Vienna (German: Wien) is the capital city of Austria. Austria is also easily one of the most populous cities because of its wonderful history, culture, and political influence. It is the second most German-speaking city after Berlin. Vienna is the number one spot for international congresses and conventions. In 2019, Austria had been named the world’s most liveable cities based on the quality of life.
Vienna attracts so many tourists because of the history, art collections, musical heritage, Viennese cakes, and wine. Some of the great classical music composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven spent their final years in Austria creating wonderful symphonies.
The famous Sigmund Freud, a great neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis was born here. The famous writer Karl Leopold von Möller and two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz and the F1 legend Niki Lauda (3 championships) are from Vienna.
How many days do you need to explore Vienna : Minimum of 3 days, 2 nights.
Language spoken in Vienna : German
Do locals speak English: Officials at tourist attractions speak English, many locals speak English and would be happy to help you.
Currency used in Vienna : Euros ( € )
Let’s explore the list of best things to do for a few days in Vienna.
1. The Hofburg
The Hofburg is the former imperial palace of the rulers and today is the residence and office of the Austrian President. Hofburg is a historic palace in the center of the city. The palace has a plethora of things to explore such as the Sisi museum, the Silver Collection, and the Imperial apartments. The imperial apartment has 24 rooms of Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Elizabeth. The rooms include residential suites, reception rooms, study rooms with amazing decorations. In total, the Hofburg has 2600 rooms and 19 courtyards, massive and grand.
The Hofburg is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on all days, including public holidays.
The admission price for adults (with audio guides) is 15€ and other concession details(students, Vienna card, etc) are available on the official website.
2. Spanish Riding school
The Spanish Riding school (German: Spanische Hofreitschule) is an institution dedicated to preserving the training of Lipizzaner horses. They are based in Vienna and open to the public in the Hofburg. There are about 68 stallions who are trained and exhibited all over the world. The stallions are taught in three stages:
- Remontenschule (Forward riding)
- Campangeschule ( Campaign school)
- Hohe Schule (High school)
Each of the stages is very specific task training and difficult maneuvers. The spectacle shows the audience various movements performed by the horses such as Capriole, Courbette, Levade. There are multiple events namely Performances, Morning routine, and Guided tour of the stables and the Winter Riding school. We opted for the Guided tour and it was awesome and recommend you to experience it. The entrance tickets and other details can be viewed on the official website.
3. Austrian National Library in Vienna
The Austrian National Library (German: Österreichische Nationalbibliothek) is the largest library in Austria. The library is located on the Neue Burg wing of the Hofburg. This was actually the Imperial Court Library. The library has four museums such as the Austrian National Library Museum, Globe Museum, Papyrus Museum, and Planned languages and Esperanto Museum. The collection has seven million objects including books, scripts, maps, printings, music recordings, etc.
The center hall of the Imperial Library has a beautiful fresco in the central dome which depicts the glorification of Emperor Charles VI. The hallway has several marble statues of emperors. If you are wondering, why visit the Library? The visit takes you on a tour of the Austrian history and Medieval period. Beautifully decorated interior, museums, paintings, statues will fascinate you.
The State Hall, museums are open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The entrance tickets details for both state hall and museums can be found on the official website.
4. Kunsthistorisches Museum
The Museum of Fine Arts (German: Kunsthistorisches Museum) is a famous and largest art museum in Austria. The interior of the museum is decorated with marble, gold-leaf, and paintings. The museum’s primary collections are of Habsburgs, portraits, armours of the emperors. Artwork of Pieter Breughel the Elder, the most famous of Dutch Renaissance paintings is the highlight.
Other notable works by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Caravaggio, and Peter Paul Rubens are a part of the collection. The museum has Greek and Roman antiques, sculptures, decorative arts, and coin cabinet.
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Thursdays, it is open till 9:00 p.m.
The entrance ticket for the Museum of Fine arts costs 16€ and the combined tickets for the Fine Arts Museum and the treasures of the Habsburgs cost 22€.
5. Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum (German: Naturhistorisches Museum) is famous for the largest and oldest collection of meteorites, anthropological exhibitions, fossils, and dinosaurs. There are 39 exhibition rooms with about 30 million objects.
On the 125th anniversary, a digital Planetarium was opened featuring full-dome projection technology providing a great journey to the edge of Milky Way galaxy or Saturn’s rings. There are about 60 scientists carrying out fundamental research related to earth sciences, life and human sciences.
Apart from these exhibits, the museum has unique objects such as the 29,500-year-old Venus of Willendorf statue carved from a special type of limestone. There is also a 200-year-old extinct sea cow skeleton.
6. Vienna State Opera
The Vienna State Opera (German: Wiener Staatsoper) was inaugurated in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth. This is one of the world’s largest theaters and many renowned composers, dancers, and music conductors have performed in the venue. Each year 60 different operas and ballets are performed.
The current massive Opera House was built in 1869 and is notable for its French Early Renaissance style, while interior highlights include a grand staircase leading to the first floor, the Schwind Foyer.
The Opera is open from Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Weekends from 9:00 a.m. to 12 noon.
The Opera tickets can be booked from the ticket office or online for each of the performances. The cost varies a lot depending on the seating or standing. The standing tickets start at 10€ and up to 290€ for the best views. If you really want to experience Opera, do not hesitate to purchase a ticket and enjoy the performance here. During my visit to Vienna, I did not go to the Opera house but have heard quite a lot about it.
St. Charles Church (German: Karlskirche) is a Baroque-style church dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo. The dome of this church is elliptical and not circular. In 1712, there was an epidemic plague and Charles Borromeo was revered as a healer for plague sufferers. This church conducts concerts of Vivaldi to honor his death. Antonio Vivaldi died in Vienna and was buried next to the church. The interior is decorated with fresco on the dome, sculptures, and carvings.
8. Belvedere Palace
Belvedere is a Baroque-style building with two palaces namely Upper and Lower Belvedere. The palace is filled with amazing statues, frescoes, and paintings. Francesco Solimena did the fresco on the ceiling of the Golden room. Gaetano Fanti did an illusion painting in the Marble Hall. The Marble hall also has a fresco on the ceiling by Carlo Carlone.
Some of the famous buildings are the Winter Palace, the Orangery, the Palace stables, the Belvedere gardens. The Österreichische Galerie Belvedere is an art museum in the Belvedere Palace, known for its extensive collection of sculptures and panel paintings.
The palace is open from Monday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The entrance ticket costs 14€ per person. Detailed information is available on the official website.
9. Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palace (German: Schloss Schönbrunn) was the summer residence of the Habsburgs. This UNESCO World Heritage site was also built in Baroque style and has 1441 rooms. Tour highlights include a chance to see the Imperial Apartments, including Emperor Franz Joseph’s Walnut Room, his bedroom, and Empress Maria Theresa’s rooms.
The garden has the Neptune Fountain. The Gloriette is a structure designed to glorify Habsburgs and today used has cafes and the visitors can have a panoramic view of the city. The famous Schönbrunn Palace concerts are being held here, which are grand and populous.
10. Tiergarten Schönbrunn
Schönbrunn Animal Garden (German: Tiergarten Schönbrunn) is also the Vienna Zoo. Many animals were captured as a collection by the emperors. These animals were used to create the zoo. It is the oldest operating zoo in the world. Vienna zoo is one of the few zoos in the world to have Pandas. There is also an aquarium, rainforest house in the zoo.
The zoo has elephants, sea lions, penguins, arctic wolves, Siberian tigers, Cheetahs, Koalas, and many other animals. The zoo also has restaurants and cafes to eat and relax. The visitors can watch the animals being fed but on specific days of the week. The zoo is open all days including public holidays. The opening hours and ticket details are available on the official website.
11. St.Stephen’s Cathedral
St.Stephen’s Cathedral (German: Stephansdom) is the most important religious building in Vienna. The exterior of the church is built with limestone and stands 107 meters tall. The roof of the cathedral is colorful with the symbol of the Habsburgs. This cathedral hosted many events of famous people in Austria such has the wedding of Mozart and Constanze Weber. The funeral of Antonio Vivaldi, Niki Lauda, and many more.
The Hundertwasserhaus is an apartment in Vienna, built based on the concept of Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The exterior is colorful with unique design, thereby drawing the attention of the passerby’s. There are more than 200 trees and shrubs on the balconies and roof, making it a green environment. Unfortunately, we cannot enter into the Hundertwasserhaus.
But there is a separate Museum just opposite to the house built with the same concept. The museum has the largest collection of his paintings, tapestries, and architectural designs. The entrance ticket costs 11€ for a person. It is open on all days from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
13. Danube Tower
The Danube Tower (German: Donauturm) is located near the Daube river. It is the tallest structure in Austria with a height of 252 meters (827 ft). The tower can be accessed by two high-speed elevators carrying visitors to the observation deck in 35 seconds. The tower holds antennas of cellphone networks and radio stations. There are restaurants and cafes in the tower. Visitors can have a breathtaking view of the city.
The opening hours of the tower are Monday to Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday and Public holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
The entrance to the lift and open viewing terrace and central floor costs 14.50€ for an adult. Access to the cafes and restaurants varies dependingly. Detailed information is given on the official website.
Prater is a large park in Vienna. Often people mentioned Wurstelprater and I looked it up, it is actually the second oldest amusement park in the world. Emperor Joseph II declared the Prater to be free for the public. Today the park holds a lot of cafes, arcade shops, and rides to try. The park is open every day and 24 hours.
From the 15th of March to the 31st of October, the park is filled with many individual attractions. There is no generalized ticket to try all rides. It is like a funfair, you pay for the attractions you want to try. The attractions include Giant wheel (German: Riesenrad), roller coasters, flying swings, train rides (Liliputbahn), go-karts, and many more. Some attractions are open all year. This is a perfect place for kids and families to relax and enjoy.
15. Schlumberger Kellerwelten
Schlumberger was founded in 1842 and was the first producer of sparkling wine using the traditional champagne method in Austria. This place has a museum with a wine tasting experience. This is a 300 year old cellar and the sparkling wine is stored in bottles. The wine cellar is laid out underground and extends to a few kilometers.
Visitors can have a well-organized tour of the cellar and the traditional method of winemaking. The tour lasts for 30 to 45 minutes and at the end based on your ticket choice you get to taste either the famous Schlumberger Sparkling Brut or a few other wines.
There are four types of tours and the basic tour includes the cellar and a Sparkling Brut after the tour and costs 11€ for an adult. Other types are given on the official website.
The wine tour is given on Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and from Thursday to Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
So guys, there you go !! Vienna is truly a historic city to explore and do visit these places.
If you are wondering where to wind down your day in Vienna, I would recommend the oldest Heuriger in Vienna, ’10er Marie’. They have been producing their own wine for a very long time and the whole ambiance is rustic and cozy.
Be sure to checkout our other blogs , in case you guys are planning to go on a Euro Trip !!