Things to do in Vienna

Immerse yourself in historic opulence, exquisite architecture, and some of Europe’s coziest cafes.

Our most recommended things to do in Vienna

Vienna: Schönbrunn Palace & Gardens Skip-the-Line Tour

1. Vienna: Schönbrunn Palace & Gardens Skip-the-Line Tour

Visit the Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens and gain quick access inside this Viennese gem on a guided tour that includes skip-the-line tickets. Follow a licensed guide through lavish interiors, learn about the Habsburgs Royal Family, and explore the ornate palace gardens. Meet your guide in front of the palace and start with an informative introduction to the history of the royal compound. Receive a modern audio device so that you can always hear the tour’s live narration along the way. Benefit from priority entrance tickets and gain quick access inside the palace. Marvel at the grand entrance and begin your guided walk through 22 staterooms of the famous Austrian palace. Admire the 40-meter long Great Gallery and the Hall of Ceremonies and see how the Habsburg Dynasty lived as you stroll through lavish halls and peek into private chambers. Listen to entertaining stories about the former royals, which are infused typical Viennese humor by your local and friendly guide. Learn not only about the fascinating history of the royal family of Habsburgs and the famous Empress Sissi but also about how the palace has evolved in modern times and where the royal descendants now live. Following the tour, enjoy the opportunity to walk around the gardens at your own pace and catch a glimpse of the Gloriette, an arch on top of a hill overlooking Vienna’s forests.

Vienna: Spanish Riding School Training

2. Vienna: Spanish Riding School Training

Visit the Spanish Riding School of Vienna and observe the horses during their training. In the magnificent setting of the baroque Winter Riding Academy, the training offers an insight into the years of training of the Lipizzaners and their riders. The morning exercise of the horses is accompanied by classical Viennese music. The Training includes relaxation exercises, refining and perfecting movement, and strengthening certain muscles. The famous school jumps levade, courbette, and capriole, which are shown as part of the performances by the Spanish Riding School, are not practiced on a daily basis and can only sometimes be seen during the morning exercise. The white Lipizzaner stallions are put through their paces by their riders almost every day. The primary objective of the morning exercise is to maintain the horses’ athleticism and health, as well as to build up various muscle groups that are necessary for performing the exercises of the haute école.

Vienna: Hallstatt & Alpine Peaks Day Trip with Skywalk Lift

3. Vienna: Hallstatt & Alpine Peaks Day Trip with Skywalk Lift

Explore the stunning region of Salzkammergut, a Unesco World Heritage Site on a guided tour. See the snow-white castle, the beautiful alpine regions, towns like Hallstatt, Traunkirchen, and more. Enjoy a convenient pickup directly from your centrally-located Vienna hotel or opt to head to a central meeting point if you're staying at a hotel outside of the pickup area or in other accommodation like an apartment. Board your bus and depart to the stunning region of Salzkammergut. Your first stop is the Schloss Ort, a snow-white castle where countless couples dream of celebrating their weddings. Take the opportunity to snap some photos on its famous wooden bridge. Continue to the heart of the Salzkammergut region, the fabulous town of Hallstatt, set on the shores of an azure-blue lake. Ascend to the Skywalk to enjoy breathtaking views over the town, lake, and mountains. You will have some free time for lunch, to wander the narrow streets, or hire a boat to explore from the water at your own expense. On the way back to Vienna (in the summertime), make a stop at the charming resort town of Traunkirchen, located on the bank of the deepest lake in Austria. Admire the unforgettable natural landscape from this lovely place, before continuing to Vienna where your tour will end at the Vienna State Opera.

Vienna: Spanish Riding School Lipizzaner Classic Performance

4. Vienna: Spanish Riding School Lipizzaner Classic Performance

Enjoy a wonderful performance by the Riders of the Spanish Riding School and the carriage driving riders from the Lipizzaner Stud Piber in the wonderful baroque ambiance of the Winter Riding Hall, accompanied by classical Viennese music. The Lipizzaners are considered the oldest horse breed in Europe, known worldwide for their elegant equestrian performances. While the High School of Classical Horsemanship, often referred to as the "Ballet of the white stallions" remains the essential part of this new program an additional attraction awaits you. After three High School performances executed by the famous school stallions from Vienna and their riders, enjoy one of the most outstanding skills of the Lipizzaners and watch their perfection, beauty, and harmony carriage horses. This will be shown as a special highlight at the end of the show. The use of the white and elegant Lipizzaners as exquisite carriage horses, although rarely seen today, derives from the adoration of these horses within the court of the Habsburgs over centuries. The "Lipizzaner Classic" gives you a fantastic insight into the overall ability of these white stars, starting with the three program parts of Classical Horsemanship and ending with an exclusive demonstration of carriage driving from the Lipizzaner Stud in Piber, 50 km outside Vienna.

Vienna: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Concert in Karlskirche

5. Vienna: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Concert in Karlskirche

Experience Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, a masterpiece of classical music. Visit Vienna’s Karlskirche and listen to the concertos of a string quartet and basso continuo. The performance by Orchestra 1756, a classical period instrument ensemble, makes this concert extraordinary. Enjoy a journey through time with this evening concert and experience unforgettable moments with historical sounds. The Four Seasons includes four of twelve revolutionary violin concertos that interpret each season of the year. Four sonnets are the inspiration for this masterpiece that takes you into a world of sound, with thunder and lightning, cracking ice and birdsong, a sleeping shepherd boy, hunting parties, and many other places. Program: Le quattro stagioni – The Four Seasons Spring, Op. 8 Nr. 1 Summer, Op. 8 Nr. 2 Autumn, Op. 8 Nr. 3 Winter, Op. 8 Nr. 4 One or two additional parts which are changing from week to week and could be from these composers: Works by W. A. Mozart, J. S. Bach, H. I. F Biber, and other major composers.

Schönbrunn Palace: Tour with Gardens

6. Schönbrunn Palace: Tour with Gardens

Meet your guide at the former summer residence of the Habsburgs. Admire the Baroque façade of the palace, and then skip the ticket line and follow your guide inside to explore the extravagant Rococo interiors. Get a glimpse of what royal life was like and step into private apartments and rooms lit by chandeliers. Enter the Napoleon Room and Marie Antoinette Room. Marvel at the 40-meter-long Great Gallery where the Habsburg rulers held their elaborate parties. As you move through the 22 state rooms, hear stories about the personal lives of the Habsburgs. See how famous monarchs such as Empress Maria Theresa and Empress Sisi left their marks on the palace. Then, wander through the French-style gardens and stroll down the tree-lined avenues to discover Roman ruins and ornate fountains. See the Gloriette, a triumphal arch on a hilltop overlooking Vienna’s forests.

Vienna: Entry Tickets for Upper or Lower Belvedere

7. Vienna: Entry Tickets for Upper or Lower Belvedere

The Belvedere in Vienna is one of the leading museums worldwide. Its famous art collection includes works ranging from the Middle Ages to the present day. The unique complex, with its two palaces of the Upper and Lower Belvedere and extensive gardens, is one of the most stunning Baroque architectural marvels in the world. Highlights include the world's largest collection of Gustav Klimt paintings as well as prominent works from the periods of Viennese Biedermeier, Austrian Baroque, Vienna around 1900, and French Impressionism. Now, for the first time in decades, the museum will once again host large-scale special exhibitions that you can admire on your visit. In the 18th century, the Austrian general Prince Eugene of Savoy commissioned the renowned Baroque architect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt to build the complex. After the death of Prince Eugene, Empress Maria Theresa acquired the entire complex and transformed the Upper Belvedere into an exhibition venue for the imperial collections – making it one of the first public museums in the world. The Lower Belvedere, formerly the residence of Prince Eugene, is home to illustrious exhibitions. The Baroque gardens of the Belvedere rank among the most beautiful in the world. The main garden is situated between the Lower and the Upper Belvedere and extends over three large terraces. The Belvedere park is also home to the Botanical Garden and the oldest Alpine garden in Europe.

Vienna: Classic Ensemble Vienna in St. Peter's Church Ticket

8. Vienna: Classic Ensemble Vienna in St. Peter's Church Ticket

Experience St. Peter's Church, one of the most beautiful Baroque churches in Vienna with entry tickets to the Classic Ensemble Vienna concert. Hear wonderful interpretations of works by famous composers like Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, and many more. Step inside St. Peter's Church, built from 1701 to 1733 according to plans by Lukas von Hildebrand. Let the Classic Ensemble Vienna enchant you here with an evening of classical music. Hear "Eine kleine Nachtmusik," let the music lead you through "The Four Seasons" and follow musical stories by Mozart, Bach, and Schubert. Enjoy these Classical works in the indescribable ambiance of the underground vaults of St. Peter's Church in the heart of Vienna.

Vienna: Entry Tickets to Mozart and Strauss Concert

9. Vienna: Entry Tickets to Mozart and Strauss Concert

Hear the finest Viennese pieces performed by the Salonorchester Alt Wien orchestra in Vienna's Kursalon music hall. Upgrade to the VIP experience for premium seating and a glass of wine. Spend an evening listening to the unique program of the most celebrated compositions by the "waltz-king" Johann Strauss and that most brilliant exponent of Viennese Classicism, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played by the renowned Salonorchester Alt Wien. Experience one of the best-known performances of classic Viennese music at this fabulous concert in the world capital of music. Lose yourself in an evening full of Viennese charm as you hear virtuosic musicians, opera singers, and enchanting Ballet soloists. From the lusty sounds of the waltz and the polka to the dramatic arias and duets, listen to the best operatic works and concertos, by two of the world's greatest composers, performed by artists at the highest pinnacle of excellence.

Vienna: Classical Concert at St. Stephen's Cathedral

10. Vienna: Classical Concert at St. Stephen's Cathedral

Visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral, one of the most beautiful buildings in the Austrian capital. Whether you're a music aficionado or simply curious, you're sure to enjoy the tremendous acoustics within the cathedral walls. Choose from famous classical or Christmas shows for an elegant concert in Vienna. Admire the jewels of classical music at St. Stephen's Cathedral, where W. A. Mozart and J. Haydn once played. Listen to the great works of European composers like Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach, even during Christmas time (if option selected). Celebrate Schubert's 225th birthday with a fitting performance in his beautiful hometown. Commemorate the 175th anniversary of Felix Mendelssohn’s death with a performance of his oratorio about the story of the biblical prophet Elijah, one of the composer's best-known works. Listen to a concert on the new Giant Organ (if organ concert option selected) with mighty sounds from more than 12,000 pipes, one of the biggest organ units of Europe. Hear world-class organists play a wide-ranging program with masterful virtuosity in the central nave of the church.

Frequently asked questions about Vienna

What top attractions are a must-see in Vienna?

What are the best day trips and excursions from Vienna?

The best day trips and excursions from Vienna are:

Hallstatt

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Vienna

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What should I do on my first trip to Vienna?

When you first visit Vienna we’d highly recommend you walk around and explore the Innere Stadt which is the central 1st district of Vienna. This will give you a great taste of what the city is like, as you’ll be walking amongst its impressive and historic architecture, as well as classic coffee shops and restaurants. It can also be particularly nice and pretty at night.

You should also be sure to visit some of the palaces such as the Belvedere and Schonbrunn, see Hundertwasserhaus and Rathaus (the city hall). If you’re visiting in the summer then also swim in the outdoor pools, and if you’re visiting in the winter then enjoy skating at Rathaus.

What are some hidden gems to see in Vienna?

There are several pretty churches that are lesser-known in the city but are particularly nice to see and come with stunning interiors. From the outside, you’d never know what they were hiding on the inside. Two that we’d recommend you see include Santa María Rotonda and Jesuitenkirche (seen below).

We’d also say visiting a heurige which is a hidden gem. This is a quintessential Viennese experience where you can dine on good food and delicious local or homemade wine.

Finally, be sure to have a walk through the Ferstel Arcade, a beautiful passageway located in the first district and fairly close to Rathaus (the city hall).

How much time should I spend in Vienna?

Two to three days would be a good amount of time to visit Vienna and allow you to see many of the highlights around the city. With that time you’d be able to visit some of the famous palaces such as Schonbrunn and Belvedere, enjoy some of the nightlife activities on offer and get a good feel for what the city is like.

If you did want to spend longer in Vienna, such as up to a week, then this would be great opportunity to enjoy some of the lesser-known activities that are available. You’d also have time to go on some day trips such as Wachau Valley, or even visit some nearby cities such as Bratislava or Prague

What food is Vienna known for?

Vienna is a great city to enjoy classic schnitzel which is flattened pork or veal covered in breadcrumbs and normally comes with a potato salad. A few other top dishes to try include spatzle which is a bit like macaroni cheese, as well as Sachertorte, a delicious rich chocolate cake, and of course Apple strudel.

Coffee shops are also a popular and traditional experience in the city. Here you can enjoy a classic Wiener Melange (espresso with milk foam and steamed milk) along with a tasty cake. You’ll find these all over the city, and a few worth checking out include Café Central, Demel, and Café Ritter.

What is the best way to get around Vienna?

Vienna’s public transport is great, it covers all the major areas of the city and includes a subway that is fast and efficient, as well as trams and buses. If you’re staying close to a subway station outside of the 1st district you’ll still likely be able to get into Stephandsom (centre of the city) in less than half an hour.

A travel pass for the subway in Vienna is also very cheap at only €8 per day (at the time of writing), or you can get 48-hours, 72-hours, week and month passes as well. Of course, it’s also possible to pay as you go if you like as well.

We’d recommend getting on a tram a few times as well during your visit, these travel various routes around the city, including around the entire first district in a circle (also check out the Ring Tram Tours for a fun experience).

What are the best months to visit Vienna?

Vienna has various attractions which are better to visit at different times throughout the year.

We’d recommend visiting during the late spring and summer months (May-September) for outdoors experiences, such as exploring the Schonbrunn Gardens, lounging at the beaches (artificial), hiking in Kahlenberg, maybe even heading to some of the outdoor pools.

Autumn is also a nice time to visit (late Sept to early Nov), where you could visit some of the parks and enjoy the autumnal colours all around. The Schonbrunn and Kahlenberg (hill north of the city) is particularly nice during this time.

Finally around Christmas is one of our favourites times to be Vienna, as the city comes alive with wonderful lights, decorations, markets and the perfect festive atmosphere.

What are the best neighborhoods to visit in Vienna?

Vienna is split into different districts with the 1st district (postcode 1010) being the most central. This is where you’ll find Stephansdom (a historic church in the centre of the city), as well as many of the stunning streets that are quintessential of Vienna.

You could also consider staying around Prater (where their theme park is as well as a large park). One of our favourite neighbourhoods in Vienna is the 7th district (1070) which is where you’ll find some great restaurants as well as the main shopping street Mariahilfer Strasse.


What are the best neighborhoods for food?

When living in Vienna I was particularly fond of the 7th district as there are tons of great places to eat and also shop (see below). Of course, the 1st district (Innere Stadt) has endless opportunities as well.

One thing we will say is that you really need to book restaurants in advance in Vienna as it’s not that easy to just walk into the best restaurants. You may have luck but you will be pushing it a bit.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

There are several major shopping streets in Vienna where you’ll find a great variety of shops available from major well-known brands to more boutique outlets. Some of the streets we’d recommend include Mariahilfer Strasse, Graben and Kärntner Strasse.

You could also visit Naschmarkt which is a great market and very central where you can buy sweets and other merchandise. Naschmarkt is also a short walk from Karlskirche which is another very impressive church in the city.


What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Vienna?

The good thing about Vienna is that it is small, affordable and well connected. It would definitely be worth trying to stay around the Inner Stadt (1st district) as you’ll be able to walk to many of the main attractions (or take the subway a few stops). A few hotels we’re particularly fond of include 25-Hours Hotel, or for the ultimate experience then consider staying in the Vienna Imperial Hotel where royals, presidents and famous people have previously stayed.

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Vienna?

A ring tram tour is quite fun for the kids, and these aren’t too long either so the kids shouldn’t get bored. You could also take them to the Museum of Natural History (Naturhistorisches Museum Wien), Haus des Meeres (aquarium) or the very cool Museum of Illusions. Another very fun activity would be to visit Prater Park which comes with rollercoasters, bumper cars and lots of other rides for families to enjoy.

If you’re visiting during the summer the swimming pools and beaches are great for families and kids. This is a great way to spend a warm summers day.

What is the best thing to do in Vienna for solo travelers?

If you’re visiting Vienna on your own then we’d recommend going on some tours – such as a walking, bike, segway tour or something else. These will help you learn more about the city and you may even make a few friends along the way.

You could also join some fun social events where you may get to meet other travellers and have a fun time out. If you’re staying in a hostel then you should find loads of great options available.

What is the best thing to do in Vienna for couples?

Vienna is a very romantic city (we’d say equal to Paris), and a walk at night around the cobbled and pretty streets of the 1st district is a dreamy experience. You can also find some great restaurants to enjoy a more fancy dinner such as at Restaurant Motto am Fluss, or for a very special experience book yourself a ride on the Wiener Riesenrad (Ferris wheel seen below).

A few other nice activities to do with your other half includes going for a bike or scooter ride along the canal, enjoying a nice boat cruise along the Danube Canal, or relaxing together whilst visiting the Danube Valley.

What are the best annual events in Vienna?

Christmas is a particularly special time in Vienna with the Christmas markets and is a top time to be visiting the city. During this time you’ll find stunning decorations around the city, as well as market stalls.

There are also other fantastic events including Donauinselfest, Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert, Ball Season (winter), skating at Rathaus, the Rathausplatz Film Festival to name a few things worth seeing.

What are the best things to do around Vienna?

For sure when visiting Vienna we’d recommend heading up Stephandsom for views of the city, exploring the Schonbrunn Gardens and also visiting the interior if you fancy. Be sure to explore the 1st district and wander along the Graben, down Kohlmarkt and then across towards Rathaus (city hall).

We’d also recommend having lunch or dinner in a heurige which are traditional wineries. If you have time then go hiking in Kahlenberg and the vineyards.

What are the best beaches around Vienna?

There are several artificial beaches located around Vienna as well as outdoor pools. These are perfect for the summer and lounging around.

You’ll find various beaches with deck chairs all along the Danube Canals with one of our favourites being Strandbar Herrmann. These are more for relaxing with a cold drink and socialising rather than swimming and sunbathing.

For outdoor pools and beaches where you could swim one of the most convenient is spots is near Alte Donau. Here you can swim in the lake, relax on the sand, or just swim in the outdoor pools if you prefer. These typically come with a fee to get in though, but it’s generally not much.

There is also another pool at the Schonbrunn which is almost a hidden gem that locals would generally know about but it’s unlikely many visitors would. This pool is a little on the pricier side though.

Other Sightseeing Options in Vienna

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What people are saying about Vienna

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 51,517 reviews

Great experience, the wine was excellent and our guide was cordial skilled! The hidden cellars belong to viennese history and it was great to be able to visit them!

Incredible performance, amazing place, gorgeous horses and great riders. Superb time. Thoroughly recommend going.

Fantastic opportunity to see major attractions and avoid the lines at several sites. Highly recommend.

great experience, you should consider adding Greek to supported languages

Great setting and fantastic performance from horses and riders.