For our recent trip to Vienna, we were given the opportunity to try out the Vienna City Cards. The cards give you unlimited use of public transport in Vienna, as well as access to a range of discounts. In addition to these benefits, you can also add-on airport transfer and Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour options.
So, bottom line, is the Vienna City Card worth it?
How Much Does The Vienna City Card Cost?
There are actually 4 different types of Vienna City Card and they all have a range of prices:
Vienna City Card
Public Transport + Discounts
€17 (24 Hours)
€25 (48 Hours)
€29 (72 Hours)
Vienna City Card Transfer
Public Transport + Discounts + Vienna Airport Transfer (To and From)
€34 (24 Hours)
€42 (48 Hours)
€46 (72 Hours)
Vienna City Card Tour
Public Transport + Discounts + Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
€43 (24 Hours)
€51 (48 Hours)
€55 (72 Hours)
Vienna City Card Transfer + Tour
Public Transport + Discounts + Vienna Airport Transfer (To and From) + Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
€60 (24 Hours)
€68 (48 Hours)
€72 (72 Hours)
City Card Benefits + Value
There are 4 main benefits you can get with the Vienna City Card (taking into account the optional extras too). Use of public transport, a transfer to and from Vienna Airport, the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour and the discounts. I’ll be looking at each benefit in turn.
Vienna has a fantastic public transportation system. The buses, trams, trains and underground give you plenty of option for navigation around the city.
The City Card will give you unlimited use of the public transport system in the core zone (including use of night buses).
One child (up to age 15) can travel for free with each card holder. In Vienna, it’s normally only children up to age 6 that can travel for free (children under 15 can only travel for free on Sundays and during holidays).
So, what sort of public transport value are you getting with a Vienna City Card?
A simple way to work this out is by looking at the value of a comparable normal public transport pass (purchased through a ticket machine or vendor):
24 Hour Pass (age 6+) = €8 (€9 cheaper than standard Vienna City Card)
48 Hour Pass (age 6+) = €14.10 (€10.90 cheaper than a standard Vienna City Card)
72 Hour Pass (age5 6+) = €17.10 (€11.90 cheaper than a standard Vienna City Card)
If travelling without children, buying a standard public transport pass (24-72 Hours) will be cheaper than buying a city card. If you’re travelling with children, you can save money with the City Card. One child, age 6-15, travels free with each City Card holder.
You’d still pay €1 more for the 24 hour City Card, taking this into account, but you’d save money with the City Card when it comes to the 48 hour (save €3.20 with City Card) and 72 hour passes (save €5.20 with City Card).
The Vienna City Card Transfer gives you the option of tagging on an airport transfer to and from Vienna Airport. One huge plus in my books is that they don’t limit you to one transfer option.
You can choose from the CAT (City Airport Train), ÖBB Railjet, S7 or travel on any of the Vienna Airport Bus Lines. There are a couple of added benefits too.
Choose the CAT - Check-in to your flight and drop off your bag in Vienna City Centre (Wien Mitte station).
Choose the Railjet - Travel 1st class without any extra charge (1st class is between 2nd and business class)
2 Children (up to age 15) travel free per Vienna City Card Transfer
So, what sort of value are you getting here?
CAT = €21 Adult Return (Child free - up to age 15)
Railjet = €33.40 2x Adult Singles 1st Class (€8.40 2x Child Singles 1st Class - age 6-14)
S7 = €8.40 2x Adult Singles (€4.20 2x Child Singles - age 6-14)
Vienna Airport Bus Lines = €13 Adult Return (€8 Child Return - age 6 to 14)
The Vienna City Card Transfer add-on costs €17. This means you’ll be saving money if you travel by CAT or Railjet, with or without children.
If you’re travelling with 2 children (aged 6-14), you’ll save money on the CAT, Railjet and Bus options but you won’t be saving money if you want or need to travel via the S7.
Be sure to check out my detailed guide on getting to and from Vienna Airport. I delve into the detail of each option and give you some other ones too.
Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
The Vienna City Card Tour allows you to book a 24-hour Hop-On Hop-Off tour with Big Bus Vienna.
The tour includes travel on the red and blue routes. The red route tour has 16 stops and takes around 85 minutes (every 20 minutes). The blue route tour has 9 stops and takes around 90 minutes (every 30 minutes). Both tours include pre-recorded commentary.
Each Vienna City Card Tour holder includes one child (up to age 16) free.
In terms of value, here’s what you’re getting:
Adult Ticket = €27 online (€30 on-street)
Child Ticket = €21.60 online (€24 on-street)
The Bus Tour option costs €26. This means you’ll save money in all cases. If you’re travelling with children, this could be a big money-saver because each City Card comes with a child (up to 16) free.
One of the main benefits of a Vienna City Card is that it gives you access to a range of discounts on transport, sightseeing, tours, leisure, entertainment, shopping and dining.
Discounts range from 6% to 50%. I’ve listed some of Vienna’s main attractions with discounts and special offers below:
Schonbrunn Palace - 15% off (April 1st to November 3rd)
Sisi Museum (Hofburg) - 9% off
Spanish Riding School - 13% off (winter) to 20% off (summer)
Third Man Museum - 23% off + Original Movie Poster
Prater - Coupon Package (Up to €200 off)
It’s here where you can really gain positive value for your city card. Of course, savings will range and are dependent on your travel plans. The discounts can be found either in the City Card app or in the bonus booklet you’ll receive when you get the card.
Where To Pick Up Your Vienna City Card
There are a few places you can purchase or collect your Vienna City Card (if you’ve bought online):
Tourist Information (Albertinaplatz, Vienna Main Station, Vienna Airport)
Wiener Linien Ticket Sales and Info Points
How To Validate Your Vienna City Card
You can validate the front (discounts) and the reverse (travel ticket) of your Vienna City Card separately.
To validate the front of the card (granting you 7 days of discounts), enter the date of your first day in Vienna.
To validate the travel ticket (reverse of card), you need to get it stamped by inserting the ticket into a blue validator machine. You can find these on board trams/buses or at the barriers before you enter the underground. Your ticket is then valid for 24, 48 or 72 hours dependant on the card you’ve purchased.
You might be surprised when you go on public transport in Vienna for the first time. There are no ticket gates or obvious ticket inspectors. Don’t let this fool you though. If you’re caught without a validated ticket, by a conductor or by a plain-clothed ticket inspector, you will be fined.
Conclusion, Is The Vienna City Card Worth It?
You should only purchase a Vienna City Card if you believe you’ll receive positive value from all of your individual benefits put together. The public transport benefit, by itself, won’t justify spending money on the card because the standard travel passes are cheaper in all cases (even taking into account child benefits).
The airport transfer add-on will save you money if you’re travelling by CAT or Railjet (with or without kids). With kids, you’ll save money travelling by CAT, Railjet or bus, but not the S7. If you want to do a Big Bus Tour, you’ll save money in any case with the add-on and you’ll save big if you’re travelling with kids (free child benefit).
The discounts you’ll receive can be a big money saver but this is all dependent on your plans for your Vienna stay. If you’re wondering when and where to Visit Austria, I’d highly recommend Jim Gall’s Austrian Guide over on his blog ‘99 Trips’.
Thank you to the Vienna Tourist Board for providing us with the Vienna City Cards for review. As always, all opinions are my own. If you've got any questions about the city card, or if you just want to comment, please do so in the comments down below.