Is the Vienna Pass worth it? Vienna Pass 2016 review and prices
City passes such as the Vienna Pass seem to almost be too good to be true. They offer scores of “free” museums and attractions for a fairly modest price, usually including an expensive bus tour and all of the most expensive attractions. The Vienna Pass is similar to the others in that it’s easy to be confused, so I’ve broken down the best and most worthwhile attractions below, which can all be visited in 2 or 3 days.
Once you take a closer look you realize that on a typical visit the average traveler will only have time for 3 or perhaps 4 attractions per day. As long as the important and included attractions are worth enough, a pass like this is usually a good deal. In the case of the Vienna Pass, it’s pretty straightforward as good value for enthusiastic visitors, but not for those who are unable to plan their days out at least a bit in advance.
Is the Vienna Pass worth it? (short version)
Vienna is one of Europe’s grandest and most important cities, and fortunately for the first-time visitor, it has a fairly short list of must-see attractions and tours. If you are the typical visitor with 2 or 3 days to explore Vienna and you want to see most or all of these famous top attractions, the Vienna Pass will save you money and at least some time as well.
If you have only exactly one day to explore Vienna, the Pass can be good value if you plan well and allow the full day. Otherwise, it’s probably best to just focus on 2 or 3 main attractions and assume you’ll come back again to see the rest.
Visitors to Vienna who don’t care to plan their days out at all, or who just prefer to wander around the city center and sip a drink at one of the gorgeous cafes are obviously better off without the Vienna Pass. This pass is a very good deal for those who really want to see the best the city has to offer in a short time. But those without a plan will struggle to make proper use of it.
What’s included with the Vienna Pass
The Vienna Pass includes free admission to over 60 of the top attractions in the city, including queue-skipping FastTrack entry to several of these.
Officially you get the following 4 items:
- Free admission into 60+ top attractions as well as the hop-on-hop-off bus tour for the duration of your card
- Optional travelcard covering all public transport for the duration of your card
- A detailed guidebook
- Fast-track (skip the queue) entry to many popular attractions
As is typical with the city passes, this one includes many attractions that are either relatively cheap on their own, or fairly obscure, but it also includes every top attraction that nearly all visitors come to experience.
Here are the key attractions that you’ll want to focus on:
Hop-on, Hop-off bus tour: €22.50 to €29.50
Vienna has a compact center, but several key attractions are in other districts. This hop-on, hop-off bus tour features 6 different routes and is justifiably popular. One route covers the central Ring area, which is where most landmarks are located. Another goes out to Schönbrunn Palace, which everyone wants to see. This is one of the few HOHO buses that can efficiently be used as transportation by many visitors due to the layout of the city.
Schönbrunn Palace Grand Tour: €16.40
This amazing palace is the number one attraction in Vienna, in spite of its location outside of the center. You are going to want to do this tour whether you buy the Vienna Pass or not.
Hofburg Imperial Palace: €12.50
This slightly less impressive palace is located on the Ring in the center of Vienna so you’ll be passing it many times no matter what.
It’s also smaller so you can do a quick visit and still see a lot.
Madame Tussauds Vienna: €20.50
This one is optional, but if you have a Vienna Pass it’s definitely worth stopping in for an hour or two. These wax museums might not sound all that interesting, until you actually visit one and see how impressive they are.
Giant Ferris Wheel in Prater Amusement Park: €9.50
Perhaps Vienna’s most famous landmark, this Ferris Wheel was famously featured in the movie The Third Man, and is incredibly popular with first-time visitors. You can reach it easily on the HOHO bus or a regular tram, and the views from the top are the best in the city.
Guided Walking Tour: Introducing Vienna (2 hours): €25 or
Vienna Sightseeing Tours: Guided Walking Tour (1 hour): €15
The HOHO Bus is great to see the majority of Vienna’s most famous buildings and landmarks around the Ring, but it can’t get into the pedestrian-only area in the middle of the city. These walking tours are the best and fastest way to see and understand the history and incredible architecture in the center.
The above attractions can all be done in 2 days
If you only have 2 days in Vienna, you still have enough time to cover all of the top attractions mentioned just above, and still have your evenings free and maybe time for 1 or 2 more things. The price of these on their own is over €100, so the Vienna Pass is clearly a good deal for anyone who wants to cover these top things in 2 or 3 days.
However, if you are the type of visitor who mainly likes to walk around and only see 1 or 2 sights each day, then the Vienna Pass would not be good value. It’s best for first-time visitors who really want to experience as much of this gorgeous city as possible in an efficient and organized way. If you are not this type of traveler, you’ll probably still enjoy Vienna in your own way.
Prices of the 2016 Vienna Pass
- 1-Day Adult Vienna Pass (ages 19+) with travel: €67
- 1-Day Adult Vienna Pass (ages 19+) no travel: €59
- 1-Day Child Vienna Pass (ages 6-18) with travel: €33.50
- 1-Day Child Vienna Pass (ages 6-18) no travel: €29.50
- 2-Day Adult Vienna Pass with travel: €88
- 2-Day Adult Vienna Pass no travel: €74
- 2-Day Child Vienna Pass with travel: €44
- 2-Day Child Vienna Pass no travel: €37
- 3-Day Adult Vienna Pass with travel: €106
- 3-Day Adult Vienna Pass no travel: €89
- 3-Day Child Vienna Pass with travel: €53.50
- 3-Day Child Vienna Pass no travel: €44.50
- 6-Day Adult Vienna Pass with travel: €148
- 6-Day Adult Vienna Pass no travel: €114
- 6-Day Child Vienna Pass with travel: €74
- 6-Day Child Vienna Pass no travel: €57
Is the Vienna TravelCard worth it?
The add-on price of the Vienna TravelCard is essentially the same as you’d pay if you bought it on your own once you got there. So if you think you’ll need an unlimited transport card for all of the subways, trams, buses, and local trains in Vienna, you might as well order it with the card so you’ll have it when you arrive without having to stand in line and try to buy one from a German-speaking attendant.
The central Ring area of Vienna is fairly compact, and if you are staying in a hotel within the Ring you might save a bit of money by buying individual transit tickets. But, a few of the best attractions such as the Schönbrunn Palace and the famous Ferris Wheel in Prater Park are on the edge of the city and you’ll definitely need public transport. Hotels outside of the Ring area are cheaper as well, so you can save quite a bit by staying a bit outside of the center and then jumping on the frequent trams or subway to be in the center in just a few minutes.
Where to buy the Vienna Pass
The Vienna Pass is only available online so you can’t buy it at any of the attractions once you get to Vienna.
Top attractions that are included in the Vienna Pass
- Hop-on, hop off bus tour: €22.50 to €29.50
- Schönbrunn Palace Grand Tour: €16.40
- Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel: €9.50
- Hofburg Imperial Palace: €12.50
- Franz Joseph 2016 Exhibitions: €25
- Guided Walking Tour: Introducing Vienna (2 hours): €25
- Vienna Sightseeing Tours: Guided Walking Tour (1 hour): €15
- Madame Tussauds Vienna: €20.50
- City Cruises Vienna: €22
- Spanish Riding School: €15
- Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) & Neue Burg: €15
- Imperial Palace Schloss Hof: €13
- Imperial Treasury Vienna: €12
- House of Music: €13
- Mozarthaus Vienna: €11
There are about 45 more attractions that are included, but most of those cost less than €10 on their own, so the ones above are the ones to consider when deciding on a Vienna Pass.
Top attractions that AREN’T included in the Vienna Pass
- Vienna Opera House Tour: €7.50
Is the Vienna Pass a good deal?
As mentioned near the top, the Vienna Pass definitely delivers on its promise of saving visitors time and money if they are interested in seeing most of the top sights. It literally does include everything that all visitors are interested in, except for the Opera House Tour, but you can actually get a cheap ticket to an opera on performance day for that evening, which is better than a tour.
The important thing about the Vienna Pass and other city passes like it is that it rewards visitors who spend some time planning before they arrive, and visitors who get an early start in the morning. If you just plan on buying a Vienna Pass and then finally opening the included guidebook on the first morning you are ready to use it, you’ll struggle to get proper use out of it. A few of the key attractions are on the edges of Vienna so you have to get an early start and plan on seeing them in a logical order on public transport or the HOHO bus.
Who should buy the Vienna Pass
- First-time Vienna visitors who want to see the top sights in limited time
- Visitors who are organized with a genuine interest in seeing Vienna
- Visitors who want to do the HOHO bus and a walking tour as well
Who should NOT buy the Vienna Pass
- Visitors who don’t enjoy HOHO bus tours or walking tours
- Vienna visitors on very-low “backpacker” budgets
- Visitors who will be spending 3 or more days in Vienna and who prefer to space out their sightseeing