Vienna waits for you. Especially if you’ve never been to Vienna. Everyone thinks that Vienna is a bit like Paris. To an extent that’s true – Vienna has beautiful architectural sights, fine museums and fantastic food. However I can’t help feeling that Vienna feels a bit tougher than Paris. Maybe it’s the fact that schnitzel is hearty, carbohydrate-licious dish. Vienna has a no nonsense, practical vibe and locals are eager to help you – even if you only speak English.
Vienna on a budget also is a lot easier than Paris on a budget. In the height of a European summer, Vienna is a hot place to visit. The daily temperatures are over 30 degrees celcius and you get warm, blue sky not a cloud in sight summer days. I’d recommend wearing comfortable sundresses and making sure you have a hat and sunglasses in your day bag especially when visiting palaces like Belvedere or Schönbrunn Palace.
My top glampacking tips for Vienna on a budget:
Buy the Vienna Card
It’s only 19 Euro but for this 72 hour discount ticket you will get completely free public transport on the trams, buses and metro system in Vienna. You’ll also get great savings on museum entry fees and discount coupons to use at many Viennese cafes and restaurants. The Vienna Pass makes things easy for travelers on a budget – as all you need to do is swipe your travel card on the metro. No deciphering of tickets and Euro coins needed! You can buy the Vienna Card online or at the Tourist Information point in the CBD.
Buy group tickets for the Belvedere museum and Schönbrunn Palace
In Vienna I went to the Belvedere Palace to see the infamous Gustav Klimt artwork ‘The Kiss’ which was a part of a special 150 year jubilee exhibition. I bought a combined ticket for the Upper Belvedere, Lower Belvedere and 21 Haus museum. With the Vienna Card you also get a discount of over 20% of your ticket to the Belvedere. The Belvedere comprises of two baroque palaces constructed in the 16th Century by Prince Eugene of Savoy. The Belvedere museum features a large collection of artworks including the unmissable sculpture heads by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt.
Schönbrunn Palace is an impressive palace complex which was once the summer residence of the Imperial Family. The Vienna Card also gives you a discount on tickets to Schönbrunn Palace. The most fascinating part about the self guided tour was learning that Maria Therese was the mother of Marie-Antoinette!
Eat at a pub in Vienna
When you’re visiting Vienna on a budget it’s a lot cheaper to eat ‘pub grub’ than to go to a restaurant. Craving Viennese schnitzel I ended up being served not only a huge schnitzel but also potato salad on the side. It’s a lot of carbs! All for less than 10 Euro! The next evening we dined in style at a traditional Viennese restaurant. The price of the schnitzel was double the price of the pub – maybe a local could taste the difference but to me it kind of tasted the same… At least having ice-cream for dessert from a local ice-creamery was only 3 Euro. Much cheaper than having the infamous sacher torte at Hotel Wien but when in Vienna…eat sacher torte!
Sacher Torte or ice-cream…?
Stay at an apartment in Vienna
If you’re not hostelling, an apartment stay is a much cheaper option than staying at a hotel. My favourite part of staying in an apartment in Vienna is feeling like you’re living like a local. I’d wake up, go downstairs to the bakery to pick up breakfast – a typical Viennese breakfast is a bread roll, cheese and ham!
Check out Vienna’s street art
For a completely free cultural experience – take a walk along the Danube Canal. The graffiti is amazing to behold – some of the artwork is strange and others I would love to have on my living room wall. When I was walking along the Danube Canal I also came across this very cool bar/restaurant/pool on a floating barge. The barge is known as the Badeschiff and has a nightclub and lap pool. There’s also Holy Moly an elegant gourmet restaurant and rooftop bar. The only way to end my glampacking adventure was to enjoy a cocktail during sunset at Holy Moly in Vienna.