10 Free Sights in Vienna

Vienna has long had the reputation of being an expensive city. But while it can indeed be little over-priced, it is not just a destination for the rich and famous. On the contrary, there's actually plenty to explore on a shoestring budget. Even spending no money at all can pay off in a great and memorable experience. Here's 10 things even those without a bulging wallet can enjoy.

1. Schönbrunn Garden

Behind the famous Schönbrunn Palace, Austria's most visited sight, lies a beautiful Baroque garden that lends itself perfectly for a leisurely stroll. The park was opened to the public around 1779 and has been a popular recreational area for locals and international visitors ever since. On top of the grass-covered hill, you'll have magnificent views over the city, so do bring your picnic basket! > Website

Schönbrunn Palace as seen from the Garden ©Maaike
2. Organ concert at Peterskirche
Vienna is not called the World Capital of Music for nothing: not only is the Waltz inherently Viennese, but more famous composers have lived here than in any other city. While there are plenty of opera's and classical concerts (€€€) you could visit, why not attend a free organ concert? Saint Peter's Church, a beautiful Baroque church, organises free concerts on a daily basis (3pm on weekdays, 8pm during the weekend). > Website

3. Quartier 21

The Museum Quarter has a collection of fine museums with changing exhibitions, but entry often costs over €7. Good news to those travelling on a budget! Quartier 21, a set of galleries surrounding the museum square, offers space to a myriad of autonomous cultural initiatives that are free to the public. The exhibitions focus on contemporary art, so lovers of digital culture, sound and street art, design and fashion will feel right at home. > Website

Subotron Games Museum and Shop ©Maaike
4. Zentralfriedhof
However morbid it may sound, cemeteries are not just for the dead, as Zentralfriedhof proves. It's one of the biggest and most famous cemeteries in the world and also has the largest number of interred in Europe. Because it comprises an area of 2.4 square kilometers, you're allowed to cross the grounds by car, but walking past the tomb stones is also an option. The sheer amount of graves is an interesting sight in itself. Don't forget the final resting places of Beethoven, Mozart and Strauss. > Website

5. Open-Air Cinema

On hot summer days, all you want to do is lean back, chill out and have a glass of cold beer. In Vienna you can do all of the aforementioned and watch a film underneath a starry sky in the meantime... The ultimate summer event! Throughout July and August, three open-air cinemas (at the City Hall, on Karlsplatz and at the Volxkino) will screen classic, independent and Hollywood films in their original language – with English or German subtitles. Time to crack open that beer! > Website

Open Air Cinema at the Rathaus ©Maaike
6. AKH
Built in 1784, Vienna's Old General Hospital (AKH) was the first hospital in the world that accommodated mentally ill people, treating them in the so-called Fool's Tower. Although the building does no longer serve its original function and the AKH has been replaced by a modern university, you can still walk around the campus and gaze at Vienna's less popular architectural treasures. > Website

7. Naschmarkt

You might think I'm cheating because I put a market on this list, but bear with me: the Naschmarkt is more than a place where people do their daily shopping. With hundreds of colourful food stalls, loud Austrian fishmongers and even DJs playing tunes, visiting the market is an experience in itself. > Website

8. Ringstraße

Often compared to an open-air museum, Vienna possesses so many well-preserved historical buildings, you sometimes don't know where to look. One of the streets that will make your eyes pop is the Ringstraße, a circular road lined with monumental buildings and grand cafés. The road is 5.3 kilometers long, but don't worry... Every few hundred meters you'll find a beautiful inner-city park or grand café where you can rest your legs for a while. > Website

Ringstraße ©Maaike
9. Lainzer Tiergarten
'Tiergarten' suggests cuddly and friendly animals, but reality couldn't be further from the truth. The wildlife preserve in Lainz, which used to be a private hunting ground for emperors as far back as the sixteenth century, is home to wild boars, deer, wild sheep, flapping bats, six-legged animals and slimy creatures... Don't let your children, dog or significant other run loose! > Website (German)

10. Old Danube Beach

Walking around a city can be overrated — especially when you have a beach at your disposal at a mere stone's throw away. Hop on that metro, change into your swimming gear, slap on some sunscreen and go for a swim in the blue Danube! > Website


Bonus tips: the city of Vienna has placed tons of free drinking water fountains around the city to quench your thirst. In addition, there are free Wi-Fi spots at numerous restaurants and other buildings... Forget about expensive hotel rates!


  1. Ik ben er al geweest, maar ik heb precies toch nog wat plekjes gemist! Wij hebben toen al ons geld uitgegeven aan musea... zoveel mogelijk Klimmt proberen te zien!
    Nog een tip, een ticketje voor de opera kost 3 euro voor een staanplaats. Breng uw schoonste baljurk mee en maak er een fancy avondje van. Want naast toeristen (zoals wij) met staanplaatsen zijn er ook een hoop mensen die hun mooiste kleren aantrekken en die echt aan het beeld voldoen dat je van opera hebt. Een aanrader, meer voor de sfeer en de ervaring dan de opera zelf (of toch degene die wij gezien hebben...

    1. Bedankt voor de leuke tip! Helaas had ik geen baljurk bij me. Volgende keer... :-)


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