When I was planning my trip to Vienna with mum last month, the one suggestion that came up again and again in my research was the Vienna PASS.
I’m usually a bit sceptical of city passes to be honest (and this isn’t a sponsored post!), but we decided to give it a go. I was interested to see how much we’d actually use the PASS, and if it was worth the money.
Spoiler alert: it’s great value for money – if you know how to use it properly.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Vienna PASS, including our full 2 day itinerary!
The Vienna PASS is a city tour card that will give you discounted access to a huge range of attractions in Vienna city centre, including sightseeing buses, museums, palaces, boat tours, and much more.
We managed to use the PASS on 12 of its available attractions over 2 days, and thought it was absolutely brilliant. It meant we could speed through the things that weren’t particularly interesting, and it nudged us to visit great attractions that we’d never even have thought about on our own.
However, if you like to linger in one place for hours, or if you prefer to just wander and see where the city takes you, then this may not be the right option for you.
Also, even though you don’t need spreadsheets or down-to-the-minute schedules, you do need to do a bit of prep work and plan your days a little.
Keep scrolling to read our two-day itinerary!
When you collect your Vienna PASS, you’ll also be given an information pack, which includes a map, a timetable for the sightseeing buses, and a booklet of attractions available with your PASS.
This booklet is your bible for planning your time in Vienna. The attractions are usefully arranged by area and, even more helpfully, colour coded by sightseeing bus route.
Each attraction has its own page, with a description (in three languages) of what it’s about, information on opening times, available bus routes, and what exactly is included.
We looked through the booklet on our first night and folded down the pages of attractions we were interested in. Then we made a vague plan of which areas we’d cover on each of our two days.
During our active PASS time, we regularly checked the booklet when we stopped for coffee or food. We’d see what was in the area and update our plans depending on the weather, how tired we were, and if we just didn’t fancy doing something anymore.
There are four types of Vienna PASS: 1 day, 2 day, 3 day, and 6 day.
A 2 day Adult PASS costs €89, which works out at around £80 (depending on rates). A 2 day Child PASS is €44.50, and children under 6 have free access to the same attractions as their parents.
Even though the Hop On Hop Off buses are included with your Vienna PASS, you may also want to add a Travelcard to your order.
These Travelcards will give you unlimited access to Vienna’s metro, tram, train and bus system (including night buses).
Our Airbnb was slightly out-of-town, and we had to get a tram and then a metro to get most places, so it made sense for us. It meant we didn’t have to faff around looking for spare change all the time!
However, if you’re staying right in the city centre, it might be cheaper for you to pay per journey.
There are 24 hour, 48 hour and 72 hour Travelcards available. We paid for the 72 Hour option, which worked perfectly for our four-day trip and cost €17.10.
ALSO: Train fare to and from Vienna airport isn’t fully covered by the Travelcard. You’ll need to buy an extension for this at the airport. This costs €1.70.
Order your Vienna PASS online before you go. Make sure you take your ID and the credit or debit card you used to buy it, as you’ll need both to collect your PASSes.
We booked on Gary’s credit card and didn’t realise until it was too late that we needed the card to collect the tickets, so make sure you use a card that you can travel with! I managed to collect ours by pleading and begging, but there’s absolutely no guarantee they’ll hand them over.
The Vienna PASS is activated the first time you use it at an attraction.
Your Travelcard (if you’ve bought one) is collected with your Vienna PASS, and you’ll need to validate it before you travel. You can do this at most train stations, including the airport.
IMPORTANT: Unlike the Travelcard, the Vienna PASS is valid for calendar days, not hours. So if you activate your Vienna PASS at 5pm on a Monday, it will only work on Monday and Tuesday. Be smart, plan ahead, and activate your Vienna PASS in the morning, when you have a full day ahead.
9:30am: Schönbrunn Palace Grand Tour
A self-guided tour inside the fabulous Schönbrunn Palace – includes free entry and audio guide.
You must book your tickets for the Tour at the front desk. I’d recommend doing this as early as you can, as they’ll give you an alloted time for your tour and it does get booked up. At 9:30am, we were able to go in pretty much straight away.
*Instagram tip: No photos are allowed inside the Palace. Save it for the Gardens!
Learn how pastry chefs make a classic apple strudel in the Palace’s imperial bakery – includes free entry and a small sample of strudel.
You can pay at the door to upgrade to the large sample, or add a hot drink.
12pm: Palmhaus Schönbrunn
The largest indoor/glasshouse garden on continental Europe – includes free entry.
12:30pm: Schönbrunn Panorama Train
The rail-free train that circles the extensive Schönbrunn Palace Gardens – includes unlimited free travel on the train.
The bus stops include the Palm House, the Zoo, the Orangerie, and it even goes right to the top of the Gloriette Hill. You’ll need to get a hand stamp from the driver.
1pm: Hop On Hop Off sightseeing bus (yellow line)
We took the circular Yellow route to central Vienna – getting off at Heroes’ Square.
3pm: Self-guided walking tour of Vienna City Centre
*There is a guided walking tour available on the PASS but we wanted to wander alone.
A fun way to learn more about Vienna’s History, from Roman Times through to the current day – includes free entry.
It’s super touristy but very interesting, and includes a 5D cinema experience and animatronic shows. Plus it’s only an hour long.
The beautiful State Hall is like something out of Beauty and the Beast and definitely worth a visit – includes free entry.
*Instagram Tip: we arrived super early and the Hall was already busy, so if you want photos with no people around, make sure you’re waiting at the door when they open!
Watch the famous Lippizaner stallions and their riders perform limbering exercises and movement training to classic Viennese music – includes free entry.
This is only open between 10am and 12pm so it will inevitably be busy. There is standing room available, or head upstairs for a better chance of finding seats.
11:30am: Imperial Treasury of Vienna
Exhibition of the Habsburg family treasures, including crowns, sceptres, the Holy Roman Emperor robes, and the biggest emerald in the world – includes free entry.
1pm: Hop On Hop Off sightseeing bus (red line)
We took the red line to Schwedenplatz.
1:30pm: City Cruise boat tour (Tour C)
A 75 minute boat ride up the Danube Canal, passing incredible modern Viennese architecture and street art – includes free tour on route C.
We ordered drinks and a cheese and cold cuts platter to share, which was much cheaper than expected and very nice. Perfect for a light lunch.
A really interesting self-guided tour of the recently restored imperial apartments, and a fascinating look into the life of the famous Princess Sisi – includes free entry.
Mum really wanted to do this one. I wasn’t particularly fussed, but actually I really enjoyed it!
4:30pm: Hop On Hop Off sightseeing bus (blue line)
We did the whole route once, then went round again (got stuck in traffic)… and jumped off at Prater.
The giant ferris wheel is one of Vienna’s most iconic attractions and has incredible views over the city – includes one free ride.
NOTE: We arrived in Vienna at around 11am on Monday, and activated our 72 hour Travelcards at the airport. These lasted until 11am on Thursday, and were invaluable for us in getting in, out and around the city centre, especially on Monday and Thursday when we didn’t have the sightseeing buses.
We sat down on our last day and counted up how many activities we’d done that were included on the Vienna PASS.
Then we used the prices listed on the Vienna PASS attractions page to calculate how much we would have spent if we’d paid for each item individually. Including a 48 hour Hop On Hop Off bus pass, this total came to €172.90 each.
We paid €89 each for our 2-day Vienna PASS, which adds up to a grand saving of €83.90 (around £72).
That’s almost a 50% savings rate!
What I loved most about the Vienna PASS is that we were able to dip in and out of attractions as we fancied, without worrying about the cost of each individual item.
For example: entry to watch the Spanish Riding School’s morning exercise is €15. After about half an hour, we were ready to move on, but if we’d paid full price I would have felt guilty leaving so soon.
It was really liberating, and it also meant we got to see and do things that A) I wouldn’t have known about (eg: the Strudel Show), and B) I probably would never have ever paid for individually (eg: the Time Travel experience).
I’ve been raving about the Vienna PASS to anyone who will listen and honestly couldn’t recommend it enough if you’re planning a long weekend in the city!
*Our trip to Vienna was sponsored by Airbnb Experiences.