7 Value-Added Attractions in Vienna

  • 01 of 07

    Musical Parks

    ••• (c)Mark D. Kahler

    Vienna was the grand stage for a variety of renowned composers, and you'll see tributes to many within the Ringstrasse parks, a greenbelt that skirts the center of the old city.

    The Johann Strauss monument might be the most popular with tourists. It's a golden statue that is the backdrop for many an impromptu outdoor concert. As you walk these parks, you'll meet other statuary depicting those who made invaluable contributions to classical music: Bruckner, Lehár and Schubert, among others. It's a unique opportunity presented in Vienna at no cost.

    These stately parks also are great places for photography, picnic lunches and people-watching. Enjoy!

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  • 02 of 07

    Cathedral Catacombs at St. Stephen's

    ••• (c)Mark D. Kahler

    St. Stephen's Cathedral is among the biggest "must-see" attractions in Vienna. It's certainly no secret that you may visit its gorgeous interior and climb to an observation tour near the top of one of its spires for a small fee. It's a great view, if your calves and knees are up to the task.

    But a lesser-known attraction are the catacombs under the cathedral. It will cost €5 ($5.70 USD) for adults and €2 ($2.27 USD) for children age 14 and younger -- a small price to pay for a guided tour that will take you back into Vienna's fascinating and sometimes tragic history.

    Tours take place every 15-30 minutes. The frequency depends upon the demand. Most tours are offered in German, but English also is a common choice. Guides are multi-lingual. Note that photography is prohibited.

    It's a small expenditure for which you'll be grateful at the end of your time in Vienna. But there are many more opportunities to enjoy this stately capital city without spending large amounts of money.

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  • 03 of 07

    Coffee at Vienna Opera House

    ••• (c)Mark D. Kahler

    You might not be able to afford tickets for Wiener Staatsoper, Vienna State Opera to English-speakers. But you can afford one of the best cups of coffee in town while you soak in the ambiance of one of the world's iconic opera houses.

    It dates back to the mid-19th century, when Vienna had few rivals in the artistic and theatrical world.

    The coffee here, while delicious, is no bargain. But it's probably not much more expensive than what you'd pay at a popular coffee chain in the U.S.

    By the way, fast-food coffee doesn't fit the Viennese culture.U.S. coffee chains haven't fared so well in Vienna, because people here like to sit and savor while discussing any number of subjects. This coffee house is just such a place. Enjoy the experience without spending a lot of money.

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  • 04 of 07

    Schoenbrunn Palace Strategies

    ••• (c)Mark D. Kahler

    Visiting the inside of Schoenbrunn Palace comes at a variety of price commitments. But before considering those, let's get the good news out first: wandering the outer grounds and gardens won't cost you anything beyond your transportation costs.

    That might not sound like much at first glance, but these are some of the finest, most ornate gardens in Europe. You might enjoy your time outside the palace just as much as the interior tour.

    If you do want to see inside the Hapsburg family's fortress, consider your level of commitment.

    The Imperial Tour shows off 22 rooms in 35 minutes at a cost just under €13 ($14.75 USD) per person. The more extensive Grand Tour takes you to 40 rooms in 50 minutes for under €16 ($18.15). Prices are higher in the busy summer months.

    Take time to consider what you want to see and how much you want to pay to see it. But don't miss the splendor of the palace -- even if you only view from the outside.

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  • 05 of 07

    Kohlmarkt Window Shopping

    ••• (c)Mark D. Kahler

    In the market for a $14,000 Rolex watch?

    I didn't think so.

    But it can be fun to see how the other half lives, even when you're a budget traveler.

    Kohlmarkt is one of those places where you can marvel at what disposable incomes of the rich and famous can buy.

    Watch purchases aside, there are a few affordable splurges in this area. A dessert salon called called Demel is located at Kohlmarkt 14. You can sample decadent chocolate cakes and other rich pastries, and even observe the pastry chefs at work in the kitchen through a glass wall.

    Demel can become expensive if you don't practice some restraint. But spending a few minutes peering into the expensive shops on this street won't cost anything.

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  • 06 of 07

    Bike Rentals

    ••• (c)Mark D. Kahler

    If a guided city tour isn't in your budget, consider renting a bike and circumnavigating the Ringstrasse.

    It's not nearly as difficult as you might imagine, and the price definitely is right.

    City Bike Vienna provides your first hour of riding at no cost. The second started hour only costs €1. So you can spend two hours exploring for the cost of a soft drink.

    Be certain to follow their instructions about returning the bike, or you could wind up with a nasty charge on your credit card bill. But barring mishap or inclement weather, you'll come away from Vienna saying this was one of your best investments.

    Vienna and other European cities provide bike lanes, making it far easier to work your way through the streets than it would be in most American cities. Give it a try.

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  • 07 of 07

    Transportation Bargains

    ••• (c)Mark D. Kahler

    Vienna Mass Transit encompasses trains, trams, buses and subway lines.

    You can buy 24- or 72-hour passes that are good for all modes of transportation. Check the latest fares at the time of your trip. Expect to pay less than $10 USD for a 24-hour pass, and about twice that amount for a three-day pass. That's a bargain, and you'll move quickly between attractions. You'll save time and money.

    Be sure to validate your tickets prior to using them.

    One other note: you can purchase tickets on-board most public transportation at a slightly higher price than what's available in the vending machines at stations or smoke shops.