Exploring Austria on a budget: cheap destinations and activities


Austria is a landlocked country in Central Europe, famous for its rich history, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant cultural scene.

Known for its Alpine villages, baroque architecture, and charming cities like Vienna, Salzburg, and Innsbruck, Austria attracts millions of tourists every year.

However, exploring this beautiful country doesn’t have to break the bank.

With careful planning and some insider tips, you can have an unforgettable Austrian experience without spending a fortune.

In this blog post, we will explore cheap destinations and activities in Austria, focusing on a holiday in Vienna and other budget-friendly options.

cityscape of vienna austria

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Holiday in Vienna

Vienna, the Austrian capital, is an ideal destination for travellers who love history, art, and music. This city of elegant palaces, stunning architecture, and world-class museums is a haven for culture enthusiasts. While a holiday in Vienna can be quite expensive, there are ways to keep costs down without sacrificing the quality of your experience.

Cheap holiday packages to Vienna

One of the best ways to save money on your holiday in Vienna is by taking advantage of cheap holiday packages to Vienna. These packages often include flights, accommodation, and sometimes even activities or tours at a discounted price. Make sure to compare different offers and book early to secure the best deals.

Free attractions and activities

Vienna is home to numerous free attractions and activities that allow you to explore the city on a budget. Some of the must-see places include:

  • St. Stephen’s Cathedral: A stunning 12th-century Gothic cathedral in the heart of Vienna, with free entry to the main church.
  • The Hofburg Palace: While the interior museums require an entry fee, wandering around the palace grounds is completely free.
  • The Naschmarkt: A bustling outdoor market with food stalls, cafes, and a lively atmosphere.

Budget accommodation

Vienna offers a wide range of budget accommodation options, from hostels to affordable guesthouses and hotels. Consider staying in neighbourhoods like Neubau, Josefstadt, or Leopoldstadt for cheaper accommodation options without being too far from the main attractions.

Exploring Salzburg on a budget

Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, is another popular destination in Austria. This picturesque city is famous for its baroque architecture, stunning natural surroundings, and rich musical history. Here are some tips for exploring Salzburg on a budget:

Free walking tours

Take advantage of free walking tours to get an overview of the city and its history. These tours often cover the main attractions, such as the Mirabell Palace, the Salzburg Cathedral, and Mozart’s birthplace. Remember to tip your guide at the end of the tour.

Budget accommodation

Similar to Vienna, Salzburg offers a variety of budget-friendly accommodation options. Consider staying in neighbourhoods like Lehen, Gnigl, or Elisabeth-Vorstadt to save on accommodation costs while still being close to the city centre.

Discount cards

Consider purchasing the Salzburg Card, which offers free admission to many attractions and public transportation within the city. The card is available in 24, 48, or 72-hour options and can save you a significant amount of money if you plan to visit multiple attractions.

Innsbruck and the Austrian Alps

Innsbruck, the capital of the Tyrol region, is a gateway to the Austrian Alps and offers numerous outdoor activities and stunning natural scenery. While visiting this area can be expensive, especially during the ski season, there are ways to enjoy the region without spending a fortune.

Hiking and outdoor activities

Innsbruck and the surrounding region offer countless hiking trails and outdoor activities that are budget-friendly or even free. During the warmer months, you can hike the numerous trails in the region, such as the Zirbenweg trail or the Nordkette mountain range. In the winter, consider visiting smaller, less-expensive ski resorts like Kühtai or Schlick 2000 to save on lift tickets and equipment rentals.

Innsbruck Card

Similar to the Salzburg Card, the Innsbruck Card offers free admission to attractions and public transportation within the city. The card also includes one round-trip cable car ride in the Nordkette mountains, providing an affordable way to take in the stunning alpine views.

Budget accommodation

Innsbruck offers a variety of budget-friendly accommodation options, including hostels, guesthouses, and budget hotels. To save on accommodation costs, consider staying in neighbourhoods like Pradl, Hötting, or Wilten.

Graz: an affordable cultural experience

Graz, Austria’s second-largest city, is often overlooked by tourists but offers a rich cultural experience without the high price tag of more popular destinations. With its well-preserved old town, lively arts scene, and numerous museums, Graz is an ideal destination for budget travellers.

Free attractions and activities

Graz offers many free attractions and activities, including:

  • The Schlossberg: A hill in the city centre that offers panoramic views of Graz and its surroundings. The climb is free, and there are several paths to choose from.
  • The Kunsthaus Graz: This contemporary art museum offers free entry on the first Sunday of every month.
  • The Murinsel: An artificial island in the middle of the Mur River, designed by New York artist Vito Acconci, is free to visit and offers a unique architectural experience.
    Budget Accommodation

Graz offers a variety of budget-friendly accommodation options, including hostels, guesthouses, and affordable hotels. Consider staying in neighbourhoods like Lend, Gries, or Jakomini to save on accommodation costs while still being close to the city centre.


Austria is a diverse and enchanting country that offers a wealth of experiences for travellers of all budgets. By taking advantage of cheap holiday packages to Vienna, free attractions, and budget accommodation options, you can explore the country’s charming cities, stunning landscapes, and rich cultural heritage without breaking the bank. With some careful planning and a willingness to seek out lesser-known destinations, you can enjoy an unforgettable Austrian adventure on a budget.

Naomi Willis
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