Vienna, the opulent capital of Austria, offers great travel savings and splurges.
Now I can see that Vienna is the kind of city that can easily keep guests entertained and engaged for a week, especially if you're a music or architecture fan - or a fan of fine living. But for budget minded travelers like ourselves, we were able to easily find ways to save money and balance out splurges with bargain steals. It turns out that one day and night was more than enough to see everything on our list. Here's how to save, splurge, and steal in Vienna.
Visit Naschmarkt (and the Flohmarkt too).
The market is roughly arranged into three rows and one of them is dedicated to ready-eats. There is a huge selection of take away counters, delis, bars, and hot food stalls with a few tables to serve as makeshift restaurants. There was a particularly big selection of Turkish and Middle Eastern food and we grabbed falafel and shawarma wraps for our lunch. The huge sandwiches were a great bargain at just a few Euros each.
If you're trying to decide which day of your trip you should reserve for a visit to Naschmarkt, make it Saturday. It will be busy, but for good reason - it's flea market day! The Flohmartk vendors sell everything from antiques to discount hats (you can see Ryan modeling his new blue fedora in a picture towards the bottom.)
Stay at Wombat's Hostel
We loved the bright, airy space, which had 'real' bedroom features like night tables with lamps, a wardrobe, art work, fresh towels, and a clean, modern bathroom that was as nice as any found in a small hotel room. With a jaunty pink feature wall and curtains, a framed print, a modern wood floor, and a great view out to the market, it was a cut above the average hostel room when it comes to style and design.
While the vibe was a bit young for us we still felt comfortable and we enjoyed a quiet night and a solid sleep. This is no happy accident. The management knows what they're doing and put thought into making the hostel a good experience for all guests. These great signs (below) are a big part of that. I LOVED these signs! It set the tone for mutual respect - the most important part of a hostel stay.
Indulge at the Imperial Palace.
The Imperial Apartments are a time capsule testament to Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elizabeth ("Sisi"). The contrast between the frugal, restrained, and studious Emperor and his young, vivacious, exuberant wife continues to fascinate the public and Sisi especially has become somewhat of a cult figure. The Palace reflects more than just their particular life, however, and covers an extensive period of Austrian history. Some 7,000 pieces from the Imperial silver collection's 150,000 piece holding (today the property of the nation) are on display as well, adding an extra luxurious element to any visit.
Sneaky sausage deal.
A bite of history at Sacher Cafe.
If chocolate isn't your dessert of choice but you still want to visit the cafe, there are plenty of other choices. Ryan ordered another Viennese classic, homemade apple strudel. It was tasty but I personally found the pastry a bit tough for my standards - perhaps a morning visit when everything was fresh would have been a better choice.
Where will you indulge your Viennese travel dreams?
- Do your homework in advance! A short history lesson will go a long way in Vienna.
- Vienna's famous coffee house scene doesn't always translate into fantastic coffee. If freshly ground beans are important to you, here's a great list of where to find them.
- Want to hear more about Wombats Hostel? You can read more reviews and search for bargains on Trip Advisor and Hotels Combined.
Heading to Europe soon? These blog posts will help you plan your trip.
The Best Way To Learn About Austria's History? A Bike Ride In Vienna.
The Lute, The Lovers, and The Lasagna: Visiting Rome For The First Time.
The Recipe For A Great Time In Prague? Cooking Classes.
Our time in Vienna was facilitated in part by the local tourism board, Wombats, and the Imperial Palace and we thank them for their support. All research, writing, and opinions are our own.