Ready to visit one of my fave cities in the whole wide world? Of course, you are since there really is nothing more fun than enjoying the very best things to do in Vienna.
After all, top Vienna things to do include everything from historic palaces to world-class museums to decadent desserts you just can’t miss.
But, with so many top Vienna landmarks to see, it can be hard to know which ones are worth your time and which ones deserve a hard pass.
And that’s where I come in! I recently visited Vienna for the first time and did ALL THE THINGS.
So, I know exactly what should be on your Vienna itinerary and what you can totally skip.
I’ll also offer up some epic Vienna tips so that you can save loads of money and time when visiting one of my fave cities ever.
And that’s saying a lot since I have been traveling for the past 20+ years and have spent time in 60+ countries. But, yeah, Vienna really is next-level awesome if you’re a true culture vulture at heart.
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⭐️ Rating: 4.4/5.0 (1670 Reviews) Price: Starts at $96.79 per person Duration: 1,2,3, and 6 days 📍Meeting Point: N/A just download to your phone Operator: Vienna Pass Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
Now, are you planning on seeing a bunch of museums in Vienna? Or, will you spend more than one day in the City of Dreams?
If so, you have to buy the Vienna Pass.
See, this is an all-inclusive sightseeing pass covers admission to over 70 attractions. Many of which are the best things to do in Vienna for arts, culture, and history.
No really, I am not exaggerating.
Admission to almost every top Vienna attraction is included with this pass, like the Leopold Museum, Belvedere Palace, Schobrunn Palace, Albertina, the Sisi Museum, and more.
The only Vienna landmarks that are not covered by the Vienna Pass are St. Charles Church (worth it to visit and cash only to enter) and St. Stephens (Free to enter but you will have to pay if you want to visit the crypt, tower, etc. Again, cash only)
Plus, you get unlimited use of the hop-on hop-off buses. I mean, just think about your feet.
Essentially, it comes as a 1, 2, 3, or 6-day pass. Note, you do need to use it consecutively and activation starts once you scan your QR code.
“Wish we would’ve had more time to take advantage of all the benefits of the Pass. Would definitely recommend the Pass, it included everything we wanted to do in a limited time frame. Pro Tip: If you want to tour the palace, make sure you get to the ticket window early to reserve your spot! Palace tour tickets are included, but you have to reserve a time slot, we almost missed out because we didnt know this!”Danielle (read more reviews now)
But, you can just show up at your chosen Vienna sights and – in most cases – skip the line.
Yeah, the notable exception to that is Schobrunn Palace where you will need to go to the ticket office first to secure your ticket prior to entry.
I showed up right when they opened at 8:30 am and didn’t get into the palace until 12:30 pm. However, that was during the summer so it might be different if you visit during the off-season.
Yup, thank goodness Schobrunn Park is massive and that the Vienna Pass covers admission to most of the park’s top landmarks, like the zoo.
However, when at most other Vienna landmarks you can skip the line and just enter with your pass.
So, you’ll save lots of money and time! After all, most of these museums and buildings are world-class institutions. Therefore, admission can cost upwards of €20.00 per museum
As a result, you can quickly see how you can save a ton of money. Unless you are spending just a day in Vienna. Then I don’t think the pass is really worth it.
So, read all about the Vienna Pass and order yours pronto. Plus, it’s half-price for kids!
Just be aware that sadly public transportation is NOT included with the Vienna Pass.
This is totally fine though since most of Vienna’s top attractions are centrally located and within walking distance of one another. Again, Schobrunn Palace is the exception to that rule.
Pro Tip: If you want to book a tour of the Vienna Opera House with the Vienna Pass, you will need to do that in advance by using a code they send you via email.
FYI, the code contains a zero and not the letter “O”. Yup, tried to enter the code a bunch of times before I realized that. #FAIL
You will also need to go to the Spanish Riding School ticket office and use your pass to grab a ticket and join an official tour of the facility.
|You will quickly save money if you spend at least 2 days in Vienna||Pricey and a high upfront cost|
|Covers all the top attractions in the city (minus two churches)||Not worth it for one day in Vienna or if you are not into museums/palaces|
|You can use the Hop on, Hop off bus to move around the city||Public transportation not included|
|Save time with skip-the-line access to most places||Must be used on consecutive days|
|Can download a QR code to your phone and use the pass instantly||You won’t get skip-the-line access to a few attractions|
My number one pick for the best things to do in Vienna is this Wachao Valley wine tour 🍷. You’ll sample epic wine, escape the chaos of Vienna. and admire quaint villages you’d otherwise never get to see. 🇦🇹
Best Things to Do in Vienna for Arts and Culture
⭐️ Rating: 4.4/5.0 (2199 Reviews) Price: $18.58 per person Duration: 1 day 📍Meeting Point: Belvedere Palace Operator: Österreichische Galerie Belvedere Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
Obviously, Belvedere Palace (Schloss Belvedere) is a premier attraction in Vienna.
Now, it’s located just outside of the Innere Stadt in the sublimely scenic Belvedere Schlossgarten.
FYI, roaming these gardens is one of the best things to do in Vienna for free.
In fact, you’ll find that Belvedere Palace is spread over three art museums.
And, the ornate Baroque palace known as the Upper Belvedere is where you’ll find the permanent collection.
Naturally, it’s the works by Gustav Klimt that draw the crowd. After all, this is where “The Kiss” is exhibited and where some of the other iconic works from his famed “Golden Period” can be found.
Sunny Jayne (read more reviews now)
“If you are pressed with time, consider this beautiful palace and surrounding garden! Glad I booked ahead of time. There were no tickets available for the time needed. No need to arrive early. Check in on time with your mobile ticket and directly at the entrance to the Upper Belvedere Palace.”
But, the collection represents Austrian painters from the Middle Ages through to the current day.
Plus, you’ll also see rooms dedicated to Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and other European greats.
Remember, admission is covered with the Vienna Pass and you’ll be able to skip the line too.
But, you can also buy an Upper Belvedere & Permanent Collection entry ticket.
Pro Tip: The Leopold Museum has Klimt works on display as well but the Belvedere Palace is the place to go if you want to see his most famous works from is Golden Period.
It’s also worth noting that this former palace has been converted into an art museum. Therefore, you won’t see any rooms furnished as they originally were when the royals were in residence.
For that, you’ll need to go to Schobrunn Palace instead. This is also easily the best of all the Belvedere Museums so feel free to skip the others if you’re short on time.
|Awesome way to escape the summer heat or winter chill||No period rooms but an art museum housed inside a gorgeous palace|
|Admission to the gardens is free and they are stunning||Galleries get busy at peak travel times, especially between 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM|
|A once-in-a-lifetime chance to see The Kiss by Klimt||This activity doesn’t include a tour guide or audio guide|
|The palace is one of the most beautiful buildings in Europe|
|Included in the Vienna Pass|
⭐️ Rating: 4.6/5.0 (18 Reviews) Price: $17.36 per person Duration: 1 day📍Meeting Point: Lower Belvedere Operator: Österreichische Galerie Belvedere Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
So, the Lower Belvedere (Unteres Belvedere) is the second palace to form the wider Belvedere Palace complex.
And, it is also located in the palace gardens – at the northern end.
Ultimately, this equally ravishing palace was the building that lodged Prince Eugene of Savoy.
Now, here, most of the exhibitions are temporary. Therefore, you’ll want to skim the official website and see what’s on before you visit.
When I visited there was nothing too exciting going on so I could have skipped it. But, you never know!
Again, your nifty Vienna Pass covers admission. But, you can just buy an entry ticket for the Lower Belvedere and temporary exhibitions.
“Fabulous -beautiful setting and amazing art work.”Gabrielle (read more reviews now)
Overall, it makes sense to visit both if you have the time and if you have the Vienna Pass since the two museums are right next to one other.
But, the Lower Belvedere will charm hardcore art buffs eager to explore a specific artist, a movement in depth, or Medieval religious art.
|Great value when visited in conjunction with the Vienna Pass||No guide service offered|
|Often overlooked in favor of the Upper Belvedere so it can be quieter||If you only visit the Lower Belvedere, you will not see The Kiss|
|Admission is inclusive of the Lower Belvedere, Orangery, and Palace Stables|
⭐️ Rating: 4.0/5.0 (1 Reviews) Price: $10.35 per person Duration: 1 day 📍Meeting Point: Belvedere 21 Operator: Österreichische Galerie Belvedere Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
Now, Belvedere 21 (formerly Museum of the Twentieth Century and 21er Haus) is the contemporary counterpart to the Upper and Lower Belvedere.
And, the building itself stands in startling contrast with the two grandiose Baroque palaces.
Because, this vision of steel and glass is emblematic of post-war Modernism that sent ripples through the capital city.
“Belvedere 21 Contemporary Art is an excellent addition to the current lineup at the Belvedere. The ground floor has the current exhibition, while the upper floor has contemporary pieces from paintings and sculptures to installations. It was easy to get into the museum with the GYG ticket. I used the app, showed the QR code, and went straight in. Super easy and efficient.”Queenie (read more reviews now)
Sited in the Swiss Garden (Schweizer Garten), it’s nearby enough to visit in tandem with the other two museums. But, do be aware that it’s about a 15-minute walk away from the Upper Belvedere.
In essence, this gallery is one of the best things to do in Vienna that showcases modern art, photography, music, and film.
Plus, there are ad hoc performances, readings, concerts, film screenings, and talks.
Additionally, strolling around the Sculpture Garden and grabbing a drink at the terrace bar is another of the best things to do in Vienna.
I mean, you’ll have tons of stuff to mull over after a visit to the galleries.
Pro Tip: I would only go to this Vienna landmark if you ADORE really quriky modern art. The museum is also closed on Monday (most museums are), so don’t visit then!
|Included in the Vienna Pass||Only for people who love REALLY modern art|
|Wheelchair accessible||Won’t be able to see The Kiss|
|Lucy Bar is a cool place to grab a cocktail or classy lunch|
|The Sculpture Garden is free to visit|
|A must-see for fans of cutting-edge art|
⭐️ Rating: 4.6/5.0 (454 Reviews) Price: $23.37 Duration: 1 day 📍Meeting Point: Kunsthistorisches Museum Operator: Kunsthistorisches Museum Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
Visiting the Kunsthistorisches Museum is one of the best things to do in Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier.
See, this knockout 18th-century palace was commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph to show off the imperial private collections.
Essentially, the art on display spans everything from Ancient Egypt to Classical Rome and Renaissance masterpieces.
Word of warning: it’s vast, and you’ll likely spend three hours at least here. We’re talking around half a day people since this is the grand daddy of them all when it comes to the best museums in Vienna.
“Great Museum! Absolutely great exhibition! Though be prepared! The museum is vast and in order to see everything in detail you need a good 3-4 hours. I’d suggest to not combine the visit to this museum with any more than one other museum or palace in Vienna as it turns out to be exhausting.”Stella (read more reviews now)
After all, the massive collection here includes works by Caravaggio, Rubens, Rembrandt, Raphael, and Velázquez. Plus, the works extend to sculptures, coins, and other antiquities too.
Now, you know the score: access is covered by the Vienna Pass. However, you can always buy a Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum admission ticket on its own.
But, just make sure your Vienna itinerary allows enough room to justify your visit.
Pro Tip: While there isn’t much to see on the third floor, you’ll enjoy impressive aerial views of the cafe and museum. So, be sure to stop by for epic views and even better photo ops.
|The artists exhibited at Kunsthistorisches read like a who’s who of art history||No guided tour option with this ticket|
|Free entry for anyone under 19||Audio guides must be purchased separately at the museum|
|The building alone is stunning||Not recommended for little kids – it’s probably a bit heavy|
|Included in the Vienna Pass|
⭐️ Rating: 4.7/5.0 (362 Reviews) Price: $21.03 per person Duration: 1 day 📍Meeting Point: Albertina Operator: Albertina Details: Read more reviews now!
Another of the best things to do in Vienna for art lovers, the Albertina Museum is actually one of the Seven Urban Wonders of the World.
There, permanent and special exhibitions inside two buildings walk you through all the major styles of art.
Therefore, you’ll find French Impressionism, German Expressionism, and Russian avant-garde.
Naturally, the collection covers the full panorama of Austrian art.
“Good value tickets and represented a slight saving from buying on the day. Lots of different artists to view paintings from. It was our first time round an art gallery and was good to see some name we recognised as we’re not really big art fans but when in Vienna….”Kevin (read more reviews now)
And, the art is displayed in the state rooms once dwelled in by the Habsburg family.
Essentially, these 20 rooms include the Hall of Muses and the Spanish Apartment.
So, you’ll want to pre-book any tickets and tours for the Albertina Exhibitions ASAP.
Bear in mind when choosing your ticket that some permit access to both sites: Albertina Modern and the Albertina Museum.
FYI, these tickets also cover you for the permanent and temporary exhibits too.
Pro Tip: This museum is well-located in the center of the city so you can easily visit the Spanish Riding School and the Sisi Museum too! Oh, and the Picasso awesomeness is on the third floor.
|Lots of Monet and Picasso paintings are on permanent display||Guided tours are only available at select times of year|
|You can visit the Albertina Modern and the Albertina Museum on different days||Cafe is expensive|
|Included with the Vienna Pass|
⭐️ Rating: 4.6/5.0 (235 Reviews) Price: $16.69 per person Duration: 1 day 📍Meeting Point: Leopold Museum Operator: Leopold Museum Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
Now, the Leopold Museum stands out as it casts a spotlight on Viennese Art Nouveau and Modernism.
Here, you’ll see the mind-boggling (and kinda saucy) works of Egon Schiele, one of the defining Austrian Expressionist painters.
Also, the Leopold Museum has a a nice collection of works by Klimt (nothing from his golden era so don’t get too excited) and Oskar Kokoschka.
“Really enjoyed my visit to this museum. It’s a good size to not feel overwhelming. The pieces on display are beautiful and I enjoyed seeing them. I was also introduced to new artists I didn’t know. The special exhibit on German Expressionists was also fantastic. The interactive piece was mesmerising.”Shannon (read more reviews now)
Plus, there are a couple of Picasso paintings thrown into the mix for good measure at this Vienna landmark. Really, this is one of the best things to do in Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier.
Now, you’ll save tons of time and stress when you snap up a Leopold Museum skip-the-line entry ticket in advance. Because the lines do get super long, especially around mid-day.
It’s also a super cool destination if you want to get your share of art but are more excited by avant-garde over traditional.
Because there is a long collection of art from Egon Schiele that is super wonky and totally thought provoking.
And, it’s one of the most important collections of Viennese and Austrian art in the world…so go now!!!
|Included with the Vienna Pass||Guided tour not available|
|Not an overwhelming size – fits in nicely to a shorter Vienna itinerary||Audio guides are not included in the ticket|
|Ticket covers you for the permanent and temporary galleries|
|Café Leopold serves awesome Asian cuisine in a chic terrace setting|
⭐️ Rating: 4.6/5.0 (3761 Reviews) Price: $36.72 per person Duration: 75 minutes 📍Meeting Point: Varies Operator: Orchester 1756 GmbH Details: Read more reviews now!
Of course, Vienna is chocca box full of stunning churches that will make your jaw drop.
And, St. Charles’s Church (Karlskirche) is a striking Baroque church with a turquoise dome and a pair of twin towers.
In fact, Karlskirche was dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo in recognition of his healing endeavors during the plague.
Ultimately, its construction marked the end of the epidemic.
So, it costs €8 per adult to go inside (interior is STUNNING) and check out the frescoes, museum, and private terrace (cash only, well worth it, great museum, and decent views of the city).
Although, if you’re looking to do something cooler, you can catch a concert in the church instead.
Because seeing the Four Seasons Concert by Vivaldi at Karlskirche is one of the best things to do in Vienna at night.
“Fantastic! The lead violinist was the most skilled and active musician I’ve ever seen! He literally and figuratively ‘jumped’ around the stage. The rest of the players were very capable and a great contrast to the hyper energy of the lead. A great performanc.”Peter (read more reviews now)
Essentially, this is performed by Orchestra 1756 and consists of a string quartet and basso continuo.
FYI, the acoustics are out of this world and the atmosphere is surreal, even if you’re not into classical music.
Psst: heading to Italy? Seeing the Four Seasons at the “Vivaldi Church” is also one of the best things to do in Italy, at night!
Pro Tip: Short on cash and looking for free things to do in Vienna? Then head to St. Peter’s Church (right across the street from the Sisi Museum) and enjoy a 30-minute organ concert at 3:00 pm.
|Concert tickets come in three different pricing tiers to suit all budgets||Admission to Karlskirche is not covered by the Vienna Pass|
|Awesome date night if you’re traveling with your spouse||Strollers aren’t permitted and the concert is not wheelchair accessible|
|Experiencing the musical legacy of the “City of Music” is incredible|
8. Brush up on Viennese Actionism at MUMOK
Now, if you can’t get your tongue around “Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien” it’s fine to call it MUMOK.
And, this is the art museum for you if you’re all about Pop Art, Cubism, Futurism, and Surrealism.
See, this funky gallery is dedicated to the likes of Warhol and Picasso.
Plus, they have a rad collection of creations by Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Alberto Giacometti too. Ya-who!!!
Also, MUMOK will introduce you to Viennese Actionism, a brief yet riveting movement that swept through the city throughout the 60s and 70s.
Therefore, this is yet another of the best things to do in Vienna for free with your VIP Vienna Pass.
9. Tour the Vienna Opera House
Now, the Vienna Opera House (Wiener Staatsoper) might be the most beautiful concert hall in Europe.
Shh, don’t tell the Palais Garnier. See, this Renaissance Revival building first opened its doors in 1869. And, it hosts operatic performances yearly between September and June.
So, having a gander around the block and checking out the facade is one of the best things to do in Vienna for free.
But, for the real deal, you need to book a tour of the opera house. And while it’s usually €13 per adult, tours are totally free with the Vienna Pass!
Although, you do have to reserve your free slot in advance online.
10. Pretend you’re Belle at the Austrian National Library
It goes without saying that visiting the country’s landmark library is one of the best things to do in Vienna for bibliophiles.
See, the State Hall at the Austrian National Library was built at the bequest of the Habsburg emperor, Charles VI.
Essentially, the Baroque court is topped with a mesmerizing ceiling fresco that depicts military scenes and allegorical images of peace.
And, there are no less than 200,000 tomes packed into the deluxe walnut shelves, published between 1501 and 1850.
Without the Vienna Pass, admission is €10 per adult. Therefore, it’s a nice saving – and kids always go for free.
Best Things to Do in Vienna for History and Landmark Sights
⭐️ Rating: 4.7/5.0 (2220 Reviews) Price: $53.43 per person Duration: 2 hours 📍Meeting Point: Ehrenhof Fountain Operator: Good Vienna Tours Details: Read more reviews now!
Of course, Schönbrunn Palace (Schönbrunn Schloss) is one of Vienna’s defining landmarks.
And that’s because this palace originally served as an imperial hunting lodge.
But, it was revamped as a summer residence for Austro-Hungarian emperors in the 18th century.
Now, it’s totally free to visit the Schönbrunn Palace Park and wander around the landscaped gardens (Which you should 100% do. You should also check out the epic hedge maze which is not free.)
But, you’ll need to purchase a ticket to enter the palace and tour the state apartments.
Now, per usual, the Vienna Pass has you covered. Just be sure to snag your tickets at the ticket office BEFORE you enter the palace (You’ll also be given a specific entrance time).
You’ll then get a nice audio guide and do a 45-minute guided “Grand Tour” of all the rooms in the palace.
Alternatively, this Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens skip-the-line tour spares you from having to queue.
And, you’ll have the benefit of a live tour guide, which is hella awesome and way more in depth.
“Eddie was such an excellent tour guide with incredible knowledge of the Palace and the Imperial Family. He was very charming, funny, and engaging. The tour itself was beautiful and having a stroll in the large gardens after is the perfect way to top it off.”Jennifer (read more reviews now)
To be honest, this is pretty paramount, otherwise, you don’t really understand the significance of the art, furnishings, and lifestyle of the Habsburgs.
Trust me, the audio guide was kind of lacking and actually didn’t provide any commentary on a lot of rooms.
Plus, the nearby Schönbrunn Zoo is one of the best things to do in Vienna with kids. In reality, you could spend a whole day exploring the attractions at Schönbrunn Palace.
Pro Tip: Don’t miss the Gloriette structure in the center of the park or the hedge maze which is super fun.
|Guided tours are highly informative||Without the Vienna Pass, Schönbrunn is one of the most expensive Vienna attractions|
|Audio devices are given out so that you can hear the live commentary clearly||It’s kind of far away so you’ll need to take the metro to get here|
|Provides a window into the Habsburgs Royal Family|
|Included in the Vienna Pass (also covers the maze and zoo – separate admission required)|
⭐️ Rating: New Price: $53.00 per person Duration: 2.5 hours 📍Meeting Point: Raiffeisen Bank, Michaelerplatz 3, 1010 Vienna Operator: RosoTravel Austria Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
Now, the Hofburg Palace (Hofburg Wien) is another of the best things to do in Vienna if you want to delve right into the history of the Habsburg dynasty.
And, like the Belvedere, this palace complex is actually spread out over three different sites – the Spanish Riding School, the Sisi Museum, and the Imperial Treasury.
First up, is the Sisi Museum which is devoted to the personal effects, clothing, and portraits of Empress Elizabeth “Sisi” of Austria.
Married to Emperor Franz Joseph, Sisi is beloved for her rebellious nature and free-spirited ways.
Then, in the second half of this unique museum, you’ll explore the Imperial Apartments and see the former imperial palace of the Habsburgs.
So, visiting is a rad way to find out exactly what it’s like to live in a fancy royal palace. Just be sure to grab your audio guide before you enter.
And if you’re not into learning all about “Sisi” skip the first half of the museum and beeline it over to the Imperial Apartments.
Anyway, this combined Sisi Museum, Hofburg, and Gardens Tour package offer epic value.
Because you’re getting a full tour service with a licensed guide who’ll tell you everything you need to know.
Remember, this 2.5-hour tour also visits the Hofburg courtyards, Heldenplatz, and Burggarten.
But, seeing as these are free to visit you can spend more time exploring after the tour.
|The tour has skip-the-line privileges and a live tour guide||As the palace is popular, it can be hard to hear the narration during busier periods|
|Sisi Museum is devoted to the enigmatic empress and queen||Not wheelchair accessible|
|Included in the Vienna Pass|
⭐️ Rating: 4.7/5.0 (2476 Reviews) Price: $23.41 per person Duration: 55 minutes 📍Meeting Point: Main entrance to Spanish Riding School Operator: Spanische Hofreitschule Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
Along with the Sisi Museum, the Spanish Riding School is well-worth a spot on your Vienna itinerary.
Because this equestrian center has been in operation for over 450 years.
Essentially, pedigree Lipizzan horses and their riders practice the Renaissance tradition of the haute école. That’s “high school” or advanced classical dressage.
“The tour was taken by our guide (so sorry forgot name) who spoke great English, was informative and light hearted. She gave lots of interesting facts and did so in an engaging and friendly way. I’m not that interested in horses bit found the visit really interesting.”Paul (read more reviews now)
Whatever time of year you visit, you can visit the Summer and Winter schools in Stallburg on a behind-the-scenes Spanish Riding School tour.
These take just under an hour and give you the opportunity to pore over the riding ring’s ornate Baroque architecture, explore the stables, see the tack room, and meet an actual stallion (or ten).
Note, photography is prohibited so as not to bother the stallions. However, you are allowed to take photos when you are outside.
Pro-tip: At certain times of year (usually not summer) you can either watch a training session or a formal show.
And, seeing a performance of Lipizzan horses is one of the best things to do in Vienna that you simply can’t do anywhere else in the world.
Also, you cannot visit the complex independently and must visit as part of an organized tour that is arranged through the main ticket office.
|The guided tour includes the chance to meet the Lipizzaner stallions||Shows are only available at limited times in the year (aka not summer)|
|Spectating the morning exercise is included in the Vienna Pass||Not wheelchair accessible|
|An equestrian guide will answer all your questions about the school and horsemanship||Must visit as part of a tour and they can get quite big.|
|Nice break from more traditional museums|
⭐️ Rating: 4.4/5.0 (632 Reviews) Price: $15.43 per person Duration: 1 day 📍Meeting Point: Swiss Wing in the Vienna Hofburg Palace. Operator: Kunsthistorisches Museum Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
Of course, if sparkling jewels and glittery things float your boat, you need to visit the Imperial Treasury.
In fact, this chamber is part of the Hofburg complex. As such, it contains priceless treasures of the Habsburgs including the Austrian crown jewels.
“The exhibit simply WOWED us! There was so much history and beauty all wrapped into one. We enjoyed the experience thoroughly and would have been very disappointed if we had not experienced this tour. We think this is a must for anyone visiting the city…plus…throughout other exhibits and tours in the city, many references relate back to what we saw and learned on this tour – having done this early in our stay added to the experience of our other excursions. KUDOS – job well done – and amazing exhibit! WE LOVED IT!”Andrew (read more reviews now)
And, you’ll clock jewelry worn by Habsburg empresses and princesses as well as Empress Sisi.
Plus, other objects include the largest cut emerald in the world and the world’s largest agate bowl, known as the Holy Grail.
Now, if you’re flying without the Vienna Pass, you can just buy a standard entrance ticket to the Imperial Treasury in the Hofburg Palace.
In honesty, the Imperial Treasury is neat to see if you have plenty of spare time. But, from my experience – I’d send you to the Sisi Museum and Spanish Riding School over the treasury.
Pro Tip: Really though, this is probably one of my least favorite things to do in Vienna on this list. So, unless you’re DYING to see the crown jewels I’d skip this museum – especially if you’re short on time.
|Cool if you want to eye up the crown jewels||Guide not included|
|It’s possible to book the admission ticket and enlist a private guide to accompany you|
|Included in the Vienna Pass|
⭐️ Rating: 4.5/5.0 (233 Reviews) Price: $15.43 per person Duration: 1 day 📍Meeting Point: Sigmund Freud Museum Operator: Sigmund Freud Museum Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
Naturally, a trip to Vienna needs to make room to learn about Sigmund Freud.
The founder of psychoanalysis, this Austrian neurologist and psychologist lived in Vienna for 47 years.
And, the Sigmund Freud Museum now occupies his past residence.
Here, you’ll see the original furnishings that once sat in his waiting room. Plus, there’s a private collection of antiquities and signed copies of his published works.
“Museum is easy to find and has a lovely cafe and shop located inside. The staff were very friendly offering to put my suitcase in storage for me as it was too big for the lockers. The preservation and restoration of the museum itself is pristine with lengthy explanations for each piece. A very interesting tour you can take at your own leisure. Would definitely recommend visiting.”John (read more reviews now)
Additionally, you’ll tour the “Hidden Thoughts of a Visual Nature” exhibition which is a permanent collection of conceptual art.
In a nutshell, the museum is one of the best things to do in Vienna if you’re curious about the psyche and the human mind.
Note, if the content gets a little heavy – there’s a café downstairs where you can try the Vienna-brewed “Sigmund Freud Original” beer.
Pro Tip: This museum is more about psychology than history, with only one room furnished as it would have been when Freud lived there.
So, unless you REALLY love psychology, you can skip this Vienna attraction and take it off your Vienna bucket list.
|Tons of literature detailing the works and theories of the neurologist||It’s the exact same place where Freud lived and worked – history was made in these walls|
|It’s the exact same place that Freud lived and worked – history was made in these walls|
|Included in the Vienna Pass|
⭐️ Rating: 4.7/5.0 (1146 Reviews) Price: $51.85 per person Duration: 3 hours 📍Meeting Point: Bösendorferstraße 5, 1010 Vienna Operator: Pedal Power Vienna Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
Now, the Ringstrasse is a glamorous boulevard with a Champs-Élysées kinda atmosphere.
So, the variety of architectural styles on the Ringstrasse is inclusive of Classical, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and more!
Additionally, principal Vienna landmarks include the Greek Revival Austrian Parliament Building (Parlament) and the neo-Gothic City Hall (Rathaus).
In fact, the neo-Renaissance Vienna Opera House is another jewel on the Ringstrasse.
Now, walking along this grand boulevard is one of the best things to do in Vienna on your first visit.
And, it’s totally free to meander around and check out the icons.
However, you can further enrich the experience and explore the Ringstrasse by bike.
Now, this guided bike tour of classic Vienna guides you past all the major sights on the elegant boulevard.
Essentially, the activity will last between 3 and 4 hours.
You’ll also stop and dismount at key Ringstrasse landmarks while your guide shares the history and secrets.
“Its was a lovely bike tour.. quite easy since I’m not a biker as such but even for me it was very comfortable and a very enjoyable ride. Went through some of the most amazing areas in Vienna and got amazing bits of info from our guide Lota who made it very interesting and took very good care of everyone in the group.”Sonal (read more reviews now)
For the most part, the tour follows bike paths and quieter roads for the safest experience possible and is a great way to experience Vienna highlights with a local guide.
After all, highlights include the Vienna State Opera, the Austrian Parliament Building, the Rathaus, the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Heldenplatz, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Hundertwasserhaus, and Donau Canal.
|Tour is inclusive of bike and helmet rental||Children under 12 cannot participate|
|Guided service means you get a better perspective of the significance of the Ringstrasse||Tour operates in all weather – if it rains, you cannot cancel|
|Lots of chances to ask questions||Only admire top Vienna landmarks from the outside|
17. Climb the South Tower at St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Another of Vienna’s landmark churches, St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Domkirche St. Stephan) is the flagship Roman Catholic church.
Located in Stephansplatz, the church sports a colorful tiled roof that shines in the sunlight. Plus, the spire is the tallest in the entire country.
Now, St. Stephen’s Cathedral is one of the best things to do in Vienna for free.
However, you’ll need to pay to visit either of the two towers or the catacombs.
Note, the North Tower is accessible via an elevator. But, the South Tower means climbing a dizzying 343 steps.
Unfortunately, admission isn’t covered by the Vienna Pass. Although, the views are awesome so it’s worth the splurge!
Pro Tip: The church is cash only so be sure to have some Euros on you.
⭐️ Rating: 4.3/5.0 (3011 Reviews) Price: $14.89 per person Duration: 1 day 📍Meeting Point: Wiener Riesenrad Operator: Wiener Riesenrad Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
Hopping on a Giant Ferris Wheel is one of the best things to do in Vienna for epic views.
Now, the Wiener Riesenrad marks the entrance to the Prater amusement park in Leopoldstadt, Vienna’s second district.
Built-in 1897, the wheel has undergone maintenance to keep it shipshape over the past century.
Rising to 65 meters (213 feet), it grants panoramic views over the Innere Stadt, the Vienna Woods, and the River Danube.
Plus, the Wiener Riesenrad made a cameo appearance in James Bond: The Living Daylights.
“Very organised entry: Loved the view and the speed of it wasn’t too fast/slow. Although , i could’ve gone around again! 🙂 I enjoyed the view.. I see there were ‘dressed’ carriages too so maybe you can hire it for a special occasion? Easy to get tickets .. 🙂”Nalini (read more reviews now)
Actually, this entire fairground is brimming with old-school rides, vintage attractions, and classic comfort food. Therefore, you might want to make an evening of it.
Now, you can visit with your Vienna Pass or just buy a separate ticket for the Giant Ferris Wheel Ride.
Just be aware that it does get busy around sunset so you’ll want to plan this carefully!
Pro Tip: Leave plenty of time to explore the lovely park surrounding the amusement park since it is a great place to walk.
You can also check out a series of cool, vintage dioramas before boarding the Ferris wheel. This was also not one of my fave Vienna things to do and I think you can give it a pass if you’re short on time.
|Amazing at any time of day but especially around dusk and in the evening||Prater, on the whole, is expensive to visit as rides are priced individually|
|The specified ticket gives you skip-the-line privileges||Very touristy and not one of the more unusual things to do in Vienna|
|One of the best things to do in Vienna for all ages|
|Included in the Vienna Pass|
Unique Things to Do in Vienna
19. Explore the Neubau District by Day and Night
Now, what with all the museums and galleries that you’ll be seeing during your Vienna itinerary, you might fancy stretching your legs with a stroll around the city.
And, Neubau, the 7th District, is the coolest place to get a sense of modern-day Vienna.
See, this neighborhood extends from the MuseumsQuartier.
Essentially, it’s likened to London’s East End or Berlin’s Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district.
Therefore, you’ll find smaller independent galleries, street art, and hipster hangouts flooding the streets.
Plus, you can browse the shops for vintage clothing too.
If you can, swing by Burggasse 24, a one-stop shop for coffee, vegan fare, and retro fashion amidst a super bougie setting.
FYI, bar-hopping in Neuba is one of the best things to do in Vienna at night. So, start with a craft cocktail at the Habit Pub.
20. Enjoy Breakfast Inside an Actual Greenhouse at Palmenhaus
Located in central Vienna – and not to be confused with Schönbrunn Palmenhaus – this amazing restaurant in Burggarten Park doubles as an actual greenhouse.
So, admire large swaths of tropical plants while sipping on a cocktail, nibbling on a cheeseboard, or digging into contemporary takes on classic Austrian dishes.
Personally, though, I would visit right at 10:00 am when they open. This way you can take tons of photos without the crowds (there will still be people but just not as many).
I also thought that prices were fairly reasonable but just temper your expectations when it comes to views since they are just OKAY.
And while there are plenty of indoor and outdoor dining options, the best photo ops can be found inside – although it can get quite hot in the summer.
Pro Tip: Be sure to make a reservation since this is one of the best things to do in Vienna Austria that is quite popular.
21. Go for a Dip at the Art Deco Amalienbad
Alright, so Vienna isn’t a spa city like Budapest nor does it have the beaches of Mediterranean Europe.
But, Vienna earns its stripes with this head-turning bathhouse.
Situated just south of the Belvedere complex, Amalienbad is designed as per the Art Deco style of the 1920s. Plus, the roof is transparent so it’s kind of like swimming outside.
And, with a distinctly Wes Anderson vibe, swimming at this public pool is one of the best things to do in Vienna if you’re looking for luxury.
Note, there’s no need to book – you just have to show up and pay for admission. Just remember to bring your own towel.
Best Things to Do in Vienna for Food and Drink
⭐️ Rating: 4.6/5.0 (172 Reviews) Price: $71.70 per person Duration: 2.5 hours 📍Meeting Point: Marktamt Vienna. Attention! Operator: GTOUR genusstouren e.U. Details: Read more on Get Your Guide Now!
Located just southwest of the Innere Stadt, Naschmarkt is a historic open-air market. In fact, Naschmarkt has been on the scene since the 16th century.
Ultimately, it’s a real mix of fresh produce, posh pantry items, spices and herbs, antiques, and vintage clothing.
So, visiting the market is one of the best things to do in Vienna if you want to pick up some unique souvenirs. Plus, it’s worth going there simply to eat a meal at one of the taverns.
Although, with over 100 vendors, it’s tough to know where to eat. Therefore, it makes sense to enlist the help of a friendly local to show you what’s what.
And this Naschmarkt Food Tasting Tour is led by a professional guide who’ll take you to the best vendors.
And, in addition to snacking, the guide will share gastro intel about the dining culture in Vienna.
“Michael was a wonderful guide! So knowledgeable about the foods, spices, what pairs well together, and the origins. This felt like a true Viennese experience, not super touristy. Would definitely recommend to anyone who wants to experience local culture and go beyond the 1st district.”Chandler (read more reviews now)
Plus, handy cooking tips! You know, in case you want to make your own wiener schnitzel or nnödels.
|Wheelchair accessible||Drinks are not included in the tour|
|Small group tour capped at 8 pax||Requires 2 people per group to secure a place|
|Guide shares insight into local dining customs|
|Tour includes food tastings|
|Navigate the hustle and bustle like a Viennese local with this tour|
⭐️ Rating: 5.0/5.0 (439 Reviews) Price: $200.49 per person Duration: 8.5 hours 📍Meeting Point: Vienna Explorer, Franz-Josefs-Kai 45, 1010 Wien, Austria Details: Read more on Viator Now!
Visiting nearby vineyards is one of the best things to do in Vienna on a warm summer’s day.
See, the scenic Wachau Valley is just an hour’s drive northwest of the city.
However, it’s difficult to get there without a car. So, it’ll save you a ton of hassle if you join this amazing tour.
Because this Wachau Valley small-group tour from Vienna includes round-trip travel, a guide service, and wine tasting.
So, ss part of the full-day tour, you’ll even visit the UNESCO-listed medieval town of Dürnstein.
Plus, you’ll stop by smaller, equally picturesque villages and see the Danube Riverbank in all its glory.
“Tom was an excellent tour guide. He was very knowledgeable about Austrian wine. This is a perfect tour to get out of the city for a day and see the beautiful Wachau valley. I highly recommend this this tour!”James (read more reviews now)
Of course, the highlight of the day is a wine tasting at a traditional winery. Usually, this will include the local Riesling and Neuburger varieties.
Plus, the tasting is accompanied by delicious light snacks too. Furthermore, the itinerary has an optional lunch at a wine tavern if you’re feeling a bit peckish and want to sample some local cuisine.
Note, the cost of the lunch isn’t included so you can opt-in on the day if you want.
|Wine tasting is included||Not wheelchair accessible|
|This tour mixes bucolic sightseeing with wine tasting||Lunch is not included|
|Tours between May and September include a 70-minute Danube cruise||Can be a bit pricey|
|Capped at 8 participants|
|Solo travelers are welcome to book a place|
24. Taste the Original Sachertorte
When in Vienna, eat Sachertorte.
See, this is the utterly decadent chocolate sponge cake that originated in Vienna and went on to be recreated all over the continent.
Now, an authentic Sachertorte in Vienna is layers of chocolate and apricot preserve encased with a glazed exterior.
However, this cake is a bit on the dry side and served with a side of whipped cream for that very reason. So, do NOT expect a super moist cake when you bit into this dessert.
Invented by Franz Sacher at Café Sacher in Hotel Sacher Wien, you can taste the original recipe in a wildly lavish environment (the recipe also includes no alcohol FYI).
And, you can sample the equally delicious Demel’s Sachertorte at Café Demel (Sort of. I think the one at Cafe Sacher is better IMHO. But they are both pretty similar).
Now, both are known for their classic Viennese coffeehouse atmospheres. But, they’re crazy popular – Cafe Sacher especially.
Therefore, you’ll need to make a reservation at Cafe Sacher or show up right when they open at 10:00 am to enjoy one of the top things to do in Vienna.
Pro Tip: If you have time and are willing to wait (I only waited about 30 minutes in the middle of summer) I would go to Cafe Sacher.
However, if you just want to quickly sample a sachertorte and are short on time, then hit up Demel. Demel is way easier to get into and the service is a lot quicker.
25. Experience Old-World Vienna at Café Central
So, grabbing a bite to eat at Café Central is one of the best things to do in Vienna.
Because, this storied café is a visual masterpiece with arched ceilings, marble columns, and palatial decor.
And, if you think it’s all about the aesthetic, you’re wrong. See, the food is great too.
Essentially, you can choose between classic dishes including wiener schnitzel, gulaschsuppe, rindsgulasch wiener art, and kaiserschmarrn. Although, the cakes at Café Central are a work of art too.
In fact, it’s worth going there purely to peruse the patisserie and sip on a proper Viennese coffee topped with whipped cream.
Now, reservations are recommended, especially if you want to visit after 3:00 pm when they have live piano music inside the cafe.
Pro Tip: If you visit right when they open (like 8:00 am) you should be able to get a table (even in the summer) since they save a bunch of tables for walk-ins.
You also have the added benefit of not having a million people in your photos.
26. Sip on a Hundred Different Craft Beers at Mel’s Diner
Losing a few hours to Mel’s Diner is one of the best things to do in Vienna for craft beer drinkers.
See, this laid-back Innere Stadt pub stocks close to 30 beers on tap and several hundred bottled beers.
And, these are a sample of the finest craft beers in Austria as well as other European countries too.
Now, the staff speak English and are on point with their recommendations. However, you’ll really want to go for the flight, assembled with your choice of six brews.
Plus, if you feel peckish, the burgers at Mel’s Diner are top-notch too.
However, try to visit in summer so you can sit outdoors on the sidewalk. Just remember that this is a walk-in place, so no reservations are allowed.
27. Take in the View from Vienna’s Rooftop Bars
Hanging out at a panoramic bar is one of the best things to do in Vienna at night. Or, even better – around golden hour.
Now, there are a fair few options, but you’ll definitely want to bypass the tourist traps.
So, option one is to head to Lamée Rooftop for the trendy vibe and epic views of St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
But, in summer, you’ll want to blend in with the locals and sip a spritz. Meanwhile, winter is all about spiced mulled wine. Just note that reservations are essential to avoid waiting in line.
On the other hand, Atmosphere Rooftop Bar at the Ritz-Carlton is a luxe choice for a seasonal cocktail or premium glass of wine. Plus, in the summer, the place gets a fun, tiki-inspired makeover.
Meanwhile, the holidays see it transformed into a winter wonderland complete with warming (and potent) signature punches. Sometimes, they also host a mini festive market too.
28. Fill up on Viennese Apple Strudel
Besides the iconic Sachertorte, the bakeries of Vienna create divine apple strudel (apfelstrudel).
Usually, the recipe includes a generous dash of cinnamon plus a splash of rum.
Of course, it’s served with whipped or poured cream and enjoyed with a coffee.
Now, apple strudel may be enjoyed as a breakfast, snack, or dessert.
And Café Mozart is one of the best places to eat authentic Viennese apfelstrudel (it’s served warm and with whipped cream).
This woody venue is lit by chandeliers and is where Graham Greene penned The Third Man. Plus. it’s super centrally located too.
On the other hand, the more laid-back Café Korb carries a retro, 60s energy. Dine in or savor your apple strudel on the patio!
However, last but not least, Café Landtmann drums up the style of a vintage train carriage. Although, the terrace is a fine spot on a warmer day.
Pro Tip: I tried the apple strudel in all three places and my fave was Cafe Mozart. Landtmann was really good too but they don’t serve it warm unless you order it with vanilla sauce, not whipped cream.
Landtmann has a more bougie feel and is good if you’re looking for a fancier cafe experience.
My number one pick for the best things to do in Vienna is this Wachao Valley wine tour 🍷. You’ll sample epic wine, escape the chaos of Vienna. and admire quaint villages you’d otherwise never get to see. 🇦🇹
Map of the Best Things to do in Vienna
Best Things to do in Vienna FAQs
Can I see Vienna in 3 days?
Yes, in general, 3 days in Vienna is enough time to visit top Vienna landmarks like Schobrunn Palace, Belvedere Palace, and the Hofburg Imperial Palace.
Is 2 days enough for Vienna?
Personally, no. I don’t think 2 days is enough time to enjoy all of the best Vienna things to do. But, you can get an overall feel for the city and enjoy some top Vienna attractions.
Is 3 days in Vienna too much?
No!!! 3 days is not too much time to spend in Vienna. In fact, it is the perfect amount of time for a Vienna itinerary.
What is Vienna Best For?
If you are a true culture vulture then Vienna will be perfect for you.
After all, Vienna is best for world-class museums, historic palaces, exquisite cafes, delicious desserts, amazing performances, epic architecture, and so much more.