Vienna On a Budget
Vienna's climate has four seasons. Spring usually begins in late March and is very short. Summer weather quickly creeps in and Vienna is pleasant and warm through June, July and August. Some days may be hot and humid, but in general, this is a wonderful time to visit. Fall begins in September and temperatures become quite cold by November. These months are also known to be very windy and overcast. Winter is cold and rain or snow is not uncommon. If it does snow, it tends to melt quickly, but skies are often overcast and grey.
SightsMost of Vienna's sights are concentrated in the Innere Stadt area. There you will find St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) and many musueums. The two most famous museums in the city are Kunsthistorisches Museum (the Museum of Fine Arts) and Albertina. Other sights are found in the Outer West district, such as the Schloss Schonbrunn palace. This palace is included on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
NeighborhoodsVienna's districts include Innere Stadt, Inner East, Outer East, Inner South, Outer South, Inner West, and Outer West. Innere Stadt is where you will find the greatest concentration of sights, attractions and museums. Inner East is where Prater and the Danube Island are found and Outer East has the Donauturm (Danube Tower) which has one of the best views of the city. Inner South has the Belvedere, the Vienna House of the Arts, and the Vienna Museum, and Outer South has the Wotruba Church, Gasometer, and Lainzer Tiergarten. Inner West is where you're find the museum district and Outer West has Wagner Villa and Schloss Schonbrunn.
ActivitiesVienna is world famous for its glamorous balls. Most of these are held during the carnival season and they are often hosted at elegant locations such as the Vienna Hofburg or the City Hall, Rathous. The most recognized balls include the Opera Ball in the State Opera and the Ball of the Wiener Philarmoniker. Other balls are hosted by professional guilds such as the Kaffeesiederball, hosted by the Vienna Coffee house owners.
Another world-famous activity in Vienna is to see the Lipizzaner Stallions. These "dancing horses" put on performances at the Hofburg Palace. For more information, see this great guide to seeing the Lipizzaner Stallions in Vienna.
Although Vienna is a large urban city, it is home to a number of parks and other open spaces. From public squares such as the Museumplatz to large public cemetaries that date back centuries, if you need your fix of sunshine, Vienna offers a lot.
Food and DiningFood in Vienna is quite diverse. Portion sizes are usually large and in recent years there has been an increase in vegetarian options. If you're having trouble interpreting the menu, you can ask for an "English menu" and most restaurants will have one to offer. Most restaurants also offer a daily special which will be written on a chalk board or on an insert in the menu. These dishes are usually the best deal with the freshest ingredients. Bread is usually offered on the table, but there is an additional charge. You will likely be charged by the piece, so if you do not want it, don't take it. Tips are usually 10%.
If you're on a particularly tight budget, street food or fast food can be an option. Sausage is available in many different styles. There are snack bars around town that sell both hot sausages and hot dogs with a variety of accompaniments. Other fast food includes Yugoslavian or Turkish style dishes. Doner Kebaps and sandwiches are common. The cheapest meal available is an Austrian sandwich. This can be purchased at a supermarket for about a euro. It is made with sliced brown bread, ham and cheese, and gherkin. You can have other style sandwiches prepared at supermarkets as well. They will usually only charge you for the ingredients.
TransportationPublic transportation is a great way to travel around Vienna. The system is reliable, efficient and comprehensive. It includes rail, commuter rail, underground, trams, and buses. The underground is efficient and thorough, and will likely take you within a short walk of your intended destination. There are five U-bahn lines that are serviced by trains every 2 to 7 minutes. There are 27 tram lines which stop frequently, making them a slower option. There is a tourist tram that loops around the ring. Most tourists avoid taking buses, as attractions are easily accessible by other means, but if you find yourself far from a subway or tram station, you can hop on a bus and will likely reach some higher means of transportation.
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Train and Bus Prices
The best prices for buses and trains in Austria can be found on Omio (formerly GoEuro). They let you search across all train, bus, and plane routes throughout the region.