I rarely take more than a few days off at a time so when I travel for longer than a long weekend I like to maximise my time away. When I started planning my trip to Budapest, I had a look at the most interesting and easily accessible cities to it and settled on Vienna. It also happened to be on my must-see list so I was happy! Now you might recall that I splurged a little in Budapest so I needed to keep Vienna as frugal as possible. I had no idea where to start but got a good idea of prices and an itinerary from On the Luce’s “Visiting Vienna on a budget” article.
Transport and Accommodation (£187.78)
We booked the cheapest Easyjet tickets (£57.35) home that we could find a couple of months out and got the train from Budapest (£34.86). We stayed in a loft style apartment with an outdoor dining area, 360 degree views and a bloody hammock (£82.50). I’ve already spent a bit of time fantasising about living in a space like this. Date night could be frugal yet revolutionary and I could ‘camp’ out in the summer too. We took a train to the Vienna airport (£3.47) and I resisted the urge to get an Uber home so spent £9.60 instead on public transport home from Gatwick.
Food (€39.22 / £34.87)
The first night, tired from a long day with heavy bags and travelling from Budapest, we just had dinner at a restaurant on the way to the apartment (€20.98). We stocked up on groceries from the local Spar and Billa as well as a few bits and bobs from Nachstmarkt which is halfway between the apartment and the city centre. I had noodles and pasta for meals at home and I made cheese, ham, egg and tomato sandwiches for the times that we were in the city centre for longer stretches of time as well as for the airport. I also took my own beer (purchased in Budapest) out a couple of times so didn’t buy much alcohol in Vienna.
Entertainment (€19.90* / £17.69)
For Budapest my mate had got a guide book so we made plans on where to go and what to do based on that as well as tips provided by my Hungarian mate. For Vienna, we didn’t have a guidebook and our only tips were to go to the Wiener Staatsoper (Opera house) and to find the original Sachetorte (chocolate cake). Using Google, I found a list of places of interest and sorted them by cheapness (preferably free) and location to plan our days.
Wandered through the city for a bit – MuseumsQuartier, Burggarten and then did the free tour of Rathaus (city hall) before going via Nachsmarkt home for a wee nap and food.
On the first evening we saw Swan Lake reloaded, described as Tchaikovsky meets Street Dance, as part of the free film festival at the Rathaus. I’d honestly expected to fall asleep because ballet is not my thing and I associate classical music with bedtime. However, I found myself super engaged and even dancing to some of the rap/electro music mashes. Even better, I totally understood what was going on and as someone who’s seen hundreds of theatre performances, I can assure you this is extraordinary for me.
Early start for us on the second day. We had a “free walking tour” scheduled for 10am. I was up at 6am so when we stopped for a quick break in the middle of the tour I got a Viennese Malange (coffee) to keep me warm and perk me up (€3.50). The tour covered some of the areas that we hadn’t realised we were looking at yesterday – such as the Hoffsburg palace and gardens (Burggarten) – and others that we hadn’t even seen at all including the Jewish quarter and St Stephen’s cathedral. We paid €5 each but if there hadn’t been as many people I would have upped it to €10.
We were lucky to catch the Lipizanner horses as they went to training as we were trapped indoors by the rain and missed their wee show in Burggarten later in the evening. We happened to go shopping and all the money I’ve saved from eating indoors I blew on a pair of Vans trainers I’ve been waiting for since Boxing day sales which happened to be on sale in my size in Euros in Vienna (€69.95).
In the evening, we tried to go back to the Haus der Musik (House of Music) for their half price night ticket because I heard it’s an excellent interactive museum but I was too tired and sleepy and needed a wake up coffee. We sat in a lovely cafe in the shopping area and just had a drink and a chat instead (€4.90 for my Bailey’s coffee).
Decided that we weren’t in the mood to wander aimlessly like we’d planned when we could just chill, watch the tennis and eat lovely home cooked meals instead. My mate sunbathed in the hammock and I ate alfresco again – all for free!
Banking / transactions (£0**)
I used my Monzo card exclusively for this trip and even ponied up for all my mate’s spending because she forgot hers and the rates / fees she got stiffed with in Budapest weren’t worth repeating.
A restful, informative, and tasty four-day trip with lots of stuff to do cost me a grand total of £240.34!!!! It’s certainly the cheapest trip I’ve had away in Europe. If that’s not a luxuriously thrifty long weekend away, I don’t know what is.