5 hippest things to do and full budget for 5 days in Vienna
Vienna, a city of history, Mozart, and coffee. I spent about 5 days in Vienna earlier this month for a hackathon and conference on infectious diseases. A relatively small city, you could see most things in a few days. This is a brief list of things for an itinerary and budget for Vienna for 5 days.
Getting around Vienna is pretty simple. Uber is available in Vienna if you are a fan.
For public transportation, a single journey on trams and buses cost 2.30 euros, and you can pay in cash. You can get a 72 hour pass for the metro for 16.50 euros. More info here.
You can also rent bicycles at bike stations around Vienna.
Walking around is free! The city is quite spread out though so you may not want to walk absolutely everywhere. On a nice day, though, walking in Vienna is great because you’ll also get to see all the great small shops and cafes along the way.
There are many museums in Vienna that are interesting. The one that I would highly recommend is MAK. All of their exhibits look cool or wacky, and the building itself is pretty amazing (especially inside). They range from art, to fashion, to architecture. There is also a nice design shop in the museum. Coincidentally, this is where Salon Plafond is if you want a nice meal.
The inside of Rathaus (aka city hall) is gorgeous. You can catch a guided tour on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 1PM. They also have multilingual audio guides.
Cathedral (night and day)
The Stephansdom aka St Stephens cathedral is open to the public during the day and in the evening. The prayer sections are cordoned off so that non-praying visitors won’t disturb worshipers. Part of the facade was undergoing renovation, but the side where all the horses and carriages were waiting was not!
I stayed in an Airbnb near this building, and I loved being able to see it each morning and evening. It’s located a little bit out of the way to the southeast of central Vienna. It’s about a 20 minute walk from the cathedral. The best time to go is early morning when there aren’t as many people. I’ll be writing a post about this building, so stay tuned!
Another highly recommended activity is to attend a classical music performance (I read about it first here). I didn’t get a chance to go, but I heard tickets are around 25 euros. It’s worth it for a nice evening out!
Most of the places that locals go to for clubbing are not near the center of Vienna, where rent is bound to be higher. One of my teammates from the hackathon works at Miranda, which is an up and coming lounge/bar.
You can get a 2 hour ferry ride to Bratislava, which is just across the border in Slovakia.
My budget for Vienna
Here is my budget for 5 days in Vienna. The amounts in bold are the currencies that I paid in.
Eating out vs. Eating in
At least for most meals in a day, I always prefer to eat in, rather than in restaurants. This is the best way to save money in Vienna because eating out will usually cost from about 10 to 20 euros at least. Although some of my meals were covered by the events I attended, I managed to keep costs down by bringing my own lunch.
You can get cheap meals in Vienna, especially in one of the many cafes. There are also doner kebab places for a quick meaty fill. Mains in fancier places range from 15 to 30 euros. I had 1 meal out during the whole trip at Salon Plafond. It was a deliciously modern Austrian meal in a great location that cost me about 23 euros. It was one of the best meals I’ve had in Europe, and I will be writing about that soon!
Schnitzel is one of the main iconic dishes to eat while here. They have the beef version, but the pork version is also good. One of the locals I met preferred the pork version, but it might not be available everywhere. It usually comes with a lemon wedge and cranberry sauce, which according to him is a must! Squeeze the lemon all over, cut a piece, and put some cranberry sauce on top. Another must eat is a sausage with cheese in the center. He also told me that this is what everyone eats after a night out and on the way home!
Coffee is also a must in Vienna, with several cafes that are famous for their coffee and cakes. This is where I splurged a little and got a coffee with both ice cream and whipped cream on top! A little indulgent, but very worth it! It cost about 8 euros.
Favorite grocery item
I haven’t tried that many lactose-free milks, but the one I had in Vienna was delicious! It had the rich, creamy milkiness that I love about milk. It also didn’t taste extra sweet, like the main lactose-free milk brand that can be found in the UK (Lactofree). I forgot to get a photo of the carton, but you can find it in the milk section. Look for the words “Laktos frei” or something of the like on a tall carton.
If you want to buy chocolates with Mozart’s face on it, don’t wait until you get to the airport! They are much cheaper in town.
The City Airport Train (CAT) is the fastest and easiest way to get to the city from the airport. The trains usually run every half hour during busy times, and it’s nonstop to the Wien Mitte station. Roundtrip is 19 euros.
Bring an umbrella! Depending on when you are going to Vienna, bring one with you so you don’t get stuck in the rain! Check the forecast, but even if it says partly sunny, there may be a chance of rain in autumn.
Worth a go!
For being part of Western Europe, Vienna is not as expensive as some other cities. I was especially surprised to find entire apartments on Airbnb for about what I’d have to pay for a bed in a dorm in other cities in Europe. (You can find 1 bedroom apartments for about 47 euros a night, and a bed in a dorm for about 12 euros a night.)
I wish I had more time to explore Vienna, especially since there is quite the startup or hacker community in Vienna. If you’re headed there soon, I hope you found my itinerary and budget for Vienna helpful!