What if you had one day in Vienna? We are a family of 4 and will be taking a night train into Vienna and night train out of Vienna. What would you do during the day?
This was a question posted by Trippy user Tom from Los Angeles.
Vienna, the seat of the former Habsburg Empire and Austria’s capital, is known for its coffeehouse culture, classical music, architecture, and amazing dessert. Many famous historical figures like Mozart, Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Klimt, Hitler, Stalin, and Tito visited or made Vienna their home base, probably lingering for hours in coffee houses. It is a city with a perfect mix of old and new. Spending 24 hours in Vienna won’t be enough, but it will give you a glimpse into the rich culture and history of the city. Here’s how you can spend 24 hours in Vienna:
Breakfast at a coffeehouse
Vienna’s coffeehouse is not to be missed. It doesn’t matter how many hours or days you’re visiting; one of the first things you must do is have a meal at a coffeehouse, preferably breakfast. The classic Viennese breakfast should include a cup of melange (espresso with steamed milk and cream), and of course, a few of the cakes and pastries, even though it is breakfast time.
We suggest the following coffee shops for breakfast: Cafe Central, Cafe Landtmann, Cafe Pruckel, or Cafe Diglas. Peter from Vienna said:
Besides that, a must-do in Vienna is a visit to one of the city’s famous “Kaffeehäuser,” which is usually founded approximately 100 years ago. The interior of most of them is antique, and they are very cozy and charming – typical Viennese! My favorite place to have a coffee and some pastry is Café Goldegg because it is a little bit less touristic than some of the others.
Full day sightseeing tour
After breakfast, go on a full-day sightseeing tour. Trippy users Ilan and Babak had similar suggestions for places to visit:
Schönbrunn Palace Gardens
From Schloss Belvedere gardens via the Hochstrahlbrunnen (Monument for the red army) to Karlsplatz and its beautiful Karlskirche.
Wandering around Stephansdom, including a tour in the catacombs under the cathedral. (eating cake in AIDA -I love the cremeschnitte, and the coffee is also great )
Tour Kaisergruft – the resting place of the Imperial Habsburgs
walk around the ring. It is long but beautiful (Rathaus, opera, parliament, etc. )
Experience opera at Stadt Oper
Take Ringstrasse around the city center to see several significant landmarks Vienna has to offer
Go to Brezlgwölb for an authentic meal
Go to Figlmüller GmbH for an excellent schnitzel
Most of the full-day tours offered include the places listed by Ilan and Babak.
Before you join a guided tour, hop on the yellow Ring Tram for a 25-minute ride, circling around Ringstrasse Boulevard and passing by Vienna State Opera House, Parliament, Kunsthistorisches Museum (Art History Museum), Imperial Palace, City Hall, Burgtheater, University of Vienna and more. The Ring Tram starts daily at 10 am, and the last tram is at 5:30 pm. You can get on the tram from Schwedenplatz, platform C.
Trippy user Nare wrote:
See the Lipizzan Riding School (especially if traveling with kids) book in advance for tickets. Have a Sachertorte at the Hotel Sacher (original!). Everything is relatively close together, so I would also recommend visiting the Stephansdom and perhaps catching the tram around the Ring Road so you can see all the beautiful buildings that line the road (incl. the Parliament building). If you have time, visit one of the Palaces – Hofburg Palace is the one closest to the center.
Vienna Pass holders can get a free ride on the Ring Tram, and if you don’t have the pass, you can get a ticket for 12 Euro per person. Children’s fare is 6 Euro per child).
After the tram ride, head over to Helmut Zilk-Platz, 1010, to join the two hours free walking tour guided by Prime Tours. The tour starts at 11 am and covers the Innere Stadt (Inner City), the historic old town and designated UNESCO World Heritage Site of Vienna. This tour will give guests the chance to walk on Karntner Strasse, the pedestrian-only street filled with shops, art galleries, cafes, and restaurants. You’ll also have an opportunity to see Mozart House and Stephansplatz, where the famous gothic church, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, is located.
Vienna tourism board recommended several free walking tour companies. Choose one that suits your needs and call ahead to make sure the tours are available.
You’ll be famished after the two-hour walking tour and it’s time for lunch. For an authentic Viennese lunch experience, Toufic recommended the following:
I’m not a local, but I usually go with the locals when I’m in Vienna. I would check out Figls Gastronomieges.m.b.H. it’s a beer garden, and this whole vineyard area is actually filled with beer gardens, they all have good food. Another great experience in Vienna would be to go to the Prater area, and there check out Schweizerhaus for a great food experience. A little touristy but not to miss.
But if you’re visiting Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens after lunch, it’s best to find a restaurant that is close to the palace or near the place where you ended the walking tour.
Schonbrunn Palace and gardens
Martin from Austria recommended the following places for the afternoon and early evening activities. He wrote:
The afternoon program depends to the age and interest of your kids: Schönbrunn Palace (really nice historical area with a nice zoo next to it) OR Prater (an amusement park – here you really have to take a trip with Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel to take a look over Vienna and take a “Stelz’n” in Schweizerhaus. If you have time in the evening, you can relax and enjoy Vienna at sunset by putting your feet in the sand in the beach bar Strandbar Herrmann… enjoy your stay in Vienna!!!
Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens, the Versailles of Vienna is the most popular attraction in the city. This 18th-century Habsburgs summer palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing staterooms (there are 1,441 rooms), Carriage Museum, Children’s Museum, a beautiful garden, and a large zoo. We recommend joining a guided tour of the palace that allows you to skip the line, and also get tickets to attend the Mozart and Strauss spectacular concert in The Orangery Schönbrunn.
For a casual dinner, go to Naschmarkt, a famous market with over 120 stalls and restaurants. The market opens till 9 pm from Monday to Friday and on Saturday until 6 pm.
Sara from Vienna shared:
I live in the Mariahilf which is primarily known for the Naschmarkt fruit and veg market. Lovely place to walk around in the open air and people watch. Oh, that reminds me of the wonderful Naschmarkt Flea Market, which is wonderful if you want to bring home something really unique.
If you want a Viennese-style dinner, check out Walter Bauer, a Michelin restaurant located in Vienna’s old town.
Where to stay
Roberta, a Trippy user from California, wrote:
I love to stay in the area of Belvedere Palace. It’s just a little off the center of the city, yet a walking distance to everything. Be sure to dine at the Café Sperl for an authentic Austrian fine dining for a reasonable price!
Consider the following places to stay:
1. Pension Neuer Markt – located in Innere Stadt (Inner City), walking distance to St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom), Vienna State Opera, and Kärntner Strasse, the pedestrian-only street.
Neubaugasse is a great place to be because there are so many fantastic stores. This is my favorite area to walk in and window shop. Of course, the Innere Stadt is excellent, too, because it’s in the middle of the city with lots of great shopping.
2. Hotel Sacher Wien – a 5-star historic hotel located in Innere Stadt, close to Vienna State Opera.
3. Hotel Altstadt Vienna – a boutique hotel located in Vienna’s fashionable “Boboville” district
When to visit
Vienna is a year-round destination; however, go in winter if you like to visit Christmas markets and go on a skiing trip in Austria. Many of the squares throughout Vienna are transformed into Christmas markets decorated with festive lights and Christmas decor. Decorations start from the middle of November and here are the top six featured on Vienna tourism’s website:
What is a Vienna City Card?
For a 24-hour stay we recommend the basic Vienna City Card. If you have more days, you should consider one of the city cards:
- Vienna City Card Tour
- Vienna City Card Transfer + Tour
Cards are available on Vienna tourism board’s website.