The best tips for exploring Vienna, Austria

Oh, Vienna! It’s the kind of place that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a time machine, whisking you away to a world of elegance, history, and imperial grandeur. In this article I will share the best tips for exploring Vienna, including tips on how to get around, things to do, places to eat and places to stay. Vienna has much to offer, from museums to concerts, so I hope this guide makes planning a bit easier for you. Enjoy!

How to travel to Vienna?

Traveling to Vienna can be an exciting adventure, and there are several options to consider when planning your trip. If you’re already in Austria, you can easily reach Vienna from other major cities like Salzburg, Graz, and Innsbruck by train, bus, or domestic flights. If you are traveling from outside Austria, you can use one of the options below to get to Vienna:

– By Air

Vienna International Airport (Flughafen Wien-Schwechat) is the primary gateway for international travelers. It’s one of the busiest airports in Europe and offers a wide range of flight options. Upon arrival at the airport, you can easily reach the city center via train, taxi, or shuttle services.

– By Train or Bus

Vienna is well-connected to various European cities by an extensive train network. The city’s main train station, Wien Hauptbahnhof (Vienna Main Station), is a major transportation hub, and you can arrive in Vienna from places like Budapest, Prague, Munich, and other neighboring cities. The train journey often provides scenic views of the Austrian countryside.

You can also travel by bus to Vienna. Several bus companies offer affordable travel options to Vienna from various European cities. These services are usually budget-friendly and provide a convenient way to explore different parts of Europe.

– By Car

If you prefer to drive, you can also reach Vienna by car. The city is connected to the European road network, and there are well-maintained highways leading to Vienna. Keep in mind that parking in the city center can be challenging and expensive, so consider using park-and-ride facilities on the outskirts of the city.

– By River Cruise

If you’re on a river cruise along the Danube, Vienna is a common port of call.

the vienna hauptbahnhof main entrance in vienna austria
Photo by Farhan Al-Gifari on

Getting Around in Vienna

Now, let’s talk about getting around this fairy-tale city. Trams, buses, and the U-Bahn (subway) make it easy to reach all corners of the city. Consider getting a Vienna Card, which offers discounts on public transportation and various attractions. It’s a cost-effective way to explore the city.

You can also easily get around on foot or by bike. Vienna is a pedestrian-friendly city. Explore the historic center on foot or rent a bike to see the city from a different perspective.

Tip: to make your exploration even more convenient, download an offline map of Vienna. I always use the application or Google Maps for this.

Transportation Tip

I always use 12GoAsia when traveling in other countries. With just a few taps, you can easily book a ride ensuring a seamless and budget-friendly travel experience. Most of the time, you will receive a digital transportation ticket, so you don’t have to worry about printing.

My favorite things to do in Vienna

Now that you’ve stepped back in time, it’s time to explore Vienna’s top attractions, which showcase its beauty and cultural richness. Below you can find some of my favorite things to do in Vienna:

– Explore the beautiful palaces

Vienna is known for its imperial palaces, each more splendid than the last. Schönbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the Habsburgs, is a baroque masterpiece surrounded by lush gardens. You can tour the lavish rooms and stroll through the meticulously manicured grounds.

The Hofburg Palace, once the winter residence of the Habsburgs, is another architectural marvel. As you wander through its opulent rooms, you’ll get a glimpse of the lives of Austria’s rulers. Remember to visit the Spanish Riding School nearby, where the famous Lipizzaner horses perform their exquisite ballet.

Tip: Not sure where to start organizing your trip to Vienna? Choose one of the comprehensive tours to Austria. This way, you can explore Vienna’s rich history and vibrant culture while enjoying a reliable and unforgettable travel experience.

schonbrunn palace in drone shot
Photo by Philipp Deus on

– Take a Ride on the Giant Ferris Wheel

The Wiener Riesenrad is an iconic symbol of Vienna and offers panoramic views of the city. It’s a fun and memorable experience, especially at sunset.

– Take a Danube River Cruise

Enjoy a relaxing boat ride along the Danube River. I always love taking cruises to see cities from a different perspective. Most cruises include dinner and live music.

white ship docked with red steel bar
Photo by Simon Berger on

– Explore the Naschmarkt

This market is a food lover’s paradise. Sample Austrian and international cuisine, buy fresh produce, and browse through antique shops and flea market stalls.

– Walk through Vienna’s historic district

Vienna has a rich and diverse history is as rich and diverse as its cultural heritage. As you explore the city, you’ll find yourself surrounded by centuries of stories and legends. The Habsburg dynasty, emperors, and all sorts of historical icons have left their mark on this place.

A walk through Vienna’s historic district, known as the Innere Stadt, will transport you back in time. Here, you can visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral, also known as “Stephansdom,” a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. The cathedral’s spires reach for the sky, and its intricate interior is a testament to the skill of artisans of the past.

– Learn about art and history

Vienna is a haven for art and history enthusiasts. Some must-visit museums in Vienna include the Kunsthistorisches Museum that houses an extraordinary collection of art, including works by Rembrandt and Vermeer, the Belvedere Palace with its impressive collection of Austrian art, including the famous Klimt collection, and the Albertina Museum, home to a vast collection of graphic art and prints.

Tip: To save time at popular attractions, purchase skip-the-line tickets or book online in advance for museums and palaces like Schönbrunn and Belvedere.

– Admire the Hundertwasserhaus

Admire the unconventional and colorful Hundertwasser House, designed by artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. I think it’s a unique architectural gem.

facade of creative colorful apartment house in autumn city
Photo by Claudia Schmalz on

– Make a Day Trip to Schloss Orth

Located in the nearby Danube National Park, this picturesque castle is a great escape from the city. You can explore the castle, take a boat ride, and enjoy the natural surroundings.

– Attend a Classical Concert or Opera

Vienna is known as the “City of Music.” Enjoy a night of classical music at the Vienna State Opera, the Musikverein, or one of the many concert halls. You can even visit the homes of famous composers like Mozart and Beethoven.

Tip: If attending a classical concert or opera, consider dressing up. Many venues have a formal dress code, and it’s a chance to enjoy the experience to the fullest.

long exposure photography of the vienna state opera at night
Photo by Ivan on

– Try traditional food and drinks, my favorite activity 😉

Let’s not forget the food. Vienna is all about its culinary delights. From the world-famous pastries to artisanal cheeses, sausages, Wiener Schnitzel, Apfelstrudel and fresh produce in local markets, you’ll want to try it all.

Moreover, make sure not to miss out on the coffeehouse culture – take a leisurely break in one of the city’s historic coffeehouses and savor a cup of rich Austrian coffee and a slice of Sachertorte, a decadent chocolate cake.

Vienna is also one known for its significant wine culture. Take a day trip to the Vienna Woods (Wienerwald) or one of the city’s heuriger (wine taverns) to taste local wines and enjoy the scenic vineyards. Vienna Woods is also a great area for hiking, nature walks, and relaxation. There are many beautiful trails and scenic spots to discover.

Where to Stay in Vienna

Vienna offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget. Whether you’re looking for luxury hotels or more affordable alternatives, there’s something for everyone. Here are some of my favorite options:

– Budget accommodation

If you’re traveling on a budget, Vienna has numerous ho(s)tels and budget-friendly hotels that provide comfortable accommodations without breaking the bank. The Vienna Hostel Ruthensteiner and Vienna Boutique – Premium Hostel are two great hostels located around 3-4 kilometers from Vienna’s city centre. Both hostels are wonderful, provide spacious rooms with great lockers and are easily accessible by metro.

– Mid-range accommodation

I always love to stay in apartments when staying in a city. lyf Schönbrunn Vienna is a great studio in Vienna. It’s located close to the city centre (6 kilometers from centre), has a living room, bedroom, kitchenette and bathroom. Everything you need for a comfortable stay!

Versava Apartments also offers studio rooms with a bed, kitchenette and bathroom, but also single- and double rooms. The property is located close to Vienna central train station (only a 5-minutes walk) and provide free services like luggage storage and self check-in with a code.

Another option is to book a hotel outside the city centre of Vienna. The city’s public transportation system allows you to easily reach the city center from outlying areas, where you might find more affordable options. One of my favorite places is Hotel Stich, located around 20 kilometers from the city centre. This family-run hotel is located in a quiet area with wonderful views. The single- and double rooms are just renovated and you can try a hot Finnish sauna with a cold water bucket rinse. Sounds good right 😉

– Luxury accommodation

If you want to immerse yourself in the city’s imperial past, consider staying in one of Vienna’s historic luxury hotels. Many of these properties are housed in elegant palaces and offer top-notch service. The Hotel Imperial, The Ritz-Carlton, and The Hotel Bristol Vienna are just a few examples.

Some other tips for visiting Vienna

Here are some more tips for making the most of your visit to Vienna, Austria:

  • Plan Ahead: Research and plan your Vienna itinerary in advance. Vienna has so much to offer, from museums to concerts, and planning will help you make the most of your time.
  • Cash and Cards: Credit cards are widely accepted in Vienna, but it’s still a good idea to carry some cash, especially for small purchases and in case you visit places that don’t accept cards.
  • Learn Basic German Phrases: While many speak English in Vienna, locals appreciate when visitors make an effort to speak a few words of German. It can enhance your interactions and experiences.
  • Tipping: Tipping is customary in Austria. In restaurants, it’s common to leave a 5-15% tip. Be sure to check if service is included in your bill.
  • Vienna has a four-season climate: pack accordingly. Summers can be warm, while winters are chilly.
  • Safety: Vienna is generally safe, but like any city, be cautious with your belongings, especially in crowded areas. Stick to registered taxis and be aware of your surroundings.

Budget Tip

Traveling to a country with a different currency? Avoid ATM transaction fees and pay in local currency with a Wise Visa Card or Revolut Maestro Card. I have been using these cards for several years and have saved a lot of money as a result. I recommend bringing both bank cards with you when you travel.


In conclusion, Vienna is a city of timeless charm and cultural richness. This guide offers some useful tips for traveling to Vienna, navigating the city, and enjoying its top attractions. Whether you’re exploring historic districts, savoring traditional cuisine, or attending classical performances, there is something to do for everyone. Enjoy your visit to Vienna and safe travels!

If you have any questions about the above mentioned information, please let me know in the comment section below. I’m happy to help you. Safe travels!

Author: Daphne

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