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The Best Things To Do In Vienna, Austria


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Cam Darrow


Explore the Historic City Center

When visiting Vienna, Austria, one of the top things to do is to explore the historic city center. Known as the Innere Stadt, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to many of Vienna’s most iconic landmarks and attractions.


Start your exploration at St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a stunning Gothic masterpiece that dominates the city skyline. Climb the South Tower for panoramic views of Vienna or take a guided tour to learn about the cathedral’s rich history. From there, wander through the charming narrow streets and alleys, taking in the architectural beauty of the buildings.


Next, make your way to the famous Graben and Kohlmarkt shopping streets. Here, you can indulge in a unique shopping experience, browsing luxury boutiques, traditional Austrian shops, and enjoying a coffee or pastry at one of the many sidewalk cafes.


Continue your journey to the Hofburg Palace, the former imperial residence of the Habsburg dynasty. Explore the palace complex, including the Imperial Apartments, the Sisi Museum, and the Treasury. Immerse yourself in the opulence and grandeur of the imperial era as you wander through the halls and gardens.


Just a short walk from the Hofburg Palace lies the Spanish Riding School, where you can witness the elegance of the famous Lipizzaner horses in a breathtaking performance. Watch as the riders and horses perform classical dressage routines, a tradition that has been kept alive for centuries.


No visit to the historic city center would be complete without stopping at the Vienna State Opera. If you’re a fan of classical music, be sure to catch a performance and experience the world-renowned acoustics of this stunning opera house. If you’re not able to attend a performance, you can still admire the magnificent architecture from the outside.


As you explore the historic city center, be sure to also visit the MuseumsQuartier, one of the largest cultural complexes in the world. Here, you can immerse yourself in art and culture with a visit to the Leopold Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, or the Kunsthalle Wien.


With its rich history, stunning architecture, and cultural treasures, the historic city center of Vienna offers a truly immersive and unforgettable experience. Whether you are a history buff, an art enthusiast, or simply a curious traveler, this part of Vienna is sure to captivate and inspire you.


Visit Schönbrunn Palace

Located on the outskirts of Vienna, Schönbrunn Palace is a must-visit attraction that offers a glimpse into the opulent world of the Habsburg monarchy. Built in the 18th century, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its stunning architecture, vast gardens, and rich history.


Start your visit with a tour of the palace’s lavish interior. Immerse yourself in the imperial lifestyle as you explore the ornate rooms, including the Great Gallery, the Hall of Mirrors, and the exquisite imperial apartments. Learn about the fascinating stories and events that took place within these walls, from the reign of Maria Theresa to the days of Emperor Franz Joseph.


After the palace tour, take a leisurely stroll through the expansive palace gardens. With over 1,400 acres of meticulously manicured lawns, beautiful flowerbeds, and serene pathways, the Schönbrunn Gardens provide a tranquil escape from the bustling city. Be sure to visit the Neptune Fountain, the Gloriette, and the Privy Garden for some of the most picturesque spots in the park.


For those looking for a bit more adventure, don’t miss the chance to explore the Tiergarten Schönbrunn, the world’s oldest zoo. Home to a diverse collection of animals, including endangered species, the zoo offers a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with a wide range of fascinating creatures.


If you’re visiting during the summer months, be sure to catch one of the classical music concerts that take place in the palace’s Orangery. Experience the enchanting melodies of composers like Mozart and Strauss in a truly regal setting.


For a truly unique experience, consider taking the Schönbrunn Panorama Train, a small train that takes you on a guided tour through the palace grounds. Sit back and relax as you learn interesting facts about the palace and its history.


Before leaving Schönbrunn Palace, make sure to stop by the Carriage Museum, where you can admire a collection of magnificent carriages and learn about the role they played in the Habsburg court.


Whether you’re a history lover, a nature enthusiast, or simply appreciate beautiful architecture, a visit to Schönbrunn Palace is a must when in Vienna. Immerse yourself in the grandeur of this imperial residence, soak in the beauty of its gardens, and transport yourself back in time to the glory days of the Habsburg Empire.


Enjoy the Art and Culture at Belvedere Palace

Situated in Vienna, the magnificent Belvedere Palace is a must-visit destination for art and culture enthusiasts. Comprised of two stunning Baroque palaces, the Upper and Lower Belvedere, this complex is home to an impressive collection of artwork, beautiful gardens, and breathtaking architecture.


Begin your exploration at the Lower Belvedere, where you’ll find a treasure trove of medieval and Baroque art. Marvel at the intricate details of the building’s facade before stepping inside to discover the opulent interiors. Don’t miss the opportunity to view the famous Marble Hall, an exquisite space used for events and concerts.


Next, head to the Upper Belvedere, which houses one of the world’s most extensive collections of Austrian art. Here, you’ll find masterpieces by renowned artists such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Oskar Kokoschka. Be sure to set aside time to admire Klimt’s iconic painting, “The Kiss,” which is prominently displayed in the museum.


As you wander through the galleries, take in the stunning architecture of the palace itself. The grand staircase, adorned with marble and frescoes, is a sight to behold. The rooms are elegantly decorated, showcasing the royal splendor of the past.


After exploring the art inside, take a moment to relish the beauty of the Belvedere Gardens. These meticulously manicured gardens feature intricate pathways, vibrant flower beds, and charming fountains. Take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere, or find a spot to sit and take in the splendid views of Vienna’s skyline.


If you’re visiting during the summer months, be sure to catch an open-air concert or performance in the palace’s Orangery. The acoustics combined with the mesmerizing setting create a magical experience that will leave a lasting impression.


Before you leave, make sure to stop by the Belvedere 21, a contemporary art museum located in the former stables of the palace. This modern extension to the Belvedere complex showcases works by both well-established and emerging artists, providing a fresh and dynamic perspective on the art scene in Vienna.


Whether you’re an art aficionado or simply appreciate magnificent architecture and beautiful gardens, a visit to Belvedere Palace is a must. Immerse yourself in the rich culture and heritage of Vienna as you explore the impressive collection of art and revel in the grandeur of the palace and its surroundings.


Experience the Rich History at Hofburg Palace

Situated in the heart of Vienna, Hofburg Palace is a historic landmark that offers a fascinating glimpse into Austria’s imperial past. As the former residence of the Habsburg dynasty, this immense palace complex is brimming with architectural marvels, grand halls, and intriguing museums.


Begin your visit by exploring the Imperial Apartments, where emperors and empresses once lived. Step into the opulent rooms and halls adorned with lavish decorations, precious artworks, and luxurious furnishings. As you wander through the private chambers, you will gain insight into the daily lives of the Habsburg rulers.


Next, visit the Sisi Museum, dedicated to Empress Elisabeth, also known as Sisi. Discover the captivating life of this enigmatic figure through personal belongings, portraits, and historical artifacts. Gain a deeper understanding of the challenges and triumphs that shaped her life and left a lasting impact on Austrian history.


A highlight of the Hofburg Palace is the Treasury, home to an extensive collection of imperial treasures. Marvel at the dazzling display of crown jewels, royal regalia, and precious gemstones. Admire the intricately crafted pieces, including the Imperial Crown, the Holy Lance, and the Order of the Golden Fleece.


No visit to the Hofburg Palace is complete without exploring the Spanish Riding School. Witness the grace and skill of the famous Lipizzaner horses as they perform intricate dressage routines. The equestrian tradition has been upheld here for over 450 years, making it one of the oldest riding schools in the world.


Immerse yourself in the cultural history of Vienna with a visit to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which is housed within the palace complex. This magnificent museum hosts an extensive collection of art, including works by renowned artists such as Bruegel, Rembrandt, and Vermeer. Marvel at exquisite sculptures, stunning paintings, and ancient artifacts as you journey through centuries of artistic brilliance.


Make sure to take some time to explore the palace grounds, which encompass beautiful gardens and courtyards. Stroll through the Burggarten, a serene oasis in the midst of the city, or visit the Volksgarten, with its picturesque rose gardens and stunning monuments.


With its rich history, architectural splendor, and fascinating museums, the Hofburg Palace is a must-visit destination for history buffs and culture enthusiasts. Delve into the grandeur of Austria’s imperial past as you discover the secrets and treasures held within these magnificent walls.


Wander through St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Standing tall in the heart of Vienna’s historic city center, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, also known as Stephansdom, is a true architectural masterpiece and a symbol of the city. A visit to this iconic cathedral is a must for anyone exploring Vienna’s rich cultural heritage.


Marvel at the stunning Gothic architecture as you approach the cathedral. The intricately carved details, towering spires, and colorful roof tiles immediately captivate the eye. As you enter the cathedral, you’ll be immersed in a world of awe-inspiring beauty and spirituality.


Take a moment to absorb the grandeur of the interior. Admire the magnificent stained glass windows that cast a kaleidoscope of colors onto the stone columns and floors. The intricately designed altars and chapels are exquisite focal points that showcase the artistic craftsmanship of centuries past.


For a truly unique experience, consider climbing the South Tower of the cathedral. Ascend the 343 steps to reach the viewing platform, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Vienna’s cityscape. On a clear day, you can even see the majestic Austrian Alps in the distance.


Don’t miss the chance to visit the catacombs beneath St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Explore the impressive crypt and pay respects to the resting place of the Habsburg dynasty, including Emperor Frederick III and other prominent Austrian figures. The eerie atmosphere combined with the historical significance makes this underground world a fascinating and somber experience.


As you wander the cathedral grounds, take a moment to admire the intricate exterior details. Study the ornate carvings and statues that adorn the façade, each with its symbolic meaning and story to tell. Look out for the famous Pummerin bell, one of the largest in Europe, which chimes during special occasions and adds to the charm of the cathedral.


St. Stephen’s Cathedral is not just a place of worship; it is a living testament to Vienna’s storied history. Throughout the years, it has witnessed numerous events, from royal weddings to Mozart’s funeral. To truly understand the city’s cultural heritage, spend time exploring the museum located within the cathedral, featuring a collection of religious artifacts and treasures.


A visit to St. Stephen’s Cathedral is a must for anyone visiting Vienna. Its breathtaking beauty, historical significance, and tranquil atmosphere create an unforgettable experience. So, take a moment to wander through its hallowed halls and be transported back in time to a bygone era of architectural splendor and spiritual devotion.


Discover the Beauty of the Kunsthistorisches Museum

Situated on Vienna’s famed Museumplatz, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, or Museum of Art History, is a cultural gem that houses a vast collection of artworks and treasures from around the world. With its stunning architecture and extensive range of masterpieces, a visit to this museum is an absolute must for art enthusiasts and history lovers alike.


Step inside the museum and prepare to be amazed by the grandeur of the building itself. The palatial exterior, adorned with intricate details and statues, sets the stage for the artistic wonders that lie within. Once inside, you’ll find yourself in awe of the opulent interiors, featuring ornate staircases, gilded ceilings, and beautifully decorated halls.


The museum’s art collection spans centuries and encompasses a wide range of styles and genres. From ancient Egyptian artifacts to Renaissance masterpieces, from majestic European paintings to stunning decorative arts, there is something to capture the imagination of every visitor.


One of the most renowned sections of the museum is the Picture Gallery, which houses works by some of the greatest artists in history. Marvel at the genius of Vermeer, Rubens, Rembrandt, and Titian as you explore the collection of paintings. Admire the intricate brushwork, the play of light and shadow, and the emotional depth of these timeless artworks.


Don’t miss the chance to visit the Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection, which showcases fascinating artifacts from ancient civilizations. From mummies to intricately carved statues, immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of these awe-inspiring civilizations.


The Kunstkammer, or Chamber of Art and Wonders, is another highlight of the museum. This collection features unusual and extraordinary objects from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, including intricate sculptures, precious gemstones, and intricate mechanical objects. Marvel at the craftsmanship and marvel at the curiosity these items evoke.


When you need a break from the art, be sure to visit the museum’s café and enjoy a cup of Viennese coffee and a slice of decadent cake. The café itself is a work of art, with its beautiful mosaics and elegant design, making it the perfect spot to relax and reflect on the exceptional artworks you’ve encountered.


Visiting the Kunsthistorisches Museum is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty and brilliance of human creativity. Whether you’re a seasoned art connoisseur or simply have a passion for history and culture, this museum will certainly leave a lasting impression and ignite your imagination.


Take a Stroll in the Prater Park

Located in Vienna, Austria, Prater Park is a beloved recreational area that offers a perfect escape from the bustling city. With its vast green spaces, iconic Ferris wheel, and a range of attractions and activities, a visit to the Prater Park is a must for visitors of all ages.


As you enter the park, you’ll be greeted by a serene atmosphere and the sight of towering trees and open fields. The park spans over six million square meters, providing ample space for leisurely strolls, picnics, and outdoor activities.


One of the highlights of the Prater Park is the Riesenrad, a giant Ferris wheel that has become an iconic symbol of Vienna. Step into one of the vintage carriages and take a slow, scenic ride to enjoy panoramic views of the city. The Riesenrad is especially enchanting in the evening when the city lights up.


For thrill-seekers, the Prater Park offers a range of exciting rides and attractions. Visit the Wurstelprater amusement park, located within the park, and experience adrenaline-pumping roller coasters, spinning rides, and classic carnival games. Don’t miss the chance to ride the Prater Turm, a towering free-fall attraction that offers breathtaking views at its peak.


If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, take a leisurely stroll through the park’s extensive pathways. Enjoy the fresh air and the tranquility of nature as you walk along the tree-lined avenues or explore the charming meadows. The park is also dotted with cozy cafes and restaurants, where you can stop for a refreshing drink or a delightful snack.


For sports enthusiasts, the Prater Park offers various recreational facilities. Play a game of tennis, go for a run on the jogging trails, or rent a bike and pedal your way through the park’s scenic routes. There are also playgrounds and open spaces for children to enjoy, making it a perfect destination for a family outing.


When you need a break from all the activities, visit the Prater Hauptallee, a picturesque avenue that cuts through the park. Lined with beautiful chestnut trees and historic monuments, this is an ideal spot for a leisurely walk or a peaceful bike ride.


Finally, no visit to Prater Park would be complete without sampling a traditional snack. Head to one of the park’s famous Würstelstände, or sausage stands, and indulge in a hearty sausage accompanied by a freshly baked pretzel and a cold Austrian beer.


Whether you’re seeking thrills, relaxation, or simply a breath of fresh air, a visit to Prater Park is sure to leave you rejuvenated and with unforgettable memories. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty, attractions, and vibrant atmosphere of this beloved Vienna landmark.


Explore the Atmospheric Naschmarkt

Located in the heart of Vienna, the Naschmarkt is a vibrant and bustling market that has been a culinary hub for locals and visitors alike for over a century. This atmospheric market offers a delightful sensory experience, with its colorful stalls, delightful aromas, and diverse range of foods and produce for sale.


As you enter the Naschmarkt, you’ll be welcomed by a lively atmosphere and a bustling crowd of shoppers. The market stretches over a kilometer long, lined with rows of stalls displaying an impressive array of fruits, vegetables, spices, cheeses, meats, and much more.


Take your time to wander through the market and marvel at the vibrant colors and enticing smells. Chat with the vendors, who are often passionate about their products and are more than happy to share their knowledge and recommendations.


The Naschmarkt is a paradise for food lovers, offering a wide range of international cuisine. Sample traditional Viennese dishes such as schnitzel, goulash, or sacher torte at one of the many restaurants and eateries within the market. Alternatively, indulge in flavors from around the world, with offerings such as Middle Eastern falafel, Mediterranean mezze, or exotic Asian street food.


For those looking for fresh ingredients to bring back to their kitchens, the Naschmarkt is a treasure trove. Pick up fragrant herbs, exotic spices, and seasonal fruits and vegetables to add a touch of Viennese flavor to your own culinary creations.


As you explore, be sure to browse the numerous specialty shops and delicatessens that dot the market. Discover artisanal cheeses, cured meats, and unique condiments that will take your taste buds on a delightful journey.


Every Saturday, the Naschmarkt hosts a flea market that adds to the charm of this popular destination. Browse through vintage clothing, antique furniture, collectibles, and other unique treasures, creating a perfect blend of old-world charm and modern urban flair.


When you need a break from the shopping, indulge in a cup of Viennese coffee at one of the trendy cafes that line the market. Sit back, relax, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere around you, observing the diverse mix of locals and tourists that make the Naschmarkt come alive.


The Naschmarkt is not just a place to shop for food, it is a cultural experience that showcases the diversity and liveliness of Vienna. So, whether you’re a food lover, a bargain hunter, or a curious traveler, exploring the atmospheric Naschmarkt is an absolute must when in Vienna.


Enjoy a Classical Concert at Musikverein

Nestled in the heart of Vienna, Musikverein is a renowned concert hall that draws classical music enthusiasts from all around the world. Known for its exceptional acoustics and stunning architecture, attending a concert at Musikverein is an unforgettable experience for music lovers.


The main attraction at Musikverein is the Golden Hall, also known as the Großer Musikvereinssaal. This opulent concert hall is a masterpiece in itself, with its magnificent interior, intricate decorations, and iconic golden accents. As you step inside, you’ll be captivated by the grandeur and the sense of history that fills the air.


With its world-renowned acoustics, the Golden Hall provides a perfect setting to experience the enchanting sounds of a full orchestra. Immerse yourself in the rich strains of classical music as you listen to a symphony, a concerto, or a chamber music performance by some of the most distinguished musicians in the world.


Musikverein is home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and attending one of their concerts here is a special treat. Experience the virtuosity and precision of this acclaimed ensemble as they bring to life the works of composers like Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms.


If you prefer a more intimate setting, consider attending a chamber music concert in the smaller Brahms Saal. Here, you can appreciate the nuanced performances of talented soloists and small ensembles in a more intimate and cozy setting.


In addition to the Golden Hall and the Brahms Saal, Musikverein also houses the Glass Hall, which serves as an elegant venue for various events, including lectures, rehearsals, and chamber music concerts. Explore the different halls and venues within Musikverein to fully appreciate the architectural beauty and historical significance of this musical institution.


Before or after the concert, make sure to take a moment to appreciate the stunning exterior of the Musikverein building. The Neo-Classical design, adorned with statues and intricate details, is a sight to behold and sets the stage for the incredible performances that take place within its walls.


Attending a classical concert at Musikverein is an experience that feeds the soul and leaves a lasting impact. The combination of outstanding acoustics, world-class performers, and breathtaking surroundings creates a transcendent atmosphere that enhances the beauty and power of the music. So, if you have the opportunity, don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in the magical world of classical music at Musikverein.


Indulge in Viennese Cuisine

When in Vienna, one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local culture is through its delectable cuisine. Renowned for its rich flavors and culinary traditions, Viennese cuisine offers a diverse range of dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.


A visit to Vienna would not be complete without trying the iconic Wiener Schnitzel. This breaded and fried veal or pork cutlet is a true Viennese classic. Served with a squeeze of lemon and a side of potato salad or parsley potatoes, it’s a dish that perfectly captures the essence of Viennese comfort food.


Another must-try dish is Tafelspitz, which is boiled beef served with a flavorful broth, accompanied by horseradish and a medley of seasonal vegetables. It is a hearty and satisfying dish that showcases the Viennese love for slow-cooked meats.


For a meatless option, try Käsespätzle, a deliciously indulgent dish of homemade noodles smothered in melted cheese and caramelized onions. This comforting dish is perfect for cheese lovers and is sure to leave you wanting more.


Vienna is also famous for its coffee culture, so be sure to take a break and indulge in a traditional Viennese coffeehouse experience. Sit back, relax, and savor a cup of rich, aromatic coffee paired with a slice of Sachertorte, a decadent chocolate cake topped with a layer of apricot jam and dark chocolate ganache.


If you’re in the mood for something sweet, make sure to try the iconic Apfelstrudel. This delightfully flaky pastry, filled with warm spiced apples and served with a dollop of vanilla sauce or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, is a quintessential Viennese dessert.


To quench your thirst, try a refreshing glass of Wiener Gemischter Satz, a unique wine made from a blend of different grape varieties grown in Vienna’s vineyards. This crisp and aromatic wine pairs perfectly with a traditional Viennese meal.


Don’t forget to explore the local markets, such as the Naschmarkt, and sample the wide variety of fresh produce, cheeses, sausages, and pastries. The market is a treasure trove of flavors, and you can pick up ingredients to create your own Viennese-inspired dishes.


Whether you’re indulging in the hearty classics or uncovering new culinary delights, Viennese cuisine offers a gastronomic journey that reflects the city’s rich history and cultural heritage. So, allow yourself to be swept away by the flavors and aromas of Vienna as you embark on a culinary adventure through the city’s vibrant food scene.