1. Take a free walking tour.
Vienna has a rich history behind the city, so many famous people lived in Vienna, including Mozart and Goethe. Taking a free walking tour presented by locals is one of the best ways to know the city. In fact, multiple companies offer free walking tours around the city.
- Good Tours: www.goodviennatours.eu
- PrimeTours: www.primetours.at
- Absolute Vienna Tour https://www.absoluteviennatours.at/
- Red And White Tours: https://www.redandwhite.tours/
- Welcome Tour Vienna: www.welcometourvienna.at
- Anna loves Vienna tour https://www.annalovesvienna.at/english/free-walking-tour/
In addition to free tours, companies offer paid tours on several specific routes to explore particular topics "Vienna- A Music Journey "and "Hitler in Vienna."
Although these are free, it is highly recommended that you show appreciation by tipping the guides.
2. Rent the free city bike.
Like many other bigger cities, Vienna has adopted the CityBike initiative to reduce congestion and air pollution. The city offers free bikes for short trips.
As long as you follow the rules, you can ride the city bikes for free regardless of whether you are a resident of Vienna or not. Yes, that means even the tourists can use this!!
The process is pretty simple. You have to register, pay the registration fee of 1 Euro, and you can start biking. If you need to ride longer than an hour, you have to park it first and then rent it again.
Be responsible while you use this service as the CityBike will charge you for extended use (every next hour), and you have to park it at a designated spot.
3. Visit the museums for free on the first Sunday of the month.
With extensive history, Vienna naturally has many museums worth visiting, including the famous Mozartwohnung!
- Beethoven Museum
- Beethoven Pasqualatihaus
- Mozartwohnung (Mozart’s apartment)
- Schubert Geburtshaus (Schubert’s birth house)
- Schubert Sterbewohnung
- Johann Strauss Wohnung
- Wien Museum Karlsplatz
- Römermuseum (Roman Museum)
- Virgilkapelle (Chapel under Stephansplatz)
- Ausgrabungen Michaelerplatz
- Musa Museum
4. Visit the St. Stephen's Cathedral.
St. Stephen's cathedral is one of the most iconic buildings of Vienna. Take a moment to admire the inside (for free) and the exteriors of this beautiful building.
If you want to see the city views of Vienna, you can pay 5 euros and visit the top of the towers.
Amy's Tip: From the cathedral, walk straight towards Karlplatz and you will find the famous Opera House and Cafe Sacher where you can try Sachertorte. This area is also a perfect photo spot. Walk up to Albertina museum to take a picture with the view for free.
5. Visit the open-air opera (Broadcasted).
Every summer, Vienna Opera House broadcasts the performance on a big screen outside the opera house. This, together with the night views, is so beautiful that many tourists visit Vienna for this.
Amy's Tip: If you are more interested in live open air music/opera (rather than a broadcasted one), visit this site, to see what's available during your trip.
6. Visit the Street Art Passage.
This small passage will surprise you with beautiful bold street art. The Street Art Passage is located near the Museumsquartier, where many of Vienna's premier art museums are housed.
The night views here are amazing, and with many trendy restaurants nearby, it's a perfect spot to talk a walk or go out for a nice dinner.
7. Check out the Hundertwasser House.
Hundertwasserhaus is an apartment house in Vienna, built after the idea of the Austrian artist Hundertwasser.
The building forms a mosaic of shapes instead of straight lines is well known for its connection with nature, known as the "green oasis." Germans learn about Hundertwasser in elementary school, so he is a significant figure in German-speaking societies.
However, you can't go inside where people live. You can visit the museum in one of the buildings for a small fee.
8. Visit Belvedere Palace.
Belvedere Palace is a magnificent Baroque, housing one of the most valuable art collections, one of them being "The Kiss" by Klimt.
The palace is located near many embassies in beautiful buildings, so you can enjoy walking along Prinz Eugen-Strasse and take pictures in the garden even if you are not planning to go inside the palace.
9. Visit the beautiful gardens of Schönbrunn Palace.
Schönbrunn is one of the top places to see in Vienna, and you can visit the palace, zoo, maze, and many more for a small fee.
Even if you are not looking to spend so much time or money here, the garden itself is worth visiting, leaving you feeling like you are in a fairy tale. You have a gorgeous view of the entire city when you walk up to the palace.
10. Visit the Lainzer Zoo
Located close to Schoenbrunn Palace, this is not your regular zoo. Visiting this place will make you feel like you are in a big forest. If you want to get away from the city for a few hours, this is the perfect spot for you. You can hike, watch the animals and enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants. It's home to nearly 1000 wild boars, 250 fallow deer, 700 mouflons, and 100 elks. Watch the video below to see animals roaming around freely while you take a walk.
Different gates (seven of them) have other operating hours, so make sure to check them before your visit.
11. Watch the Summer Vienna Philharmonics concert at Schönbrunn.
One of the Viennese's favorite annual events is the Sommernachtskonzert (Summer Night Concert) of the Vienna Philharmonics at the Schönbrunn Palace.
The concert has been taking place since 2004, attracting more than 100,000 visitors every year. Listening to classical music while by the castle with the view of the entire city is about the best thing you can do in Vienna, or free!
12. Relax in Volksgarten
Volkgarten translates to "People's Garden" and is a public park created in 1821. The beautiful garden is perfect for a romantic walk, with beds of tiered roses. It is located next to Hofburg, and you can find people, especially the students, gathered here day and night.
13. Stroll in Burggarten
Burggarten is also located next to Hofburg palace, so you can easily visit here while visiting the spots mentioned before.
The garden was designed with the help of emperor Franz, who chose plant types from all over the world. The famous Mozart monument has been located in this garden since 1953, along with other monuments.
Although not filled with flowers like its neighbor garden, Volkgarten, Burgggarten gives somewhat luxurious feelings when you enter, thanks to its golden fence.
14. visit the Central Cemetery (Zentralfriedhof).
The Vienna Central Cemetery is Europe's second-largest cemetery and one of the most significant cemeteries in the world. As a result of industrialization, Vienna's population grew to the extent they had to build the cemetery in 1863.
You can find the graves of Beethoven, Schubert, Johann Strauss, and others here.
Even though I found visiting a cemetery quite strange at first, it was such a rich experience, being reminded of how rich the city was and continues to be. You can rent the audio guide for a small fee (5 Euros), and carriage rides are also available (50 Euros for four people), which includes a short tour of memorial graves of prominent Viennese people.
15. Go on a tour of the City Hall.
You can go on a city hall tour with an audio guide for free!
The guided tours through the city hall take visitors to multiple halls, chambers, and even to the tower, where you can have a gorgeous view of the city. The tour is in German only, but you can rent audio guides in multiple languages, including English.
It takes place only three times per week, so make sure to check their website to take advantage of this fantastic offer!
16. Visit the Music Film festival.
This is one of the most popular summer events happening in Vienna city hall square. The festival runs every summer. The admission is free, and visitors can expect first-class operas, classical, jazz, dance, world music, and musicals.
17. Check out the Naschmarkt.
If you are love multicultural, cosmopolitan cities, you are at the right place. However, the Viennese diverse and rich culture doesn't end here.
Naschmarkt is the place to visit for an unforgettable culinary experience, with access to food from all over the world. This includes Viennese, Indian, Vietnamese, Italian, Lebanese, etc. You can find something to try from many different countries, and vendors often offer taste testers to attract buyers.
If you are visiting on Saturday, make sure to visit the flea market. The food stands open every day (excluding Sunday) from 6 am to 11pm. They even offer free wifi!
18. Check out the Brunnenmarkt.
If you are looking for some street food, head to Brunnenmarkt. A little further from the city center, the vibrant market offer over 150 street food stalls, offering everything from South European food, exotic spices, fresh vegetables, and many more.
The area around Yppenplatz square also offers one of Vienna's hippest and trendy restaurants and cafes.
19. Hike to Kahlenberg.
Kahlenberg is a hill located in the Vienna Woods, 30 minutes away from the city center by subway and bus. You can take the U4 metro line to the last stop, transfer to bus 38A, and get off at bus stop Kahlenberg.
Take a break from the city and hike up the hill to enjoy the beautiful views of Vienna.
20. Relax at the Stadtpark.
The park opened in 1862 and was Vienna's first communal park. Half of Vienna is covered in green areas, but this park is one of the best and the biggest with a promenade, lake, flower clock, and many more to see.
21. Visit Setagaya Japanese Garden.
Setagayapark was designed to show Vienna's Doebling district's partnership with a Japanese town Setagaya, a suburb of Tokyo. The garden describes a Japanese landscape with several ponds, streams, and a Japanese tea house.
The park is closed during the winter months, and you can read more information here.
22. Enjoy the Concerts in Peterskirche.
The beautiful Peter's Church with the eye-catching dome is in the heart of the city, and it's free to visit.
The concerts take place a few times per week, sometimes even a couple per day. See the whole program here.
23. Visit more Concerts in the University of Music and Performing Arts.
The University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna is one of the world's leading music universities. Students have already spent 10,000 intensive hours with their instruments and possess an unbeatable musical talent.
The university has nearly 1300 events each year. Although not all concerts there are free, you can check their website and visit the free ones.
24. Attend Donauinselfest.
Speaking of the yearly events, Donauinselfest is one of the biggest annual events for young people in Vienna.
Since 1984, the city has hosted the biggest open-air festival every year, with DJs and performers from worldwide sharing their music on many stages across the Danube island. There is a lot of attraction besides music, from Ferris wheel, street food, and many more.
The "Danube Island Festival" has always been for free and it always lasts for 3 days and is located along the 20+ km long island.
25. Swim in the Danube.
Danube river is one of the biggest rivers in Europe. It flows through much of Central and Southeastern Europe, from the black forest to the black sea.
You can swim, sail, row, and surf here, and there are sailing and surfing schools nearby.
26. Watch movies at the Open-air cinema at Kaleidoscop.
Throughout 20+ summer nights, you can visit the open-air film festival at Karlsplatz called Kaleidoskop. The films are old and new, from many different countries. It's first-come, first-served, so make sure to grab a seat early!
27. Visit the Christmas markets.
Vienna's Christmas Markets are known worldwide for the festivity. A Christmas market you should not miss the one between Burgtheater and Rathaus. You will be surrounded by the beautiful warm lights between the two places, which is just magical.
The Christmas season starts in the mid-end of November and lasts all the way until Christmas.
28. Visit the Prater in Vienna.
The amusement park is next to a well-known business school, WU Wien, and offers a wide range of attractions. It's usually filled with students, so you can feel an amazing energy here. The entrance is free, but you have to pay for the rides.
Use Ivie (a tour guide app from the Vienna Tourist Board) to learn about the city and get some free guidance navigating the city. It tells you everything from Vienna's history, sightseeing spots, and monuments.
I find their guides for walking around the city so helpful since Vienna is a city where you can explore on foot. Moreover, You can see estimated walk time, map, and audio guide in the app.
Getting around Vienna by subway is cheap and easy. It probably has the best subway system in Europe. What tourists don't know is that buying a subway ticket for one week is 17 euros and the one for 3 days ticket is also 17 euros. I've seen some people giving away their used tickets to other tourists or selling them for a few euros.
Q: Which museums are free in Vienna?
A: Some museums are free, and some are not. As I listed above, you can enter so many museums for free on the first Sunday of each month. Additionally, you can get student discounts if you show your student card at most museums and galleries.
Q: What is there to do in Vienna unusual?
A: The 27 places I wrote about above are the main sightseeing spots in Vienna. If you want to visit unique and unusual places, you can check out less known places like the clock museum, Schmetterlinghaus (The Imperial Butterfly Park), Kriminalmuseum, etc.
Q: How can I spend a day in Vienna?
A: Vienna has so much to see, but I'd recommend using Big Bus to visit the main attractions if you just have one day. Hop-On and Hop-off bus is one of my favorite way to travel, and you can read more about my travel planning recommendations here.
Q: Do I need to tip in Vienna?
A: In general, you should tip about 10%.
Q: Is it safe to walk at night in Vienna?
A: Vienna is a very safe city, but you should avoid risky areas at night. For example, the Prater, Praterstern, and Ottakring can get unsafe sometimes.
Q: Do they speak English in Vienna?
A: Most people I met in Vienna can speak excellent English! However, it doesn't hurt to learn a few words in Austrian German.
Q: How do you say hello, thank you, and please in Vienna?
A: Servus, danke, bitte respectively.
Q: How many days do you need in Vienna?
A: I think 3-4 days in Vienna is the sweet spot. If you like visiting museums/operas and spending hours there, you probably need more days since Vienna has so many fascinating museums to visit.