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How cheap can I do a week in Vienna?

Last May I jumped on a cheap ticket to Vienna and booked a nice looking, but inexpensive, Airbnb stay. But since then, I have had financial hit after financial hit. At this point, I'm wondering if I should still go. Any day trips to other cities would be out, but can I spend a week in Vienna for, say, $300? I need to consider ground transportation, admission fees, and food. Since I'll be in an apartment, I'll have a kitchen at my disposal. What else am I overlooking? Besides $300 available for cash, I would have a backup CC for emergencies.

And is anybody familiar with public transportation in Vienna? A few months ago I think I read that I can buy a week (monday to monday) pass for around 16 euro - I think that covers the buses, trams, and trains. I'll be there Tuesday to Tuesday so would probably need another day pass for Monday and a single trip to the airport on Tuesday.

Otherwise, I'm probably going to have to cancel the trip, but at least I can get my Airbnb refunded.

Posted by
2319 posts

I was just in Vienna and bought an 8 day ticket (starts when you buy it, not Monday to Monday) for approximately 34 euro, and it does indeed cover all modes of transport, very handy since I was all over the place every day. On average the admission to most museums is 8 to 14 euro, so I did my research and visited the museums that had exactly what I wanted to see. As for food, there is the Naschmarkt for fresh produce and meat if you'll be cooking, and there are wurst stands on everywhere, nice variety of cheap and very tasty sausages, I tried several of them! I travel alone so planned one meal per day at a nice sit-down restaurant, and a couple of nights if I'd had a restaurant lunch I stopped at Subway for a cheap meal, about 5 euro. It's a lovely city for walking and there's plenty to do and see outdoors in Vienna that doesn't cost anything, depends on your interests.

Posted by
11613 posts

Seven days in Vienna is less than $42 per day, so if you cook breakfast and dinner in your apartment, you could have a couple of nice sit-down lunches and some grab-and-go meals. But, consider that stocking your fridge and pantry for a week might be more expensive than eating out at some of the cheaper places. There are lots of places that sell prepared foods that you can take home, though. Food will be your only variable budget item - transportation costs and museum fees are not negotiable.

Vienna is expensive for admission to museums, so plan those judiciously. If you can get a transportation pass, do that. If you run out of money you can at least ride around (I've done it) for free. Even on a tight budget (mine is pretty tight), I try to have a couple of times a week where I just sit at a sidewalk café with an overpriced coffee or glass of wine. If lunch or dinner turns out to be a sausage and roll that day, so be it.

Posted by
122 posts

Back up CC would be about $500.

I'd be out about $550 in airfare. I would get about $200 back from my Airbnb reservation.

I was originally thinking I'd purchase breakfast foods to make at the apartment (eggs, toast, fruit) and then head out each day. Probably lunch from a stand or cafe, and then dinner I could make or again, grab from a cafe. I'm not a foodie, so I don't care about "nice" dinners.

I'm going to go back through my Vienna book and check the admissions for my must-see sights and start adding it all up. I'm also totally ok with spending an afternoon at a cafe reading, or wandering a neighborhood taking pictures, but I still don't know if this is doable.

Posted by
122 posts

Do you think 50 euro a day is a more reasonable budget? So about 400 euro/$500?

Posted by
5697 posts

And don't forget -- if you stayed home you would STILL need to buy food. Walking around and looking at the outside of buildings is free. RS audio tour of ring tram is free (assuming you buy a transit pass) Good luck!!

Posted by
4684 posts

The eight-day pass for any eight days is 38.40 euro, but as you say, there is a calendar week Monday-Sunday pass that costs only 16.20. A day pass for Monday would be 7.60, but if you're fairly close to the Ring you can have a reasonable day without needing to use transport at all. A single from the central zone to the airport by S-Bahn (not the rip-off City Airport Train) is 4.40.

Posted by
4684 posts

One possible thing that Wiener Linien might do to be awkward is not allow you to buy a Wochenkarte on Tuesday to start the previous day. To get around this, it is possible to buy the ticket online in advance at their website and print it at home.

Posted by
4690 posts

Local here...

A few points_

  1. Transportation - Where is your apartment? Are you sure that you even need a transport pass? Vienna is small and compact, so you might be able to walk. To get an overview of the pass options, click here. As an example, the 8 day ticket costs 38.40, amounting to 4.80 per day. You would need to use public transport three times in one day for it to save you money as a single trip only costs 2.20. As noted above, a weekly ticket is a great deal if you arrive on a Monday, but not if you arrive, say, on a Thursday. Since you are arriving on a Tuesday, a weekly pass makes the most sense, but, again, make sure that you even need it.

  2. Food - Please don't shop at the Naschmarkt if you want to save money as it is absolutely the most expensive place to buy food in all of Vienna. I would never grocery shop there. Go to a grocery store instead and save money. Food here is more expensive than in Omaha, but not shockingly so. If you are willing to go meat-free, that will save you a bundle. Lots of places where you can buy a slice of pizza for 1-2 Euro. Keep filling up an empty water bottle with tap. Eat your main meal at lunch at you will score a 2-3 course meal at most restaurants for 5-8 Euro (but avoid the First District). The restaurant Deewan serves great food and you pay what you want to pay.

  3. Attractions - Personally, I am not a museum person and am totally happy wandering around looking at things from the outside. I find that the Frommer's self-guided walking tours give a good overview of three distinct areas/time periods. Schonbrunn gardens are free and beautiful (much better than the inside). Belvedere gardens are free. Stephansdom is free to enter. Wander around the Prater for free. Hundertwasserhaus is free to look at. MuseumsQuartier complex is great for wandering. The entire First District can fill an entire day for free. Wien Museum is free the first Sunday of the month. You can watch the opera for free in the square adjacent to the building itself on a large screen. MAK (Museum of Applied Arts) is free on Tuesdays from 6-10 pm. Zentralfriedhof is free. Walking on the Donauinsel is free. Going to Kahlenberg for the view and walking down through the vineyards is also free.

Posted by
4684 posts

Definitely take advantage of the free evening at MAK. I did and it was not excessively crowded.

Posted by
252 posts

We just returned from spending 6 days in Vienna. Since we aren't foodies, one of the things we love to do is go to one of the grocery stores (usually a Billa or Spar) and ask for a Semmel roll filled with ham (Schinken) and cheese (kase - we like Gouda or Emmentaler) with mustard (Senf). These make a great lunch or even dinner if we've eaten out for lunch and you can get this for under 2 Euro. Many of the deli staff speak enough English that you won't even need to use German.

Also, there are many lovely parks in Vienna that cost nothing to visit. Some of our favorites are the Stadtpark, Burggarten and Volksgarten.

And there are numerous beautiful churches in the inner city that are free such as St. Stephen's Cathedral, Votivkirche on the Ringstrasse, Karlskirche at Karksplatz, and the Griechenkirche on Fleischmarkt.

Posted by
2319 posts

I hope J comes back to tell us that they went and had a fabulous time!

Posted by
122 posts

Oh, hi, still here! Just crazy busy. The trip is in four weeks. And between then I have two weddings, (which involve two trips home) and a trip to Chicago for work, and I need new tires. Sigh. Overwhelmed!

Posted by
2081 posts

j,

from my trips so far, transportation was usually #1 in terms of cost. #2 is usually lodging. after that its all small stuff.

so, it will depend on what type of life style you are use to at home and when traveling.

you have food, transportation, activities and lodging to deal with.

Food is an unknown so to speak. Do you like to eat at 5 star places, or can you handle a sandwich and drink and be good? there are alot of food type carts where you can get decent food to eat on the go. then as mentioned you can buy food at a grocery store and cook/eat at home. Its up to you, your stomach and pocket book. To me, spending the money you will have to get over there and not enjoy at least one good meal is sort of dumb to put it bluntly. I think that the local cuisine is part of the experience and i can understand not having alot of $$$ to do alot of thing but if you can save/scrimp to have at least one good meal then it would be worth it.

Transportation. Only you know where you will need to go in terms of things to do and see. So, break out a map of Vienna and look at where you want to go. you can hoof it alot in Vienna if you are central in terms lodging. Some places you wont want to hoof it. But if you can swing a multiple day pass, that could help alot. when i was there i used the Underground alot since i wanted to get from A to B fast. I also used the trams too.

Activities. Most places i went to had admission fees. this is where you can do some homework up front and look at what to expect to pay to see these things. all you need to do is to add them up and see if you can stomach the costs.

happy trails.

Posted by
23 posts

Hi J, I just returned from Vienna and I think you can make it work with the budget you have available. Vienna was not necessarily cheap, but neither was it shockingly expense in the way that a place like London or Oslo can be. We found food in the typical grocery stores (such as Spar and Billa) to be quite reasonable. If you are ok with simple fare like ham and cheese sandwiches, yogurt, apples, etc. you will have the ability to eat very economically - probably spending no more than what you would at home. Even restaurant meals can be quite reasonable, especially if you select a lunch special. Beer and wine are actually cheaper than what I am used to seeing in the states. The sites in Vienna are mostly in walking proximity to each other, so you may very well find days when you won't need to spend much on public transportation. A single trip public transport ticket is only about $2.80 (2.20 euro). The caveat to that is that we don't mind walking and in fact enjoy it in a pedestrian-friendly city like Vienna. If you are careful, your budget should allow you basic food, some public transport (though be selective and use only when you can't walk), and a selection of sites that you set as a priority. It won't get you into every single site or museum in Vienna - but really how many museums can one really appreciate in one trip? Just pick one or two and spend longer in each one to maximize the value. I would allocate some money for eating and drinking coffee in cafes - for around $10, you can enjoy a simple lunch or a piece of apple strudel with a fancy cup of coffee in a café. You can sit for hours reading a paper and people watching. I would just go and do as much as you can with your budget - if you're smart about what and where you spend your money, you will be fine.

Posted by
122 posts

Thanks for all the tips, folks. I will indeed need to use public transportation bc I'm staying outside the city center. I've also somehow injured my knee over the past few days. I'm in Chicago for work and all the walking is killing me. Emily, I may PM you later, but I'm wondering if I can buy that monday to monday pass via an app?

I can't believe I leave in 10 days and like I said, I'm in Chicago for work, then I have to go home, I have two weddings next weekend in another state - it's all so hectic! I'm usually a total planner but this is going to be an "explore as I go" kind of trip.

Posted by
2319 posts

I'm so glad you're going! Vienna is too wonderful to miss and I'll be looking forward to hearing how the trip goes, happy travels.

Posted by
104 posts

I do see you say you have knee problems so my suggestion may not work for you but...when I have visited Vienna I almost never used the public transport! It really is a smaller city than most foreigners think. I walked a lot; most sights are walkable and Vienna is pretty flat. I rented a bike for a few days and peddled around the gardens, out to the palaces, around the Ringstrasse, etc. The bike ride is almost more memorable than any other thing I did in Vienna. I met some wonderful Viennese cyclists, ate at a lovely restaurant they recommended and had a lovely time trying to get a taste of my great grandfather's birth city. I really liked St. Stephen's including the Crypt. I loved seeing Beethoven's grave in Zentralfriedhof, biking along the Danube and wandering the palaces/gardens of the Schronbrunn & the Belvedere.

Consider saving a little money (or splurge on your CC) for your last night and go eat at a traditional beer hall! It is a meal and an experience that everyone should have! You can't go to Austria and not sit with strangers at a communal table eating slow cooked meat while drinking beer. It just seems a terrible crime! I recommend the Augustiner Keller. It has a long history (almost 400 beer making years and counting), historical restaurant location in Vienna, GREAT FOOD & BEER and I was always happy with the service. Get the pork knuckle and dumpling...you won't be sorry! Have fun!

Posted by
4690 posts

No app for tickets, but do download qando which is the Wienerlinien (Vienna public transport authority) app. With it you can plan routes from where you are standing to where you are going, see where the closest tram, bus, u-bahn or train stop is and see when the next tram/bus/Ubahn/train will come. I use it all the time.

I am still quite interested in where exactly you are staying. Can you give an address? Might be some local flavor nearby, especially appealing on a budget as things are way cheaper outside the First.

Posted by
122 posts

Not trying to be snarky, but there are homeless people in Vienna, and
they manage to survive with even less money than you'll bring. The
answer to your question "How cheap can I do a week in Vienna?" - I'm
sure even with only lint in your pockets your trip will be memorable.

Actually...you are trying to be snarky. :)

Posted by
122 posts

Thanks, Sara! Yeah, biking is probably out.

Consider saving a little money (or splurge on your CC) for your last
night and go eat at a traditional beer hall! It is a meal and an
experience that everyone should have! You can't go to Austria and not
sit with strangers at a communal table eating slow cooked meat while
drinking beer. It just seems a terrible crime! I recommend the
Augustiner Keller. It has a long history (almost 400 beer making years
and counting), historical restaurant location in Vienna, GREAT FOOD &
BEER and I was always happy with the service. Get the pork knuckle and
dumpling...you won't be sorry! Have fun!

That is a great suggestion, thank you! Sounds totally up my ally. Also, hopefully I won't have to use the CC as I'm going to have closer to $500 or $600 in cash available.

Posted by
4684 posts

I don't think there's an app for a Viennese weekly pass, but you can buy it at home through the website, print out the ticket, and carry it with you.

Posted by
135 posts

Please J., Dont forget to tell us how your trip went, once youre back! I wish you a wonderful trip!

Posted by
122 posts

I don't think there's an app for a Viennese weekly pass, but you can
buy it at home through the website, print out the ticket, and carry it
with you.

Thanks! Looks like that's what I'm going to try to do, and there is maybe a way to store the QR code to use on my phone.