Vienna on a Budget: 20 things to do for free in Vienna

From classical heritage buildings, outstanding natural parks, alternative out-of-the-box experiences, and historical curiosities, these are the 10 FREE things you can do in Vienna without missing anything of it!
20 Free things to do in Vienna

Published:July 28, 2023
Last updated:February 12, 2024
View on Gloriette and Schönbrunn Palace Garden

Dive into the Hofburg, Prater, and Donauinsel – Uncover the Best Low-Budget Wonders in Vienna! You have several Free Things to do in Vienna and in this blogpost you can find the best ones!

1. Walk around the Vienna Ring

As the Viennese called it, the “Ring” is the central part of Vienna where you have the chance to just emerge in the classical beauty of the city, it is like entering in a living painting that reminds you of the imperial times of Vienna’s history.

  • Dive into Vienna’s classical beauty by strolling the grand Ring.
  • Explore iconic landmarks like Rathaus, Burgtheater, and Hofburg.
  • The Ring Tram offers a nostalgic tour of opulent buildings.

Vienna’s “Ring” – A living painting.

Explore the Vienna's Ring on a low budet - the traditional Red Tram on a rainy day

2. Explore the Church heritage

Vienna boasts a rich tapestry of over 130 churches, each with its own unique character and history. These places of worship offer a glimpse into the city’s spiritual and architectural evolution. Here are some of the most renowned and personally recommended ones to explore:

2.1. Stephansdom (1st district)

  • St. Stephen’s Cathedral is an iconic symbol of Vienna.
  • Its grandiosity has stood tall since the XII century.
  • Unearth ancient history as you explore both inside and around this magnificent structure.
  • Legend has it, the cathedral was built atop a Roman cemetery, adding a layer of mystique to its foundation.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

2.2. Catholic Church of St. Peter (1st district)

  • Hidden amidst the bustling streets near Stephansdom.
  • From the outside, it may appear ordinary, but step inside for a visual feast.
  • The intricate artwork and ceiling will leave you in awe.
  • Prepare to be captivated by the vivid colors and attention to detail.

Find the Hidden gem

2.3. Michael’s Church (1st district)

  • Close to Stephansplatz, en route to Hofburg.
  • The Michaelerkirche is famous for its diverse coffins and catacombs.
  • Explore and see on display the mummified remains of wealthy individuals from the 14th-18th century.
  • Warm air circulation in the cellars contributed to this intriguing phenomenon.

Church of the Mummies

2.4. Greek Church of the Holy Trinity (1st district)

  • A hidden gem in the historical Greek quarter.
  • Features distinct architecture compared to Vienna’s imperial style.
  • Ideal for those interested in contrasting church styles and spiritual atmospheres within the first district.

Greek Hidden Gem

2.5. Jesuit Church (1st district)

  • A baroque-style Roman Catholic church.
  • The interior’s architecture and art are nothing short of breathtaking.
  • Despite being nearly destroyed during World War II, the frescoes survived and were meticulously restored.
  • Today, visitors can still admire the stunning artwork that has graced the church for centuries.

Jesuit Church

2.6. Votiv Church (1st district)

  • Located within the Ring circle.
  • Built as a thanksgiving gesture after Emperor Franz Joseph’s life was saved.
  • Revel in the neo-Gothic style and colorful stained glass that bathes the interior in a mesmerizing play of light.

Votiv Church

2.7. Catholic Church Maria am Gestade (1st district)

  • Among the few remaining Gothic-style churches in Vienna.
  • One of the city’s oldest churches.
  • Stained glass windows create dynamic, artistic atmospheres as they interact with sunlight throughout the day.

One of the oldest

2.8. St. Rupert’s Church (1st district)

  • Claimed as the oldest church in Vienna.
  • Roman and baroque simplicity takes you back to the 8th century.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart once played the organ here, dedicating a piece of music to the church.
  • Regular concerts are still held on this historic instrument.

Try to find the 8th century gate

2.9. Karlskirche (4th district)

  • Located outside the inner city.
  • Offers a perfect spot to watch the sunset.
  • The baroque-style church features unique pillars that resemble the Pillars of Hercules.
  • Inside, a stunning frescoed dome awaits your admiration.


2.10. Mexican or St. Francis of Assisi Church (2nd district)

  • Also known as the Mexican or St. Francis of Assisi church.
  • A unique architectural gem from the 19th century.
  • Near the Danube River and Reichsbrücke, which connects to the Donauinsel area.
  • A striking departure from Vienna’s classical style, it captures attention with its unconventional design.

The Mexican church

Stephansplatz cathedral in a sunny day

3. Donauinsel

One of the Things you need to do in Vienna is explore the Donauinsel, or Danube Island, is a hidden gem beloved by locals and a must-visit for anyone seeking free outdoor adventures in Vienna. It may not offer palm trees or sandy shores, but its unique blend of nature, entertainment, and cultural events make it a truly special destination.

  • Locals’ favorite spot for summer fun (a natural escape).
  • Danube Island Festival draws millions with music and culture (you have music, dance performances and cultural exhibitions). It’s a bit like Woodstock, but with a Viennese twist, complete with an abundance of traditional sausages to savor.
  • Try extreme sports like bungee jumping and wakeboarding.

Danube Island: Vienna’s unique island adventure.

Viennese island paradise

Free Things to do in Vienna - Explore the Donauinsel or Danube Island

4. Schönbrunner Park

Vienna can still be classic and monumental even if it is in a low budget! Schönbrunner Park, often overshadowed by the grandeur of Schönbrunn Palace, is a hidden treasure waiting to be explored. This expansive park, surrounding the palace, offers a serene retreat from the bustling city.

  • Vast green oasis – meticulously designed gardens, fountains, and statues, a testament to Vienna’s history and artistry.
  • Empress Elisabeth – Sissi cherished this park, finding solace in its embrace.
  • Café Gloriette – a hilltop café with panoramic views.
  • Charming labyrinth – search for hidden zodiac symbols.
  • Schönbrunn Palace Concerts – for music lovers can relish the park’s musical heritag and history.
  • Schönbrunner Park – a living tapestry of nature, history, and culture, welcoming all who seek its stories and beauty.

Explore the hidden wonders of the Schönbrunner Park

Café Gloriette at Schönbrunn Palace on a sunny day

5. Hundertwasser Village

Check one of the best free things to do in Vienna and step into Vienna’s vibrant and creative side at the enchanting Hundertwasser Village. This unique artistic creation by architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser is a testament to Vienna’s imaginative spirit, where architecture dances with nature.

  • Architectural Wonderland: Uneven floors, vibrant colors redefine urban living.
  • Nature’s Embrace: Trees and plants grow within the architecture.
  • Architect’s Vision: Friedensreich Hundertwasser, a green pioneer, celebrates imperfection and interconnectedness.
  • Creative Gem: Vienna’s artistic soul shines in this living work of art. Explore surprises around every corner.

Hundertwasser Village

Are you curious about the alternative side of Vienna? Read our Blog Unconventional Vienna: Top 10 Alternative and Artistic Sides of Vienna” and don’t miss to find out the other side of Vienna!

Free things to see in Vienna: explore Hundertwasser Village.

6. Wiener Trinkwasser

6. Vienna’s Refreshing Tap Water

Vienna’s drinking water isn’t just thirst-quenching; it’s filled with intriguing tidbits.

  • Purest Sips: Top-tier tap water sourced from 30 mountain springs.
  • Hydration Hub: Locals down over 170 liters per year.
  • Historical H2O: Dive into the First Vienna Spring Water Museum’s water-rich past.

Stay refreshed the Viennese way for free!

Trinkwasser Spots in the city:

7. Sissi-Denkmal im Volksgarten

A charming oasis nestled near Hofburg and other Vienna attractions. While here, explore temporary exhibitions, snap royal photos, indulge in picnics, calling all history buffs for this amazing free thing to do in Vienna.

  • Royal Photoshoot: Strike your best pose next to Empress Sissi. Capture the moment and flaunt your royal wave.
  • Picnic Perfection: Pack some yummy snacks and savor a picnic in Volksgarten’s green oasis.
  • Tiara Time: Feeling a tad fancy? Put on a tiara and step into the Empress’s shoes. Just be on the lookout for paparazzi trying to snap your royal moments.

Explore the free-entry Volksgarten park in the heart of Vienna where you can observe the grandiosity of the city for free. So, grab your camera, channel your inner Empress, and say “Cheese” like a true Austrian royal!

Location: Sissi-Denkmal, Volksgarten

Sissi-Denkmal im Volksgarten on a sunny day in the famous Ring of Vienna.

8. Naschmarkt Market

Step into Naschmarkt, where your senses come alive!

  • Sensory Delights: Marvel at vibrant produce and savor exotic spice scents.
  • Bargain Hunt: Sharpen your haggling skills, secure the best deals.
  • Worldly Dining: Embark on a global food journey in the city’s heart.
  • Community Hub: Immerse in local life with 120+ market stands and a bustling weekend Flea Market.
  • Celeb Watch: Spot famous faces, from actors to politicians, as you stroll through the market.

Ready for a market adventure in the heart of Vienna? Let’s go!

Try your luck in Naschmarkt!

Naschmarkt stand with a variety of fruits

9. Kahlenberg

Welcome to Kahlenberg, where nature and history converge!

  • Scenic Vista: Behold Vienna and Danube River’s beauty from Vienna Woods.
  • Historic Journey: Explore Kahlenberg Church, commemorating a key Battle of Vienna moment (18th century).
  • Vineyard Charm: Sip local wines in hillside vineyards, dine at Austrian restaurants.
  • Hiking Escapes: Hike Kahlenberg Circular and Vienna Panorama Trails for stunning vistas.
  • Cog Railway Ride: Enjoy Kahlenbergbahn’s scenic summit journey via cog railway.
  • Magic Moments: Witness Vienna’s transformative sunrise and sunset charm!

Kahlenberg: Where nature’s beauty and history’s legacy collide!

Are you a fan of hikes and natural life? Check our BlogpostTop 9 Nature Adventures and Outdoor Activities in Viennawhere you can see more free things to do in Vienna!

Best view of Vienna in Kahlenberg at sunset time

10. Hermesvilla/ Lainzer Tiergarten

  • Hermesvilla’s Elegance: Empress Sissi’s historic retreat, a must-see architectural gem.
  • Lainzer Tiergarten’s Wild Beauty: A vast nature reserve, home to deer, boars, and foxes.
  • Perfect Day Out: Combine palace opulence with untamed natural beauty.
  • Live Like Royalty: Take a palace tour, maybe even don a tiara.
  • Wildlife Watch: Spot animals but respect the boars’ personal space!

Free things to do there:

  • Hiking Haven: Over 80 km of trails for all levels, winding through forests and meadows, perfect for spotting wildlife.
  • Hermesvilla’s Charm: Explore the historic palace, once Empress Elisabeth’s summer home, now a free museum with beautiful gardens.
  • Picnic Paradise: Enjoy a scenic outdoor meal in the park’s green spaces.
  • Bike Bliss: Pedal through nature on well-marked bike paths (free bike rentals available).
  • Bird-Watcher’s Dream: Home to 100+ bird species, making it a bird-watcher’s paradise with great bird-spotting opportunities.
Sissi's historic retreat: Hermesvilla and Lainzer Tiergarten on a sunny day sorrounded by trees and statues.
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