You will find the best things to do in Vienna in this post!
This is from an Austrian local perspective so that you can get the most out of your trip in this 1 to 3 day itinerary!
I have been to Vienna countless times over the years and thought to myself, it’s about time I share my wealth of knowledge with y’all!
In this post, you will find first the best things that YOU can do in Vienna during your trip and below I describe a guided 1 to 3 day itinerary with some of these attractions.
Below all that learn how to get around in Vienna, where to stay and of source, what to eat in Vienna.
Table of contents
- Things to do in Vienna
- How to get around in Vienna?
- Where to stay in Vienna?
- Where and what to eat in Vienna?
- Vienna itinerary
Things to do in Vienna
Vienna has a lot to offer for everyone.
Handpick your favorite activity and Vienna attraction from the list below.
St Stephans Cathedral
The St.Stephans Cathedral is known as the Stephansdom in German and has been around for over 800 years.
The Cathedral is situated at the center of the city at the so-called Stephansplatz and can’t be missed at all!
The inside can be visited for free but be aware it can get crowded in the summer months.
The cathedral is open from 6 am to 10 pm and you will have the building almost to yourself if you visit early mornings.
Other parts of the cathedral can be accessed as well with an entry ticket such as the crypt and the bell in the tower
They also organize musical concerts in the cathedral which are totally worth a visit.
The Hofburg is the former winter residence of the former Habsburg Monarchy.
Today the Hofburg is the residency and workplace of the official Austrian President.
You can visit the Hofburg to view the three main spaces: The Hofburg Palace interiors, the Sissi collection (late empress) and the Silver collection.
The Hofburg is walking distance from the center of the city, the Stephansplatz.
The National Library and the Imperial treasury can be visited in one go and you can watch the Spanish riding school at their morning practice round.
The adult entry ticket to view all three spaces costs 15€.
Kunsthistorische and Museum of Natural History
The Kunsthistorische Museum is the museum for fine art.
The Naturhistorische Museum is the museum of natural history.
Both buildings face each other and were initiated by the late Emperor Franz Joseph in honor of the late empress Maria Theresia.
Maria Theresia reformed education and introduced compulsory school education in the Austrian empire in 1777.
The collections in the Kunsthistorische und natural history museum are in the spirit of a great legacy, there to educate and amaze us.
The Kunsthistorische Museum houses various collections including Austrian/German Rennaissance painting, the great Dutch paintings, Italian Renaissance paintings, the Egyptian, roman and greek collection, the Kunstkammer and the coin collection.
The Natural history museum had a permanent exhibition of minerals, meteorites, fossils, dinosaurs, prehistory with the Venus of Willendorf being a prime object of interest.
I absolutely recommend that you visit one of the two or both if possible.
The natural history museum is great with kids too if you are traveling with the family.
The entry price for the Natural history museum per adult is 14€ and for the Kunsthistorische 16€.
The Schönbrunn Palace was the summer residence of the once ruling Habsburg family.
The various palace rooms on the inside are absolutely stunning and worth a visit.
You can choose to take the smaller imperial tour (16€ p/adult) or the grande tour (20€/adult) which also includes the 18th Century interiors of the time of Maria Theresia.
The Schönbrunn gardens are legendary too and popular amongst international visitors from around the world
Schönbrunn Palace can be visited from 8 am to around 5:30 pm (timings may vary in winter).
The Belvedere Palace was the summer residence of the Prince of Eugene of Savoy.
Prince Eugene was the french prince of the region of Savoy in France but promised his allegiance to the Austrian Habsburg Monarchy.
The Belvedere Palace consists of the lower and upper Belvedere buildings and a very Instagram friendly garden in the center.
The upper Belvedere houses an art collection from the middle ages to recent times, with Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” as the highlight.
Other Great Museums to check out
- Leopold Museum – Exhibition of Austrian Artists such as Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele to name a few.
- Albertina – largest collection of old master prints in the world and exhibition of hand-drawn classics
- Mumok – Collection of modern art with over 10.000 avant-garde pieces such as from Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso (to name a few)
- Imperial Treasury – crown jewels of the former Habsburg monarchy
- National Library – collection of over 12 million books
- Technical Museum – exhibition covers mainly Austria’s contribution to modern technology. Great with kids too!
- War Museum – Museum of Military History
- House of the Sea – Large Aquarium, great with kids.
Vienna Schönbrunn Zoo
The Vienna zoo is the oldest zoo and my second favorite zoo after the Mysore zoo in India.
The zoo is situated near the palace, somewhat a bit outside the city but you can easily access it with the metro or tram.
The zoo is great if you have kids and you get a great view of the city from the zoo’s highest point.
The entry to the zoo is 20€ per adult.
The most well-known shopping street located in the center of the city within the ring road is the Kärtnerstrasse where you will find the most common shopping stores and boutiques.
The luxury boutique lane is situated near the center, the Stephansplatz and is on the way to the Hofburg.
The luxury lane includes boutiques such as Chanel, Gucci, Massimo Dutti, Armani and Cartier to name a few.
Another famous shopping lane is Mariahilferstrasse.
Prater – The world’s oldest amusement park
The Prater is an open-air amusement park area, which is open all year round every day.
The Giant Wheel is the Prater’s most famous icon and the most classic ride you can still experience.
Anybody can enter the area and the rides are paid separate, one by one.
The Ghost trains are some of the traditional rides.
Some rides are quirky, some are great for kids and others such as the water slide and the flying rollercoaster are a young millennial dream come true!
We totally loved the indoor rollercoaster!
Most rides are priced somewhere between 5-10€.
We recommend you check out the Prater in evening hours when it gets dark for a fun little outing.
Take a Fiaker Ride
The Fiaker ride is the traditional horse-drawn carriage and these are still very much alive in Vienna.
You can get into a carriage and take a tour of Vienna in a coach, which will transport you back in time.
This is a great way to explore the city and to discover the historical ring road with its architectural buildings.
The Carriages can be booked in advance or you can spot them on the Stephansplatz next to the St.Stephans Cathedral or the Michael place (on the way to the Hofburg) to name a few.
A short 20 minute ride costs about 55€ and the long 40 minute ride 80€.
How to get around in Vienna?
Besides getting a taxi to get from a to b, you can also use the following transportation methods to get around in Vienna.
Vienna metro and tram
I absolutely suggest that you get a metro and tram ticket to move about tin Vienna because it’s convenient and reasonably priced.
A 24 hour ticket costs 8€, a 48 hour ticket 14,10€ and they can be bough at all metro and train stations.
The tram connections are easy to understand and they have info points in all major stations if you want a physical map of the metro connections and lines.
Metro in Austria is known as U-bahn and the Tram as Strassenbahn.
Hence why you need to look out for a large blue U when you want to access the underground stations or the large red S for the Strassenbahn.
The metro and tram are some of the safest in the world, with people from all parts of life using the service.
The center of the tram network is the Stephansplatz with the Stephansdom (St.Stephans Cathedral)
Vienna Ring Tram
The Vienna Ring Tram is the only tram taking the full round of the ring road.
That means the tram is passing all major historical buildings.
They provide an audio service in 8 languages, explaining the buildings and some historical facts.
The yellow tram can be accessed at the Schwedenplatz (near the ice cream saloon) between 10 am and 5:30 pm.
The ride itself takes about 25 minutes, departure is every 30 minutes and the ticket price per adult 10€.
Be aware that the regular metro/tram tickets are not valid for the yellow Vienna ring tram
Hop on hop off bus
The Hop on Hop off bus is another popular way to discover Vienna.
The bus stops at some of the mentioned attractions on top, in fact, there are 4 lines across the city at various stops.
The hop on hop off bus might be for you if you like to drive around Vienna and get to your destination without having to keep an eye on where you need to get out (compared to the metro/tram).
The bus also provides a free audio guide and wifi.
You can pick between 3 ticket variations with the cheapest priced at 29€ for 24 hours.
Keep in mind, the Fiaker ride is not a way to get around but more like an attraction on its own.
Where to stay in Vienna?
We like to stay in Wien Favoriten because it’s close to the main train station and it’s rather well situated.
We stayed in one of these smart self-check-in apartments and those are priced at 75 € minimum.
I generally try to book an apartment because they are large and comfy, however, look out for hidden cleaning fees when you attempt to book one.
We have also tried Airbnbs in the past, with a great experience just like in Prague.
As a teenager, we stayed in hostels and those are not always that great hygiene wise.
Vienna is nothing for budget seekers in general, but rather the opposite, a city with a good choice of luxurious hotels.
Where and what to eat in Vienna?
Vienna is the capital of Schnitzel, Wiener sausage, Apple Strudel, and Sachertorte.
We had amazing beer, sausages, and cabbage salad in the Prater at Schweizerhaus, which is a huge 100-year old beer garden restaurant.
Vienna Food Tour shared their favorite locations to get the best grub.
- Try the real deal delicious Wienerschnitzel at Lugeck or Schnitzelwirt
- Enjoy the best Wienerwurst (Wiener Sausage) in the city center in one of the Takeaways or a so-called Würstelstand or in the Hotel Sacher.
- Hunt down the Sachertorte in the famous hotel Sacher (they invented it)
- Score a perfect Apple Strudel at Cafe Landtman or Cafe Eiles
Vienna Food Tour also recommends to dine out at one of the Huth restaurants, lePho, Pizza Quartier and to check out Bao Bar.
When in Vienna I visit the Naschmarkt which is a market area in the day and a nightlife exotic food hangout at night.
Oh and don’t forget to have a coffee in a real Vienna Coffee house, coffee has an old tradition in Vienna.
Vienna in a Day – 1 Day Itinerary
If you have only a day to see the city, I suggest you visit the following sights.
Morning Hofburg with the national library, midday St. Stephans cathedral, afternoon fiaker ride and evening/night the Prater.
Morning a museum of your choice (I highly recommend the Kunsthistorische), midday St.Stephans Cathedral, afternoon Schönbrunn Palace and evening/night the Prater.
2 Day Itinerary
Day one – Hofburg, St.Stephans Cathedral, the ring tram or fiaker ride and Prater.
Day two – A museum of your choice and Schönbrunn Palace.
3 Day Itinerary
Day one and two same as in the 2 day itinerary.
Day three – Morning Spanish riding school practice, another museum of your choice or Belvedere Palace or shopping.
Dear Reader, when are you planning to visit Vienna?