After 2 years in Vienna, we give you our tips for activities and things to do during summer in Vienna
Visit Vienna: our travel guide to the Austrian capital
Welcome to Vienna, the capital of Austria but also one of the most beautiful cities in Europe if you ask me! With Benoit, we lived there for 2 years between 2011 and 2013 and we now go back there very regularly to meet our Viennese friends, but also to see again this city we love so much, whatever the season.
Are you getting ready to go to Vienna for vacation? Whether it is for a few days or for a longer stay, you will find on this page all the information you need to prepare for your trip to Vienna. At the end of the page, you will find all the articles we have written about our beloved little Vienna.
Map of Vienna
In total, we stayed 2 years in Vienna between 2011 and 2013 and we go back many times. In order to make it easier for you to read our articles, we suggest you to discover all our articles about Vienna in the map below:
Vienna in a few figures
Vienna is the capital of Austria. It is located in the east of the country and is only a few dozen kilometers from Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. It has almost 2 million inhabitants, while the country has 8.8 million inhabitants.
Vienna is by far the biggest city in Austria, but strangely enough, I never had the impression to live in a big city, which is really not my thing. In fact, Vienna is broken down into 23 districts and some of them almost give us the impression to be in small towns.
A little history: Vienna became the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1867, then of the Republic of Austria in 1919. Since then, the city has continued to be a major center for culture. Today, Vienna has more than 100 museums dealing with art, history or music!
As for nature, the city has an impressive number of parks and green spaces. It's simple, they are everywhere: you don't even have to leave the city to be in the middle of nature!
Bicycle paths are becoming more and more common in large European cities. Vienna is no exception: there are more than 1000 km of bike paths!
Weather: what is the best time to visit Vienna?
We don't necessarily think about it because Vienna is very western, both in its reputation and in its modernity, but it is only 100 km further east than Prague, would you have said that? In short, the climate in Vienna is definitely continental!
Concretely, it is hot, even very hot in summer! On the other hand, winters tend to be quite cold... Days with -5/-10 °C are not an exception in January! Moreover, its geographical situation also makes it quite exposed to the winds. So, in winter, this tends to accentuate the cold feeling even more. Get your down jackets!
With what I just told you above, you're probably thinking that I'm going to tell you to avoid winter, right? Well, I'm going to do just the opposite! Vienna in winter is, in my opinion, a pleasure! Once equipped with a good jacket and warm (and waterproof) shoes, I always found that the city had a special charm during the coldest months of the year... The Christmas decorations, the Christmas markets, the ice rinks installed in the city center, the mulled wine stands everywhere and the best part: the days when the city is covered with a thin white coat!
But then, I can understand that visiting a city at -10°C is not everyone's cup of tea ;). The city also has its charms in July and August when all the Viennese and tourists are lounging by the Danube for an aperitif or a BBQ, or in October when the grape harvest season starts. To make your choice, we have written two articles about Vienna over the months: one about winter and Christmas and a second one about the rest of the year.
Getting to Vienna
By train or bus
Coming by train or bus to Vienna is probably the cheapest solution. We love taking the night train from Switzerland, precisely.For a train trip between Paris and Vienna, the tickets start at 30 euros for a single seat (we don't recommend it for having tested it!). Add 30 euros for a bed in a 6-person compartment; having a bed is the minimum to be comfortable on a night train, right ;)?
The bus is an alternative to the train, but it is admittedly a little longer if you leave from Paris. Count about 100 euros for a round-trip ticket and more than 20 hours of travel.
Vienna has a very well-served airport (Flughafen Wien) and it is quite easy to find really cheap plane tickets to the Austrian capital from most European cities. For example, it is possible to find return flights from Paris for less than 60 euros.
The more flexible you are on the dates, the more likely you are to find a cheap flight. If you want to visit Vienna, try to book your tickets 2 to 3 months before departure.
Once you arrive at the Vienna airport, you have several options to reach the city center:
- cab: count 36 euros (fixed price) between the airport and the center (4 passengers max).
- CAT: this is the special airport express train. It runs every 30 minutes and it is by far the fastest: 16 minutes! Personally, I find it too expensive and rarely take it. It costs 11 euros one way or 19 euros round trip. You can book your tickets directly on the WienMobil app we will explain below.
- the "normal" train: they don't advertise it much at the airport but it does exist! It takes 25 minutes and also runs every 30 minutes. Ticket price: 4,30 euros one way! You can see why I never take the CAT ;).
- the bus (Vienna Airport Lines). Convenient if you need to go to the Donauzentrum or Schwedenplatz directly, but on the other hand it's 9 euros and 40 minutes of travel time. Just like CAT, you can book your tickets directly on the WienMobil app.
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Getting around Vienna
To visit Vienna, it is really easy to take transport! Although there are buses, the easiest way is really to limit yourself to the subway or to the self-service bikes which are very well developed and very efficient!
In both cases, I strongly advise you to download the free WienMobil application. It shows you the lines to take to go where you want. With it, you can also buy your tickets and rent bikes.
By metro (U-Bahn)
To help you find your way, here is a map of the metro in Vienna:
Instead of the app, you can also buy your tickets at each station, but I always found that they didn't really make it easy to explain the machines to tourists... So here is a little overview with prices to help you find your way around.
|ticket for 1 day
|24 h from first validation
|48 h from first validation
|72 h from first validation
|17,10 €/51 €
|From any date
As you can see above, the weekly card is the most profitable if you stay more than 3 days.
For 30 minutes of pedaling through the city, count 0.60 euros by paying via the application. You should know that the bike paths in Vienna are more than 1000 km long! Whether in the heart of the city or along the Danube, it can be worthwhile to warm up your calves ;).
The Vienna City Card
A good alternative, if you stay a weekend in Vienna, is to opt for the Vienna City Card. In concrete terms, this card allows you to travel free of charge by public transport (bus, metro, streetcar, and train) for 24, 48, or 72 hours throughout Vienna. Transfers from the airport via CAT, Hop On Hop Off buses, and the Ring Tram are not included, but you can add this option to the Vienna City Card if you wish.
In addition, you get discounts at over 200 museums and attractions for 7 days from the date of issue.
E.g.: 29 euros instead of 31 euros at Schönbrunn Palace, 14,50 euros instead of 16,90 euros at the Belvedere... If you plan to move around a lot and visit a few museums, it may be worth it!
Don't forget to present it at the museum reception or select the "City Card" option if you book tickets directly online to take advantage of the reduced rates ;).
|Type of card
|Vienna City Card basic
|Vienna City Card with airport transfers
|Vienna City Card Tour with Hop on Hop Off
|Vienna City Card transfert + Tour
Note: one child under 15 years old gets free transportation with each Vienna City Card purchased.
In our opinion, it may be more interesting to take the basic City Card and buy the train tickets to the airport yourself. You will pay 37,60 euros instead of 46 euros with the City Card Transfer for 72 hours in Vienna for example.
You can buy it directly online, on the WienMobil app or at the airport, at the CAT counter, and in most hotels.
The EasyCityPass is quite similar: free transportation and discounts on admissions, both valid for 1 or more days. However, the offer of museums and attractions is less extensive (80 partners) and this is reflected in the prices:
- 14,90 euros for 1 day;
- 19,90 euros for 2 days;
- 24,90 euros for 3 days;
- 29,90 euros for 1 week (note that this is from Monday to Monday and not from the day of validation).
The EasyCityPass is also available on the WienMobil app.
The Vienna Pass
Another card, you might say! However, there is a difference between the Vienna Pass and the Vienna City Card (and the EasyCityPass).
First of all, the Vienna Pass is valid for 1, 2, 3, or 6 consecutive days and offers admission to 70 museums and major attractions in Vienna such as the Hofburg Palace, the Prater Giant Ferris Wheel, Schönbrunn Palace, the Spanish Riding School, the Hundertwasser Museum... The pass also serves as a ticket cutter for these establishments. In addition, you can use the Hop On Hop Off buses for free during the validity of your pass.
As far as prices are concerned, it's a bit more expensive than the Vienna City Card: 76 euros for 1 day, 107 euros for 2 days, 134 euros for 3 and 170 euros for 6 days. For children, it's half-price.
If you are planning a cultural trip to Vienna, this can be a good deal! As the other transports are not included, you can opt for a 24, 48, or 72 hours ticket to be more flexible.
Accommodation in Vienna
When it comes to accommodation in Vienna, you are spoilt for choice! The most common forms of accommodation are:
- youth hostels: there are really many in Vienna but our favorites are: Hostel Ruthensteiner Vienna, Wombat's City Hostel Vienna Naschmarkt , and Boutique Hostel Vienna. They are not far from the city center and close to public transportation. In short, everything to discover Vienna!
- hotels and apartments: this is often the most expensive option but you get the service or convenience that goes with it. An apartment can sometimes be more interesting financially if you travel with several people or then save on the restaurants during your stay (avoid the overdose of Schnitzel ;)). Regarding the area, prefer the city center or then near the street dedicated to shopping, Mariahilfer Strasse. To find a hotel or apartment in Vienna at the best price, go to Booking.
If you prefer to find your way around on a map, you can choose below. Feel free to enter your dates and filter by what you are looking for (apartment, hotel...).
Things to do in Vienna
Vienna is a beautiful city and it has a lot to offer whether it is for lovers of architecture, history, music, art, or simply beautiful cities! If seasonal activities are not your thing or you simply prefer to focus on the essential things to do in Vienna, then I advise you to have a look at our article "Visit Vienna in 3 days". You will find a detailed program that includes all the must-sees of the Austrian capital.
Some Austrian vocabulary
In Austria, we officially speak German. The good news is that if you took German at school (Hochdeutsch), you will have no trouble making yourself understood. On the other hand, be prepared to be a little surprised in Vienna by some expressions and formulations from the Weanarisch ;).
The Austrian accent can sometimes take many different forms, but pure Viennese is quite difficult to understand for someone who is not 100% German-speaking. When I was working in Vienna, I will always remember my first week of work when I went to the supermarket at noon and asked my colleagues if they needed anything (I'm 100% German-speaking, let's face it).
One of them answered: "Moii, das isch da lieb. Na i krieg gern ä wurschtkäs semmel und ä almdudler. Sollts kei haben nim was anders, ist ma Wurscht wa".
At that moment, I stared at him for a long time, waiting to see if I should laugh, thinking that he had made a joke by telling me anything... But no, he just wanted me to take him a bun with some meat and a drink! Here we are...
In the table below, find the expressions and vocabulary that will be very useful during your trip to Vienna! In brackets, this is the pronunciation. In German, we pronounce all the letters but like all languages, there are subtleties! Although they speak English very well, it is always appreciated to say a few words in German.
|OK (can be used for everything)
|Enjoy your meal
|I don't mind
Ist ma Wurchst/Es ist mir Wurst (Vourcht/Vourst)
|A bread roll
|ein Bier ou Gösser (Gueusser),la marque locale
|The bill, please!
|Zoin, bitte! (Tsoïne, bitte)
|Where is the bathroom?
|Wo find i des Häusl? (Vo find aïe dess Hossel?)
|I don't understand
|I vasteh ka Wuat!/Ich verstehe kein Wort
|Wo ist...? (Vo ist)
Resources to prepare your trip to Vienna
- If you come to Vienna for the first time, we really recommend you to do a free walking tour. These are free, based on a tip, and that will give you a first glimpse of the city. We do this every time we arrive in a new city and the experience has always been very rewarding!
- For more information, please visit the official website of the Vienna tourist office.