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Are you wondering what are the best things to do in Vienna, Austria? I got you covered! I’ve been to Vienna with my friends during our Interrail trip. I love to share with you the key places and activities worth seeing in the city.
Vienna, Austria’s captivating capital, boasts a rich cultural heritage, breathtaking architecture, and unparalleled charm that attracts millions of visitors annually. In this blog post, you can explore a diverse range of attractions and experiences that capture the essence of this remarkable city – from the grandeur of Schönbrunn Palace and the iconic St. Stephen’s Cathedral to the enchanting Danube River and mouthwatering Viennese cuisine.
Whether you’re a history geek, a food enthusiast, or just a normal traveler looking for a memorable experience, this guide will help you uncover the hidden gems and iconic landmarks that make Vienna an unforgettable destination. So, read on and learn more about the best things to do in Vienna.
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List of the Best Things to Do in Vienna, Austria:
1. Schönbrunn Palace
📍Address: Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, 1130 Wien, Austria
🎟️Find Tickets – Book in Advance: Schönbrunn Palace & Gardens Skip-the-Line Tour
🌟 Ratings: 4.7 / 5
Vienna, a city that seamlessly marries its past with the present, offers its visitors endless attractions. Among these, one that undoubtedly stands out to its visitors is the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace.
The Schönbrunn Palace, once the summer residence of the Habsburg monarchs, is a stunning architectural masterpiece that dates back to the 17th century. This Baroque-style palace, with its sprawling gardens, has been a focal point of Viennese culture and history for centuries. Today, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site, attracting millions of visitors annually.
A trip to the Schönbrunn Palace allows you to step back in time and immerse yourself in the opulence and grandeur of a bygone era. The palace’s 1,441 rooms are exquisitely decorated, showcasing the remarkable taste and wealth of the Habsburgs. Visitors can choose from several guided tour options, each offering a unique perspective on the palace’s rich history.
One must-see highlight of the Schönbrunn Palace is the Great Gallery, a ballroom adorned with glittering chandeliers and exquisite frescoes. This regal hall hosted countless lavish banquets and balls attended by European royalty.
The palace grounds are equally impressive, with expansive manicured gardens designed in the French style. These gardens are home to many statues, fountains, and monuments, including the iconic Gloriette, a neoclassical structure offering breathtaking views of the palace and the city beyond. The Schönbrunn Zoo, the world’s oldest operating zoo. This provides a fun and educational experience for families visiting with children.
2. St. Stephen’s Cathedral
📍Address: Stephansplatz 3, 1010 Wien, Austria
🎟️Find Tickets – Book in Advance: Secrets of the St. Stephan’s Cathedral
🌟 Ratings: 4.7 / 5
Continuing the exploration of Vienna’s most impressive attractions, you now have St. Stephen’s Cathedral. With its intricate Gothic architecture and storied past, this beloved symbol of the city has captivated the hearts of visitors and locals alike for centuries.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral, or Stephansdom, as it is commonly referred to, dates back to the 12th century and stands proudly in the heart of Vienna’s historic city center. This magnificent structure has played a central role in Austrian history, witnessing significant events such as the wedding of Mozart and the funeral of Vivaldi.
Upon entering the cathedral, you will be greeted by the richly ornamented interior, which is designed with exquisite stone carvings, colorful stained glass windows, and numerous altarpieces. One particularly noteworthy feature is the towering high altar, completed in 1647 and an impressive example of Baroque artistry.
Guided tours are available if you want to understand the history and significance of this sacred space. A particularly popular option is the tour that takes you to the catacombs, a labyrinthine network of underground passages holding countless Viennese citizens’ remains and notable historical figures.
Of course, a trip to St. Stephen’s Cathedral would not be complete without climbing the 343 steps of the South Tower, which rewards visitors with unparalleled panoramic views of Vienna. Alternatively, you may choose to explore the North Tower, where you can marvel at the Pummerin, one of Europe’s largest bells, weighing in at over 20,000 kilograms.
3. The Hofburg
📍Address: 1010 Vienna, Austria
🎟️Find Tickets – Book in Advance: Hofburg and Empress Sisi Museum Guided Tour
🌟 Ratings: 4.7 / 5
Next is the Hofburg, which is a palace complex situated in the heart of the city and has been the seat of power for Austrian rulers for centuries. Today, it stands as a symbol of the city’s rich cultural heritage and offers visitors a fascinating insight into the lives of the Habsburg dynasty.
The Hofburg dates back to the 13th century and has evolved significantly over the years, with each ruler leaving their mark on the sprawling complex. As a result, visitors can observe a captivating blend of architectural styles, ranging from Gothic to Baroque and beyond.
One of the main attractions within the Hofburg is the Imperial Apartments, a lavish suite of rooms that once housed Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife, Empress Elisabeth. These stately rooms offer a glimpse into the daily lives of the Habsburgs and showcase a stunning collection of furnishings, tapestries, and porcelain.
Another must-see within the Hofburg is the Sisi Museum, dedicated to the life and legacy of Empress Elisabeth, known as Sisi. This captivating museum features personal artifacts, clothing, and a wealth of information about the enigmatic empress, who remains an enduring figure in Austrian history.
Lastly, if you are interested in the Habsburg lifestyle, you must visit the Imperial Treasury or Schatzkammer. This remarkable collection includes priceless jewels, ornate crowns, and other symbols of imperial power, such as the Holy Roman Empire’s Imperial Crown.
4. Visit various Museums
Vienna is also renowned for its exceptional museums. It has different institutions dedicated to various facets of art, culture, and history. The city offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in a world of knowledge and discovery. Here are four museums in Vienna that you must visit:
Museum of Military History (Heeresgeschichtliches Museum)
📍Address: Arsenal 1, 1030 Wien, Austria
🎟️Find Tickets – Book in Advance: World War II Vienna Private Tour with Military Museum
🌟 Ratings: 4.6 / 5
The Museum of Military History offers a captivating look into Austria’s military past. As the country’s oldest museum, it houses an extensive collection of weapons, armor, and artifacts spanning centuries. Here, you can trace the evolution of warfare and learn about the significant battles and events that have shaped Austria’s history.
Austrian Gallery Belvedere (Österreichische Galerie Belvedere)
📍Address: Prinz-Eugen-Straße 27, 1030 Wien, Austria
🎟️Find Tickets – Book in Advance: Upper Belvedere & Permanent Collection Entry Ticket
🌟 Ratings: 4.4 / 5
Housed in the stunning Belvedere Palace, the Austrian Gallery Belvedere is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts. The museum showcases an impressive collection of Austrian art from the Middle Ages to the present day. Among its highlights are the works of Gustav Klimt, including the world-famous painting “The Kiss.”
📍Address: Albertinapl. 1, 1010 Wien, Austria
🎟️Find Tickets – Book in Advance: Tickets for the Albertina Exhibitions
🌟 Ratings: 4.7 / 5
The Albertina, situated near the Hofburg, is an art museum with a collection that spans over six centuries. It houses over one million prints and 60,000 drawings, including masterpieces by artists such as Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, and Picasso. The museum also features rotating exhibitions, ensuring that there is always something new and exciting to explore.
📍Address: Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Wien, Austria
🎟️Find Tickets – Book in Advance: Walking Tour of the MuseumsQuartier with Guide
🌟 Ratings: 5.0 / 5
The MuseumsQuartier is a vibrant cultural hub that combines several museums, galleries, and performance spaces in one dynamic location. Here, you can explore contemporary art at the Leopold Museum, dive into the world of digital culture at the Museum of Electronic Arts (Q21), or engage with the creative minds of tomorrow at the Zoom Children’s Museum. The area also features numerous cafes and restaurants, making it an ideal spot to relax and soak up the atmosphere.
5. Vienna Opera House
📍Address: Opernring 2, 1010 Wien, Austria
🎟️Find Tickets – Book in Advance: Mozart Concert at the Vienna State Opera
🌟 Ratings: 4.3 / 5
Vienna also houses one of the world’s most iconic venues: the Vienna Opera House. With its storied past and unwavering commitment to the arts, this splendid building is an integral part of Vienna’s cultural landscape.
Also known as the Wiener Staatsoper, the Vienna Opera House first opened its doors in 1869 and has since become a symbol of the city’s enduring love affair with music. Its striking Neo-Renaissance façade, designed by architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll, sets the stage for the enchanting performances that take place within.
Upon entering the opera house, visitors are immediately captivated by its interior, which features frescoes, chandeliers, and other luxurious materials. The auditorium’s acoustics and design create an unforgettable atmosphere for enjoying world-class performances.
The Vienna Opera House hosts diverse events throughout the year, including opera, ballet, and concerts. Its spans from classic masterpieces to contemporary works, ensuring that something suits every musical taste. Attending a live performance is highly recommended to truly appreciate the magic of the opera house.
Guided tours are available if you cannot attend a performance or simply wish to learn more about the opera house’s history and architecture. These informative tours offer a behind-the-scenes look at the fascinating world of the Vienna Opera House and provide insights into its day-to-day operations.
6. Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial
📍Address: Judenpl., 1010 Wien, Austria
🎟️Find Tickets – Book in Advance: Vienna and the Holocaust: A Self-Guided Audio Tour
🌟 Ratings: 4.9 / 5
The Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial, also known as the “Nameless Library,” was unveiled in 2000 and is the work of British artist Rachel Whiteread. This somber monument is dedicated to the memory of the 65,000 Austrian Jews who perished during the Holocaust. Its design, resembling a library with books turned inside out, symbolizes the untold stories of the victims and the immeasurable loss of knowledge and culture.
The memorial is located in Judenplatz, a square that was once the center of Jewish life in medieval Vienna. The square itself is steeped in history, with remnants of a 13th-century synagogue discovered beneath its surface. This archaeological site can be visited at the nearby Judenplatz Museum.
The Judenplatz Museum, or Misrachi-Haus, complements the memorial by providing historical context and insights into the lives of the Viennese Jewish community throughout history. The exhibits cover various aspects of Jewish life, including religious practices, social life, and the impact of the Holocaust. The museum also houses a database of Austrian Holocaust victims, ensuring that their names and stories are not forgotten.
7. The Prater
📍Address: 1020 Vienna, Austria
🎟️Find Tickets – Book in Advance: Skip-the-cashier-desk-line Giant Ferris Wheel Ride
🌟 Ratings: 4.3 / 5
The Prater is a public park with an amusement park and a host of recreational activities, offering a welcome respite from the city’s historic sites and museums.
The Prater spans an impressive 6 million square meters and has been a public park since 1766. Over the years, it has evolved into a destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, entertainment, or adventure, The Prater has it all.
The most famous attraction within The Prater is undoubtedly the Wiener Riesenrad or the Giant Ferris Wheel. This iconic structure, built in 1897, symbolizes Vienna and offers breathtaking city views. A ride on the Wiener Riesenrad is an essential experience for any visitor to Vienna, providing a unique perspective on the city’s skyline.
In addition to the Giant Ferris Wheel, The Prater’s amusement park, known as Wurstelprater, features a variety of attractions suitable for all ages, including roller coasters, bumper cars, and haunted houses. With its colorful atmosphere and lively energy, Wurstelprater is an ideal destination for families and those seeking a fun-filled day in Vienna.
For those looking for a more leisurely experience, The Prater also offers various recreational activities. The park’s extensive network of walking and cycling paths and its picturesque meadows and ponds make it an ideal spot for picnics, strolls, and outdoor sports.
8. Indulge in Viennese food
🎟️Find Tickets – Book in Advance: Food, Coffee, and Market Discovery Tour
🌟 Ratings: 5.0 / 5
Of course, no visit to Vienna would be complete without indulging in the city’s delectable culinary delights. Viennese cuisine is renowned for its rich flavors, satisfying textures, and comforting dishes that leave you wanting more. Here are some that you need to try:
For those with a sweet tooth, Opium Cake is an irresistible treat. Found in several Viennese bakeries and cafes, this rich chocolate cake is infused with rum and layered with a luscious apricot jam filling. Each bite is a delightful fusion of moist chocolate sponge and fruity tanginess, making it the perfect indulgence for any dessert lover.
Sachertorte is another iconic Viennese dessert that should be on every traveler’s list. This exquisite chocolate cake, created in 1832 by Franz Sacher, comprises two layers of dense chocolate sponge, separated by a thin layer of apricot jam and coated in a shiny chocolate glaze. It is best enjoyed with a dollop of whipped cream and a cup of coffee. Sachertorte is definitely the epitome of the Viennese confectionery tradition.
Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel)
Apple Strudel, or Apfelstrudel, is a classic Austrian dessert that has become a Viennese staple. This pastry features a delicate, flaky crust filled with a sweet, tangy apple mixture, often accompanied by raisins and cinnamon. Apple Strudel is a comforting treat, served warm with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Moving on to savory fare, Wiener Schnitzel is a must-try dish for those seeking an authentic Viennese culinary experience. This tender, breaded, and pan-fried veal cutlet is a true classic, offering a satisfying crunch and a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Traditionally accompanied by potato salad or french fries, Wiener Schnitzel is a hearty and flavorful meal that will leave you feeling content and well-fed.
9. Schönbrunn Zoo
📍Address: Maxingstraße 13b, 1130 Wien, Austria
🎟️Find Tickets – Book in Advance: Skip-the-line Tickets for Schönbrunn Zoo
🌟 Ratings: 4.7 / 5
The Schönbrunn Zoo holds the title of the world’s oldest continuously operating zoo, and is an engaging attraction for visitors of all ages. It was established in 1752 as an imperial menagerie. Schönbrunn Zoo has since evolved into a modern, world-class facility dedicated to wildlife conservation and education. Located within the lush grounds of the Schönbrunn Palace, the zoo provides a picturesque and engaging environment for visitors to learn about and observe many animal species.
Schönbrunn Zoo is home to over 700 species, ranging from the familiar to the exotic. Visitors can marvel at the zoo’s giraffes, be charmed by the playful penguins, or observe the beauty of its big cats, among many others. The zoo’s diverse collection of animals ensures an enriching and memorable experience for everyone.
In addition to its animal exhibits, Schönbrunn Zoo also offers a variety of interactive experiences, such as keeper talks, feeding sessions, and hands-on encounters. These activities allow guests to gain a deeper understanding of the animals and their natural behaviors, as well as the zoo’s conservation efforts.
For families visiting the zoo, the playground and petting zoo provide even more opportunities for fun and learning. Young visitors can interact with friendly farm animals, while the playground offers a space to expend energy and explore nature-themed play structures.
10. Stroll around the Danube River
📍Address: Donauturmplatz 1, 1220 Wien, Austria
🎟️Find Tickets – Book in Advance: Skip-the-Line Entrance Ticket to the Danube Tower
🌟 Ratings: 4.5 / 5
Vienna’s charm extends beyond its historical landmarks and rich cultural heritage. The enchanting Danube River exemplifies the city’s natural beauty, which provides a serene backdrop for leisurely strolls and waterfront activities.
The Danube Tower, or Donauturm, is an impressive structure that soars 252 meters above the city, offering unparalleled panoramic views of Vienna and its surroundings. Built in 1964, the tower features an observation deck, a rotating restaurant, and even a bungee jumping platform for thrill-seekers. Visiting the Danube Tower allows you to see Vienna from a unique perspective while enjoying the tranquil ambiance of the river below.
Kaisermühlenbucht, a bay area along the river that has become a popular destination for relaxation and recreation not far from the Danube Tower. With its beaches, greenery, and waters, Kaisermühlenbucht gives a peaceful oasis within the bustling city. The area is perfect for picnics, sunbathing, and leisurely strolls along the waterfront.
Kaisermühlenbucht also serves as a hub for various water sports, such as swimming, sailing, and stand-up paddleboarding. There are also boat rentals that allow visitors to explore the river at their own pace. In addition, they bay is home to several cafes and restaurants, where you can enjoy a delicious meal or refreshing beverage while taking in the stunning views of the Danube.
📍Address: Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz 1, 1010 Wien, Austria
🎟️Find Tickets – Book in Advance: Traditional Dinner Show at the Wiener Rathauskeller
🌟 Ratings: 4.4 / 5
The Rathaus, completed in 1883, is an imposing neo-Gothic building that is a testament to Vienna’s rich architectural heritage. Designed by Friedrich von Schmidt, the structure features intricate details, a central tower, and numerous turrets, all of which come together to create an awe-inspiring visual effect. The Rathaus is a functional administrative building and an important symbol of the city’s historical and cultural identity.
The square in front of the Rathaus, known as Rathausplatz, is a vibrant public space that hosts various events throughout the year. One of the most notable events is the annual Vienna Christmas Market, which transforms Rathausplatz into a festive wonderland filled with charming stalls, twinkling lights, and the aroma of seasonal treats. During the summer months, the square comes alive with the Vienna Film Festival, showcasing a diverse selection of films and live performances on a large outdoor screen.
If you visit Rathaus, you can take guided tours of the building. This will allow you to learn more about its history, architecture, and the inner workings of Vienna’s city government. The tour takes you through the stately rooms and halls, allowing you to admire the intricate craftsmanship and grandeur of the Rathaus up close.
Map of Vienna, Austria:
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