10 things to do and see in Vienna

A complete and detailed guide about 10 things to do and see in Vienna in 1, 2 or 3 days

10 things to do and see in Vienna
10 things to do and see in Vienna

Vienna is actually warm, comfortable and friendly even if it’s often described as a cold and boring city. It has a rich cultural life, thanks to some big international museums placed in the residences of the Hapsburg dynasty.

The Belvedere, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Albertina, the Schonbrunn Castle, worth a visit even if you are not art lovers. You’ll find some of the most famous works of art in the world, including the Kiss by Klimt. The Royal Palace, the Hofburg, is the “home” in which the kings used to lived and ruled for 600 years the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Cathedral is the religious place where they were crowned, the Crypt their resting place, the Chamber Wonder where they kept their symbols of power. But this is just the beginning: so here are 10 things to do and see during a vacation or a weekend in Vienna.

If you are looking for a hotel in Vienna, we suggest you to choose among those offered by Booking.com. There are about 200 hotels with prices, pictures  and comments of guests already stayed there. Go to Booking.com

Hofburg Palace in Vienna

1

It’s one of the largest palaces in Vienna, the imperial one, where the Hapsburg family used to live.

Hofburg Palace in Vienna
Hofburg Palace in Vienna

This majestic palace, symbol of elegance and soul royalty, has been the political center of the Austrian Empire. Today it is the residence of the Austrian Federal President. The Imperial Palace is formed by a complex of buildings of different ages and  it extends to an area of about 240,000 square meters (18 wings, 19 courtyards and 2,600 rooms).  It houses important historical collections and many cultural institutions such as the Spanish Riding School and  the Austrian National Library.

During the visit you’ll  discover 18 rooms of the Royal Apartments, which are the former private apartments of Franz Joseph and Elisabeth with the original furnishings ( the large audience hall , the emperor’s study, the toilet room , the gym room and bathroom of the Empress, the imperial dining room and frescoed rooms by Bergl).

Moreover there’s the Museum of Silverware of the Court with its sumptuous tableware, precious collections of oriental porcelain, Sevres and Meissen, the solid silver table; the Museum dedicated to Sissi tells the story of the Empress of Austria, one of the most beautiful women of her time, by her youth in Bavaria until her death in 1898.

Inside the Hofburg (the entrance is from the courtyard of the Swiss), there is the Schatzkammer, ie the Chamber of Imperial Treasury that collects the sacred and the profane treasure of the Hapsburgs. The museum contains objects of inestimable value such as: the imperial crown of Rudolf II in gold and sapphires (1602), the mantle and the sword in gold, pearls and rubies (XVIII sec.), the crown of the holy Roman Empire in gold, (962), the coronation mantle of Roger II of Sicily. You can admire also: the Holy Carolingian Lance (XVIII sec.) with a nail of the Passion, the “Bag of St. Stephen”, a Carolingian  reliquary and crucifixes.

Royal Apartments, the Museum of Silverware, Sisi Museum

Where: old town centre
How to get there: MU3 stop Herrengasse; Tram: 1, 2, D, J, stop Burgring; Bus: 2A o 3A, stop Hofburg.
When – Hours: Every day including public holidays from September to June from 9 am to 5:30 pm ; July and August from 9 am to 6 pm
Tickets: € 12.50; Children (6-18 years) € 7.50; students (19-25 years) € 11.50; with Vienna Card € 11.50

Treasure Room

Address: old town centre
How to get there: by feet in the old town centre or MU3 stop Herrengasse; Tram: 1, 2, D, J, stop Burgring; Bus: 2A o 3A, stop Hofburg.
Hours: Wednesday – Monday 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
Tickets: Adults € 12.00; children up to 19 years free entrance

St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna

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Each  year almost three millions of people visit this immense cathedral, masterpiece of Gothic architecture. It’s so high and majestic that you have to raise your eyes up to the sky in order to see it all.

St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna
St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna

It has a magnificent roof made by 250,000 colored tiles that form the Austrian emblem, and the elegant bell tower, called Steffl (Stefanino) with its tapering spire. A Renaissance dome covers the north tower (unfinished), and it’s  known for hosting the Pummerein, the bell obtained from the fusion of cannons taken from the Turks during the siege of the city in 1683.

Passing through the Giants Portal (Riesentor) with the twin towers of the Pagans,  you enter into the cathedral. Inside the nave, there’s the stone pulpit in Gothic  – Flemish  style on which are depicted the four Fathers of the Church. Noteworthy: the Chorus of Women with the XV century altarpiece altar of Wiener Neustadt decorated with scenes from the life of Mary; the Choir of the Apostles with the tomb of Emperor Frederick III in red marble; the statue at the base of the organ (1513) by Anton Pilgram.

There are  interesting legends related to some statues: Our Lady of Servants, donated by a noblewoman after wrongly accused her maid of stealing; Our Lady of Pécs capable, they say, to pour tears of sorrow; the crucified Christ with a beard that seems to be true and that, apparently, continues to grow.

Where: old town centre
How to get there: by feet in the old town centre or by MU1,U3 – stop Stephansplatz
When – Hours: Monday – Saturday 6:00 am to 10:00 pm ; Sunday and holidays 7:00 am to 10:00 pm
Tickets: the entrance  is for free, but during religious services people can’t go beyond the initial part of the Cathedral. There are several options for guided tours, rates vary depending on the choice, age and number of participants. Guided tour 5 €

Art History Museum in Vienna

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The museum is one of the most important in the world for the value of his works. It was commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph to house the vast and rich collections of the House of Hapsburg.

Art History Museum in Vienna
Art History Museum in Vienna

The building has a neo-Renaissance style and houses a remarkable picture gallery, as well as interesting collections, such as the Egyptian and Eastern one, Ancient Art, Sculpture, Decorative Arts, and the Numismatics collection. In particular, on the raised floor there are the Egyptian, Greek and Roman, as well as a collection of plastic and decorative art (crafted sculptures, valuable bronze statues, amazing works of jewelry). The first floor of the museum houses the Gemäldegalerie with many masterpieces of painting, including the ” Allegory of Vermeer painting,” “Lady in Green” by Raphael, Infants paintings of Velasquez, the “Madonna of the Rosary ” by Caravaggio,”Elena Fourment ” by Rubens, several works by Rembrandt, Tintoretto, Tiziano, Dürer, Jacques-Louis David. There is also the collection of works by Bruegel the Elder, among which “the tower of Babel” , “Meeting of Carnival and Lent”, “Return of the Hunters.”

Where: old town centre
How to get there: MU2 stop Museums Quartier, MU3 stop Volkstheater. Tram D, 1.2; 2A bus, 57A.
When – Hours: From June to August every day from 10 am to 6 pm  (on Thursdays from 10 am  to 9 pm); from September to May from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am  to 6 pm  (on Thursdays from 10 am to 9 pm)
Tickets: € 14.00; students under 27 years and over 65 € 11.00; children under 19 years free

Albertina Museum in Vienna

4

This museum houses one of the most complete and prestigious collections in the world of  the graphic art from the XIV century until today, the Graphische Sammlung.

Albertina Museum in Vienna
Albertina Museum in Vienna

The collection counts 50,000 drawings and watercolors and more than a million prints of ancient and modern artists, including Michelangelo, Raffaello, Leonardo, Cranach, Dürer, Rubens, Klimt, Picasso, Goya, Chagall, Monet, Cézanne, Miro, Kokoschka , Rothko, Warhol, Rauschenberg, Richter, Katz, displayed on rotation (if you’re lucky maybe you can admire the famous “Hare” by Dürer, considered the jewel of the museum). The Albertina periodically organizes exhibitions dedicated to one or more famous artists. In addition to the graphic art collection, the  museum also houses a collection of architecture and pictures. Another interesting aspect of the Albertina are the Hapsburg room : 21 beautiful rooms, renovated and furnished, located on two floors of the building that bring the visitor back in time, during the age of Neoclassicism, to admire the private and ceremonial life of  Hapsburg family who lived in the palace.

Where: old town centre
How to get there: MU1, U2, U4 Karlsplatz stop; MU3 stop Stephansplatz
When – Hours: Every day from 10 am to 6 pm (on Wednesdays from 10 am  to 9 pm). Christmas: December 24, from 10 am to 2 pm ; 25, 26, December 31, January 1 from 10 am to 6 pm
Tickets: Adults € 12.90, over 65 € 9.90; students (under 26) € 8.50; children up to 19 years free

The Prater in Vienna

5

After the visit to museums and monuments of the city, no one would ever deny a nice ride in the Prater to anyone! The famous park in the city center is considered one of the ten most beautiful city parks of world.

The Prater in Vienna
The Prater in Vienna

Once it was  an imperial hunting ground, today is the ideal place to have a walk, to do  jogging, cycling or go back and forth  with the small train Liliputbahn.

The initial part is occupied by Volksprater also called “Wurstelprater” (named after a popular Viennese mask), the largest amusement park with over 250 attractions (ranging from nostalgic rollercoaster to the modern flight simulator), and the famous Riesenrad, the Giant Ferris wheel, opened in 1897 (and rearranged in 2008). It’s one of the symbols of Vienna, which allows you to enjoy a beautiful view of the city from a height of nearly 65 meters. You can’t say you’ve been to Vienna if you miss the Big Wheel! Near the wheel there’s the Planetarium which give to people a travel in the starry sky.

Where: Prater Pak
How to get there: MU1 stop Praterstern; bus 80A
When – Hours: Prater park – Every day 24 /7 – Volksprater (Amusement Park) – from 15 March to 31 October from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Tickets: Free entrance . You pay only the attractions .
Ferris wheel: adults € 9.50; with Vienna Card € 8.50; children 3 to 14 years € 4.00; Children under 3 years free entrance

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna

6

Schönbrunn Palace is the most famous among the Austrian imperial palaces and one of the most beautiful baroque complexes in Europe. The sumptuous summer residence of the Hapsburgs, whose name apparently derives from a “beautiful fountain” (Schöner Brunnen), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna
Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna

The imposing building with a characteristic yellow color (the so-called yellow Schönbrunn) built by Empress Maria Theresa is surrounded by a large park (120 hectares), designed in the French style and open to the public in 1779. The castle complex houses the royal apartments , the castle Theatre, the oldest theater in Vienna (open only during concerts) and the carriage Museum. The Imperial Tour gives you the chance to visit 22 rooms all furnished in style rococo, while the Grand Tour includes the views of 40 rooms (including the sumptuous apartments once inhabited by Maria Teresa) . The park has many  statues, fountains (impressive the one of Neptune), false ruins of Romanesque style (Roman Ruin), and it’s rich in attractions including the labyrinth, the greenhouse Palm (building of iron and glass) , the largest of its kind in Europe, and the Tiergarten, the oldest zoo in Europe (1752). To enjoy a beautiful view of the park and Vienna we suggest  you to climb on the roof terrace of the portico of the Gloriette built on top of the hill to commemorate the victory over the Prussians in 1757.

Where: outside the old town centre
How to get there:  Subway: U4 – Schoenbrunn; Tram: 10, 58 – Schönbrunn; Bus: 10A – Schönbrunn.
When – Hours: Every day (including holidays) from 1 April to 30 June from 8.30 am  to 5.30 pm ; from 1 July to 31 August from 8:30 am  to 6:30 pm ; from 1 September to 31 October from 8.30 am  to 5.30 pm ; from November 1 to March 31 from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm
Tickets: Imperial Tour (with audio guide): adults € 12.90; Children (6-18 years) € 9.50; students (19-25 years) € 11.90.
Grand Tour (with audio guide): adults € 15.90; Children (6-18 years) € 10.50; students (19-25 years) € 14.60

The Belvedere Palace in Vienna

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The Belvedere Palace was built between 1714 and 1722 by Prince Eugene of Savoy, the victorious imperial army commander and great art lover. The complex consists of two buildings connected by a beautiful garden on three levels with statues, fountains, baths and stairways: the Lower Belvedere was used  as the summer residence of the Prince, and the Upper Belvedere (Oberes Belvedere), was used for parties and events.

The Belvedere Palace in Vienna
The Belvedere Palace in Vienna

Purchased by the Hapsburgs, the Belvedere was used both as a residence and as imperial gallery. Nowadays  it houses the Austrian Art Gallery divided into three sections: the Museum of Baroque Art (Lower Belvedere), with the works of the most important Austrian Baroque artists such as the statues of the fountain of Providence, the  “Apotheosis of Prince Eugene” of Permoser commissioned by the prince himself (golden Cabinet), and the mysterious physiognomic busts of Messerschmidt (Hall of Grotesques).

The Museum of Medieval Societies (Orangerie) which holds numerous masterpieces:  late – Gothic paintings and sculptures, including the Znaimer Altar, a splendid altarpiece of 1440-50.

The Art Gallery of the XIX and XX century, with the most important national collection of paintings of the XIX and early XX century, among which there are works by Monet, Renoir, Makart, Romako, Waldmüller, Wotruba and masterpieces by Schiele ( “Death and the Maiden”), Kokoschka ( “Mother and Child”), and the famous “Kiss” by Gustav Klimt

Where: outside the old town centre
Hot to get there: By Train: Belvedere Station; S-Bahn:  Quartier Belvedere Station; Tram: D (stop Schloss Belvedere), 18 OR (stop Quartier Belvedere); Bus: 69A (stop Quartier Belvedere); Underground: U1 (Südtirolerplatz stop)

When – Hours:
Upper Belvedere: Every day from 10 am  to 6 pm
Lower Belvedere and Orangerie + Scuderie
Every day from 10 am  to 6 pm; Wednesday from 10 am  to 9 pm
Stables daily from 10 am to 12 pm

Tickets:

Upper Belvedere
Adults € 14.00; over 65 and students under 26 years € 11.50; children under  18 years free; for owners of Vienna Card € 12.50.

Lower Belvedere and Orangerie + Scuderie
Adults € 11.00; over 65 and students under 26 years € 8.50; children under 18 years free; for owners of Vienna Card € 9.50.

Klimt Ticket (+ Upper Belvedere Lower Belvedere)

Adults € 20.00; over 65 and students under  26 years € 17.00; children under  18 years free; for owners of Vienna Card € 16.50

The world of Hundertwasser in Vienna

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Who was Hundertwasser? Frederick Hundertwasser was a sculptor, a painter and an architect. Hunndertwasser is not common, he’s not trivial neither predictable.

The world of Hundertwasser in Vienna
The world of Hundertwasser in Vienna

The genius of this great Austrian man has built some of the most eccentric and bizarre constructions throughout Europe. In Landstrasse neighborhood, to give value to a run-down area, Hundertwasser has created asymmetrical and colorful houses. Once in the microcosm of Hundertwasser, made of bumps, dizzying spiral staircases and fountains, you’d better to abandon your conventional knowledge of the world because here buildings are not shaped according to rigid models of man, butthey  follow the irregular and sinuous lines of nature.

Where: city center.
How to get there: from  city center by feet
When – Hours: from November to February: from 10.00 am  to 1.00 pm and from 1.30 to 4.00 pm on weekdays, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm  on holidays. from March to October: from 10:00 am  to 5:30 pm  on weekdays, from 1.00 to 5.30 pm on  holidays.
Tickets: free entrance

Things to eat in Vienna

9

The Austrians eat sausages and drink beer in large quantity, but not only that! In Vienna you’ll find many stalls with sausages of all kinds and topped with any sauce, but to taste the typical Viennese cuisine you need to go to other places.

Things to eat in Vienna
Things to eat in Vienna

We  suggest you a series of keywords that will help you to understand the world of Vienna’s specialties: if you want to taste excellent wine and typical dishes you have to look for the signs “Heurigen”. If you want to drink beer, you have to look for  a “bierkolake”  while if you  want to experience the traditional flavors of the region you have to go in a “kekkerkolake”. The soups here are cooked very well: try the Frittatensuppe with omelet strips, and Griessnockerlsuppe with semolina dumplings. Famous goulash, beef or veal stew slightly spicy, usually accompanied by peppers. To end your meal you have to taste a piece of the famous sacher torte!

Where to sleep in Vienna

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Where will you sleep once in Vienna? No problem:  hotels, B&Bs and apartments are located at any point of the city with moderate prices.

Where to sleep in Vienna
Where to sleep in Vienna

The hotels in Vienna have similar prices and services:  a 2 star hotel will not be very different from one to four stars. This feature is one of the main advantages of accommodation in Vienna and is due to the fact that all the accommodations are clean, cozy, comfortable and equipped with many amenities. If you prefer to sleep in a different solution we suggest you B&Bs where you’ll feel at home, or an apartment, if you want more independence and privacy. The costs are high: for a 3 star hotel in the center the price starts from € 80 and it will be higher if you choose  high class facilities.

If you are looking for a hotel in Vienna, we suggest you to choose among those offered by Booking.com. There are about 200 hotels with prices, pictures  and comments of guests already stayed there. Go to Booking.com