In this Vienna PASS review, we’ll explore how the pass works, cover what’s included, and help you decide if it’s a good deal for your sightseeing plans. Enjoy!
Located in the heart of Europe, Vienna, Austria is a destination you don’t want to miss. A sightseer’s dream, it boasts majestic architecture, world-renowned museums, tours galore, and a rich culture you just have to experience for yourself.
While not as expensive as European cities like London or Paris, serious sightseeing in Vienna can still set you back a pretty penny. Lucky for you, I happen to be an expert in traveling large while spending less.
Today, we’ll explore how you can slash your sightseeing expenses with the Vienna PASS. We’ll cover how this sightseeing pass works, which attractions are included, and who can benefit most from the pass. By the time we’re done, we hope you’ll be able to decide for yourself whether or not the Vienna PASS is a good deal for you.
Let’s get to it!
Vienna PASS Review: How it Works
The Vienna PASS is an all-inclusive sightseeing pass that provides entry to more than 60 major attractions in Vienna. Available in four different options, varying in length from one to six days, pass holders can visit as many of included attractions as they want during that time. With the pass, many of the sites also include “skip the line” access.
After purchasing your pass, you have three options for retrieving it. The simplest is to instantly download it on your smartphone. With the Vienna Guide App (available for iOS and Android), there’s no need for paper. Just open your pass in the app and scan the barcode at each attraction.
However, if you prefer a hard copy of the Vienna PASS, no worries. You can have it shipped to your home address (for a fee) or pick it up when you arrive in Vienna. If you choose to pick it up in person, simply grab it at the Vienna Customer Service Centre or the AirportDriver desk at the airport when you arrive.
Once you have your pass in hand (or on your phone), you can activate it anytime. To do that, just head to the first attraction you’d like to visit and scan the barcode. The pass will activate and remains valid for the number of days purchased. It’s important to note that these are calendar days, not 24-hour periods. Therefore, it’s usually best to activate your pass early in the day.
You can visit any of the 60+ attractions included on the Vienna PASS in any order you like. The pass gets you single entry to most of the attractions and unlimited access to the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour.
Like the London Pass, you can also use the Vienna PASS with the city’s public transportation system. Simply add a travelcard to your order and you’re good to go. The Vienna Travelcard gives you unlimited access to public transportation in Vienna’s core zone. Travelcards come in options which are valid for 24 (€8), 48 (€14.10), or 72 (€17.10) hours.
Public transit is the most efficient way to get around Vienna, and having the option to purchase a Travelcard with your Vienna PASS is very convenient. You should know, however, that you’re not getting a deal by doing this. It’s more of a convenience thing. Travelcards cost the same regardless of whether you purchase them directly from the transit authority or with your Vienna PASS.
Top Attractions Included on the Vienna PASS
The Vienna PASS provides entry to over 60 of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Here are the top 10 tourist sites included on the pass and their regular adult admission prices:
- Schönbrunn Palace – €17.50
- Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel – €10
- Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours – €28.00
- Hofburg Imperial Palace – €13.90
- Belvedere – €22.00
- Schönbrunn Zoo – €20.00
- Madame Tussauds – €23.00
- Albertina – €12.90
- Danube Tower – €14.50
- Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna – €15
Remember, this is just a snapshot. Check out the full list of attractions here.
Vienna PASS Pricing
|Passes||Adult Price||Child* Price (ages 6-18)|
|*Kids under 6 accompanied by an adult Vienna PASS holder can visit any of the attractions for free.|
(*Current as of December 2018)
If you examine the pass prices, you’ll notice that the six-day pass offers the best value. When you make the jump from the one-day to the two-day pass, you pay an extra €30. When you go from two to three days, you pay €30 again. But, the difference between a three-day and a six-day pass is only €35.
So, for an extra €35, you three additional days of sightseeing. When you break it down further, you’ll see that the six-day pass offers unlimited sightseeing for only €25.67 per day. That’s a pretty amazing deal!
Of course, you may not plan to do six days of hardcore sightseeing on your trip to Vienna. However, if you think you’ll do four or five, you should still buy the six-day pass. After all, it’s only an extra €35.
If you choose to forgo the six-day pass, the two or three-day options are still a good buy. The three-day pass amounts to €39.67 per day, and the two-day pass €44.50 per day. By visiting three attractions each day, you’ll still get your money’s worth – as long as you don’t choose the cheapest spots.
Top Reasons to Get the Vienna PASS
Save Money on Sightseeing
The #1 reason people buy sightseeing passes is to save money on admission costs. The Vienna PASS delivers, giving travelers access to as many attractions as they can visit for one low price. Of course, the more sightseeing you do, the more you save.
Skip the Line
The only downside about sightseeing in a beautiful city like Vienna is that hordes of other people are doing it, too. Unfortunately, that often translates into long ticket lines.
Luckily, the Vienna PASS grants you fast-track entry to 15 of the included attractions. That way you can skip the ticket line, show your pass at the entry gate, and you’re in!
Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
I love a good bus tour, and the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour included on the Vienna PASS is no exception. This card lets you explore the top attractions in Vienna from a double-decker open-top bus, which is a great way to get your bearings in any city.
Stay on the bus and take in the tour, or hop off to get a closer look at any of the 45 stops. Heck, you could do both on different days, since the Vienna PASS provides unlimited tours over its five routes.
Many sightseeing passes that feature a bus tour, like the New York Pass, only allow you a single ticket. Here’s where the HOHO tour included with the Vienna PASS really stands out. Since the regular price for 24-hour access to the bus tour is €28.00, the unlimited access provided with the Vienna PASS is an excellent value.
Other Benefits of the Vienna PASS
- Mobile pass available – I really like that the Vienna PASS is available as a mobile pass. Some sightseeing passes require physical ticket booklets that I generally find clunky and annoying. The mobile Vienna PASS is much more convenient.
- Vienna guidebook – Every Vienna PASS comes with a free Vienna guidebook available in five languages (English, German, Italian, Spanish, and French). The guidebook contains essential deets on all the featured attractions like hours of operation, location, and directions. You can get a physical guidebook or access all that info on your smartphone using the Vienna Guide App.
Where the Vienna PASS Falls Short
To be honest, the Vienna PASS doesn’t have many shortcomings. It’s definitely not for everybody (I’m getting to that), but when used strategically, it offers travelers excellent value on sightseeing in Vienna.
With more than 60 attractions included, there’s no shortage of choice with the Vienna PASS. However, I noticed they don’t include the Vienna Opera House Tour. The Opera House is a majestic structure with an interesting history, and I imagine keen sightseers would enjoy the 40-minute behind-the-scenes tour. If you’re interested in taking the tour anyway, admission at the door is about €10.
Who Should Buy the Vienna PASS?
Power sightseers – If you want to get the best possible value from the Vienna PASS, the name of the game is visiting as many attractions as you can. Power sightseers who love pack consecutive days full of sightseeing will get a ton of value from this sightseeing card.
Families – Sightseeing as a group can get really expensive, and the Vienna PASS can help you save a ton. Kids under six can visit any of the included attractions for free when accompanied by an adult Vienna PASS holder.
First-time visitors – There’s so much to see and do in Vienna – including museums, palaces, tours and more. If it’s your first visit to the city, you’ll almost certainly want to check out Vienna’s most popular sites. It’s probably why you came to Vienna in the first place. With access to over 60 of the most popular tourist attractions, there’s little doubt that first-timers will put the Vienna PASS to good use.
Who Should Skip the Vienna PASS?
Sightseers who like to take it slow – If the thought of visiting multiple attractions per day exhausts you, then you might be the kind of traveler who likes to take things slow. To get your money’s worth, you’ll need to visit roughly three attractions per day with the Vienna PASS – especially if you’re going with one of the shorter passes. If that sounds like too much, just skip the pass and pay at the door.
Travelers who aren’t that interested in sightseeing – If you don’t plan to do much sightseeing while visiting Vienna (why are you going?), then the Vienna PASS isn’t a shrewd buy. Similarly, if you’re mostly interested in its low-cost attractions, you should probably skip the pass.
Extreme budget travelers – If you’re on a super-tight budget and are limited to free or almost free sightseeing, the Vienna PASS is not for you.
Tips for Using the Vienna PASS
- Buy the pass on sale. – The Vienna PASS goes on sale from time to time – watch for deals and nab it at a discount for even more savings!
- Activate your pass in the morning. – The Vienna PASS is valid for a set number of consecutive calendar days, not 24-hour periods. For example, if you buy the three-day pass and visit your first attraction on a Tuesday, the pass is valid for the rest of Tuesday, and all of Wednesday and Thursday. Therefore, it’s best to activate your pass in the morning so you can get in a full day of sightseeing.
- Visit the most expensive attractions. – Be aware that many of the included attractions have relatively low admission costs to begin with. In fact, there are quite a few under €10. So, prioritize using the pass for the most expensive attractions you’d like to visit first. After your pass expires, you can always go back and hit the cheaper spots later.
- Visit three attractions per day. – As with any unlimited sightseeing pass, you get the best bang for your buck when you use it a lot. That means visiting multiple attractions per day. At a bare minimum, you need to make sure the regular cost of the attractions you visit surpasses the cost of the pass. Generally speaking, you should be able to save money if you hit three per day. With the six-day pass, however, you could get away with visiting just two a day and still save some green.
- Buy a multi-day pass. – The one-day pass can save you some money on sightseeing in Vienna, but each subsequent pass offers increased value. Depending on the length of your trip and your plans, I’d recommend the three or six-day pass. The six-day pass offers the best possible value, averaging out to just €25.67 a day for unlimited sightseeing.
- Plan your days efficiently. – Don’t waste time in transit. Plan your days so you visit attractions that are near each other. That means more time for sightseeing and less time on trains or buses.
- Take the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour. – The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour is a great way to explore the city. You could even use it to catch a ride between attractions. While not the most efficient way to travel throughout the city, it does provide a cheap transportation option if you don’t opt for the Travelcard.
Where to Buy the Vienna PASS
If you think it’s for you, you can buy the Vienna PASS online here.
As I mentioned before, you can have the pass instantly delivered to your inbox, shipped to your home, or you can pick it up when you get to Vienna.
Keep in mind that the Vienna PASS goes on sale from time to time. If you get the opportunity to grab it at a discount, you should take it!
If you’re not 100% sure of your plans, don’t worry. You can get a 100% refund for a non-activated pass within 30 days of purchase.
The Bottom Line: Is the Vienna PASS a Good Deal?
So, is the Vienna PASS a good deal?
Well, that depends on how you’ll use it.
If you don’t think you’ll visit three attractions per day, or if you’re mostly interested in attractions that have low admission costs, then you won’t get much value from the Vienna PASS. If that’s the case, you might be better off sightseeing à la carte.
However, if you plan to visit the top tourist attractions in Vienna and are committed to hitting a few per day, the Vienna PASS can be a very good buy. With access to over 60 attractions, including almost all the most popular sites, it’s a convenient way to see Vienna for less. As with most passes like this, the more you use it, the more you’ll save.
Thanks for reading and enjoy Vienna!