Home » Europe » Austria

Vienna Pass vs Vienna Card: Which Vienna Tourist Card is the Best?

vienna pass vs vienna card vienna tourist card

Until recently I had never really thought about getting a tourist card for Vienna. Growing up in Austria, I have visited Vienna uncountable times, but usually, I could get by well enough without a tourist pass. Of course, things change once you move abroad or if you have friends asking for recommendations. That’s when I noticed that there are in fact four different Vienna tourist cards which all offer different benefits. That’s why I thought I would sit down and find the best Vienna tourist card for you. We’ll particularly be discussing the benefits of the Vienna Pass vs Vienna Card. It’s my mission to get you a real bang for your buck, so let’s get cracking 🙂

Please note that this article contains affiliate links. Learn more about it on our Disclosure page. We use ads to support our small business – we hope you don’t mind them too much.

Do I Really Need a Tourist Card?

I must honestly say that Mihir and I almost never buy a tourist card in any city we visit. The reason is that we usually have limited time to explore and try to avoid spending too much time inside. The truth is also, that many cities are lacking in a large number of attractive sights and museums.

We usually hand-pick one or two locations that we want to see and pay for the entrance fees separately. Additionally, we often visit smaller walkable cities.

Now, Vienna is neither lacking in cultural attractions nor particularly small. Firstly, Vienna stretches over an area of more than 400 km2 and is the home of 5 metro lines, spanning a network of 80 km in addition to local trains, trams, and buses.

Although many of the main sights can be reached on foot, some will require the use of public transport. That is especially true if you want to get off the beaten track in Vienna.

Vienna is also home to some of Europe’s best museums and most beautiful palaces. Those who love art and history will want to explore as many of them as possible (I know I do). Unfortunately, entrances tend to be rather expensive. Many of the royal sights cost 10 EUR and upwards and museums are not far behind.

All in all, chances are high you would benefit from a tourist card in Vienna. If you are still unsure, we have compared prices with and without tourist cards for you below.

Which Tourist Cards are There in Vienna?

To determine whether a Vienna tourist card is worth your money, you should first understand that there are actually four different tourist cards in Vienna, all with varying benefits and costs. The four cards are:

While the Vienna Vienna Pass and the Vienna Card are available in various validity periods (e.g. 24 hours or 72 hours), the Vienna Flexi Pass is a kind of stamp card available for either 3, 4, or 5 sights in Vienna. Out of all the passes, the Vienna Pass is undoubtedly the most expensive while the Vienna City Card Red is the most affordable option.

 Vienna PassVienna City Card RedVienna City Card WhiteVienna Flexi Pass
24 hours59 €17 €32 €From 39 €
48 hours89 €25 €37 €From 39 €
72 hours119 €29 €41 €From 39 €

Below we are going to dive into the specifics of these cards so you can understand what they each include. It is worth noting that although some of the cards do include public transport, this does NOT include transport to or from Vienna International Airport.

Vienna Pass

The Vienna Pass is the kind of tourist card you are probably used to where you pay a flat fee and gain access to a large number of attractions. The Vienna Pass is available either for 1 day, 2 days, 3 days, or 6 days.

Although it is the most expensive tourist pass, a discounted pass is available for children between 6 and 18 years. Children under 6 may accompany a paying adult for free. Some of the pass’ main benefits are:

  • Free entrance to 60 attractions
  • Unlimited use of the Hop On Hop Off Buses
  • Free guidebook and map
  • Fast track entry to many attractions (e.g. Belvedere, Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel)
  • Unlimited public transport can be added at an additional cost

If you are visiting during the winter you may not enjoy the same benefits as if you were visiting during the summer as some of the attractions included in the Vienna Pass may actually be closed during the winter (e.g. parts of Schönbrunn Palace). To get the most out of the Vienna Pass, you should visit between April and October.

Another issue with the Vienna Pass is that it does not work on a 24h basis but on a daily basis. That means if you use your pass on your first day at 17:00 (you need to scan the barcode on the card), this counts as the first day. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you start using your pass as early in the morning as possible.

You may order the Vienna Pass online and have it home delivered or pick it up when you get to Vienna. Alternatively, you can also download the Vienna Pass App for your phone.

Vienna City Card

The Vienna city card is unlike the Vienna Pass as it doesn’t include free entrances to sites and museums, but rather offers discounts, usually in the range of 1-5 EUR. One of the main benefits of the Vienna City card is that the discounts don’t only apply to sites and museums, but also to selected restaurants, shops, and leisure activities.

There are in fact two Vienna City Cards, namely the Red Card and the White Card. As you have seen, the White Card is significantly more expensive but includes free travel on Hop on Hop off Buses as well as a guided walking tour.

At the moment there are no discounted cards for children. However, on the Red Card, a child up to the age of 15 may accompany a paying adult. On the White Card, this applied to children up to the age of 16.

This only includes travel as discount benefits do not apply to children. However, entrance is free for children under 6 at many attractions in Vienna, and generally discounted youth tickets are also available.

Some of the pass’ main benefits are:

  • Unlimited travel on the Hop on Hop off Buses (White) or Vienna public transport (Red)
  • 210 discounts
  • Free walking tour (White)

You can buy the Vienna City Cards online and have them home-delivered. You can also pick up the physical pass from one of the three pick-up points in Vienna. Alternatively, you can also download the Vienna City Card App for your phone.

Vienna Flexi Pass

As mentioned before, the Vienna Flexi Pass is a kind of stamp card, available for either 3, 4 or 5 attractions. It includes 30 attractions in total and you have 30 days to use up your pass from the first day of use. Children between 6 and 18 years are entitled to a 50% discount on the Flexi Pass. Children under 6 may accompany a paying adult for free. Some of the pass’ main benefits are:

  • Free entrance to a selected number of attractions
  • Long validity period
  • Free guidebook

In our opinion, some of the attractions included in the Flexi Pass are somewhat random, such as Schlumberger Cellars or the Collection of Anatomical Pathology. Some of the more notable sights included in this pass are the Upper Belvedere and the Giant Ferris Wheel.

You can pay for the Flexi Pass online, however, you will need to pick up the physical pass from the pick-up point in central Vienna at Opernpassage, Top 3.

Vienna Pass vs Vienna Card

In order to determine which card will save you the biggest amount of money, we compared prices on a sample itinerary for three days. While we only included 7 sights, we honestly believe that this is the most realistic amount of things you’ll be able to see within that time frame.

The itinerary does, however, cover some of the most expensive entrances, such as Belvedere Palace and Schönbrunn Palace.

In addition, we have decided to omit the Vienna City Card White in this comparison as you will most likely need to use public transport during your stay which gives the Red Card an advantage.

Instead of paying a premium for a walking tour, we recommend that you save yourself some money and follow our self-guided walking tour of Vienna instead.

With that in mind, we have created an overview of the money you would have to spend during three days in Vienna, visiting seven selected sites.

 Original PriceVienna PassVienna City Card RedVienna Flexi Pass
Tourist Pass119 €29 €39 €
Public Transport17 €17 €0 €17 €
Kunsthistorisches
Museum
15 €0 €14 €15 €
Imperial Apartments17 €0 €16 €17 €
Imperial Library8 €0 €7 €0 €
Belvedere22 €0 €19 €22 €
Ferris Wheel10 €0 €9 €0 €
Schönbrunn Palace24 €0 €21 €24 €
Danube Tower10 €0 €8 €0 €
Total Costs123 €136 €123 €134 €

Conclusion: Which Vienna Tourist Card to Buy

In the battle of Vienna Pass vs Vienna Card, who won? Objectively, following our sample itinerary the Vienna Card actually ended up being cheaper than the Vienna Pass.

However, it did not lead to any savings compared to prices without a tourist pass. Still, the Vienna Card would save you money if you added even one more site to your itinerary or enjoyed one of the discounts on meals or activities.

The Vienna Pass including the optional Travelticket for 17 EUR ended up being the most expensive option. However, you could easily squeeze in a few more smaller museums for the card to be worth it. Alternatively, and depending on the location of your hotel, you could also omit the public transport ticket and only use the Hop on Hop off Buses instead.

The Flexi Pass is not suitable in combination with our sample itinerary. It would be beneficial for somebody who was staying in Vienna for a longer period of time and who was only interested in visiting 3 or 4 sites.

However, in order to make the most out of the Flexipass, you would have to use it on the most expensive entrances included in the pass (e.g. Schönbrunn Zoo).


Now, what do you think? Which Vienna tourist card is the most suitable for your needs? Where do you stand on Vienna Pass vs Vienna Card? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

About Jacky

Hi there, I'm Jacky. I was born and raised in Austria, but have lived most of my adult life abroad. I'm addicted to all things Nordic, good coffee (sometimes also bad coffee), and beautiful architecture. I love my cats, although my husband Mihir is not too bad either 😉

13 thoughts on “Vienna Pass vs Vienna Card: Which Vienna Tourist Card is the Best?”

  1. Thank you for this very helpful comparison.
    I do have some questions though. So Vienna Pass is the only one that offers fast track. Does that mean with Vienna Card, we have to fall in line? We’re planning to visit around September of next year. If the lines are really long, then I guess the Vienna Pass will be worth the added cost. Is my understanding correct?

    1. Hi Louise,

      That’s a good question. I’m not exactly sure how they handle the Vienna Card at all of the attractions. It may mean that you won’t have the fast track option, yes, but depending on when you come in September, the lines shouldn’t be all too long 🙂

  2. Thanks for this! My husband and I will be in Vienna Sept 28th-Oct 1st and I was trying to figure out which pass made the most sense for our 2.5 days of sightseeing. As much as I wish I could pack everything into those days, I need to be realistic and understand that I’ll probably only get to see a handful of places on my list. And looking at your prices above, it probably makes the most sense to just go with the City Pass. I appreciate the help!

    1. Hi Lauren!

      Glad this could help you guide a little bit. I’m sure you’ll enjoy your time in Vienna, no matter what 🙂

      Jacky

  3. Dear Jacky
    Thank you for the wonderful self guided mapped tour of Vienna. Just what we were looking for to help soak in the beauty of the city and what it has to offer. We are now on our way and will surely make the most of it.

    1. Dear Reginald,

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I hope you’ll enjoy Vienna despite the heat this week!

      Jacky

  4. Wanted to stop by and say THANK YOU for putting together this post! It helped us decide what would work best for us – I kept your blog bookmarked while we traveled Vienna – you must have put a lot of work into this and it shows!

    1. Dear Tausha,

      thank you so much for your kind words. It really makes us happy to know that you enjoyed our work and, more importantly, your time in Vienna! 🙂

      Jacky

  5. Thank you so much, this is very helpful! We plan to visit in December and was wondering about the real value of the pass as we would be there on the 31st and 1st of January. Unfortunately some of the attractions might even be closed, so I think we would rather not buy any passes/cards.

    Appreciate your thorough feedback 🙂

    Greetings from South Africa (Cape Town)

    1. Dear Tania,

      thanks for getting in touch 🙂 Unfortunately, I have to agree with you. Attractions will close early on the 31st and next to everything will be closed on the 1st of January. It won’t be worth getting a tourist pass, but on the upside, you can spend your time roaming the beautiful city instead 🙂

      Hope you’ll enjoy your stay in Vienna!

      Jacky

  6. Thank you so much Jacky. We are on the train to Vienna right now (just leave Budapest). We had searched all information from online webpage. It’s very confusing for various type of passes in Vienna. But finally, we found your blog which easy to understand and very helpful. You solve all of our curiousity!!! Thanks again!

    1. Dear Pap,

      thanks you so much for your kind words 🙂 We had the same problem which is why I put this guide together. I hope you have the best of times in Vienna!

      Jacky

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.