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 🙂
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 which 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 Pass||Vienna City Card Red||Vienna City Card White||Vienna Flexi Pass|
|24 hours||59 €||17 €||32 €||From 39 €|
|48 hours||89 €||25 €||37 €||From 39 €|
|72 hours||119 €||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.
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 Price||Vienna Pass||Vienna City Card Red||Vienna Flexi Pass|
|Tourist Pass||–||119 €||29 €||39 €|
|Public Transport||17 €||17 €||0 €||17 €|
|15 €||0 €||14 €||15 €|
|Imperial Apartments||17 €||0 €||16 €||17 €|
|Imperial Library||8 €||0 €||7 €||0 €|
|Belvedere||22 €||0 €||19 €||22 €|
|Ferris Wheel||10 €||0 €||9 €||0 €|
|Schönbrunn Palace||24 €||0 €||21 €||24 €|
|Danube Tower||10 €||0 €||8 €||0 €|
|Total Costs||123 €||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!