How to spend a long weekend in Vienna

Travel Itinerary

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Freya Godfrey
Itinerary by: Freya Godfrey
a month ago
Travel Writer
Duration: 3 days

The former nucleus of the sprawling Hapsburg Empire, Vienna is filled with imposing palaces, grand Baroque architecture and historic monuments. Wander round the city and you’ll find reminders of Vienna’s illustrious past at every turn. What’s more, the former home of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and countless other celebrated musicians, has an incredibly rich musical culture, and on any given night you’ll be able to listen to classical music concerts and piano performances across town. Spend your time in the Austrian capital sipping coffee in traditional coffeehouses, exploring fascinating museums and admiring impressive art collections. I’ve visited Vienna many times in recent years, and every time I find something new to discover. I’m particularly drawn to the city’s grand art galleries, where I can spend hours learning about art and artists from across the centuries. I also love indulging in hearty Austrian meals at Vienna’s cosy restaurants – the perfect escape from the country’s bracing winters – and sampling Austria’s famous Riesling wines. While most larger destinations in Vienna will accept card payments, it’s always worth having cash with you (Austria’s currency is the Euro), as smaller shops and coffeehouses often deal in cash only. Restaurants and cafes will expect you to add around an extra 10% tip to the bill. On the whole, Vienna is easily walkable, and strolling across the city on foot will allow you to discover quaint restaurants and small museums that you may not have considered otherwise. For longer journeys, the U-bahn (the underground subway), is the fastest way to travel, and runs from around 5/6am until midnight/1am. The city also has an extensive – and reliable – tram system, meaning you can take in the sights while travelling between destinations, or you may wish to hop on a bus. Finally, the double-decker S-bahn train is the cheapest option for travelling to and from the airport, and you may also need to use the S-bahn if your accommodation is located in the Viennese suburbs. Watch out when you’re crossing the road, as you could be fined for jaywalking. Alternatively, there are numerous bike hire shops around town, as well as the pay-as-you-go CityBike Wien, which you can pick up and drop off at stations around town. Plentiful bike lanes will whizz you around the city, just be careful on the narrower streets in the historic quarter. In the summer, Vienna is warm and bright, although it does get cooler in the evenings. The Donauinsel (Danube Island), a car-free island in the Danube River, becomes a popular spot for walking and cycling, or sunbathing along its grassy banks. In winter, the weather can become very cold and windy, and snow is not unusual. Winter is a wonderful time to visit Vienna, with ice skating rinks springing up around town, and Christmas markets seemingly filling every square. At the markets, sip on warming glühwein (mulled wine) and other hot, spiced drinks, and browse the wooden stalls selling handmade souvenirs and festive decorations. Image credits: andreas N from Pixabay; andreas N from Pixabay; Jörg Peter from Pixabay; Sonja Czeschka from Pixabay

Day 1

Day 1: The Eastern Loop

Start at the famous Prater ferris wheel before working your way back to central Vienna via artistic and musical sights.
09:00 - 12:00
Prater Park
Prater, 1020 Wien, Austria
Start your first day in Vienna at the city’s Prater Park, where you’ll find the famous Wiener Reisenrad, a huge ferris wheel from which you can take in sweeping views over the city. If you visit between March and October, you'll also be able to try out the many rides and attractions at the Prater Amusement Park. Otherwise, spend some time wandering along the green walkways of the park itself, or perhaps head to the Liliputbahn, a miniature steam railway, the Pratersauna – a club and arts venue housed in a former sauna dating back to the 1960s – or take some time out at one of the restaurants or in the park's the beer garden. Image credit: Leonhard Niederwimmer from Pixabay
Article By: Freya Godfrey
Standard Free

Getting there

From Prater Park, it’s a 10–15-minute walk across the Donaukanal (or Danube Canal) to Kunst Haus Wien.

Travel time
0 hours 15 minutes
12:00 - 12:30
Bitzinger Wurstelstand
Gabor-Steiner-Weg S, 1020 Wien, Austria
On a visit to Vienna, you’ll notice retro “wurstelstands”, or sausage stands, dotted around town. One of the best is the Bitzinger Wurstelstand. The most famous location is in Albertinaplatz, but there’s also a stand at the northern end of Prater Park. For a cheap and warming, traditional Viennese snack to keep you going for the rest of the day’s sightseeing, choose from an array of sausages served as hot dogs or with bread and mustard. Image credit: Charly_7777 from Pixabay
Article By: Freya Godfrey

Getting there

Wander to the northern edge of Prater Park to reach the Bitzinger Wurstelstand.

12:30 - 14:00
Kunst Haus Wien Museum Hundertwasser
Untere Weißgerberstraße 13, 1030 Wien, Austria
From Prater Park, cross the Donaukanal (Danube Canal) to Kunst Haus Wien. If you don’t have time to go in, the exterior of this museum, which was designed by the painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser, is spectacular enough in itself, with its patchwork frontage and multicoloured window frames punctuated by lush, green plants. Inside the museum you’ll find a permanent exhibition dedicated to Hundertwasser, as well as changing art exhibitions. An on-site cafe-restaurant means this is also a good stop for a quick coffee or snack before you continue on your way. Carry on along the same road and you'll stumble across Hundertwasserhaus (pictured above), the unique, colourful housing complex that the painter created with the architect Joseph Krawina. The apartments are still rented out to the public today. Image credit: Hermann Traub from Pixabay
Article By: Freya Godfrey
Standard 11.00 EUR
Students 5.00 EUR
Kids 0.00 EUR Under 10
Seniors 9.00 EUR

Getting there

From Prater Park, it’s a 10–15-minute walk across the Donaukanal (or Danube Canal) to Kunst Haus Wien.

Travel time
0 hours 15 minutes
14:00 - 15:00
Stadtpark and Johann Strauss statue
Stadtpark, Parkring 1, 1010 Wien, Austria
From Hundertwasserhaus, head southwest to the Stadtpark, where you can stroll along the grand walkway that lines the Wiental Kanal, which bisects the park, and admire historical monuments. Look out in particular for the gold-gilded statue of Johann Strauss – the most-photographed site in Vienna – which stands within a richly carved archway. Next, make your way to the Kursalon, a beautiful concert hall that rises majestically over the green landscape. Dating back to the nineteenth century, it was inspired by the buildings of the Italian Renaissance. It’s well worth trying to book tickets for a classical music concert at the Kursalon’s chandelier-filled concert hall, to listen to the music of Strauss himself, or Mozart. Image credit: Jürgen B from Pixabay
Article By: Freya Godfrey
Standard Free

Getting there

From Hundertwasserhaus, it's a twenty-minute walk to the Stadtpark. You could also take tram 1 from Hetzgasse to Julius Raab Platz.

Travel time
0 hours 20 minutes
15:00 - 17:00
Mozarthaus
Mozarthaus, Domgasse 5, 1010 Wien, Austria
Strauss isn’t the only famous musician to have made Vienna his home. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived at many addresses across the city, but the only apartment that survives from his lifetime is on Domgasse. Luckily, it’s also the most sophisticated place that he lived. On the first floor, visitors can explore the rooms where Mozart lived with his family between 1784–1787, and where he composed operas such as Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro). The second and third floor display information about the operas that Mozart wrote and his life respectively.
Article By: Freya Godfrey
Standard 12.00 EUR
Group 9.00 EUR
Students 10.00 EUR
Kids 4.50 EUR Under 18
Seniors 10.00 EUR

Getting there

It's a ten-minute walk from the Stadtpark to Mozarthaus. The 3A 0 bus also runs between Stubentor U and Stephansplatz U.

Travel time
0 hours 10 minutes
17:00 - 18:00
St Stephen's Cathedral
Stephansplatz 3, 1010 Wien, Austria
You’re now in the historic centre of Vienna, so admire the architecture as you take the short stroll to St Stephen’s Cathedral, which began its life in the twelfth century. The striking Gothic cathedral boasts a fascinating zig-zagged, tiled roof and a spectacular interior. In winter, a Christmas market gathers within its square. As well as audio-guided visits to the cathedral, it's possible to climb the stairs of the south tower, which dates back to the Middle Ages, for one of the best views in Vienna. Or for a spookier experience, join a guided tour of the catacombs, where bishops and royals have been entombed. From here, you're in an ideal spot from which to sample central Vienna's restaurants and bars. Image credit: Waldo Miguez from Pixabay
Article By: Freya Godfrey
Standard 6.00 EUR
Kids 2.50 EUR Under 14

Getting there

The cathedral is located behind Mozarthaus, just a five-minute walk along Schulerstrasse.

Travel time
0 hours 5 minutes

Day 2

Day 2: The Southern Loop

Start at the Belvedere Palace before sampling Sachertorte and Vienna's art and culture.
09:00 - 12:00
Schloss Belvedere (Belvedere Palace)
Prinz Eugen-Straße 27, 1030 Wien, Austria
Begin your second day in Vienna by heading southeast of the centre, to Schloss Belvedere (Belvedere Palace). Here, two Baroque palaces face each other over a pretty, landscaped park. Their wedding cake-like exteriors started out as Prince Eugene of Savoy’s summer residence, and were once the home of heir-presumptive to the Austrian-Hungarian throne, Franz Ferdinand. Naturally, with such noble owners, the interiors are exquisite. Built between 1712–23, the palace complex is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At the time of writing, the Lower Belvedere was closed for renovations, but inside the Upper Belvedere, you’ll find a collection of sculptures and paintings that spans half a millennium. Perhaps most important is the extensive collection of Gustav Klimt's works, including "The Kiss", as well as art by other Viennese Modernists, and paintings by greats such as Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Auguste Rodin. Image credit: Herbert Bieser from Pixabay
Article By: Freya Godfrey
Standard 15.90 EUR
Students 13.40 EUR
Kids 0.00 EUR Under 18
Seniors 13.40 EUR

Getting there

It's about a half-hour walk from central Vienna to Schloss Belvedere. Otherwise, you can take Tram D from Burgring to Schloss Belvedere.

Travel time
0 hours 20 minutes
12:00 - 13:00
Cafe Sacher
Philharmoniker Str. 4, 1010 Wien, Austria
After exploring Schloss Belvedere, you may well be in need of a drink and a snack. Vienna is famous for its cafe culture, which in this city describes a tradition of cafes where waiters dress in tuxedos and people spend hours whiling away the time over a newspaper and a cup of coffee. One of the most famous places to experience this culture is at the Cafe Sacher, which is also said to be the home of the city’s renowned Sachertorte: layers of chocolate cake sandwiched with apricot jam and finished with a generous chocolate glaze. If you don’t manage to get to Cafe Sacher, try Cafe Demel, which also claims to be the originator of the traditional cake, or any coffee house with smartly dressed waiting staff. Image credit: Stefanie Laubscher from Pixabay
Article By: Freya Godfrey

Getting there

It's a twenty-five-minute walk from Schloss Belvedere to Cafe Sacher, or you can take Tram D from Schloss Belvedere to Oper, Karlsplatz U.

Travel time
0 hours 15 minutes
13:00 - 14:00
Vienna State Opera
Opernring 2, 1010 Wien, Austria
This impressive concert hall was built in the 1860s in a spectacular Renaissance Revival style. Visitors can book guided tours around the opera house’s state rooms, culminating in a tour of its magnificent circular auditorium. Vienna is famous for its classical music, so if you can, book a ticket to view one of the hundreds of operas and ballets that are shown in this location every year. Photo credit: Leonhard Niederwimmer from Pixabay
Article By: Freya Godfrey
Standard 12.00 - 0.00 EUR

Getting there

It's a three-minute walk from Cafe Sacher to the Vienna State Opera.

Travel time
0 hours 10 minutes
14:00 - 17:00
Albertina
Albertinapl. 1, 1010 Wien, Austria
Just a few minutes’ walk from the Cafe Sacher lies the Albertina. With tens of thousands of drawings and close to one million old master prints, the Albertina features one of the largest print rooms in the world. The permanent exhibition includes artworks from Monet, Picasso and more, while temporary exhibitions cover the gamut of photography, graphic art and international exhibitions. Visitors can also explore the state rooms of the grand building, which was formerly a palace, the "Palais Taroucca". Image credit: Julius Silver from Pixabay
Article By: Freya Godfrey
Standard 16.90 EUR
Members 0.00 EUR
Kids 0.00 EUR Under 18
Seniors 12.90 EUR

Getting there

It's a four-minute walk from the Vienna State Opera to the Albertina.

Travel time
0 hours 4 minutes
17:00 - 21:00
Naschmarkt
Naschmarkt, Wien, Austria
The Naschmarkt is a great market to explore during the day, when its stalls overflow with fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as locally sourced produce, dried fruit and other wares. It’s also lined with places to eat, which spill out onto the pavements, making it a fun place for an evening meal, particularly in the summer months. Image credits: Gerhard Bögner from Pixabay; Rudolf Degelsegger from Pixabay; Gerhard Bögner from Pixabay
Article By: Freya Godfrey

Getting there

It's less than a ten-minute walk from the Albertina to Naschmarkt.

Travel time
0 hours 8 minutes

Day 3

Day 3: The Western Loop

Begin on the outside the centre of the city at the UNESCO-listed Schloss Schonbrunn before travelling back into town for Vienna's museums.
09:00 - 12:00
Schloss Schonbrunn (Schonbrunn Palace)
Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, 1130 Wien, Austria
Start your third day in Vienna to the southwest of the ring road that surrounds the city centre, at Schloss Schonbrunn. This palace was where the royal Hapsburg family once spent their summers. It’s a truly impressive Baroque palace complex, with over 1,000 rooms and beautiful parks and gardens. Feel as though you’ve been transported back to the eighteenth-century as you enter the richly decorated state rooms, where you can learn more about the Hapsburg family, their lives, and with it the history of the Hapsburg Empire. There's also the Sisi museum, dedicated to the popular Empress Elisabeth of Austria, fondly known as Sisi, the Privy Garden, Orangery Garden, Maze, Gloriette and more. Image credit: Sekau67 from Pixabay
Article By: Freya Godfrey
Standard 28.50 EUR
Students 24.50 EUR
Kids 18.00 EUR Under 18

Notes

Prices are based on the Classic Pass, but there are many ticket options at the palace.

Getting there

It's best to take public transport to Schloss Schonbrunn. The U-bahn U4 runs from Karlsplatz to Schonbrunn station.

Travel time
0 hours 30 minutes
12:00 - 13:00
Wien Museum Otto Wagner
Karlsplatz, 1040 Wien, Austria
A short walk from Schonbrunn will take you to the Wien Museum Otto Wagner. The exterior looks like it has been taken straight out of a Wes Anderson film, but you would be forgiven for missing this museum on a wander round the city, as it’s housed in a former railway station. The museum takes visitors on a tour of the life and works of the architect Otto Wagner, who is credited with pioneering Viennese Modernism. You can also see his architecture around town, at the Postsparkasse (Postal Savings Bank), the Church at the Steinhof, and the city’s railway, the Stadtbahn. Image credit: andreas N from Pixabay
Article By: Freya Godfrey
Standard 5.00 EUR
Students 4.00 EUR
Kids 0.00 EUR Under 18
Seniors 4.00 EUR

Notes

The museum is free to everyone on the first Sunday of the month.

Getting there

Take the U4 U-bahn from Schonbrunn to Karlsplatz.

Travel time
0 hours 20 minutes
14:00 - 18:00
MuseumsQuartier
Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Wien, Austria
Spanning 90,000 metres squared, the cluster of museums and art galleries that lie in Vienna’s 7th district, opposite the Hofburg Palace, make it easy to stroll between some of the city’s behemoths of art and culture. There’s the Architecturzentrum Wien (the architecture museum), Kunsthalle Wien (a contemporary art museum), the Leopold Museum (which is full of Egon Schiele’s art and other modern artworks), the mumok (central Europe’s biggest modern and contemporary art museum), the Tanzquartier Wien (a dance venue), and more. On your way to the Museumsquartier, don’t miss The Street Art Passage, a tunnel lined with colourful street art that provides a pleasing contrast to the formal museums themselves. Image credit: Luki0712 from Pixabay
Article By: Freya Godfrey

Notes

The ticket prices for individual museums vary – check the website for details.

Getting there

It's a fifteen-minute walk from the Museum Otto Wagner to the MuseumsQuartier.

Travel time
0 hours 15 minutes
18:00 - 22:00
District 7
Neubau, 1070 Vienna, Austria
Spend your final evening in Vienna exploring its trendiest neighbourhood, District 7, or Neubau. As well as seeing another side to this largely traditional, historic city, you’ll find a host of hip cafes, bars, international restaurants and clubs to ensure a fun night out in the Austrian capital. There’s also cool concept stores, independent boutiques and second-hand camera shops along Westbahnstrasse, plus record stores spread across the neighbourhood – visit on the right day and you might even stumble across a live music set. Image credit: Arno Senoner from Unsplash
Article By: Freya Godfrey

Getting there

The MuseumsQuartier is actually in Vienna's District 7, so you won't have to travel far to find great places to eat, drink and shop.

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