The capital of Austria is a very welcoming city so your first time in Vienna will leave you pleasant memories and the will to come back here. But before that, you need to plan your visit here, so there are some things you must know when you travel to Vienna. If you start your preparations early, you can save some money because Vienna is not one of the cheap cities in Europe. Once you have purchased the plane tickets to Vienna (or you decided to come by car), you should book the accommodation and start packing. You just need some extra details about the city and you are ready to visit it!
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What to see in Vienna and why to visit it?
With so many years of history behind it, the offer of tourist attractions in Vienna is extremely rich. But besides the famous places, the city has a special charm, a royal air given by the cubic stone on the streets, the carriages drawn by white horses, the sound of horseshoe hitting the pavement and the slow-moving vintage cars. The Christmas market in Vienna is amazing and that makes Vienna a great choice if you are searching a winter destination in Europe.
Even a simple walk on the street offered us pleasant surprises. I found amazing passages hidden between buildings, decorated with artesian fountains and gardens with red roses that spread a sweet smell. We noticed the different traffic lights in the center, inspired by Eurovision and we tried to enjoy the places less crowded by tourists. But that was only after we had already seen the famous sights of Vienna.
How to get to Vienna?
The easiest way to get to Vienna is by plane. Buy your plane ticket in advance or if you live closer, the car is an option that gives you more flexibility. If you are planning to stay only in the capital of Austria you don’t need a car because the public transport in Vienna is very well organized. If you want to visit other places in Austria, the car is a great choice. You can also go by train between the main cities in Austria, but this way you won’t be able to stop on the road.
Public transport in Vienna
The transport network in Vienna is very well established. A ticket costs 2.4 euros one way. It must be composted in the first means of transport in which you board and it is valid until you reach your destination. Children up to 6 years old can travel for free. For the transfer from Vienna airport to the city center you have several train or bus options, the cheapest one being 4.2 euros.
Those who stay several days can buy a Vienna city card valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours. It covers the airport-city center transfer by train, city transport on all lines and it offers discounts to museums, restaurants, and shops. Details about the Vienna city card can be found here. We used a Vienna city card for 72 hours.
Parking in Vienna
When we came for the first time in Vienna we used only public transport. Our second visit here was with our kid and some friends, so we came by car. Four adults, two children, two trolleys and a ton of other luggage were enough reasons to decide to visit Vienna by car. Plus, we added some extra days in Austria for our visit. We didn’t use public transport too much, but parking in Vienna made us rethink this option in the future.
First of all, we didn’t find hotels with free parking. The hotels located downtown Vienna have a decent rate of about 5 euros per day, but in the city center, the parking fee per day can reach 40 euros.
If you have accommodation downtown and you insist on coming by car to the center, you will find some fares that will make you buy a tram ticket next time. The cheapest parking in Vienna was at a garage with 2.5 euros/hour near the city center. But that was after we had already chosen the one at the Opera where we paid 4 euros per hour, 1.9 euros for the first hour (in 2019). There are underground garages near each tourist attraction, but the parking fees in Vienna are high. It seems the city’s policy is to encourage the use of public transport (a very good thing!).
I saw that on the streets there are some marked places to leave the car. We read that during the weekend and at night there are free parking places in Vienna on the street, but knowing that many are reserved for the locals and for some you need a special permit, we did not risk and we left the car in a garage. If you choose a hotel outside the city center, probably the best option is to visit the main attractions in Vienna using public transport.
Best places to stay in Vienna
The accommodation offer in Vienna is generous. There are mega luxurious hotels, real palaces, welcoming boutique hotels, and budget-friendly hostels. From my research on what are the best places to stay in Vienna, I can recommend you:
Sacher hotel Vienna 5* – check prices here
Das Tigra hotel Vienna 4* – check prices here
Austria Trend Hotel Doppio Wien 4* – check prices here
Pension Dr. Geissler 3* – check prices here
Or you can find other options* here.
First time in Vienna with kids
Our first visit to Vienna was a real city break, walking the streets from morning till evening and visiting everything we could. We didn’t have too much luggage and we only travel by subway and tram. The second time, we visited Vienna with kids and things were a little different. But it was very easy to explore Vienna with a child! It is a very child-friendly city and that is perfect especially for parents that come to Vienna with a toddler and need a stroller. There are elevators everywhere (and I’ve noticed this all over Austria, even in the fortress of Salzburg), there are ramps to help you climb and there are parks, lots of parks! We stopped several times on the meadows with green grass where the children could run at their will. And they really enjoyed it!
If you are looking for a destination for a city break with children, Vienna is a great choice. It has many places that can keep the little ones busy (Zoo, Butterfly House, etc.) and interesting landmarks for parents.
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