from every angle.
That being said, if you want to enjoy anything inside or with a guide, expect to pay.
We were lucky enough to find a pretty cheap AirBnb near the centre of Austria for a pre-paid €50 for the both of us. More than we usually pay but for an expensive city this was an absolute bargain.
So as the night started drawing in, we got on the metro (€4.20) and headed for our AirBnb, a hot shower and hopefully somewhere warm enough to dry our water logged clothes and shoes.
That night, as we sat in our room, drying our clothes, looking at the money we had left (€19.90), we realised we were right on track to survive on the €27. A real budget travelling win but a complete holiday fail. Realising that our fantastic mini trip to Vienna had quickly turned into a “I’m cold and wet and nothings open and what is, is flipping expensive” rant, we decided to cut our loses and get out another €50, so we could do the second day in style.
So, on the start of the second day, we left our AirBnb hot footed it to an ATM, loaded up on a cheap McD breakfast and went to the Vienna Zoo, the oldest Zoo in the world.
Check out the video of a trip around Vienna below:
Also, with the end of the national holiday, the shops opened again and some resemblance of normality returned to the city. We even managed to find a whole Faux Sachertorte cake for €2.99 at a shop that had been shut the day before….which we ate with an ice cream spoon…on a bench…in a mall. Budget travel win right there.
So can you survive on less than €50 in Vienna? Yes you can, just don’t try it on a public holiday!