Denae Mcgaha is a blogger from the Pacific Northwest USA living in Budapest (we met her on an airport bus while heading home from a research trip… how’s that for a coincidence?!). While working as an English teacher by day, she writes about expat life in Hungary and her travels around Europe on the weekend. Here’s her guide to exploring Vienna on a budget!
“The secret to a good budget is a secret to a good life: instead of focusing on what you can’t have, focus on what you can.”
For example: first class tickets to Melbourne would be nice, but round trip from Budapest to Vienna was a little more doable. Vienna itself had something tempting around every corner, but I was more than happy to spend on the little things that made the trip worth it!
I stayed in an 8-bed mixed dorm en-suite at Wombat’s Hostel. Wombat’s easily makes it into my top 15 hostels, being clean, secure, and bursting with energy (And y’all! My bed was so comfortable!). Located across from the Nachsmarkt, I could easily get around the city, or stay and take in the fantastic atmosphere in the hostel lounge. (Spoiler alert: I did both). And if I hadn’t already been won over, the espresso machine at breakfast would have done the trick.
My 48-hour transportation pass cost €13.30 (bought at Erdberg metro station across the street from the bus terminal), but the access it gave me to the trams, buses, and metro of the city was invaluable. The public transport in Vienna is easy and reliable, and having free reign of it made the city my oyster!
€1.50 for a half-and-half scoop of flavor-packed ice cream from Eis Greissler. Poppyseeds aren’t just for muffins anymore…who knew? Coupled with a tangy raspberry and wrapped in a waffle cone, I was a happy camper. Bonus: once you polish your treat off, continue down the street and feast your eyes on St. Stephen’s cathedral – entry is free!
€3.90 on a freshly-baked treat from Vollpension.
If you are ever in Vienna then GO HERE GO HERE GO HERE. This comfy cafe functions off of an idea so simple that you wish you had thought of it yourself: hiring grandmothers to run the kitchen and bring their own recipes. And it tastes just as good as you’d think it would. When you’re done settling into a comfy chair and scanning the antique family photos on the wall, you can watch as the oven timers tick down and bring you closer to tried-and-true family recipes. I don’t know the name of my treat, but it was the most luscious blackberry whip cream creation I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. You could tell it was made with love. And I’d buy another slice in a heartbeat! They also serve up hearty breakfasts and lunches…and looking through their menu I’m tempted to buy another ticket to Vienna right now!
€.50 for a song on the jukebox. For my first (and last) night in Vienna, my friends introduced me to the gem of a pub, Cafe Bendl. Smoky, nostalgic, and altogether delightful, the cafe was a cozy place to end the night, and its authentic jukebox had me mesmerized. One song selection? €.50. Belting out Queen with strangers and dancing with a new Austrian friend? Priceless.
€17.80 for Viennese schnitzel. Is there anything better than hot schnitzel on a rainy day? No. No there isn’t. Fromme Helene has a reputation for some of the best schnitzel (and potato salad) in the city, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The food, the fun, the lodging…it can all add up when you’re traveling. But find the little things that are worth it, and you’ll never really break your budget!
We couldn’t agree more! Check out more of Denae’s adventures in Central Europe at www.denaemcgaha.com, and follow her over on instagram @telos.tesla