Imperial Vienna, Austria
Visiting with the Vienna Pass
If you don’t mind my personification, Vienna is like an old college friend that is out of my league. Though I love spending time with her, she is fabulously wealthy and I just can’t keep up with her financially. In fact, Vienna, is imperial! Therefore, I don’t visit her as often as I would like and when I do I have to get creative on how to make my euros stretch. It can be difficult to stay on budget, when you encounter luxury at every turn.
The city is remarkably pristine, filled with baroque architecture, majestic palaces, and musical genius. To top it all off, churches, palaces and museums are filled with priceless and famous works of art. You have to stop to absorb all of the beauty and splendor while sipping on a mélange, coffee topped with fresh whipped cream, in Wien’s distinctive coffee house culture. The Kaffeehaus, is a traditional Viennese establishment dating back to the 17th century, so it is a “must-do” at least once on your visit.
Over the years, I have learned how to travel wisely and within a budget. With that said, I have never met a city card that I didn’t like and the Vienna PASS is as superb as its namesake! It is an all-inclusive card that gives you entry to over 60 of the finest museums, palaces, attractions and monuments, often offering fast track entry. It includes the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus, a Danube sightseeing cruise and you can add an unlimited public transportation card if you would like. A 24 hour Vienna PASS will cost €59.00 for an adult (€67.00 with a transportation card) and €29.50 for a child. You can also purchase a two, three and six day passes, each offering additional savings.
Vienna is big and a bit sprawling, so it makes sense to do your research and have a plan before you get there. I’ve been to this stunning city about nine times and I still have a list of things to see and do there. It is packed with history and grandeur, yet it stays rooted somehow. The city has a unique vibe that varies as you move from one part of the city to another.
One way to make this city more affordable is to package it with Prague, Budapest or Bratislava, all of which offers easy train connections to the center of Vienna. RailJet is my favorite train service connecting these cities. Once in Vienna an unlimited day pass for public transportation is €7.50 for adults. If you do not add it to your Vienna PASS, it is easily obtained at any station.
I specifically went to Vienna this trip to visit Schönbrunn Palace. My first trip to Vienna was a solo backpacking trip during one of my summer breaks in college. When I arrived to visit the palace, I could not afford the entry, so I spent the day sketching and writing in my journal in the spectacular and very free gardens.
When I left the palace, I added it to my bucket list of someplace to return to someday. Because my agenda was very specific this trip, I booked the Marriott Courtyard that is just a short walk away from the palace and the Schönbrunn Zoo. It is also close to a Metro stop and one of the Hop-on Hop-Off Bus stops. This made it very easy to get to the locations on my itinerary and utilize the Vienna PASS. Another thing I appreciated about the Vienna PASS is that they have a very well-designed and user-friendly website. It makes it easy to figure out what you would like to do and weigh out the benefits and savings of the card, as well as plan your time wisely by clustering activities that are close together and easy to get to. Also, they have a logo and signage that is very easy to spot when you are looking for entry areas. You could not ask for an easier city pass to use.
I used the Vienna PASS for a day and it more than paid for itself. I started my day early with the Grand Tour of the Schönbrunn Palace. Was it worth the wait since college? Absolutely. The craftsmanship and artistry were delightful visually. It is a place made for lingering and if you are familiar with the Hapsburg history you can see it all playing out in front of you. If you get there as the palace opens, you will have plenty of time to peruse the rooms. However, by mid-morning the courtyard was filling up with tourists and large tour groups. After a leisurely self-guided tour of the palace, you can enjoy the expansive and beautiful gardens.
After a delightful 15 minute walk through the gardens on a footpath, you will arrive at the Schönbrun Zoo, or the Tiergarten Schönbrun. What makes this zoo special, is that it is the oldest continually running zoo in the world. The animals are kept in impeccably clean environments with highly specialized diets. You know while visiting that the animals are loved and well taken care of. The highlight of the visit were the pandas, of course! There are several other things in the immediate area that you can visit using your Vienna PASS, however, it was time to take a ride on the Hop-On Hop-Off bus to visit the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, the museum of Military History. Even if you are not into military history, the architecture of the building alone is worth the visit. The war museum displays start in the 1600’s and go through WWII.
For first time visitors to Vienna, it may be a good idea to start in the inner ring. This area is highly concentrated with major attractions and a plethora of restaurants. It gives you old world charm galore, and if you go during Christmas, it is elaborately decorated and boasts a splendid market.
Vienna is a city whose fabric is woven together with the royalty of the Hapsburgs, the music of Mozart, the paintings of Klimt and the intelligence of Freud. Why would you not want to visit this remarkable city, even if it is just for a weekend?
For more information visit VIENNAPASS.COM
About Jodie Linton-Prickett: Jodie Linton-Prickett has been writing and editing since 2005. Her main focus has been on regional publications in North Texas, including 380Guide Magazine and 380News. Recently she has been pursuing her passion of promoting travel through a series of articles for these publications. She has traveled to over 40 countries on four continents, the majority of the states in the U.S, and almost 300 cities worldwide.
As a citizen of the world, she hopes to promote a better understanding of history, art and cultures through her articles. Any adventure is welcomed, from around her home to half the world away. However, her favorite travel is the unusual and obscure. Some of her experiences include visiting the epicenter of Kiev protesting in 2014, which started the Ukraine Revolution, walking the yellow brick road in Sofia, Bulgaria, viewing the boarder fences erected between Serbia and Hungary, and traveling the boarder of Hungary, Austria and Serbia when the Bosnian War broke out.