Tips on how not to spend a lot of money during your visit to Vienna and SalzburgRuss Bily
Holidays in Vienna and Salzburg mean a visit of old sights, a get-together in a cozy cafe and a successful shopping. They are must-see cities to visit in Austria, but they could be rather expensive.
Prices in Austria are quite high. In the center of Vienna or Salzburg breakfast in a cafe will cost you 9-10 €, in less central places you can find breakfast for 5-7 €. A cup of coffee in the center of Vienna costs from 5 to 8 €, as much as one modest cake.
However, in this article, I’m going to tell you how to save money in these Austrian cities and how to diversify the trip without spending too much money. Here you will find some tips for visitors on a budget, including the most economical travel options, cheapest eating, and drinking, as well as attractions you can visit for free or with a discount.
Cheapest Ways of Getting Around and Discount Cards
The cheapest way to get around Vienna and Salzburg is to walk. The cities are not that big, and most of the main tourist attraction are within walking distance. Despite walking around is the cheapest option, public transport in Vienna is well organized. Plan ahead and think about how often you will use public transport before you buy your tickets.
Transport is integrated which means that the same tickets are valid for the U-Bahn (underground), S-Bahn (local train services), buses and trams. If you plan to use lots of transport every day, then consider buying a pass which is valid for a specific time period.
1. Vienna Card and Vienna Pass
If you visit Vienna and want to spend your money wisely, you can choose from two special discount cards which will help you enjoy your stay in Vienna, all the while saving time and money.
The Vienna Card offers up to more than 210 discounts on attractions and free use of the public transport, whilst the Vienna Pass offers free entry to more than 60 tourist attractions and museums, and free use of hop-on-hop-off buses.
There are three types of Vienna Card: for 24 / 48 / 72 hours. Consequently, the price is €13.90 / €21.90 / €24.90. Purchasing it, you get unlimited free travel by underground, bus, and tram, as well as reduction or benefits at more than 210 museums and sights, theatres, concerts, shops, restaurants, cafés and Heurigen (wine taverns).
One child under 16 years old with ID can travel for free on the public transportation system. You can buy the Vienna Card at your hotel in Vienna, at the Vienna Tourist Information Centre, or at all sales offices and information booths of the Vienna Transportation System (for example, Stephansplatz, Karlsplatz, Westbahnhof, Landstrasse/Wien Mitte).
You can also purchase it via the online shop here.
More information about Vienna Card can be found on the official website
Important: If you travel with kids, you don’t need to pay for children under 6 in public transport. For children from 6 to 15 years, you pay half price, if you don’t have a discount card. On Sundays, weekends, and during school holidays in Vienna, transport fare for children under 15 is free.
The Vienna Pass is a sightseeing city card which gives you free entry to over 60 top attractions, museums, and monuments in Vienna. It’s the best way to experience Vienna, saving both time and money.
You have the choice to buy a pass valid for 1, 2, 3, or 6 days. With the pass, you get free access to more than 60 museums and attractions. Access to top attractions like the famous Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel, Hofburg Imperial Palace, Hop-on Hop-off Bus tour, Madame Tussauds, Albertina, Danube Tower, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, Spanish Riding School and the Schönbrunn Zoo.
The Vienna pass is also your VIP ticket into a selection of top attractions in and around Vienna. Besides, it includes unlimited use of the Hop on-Hop off bus and a free travel guide with more than 100 pages with many tips for Vienna
Important: With Vienna Pass, you can skip the line, and it will save you hours of queuing in the busy peak seasons. Therefore, you will have more time to discover Vienna.
2. Salzburg Card
Alike Vienna Card, Salzburg Card is of 3 types according to its duration: for 24 / 36 / 72 hours. The card can be purchased at the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof (Salzburg main railway station), which is located at Südtiroler Platz 1, and at the tourist information point in the city center (to the left of the Mozart monument).
In addition, you’ll be given a brochure with a list of all the attractions and a separate brochure of bus lines entering the Salzburg Card.
The main advantages of Salzburg Card are free public transport ride (including cable car to Hohensalzburg fortress, funicular on Untersberg mountain, lift to Mönchsberg mountain, and river tram), free admission to over 30 most popular attractions, tempting discounts when visiting cultural events and concerts, additional discounts for trips around the city, free guidebook and map of Salzburg, and in some cases, rapid passage without a queue at the cash register.
There are some additional bonuses in the form of a free cruise on the river, a tour to Stiegl brewery with three 200 ml beer tastings, and some other. It’s worth noting that the journey to Untersberg Mountain, which is located outside the city, is completely within the validity of the card.
As for the economy, if you are already planning a visit to the Hohensalzburg Fortress, which includes Cable Railway, you’d spend over €26, and buying a pass will allow you to visit a lot more than just a fortress.
Moreover, Salzburg river cruise fee varies from €15 to €29 (depending on the tour, for more details, please check on). However, with Salzburg Card it is free. And there are many more examples of a real economy.
The best time to validate it is after lunch. Unfortunately, almost all of the attractions included in the card close at 5 pm, rarely at 7 pm, so you’re time-limited as to what you can see.
However, if you start your pass at midday and visit as much as you can before closing time, you’ll still be able to visit more attractions the following morning. This way you can visit six attractions, three each day. However, if you want to visit more than six attractions, it’s worth considering the 48-hour card.
Alternative Methods of Travel
Many tourists use city buses, metro and sightseeing buses in Vienna and Salzburg. We recommend looking at these major Austrian cities from a new perspective.
1. You may go on a bike tour. The cities are equipped for cycling, so you do not have to worry about your safety. Yes, and it is very cheap. Public bike parking Citybike is scattered throughout Vienna and Salzburg, and you can easily take the “iron friend” for hire.
In most cases, the first hour you can ride free of charge, the second hour will cost € 1, three hours drive will cost € 2. You can rent a bike for the whole day for only € 4. Routes of bike tours are laid on the city map, which you can take for free in tourist information centers.
2. The Tram Ring Road in Vienna is an excellent alternative to the usual Hop-on Hop-off buses. The route Vienna Ring Tram Sightseeing passes through the main attractions, which you can see in just half an hour. Passengers are also offered an audio tour.
Ring tour ticket is valid for one Ring tour and costs € 9.00 for adults. For children from six until the age of fifteen years the ticket costs € 4.00. Children under six years ride free of charge if no separate seat is required. You can buy your ticket directly in the Vienna Ring Tram. Once the ticket has been punched, it is valid for 30 minutes (1 round).
More info is here.
In Salzburg, you can take Hop-on-Hop-off city tour and see all main attractions with a one hour round trip. Informative city commentary is available in 13 languages.
More information can be found here.
3. You may also consider the option of traveling around Vienna and Salzburg using cars Car2go. An excellent alternative to a taxi, because parking is scattered all around, where you can take/ leave a small car. The minute ride will cost € 0.31, the hour is approximately € 14.91.
Please visit the website to check where the nearest parking is and how to reach it. The availability of free cars and parking spaces can be via the application or on the site.
4. Traveling in a private car with a local driver guide, using our service is also one of the quickest and most comfortable ways of transport.
The main advantage of the trip by car is its mobility. You plan your trip in your own way, stop wherever you want, visit interesting places whenever you like, take pictures, and have a lot of fun. And the whole idea of the country is very different from what the tourists can see from the bus window.
Nothing can compete with exploring Eastern or Central Europe in a privately-hired car. Moreover, with an experienced local driver-guide, you will not need to care about reading signboards in unknown languages as he’ll be taking care of it while driving carefully.
Eating and Drinking Vienna and Salzburg
It’s not difficult to find a place to your taste and budget in Vienna and Salzburg, as there are plenty of cafes and restaurants. Naturally, prices in the tourist center are much higher than the average in the city.
If you want to buy products in Vienna or Salzburg, it is better to visit Merkur Markt, there are quite a few of them all over the cities. The locals love this network for favorable prices, a great choice and design of stores—they are more like food boutiques.
The most popular in Vienna are located on Hoher Markt 12, Mariahilfer Str. 38-48, and Columbus pl. 7-8.
The most popular in Salzburg are located on Fürbergstraße 18, Münchner Bundesstraße 116 and Otto-Holzbauer-Straße 2.
Please see the prices here.
You can also head to the Naschmarkt, which has over 120 market stalls selling food and drink (open Monday–Friday from 6am–7.30pm and Saturday from 6am–5pm).
There are also several cheap Spar supermarkets in the center of Vienna and Salzburg.
Do not spend extra money on the purchase of drinking water. If you are in Vienna or Salzburg on a hot day, then you can quench your thirst for free. The cities have installed special fountains with drinking water.
There are about a thousand of them, therefore, taking an empty bottle with you, you can safely walk around Vienna or Salzburg and explore the sights without fear of dehydration. Fountains are labeled with the blue name Trinkwasser and look pretty futuristic. You may not worry about the purity of water – it is carefully filtered.
Restaurants in the busy central area of Vienna can be expensive, but you can save on eating out by having your main meal at lunchtime. Many restaurants offer a cheaper Mittagsmenü, where you can get a two- or three-course meal from a set menu for under €10.
Other ways to save on food are to eat in the cheaper student areas like Neubau or Josefstadt.
Here is a list of the cheapest cafes in Vienna:
1. Colosseum on Nußdorfer street 4. This classic Viennese bistro/canteen style eatery serves up one of the cheapest and most delicious schnitzels in town. Not only that, yet the small Brötchen mit Aufstrichen (small bread slices with spread) and their various toppings all hover below the 2€ mark.
It’s not a far from the main University campus. The cheapest eat is Brötchen with topping: from 1.50–3€, Berner Würstel mit Pommes—6.80€, Schweinsschnitzel gebacken mit Salat = 7.10€, Cordon Bleu mit Salat—7.40€, Frittatensuppe—2.40€, Daily lunch menu—6.20€.
2. Café Merkur on Florianigasse 18. You’ll find students hanging around here at all times of the day. This place boasts one of the cheapest breakfasts in the city (4–5€) and serves up portions fit for a king for reasonable prices.
Fresh Arabic flatbread with different fillings is priced between 3€ and 4€). They also have a vast range of Palatschinken, sweet and savory crepes, priced from 2–5€.
Café Merkur is perfect for a hearty meal for cheap. Its cuisine reaches from Latin American (chili con carne) to Europe (Schnitzel, a grill plate and a burger for 6.80€), to Asian. Most dishes here hover between the 5–8€ mark. Plus: a decent coffee will only cost you 2.50€ (Melange)
3. Tofu and Chili on Linke Wienzeile 18. Not looking very posh or fancy, this Asian restaurant will surely surprise you once you’ve stepped inside. The portions are huge, the prices are low. The food is tasty and of high quality. The atmosphere is very homey – you almost feel like being somewhere in China.
They have great Ramen. Miso Soup is 2.50. Vegetarian Wok Box (plus salad or rice) – 4,50€. Malay Chicken Wok Box (plus salad or rice) – 4,80€. Duck Wok Box (plus salad or rice) – 5,00€
4. Wiener Deewan on Liechtensteinstraße 10. This restaurant is known by every single student in Vienna because you can pay as much as you want and eat as much food from the buffet as you like. It can be found right next to the “Votiv” church and the Danube channel.
Very central and easily accessible by underground or tram. Enter the place, eat, leave and pay the cashier as much as you want. It is really that easy. You should also know that it’s closed in August for summer holidays.
5. Leberkas Pepi on Operngasse 12 is a perfect option for you if you’re looking for something traditionally Austrian and you’re on the budget. It serves Leberkas – a cool traditional Austrian crusty meat eaten in a bread.
You’ll say that you can get Leberkäse anywhere: at the supermarket, the butchers, the Würstelstand. But in Leberkas Pepi they are the best. It’s simple, very tasty and super affordable.
6. In the network of small restaurants Centimeter, you can eat delicious and inexpensive Austrian cuisine. There are huge portions, one is enough for two or three people. All dishes are measured in centimeters.
Here you can try two-meter sausage with mustard and horseradish or a kilogram of chicken wings, potato soup in bread or ribs XL with sauces and garnish, all sorts of meat pierced on a sword or a whole wheelbarrow containing a broad variety of what the kitchen has to offer.
7. The Tresniewski buffet is good for a quick snack in the city center. It offers little sandwiches with various toppings and egg-based spreads. From herring-onion to cucumber-egg, hearty meat or light vegetarian, spicy or mild, there is an open-faced sandwich for every taste.
It’s a great choice for a budget traveler and one of the top cheap eats in Vienna.
By the way, some concert cafes have free music performances, like Café Schwarzenberg in Vienna (Thursdays and Fridays 7.30pm–11 pm, Saturdays and Sundays 5pm–8.30pm), Café Weimar (Monday–Saturday until 7.30pm and Sunday afternoons) and 1950s-style Café Prückel (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 7pm–10pm).
Related: Day trip from Prague to Vienna
Here is a list of the cheapest cafes in Salzburg:
1. Augustiner Bräu on Lindhofstraße 7 was a brewery, but now it displays the best bits of Austrian cuisine. There are two ways of enjoying all that this institution has to offer: either you order a buffet in advance (for 8 people or more), or you turn up and create for yourself a smorgasbord of the different foods on offer.
A self-service arcade of spreads, baked goods, and cooked meats lines three large beer halls and a beer garden. Try famous Leberkäse with a pretzel and thinly sliced white radish.
2. In Gasthaus Wilder Mann on Getreidegasse 20, you’ll see cheery staff in traditional dress, tall glasses of local Stiegl beer and vast portions of bratwurst and goulash. It’s hard to imagine anywhere more traditionally Austrian than this. The outdoor tables, in a cobbled alleyway off the main shopping street, are best for non-smokers.
Average meal price is €18.50 (£15) with beer
3. If you’re fed up with Austrian specialties and need some comfort food, visit BioBurger Meister on Linzergasse, 54. This restaurant takes a serious approach to its burger production, with their fresh and organic meat sourced locally from the Salzburg region.
If you’re are a vegan, don’t worry, these guys cater for almost all dietary requirements, with great suggestions for a tasty and filling meal. What’s more, this place is ideally located in the heart of one of Salzburg’s oldest streets, so you can enjoy the beautiful architecture and small-town atmosphere of the Linzergasse.
Free or Cheap Attractions in Vienna
Take a walk around the Ringstrasse, the ring road that runs around the center of Vienna, past some of the city’s most famous buildings. Along the route, you can see the Vienna State Opera, Imperial Palace, Parliament and City Hall.
You can also take a free guided tour around the City Hall, or Rathaus, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 1 pm (except on public holidays). In the winter there is a Christmas market and skating rink in front of the Rathaus, and during July and August, there is a free open-air cinema, with a big screen showing operas and concerts each night after sunset, as well as food and drink stalls.
It’s also free to visit the city’s parks, like the Burggarten and Stadtpark. Entrance to the Schönbrunn Palace gardens is also free (though you have to pay a couple of euros to go into the maze or Gloriette viewing terrace).
Vienna has a great selection of museums, but with many entry fees around €15 per person. But there are ways to save – most museums have reduced-price tickets for students and seniors, and discounts with the Vienna Card range from 5% to 50%.
You can also buy joint tickets for various combinations of museums that save on the full entry fees – a combined ticket for the House of Music and Mozarthaus saves you €5, or a combined ticket for the Leopold Museum and Kunsthistorisches Museum saves you €4. There are also combined passes available for the MuseumsQuartier or Belvedere.
Several of the city’s museums have discounted entry on certain days and times. The Wien Museum is free for under 19s all the time and for everyone else on the first Sunday of the month.
There’s also an ‘Art in the Evening’ programme, where many museums stay open late on certain evenings and some have discounted entry to go with it – the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) has free entry on Tuesdays from 6pm–10pm, the MUMOK museum of modernist art has reduced price entry for €8 on Thursdays from 6pm–9pm including a tour and the House of Music has half-price entry for €6.50 from 8pm–9.30pm every day.
One of the best views in the city center is from the South Tower of St Stephen’s Cathedral, 137 meters up. Entry to the cathedral is free but if you want to climb the 343 steps to the top of the tower, it costs €4.50 for adults (open daily 9am–5.30pm). If you prefer your views with a cocktail, try the Sky Bar Restaurant on nearby Kärntnerstraße Road, on the top floor of a department store with a great view of the cathedral.
A bit further away from the city center on the northern banks of the Danube is the Danube Tower, or Donauturm, the tallest structure in Austria at 252 meters high. At the top, there is an expensive rotating restaurant, but a cheaper option is the viewing platform for €7.90 (€6.40 for students and seniors or €5.70 for under 14s).
But some of the best free views over Vienna are probably from the hills around the city – you can reach Mount Leopoldsberg and Mount Kahlenberg by bus from the city center.
Vienna is a city of music, but tickets to its famous opera sell out months in advance and can set you back €150 plus. But you can get a bargain if you don’t mind standing up for the performance. Standing tickets for the State Opera House, the Staatsoper, go on sale about 80 minutes before the performance and cost €4 (in the parterre on the ground floor) or €3 (in the balcony or gallery higher up).
Tickets are only available at the special ticket office on Operngasse. Get there early, be prepared to queue, and you can only buy one ticket per person so if you’re in a group you’ll all need to line up. You can also get standing tickets for the Volksoperand Burgtheater for a similar price, but you can book these online in advance.
Another popular but pricey attraction is the Spanish Riding School. Seats for the main performances cost from €50 to €217, but there are a few options to see the Lipizzaner horses for less. There are standing room tickets for the main performances costing €25–€37 (which you can book online in advance) or you can watch the horses’ morning exercise to music from 10am–12pm for €15.
Over the summer months, the performing horses aren’t in Vienna, but there is a special ‘Piber Meets Vienna’ show, where young horses from the stud are brought to the school, with tickets costing from €12–€45.
If you are lucky enough to be under 19 you will be able to get into many (not all) of the main art galleries and museums for free. Make sure you bring ID with proof of age. Most attractions also have discounts for students under 26 years old, and those over 60.
Please also note that there are regular free days for any age. Some galleries have particular times when they are free. For example:
– The Wien Museum—free entry on the first Sunday of each month
– Military Museum- free on first Sunday of each month
There are certain days of the year when you can get free or reduced admission. Travel on the 26 October, Austria’s National Day and many galleries and museums will have either free or reduced entry. If you are traveling to Vienna near the beginning of October, check whether you can get tickets for the ‘Lange Nacht der Museen’ (Long night of the museums).
This is a day when most of the city’s museums open their doors in the evenings. This is not free—tickets are around 15 euros, but this is well worth it if you want to go to several different galleries.
Outdoor art is another free option, as there is plenty of art to see outside in Vienna. For example, the MuseumsQuartier is full of sculptures, and Hundertwasser village is worth walking around.
Things to do for free in Salzburg
As it has already been stated before, Salzburg Card includes admission to all attractions in Mozart’s city. In addition to free public transportation, holders receive discounts for cultural events.
During your vacation in Salzburg, you will have access to the unlimited number of attractions. With Salzburg Card, you will save lots of money on admission charges. Here are some of the attractions that you will enjoy with free admission when you have Salzburg Card:
– Domgrabungsmuseum (archeological excavations under the cathedral)
– Dommuseum zu Salzburg (Cathedral Museum)
– Festival Halls
– Hohensalzburg Fortress including the Fortress cableway, Almpassage, and World of – Marionettes.
– Georg Trakl Research Facility and Memorial
– Haus der Natur
– Hellbrunn castle with water sculptures
– Michael Haydn Museum
– Miracle´s Wax Museum
– Mozart’s Geburtshaus (place of birth)
– Mozart-Wohnhaus (place of residence)
– Mönchsbergaufzug (elevator inside Mönchsberg mountain)
– Museum der Moderne Salzburg Mönchsberg
– Museum der Moderne Salzburg Rupertinum
– Panorama Museum New Residence
– Gala Halls at Residence
-Salzburg Residence Gallery
– Salzburg Museum New Residence
– Salzburg Stadt river cruise
– Salzburg Baroque Museum
– Salzburg costumes—then and now
– Toy Museum and historical musical instruments
– Stiegl-Brauwelt (beer museum)
– Untersbergbahn (cableway to Untersberg peak)
– Volkskunde Museum
– Zoo Salzburg
You will also receive discounts or other benefits with Salzburg Card:
– AVIS car rental (-20%)
– Easy Motion car rental (-20%)
– Casino Salzburg (- €6,00)
– “Fussführungen” (-20%)
– Rikschatours Salzburg (-20%)
– Kartworld Salzburg (- 20%)
– Mozart City Tour (- €6/€3)
– City Tour “Hop on Hop off” (- €3/€2)
– Wasser.Spiegel – Wasserwelt Salzburg AG (-50%)
– Waterfall Golling & Salzöfen Pass Lueg (-20%)
– Museum castle Golling (-20%)
– Castle Hohenwerfen (-20%)
– Salzwelten Hallstatt & Aussichtplattform “Welterbeblick” (- €6,00)
– Berchtesgadener Land
– Salzbergwerk Berchtesgaden (salt mines) (- €3,30)
Please visit the website for more details.
Related: Travel from Prague to Salzburg
Other Tips for Travellers
As for the accommodation, due to rather high prices in Austria, apartments with kitchens are very common, as this can save money on food. If you can not find a cheap hotel on your booking, you may try to rent a room or apartment from the owners on the Airbnb website.
Note that it is important to choose accommodation in Vienna in the first transport zone, so as not to overpay for travel in public transport.
Please also note that the city’s wifi is well in the following zones in Vienna:
– in the central areas;
– tourist information centers;
– in the Naschmarkt market;
– on the Danube island;
– on the shopping street Mariahilferstrasse;
– in the building of the Westbahnhof station.
Salzburg offers its visitors free WiFi access at public locations as well. Hotspots are located here:
– in Mirabell Gardens;
– at the town hall on the Getreidegasse;
– on Mozartplatz, Kapitelplatz and Kajetanerplatz squares;
– at Makartsteg bridge.
Apps are also useful and smart companions during your stay in Austria.
Despite the fact that Austria is a fairly expensive country, it does not mean that you have to avoid visiting such amazing cities as Vienna and Salzburg. Even here you can find many free or inexpensive tourist attractions, a visit which will give pleasure and does not burden the budget. The main thing – to know where to find them and what to exactly look for.
There’s a lot to see in Vienna and Salzburg, so you don’t want to waste time queuing, or spend more than you have to. So a city card or pass is a really good choice if you’re doing sightseeing.
Buy tickets in advance for the most popular attractions, and not just to avoid queuing, some attractions have limited capacities or you need to book specific entry times. Advance tickets help you avoid disappointment on the day.
Plan your route carefully. Most attractions are central and the transport system is excellent. But the further you have to go between locations, the less time you have for actually sightseeing.
If you are looking forward to having a really suitable and comfortable way to travel to Vienna or Salzburg, be sure that traveling in a private car with a local English-speaking driver, using our service, is an ideal solution for you.
We can drive you to these or other destinations in Eastern and Central Europe every season of the year and with a great comfort.