What to See and Do in Vienna
March 27, 2020
As I was planning our first trip together as a young couple, I couldn’t help but wonder if Vienna is the right choice. My first question was: What can we see and do in Vienna that will be interesting?
Yes, of course, I’ve heard of Vienna’s culture scene, art and history and I’ve seen a lot of beautiful pictures, but I wasn’t a fan of history or art. And my boyfriend is NOT a fan of walking. Luckily, we decided to give Vienna a chance.
And I’m so happy we did.
You may have noticed that I’ve said: “I wasn’t a fan of history or art,” yeah, a lot has changed since this trip…
My boyfriend is still frustrated when he sees my trip plan, but I’ve learned that history can be fun (I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true). I’m still not a huge fan of art, but I’ve learned to appreciate it.
Vienna is packed with a lot of attractions, something for every taste. Is it history, culture, art, fashion, elegance, gastronomy, music, or something completely different? Don’t worry, Vienna has it all.
I must say, planning a trip to Vienna is not easy, especially when you have just a few days. We’ve spent 3 days there and I have a feeling that we didn’t see half of Vienna’s attractions. There is just so much to see and so much to explore.
You may get a panic attack when you start planning (like I did) but don’t worry, I’m here to help 😊
Here is my list of what to see and do in Vienna
First day (Inner town)
You can start your day by exploring the Inner town. That way, you can get a glimpse of the city.
You can stroll through Ringstrasse (Vienna Ring Road), a beautiful circular boulevard around Inner town of Vienna (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Here you can find Vienna’s most famous sights, such as:
Votivkirche (Votive Church), University of Vienna, Vienna Rathaus (City Hall), Burgtheater (National Theater), Parlament (Austrian Parliament Building), Justizpalast, Heldenplatz and Hofburg Palace, MuseumsQuartier and Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera).
Note: We’ve visited the Museum of Natural History and it was terrific. It was interactive and educational. I can’t remember ever having so much fun at the museum.
We also did a guided tour of the Vienna State Opera.
Admission: 9 Euros
While walking around the Ringstrasse, you will surely find plenty of statues and monuments of famous personalities like Maria Theresia, Johann Strauss, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Emperor Franz Joseph, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and many others.
From Vienna State Opera, you can take a walk through the most famous shopping street in Vienna, Kärntner Strasse. It runs from Vienna State Opera on the Ringstrasse out to the Stephansplatz.
Kärntner Strasse is lined with many famous international brands and traditional shops, historical buildings, baroque cafés and cute pathways.
Attention! Most stores are closed on Sundays or public holidays.
After taking a coffee break and of course eating famous Sachertorte at the Sacher Hotel, you can continue your sightseeing at one of the city’s most recognizable symbols, St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
With its multi-colored tile roof and four towers, St. Stephen’s Cathedral is stunning from outside, as well from the inside. So make sure to see this place when visiting Vienna.
The entry to the Cathedral is free, but if you want to climb 343 steps of the South Tower and see one of Vienna’s most-spectacular views over the Inner Town, it will cost you 6 Euros.
If 343 steps sound too scary, don’t worry! You can also visit the North tower, which is slightly lower than the South one but is accessible by elevator 😉 (Price: 6.50 Euros)
Tip: House of Music
We have visited the House of Music and like everything else in Vienna, it was amazing. You can play piano on stairs, listen to the highlights of the Viennese New Year’s Concert, discover the diverse origins of sound, rediscover the great Composers or even conduct the world’s most famous orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic.
Admission is 14 Euros, but it’s worth every penny!
For the perfect ending of a day, you can try one of Austria’s national dishes, Wiener Schnitzel with Erdäpfelsalat (Austrian potato salad).
Second day (Schönbrunn Palace)
You can begin your day by having breakfast with a beautiful view of Schönbrunn Palace at Schönbrunn Schloßcafé or Café Restaurant Residenz & Court Bakery.
After breakfast, you can dive into a beautiful Schlosspark Schönbrunn. Park is open to visitors free of charge during opening hours and is home to many impressive fountains, statues, monuments, gardens and the magnificent Gloriette.
If you want to visit the Palace itself, the Privy Garden, the Orangery Garden, or the Maze as well as the Zoo, you need to buy an individual or combined admission ticket. You can choose from a variety of ticket options, depending, of course, on how much do you want to see.
If you’re going to explore the Palace and the park, be prepared to spend entire day there. Don’t be afraid, there are a lot of places where you can take a break and enjoy many Viennese specialties.
Only here we have walked more than 10 kilometers, and in total during our visit over 40 kilometers. Imagine the delight on my boyfriend’s face 😉
Third day (Belvedere Palace, Hundertwasser House and Village and Giant Ferris Wheel)
The Belvedere Palace is a historical complex that served as the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy. Today, Belvedere Palace is known for its largest collection of Gustav Klimt paintings, including The Kiss and Judith (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
The complex is divided into two Baroque palaces, Lower Belvedere and Upper Belvedere, separated by a beautiful garden.
The Lower Belvedere Palace now houses special exhibits while the Upper Belvedere is open for tours.
You even don’t have to go inside to see the art (if you are not a fan of art 😉). You can just enjoy this magnificent building from outside and take a walk through its stunningly beautiful gardens.
Admission: Upper Belvedere 16 Euros, Lower Belvedere 14 Euros, Combined ticket 22 Euros
Hundertwasser House and Village
Friedensreich Hundertwasser created this colorful and unique apartment house. His vision was to bring architecture closer to nature, not only by using curves and colors but also with terraces and roofs full of trees and ivy. He even planned to have uneven floors, but obviously, this never happened.
People are still living there, so the Hundertwasser House can be seen just from the outside. Nevertheless, this area is a small pedestrian zone with benches and a fountain, perfect for admiring the building from nearby and for taking some pictures.
Directly across the Hundertwasser House is Hundertwasser Village, where you can buy some souvenirs or take a coffee break during sightseeing.
Giant Ferris Wheel (Riesenrad)
When visiting Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel is must-see.
Giant Ferris Wheel is one of the most popular attractions and a symbol of the Vienna. This oldest still operating Ferris wheel in the world is almost 65 meters tall and it offers a breathtaking view of the city. This is the right place to escape from the city noise for a moment.
Giant Ferris Wheel is part of the Vienna Prater, an amusement park that offers a wide range of attractions, such as carousels, roller coasters, and spooky rides. You can also take a walk and relax in another part of Prater, called “Green Prater.” Just a few steps away from the main avenue of the Prater, you can find an area of meadows and woods.
It is a magical place, and the best part is, you don’t have to pay a general entrance fee, you only have to pay for the tickets for the attractions, which you want to ride. The prices start at 5 Euro per ride.
Giant Ferris Wheel admission: 12 Euros
I hope that you will have more time to spend there than we had. I’m sure, no matter what you decide to see or do in Vienna, you will definitely have a blast.
If you have something to add, please feel free to leave a comment 😊