historical places to visit in vienna

The 50 most historic buildings and sites in Vienna

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historical places to visit in vienna

2 Schönbrunn Palace

historical places to visit in vienna

3 St. Stephen's Cathedral

4 belvedere palace, 5 rathaus der stadt wien.

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6 Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien

7 vienna state opera, 8 museum of natural history vienna, 9 st. charles's church, 10 spanish riding school, 11 café sacher wien, 12 café central, 15 albertina.

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16 St. Peter's Catholic Church (Peterskirche)

17 museumsquartier wien, 18 danube tower, 19 central cemetery, 20 stadtpark, 21 parliament, 22 wien museum mozart apartment, 23 maria-theresien-platz, 24 column of pest, 25 burgtheater.

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26 Haas-Haus

27 catholic church maria am gestade, 28 sigmund freud museum, 29 franciscan church, vienna, 30 looshaus, 31 ringstraßen galerien, 32 imperial crypt, 33 votivkirche, 34 burggarten, 35 schoenbrunn palace concerts.

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36 Sisi Museum

37 freyungplatz, 38 torture museum, 39 spittelberg, 40 klimt-villa, 41 wien museum haydnhaus, 42 deutschordenskirche, 43 karl marx-hof, 44 wien museum hermesvilla, 45 wien museum schubert's birthplace.

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46 Lusthaus

47 palais pallavicini, 48 equitable, 49 gartenpalais liechtenstein, 50 österreichische akademie der wissenschaften, top searches in vienna, popular road trips from vienna, what's the weather like in vienna.

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27 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Vienna

Written by Bryan Dearsley Updated Dec 22, 2023 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Capital of the Republic of Austria and one of Europe's most visited cities, Vienna (Wien) owes much of its charm and rich history to its splendid location on the banks of the Danube River. For centuries the gateway between West and East Europe, it was the natural nucleus of the once sprawling Habsburg Empire, and to this day remains Austria's most important commercial and cultural hub.

Vienna continues to attract over 17 million visitors each year with its many great historical sightseeing opportunities, its fabled collections of art, glittering palaces, and exceptional musical heritage. This appreciation of the nation's rich culture is still very evident in Vienna's magnificent museums, its fine concert halls, and one of the world's great opera houses.

With an unmistakably cosmopolitan atmosphere, Vienna retains a distinctive charm and flair. This is very much accentuated by its fine old architecture; its famous horse-cabs, known as Fiakers; as well as its splendid coffeehouses with their famous Viennese cakes and pastries.

Whether you're looking for great places to visit in Vienna for a single day, or multiple things to do over several days, you'll have plenty of choices in this elegant city. If time permits, consider taking some day trips to explore the beautiful surroundings and nearby cities . And be sure to refer often to our exhaustive list of the top tourist attractions and things to do in Vienna, Austria.

1. Explore Imperial Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens

2. visit the historic hofburg, 3. kunsthistorisches museum and maria-theresien-platz, 4. a baroque masterpiece: belvedere palace, 5. take the kids to vienna zoo (tiergarten schönbrunn), 6. get your art fix at the albertina museum & albertina modern, 7. the vienna state opera house, 8. see st. stephen's cathedral, 9. see the dinosaur relics at the museum of natural history (naturhistorisches museum), 10. vienna city hall (rathaus) in the historic city center, 11. visit the prater and ride the giant ferris wheel, 12. take in a performance at the spanish riding school, 13. see the royal burial vaults in the imperial crypt and the capuchin church, 14. visit the leopold museum & vienna's museum quarter, 15. st. peter's catholic church (peterskirche), 16. dine like royalty at the famous demel: vienna's ultimate café, 17. st. charles church (karlskirche), 18. see the city views from the danube tower (donauturm), 19. walk by the colorful homes of hundertwasserhaus, 20. take a stroll on donauinsel (danube island), 21. learn about the austrian parliament building, 22. kärntner strasse and the donner fountain, 23. take in a show at the burgtheater: austria's national theater, 24. museum of military history, 25. the franciscan church: st. jerome, 26. jewish museum & judenplatz holocaust memorial, 27. sigmund freud museum, where to stay in vienna for sightseeing, map of tourist attractions & things to do in vienna, vienna, austria - climate chart.

Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens

The spectacular 18th-century Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn) is worth visiting not only for its magnificent architecture, but also for its beautiful park-like setting. One of Vienna's top tourist attractions, this beautiful Baroque palace contains more than 1,441 rooms and apartments, including those once used by Empress Maria Theresa.

Tour highlights include a chance to see the Imperial Apartments, including Emperor Franz Joseph's Walnut Room and his Bedroom, which still has the small soldier's bed in which he died. Of Empress Maria Theresa's rooms, highlights include her richly furnished and decorated garden apartments, along with her Breakfast Room with its floral artwork created by her daughters.

Schönbrunn Park and Gardens is another must-see here. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site , the park, with its sweeping vistas and sumptuous Baroque gardens, is one of several top free things to do in Vienna (although you will have to pay to enter the maze and some of the adjoining buildings, such as the 1883 Palm House). If traveling with kids, visit the Children's Museum for a chance to see them dressed up as a prince or princess.

A good way to get to the palace and avoid the wait at the entrance is on a Skip the line: Guided tour of Schönbrunn Palace and Vienna Historical City Tour . These popular tours begin with a handy pickup from your central hotel or the Opera House. After a narrated drive along the famed Ringstrasse, past major attractions like the Hofburg Palace, City Hall, and the Vienna State Opera, you'll tour Schönbrunn Palace without having to wait in line. The tour continues to Belvedere Palace, where you can see Gustav Klimt's The Kiss and other famous Austrian art with a discounted admission.

Address: Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, 1130 Vienna, Austria

  • Read More: Visiting Vienna's Schönbrunn Palace: Highlights, Tips & Tours

The Hofburg

For more than six centuries the seat of the Habsburgs – and the official residence of every Austrian ruler since 1275 – the Hofburg is perhaps the most historically significant of Vienna's palaces. The official seat of the Austrian President, this sprawling complex consists of numerous buildings reflecting various periods, including architectural flourishes from the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo movements.

All told, this vast complex covers 59 acres with 18 groups of buildings, including 19 courtyards and 2,600 rooms. Its main attractions are the Imperial Apartments , the Sisi Museum , and the Silver Collection , while other notable sites within the complex include the Imperial Chapel (Burgkapelle) and the Hofburg Treasury with its large collection of Imperial regalia and relics of the Holy Roman Empire. Informative guided tours are available in English.

You can stop at the Hofburg and the city's other important tourist attractions on the Vienna Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Tour . This is by far the best option for first-time visitors who want to see the major sites and get acquainted with Vienna. One-, two-, or three-day options are available.

Address: Michaelerkuppel, 1010 Vienna, Austria

  • Read More: Exploring Vienna's Imperial Hofburg Palace: A Visitor's Guide

Kunsthistorisches Museum and Maria-Theresien-Platz

Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum (Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien) is housed in a magnificent building created expressly to show off the tremendous art collections of the Hapsburg royal family. The superb collection of Dutch art features the world's largest collection of works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, including his masterpiece Tower of Babel .

There are also paintings by Raphael, Titian, Bellini, Caravaggio, and Vermeer, plus portraits by Velazquez. While the museum's specialties are late Italian Renaissance, Baroque, and Flemish painting, the collections go far beyond those with classical Greek and Roman art and Egyptian artifacts.

English language guided tours are available and can be tailored to your specific interests. The museum's café is also worth a visit, especially for its atrium setting and tall, elegantly decorated walls and ceiling.

The museum overlooks Maria-Theresien-Platz, the focal point of which is the grand monument to Empress Maria Theresa. The statue was commissioned by Franz Joseph I and was unveiled in 1887. This massive monument depicts the Empress on her throne while surrounded by major personages of her day, including a number of generals on horseback. The high reliefs depict illustrious figures from the fields of politics; economics; and the arts, including Haydn, Gluck, and Mozart.

If you're able to squeeze in a little more gallery hopping, head over to the Museum of Applied Arts (Museum für angewandte Kunst), or MAK. This superb museum features traditional Austrian crafts and arts along with contemporary art, design, and architecture.

Address: Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna, Austria

Official site: www.khm.at/en/

Belvedere Palace

Among Vienna's most popular attractions, Belvedere Palace is really two splendid Baroque buildings: the Lower (Unteres) Belvedere and the Upper (Oberes) Belvedere. Highlights of the Upper Palace include the Ground Floor Hall with its statues, and the Ceremonial Staircase with its rich stucco relief and frescoes.

Also worth seeing is the Marble Hall. This stunning two-story hall features numerous period sculptures, paintings, and ceiling frescoes. The Lower Palace also boasts a Marble Hall, this one noted for its oval plaster medallions and rich ceiling fresco, as well as a Marble Gallery built to house a collection of historic statues.

Other must-see buildings include the Winter Palace, a Baroque building that once housed the Court Treasury; the Orangery; the Palace Stables, home to the Medieval Treasury; and the Belvedere Gardens and Fountains linking the two palaces.

If there's time left in your Belvedere itinerary, be sure to include the Österreichische Galerie Belvedere. This popular art museum in the Belvedere Palace is well known for its extensive collections, including a rich array of sculptures and panel paintings from the 12th to the 16th centuries. But it is perhaps best known for Austrian Symbolist artist Gustav Klimt's The Kiss , a masterpiece of early modern art.

Address: Prinz Eugen Strasse 27, A-1037 Vienna, Austria

  • Read More: Exploring Vienna's Belvedere Palace: A Visitor's Guide

Panda at the Vienna Zoo (Tiergarten Schönbrunn)

The origins of the Vienna Zoo – also known as Schönbrunn Zoo (Tiergarten Schönbrunn) – can be traced to Emperor Francis I's menagerie. Founded in 1752 it's the oldest continually operating zoo in the world. With many of its original Baroque buildings still intact, it's one of the most pleasant zoos in Europe to visit, particularly if you spend a little time seeking refreshment in the original 18th-century Imperial Breakfast Pavilion that now houses a great café.

A highlight of the zoo's more than 750 species are its giant pandas, including cubs, as well as the many fascinating creatures housed in the interactive Rainforest House and Aquarium. If you're traveling to Vienna with children, be sure to check the zoo's official website for details of feeding times, always a fun family experience. Also worth checking into is the availability of special themed and backstage guided tours.

If after visiting the zoo, you've still got time in your Vienna travel itinerary for more critters, check out Haus des Meeres , a large public aquarium situated in a WWII flak tower. Also worth seeing is the Butterfly House (Schmetterlinghaus), located next to the Opera house and a pleasant place to unwind after all that sightseeing.

Address: Maxingstraße 13b, 1130 Vienna, Austria

Official site: www.zoovienna.at/en/zoo-and-visitors/visitor-information/

The Albertina

All the great names in modern art are represented, often by multiple works, in the magnificent Albertina museum. Representative examples from all the various schools and movements are to be found here, including French impressionists, Vienna secessionists, the Russian avant-garde, the expressionists, and fauvists, represented by their greatest artists.

These include important works by the likes of Chagall, Picasso, Cezanne, Degas, Magritte, Vlaminck, Modigliani, Klimt, Munch, Kandinsky, Münter, Miró, Brach, and Ernst - all are here to compare and admire. All told, this must-visit Vienna attraction is home to over a million works of art plus in excess of 65,000 drawings.

Many of these masterpieces hang in a splendid 17th-century palace where the Habsburg archdukes lived for a century, and their sumptuous State Rooms have been restored to their original glory. In addition to these permanent displays, temporary exhibits are also available for viewing. English language guided tours are available, along with informative audioguides. If traveling with kids, be sure to look into one of the private children's tours, which can also include a fun workshop.

If there's time in your Vienna itinerary, be sure to add the brand new Albertina Modern to your list of must-sees. Located an easy 10 minutes' walk away on Karlsplatz, the Albertina's large collection of post WWII and contemporary art by Austrian and international artists is housed in this newly renovated neoclassical building.

Address: Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Vienna, Austria

Official site: www.albertina.at/en

The Vienna State Opera House

One of the world's largest and most splendid theaters, the Vienna State Opera House (Wiener Staatsoper) has hosted many of the world's most prominent composers, conductors, soloists, and dancers. Operatic and ballet performances are staged at least 300 times a year, fuelled by an obsession with music that goes as far back as 1625 when the first Viennese Court Opera was performed.

The current massive Opera House was built in 1869 and is notable for its French Early Renaissance style, while interior highlights include a grand staircase leading to the first floor, the Schwind Foyer (named after its paintings of famous opera scenes), and the exquisite Tea Room with its valuable tapestries.

Capable of accommodating an audience of 2,211 along with 110 musicians, the Opera House is also home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. English language behind-the-scenes guided tours are available.

If music is your thing, you may also want to pay a visit to Wiener Musikverein , a concert hall that serves as home for the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (tickets can be booked online in advance). And the House of Music (Haus der Musik) offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into sound and music through interactive displays and demonstrations.

Address: Opernring 2, 1010 Vienna, Austria

Official site: www.wiener-staatsoper.at/en/

St. Stephen's Cathedral

Vienna's most important Gothic edifice and the cathedral church of the archbishopric since 1722, St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) sits in the historic center of Vienna. The original 12th-century Romanesque church was replaced by a Late Romanesque one in the 13th century, the remains of which are the massive gate and the Heathen Towers (Heidentürme).

Next came reconstruction in the Gothic style in the 14th century, along with the addition of the choir and the chapels of St. Eligius, St. Tirna, and St. Catherine. The famous 137-meter high South Tower (Steffl) belongs to the 15th-century.

St. Stephen's Cathedral

Improvements and further construction followed from the 17th to 19th centuries, and the whole structure was rebuilt after World War II. Highlights include climbing the 343 steps to the Steffl's Watch Room for the spectacular views, and the North Tower, home to the massive Pummerin Bell. For those not wanting to tackle the stairs, a fast lift takes visitors to a viewing platform.

Other features of note are the 14th-century catacombs and the Cathedral Treasure, containing many of the cathedral's most important artifacts. Interesting English language guided tours are available, including an unforgettable 1.5-hour evening tour that takes in the cathedral's superb city views.

Address: Stephansplatz 3, 1010 Vienna, Austria

Read More: Exploring St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna

Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum)

Best known for its huge Dinosaur Hall and for the world's largest exhibit of meteorites (which includes the Tissint meteorite from Mars that fell in Morocco in 2011), Vienna's Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum Wien) is a fascinating place to visit. Its 39 exhibit halls trace such subjects as the origins and development of humans and the evolution of human culture from prehistoric times.

One of its rarest treasures is the so-called Venus of Willendorf, a pottery figurine dating from between about 28,000 and 25,000 BCE. The museum's newest feature is its Digital Planetarium with full dome projection. The building opened in 1889 and is itself a work of art, especially the magnificent ceiling painting above the main staircase.

A variety of fun workshops and guided tour options are available, and audioguides are provided upon request. The museum's latest addition, "Deck 50," features workshops and lectures, as well as fascinating "meet a scientist" sessions that provide a unique opportunity to ask questions of leading experts in a variety of disciplines.

Address: Burgring 7, 1010, Vienna, Austria

Official site: www.nhm-wien.ac.at/en

Vienna City Hall

Located in the heart of historic Innere Stadt and overlooking Rathausplatz, Vienna's City Hall (Weiner Rathaus) is an impressive Neo-Gothic building that serves as the city's administrative center. Remarkable for its size, it occupies nearly 14,000 square meters of the former Parade Ground.

This attractive and much-photographed building was completed in 1883 and is notable for the famous Rathausmann on top of its 98-meter-high tower, a banner-carrying iron figure presented to the city as a gift from its master locksmith.

The arcaded courtyard in the center of the building is the largest of seven courtyards and is used for popular summer concerts. Highlights of a guided tour of the building include the Schmidt Halle, the large entrance into which carriages would once drive to deposit their passengers, and the two Grand Staircases leading to the Assembly Hall.

Other sights included in the tour are the Heraldic Rooms; the City Senate Chamber, notable for its coffered ceiling decorated with gold-leaf and its huge Art Nouveau candelabra; and the Mayor's reception room. Tours are free and are available Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 1pm, and audioguides are also available.

Try to time your visit to coincide with one of the frequent festivals or events held in Rathausplatz. The old City Hall makes an extremely romantic backdrop for everything from colorful Christmas markets to summer music concerts.

Address: Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz 1, 1010 Vienna, Austria

Official site: www.wien.gv.at/english/cityhall/tours.htm

The Prater and the Giant Ferris Wheel

Visiting the Prater (Wiener Prater), a large natural park situated between the Danube and the Danube Canal, is a little like stepping into another world. Covering an area of 3,200 acres, this vast park - once a royal hunting ground - has long been one of Vienna's most popular recreation areas. There's something here for everyone, from thrills and spills in the Wurstel area, with its old-fashioned theme park rides, to dining and dancing, to the dinosaur-themed park for the kids.

A highlight for sightseers is taking a ride on the famous Giant Wheel (Wiener Riesenrad), a Viennese landmark that has provided fine views over the city since 1896. If you can afford it, go for the super luxurious cabin, suitable for parties of up to 12. Other park highlights include the Prater Ziehrer Monument , a larger-than-life statue of composer CM Ziehrer built in 1960; the Prater Museum with its displays documenting the park's history; a Planetarium ; and the Liliputbahn miniature steam railroad traversing a four-kilometer line near the main avenue.

Elsewhere in this vast park there's room enough for horseback riding, swimming in the stadium pool, football, cycling, tennis, and bowls. Also worth visiting is nearby Danube Park (Donaupark). This 250-acre open space is also home to a fun miniature railroad, an artificial lake (Lake Iris), and a theater. Visiting Prater park at night is also fun, and is highly recommended.

Address: 1020 Vienna, Austria

Official site: https://prater.at/en/park-information/

The Spanish Riding School

Dating back to the time of Emperor Maximilian II, the superb Spanish Riding School (Spanische Hofreitschule) was established after the ruler had the famous Lipizzaner horses introduced to his courtesans in 1562.

Today, it's one of Vienna's leading attractions, and one of the leading riding schools in the world, thrilling audiences with fabulous displays of equestrian skills in the Baroque Winter Riding School in the grounds of the Hofburg Palace, where it has been located since 1735. Tickets to these popular performances sell out quickly, so be sure to book as far in advance as possible.

If available, purchase a package that includes a behind-the-scenes tour and the chance to visit the stables, along with a morning training session. An on-site café ensures you can linger a little longer-you'll certainly want to.

Address: Michaelerplatz 1, 1010 Vienna, Austria

Official site: www.srs.at/en/

Imperial Vault (Kapuzinergruft)

Dedicated to Our Lady of the Angels, Vienna's Capuchin Church (Kapuzinerkirche) is best known for its spectacular Imperial Vault (Kapuzinergruft). This stunning edifice is home to the Habsburg family vault containing the remains of 145 members of the family (almost all Austrian Emperors since 1633 are buried here).

The nine vaults are arranged in chronological order, making it easy to trace the evolution of taste, at least in burials. A highlight includes the Founder's Vault , the final resting place of Emperor Matthias who died in 1619, and Empress Anna, who died in 1618.

Also of interest is the Maria Theresa Vault , a domed chamber dominated by a double sarcophagus in the Rococo style and built for the Empress, who died in 1780. The sarcophagus takes the form of a bed of state, at the head of which is the Imperial couple with an angel and a crown of stars, while along the sides are numerous reliefs depicting scenes from Maria Theresa's life.

Address: Neuer Markt, 1010 Vienna, Austria

Official site: www.kapuzinergruft.com

The Museum Quarter

Since opening in 2001, Vienna's Museum Quartier (Museumsquartier, or "MQ") has been home to a variety of first-rate museums that are well worth exploring. A mix of old and new architecture centered around an area that once served as the former royal stables, it's easy to spend the best part of a day (or two) here.

Must-visits include the famous Leopold Museum , noted for its large collection of works by Austria's leading modern artists, such as Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, and MUMOK , the Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation Vienna, featuring more than 10,000 contemporary and modern pieces by renowned artists including Picasso and Warhol.

Another highlight of a visit to the Museum Quarter includes the popular summertime Vienna Festival (Wiener Festwochen). The event's main offices are located here, so it's a hub of activity once tickets become available, and many of the surrounding buildings are used as venues for a variety of cultural events and concerts. Also located here is the Tanzquartier , the country's leading dance center, along with artists' studios and galleries.

Address: Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Wien, Austria

Official site: www.mqw.at/en/

St. Peter's Catholic Church (Peterskirche)

Modeled on St. Peter's in Rome, Peterskirche – the Collegial and Parish Church of St. Peter – is built on a site originally occupied by a Roman church and later by one founded by Charlemagne in 792 AD. The present edifice was built in the 18th century and boasts a massive dome with a superb fresco and many artistic treasures.

Other highlights include the Barbara Chapel with its magnificent portal, and in which Franz Karl Remp's Decollation of St. Barbara is found, and the choir with its High Altar and painting of the Immaculate Conception. The church is also noted for its frequent organ recitals.

Also of note is the nearby Plague Pillar , a 21-meter-tall Baroque pillar built to commemorate the end of the devastating plague of 1679 that cost at least 75,000 Viennese their lives. The nearby Abbey of the Scots (Schottenstift), built in the 12th century and extensively renovated and enlarged since, is also worth popping into. Its school included Johann Strauss and Austria's last emperor, Charles I, among its pupils, while its fine collection of artwork includes pieces from the 16th to 19th centuries.

Address: Petersplatz 1, 1010 Vienna, Austria

Official site: www.peterskirche.at

The Famous Demel: Vienna's Ultimate Café

Founded in 1786, the famous Demel is not only the oldest café and bakery in Vienna, it's perhaps the most memorable food experience you'll have in this wonderful city. Officially known as Hofzuckerbäckerei Demel – shortened to "Demel" by those in the know – this exquisite café serves dishes and cakes carefully prepared by hand to traditional centuries-old recipes.

Some of these delicious treats were once used to satisfy the cravings of Emperor Franz Joseph who secretly had Demel cakes and pralines served during his tête-à-têtes with his lover. Apparently, his unhappy wife, Sisi, was addicted to their legendary violet sorbet.

A highlight of a visit is the Demelinerinnen, the modestly dressed waitresses wearing black dresses with lace collars who still address customers with the formal, " Haben schon gewählt ?" ("Has Madam/Sir already made her/his choice?").

The other highlight, of course, is drooling over the mouthwatering displays of cakes and pastries, including special creations resembling characters or creatures from history and mythology, each a work of art. Reservations can be made in advance online, and are recommended.

Address: Kohlmarkt 14, 1010 Vienna, Austria

Karlskirche

Dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo, a saint invoked during times of plague, St. Charles Church (Karlskirche) was built in 1737 and remains Vienna's most important Baroque religious building. This vast building is crowned by a magnificent 72-meter dome and is famous for its twin 33-meter Triumphal Pillars, based on Trajan's Column in Rome, with their spiraling bands depicting scenes from the life of St. Charles.

Interior highlights include the fabulous frescoes of St. Cecilia. Be sure to check the church's official website for details of its regular concert program.

Also worth visiting is the Gardekirche , built in 1763 in the city's southern outer district as the church of the Imperial Hospital and later serving Polish congregations. Of particular interest is the painting above the High Altar.

Address: Kreuzherrengasse 1, Vienna, Austria

Karlskirche dedicated to St Charles Borromeo - Floor plan map

Few European capital cities in the 50s and 60s were left without that definitive mid-20th-century landmark, the telecommunications tower, and Vienna is certainly no exception. Standing taller than any other building in the city and in fact the tallest structure in Austria, the 252-meter-tall Danube Tower, the Donauturm, opened to great fanfare in 1964 and continues to attract visitors for its spectacular view over the Danube River.

Highlights of a visit include the speedy elevator ride to the observation deck at 150 meters, from which you can also pick out many of Vienna's most important attractions. The other big draw here actually combines two of a traveler's favorite things to do: enjoying incredible views and partaking in world-class dining experiences.

The Danube Tower is in fact home to two restaurants, one fine dining and the other a casual café-style establishment.

Address: Donauturmstraße 8, 1220 Wien, Austria

Official site: https://www.donauturm.at/en/

Hundertwasserhaus

Famous as Vienna's "nature and human-friendly" apartment block, the decidedly odd (yet fascinating) Hundertwasserhaus is well worth a visit. Designed by painter Friedensreich Hundertwasser, this brightly colored landmark on the corner of Löwengasse and Kegelstrasse was completed in 1985, and the occupants of its 53 units-perhaps unsurprisingly-consist mostly of artists, intellectuals, and creative types, much like the architect himself.

Although the brightly colored building can only be enjoyed from the outside, you can explore the nearby Kunsthaus Wien, a complex of apartments containing a terrace café where you can rest while soaking up the ambience. Afterwards, pop over to the similarly styled shopping arcade.

Address: Kegelgasse 36-38, 1030 Vienna, Austria

Official site: www.hundertwasser-haus.info/en/

Joggers on Danube Island

If you took the time to enjoy the views from the Danube Tower, you'll have noticed that the city appears to have not just one, but two rivers running through it. No, you're not seeing double. In fact, what you're seeing is the Danube River (the wider of the two) and, running parallel to it, a canal known as the Donaukanal, or "new Danube." Separating them is a long stretch of land known as Danube Island (Donauinsel), and a sightseeing opportunity you won't want to miss.

Although only 210 meters wide at its widest point, the island is over 21 kilometers in length and is a popular spot to walk and relax for locals. Easily accessible via water taxi or bridge, the island is dotted with interesting dining opportunities (both casual and upscale), and is particularly pleasant for those wanting a quiet stroll along the Danube.

Sports enthusiasts are also drawn here, partaking in activities as diverse as biking and rollerblading, along with canoeing, kayaking, and swimming at one of the many beaches . Danube Island is also the scene of the annual Donauinselfest , Europe's biggest open-air festival, and one so popular an estimated three million visitors drop in to enjoy it each September.

The Austrian Parliament Building

Home of Austria's National and Federal Parliament since 1918, the Parliament Building impresses with its vast dimensions. Completed in 1883 for use by the Imperial and Provincial delegations, it boasts many Greek influences, from its Corinthian columns to its rich decoration. Of particular note are the exterior carvings depicting the granting of the Constitution by Franz Joseph I to the 17 peoples of Austria, along with numerous marble statues and reliefs.

Another highlight is the splendid Pallas Athene Fountain with its four-meter-high statue adorned with a gilded helmet and lance, along with figures symbolizing the Rivers Danube, Inn, Elbe, and Moldau.

English language guided tours are available from the Visitor Center where you can also enjoy displays and multimedia presentations about the history of the building and Parliament itself. (Editor's Note: Please be aware that there may be some restrictions regarding tour access due to ongoing renovations.)

Address: Dr.-Karl-Renner-Ring 3, 1017 Vienna, Austria

Official site: www.parlament.gv.at/ENGL/

Kärtner Strasse and the Donner Fountain

Looking to do a little window shopping after all that museum and gallery hopping? Then head to Vienna's most elegant street, Kärntner Strasse. Linking Stephansplatz to the Staatsoper on the Ring and ending at Karlsplatz, this (mostly) pedestrian-friendly area is fun to wander thanks to its lime trees, pavement cafés, fashionable shops, elegant boutiques, and busy shopping arcades.

Although most of the buildings you see today are 18th-century, the Maltese Church still has a few features dating from the 13th-century when the street served as an important trade route (take a peek inside for its coats of arms of the Knights of Malta).

Other notable buildings are Palais Esterházy , built in 1698 and now home to an upscale restaurant, while nearby buildings house high-end clothing stores. Also of note is the exquisite Donner Fountain , built in 1739 by Georg Raphael Donner to reflect the 'caring and wise' city government; it was, of course, commissioned by those who ran Vienna at the time.

Burgtheater: Austria's National Theater

The Burgtheater, Vienna's superb National Theater, has long been famous for its productions of German-language plays and performances. Many famous names have acted on its four stages since its founding by Emperor Joseph II in 1776 as the Court Theater. After devastation by bombing and fire in 1945, the theater eventually reopened in 1955 and has since grown in stature as the country's most important theater.

In addition to its size and the caliber of its performances, the building's exterior is impressive on account of its numerous decorative figures, scenes, and busts. Equally as impressive is its interior consisting of rich decoration in the French Baroque style, and a staircase with frescoes by Gustav and Ernst Klimt. Behind the scenes, guided tours are available in English and are well worth the cost.

Address: Universitätsring 2, 1010 Vienna, Austria

Museum of Military History

Whether you're a military history buff or are simply interested in learning more about Austria's place in the history of European conflict and warfare, be sure to schedule a visit to The Museum of Military History: Military History Institute (Heeresgeschichtliches Museum - Militärhistorisches Institut).

This remarkable collection is all too often overlooked, but those who do venture here are rewarded by the chance to peruse an immense collection of weaponry and exhibits detailing events in which the Austrian military was involved from the 1600s up to the 1950s. Along the way, you'll see weaponry, from muskets to machine guns, cannons to tanks, as well as vintage aircraft. Add to this interesting dioramas and models, along with uniforms and medals, and you'll want to stay right through until closing.

And be sure to spend time enjoying the splendid architecture, too. The museum is located in the city's sprawling Arsenal, and in places, the lavish interior-such as in the memorial hall-rivals that of any of the city's palaces. English language guided tours are available and come highly recommended.

Address: Arsenal 1, 1030 Vienna, Austria

Official site: www.hgm.at/en

The Franciscan Church: St. Jerome

The early 17th-century Roman Catholic Franciscan Church (Franziskanerkirche), also known as the Church of St. Jerome, is unique in Vienna for having a Renaissance façade, while its delightful interior is decorated in Baroque style. Highlights include the High Altar from 1707 and a painting of the Madonna and Child from 1550. Other paintings are the Martyrdom of St. Capristan and one of the church's patron saint.

Also of interest is the carved Baroque organ from 1643, the oldest organ in Vienna, notable for its folding doors with their fine carved and painted saints. The church's most famous artifact, however, is a carved image known as the Madonna with the Axe , known for having been carried by Austrian soldiers during their campaign against the Turks in Hungary, and credited for their victory.

Address: Franziskanerplatz 4, 1010 Vienna, Austria

Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial

Established to both celebrate and commemorate Vienna's Jewish population, The Jewish Museum (Jüdisches Museum Wien) does a stellar job of both. Established in 1986 and spread across two locations in the city-in Judenplatz and Dorotheergasse-the museum features displays and exhibits relating to the history of Jewish culture and religion in Austria over the centuries.

The Dorotheergasse location consists of the main collection, housed in Palais Eskeles, including artifacts and memorabilia relating to Jewish life in the post-WWiI period. A café and bookshop are also located here.

The Jewish Museum Vienna at Judenplatz houses displays relating to the social, cultural, and religious lives of the city's Jewish population. Highlights include a chance to visit an authentic medieval Jewish synagogue, along with art and photography collections. Afterwards, be sure to spend time in Judenplatz itself and visit the Holocaust Memorial located in the heart of the square.

Address: Dorotheergasse 11, 1010 Vienna, Austria

Official site: www.jmw.at/en

Sigmund Freud Museum

Established in 1971, the Sigmund Freud Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of one of the most remarkable thinkers of modern times. Located in Freud's former home (it was built in 1891, the year he moved in, and was his home for 47 years), the museum features rooms and exhibits relating to the history of psychoanalysis, including its influence on art and society as a whole.

Many of Freud's original writings are housed in the museum's research library, considered one of the most important such facilities in the world. In addition to personal artifacts from his life, along with his collection of antiques, an impressive modern art collection is housed on the property, too.

Address: Berggasse 13, 1090 Vienna, Austria

Official site: www.freud-museum.at/en/

The Ringstrasse circles Vienna's old city center, replacing the walls that once enclosed it. Most of the city's major attractions are inside or along this ring, with major museums surrounding the buildings of the former Habsburg Palace, the Hofburg. As you might expect, most hotels in this compact center are in the luxury range. Budget hotels are found farther outside the ring or in the attractive neighborhood around Schönbrunn Palace and the zoo.

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com

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Things to Do near Vienna : A delightful two-hour road trip from Vienna, Graz is Austria's second biggest city and is popular for its many well-preserved Baroque buildings, especially those located in the Old Town area. Two hours west, and you're in lovely Linz . Also on the magnificent River Danube and once home to such luminaries as Wolfgang Mozart, Linz boasts numerous great museums and art galleries. For more ideas of great day trips from Vienna , be sure to check out our list of the top excursions to destinations such as the Wachau Valley and Melk Abbey.

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Head for the Hills : Widely regarded as one of Europe's most attractive cities, Salzburg sits under the shadow of the 1,853-meter-tall Untersberg, adding a distinctive character to the city's old medieval city center. Innsbruck is another city that's beauty is enhanced by its mountain scenery, and is a special favorite of those who enjoy superlative skiing. Also popular with ski enthusiasts, the dramatic scenery of Kitzbühel is the perfect backdrop for hiking and biking adventures in summer.

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Austria Vacation Ideas : The lovely shoreline of the Hallstätter Sea is where you'll find the pretty town of Hallstatt , one of the loveliest destinations in Austria and one that offers a variety of great vacation experiences. The medieval town of Klagenfurt is another great option and is famous for its charming Old Town center with its many galleries, shops, and cafés (and be sure to wander along its old canals, too). Exploring the sites of Bregenz is another good option, and is especially popular for sightseeing due to its location on the shores of Lake Constance.

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Home » Europe » Austria » Vienna

17 BEST Places to Visit in Vienna (2024)

The Austrian capital is famous for its elegant architecture, imperial past, opera and classical music, Christmas markets, and the annual Carnival with its opulent balls. With culture, history, great dining, and plenty of ways to have family fun, Vienna is a great European destination for all.

Vienna is a huge and sprawling city, which is divided into several distinct neighbourhoods. Some of the city’s best places are quite spread out and deciding what to add to your Vienna itinerary can be difficult.

We’re here to help! Stop stressing about your travel planning and tick off these best places to visit in Vienna for a great time in the sophisticated Austrian capital city.

With a blend of well-known spots, Vienna must-sees, and local hidden gems, some of these best places to visit in Vienna are bound to amaze you!

Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighbourhood in Vienna:

These are the best places to visit in vienna, faq on the best places to visit in vienna, enjoy the best places to visit in vienna.

Vienna buildings

Innere Stadt

Innere Stadt is the most central neighbourhood in Vienna, and where most of the historical sights are located. It is your best option to stay there if you are visiting the city for the first time, as you will be close to everything and in the centre of the action.

  • Get a slice of Austria’s most famous cake at the Sacher Hotel;
  • Get a glimpse of the Habsburg’s family life at the Hofburg;
  • Visit Stephansdom, Vienna’s most famous religious building.

Before you fulfil your lifelong dream of seeing the Venus de Vilendorf in person, you will need to book your accommodation in the neighborhood of your choice. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled them all for you! Be sure to check out where to stay in Vienna before scrolling into the fun below.

historical places to visit in vienna

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#1 – Schönbrunn Palace – An awesome place to visit in Vienna for half a day!

Schonbrunn Palace

  • Gigantic Baroque palace;
  • Beautiful formal gardens;
  • Primary summer home of the imperial Habsburgs;
  • Lots of art and antiques.

Why it’s awesome: The enormous Schönbrunn Palace as seen today was built in the mid-1700s. The area was previously owned by a mighty Roman emperor, who used it as a hunting ground, and it later became the main summer residence of the Hapsburg rulers. Today it operates as a museum and is one of the most popular attractions in Vienna, if not Austria. It is also a UNESCO-listed site. The huge palace has more than 1,400 rooms and visitors can explore the lush interiors on various tours. The gorgeous gardens are free to explore, with formal flowerbeds, beautiful sculptures, faux Roman ruins, vineyards, a maze, the Gloriette, and more. The Palm House and the Desert House contain interesting flora from around the world.

What to do there: Book a tour to admire the opulent interiors of Schönbrunn Palace, with glorious rooms that are filled with an abundance of treasures, art, antiques, and period furnishings. The Imperial Tour takes you through 22 rooms, including opulent staterooms and private residences of former leader Franz Joseph (Austria’s longest-reigning ruler) and Sisi.

If you want to see more of the stunning palace and delve even deeper into the lives of the Hapsburg rulers the Grand Tour visits 40 lavish rooms. See how the younger members of the imperial family lived at the Children’s Museum, visit the Carriage Museum, explore the lush gardens, try your hand at making strudel, and admire the various plant species housed within the Desert House and historic glass and iron Palm House.

#2 – St. Stephen’s Cathedral – One of the most religious places to see in Vienna

St. Stephens Cathedral

  • Long history;
  • Beautiful architecture;
  • Active place of worship;
  • Major city landmark.

Why it’s awesome: St. Stephen’s Cathedral is one of the most recognisable landmarks in Vienna. The impressive Gothic and Romanesque church dates back to the 1300s, and it stands on the site of earlier churches. It has seen many changes over the years and stood the test of time through major events. The tallest tower reaches 136 metres (446 feet) tall. It has served as an important lookout point during times of trouble. The multi-coloured roof is a striking feature with a mosaic of a double-headed eagle, symbolic of the Habsburg empire. Various statues stand outside. Inside, there are several chapels dedicated to different saints, statues, religious art, and a striking Gothic pulpit. Underneath the church, there are crypts and catacombs.

What to do there: Admire the spectacular façade of St. Stephen’s Cathedral before entering through the Giant’s Door. Look above and you’ll see intricate sculptures. Take a guided tour of the stunning cathedral, or take a self-guided audio tour, to learn more about the magnificent building and its long and interesting history. You’ll also learn lots of interesting facts about the beautiful artwork within the cathedral.

Don’t miss seeing the Byzantine Maria Pötsch Icon, thought to be miraculous, and the statue known as Christ with a Toothache. Step into the smaller statues, including those dedicated to St. Bartholomew, St. Valentine, St. Katherine, and St. Barbara, and spend some quiet time in contemplation or prayer. Descend into the gloomy catacombs and see the many bones on display, go up the North Tower to view Austria’s biggest bell, and ascend the South Tower for amazing city views.

historical places to visit in vienna

With a Vienna City Pass , you can experience the best of Vienna at the CHEAPEST prices. Discounts, attractions, tickets, and even public transport are all standards in any good city pass – be sure invest now and save them $$$ when you arrive!

#3 – Prater – Easily one of the most fun places to check out in Vienna

Prater

  • Family-friendly attraction;
  • Large public park;
  • Fun amusement park;
  • Opportunities to enjoy nature.

Why it’s awesome: Prater is a large public park in Leopoldstadt, one of the more popular neighbourhoods in Vienna. Green and leafy with a main path that’s lined with horse chestnut trees, the park is a great place to enjoy nature and relax outdoors. One section of the park has an amusement park. It’s one of the best places in Vienna to take kids. It is also one of the oldest amusement parks across the globe. The park also has a planetarium, a museum, shops, places to eat and drink, and various other attractions. There is no charge to enjoy the pretty park. Admission to the amusement park is also free; visitors simply pay for the rides that they wish to enjoy.

What to do there: Stroll along the tree-lined Hauptallee, take a seat on a bench to enjoy time in nature, and visit the Prater Museum. Turn your attention to the skies at the planetarium and step into a magical fairytale land at the Grottenbahn. Take a ride on the soaring Prater Wheel for amazing views over Vienna, discover the park on the historic Liliputbahn light railway, and feel the rush on the Vienna Rollercoaster. The wooden rollercoaster has an air of nostalgia and is suitable for people of all ages. Get a thrilling adrenaline rush on Praterturm, a huge flying swing.

#4 – Kriminalmuseum – Quite the quirky place in Vienna!

Kriminalmuseum Vienna

  • Fascinating museum with a focus on darker themes
  • Lesser-visited attraction
  • Only suitable for adults
  • Grisly exhibits

Why it’s awesome: It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but a visit to Kriminalmuseum definitely ranks highly when it comes to the most unusual things to do in Vienna . Filled with gruesome and grisly items, the museum takes a look at crime through the country’s past. From human remains and murder weapons to instruments of torture and death masks, the museum will definitely appeal to fans of dark tourism.

Exhibits have decent explanations in English, though you can also pick up a leaflet with more detailed explanations inside. Items are spread across some 20 rooms and, though it may look small from the outside, the museum is actually quite large and crammed full of unusual memorabilia.

What to do there: Prepare to be shocked when visiting Vienna’s Kriminalmuseum. Do note that it is not a suitable place to take kids, and even some adults may find the horrific displays a bit too much to handle. Learn about the nation’s criminal past as you wander through the maze-like rooms and see all types of bizarre and terrifying objects and artefacts. Travel back to the Medieval period and discover crimes from times gone by right up to the present day.

Various criminal activities are covered, including counterfeit currency, thefts, and prostitution, though the sections dedicated to murder are generally the most morbidly fascinating. Some of the more shocking items on display include a gruesome mummified head of a felon who was sentenced to death, bullet-hole-ridden skulls, exhibits were used in the horrific study of eugenics, large photographs of murder victims, and pornographic images.

#5 – Naschmarkt – A must-see for foodies!

Naschmarkt

  • Large and colourful market;
  • Huge array of food;
  • One of the most popular markets in Vienna.

Why it’s awesome: The large Naschmarkt is one of the best places to visit in Vienna for an incredible assortment of tasty fare. In operation since the 16th century, it’s one of the most popular markets in the capital. In times gone by vendors would travel to the market with goods from far and wide, bringing produce from local farms and from foreign lands.

Today there is still a wide variety of global cuisine as well as traditional Austrian favourites. From made-to-order meals to fresh ingredients, the colourful and vibrant market has everything that a foodie could possibly want. On Saturdays, there is also a small but interesting flea market, with diverse retro, vintage, and used goods.

What to do there: Walk around the bustling market, pausing to see what’s for sale at the 120-odd stalls. If you’re staying in self-catering accommodation you can pick up a range of fresh vegetables, meats, fish, and other ingredients to cook up a feast for dinner.

Visit the bakeries, delicatessens, and cheese shops to pick up tasty treats for a picnic. Grab quick and easy bites for a lunch on the go or sit down in one of the restaurants to take your time over your meal. You’ll find everything from sushi, kebabs, and curries, to Chinese stir-fried dishes, Austrian sausages, and pizza. It’s easy to see how the Naschmarkt is one of the best places to eat in Vienna.

#6 – Karlskirche – A great place to see in Vienna if you love architecture

Karlskirche

  • Unusual and distinctive architecture;
  • Gorgeous frescoes;
  • Constructed to give thanks;
  • Regularly hosts classical concerts.

Why it’s awesome: The stunning Karlskirche is one of the most beautiful architectural hotspots in Vienna. Building began in the early 1700s, and the church was completed in 1737. The story behind its construction is interesting: the striking place of worship was built to honour a saint called Charles Borromeo. When the city was struck by a plague epidemic in the early 1700s, the ruler vowed to build a church dedicated to the saint (a man known for helping victims of the plague) if the disease left the city.

It blends several architectural styles, including Byzantine, Roman, Greek, Baroque, and Renaissance. Topped with a green dome, it’s an impressive sight from the outside. Inside, there are fine statues and frescoes. The great composer, Vivaldi, was buried in the grounds, although his tomb has long since been lost. The church hosts regular concerts in his memory.

What to do there: Appreciate the splendid details, both inside and outside, taking time to admire the carved columns, colourfully painted ceiling, reliefs, and statues. There are plenty of symbolic features to spot too as light floods in through the main window. See the delicately carved wooden pulpit, scenes showing St. Borromeo ascending to heaven, angels, and an interesting painting that depicts the Virgin Mary praying for the plague in Vienna to stop.

#7 – The Hofburg – Possibly one of the most important places to visit in Vienna

The Hofburg

  • One of the world’s biggest palace complexes;
  • Lots of history and culture;
  • Former  home to Habsburg emperors;
  • Numerous interesting collections.

Why it’s awesome: Exploring the enormous palace complex of the Hofburg is a Vienna must do. Once home to the imperial court, there are many elegant buildings, some of which house fascinating museums today. Strolling around the complex really helps visitors to travel back in time and see what royal life was like in Vienna in times gone by. The royal home until the end of WWI, it was the place where much European history was made. Different emperors left their mark on the complex, creating a fascinating blend of architectural styles and details.

While there are three main parts of interest—the Sisi Museum, the Imperial Apartments, and the Imperial Silver Collection—the huge complex has a wealth of other terrific things to see. Buildings are spread over 59 acres (24 hectares), with charming gardens and elegant squares between. Astonishingly, there are more than 2,500 rooms across the complex!

What to do there: Take at least a few hours to walk through the grounds of the massive Hofburg complex and admire the stunning buildings from the outside. Be sure to charge your camera as you’re likely to want to take lots of pictures! Ogle some 7,000 exquisite items in the Imperial Silver Collection. Learn more about the life of Empress Sisi as you view a wide collection of personal items in the Sisi Museum. See the lavish quarters where royalty once lived in the spectacular Imperial Apartments. Visit the Royal Chapel, which is the oldest part of the palace complex. Marvel at the wonderful interiors of the Austrian National Library. See the astronomical clock on the outside of the Amalienburg.

#8 – Spanish Riding School – One of the most amazing places in Vienna!

Spanish Riding School

  • Part of the Hofburg complex;
  • See handsome Lipizzaner stallions;
  • Rich traditions;
  • Beautiful architecture.

Why it’s awesome: The Spanish Riding School is part of the enormous Hofburg palace complex. Established in the 1570s, the high-class riding school is among the top-four most prestigious horse riding schools across the globe. Additionally, it’s one of the oldest such academies in the world too. A place where visitors can watch fine equestrian traditions, the school takes its name from the fact that the thoroughbred stallions had Spanish roots.

Today’s fine steeds are all bred in Austria, but all are graceful Lipizzaner horses. The training has military roots and the methodical training process can take up to three years for riders and four to six years for horses.

What to do there: See the fine building that houses the Spanish Riding School, a pale structure with plenty of natural sunlight. Get to the academy early in the morning to watch the elegant pedigree horses at their morning training sessions. Watch as riders salute to the large portrait of Emperor Charles VI before beginning to ride. Admire the smart uniforms of the riders and the perfect poise and condition of both man and beast and be impressed by the skilled manoeuvres. It’s well worth obtaining tickets to a special performance too if there is one scheduled for your time in Vienna.

Wonder how to spend a weekend in Vienna? Head over to our  insider’s Weekend in Vienna guide!

#9 – Danube Tower – Great place to visit in Vienna for couples!

Danube Tower

  • Incredible sweeping views;
  • Highest landmark in Austria;
  • Next to the Danube River;
  • Cool revolving restaurant.

Why it’s awesome: The Danube Tower (Donauturm) is one of the most romantic points of interest in Vienna. Standing proudly at 252 metres (827 feet) tall, it’s the tallest structure in all of Austria. Constructed in the 1960s, the soaring tower is located alongside the banks of the River Danube. It is surrounded by pretty parkland.

A major sight on the Viennese skyline it’s not only good to admire from afar; visitors can go to the observation platform to soak up fabulous views of the city and beyond. There are also two rotating eateries (one restaurant and one cafe) where couples can relax with each other while enjoying the slowly changing vistas.

What to do there: Snap plenty of pictures of the iconic tower from outside before riding in one of the high-speed elevators up to the observation platform. Spot major landmarks in Vienna from your high vantage point and enjoy the bird’s eye views over the capital. Savour a tasty meal in the revolving restaurant or sink your teeth into a light bite in the café and admire the views for longer. The romantic dinners and special events help to inject even more romance and passion into your visit if you really want to impress that special someone.

#10 – Stadtpark – A beautiful outdoor place to visit in Vienna

Stadtpark Vienna

  • Biggest city park in Vienna;
  • Pleasant spot to relax and enjoy nature;
  • Interesting monuments and statues;
  • Peaceful ambience.

Why it’s awesome: The lovely Stadtpark is the largest public park in Vienna. Located in the heart of the city, it’s a nice place to take a break and spend time in nature. Open since the early 1860s and free to enter, the park is set out somewhat like a traditional English garden. Pathways meander through the lovely landscapes and a river flows through the middle of the park. Bridges span the waterway. Statues, memorials, trees, flowers, and water features all help to add to the visual beauty. There are several places to eat and drink in the park too.

What to do there: Escape the hustle and bustle of the city streets and enjoy a peaceful walk through the greenery of Stadtpark. The open lawns are perfect places for kids to run and play and adults can follow the paths through the park, relax in the sunshine with a good book, or sip a drink in one of the cafes.

Enjoy the views from the bridge that crosses the River Wien and see ducks and large fish swimming below in the waters. Admire the flower clock and pause at the statues dedicated to various famous composers, including Franz Schubert, Anton Bruckner, Robert Stolz, and Franz Lehar. Don’t miss having a selfie with the gleaming statue of Johann Strauss.

#11 – Hundertwasser Haus – One of the more unique places to visit in Vienna!

Hundertwasser Haus Vienna

  • Unusual piece of architecture;
  • Colourful and eye-catching;
  • Delightful roof and vertical gardens;
  • Free movie.

Why it’s awesome: The unusual Hundertwasser Haus is certainly a conversation starter. One of the most unusual famous places in Vienna, the colourful block was created in the early 1980s and is the work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser, an artist turned architectural designer.

Not only are there few straight lines and a lot of colours, but it’s also a living, breathing building thanks to the many plants and trees that grow from balconies, trellises, on the roof, and in pots. Indeed, there are more than 200 plants around the building’s exterior. Inside there are apartments and offices and there are both shared and communal terraces. Do note, however, that the insides are not open to visitors.

What to do there: Marvel at the unique building from the outside, appreciating the balance between nature and the man-made. Call into the ground-level coffee shop for a quick pick-me-up and to watch a free short film about the house. Visit the cool Hundertwasser Village across the street, created in the early 1990s. It’s a quirky shopping centre designed in the artist’s signature style and it features a pretty square, diverse shops, and a bar. You can also take a short stroll along the street to see another of Hundertwasser’s creations: Kunst Haus Wien.

#12 – Vienna State Opera – A great place to visit Vienna at night

Vienna State Opera Vienna

  • One of the best opera houses in the world;
  • Diverse program of events;
  • Glorious façade and interiors;
  • Long history.

Why it’s awesome: The fabulous Vienna State Opera House is a Vienna must see. Originally built in the 1850s, the city’s first opera house was largely destroyed during bombing in World War Two. It was later renovated and rebuilt, in keeping with the original style. The building has a grand façade and stunning interiors, with ornate lobbies, grand marble staircases, luxurious chandeliers, and a large sophisticated auditorium.

Often said to be among the top opera houses across the globe it is also one of the busiest performance venues. The program is diverse. Various famous composers and performers have graced the stages over the years, and members of the Vienna Philharmonic are recruited from the musicians in the Vienna State Opera’s orchestra.

What to do there: Gaze upon the elegant building from the outside, noticing the two equestrian statues, the two fountains (that symbolise happiness, music, joy, and dance against revenge, love, sorrow, and seduction), and the five bronze statues that represent love, comedy, fantasy, tragedy, and heroism.

See the stunning interiors on a 40-minute guided tour, visiting the foyer, the opulent staircase, the ornate state rooms, and the auditorium. You’ll also hear interesting facts and anecdotes about the building and performers. Spend a memorable evening at a spectacular performance, with various operas and ballets on the ever-changing schedule.

historical places to visit in vienna

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#13 – Schönbrunn Zoo – Awesome place to visit in Vienna with kids!

Schonbrunn Zoo

  • One of the oldest zoos in the world;
  • Within the Schönbrunn Palace complex;
  • Home to animals from across the globe.

Why it’s awesome: Wondering what to do in Vienna with children? The large Schönbrunn Zoo (known locally as Tiergarten Schönbrunn) is one of the best Vienna vacation ideas for families. Found within the ground of the extensive Schönbrunn Palace, the zoo was built in the 1750s to house the imperial menagerie. It is one of the oldest still-operating zoos in the world today.

Despite many setbacks over the years, today the zoo contains an exciting selection of animals from all four corners of the globe. The large enclosures are well maintained and clean and there are various habitats for visitors to explore. There’s a good selection of places to eat and drink throughout the zoo too.

What to do there: Observe an array of creatures from different parts of the planet, including koalas, elephants, tigers, orangutans, penguins, zebras, sea lions, wolves, otters, polar bears, camels, bats, and deer. The giant pandas are usually popular with kids and adults alike.

There are several habitats and themed areas to explore, including the rainforest house (which simulates conditions in the Amazon Jungle), the polarium, an aquarium, the big cat house, the desert house, and a children’s petting zoo. Take a ride on the quaint Schönbrunn Panorama Train, watch various species being fed, and sign up for special behind-the-scenes and interactive tours.

#14 – Vienna City Hall – One of the most incredible free places to go to in Vienna

Vienna City Hall

  • Neo-Gothic architectural gem;
  • Official seat of Vienna’s mayor;
  • Free guided tours;
  • Beautifully illuminated at night.

Why it’s awesome: Vienna City Hall is a striking building that dates back to the late 1800s. Built in a Neo-Gothic style, it emulates other fine non-religious Gothic structures around Europe. The large building boasts five towers and a number of interior courtyards. There are more than 1,500 rooms inside, spread across six storeys, along with two basements.

The interiors can be visited on a free guided tour (various languages are available on audio devices, though the main tour is in German). There are often events, like markets, just inside the main entrance, and there’s also a stylish onsite restaurant that is open to members of the public.

What to do there: Admire the beautiful building from the outside and see the interesting Rathausmann statue perched atop the tallest tower. Affixed in 1882, the figure is today one of the city’s symbols. Rest for a while in the grassy Rathauspark in front of the building. Take a free tour to see parts inside the building; tours include the Festival Hall, Arcade Courtyard, Council Chamber, Stone Halls, Senate Chamber, and Coat of Arms Halls. Treat yourself to a nice meal in the restaurant before continuing your sightseeing in Vienna.

#15 – Graben – A great place in Vienna if you love to shop!

flickr-vienna-graben

  • Luxurious shopping street;
  • Great places to dine;
  • Historic buildings;
  • Plague column.

Why it’s awesome: Located in the heart of the city, Graben is a busy shopping street with Roman roots. It was a popular shopping area during the times of the Habsburgs, with many fine stores with long traditions remaining today. A lot of the buildings date back to the 17th and 18th century and there are many beautiful architectural details.

Shops sell an assortment of wares and it’s a popular place for both locals and tourists to spoil themselves and indulge in some retail therapy. There are elegant restaurants and cafes too. The marble plague column is an interesting sight along the street.

What to do there: Walk along the refined mostly pedestrianised streets and admire the beautiful buildings. Fine examples include the Grabenhof and the Equitable Palace. Don’t miss seeing the plague column, built in the late 1600s to remember those who died during the devastating epidemic. The sculpture is highly ornate with many symbolic elements.

You can also pause to admire the lovely fountains. Window shop in time-honoured establishments like Augarten porcelain factory, Nägele & Strubell perfumerie, and the high-class jewellers of Heldwein. You’ll find shops selling a wide array of other goods too, including clothing, homewares, accessories, and souvenirs. Stop at a café for refreshments and a spot of people watching along the bustling street.

#16 – Kunsthistorisches Museum – A great place to visit in Vienna if you are alone/traveling solo

Kunsthistorisches Museum

  • Splendid art museum;
  • Stunning building;
  • Lavish décor;
  • Imperial history.

Why it’s awesome: The splendid Kunsthistorisches Museum is the biggest art museum in Austria. The glorious palace-like building was constructed in the late 1800s and the museum was opened by Franz Joseph I in the early 1890s. The emperor wanted the museum to house some of the amazing pieces of art from The Hofburg and make collections accessible to the public. Inside, the building has opulent interiors and numerous eye-catching artworks. Collections include portraits, Greek and Roman antiquities, coins, sculptures, and items from Egypt and the Near East.

What to do there: Walk across Maria-Theresien-Platz and see the almost identical facing buildings of the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Natural History Museum, both built at the same time. A large statue of Empress Maria Theresa stands at the heart of the square. The dome-topped museums are architectural masterpieces. Step inside the museum and you’re sure to be impressed by the glorious interiors, complete with polished marble, sweeping staircases, gold leaf, colourful frescoes, and intricate ornamental plasterwork.

Take time to view the impressive art collection spread through the museum, with pieces by European masters and ancient artefacts among the exhibits. Once you’ve finished, you might want to visit the nearby Modern Art Museum, housed in the old imperial stables, to see even more interesting artworks.

historical places to visit in vienna

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#17 – Capuchin Church – One of Vienna’s coolest historical sites!

Capuchin Church

  • Final resting place of many Habsburg rulers;
  • Spiritual vibe;
  • Unassuming façade;
  • Interesting tours.

Why it’s awesome: Officially named the Church of Saint Mary of the Angels, the 1632 Capuchin Church is one of the most historic hotspots in Vienna. The fairly plain exterior and simple experience gives no clue as to the building’s significance, and it would be easy to stroll right on past without realising that, in fact, the church is a major attraction.

The inside of the church is also fairly plain, with no aisle, whitewashed walls, orderly seating, and a pretty but unremarkable altar. The real interest, however, lies underground in the crypt. The Imperial Crypt contains the tombs of many people from the Imperial Family—it is here that many mighty emperors and empresses were laid to rest.

What to do there: Enter the church and absorb the tranquil and spiritual air, perhaps taking a seat to rest for a few moments in thought. Descend into the Imperial Crypt to see the tombs and funerary urns of deceased royals.

More than 140 Royals have been laid to rest here, including 12 former emperors and 18 empresses. Some of the tombs are fairly simple, while others are highly ornate. The tomb of Maria Theresa and Holy Roman Emperor Franz I is large and detailed. You can visit independently, though there also tours that will help you to learn more about the people buried beneath the peaceful church.

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Find out what people want to know about the best places to visit in Vienna

Is Vienna worth visiting?

Yes, Vienna is definitely worth a visit for lovers of culture, art and history.

Which is the best palace to visit in Vienna?

The Schönbrunn Palace is the most visited palace in Vienna and is a truly beautiful building.

What is Vienna famous for?

Vienna is famous for being the capital of Austria and being the home to famous classical musicians such as Beethoven and Mozart.

Can you visit Vienna in 2 days?

Yes, two days should be enough to see all the main highlights.

Wonderful Vienna offers a wealth of things for people of all ages, though there is definitely a strong focus on history, culture, music, architecture, and the arts.

Kahlenberg and Volksgarten are pretty outdoor spots if you want to get away for a while and spend time in nature, and the Krapfenwald Pools are a top place for soothing relaxation.

Discover the wealth of knowledge housed in the establishments of the MuseumsQuartier and tour the city’s other top-class museums. Fantastic museums to add to your list when you explore Vienna include the Sigmund Freud Museum, Albertina, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Ethnology, the Jewish Museum, the Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art, and Time Travel Vienna. Fans of classical music shouldn’t miss the Johann Strauss House, and if you’re more into places that are a bit quirky the Globe Museum and Clock Museum may be right up your street.

Spend a day exploring the Danube Island, get off the beaten track in Ottakring, enjoy more imperial grandeur at Belvedere Palace, stroll through the quiet Central Cemetery, and visit the lesser-known Church am Steinhof. You can even take an easy day trip to Bratislava, the capital of neighbouring Slovakia.

For your travel plans, be sure to check out our guide on whether Vienna is expensive or not . Be prepared with the right budget!

There is certainly no need to ever feel bored in the Austrian capital! Add these best places to visit in Vienna to your bucket list and discover one of Europe’s most elegant destinations .

historical places to visit in vienna

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

Lu Frey

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20 Must-Visit Attractions in Vienna, Austria

Vienna has plenty of activities for all types of traveller

Famous for its classical music and opera, Vienna is home to spectacular architecture and rich cultural offerings with an undeniable charm. Brimming with ornate palaces, traditional coffee houses, art galleries and museums, the city is the jewel in Austria’s crown.

This former seat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire boasts spectacular buildings in various architectural styles, ranging from Baroque to Art Deco and the colourful, modern Hundertwasserhaus. Experience the beauty of the city, while staying at one of its best hotels , with Culture Trip’s guide to the must-visit attractions in Vienna.

1. Belvedere Palace

Museums: Belvedere Palace, winter

2. Golden Hall

Concert Hall, Building

The Goldener Saal (Golden Hall) concert hall of Wiener Musikverein. Vienna Austria

One of Vienna’s most respected concert halls, the Golden Hall invites guests to a two-hour concert by local and international opera singers. Here, you’ll be able to listen to the likes of Mozart and Strauss performed by the Vienna Mozart Orchestra in a 19th-century Neoclassical building.

historical places to visit in vienna

3. Historic coffee houses

Coffee Shop, Restaurant, Austrian

historical places to visit in vienna

4. St Stephen’s Cathedral

St. Stephen’s Cathedral: view from St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Fiakers

5. Schönbrunn Palace

Schonbrunn Palace, imperial summer residence in Vienna, Austria

Amusement Park, Park

Vienna Prater park, the entrance to the Prater amusement park in Vienna with the famous Riesenrad ferris wheel in the background, Austria.

The Prater is perhaps best known for its iconic Ferris wheel, which has featured in films such as Before Sunrise (1995), The Third Man (1949) and James Bond’s The Living Daylights (1987). Built in 1897, the historic Riesenrad offers sweeping views over Vienna. If the funfair rides and attractions of the Prater amusement park do not appeal, nearby are acres of woods and meadows with many hiking trails, bike paths, cafés, sporting facilities and playgrounds. The five-kilometre (three-mile) tree-lined Hauptallee route through the Prater is particularly popular with joggers and cyclists.

7. Kunsthistorisches Museum

Library, Museum

historical places to visit in vienna

8. Spanish Riding School

3_14

Dazzling white Lipizzaner horses are famous around the world for their balletic performances to classical music. Dressage performances take place in Vienna’s Spanish Riding School , located in the glamorous setting of the Hofburg, the former principal imperial palace of the Hapsburgs. In the morning, watch as the horses exercise to build up their strength to perform pirouettes and jumps at the afternoon performances.

9. Natural History Museum

Austria, Vienna, Natural History Museum

10. Hundertwasserhaus

Building, Museum

The Hundertwasser House in Vienna. Image shot 2018. Exact date unknown.

For a complete change of scenery from Habsburg grandeur, visit Vienna’s Hundertwasserhaus near the Danube Canal in the 3rd district. Designed by the eccentric and visionary Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, this colourful, undulating social housing development has a forest of trees planted on its roof and barely a straight line in sight. Nearby is the Museum Hundertwasser, where you can find out more about Hundertwasser’s work, philosophy and beliefs, from art and architecture to environmentalism.

11. Danube Tower

Building, Park

Donauturm Danube TV tower in Donaustadt in Vienna in Austria

12. Sigmund Freud Museum

Wartezimmer_1

Stroll around in Vienna’s 9th district until you reach Berggasse 19, the former house and office of Sigmund Freud. Giving a glimpse into the Austrian neurologist’s life, the museum houses original furnishings throughout the various rooms. Existing exhibits showcase Freud’s work, including signed copies and first editions.

13. Austrian National Library

Prunksaal or State Hall, Austrian National Library

14. Naschmarkt

Naschmarkt in Vienna | © Österreich Werbung, Photographer: Volker Preusser

A visit to Vienna’s famous Naschmarkt is a must for both food lovers and those interested in Secessionist architecture. The outdoor market features a lively collection of over 100 stalls selling an array of spices, meats, dried and fresh fruits, cheese and many other delicacies. Dating back to the 16th century, the market is surrounded by gorgeous buildings of the Secessionist movement, including Otto Wagner’s Majolica and gold-leaf houses.

15. Haus des Meeres

Aquarium, Architectural Landmark

Haus des Meeres

Housed in a World War II flak tower in the hip Mariahilf district, Vienna’s Haus des Meeres aquarium offers you the chance to see the city from its viewing platform. A staggering 10,000 sea and land animals are housed within 11 stories of the building, with examples of coral reef, Amazon rainforest and tropical habitats. As the largest aquarium in Austria, it’s home to monkeys, birds, crocodiles and more, as well as sharks swimming in a 300,000-litre (79,252-gallon) pool.

16. Leopold Museum

historical places to visit in vienna

17. Albertina Museum

Albertina museum, in the inner city (Innere Stadt), the historic center Vienna, Austria.

For a stunning collection of Modernist art in a former Habsburg palace, visit the Albertina Museum to view the world-renowned Batliner Collection, which features artists such as Monet, Degas, Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec and Gauguin, as well as Picasso’s early Cubist works. Located in the beating heart of the 1st district, the Albertina is home to one of the world’s most impressive graphic art collections and has 20 staterooms spread across two floors.

18. Burggarten

Library, Park

historical places to visit in vienna

19. Vienna State Opera

Opera House

Viennese state opera,seats,auditorium

20. Schönbrunn Zoo

Giant Panda bear Ailuropoda melanoleuca eating bamboo in the zoo Schonbrunn Vienna Austria

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Virtual Vienna

Must-see spots for history buffs in Vienna

historical places to visit in vienna

Vienna is a notoriously history-rich place. With its central location in Europe, its history as a capital of the Habsburg Monarchy and major role as a strategic point of interest during the Second World War, Vienna has quite literally always been in the middle of things. Because of that, there is an abundance of historic sights to visits, dating back to the era of the Roman Empire all the way until recent history. You won’t be able to absorb the rich historic depth Vienna has to offer in a mere few days, as it is almost impossible to do so, even for people who live there all their life. This list will guide you to the most important and impressive sights from different eras in time.

Heldenplatz

Vienna’s Heldenplatz (German for “Heroes’ square”) was one of the most iconic sights in the annexing of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938. Hitler chose this place to have a rally announcing the ceremonial “Anschluss” of Austria, marking one of the milestones in the formation of the horrors of the Third Reich. The Heldenplatz is situated in front of the Hofburg – Vienna’s imperial palace – and is host to two massive equestrian statues portraying Archduke Charles of Austria and Prince Eugene of Savoy, representing the military legacy of the Habsburg dynasty.

Flak towers

flakturm

Perhaps the most iconic reminders of wartime Austria, the flak towers , which were posted around the city as above-ground bunkers and anti-air defensive structures, still remain largely intact as opposed to many other flak towers in German cities. Of course since then the towers have been repurposed, the most prominent one being the tower in the Esterházypark in the 6th district, which now hosts Vienna’s aquarium, the Haus des Meeres, as well as a climbing wall with an impressive view over the city. Other towers are located in the Augarten (2nd district), Arenbergpark (3rd district) and at the Stiftskaserne (historic barracks, 7th district). Not all of them are publicly accessible, but even just from the outside, they are an impressive sight and a strong reminder of the time when Europe was at war.

Römermuseum – Roman Museum

A part of the Wienmuseum, the Roman Museum has a variety of relicts on display dating back to the days of the Roman settlement named Vindobona, which once was situated at the area which today is known as Hoher Markt in Vienna’s first district. Like many places in central Europe, which later went on to become thriving capitals, Vienna and the area surrounding it provided a fertile ground for archaeological excavations and many exciting discoveries were unveiled over the years. The exhibitions keep evolving as recent excavations keep providing new findings and deeper insights into the history of Vienna.

Heeresgeschichtliches Museum – Museum of Military History

For anyone interested in exploring the history of Vienna before, during and after the two World Wars which impacted on world history like no other event before, the Museum of Military History is quite possibly the single most extensive place to do so. The vast collection of military artefacts, weaponry, badges, armor and even military machinery allows visitors to gain first hand insight into a time when the Habsburg Monarchy was a militarily potent empire and, as is easily forgotten, a major naval power in the world. Documents from the time between the wars remind us of how Austria transitioned from a time of economic depression into the eventual annexing by Nazi Germany.

historical places to visit in vienna

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  • Description

Vienna developed from early Celtic and Roman settlements into a Medieval and Baroque city, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It played an essential role as a leading European music centre, from the great age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century. The historic centre of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the late-19th-century Ringstrasse lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Centre historique de Vienne

Vienne s’est développée à partir des premiers établissements celtes et romains, en passant par la ville médiévale puis baroque, jusqu’à devenir la capitale de l’Empire austro-hongrois. Elle a joué un rôle fondamental en tant que haut lieu de la musique européenne et demeure associée aux grands compositeurs, du classicisme viennois à la musique moderne. Le centre historique de Vienne abrite une grande variété d’éléments architecturaux, notamment des palais baroques et des jardins ainsi que l’ensemble de la Ringstrasse datant de la fin du XIXe siècle.

وسط فيينا التاريخي

تطوّرت فيينا بدءاً من اولى المؤسسات السلتية والرومانية مروراً بالمدينة في القرون الوسطى ومن ثم الباروكية إلى أن اصبحت عاصمة الإمبراطورية النمساوية المجرية. لقد لعبت دوراً اساسياً كمركز مهم في عالم الموسيقى الأوروبية ولا تزال مرتبطة باسم مؤلفين كبار منذ الكلاسيكية النمساوية إلى الموسيقى الحديثة. ويضمّ وسط فيينا التاريخي مجموعة من العناصر الهندسية ولا سيما القصور الباروكية والحدائق، بالإضافة إلى الرينغستراس الذي يعود إلى نهاية القرن التاسع عشر.

source: UNESCO/CPE Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

维也纳是从早期哥特人和罗马人聚落发展起来的,后来成了一个中世纪巴洛克风格的城市——奥匈帝国首都。从伟大的维也纳古典乐派时代开始一直到20世纪初,维也纳一直作为欧洲音乐中心发挥着重要的作用。维也纳历史中心汇集了大量建筑艺术,包括巴洛克风格的城堡和花园,还有建于19世纪晚期的环城大道,两旁是宏伟的楼群,也有古迹和公园。

Centro histórico de Viena

Viena se fue desarrollando desde los primeros asentamientos celtas y romanos en su territorio y a través de la construcción sucesiva de la ciudad medieval y la barroca, hasta convertirse en la capital del Imperio Austrohúngaro. La ciudad ha desempeñado un papel fundamental como centro importante de la música europea y su nombre va asociado a grandes compositores, desde el clasicismo vienés hasta la música de principios del siglo XX. Su centro histórico alberga una gran variedad de jardines y monumentos arquitectónicos, principalmente palacios barrocos, así como el conjunto de la Ringstrasse, que data de fines del siglo XIX.

source: NFUAJ

Historisch centrum van Wenen

Wenen ontwikkelde zich van vroege Keltische en Romeinse nederzettingen tot een middeleeuwse en barokke stad, de hoofdstad van het Oostenrijks-Hongaarse Rijk. Sinds de 16e eeuw wordt Wenen algemeen erkend als de muzikale hoofdstad van Europa, met als bekendste periode het Weens classicisme. Het historische centrum van Wenen is rijk aan architectonische gebouwen zoals barokke kastelen en tuinen, maar ook de laat-19e-eeuwse Ringstrasse, omringd door indrukwekkende gebouwen, monumenten en parken. Het stedenbouwkundig en architectonisch erfgoed in het historische centrum van Wenen illustreren de Europese culturele en politieke ontwikkeling die de stad doormaakte tijdens de middeleeuwen, de barok en de Gründerzeit.

Source: unesco.nl

historical places to visit in vienna

Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

Vienna, situated on the Danube River in the eastern part of Austria, developed from early Celtic and Roman settlements into a medieval and Baroque city, eventually becoming the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It played an essential role as the leading European music centre, hosting major personalities in the development of music from the 16th to the 20th centuries, particularly Viennese Classicism and Romanticism, consolidating Vienna’s reputation as the ‘musical capital’ of Europe. Vienna is also rich in architectural ensembles, particularly Baroque mansions and gardens as well as the late 19th-century Ringstrasse ensemble lined with grand buildings, monuments, and parks. The property consists of the city’s medieval core (based on the Roman settlement), the principal Baroque ensembles with their axial layouts, and the Gründerzeit constructions from the beginning of the modern period.

At the beginning of the 12th century the settlement here expanded beyond the Roman defences, which were demolished. During the Ottoman conflicts in the 16th and 17th centuries, the medieval town’s walls, which surrounded a much larger area, were rebuilt and provided with bastions. This remained the core of Vienna until the medieval walls were demolished in the second half of the 19th century. The inner city contains a number of medieval-era buildings, including the Schottenkloster, the oldest monastery in Austria, the churches of Maria am Gestade (one of the main Gothic structures), Michaelerkirche, Minoritenkirche and Minoritenkloster from the 13th century, and St Stephen’s Cathedral, which dates from the 14th and 15th centuries. The same period also saw the construction of civic ensembles, such as initial parts of the Hofburg Palace. Whereas the monastic complexes were generally built of stone, becoming part of the defences of the medieval city, the residential quarters were of timber and suffered frequent fires.

In 1683, Vienna became the capital of the Habsburg Empire and developed rapidly, becoming an impressive Baroque city. The Baroque character was expressed particularly in the large palace layouts such as the Belvedere Palace and garden ensemble. A growing number of new palaces were built by noble families, many existing medieval buildings, churches, and convents were altered and given Baroque features, and additions were made to representative administrative buildings. Several historic Viennese buildings are now associated with the residences of important personalities such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, when the city played an essential role as a leading European centre for music.

A new phase in the history of Vienna took place when its 34 suburbs were incorporated into the city and the emperor ordered the demolition of the fortifications around the inner city. The opportunity was taken to create one of the most significant 19th-century ensembles in the history of urban planning, which greatly influenced the rest of Europe in this crucial period of social and economic development. In 1874, the Hofburg complex was extended with the addition of the Neue Hofburg, an ‘Imperial Forum’, and joined with large museum complexes into a single ensemble. The Burgtheater, parliament, town hall, and university formed another ensemble linked with these structures. To this was added the opera house as well as a large number of public and private buildings along the Ringstrasse, on the line of the demolished city walls. The late 19th and early 20th centuries testify to further creative contributions by Viennese designers, artists, and architects in the periods of the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau), the Secession, and the early Modern Movement in architecture. 

Crit e rio n (ii) : The urban and architectural qualities of the Historic Centre of Vienna bear outstanding witness to a continuing interchange of values throughout the second millennium.  

Crit e rio n (iv) : Three key periods of European cultural and political development – the Middle Ages, the Baroque period, and the Gründerzeit – are exceptionally well illustrated by the urban and architectural heritage of the Historic Centre of Vienna. 

Crit e rio n (vi) : Since the 16th century Vienna has been universally acknowledged to be the musical capital of Europe. 

Within the boundaries of the 371 ha Historic Centre of Vienna are located all the attributes that sustain its Outstanding Universal Value, including its architectural and urban qualities and layout, and that illustrate its three major phases of development – medieval, Baroque, and the Gründerzeit – that symbolize Austrian and central European history. The Historic Centre of Vienna has also maintained its characteristic skyline. The 462 ha buffer zone protects the immediate setting of the inscribed property. 

Authenticity

The property is substantially authentic in terms of its location, its forms and designs, and its substance and materials. This authenticity resides largely in the overlapping and multi-layered interweaving of urban buildings, structures, and spaces. The property has to a remarkable degree retained the architectural elements that demonstrate its continuous interchange of values through authentic examples from the above-mentioned three key periods of European cultural and political development. In addition to the architectural elements, the Historic Centre of Vienna has retained its role as the music capital of Europe.

The historic urban fabric of the Historic Centre of Vienna is thus informed by this ongoing interchange, which has caused the urban landscape to evolve and grow over time, reflected in the new, emerging skyline outside the buffer zone. Vienna’s continuing development requires a very sensitive approach that takes into account the attributes that sustain the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, including its visual qualities, particularly regarding new high-rise constructions. 

Protection and management requirements

About 75% of the property is in private ownership, 18% is publicly owned, and 7% is owned by the Roman Catholic Church. Various legal instruments at both federal and municipal/provincial levels protect the Historic Centre of Vienna and its buffer zone. These include the Federal Monument Protection Act (Federal Law Gazette No. 533/1923, the most recent amendment entering into force on 1 January 2000), and the municipal Building Code, with its Amendment on Old Town Conservation (Vienna Law Gazette No. 16/1972). Parts of Vienna fall under the regulations of the Vienna Nature Conservation Act (from 1998). Other legal instruments, such as the Garages Act and the Tree Preservation Act, are also relevant.

In addition to these regulations, the Province of Vienna has adopted a Land Use Plan and Urban Development Plans as planning instruments. The Land Use Plan, which on a scale of 1:2000 is a more precise version of the Urban Development Plan, divides the metropolitan area into green zones, development zones, and infrastructure zones. The Urban Development Plan lays down the spatial dimensions of the protection zones as defined under the Vienna Old Town Conservation Act. The Management Plan, which was elaborated in 2002, refers to the two World Heritage properties in Vienna (Historic Centre of Vienna, and Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn). The plan fulfils objectives related to formalizing the procedures for the legal protection of cultural properties, and to defining the urban administrative structures for cultural assets as well as the necessary measures for the preservation of the cultural heritage (heritage which has to meet the requirements of ‘authenticity’, design, material, and artisanship).

Sustaining the attributes that support the Outstanding Universal Value, authenticity, and integrity of the property over time will require addressing the challenges related to development pressures, visual impacts, and modernization of the historic fabric that arise within the context of urban development in a prosperous capital city. Such challenges led to the adoption in 2005 of the internationally recognised “Vienna Memorandum” on managing historic urban landscapes. Since then, planning authorities in Vienna have paid particular attention to new, sustainable, appropriate conservation policies. As a result, the Urban Development Plan was revised in line with the stipulations of the Memorandum. Efforts must be continued to ensure the coherence of new developments with the Outstanding Universal Value of the Historic Centre of Vienna, especially of high-rise buildings outside the buffer zone.

  • Weltkulturerbe Wien
  • City of Vienna, (Vienna Tourist Board)

historical places to visit in vienna

List of World Heritage in Danger

Inscription Year on the List of World Heritage in Danger

State of Conservation (SOC)

Protections by other conservation instruments.

1 protection / 2 elements

  • Classical horsemanship and the High School of the Spanish Riding School Vienna
  • Craft techniques and customary practices of cathedral workshops, or Bauhütten, in Europe, know-how, transmission, development of knowledge and innovation

Read more about synergies

The best museums in Vienna are a curated guide to the city's culture

Nov 22, 2021 • 5 min read

The outside of the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna houses works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Velázquez and other master artists © Lonely Planet

One of Europe's great cultural centers, Vienna cherishes traditions while continuing to nurture new talent. Treasures from every facet of the arts, artisanship and history are showcased in spectacular settings that weave together the story of the city. 

We've narrowed down Vienna's over 100 museum options to the city's best.

Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna: best for grand masters' paintings

Vienna's imperial splendor is the legacy of the mighty Habsburg monarchy, which also amassed the incredible collection of art and artifacts at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna . The crowning glory of this royal stash is the Picture Gallery. Titian, Tintoretto, Rubens, Vermeer, van Eyck, Rembrandt, Raphael, Caravaggio and Velázquez are among the grand masters represented here, along with Pieter Bruegel the Elder, including his 1563 Tower of Babel .

The domed neoclassical building also makes a majestic backdrop for Greek and Roman antiquities, Egyptian and Near Eastern collections covering funerary, culture, sculpture and writing development from about 3500 BCE; priceless coin and medal collections; and gemstones, coral and ostrich eggs turned into dazzling artworks in the Kunstkammer Wien galleries.

Naturhistorisches Museum Wien: best for natural history

Opposite the Kunsthistorisches Museum – also commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph I in the late 19th century – is its mirror image, the cupola-capped Naturhistorisches Museum Wien . Its stuccoed halls displaying minerals, fossils, dinosaur bones, insects, animals and over 1000 meteorites, among other fascinating objects from its 30-million-strong inventory, document four billion years of natural history.  

Children's artwork at Zoom, a children's museum in Vienna

MuseumsQuartier: best for expressionist and contemporary art

Former imperial stables have been transformed into the MuseumsQuartier , a vast cultural complex incorporating performing arts venues, event spaces and restaurants. Its centrepiece museums are headlined by the Leopold Museum , a white-limestone light-filled space where expressionist art includes the world's largest collection by Egon Schiele. 

The edgy, dark-basalt MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art) exhibits 20th- and 21st-century movements like nouveau realism, pop art and shocking, often violent Viennese Actionism. At the high-ceilinged exhibition halls Kunsthalle Wien , photography, video, installations and new media are the focus.

Other MuseumsQuartier highlights are the architecture hub Architekturzentrum Wien  and the children's museum Zoom , where kids can get hands-on creating art. 

Schloss Belvedere: best for Austrian art

Baroque Habsburg palace Schloss Belvedere  showcases the pantheon of Austrian artists. Overlooking Vienna’s skyline, the Oberes Belvedere (Upper Belvedere) has rooms rich with marble, frescoes and stucco to rival art that includes shimmering works by Gustav Klimt, notably The Kiss (1908). Tiered gardens studded with statues and fountains link it to the state apartments and ceremonial rooms of the Unteres Belvedere (Lower Belvedere). 

Glass-and-steel pavilion Belvedere 21 stages exhibitions by Austrian creators from the 20th and 21st centuries. 

Secession: best for the Beethoven Frieze

The Vienna Secession was formed in 1897 by 19 breakaway artists. Among them was Joseph Olbrich, who designed their Secession exhibition center with its golden dome of intertwined laurel leaves. Klimt was another seminal secessionist, and the star exhibit remains his exquisite, 34m-long Beethoven Frieze .

Visitors in the courtyard of MAK, a museum in Vienna

MAK: best for craftsmanship

Design aficionados will love the Museum für Angewandte Kunst, better known as MAK , which celebrates the form and functionality of the applied arts from the Renaissance. Especially stunning are the early 19th-century furniture and glassware of the Empire Style Biedermeier collection; and Vienna 1900's late 19th- and early 20th-century pieces like a metallic tea set by Josef Hoffmann and timber writing cabinet by Koloman Moser – co-founders of the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop).

Albertina: best for modernist art

Guests of the Habsburgs were once accommodated in these imperial state apartments. Now, at renowned graphical art repository the Albertina , they're the permanent home of the exceptional Batliner Collection, comprising such luminaries as Monet, Degas, Cézanne, Chagall and Picasso. A 10-minute walk south on Karlsplatz leads to the  Albertina Modern , an offshoot that opened in 2020 and exhibits post-1945 works charting eight dynamic decades of Austrian art.

Hofburg: best for imperial history

The monumental Hofburg palace complex was the Habsburgs' headquarters for more than six centuries. Today its highlights for visitors are the Sisi Museum within the Kaiserappartements , where Emperor Franz Josef I and Empress Elisabeth (“Sisi”) lived, and Kaiserliche Schatzkammer , brimming with crown jewels. Book-ending the Hofburg's history lessons is the Haus der Geschichte Österreich , covering Austrian history including the republic's founding in 1918.

Jüdisches Museum: best for Jewish history

The Palais Eskeles houses the Jüdisches Museum , illuminating Jewish life in Vienna from the first Middle Ages' settlement on Judenplatz (which still has visible traces of a medieval synagogue) to the present in its permanent exhibition “Our City! Jewish Vienna – Then to Now.”

A person conducts a virtual orchestra at Haus der Musik in Vienna

Haus der Musik: best for music

Vienna was instrumental in the careers of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Strauss (father and son), Brahms, Mahler and more (many of their preserved former residences have been turned into museums themselves). For an engaging introduction to the composers, and the wider sphere of sound and music, high-tech exhibits at the Haus der Musik let you "compose" your own waltz and "conduct" the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Third Man Museum: best for film

Of the many movies set in Vienna, The Third Man , shot in 1948 after WWII, retains cult-classic status. The Third Man Museum contains thousands of items of memorabilia relating to the film and its period in the city’s history.

Literaturmuseum: best for literature

Austrian authors, poets and playwrights are the subject of the Literaturmuseum . Inside a beautiful Biedermeier building, the museum examines literature's relationship with other art forms and settings including Vienna through manuscripts, books, paraphernalia and hundreds of hours of audio recordings.

More unmissable museums: best of the rest

Other Viennese treats include the wild and wacky architecture and art of Friedensreich Hundertwasser at his ceramic-covered KunstHausWien ; sublime timepieces at the Uhrenmuseum ; military history at the neo-Byzantine barracks and munitions depot Heeresgeschichtliches Museum ; delicate porcelain at former pleasure palace Porzellanmuseum im Augarten ; historic public-transportation vehicles such as horse-drawn trams at the Museum Remise ; and fairy-tale imperial carriages at the Wagenburg at the Habsburgs' Unesco World Heritage-listed summer palace, Schloss Schönbrunn .

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Visiting Vienna

My top 10 places to visit in Vienna

Roses in the Volksgarten

Some folk ask me for my personal suggestions for where to go in the city, given I spend hundreds of hours wandering the streets to bring you this website. So here are my top ten places to visit in Vienna…

  • Find & book a walking tour of Vienna *
  • Sightseeing in Vienna

A lot depends on your interests, of course. Mine is mostly history of one kind or another. And art. And coffee. And, um, cake. So in no particular order…

(You might also like to explore my suggested authentic experiences .)

Make the most of your stay with my…

Exhibition tips for 2024

Klimt icon

Concert tips for 2024

Strauss photo

1. Wander around the centre

View down the Graben street

(Vienna’s Graben with the plague column in the distance on the left)

If that sounds a bit lame, then I don’t apologise.

Look, Vienna is a beautiful historical city. Every few paces seems to bring a palace, monument, church, or a building with the kind of costly decorative façade you just don’t get today.

So let your feet take you along the pedestrianised routes and enjoy the view.

Here’s my suggested walking tour route for the centre, which begins at the Staatsoper opera house and takes about 90 minutes (without breaks for photos, reading, ice creams etc.).

Do wander along little alleyways and parallel streets on the way to escape any crowds and experience those extra architectural delights that most people hurrying from A to B won’t see.

2. Café Central or…

Café Central sign

(No prize for guessing the name of this coffee house)

As you wander, be sure to drop in somewhere for that coffee and cake I’m so fond of. That’s pretty much top of my recommended experiences .

The traditional Viennese coffee house is one of humanity’s better creations.

As places for conversation and contemplation, these cafés have produced great art and literature, catalysed political and philosophical movements, and precipitated the rise and fall of empires. I’m only slightly exaggerating.

The question is…where do you drop into?

Everyone recommends Café Central or Café Sacher , so you might expect them to be full of visitors.

And they are.

Queues to get into both are common. To be safe, reserve a table or visit first thing in the morning.

Café Central, in particular, offers some mind-blowing interior décor, as if you just walked into a film set. Café Sacher actually served as a recent film set .

But plenty of other locations offer traditional and alternative Viennese coffee and cake experiences: try some of these coffee houses . Take a book to read (or a pen and paper and write your own).

3. The Hundertwasser Museum

Kunst Haus Wien front entrance

(The Kunst Haus Wien: home to the Hundertwasser Museum)

(NB: closed from June 1st, 2023 for a few months due to refurbishment and reorganisation. Check locally: the museum expects to reopen in early 2024.)

Many people have heard of Hundertwasserhaus , the apartment block designed by the artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. And it’s a fine place to visit, with its colours, curves, murals, spirals, and trees poking out at odd angles.

But there are too many souvenir outlets around there for me. So I’d rather go to the Kunst Haus Wien .

The building is all Hundertwasser, but with fewer onlookers. And you can actually go inside, where you’ll discover a large and wonderful collection of his art (not to mention special exhibitions and installations on green themes).

So much colour and joy in one place.

4. The palaces, of course

Schönbrunn Christmas market at night

(View from the Schönbrunn palace entrance at Christmas)

There’s a solid reason why Schönbrunn Palace is Vienna’s most popular tourist spot. It’s magnificent, and a tour through the interior is a tour through some pretty impressive European history.

Visit in the early morning, when the park gates are open but the ticket office isn’t. Then pop round the back, walk up to behind the Neptune Fountain and look down at the landscaped gardens and palace when empty of visitors.

What a glorious sight.

I love the zoo there, too (one of the world’s best). It has giant pandas. Giant. Pandas.

Elsewhere, the two Belvedere palaces offer some photo-worthy Baroque architecture. More importantly, they also offer some world-leading art (see suggestion 7 below).

5. The Kunstkammer

The Kunsthistorisches Museum at night

(The KHM at night)

The Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM) contains more artistic treasures than you can shake a priceless Bruegel at (they have several of those). Everything from Rembrandts to Roman gold.

But the real magic lives in the Kunstkammer section, home to a Cabinet of Curiosities collected by various Habsburgs over the centuries.

Stuff in there takes your breath away.

For example, view glorious bronze statues by Giambologna, biblical scenes carved into wood the size of a key fob, 16th-century mechanical ships, golden salt and pepper pots worth millions, and so much more.

6. Volksgarten Rose Garden

Museum view from the Volksgarten

(A huge mix of colours and varieties)

I like roses.

Imagine row after row of different varieties all put together to create a blast of colour to a backdrop of 19th-century imperial opulence?

That’s the rose garden in the Volksgarten park . Again, be sure to go early when nobody is around (and go in summer, when the roses are out, otherwise all you get is a small park).

7. The MAK and more

MAKlite light installation

(The MAK at night with the MAKlite light installation)

Vienna has a lot of top-quality museums . But I have a particular soft spot for the MAK Museum . You can feel the love for what they do in this showcase of applied art and design.

I come away enthused and rejuvenated every time I visit (and I’m a miserable 55 year-old with the attention span of a gnat).

Since we’re on the subject of museums, a shout-out again for Belvedere , not least because it has Austria’s most famous piece of art inside. It might be considered rude to visit Vienna and not catch a look at Klimt’s The Kiss .

And another shout-out, this time for the Albertina for hosting perhaps the most prestigious art exhibitions .

8. A little spot on Heldenplatz

The Neue Burg

(View across the square to the Neue Burg)

It’s hard to get away from the modern world, but here’s something worth a try…

Go to Heldenplatz and stand just off the road that passes through it, in front of the Neue Burg building , and do a 360° turn.

You might have to adjust your position a little and keep your eyes up to avoid any cars. But you should see a panorama largely unchanged since the late 19th century.

I get a kick out of that every time.

Of course, a construction crane or scaffolding might spoil the view. But you can use your imagination.

With any luck, a horse-drawn carriage will pass by to add a little aural authenticity to proceedings.

9. The Military History Museum

Entrance to the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum

(The museum entrance)

I do like seeing items that offer a direct connection to the past (see suggestion 10). And the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum offers numerous such exhibits.

If we look back at history, we can describe one or two events as truly world-changing. One of them is the assassination of the Austrian Archduke, Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo. The incident led to World War I.

The car Franz Ferdinand was sitting in when he was shot is in the museum. And the clothes he wore, too…still stained.

That’s the kind of momentous history I’m talking about.

10. Mozart’s apartment

Plaque on the side of the Mozarthaus

(A plaque outside a house Mozart lived in)

Which brings me to Mozart’s Apartment . You have celebrities and then you have Mozart. Perhaps the most famous composer of all time.

So can you imagine standing in the very same room he stood in?

Can you imagine looking out the window at the very same view he once admired?

Can you imagine humming The Marriage of Figaro in your head on the very same spot Mozart actually wrote the opera?

No imagination is required.

Vienna is full of such experiences (cough, Beethoven , cough, Haydn , cough Strauss , and many more ), but the Mozartwohunng and surrounding Mozarthaus are perhaps the most impressive of them.

11. Christmas in Vienna

View across the lake to Upper Belvedere and the market

(The Christmas market in front of Upper Belvedere palace)

One more tip than promised.

If you can, go to Vienna during the Christmas season . A special atmosphere pervades the place, full of lights and wisps of steam from mugs of punch.

Try the Belvedere Christmas Market after dusk for a wonderful photo opportunity. Or any market, frankly.

Even professional cynics like me can’t help but enjoy chocolate-coated fruit, roast chestnuts, good cheer, and the chance to buy a remarkably-lovely handmade item for some ungrateful relative.

And the rest…

For more ideas, a couple of other articles for you:

  • What to do in a day : a guide to where to invest your time best if here for a brief visit, organised by themes like “history” or “art”
  • Introduction to Vienna : a detailed overview of what the city’s all about, what it has to offer, and how to get around the place
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20 Best Things to Do in Vienna, Austria, From Palace Strolls to Sachertorte

Here's how locals recommend exploring the capital city.

historical places to visit in vienna

StockFrame/Getty Images

Vienna (or “Wien” in German) is a must-visit city for many travelers, whether you’re visiting Europe for the first time or returning for a new adventure. The capital of Austria is a rich cultural hub, boasting museums, Baroque architecture, and a legacy closely tied to classical music — hence its nickname, the City of Music. Vienna is also the birthplace of Wiener schnitzel, and it continues to hold the title of “ most livable city ,” as determined by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index .

Tina Haselbacher, the owner of Almanac Hotels — which opened Almanac Palais Vienna in March 2023 — describes Vienna as “a place where tradition meets the contemporary.” While the city is, in many ways, visually defined by its historic structures, Haselbacher explains that there are “interesting and contemporary concepts living behind these traditional facades, such as modern art, cutting-edge culinary innovations, and interactive experiences with today’s creators.”

To discover both sides of Vienna, you’ll want to fill your itinerary with a combination of the old and the new — a stop by the Hofburg Palace followed by an afternoon exploring the Kunsthalle Wien in the Museumsquartier, for example. Read on to discover the best things to do when visiting Vienna, according to locals.  Related: T+L’s Guide to Vienna

Visit the famed Schönbrunn Palace.

Alisha McDarris/Travel + Leisure

According to Julija and Wolfgang Rigon of Good Vienna Tours , you “can't visit Vienna without [seeing] Schönbrunn.” The summer residence of the Habsburgs, Schönbrunn Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. While you’ll inevitably experience lines, particularly if you’re there during the weekend, there’s still plenty to do while you wait. “You get [your ticket] relatively quickly and see what time you are allowed into the castle. While you're waiting, you can grab a bite to eat or visit the gardens,” says the couple.

Enjoy a slow morning at a coffee house.

Mathias Kniepeiss/Getty Images

“Viennese coffee house culture is an integral part of the Viennese lifestyle, so much so that UNESCO placed it on its intangible cultural heritage list ,” says Michael Gigl, head of market USA for the Austrian Tourist Office . Don’t expect a fast-paced, Starbucks-like morning, though. “The true secret to the Vienna coffee house experience is the lack of time pressure. No one will bat an eye if you decide to read every single newspaper and magazine on hand," he says. "Opening a laptop, however, is rather frowned upon.” Gigl’s coffee house recommendations include Café Sperl , Café Hawelka , Café Korb , Café Ritter , and Café Schwarzenberg .

Stop by St. Stephen's Cathedral.

Viktor/Getty Images

At its tallest point, St. Stephen’s Cathedral reaches 136 meters, making it the tallest church in Austria and one of the most recognizable sights in Vienna. Visiting the main entrance is free, but you’ll need to purchase a ticket to see the cathedral in its entirety. “The view from the top, whether by foot or by elevator, is highly recommended in good weather,” says Wolfgang Rigon.

Snap a photo of the Majolikahaus (Majolica House).

BrendanHunter/Getty Images

“Otto Wagner’s Majolikahaus is a Viennese Art Nouveau-styled building famous for its colorful tiles with a floral motif," says Haselbacher. "It is such a special place to see an icon of the Art Nouveau style." Designed by the Austrian architect in 1898 and 1899, Majolikahaus can be found at Linke Wienzeile 40 in the Laimgrube neighborhood. 

Fill up on Wiener schnitzel.

bhofack2/Getty Images

“Without having eaten [Wiener schnitzel] in its hometown, you have not been to Vienna,” says Julija Rigon. Made of thinly pounded veal, dipped in flour, egg, and breadcrumbs, and fried until golden brown, Wiener schnitzel is said to have been introduced in Vienna in the 1850s. It’s not hard to find the dish here; a few restaurant options include Schnitzelwirt , Skopik & Lohn , and Salzamt .

Take a dip in the Krapfenwaldlbad swimming pool.

If you grow tired of walking around Vienna and find yourself in need of a refreshing swim, make your way out of the city center. “ Krapfenwaldlbad is an outdoor swimming area in the woods of Vienna, overlooking the entire city," says Haselbacher. "Head there in the summertime to cool off and mix with locals and families."

Attend a performance at the Vienna State Opera.

Ursula Schmitz/Travel + Leisure

“About 10,000 people enjoy a classical music performance somewhere in the city every day, so go grab a ticket to the opera or a concert performance,” says Gigl. The Vienna State Opera House features 350 performances each season — both operas and ballets — and tickets can be purchased online . To learn more about Vienna’s musical history and tradition, Gigl suggests visiting the Haus der Musik (House of Music) “for an engaging interactive experience.”

Get an insider’s view of the city via a walking tour.

kolderal/Getty Images

Unless someone in your party already has a solid understanding of the city — including its layout, history, and lesser-known facts — a walking tour is a great way to get your bearings. Good Vienna Tours offers tours in English every day at 10 a.m. and again at 2 p.m.

Learn about Vienna’s past and present at the Jewish Museum.

Courtesy of the Jewish Museum Vienna

With an emphasis on the time period encompassing the two World Wars, this museum educates visitors on Jewish history, culture, and religion. Though it is split into two locations, a single ticket grants you access to both Museum Dorotheergasse and Museum Judenplatz . The latter is home to the Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial, a memorial designed by Rachel Whiteread that honors the Austrian victims of the Holocaust.

Indulge in a slice of Sachertorte.

tupungato/Getty Images

Sachertorte, which Gigl calls “the world’s most storied cake," should be on your must-try list while in Vienna. Invented in 1832 by pastry chef Franz Sacher, Sachertorte is a rich chocolate sponge cake made with layers of apricot jam and a chocolate ganache topping. Café Demel and Café Sacher have had a rivalry over the treat for centuries, so you may need to try both and see which one you prefer.

Relax in Vienna’s green spaces.

Creativemarc/Getty Images

“One of the reasons Vienna is consistently named as one, if not the, best place to live, is the city’s abundance of green spaces, parks, and recreational opportunities,” says Gigl. “Try the Prater for a leisurely stroll, or head to the ‘Alte Donau’ (Old Danube) for a swim or a paddleboard session,” says Gigl.

Explore the art collection at the Belvedere Museum.

Deanna Mazzola/Travel + Leisure

There’s a high chance art aficionados will already be familiar with the Belvedere Museum , which the Rigons describe as a “beautiful Baroque palace with an even more impressive garden.” Haselbacher adds, “They have the biggest collection of [Gustav] Klimt, and the architecture is really special." The Klimt collection includes his most famous piece, “The Kiss.”

Eat lunch at a würstelstand.

Lauren Breedlove/Travel + Leisure

A würstelstand is a traditional Austrian street food outlet that serves sausage, hot dogs, and beer, among other delicacies. You’ll find them all over Vienna, but Würstelstand LEO is said to be the city’s oldest sausage stand. If you aren’t adverse to dairy, order the Käsekrainer, which is a sausage filled with small chunks of cheese.

Walk along the Ringstraße.

In 1857, Emperor Franz Joseph ordered the construction of a boulevard built around Vienna’s city center. Down came the historic city walls, and the Ringstraße (or Vienna Ring Road) took its place, although it took a few decades to complete. “The State Opera, the Hofburg, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Natural History, the Burgtheater, the City Hall, and the Parliament are just a few sights on Ringstraße,” says Wolfgang Rigon. He suggests walking the 5.2km (about 3.2 miles) route or taking a streetcar.

Shop in Vienna’s two remaining street markets.

Ursula Schmitz/Travel + Leisrue

Hasselbacher notes that if you make your way to Währing, the 18th district, you’ll find Kutschkermarkt, one of “the last remaining street markets in Vienna.” The other street market, Brunnenmarkt , is in Ottakring, the 16th district. Both offer a variety of produce, meats, breads, spices, flowers, and more. On Saturdays, Kutschkermarkt also has a farmer’s market, where regional fruits and vegetables join the lineup.

Spend a few hours in the MuseumsQuartier.

Self-described as “one of the largest cultural quarters in the world,” the MuseumsQuartier is a hub of Viennese creativity. Here you’ll find the Leopold Museum , the MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation Vienna), and the contemporary exhibition space Kunsthalle Wien . If you’re interested in architecture, music, theater, dance, street art, literature, photography, or all of the above, you’ll find something interesting in the MuseumsQuartier.

Round out your meal with a Punschkrapfen.

A_Lein/Getty Images

“Punschkrapfen is a local delicacy made of nougat and jam-filled sponge cake soaked with rum,” says Haselbacher. Translated to punch cake, the dessert can be found in numerous places across the city, and you’ll notice it immediately thanks to its bright pink coloring.

Dive into Habsburg history at Hofburg Palace.

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Hofburg Palace once served as the Habsburgs’ winter residence, but today it’s the workplace and home of the president of Austria. Visitors are allowed to explore the palace, which houses three museums: the Imperial Apartments, the Sisi Museum, and the Imperial Silver Collection (although the latter is expected to be closed until 2026).

Make a reservation at Palmenhaus.

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You’ll find Palmenhaus in Vienna’s 1st district, next to the Albertina Museum . “With over 400 butterflies flying in the palm house year-round, it is a lovely spot to be immersed in nature,” says Haselbacher, who adds that it’s also a “very nice spot to have a drink, overlooking the Park Burggarten.”

Visit the history-filled Kunsthistorisches Museum.

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“If you are even a little interested in art, a visit to the Kunsthistorisches Museum is a must,” says Julija Rigon. "It is one of the largest and most important museums in the world." Also referred to as the Museum of Fine Arts, the venue's collections span five millennia and include works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Rubens, Michelangelo, Vermeer, and more.

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Café Central in Vienna

The 18 best things to do in Vienna

Vienna may trade on its imperial past but scratch the surface and you’ll find there’s a lot more here than first meets the eye

Perhaps you know Vienna for its renowned Kaffeehaus culture (the city is said to have the best cafés in Europe), or you’re there to sample hearty Austrian fare at one of its best restaurants . Or maybe you’re ready to spend the week sauntering around the many museums on offer. 

The city is fast establishing itself as one of the world’s best travel destinations , and it has been regularly crowned one of the world’s most liveable cities. So if you’re headed to the Austrian capital for a city break, do it right. From fine art to fine wine, here are the very best things to do in Vienna this year.

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Best things to do in Vienna

Gaze at Klimt’s famous painting ‘The Kiss’

1.  Gaze at Klimt’s famous painting ‘The Kiss’

What is it?  ‘The Kiss’ is the final painting of Gustav Klimt’s Golden Period and forms the centrepiece of the world’s most significant collection of the artist’s works, housed in Vienna’s beautiful 300-year-old Upper Belvedere Palace. Depicting two lovers locked in an embrace in a meadow of flowers, it stands out thanks to Klimt’s use of gold leaf and a background suffused with gold, silver and platinum flakes. Some think it is representative of the artist himself with lifelong partner Emilie Flöge. 

Why go?  One of the world’s most instantly recognisable paintings, ‘The Kiss’ marked a significant watering down of the erotic intensity Klimt’s earlier works had been criticised for. Thousands flock here each year to see this revolutionary work. Make sure you also admire some of the other art on show and take a stroll through the gardens of the Baroque palace complex.

Walk the Ringstrasse

2.  Walk the Ringstrasse

What is it?  Wrapped around Vienna’s historic city centre, the Ringstrasse – or the Ring as it’s more commonly known – is the result of a Habsburg-era initiative that sought to connect the suburbs to the imperial centre. Work began on the grand boulevard with a decree by Franz Joseph I in 1857, and today it still serves as the main orientational aid for any Vienna visitor.

Why go?  Built to show off the best of the Habsburg empire, a stroll around the Ring is the easiest way to admire some of the city’s grandest buildings. Travelling the relatively short distance between Karlsplatz and Schottentor alone allows you to take in the State Opera House, the Burggarten, the Hofburg, the National Library, the Art History, Natural History and World museums, Parliament, the Volksgarten, the Burgtheater, the Town Hall and the University. Phew.

Explore the MuseumsQuartier

3.  Explore the MuseumsQuartier

What is it? The MuseumsQuartier Wien , or MQ as it’s more commonly known, offers everything from the world’s finest Egon Schiele collection to an array of trendy bars, cafés and restaurants to a sculpture park-slash-mini golf course . The MQ Libelle rooftop terrace provides some of the finest views of the city centre. 

Why go? The Leopold Museum , home to 42 Schiele paintings and various works by Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and members of the Wien Werkstätte movement, is one of Vienna’s finest art museums, while the MUMOK boasts the city’s premier contemporary art collection, including works by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Even if art’s not your thing, it’s worth heading to the courtyard to hang out with locals on one of the eye-catching geometric blocks or enjoy one of the outdoor cafés.

Check out the Sigmund Freud Museum

4.  Check out the Sigmund Freud Museum

What is it? Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, lived and worked at Berggasse 19 until 1938 when the Nazis’ persecution of the city’s Jews forced him and his family to flee to England. Having undergone a significant expansion and renovation, you can now visit all of the family’s private rooms and both Sigmund and Anna Freud’s practices, alongside exhibitions on the family’s life, psychoanalysis and the history of the building itself. 

Why go? As well as being a fascinating window into life during Vienna’s intellectual golden age, and its subsequent downfall, the Sigmund Freud Museum hosts events and has a tremendous gift shop.

Try Vienna’s signature cake

5.  Try Vienna’s signature cake

What is it? Vienna’s signature cake the Sachertorte, a luxurious combo of dense chocolate sponge, dark chocolate ganache and finely-spread apricot jam, traditionally served with unsweetened whipped cream, is more than just a dessert – its recipe is a closely guarded secret. Sure, you’ll find versions of this sweet treat in cafés across the city, but there’s a fierce rivalry between the  Hotel Sacher  and  Demel  over claims to the original recipe. They’ve even gone to court over it…

Why go?  Which Sachertorte is best? There’s only one way to find out – and that’s by sampling both. Let the cake wars commence.

Stroll through Hofburg Palace

6.  Stroll through Hofburg Palace

What is it? Back in the days of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the ornate Hofburg Palace was its beating heart. Today it’s the official residence of the country’s president and is home to many of Vienna’s top museums, attractions and galleries (and some famous dancing horses, too).

Why go? A walk through the Hofburg offers a potted history of Austria itself. See the Roman ruins, learn all about the life and macabre death of Empress Elisabeth – the ‘Princess Diana’ of the Habsburg Empire who was recently immortalised in Netflix drama ‘The Empress’ – at the Sisi Museum, admire the Baroque splendour of the newly-refurbished Prunksaal (State Hall) at the Austrian National Library and see where Adolf Hitler held his Anschluss speech. Head to the Spanish Riding School to watch the Lipizzaner horses perform their nifty dressage work.

Hang out in the Neubau district

7.  Hang out in the Neubau district

What is it? This used to be Vienna’s edgiest up-and-coming neighbourhood, but now it’s settled into a comfortable kind of cool – think London’s Clerkenwell crossed with the best bits of Berlin. The rents are still reasonable here in the 7th district, which means it’s home to several one-of-a-kind boutiques, bars and restaurants.

Why go? Well, the food’s fantastic, for starters. There’s Erich , a subterranean taqueria with one of the city’s best drinks lists and its sister restaurant Ulrich , which does a banging brunch. Meanwhile, TIAN Bistro am Spittalberg is one of the city’s foremost vegetarian and vegan establishments. If you fancy a cocktail, pop up the road to Moby Dick , which prides itself on innovative cocktails and food pairings.

Take in the view from Vienna’s rooftop bars

8.  Take in the view from Vienna’s rooftop bars

What is it? Vienna has seen something of a boom in rooftop bars and terraces in recent years, catering for a wide range of budgets, tastes and views. From the brightly-coloured and opulent interiors of Das LOFT to the al fresco panoramas from the top of a WWII flak tower of 360º OCEAN SKY at Haus des Meeres, there really is a view for everyone. 

Why go? Visitors to Vienna have long been told to always look up to admire the architecture, but the influx of rooftop venues has flipped that on its head. Nowhere is this more true than at the Lamée Rooftop bar where you gaze side-on at the Stephansdom cathedral’s single tower, which feels so close you can nearly touch it. If you fancy something a little more relaxed, the living room-like interior of the Dachboden bar of the 25hours Hotel may be more your thing. 

Mooch around the Albertina Modern

9.  Mooch around the Albertina Modern

What is it? The Albertina Modern – an offshoot of the long-established Albertina museum – is Vienna’s newest major art museum and holds two of the most important collections of post-1945 Austrian art, the Essl and Jablonka collections, alongside works by other famous international artists. 

Why go? Counting more than 60,000 works by over 5,000 artists on its books, the Albertina Modern is committed to presenting Austrian art on equal footing with works by important international artists such as Andy Warhol. Since its opening in the historic Künstlerhaus in 2020, it has exhibited works by renowned artists such as Egon Schiele, Ai Weiwei and Jackson Pollock. 

Dine in the world’s grandest greenhouse

10.  Dine in the world’s grandest greenhouse

What is it? Beautifully located in the pretty Burggarten park by the Hofburg, the Palmenhaus might be the world’s grandest greenhouse. Home to towering tropical trees and plants from around the world, the Palmenhaus doubles as a restaurant and bar, serving modern Austrian specialties with locally-sourced ingredients, as well as lighter bites and cocktails. If nothing else, be sure to try the cheeseboard with a glass of local wine. 

Why go? It’s super-central, so wherever you’re staying, this is a fabulous spot for a memorable first-night dinner or drinks. Plus, it’s sehr photogenic both inside and out, and a great place for people-watching.

Ride the Wiener Riesenrad

11.  Ride the Wiener Riesenrad

What is it? Standing proudly at the entrance to Prater amusement park , the 126-year-old Riesenrad Ferris wheel is to Vienna what the London Eye is to London. Constructed in 1897, the landmark starred in the 1940s thriller ‘The Third Man’, and a ride in one of its 15 stately gondolas feels like stepping back in time.

Why go? There’s no better way to see Vienna than from the top of this 200ft-high landmark, although for €89 (£79, $94) the more adventurous can take a full spin in the open air while harnessed to the glass-bottomed carriage Platform 9 . After a ride on the Riesenrad, stroll through the antiquated, not to mention in places rather macabre, historic funfair.

Have a coffee at Café Central

12.  Have a coffee at Café Central

What is it? Vienna’s most venerable café commands a queue to rival any London hotspot. Opened in 1876, this typical Viennese Kaffeehaus has always been a favourite with brainy locals; Sigmund Freud, Leon Trotsky and Stefan Zweig are all known to have taken their coffee here. Its cathedral-like domed ceilings and accomplished patisserie selection are just as much of a draw now as they were then.

Why go? Waiting in line may be a bore, but once you’re inside, the glittering décor and world-class cakes and pastries make it all worthwhile. Feeling peckish? Tuck into a hearty potato soup, apricot jam pancakes or a warm Apfelstrudel with vanilla sauce.

Sample local wines at the Vienna vineyards

13.  Sample local wines at the Vienna vineyards

What is it? Vienna is one of the few cities in the world to grow enough wine within its boundaries to warrant a visit to its vineyards. Light, fresh and fruity, Austrian wines are reliably delicious. Head up to the hills and you can both sample their delights while also admiring stunning panoramas of the city. 

Why go? The 38A bus runs to the top of Kahlenberg and through much of the city’s main wine-making districts, where you can stop off at Viennese wine taverns known as Heuriger. In the summer, stroll back down the Wanderweg 1 walking route – along the way, you can sample wines from local producers in their own vineyards, all while admiring the view.

Visit the Jewish Museum

14.  Visit the Jewish Museum

What is it ? It’s never been more important to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive. The world’s oldest Jewish museum was founded in Vienna in 1895 but was closed and plundered by the Nazis in 1938; many valuable objects are still missing. The present-day Jewish Museum was founded in 1988 and moved to Dorotheergasse in 1993. A second site above the remains of the medieval synagogue in Judenplatz was opened in 2000. The two locations tell the story of the city’s Jews from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Why go?  As well as preserving the memory of the 50,000 Austrian Jews killed in the Holocaust, the museum showcases the extraordinary contributions made to every aspect of Viennese life by Jewish citizens throughout the ages. A must-visit. 

Sip on craft beer at Mel’s Diner

15.  Sip on craft beer at Mel’s Diner

What is it? You’re never far away from a Vienna-style lager here – even the sausage stands sell them – but a good craft beer can still be harder to come by. Mel’s Diner is a modern-style tap room tucked away in a quieter part of the city centre and offers an extensive range of ales and beers, both bottled and on tap. 

Why go? Mel’s impressive 40-plus page menu lists dozens of ales, beers and ciders both from Austria and further afield, alongside more unusual offerings such as Slovak craft tea liqueur Tatratea. If you can’t make your mind up, try the tasting rack of six on-tap beers or ciders for €10. The food menu of handcrafted burgers and hearty salads isn’t half bad either.

Go for an outdoor dip

16.  Go for an outdoor dip

What is it? Vienna is impressively equipped with pools – the Art Deco Amalienbad is definitely worth a visit – but nothing beats an open-air dip in the river. Just seven stops from central Stephansplatz, the lakeside Alte Donau (Old Danube) area is where locals flock during the warmer months. There, you’ll find idyllic bathing beaches, good fish restaurants, and places to hire boats and SUPs.

Why go? Vienna’s waterways really come alive in the summer. But if you don’t fancy going chlorine-free, try the Badeschiff Vienna , a super-cool pool on a boat with a DJ and cracking food and drink, courtesy of the Speisen Ohne Grenzen menu produced by refugees. These are largely summer activities, of course, although the Badeschiff now offers winter swimming at your own risk.

Eat your way around Naschmarkt

17.  Eat your way around Naschmarkt

What is it? Constructed in the 16th century, this open-air market feels like a cross between London’s old Covent Garden and Dinerama. Taste your way around Vienna’s diverse culinary history as you work through everything from barrels of sauerkraut to shawarma and Tel Aviv-style sabich at Neni Am Naschmarkt.

Why go? Whatever flavours your taste buds are calling for, you’ll find it here. It’s also a great place to stock up on edible souvenirs, like cheese, wine and sausages  –  but be sure to have some cash on you.

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10 Historical Things to do in Vienna, Austria

The city of Vienna has been one of the cultural hearts of Europe for many centuries. For over 600 years the city was home to the Habsburg Dynasty, one of the most powerful monarchies in European history. Vienna is also known as the City of Music, and is where some of the most famous composers in history created their masterpieces, including both Mozart and Beethoven. Visiting Vienna is truly a treat for the eyes, ears and taste buds and below I’ve listed 10 of my favourite historical things to do while visiting the Austrian capital.

Inside Mozarthaus, Vienna

1. See where Mozart lived at the Mozarthaus museum.

Mozarthaus is the only apartment where Mozart lived that still exists in Vienna today. Mozart lived in this beautiful building between the years of 1784 and 1787 and was where he composed a number of famous works. The museum provides an extensive insight into the composer’s life, particularly in Vienna, and there are three fascinating floors to explore. The first floor of the museum consists of Mozart’s apartment where guests are free to wander through the rooms. The second floor takes a more in-depth look at his music while the third floor explores Mozart’s life in Vienna. It’s amazing to be standing where Mozart once lived and worked and the museum is a fascinating visit for anyone interested in both music and culture. 

Visit here to learn more about visiting Mozarthaus Vienna.

Hofburg Palace, Vienna

2. Explore the imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty at the Hofburg.

With over 600 years of rule, the Hapsburg Dynasty was one of Europe’s most famous and powerful ruling families and the Hofburg was their primary residence. From the 13th to 20th century, the family’s rule extended over Austria, Hungary and Bohemia, the Holy Roman Empire and the Spanish Empire. Near the end of the empire in 1914,  Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated resulting in the beginning of World War I. Today, the Hofburg remains connected to politics as the Leopoldine Wing is still the primary workplace and residence of the Austrian President.

The Hofburg is open to the public and offers visitors an insight into the lives of Vienna’s historic royal family. My favourite part of the Hofburg was the Sisi Museum, which covers the tragic life of Austria’s beloved Empress Elisabeth (also known as Sisi). You can also visit the Imperial Apartments, which belonged to Empress Elisabeth and her Husband Emperor Franz Joseph I. Visitors can also explore the Silver Collection which displays a large collection of palace dining ware. 

Visit here to learn more about visiting the Hofburg in Vienna.

Kleines Café, Vienna

3. Experience Viennese Coffee House Culture.

Coffee House (or Kaffehaus ) culture has existed in Vienna for over 300 years, with the first coffee house opening in the city in 1683. Through the years, coffee houses played a central role in Viennese life as a place where people could gather to socialize, read the news, listen to music, discuss ideas of the day and of course, enjoy a cup of coffee. The significance of Viennese coffee house culture is actually so important that it is recognized by UNESCO as “Intangible Cultural Heritage”. Today there are over 2,000 coffee houses across Vienna with historic ones including Café Central (c. 1867) , or Café Frauenhuber (c.1824) which claims to be the oldest remaining coffee house in Vienna.

One of my favourite little places (where I spent quite a bit of time!) was Kleines Café , located only a 5-minute walk from Stephansplatz. While it’s not the most historic in the city (I believe it dates back approximately 50 years), it has a great atmosphere both during the day and in the evening!

Piano at Haus der Musik, Vienna

4. Experience the history of sound at the Haus der Musik (House of Music).

Haus der Musik is another staple on the list of things to do as it’s a unique museum that takes visitors through the history of sound. With a number of interactive experiences, the museum provides a great insight into how sound and music has evolved throughout the years. You can dance on the piano steps,  play with different sounds throughout the exhibits and even try your hand at being a virtual conductor for the Vienna Philharmonic ! The building itself even has historical significance as the museum is located in the former palace of Archduke Karl and was also home to famous composer Otto Nicolai in the early 19th century. I didn’t know much about the museum before visiting, but absolutely loved it. With Vienna being such an important city for music , it’s definitely a must-see!

Visit here to learn more about visiting the Haus der Musik in Vienna.

The Original Sacher-Torte, Vienna

5. Taste the world-famous Sacher-Torte, where the dessert originated at the Hotel Sacher. 

If you have a sweet tooth, you’ve likely heard of a Sacher-Torte . This delicious, chocolate treat can be tried at many of Vienna’s popular coffee houses but the Hotel Sacher is home to the original recipe . The story goes that in 1832, 16-year old apprentice chef, Franz Sacher (upon filling in for an ill chef) created the cake for the court of Prince Metternich of Austria. His dessert went over so well that it went on to become a favourite of the imperial court. Franz Sacher’s son, Eduard Sacher, went on to found the Hotel Sacher in 1876. To this day, the Sacher-Torte is still hand-made using Franz’s original recipe.

Visitors can enjoy a Sacher-Torte in the Café Sacher (though note there is usually a lineup!) as well as in other areas of the hotel. I enjoyed mine in the beautiful Sacher Eck Wien  area of the hotel and no matter where you end up enjoying your dessert, the entire hotel makes for a stunning atmosphere. 

Visit here to learn more about visiting the Hotel Sacher and trying the Original Sacher-Torte.

Trzesniewski Sandwiches, Vienna

6. Enjoy a snack that is over 100 years old at Trzesniewski .

  Trzesniewski is famous for their delicious little open sandwiches … and wow, are they a treat! The Viennese snack has been popular for over 100 years , after the first store was opened by Polish immigrant Franciszek Trzesniewski in 1902. Today visitors can choose from 22 different types of sandwiches and you can also order a mini Pfiff beer to go with them! The restaurant is located in the central area of Stephansplatz and is a great place to stop for a quick bite to eat while out exploring the city. 

Visit here to learn more about visiting Trzesniewski.

Art display at The Belvedere, Vienna

7. Explore the art museum, the Belvedere, home of Marie Antoinette’s mother.

The Belvedere is another impressive building complex and beautiful example of Baroque architecture in Vienna. The site consists of not one, but two palaces (the Upper Belvedere and the Lower Belvedere ) and was initially built as a summer home by the Austrian General, Prince Eugene of Savoy. After his death, the Belvedere was later inhabited by Empress Maria Theresa , ruler of the Habsburg Dynasty, but more commonly known as the mother of Marie Antoinette. It was she who turned the Upper Belvedere into a public museum to showcase the imperial collections.

Today, the areas of the Belvedere open to the public consist of the Lower Belvedere (that displays a variety of art from different time periods), the Upper Belvedere (that contains over 800 years of famous artworks) and Belvedere 21 (which displays contemporary art that is both by Austrian and international artists). My favourite part of the museum is the Upper Belvedere, where artworks by Gustav Klimt, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Edvard Munch are on display. The standout has to be Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss (Der Kuss), located in the Austrian Gallery. As one of Vienna’s most famous paintings, it was impressive to see up close.

Visit here to learn more about visiting The Belvedere.

Red Carpet at the Vienna State Opera

8. Take in a show at the Vienna State Opera.

The Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera) is one of the most famous opera houses in the  world. It first opened its doors in 1869 and continues to dazzle audiences up to this day. In the 19th century, the opera was the hub of life in Vienna, where theatre-goers could take in performances of famous works of their favourite composers. However, in the 20th century, the building underwent a tumultuous time during the Nazi Occupation of Austria during World War II. Much of the building was destroyed after a bomb attack in 1945 and only a few original features survive. Reconstruction began shortly after the bombing and resulted in the building as we know it today.

Tourists planning to visit the Vienna State Opera have a few options. Tickets can be booked for performances, for some shows for as little as €15.00. You can also purchase a standing room ticket (which go on sale 2 hours before the performance) for only €10.00 ! If you’re looking to learn more about the Vienna State Opera, you can also book a guided tour .

Visit here to learn more about visiting the Vienna State Opera.

Traditional food in a historic restaurant in Vienna.

9. Enjoy a meal at Salm Bräu Brewery and Distillery.

If you haven’t noticed already, I spent a lot of time eating in Vienna because the food and drink is just too good! Salm Bräu is one of my favourite places to go for a traditional Viennese meal. The restaurant is located in a heritage building that over 300 years ago housed a wine cellar belonging to the Mayor of Vienna at the time. In 1717, the site was sold to the Imperial Court and a monastery was built on site by Empress Amalia Wilhelmina. In 1994, the restaurant opened in an old part of the monastery. 

Salm Bräu  is well known for its traditional Austrian beer , still brewed according to historic recipes and techniques . The restaurant also offers a number of traditional dishes including Viennese Schnitzel, Schinkenfleckerl (an Austrian pasta), a Bohenmian Brown Beer Soup or their famous Beer Spread of which the recipe is still secret! Overall,  Salm Bräu provides a fantastic historical, yet laid back atmosphere and the perfect place to enjoy a meal after a day of sight-seeing.

Visit here to learn more about eating at Salm Bräu . 

St. Stephan's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria

10. Take time to wander around and explore the historic city centre. 

You’ve probably seen this recommendation on a few of my “Historical Things to do” lists, but I do genuinely believe there is no better way to take in a history than by exploring it’s historic area. Vienna is well-known for being a beautiful European city and it’s historic city centre does not disappoint. I would recommend starting in Stephansplatz , which is the main square in the centre of Vienna. Here you can marvel at the many beautiful buildings, including St. Stephen’s Cathedral . This is also a great place to start sightseeing because you’re within walking distance to a number of attractions including The Hofburg, Haus der Musik, the Vienna State Opera and more. 

Looking to explore other parts of Austria? Check out 10 Historical Things to do in Salzburg.

This article’s information was last updated in August 2022.

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Popular Historical Attractions In Vienna To Explore

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Home to nearly one-third of the country’s population, Vienna is the country’s primary city. The magnificent capital of Austria, Vienna is the center for economy and politics. There are many historical attractions in Vienna through which one can learn about the glorious past of Vienna. This place has also been home to some of the greatest musicians in the world.

Often called the “City of Music,” and the “City of Dreams,” it is ranked one of the most livable cities in the world. The inhabitants of this place enjoys a high quality of life. Vienna city is a beautiful spot in central Europe and remains a popular tourist destination. A visit to these historical sites and museums will take you on a walk through Vienna‘s rich history and culture. Plan a trip and you are sure to be delighted at the end of it. Here are some historical attractions in Vienna you have to see during your visit.

Admire The Celestial Schönbrunn Palace

The most important architectural, cultural, and historical monument – the Schönbrunn Palace has been standing since the 1600s. The Palace and gardens of Schönbrunn is one of the well preserved Baroque ensembles of its kind in Europe. It holds a major role in cultural importance in Austria. The palace has 1441 magnificent rooms and is one of the main tourist attractions in Vienna. The palace itself is an immense building designed in the Baroque style with a symmetrical main building that has hundreds of windows and statues on the rooftop. Many emperors and rulers have resided in this marvelous palace. This palace has a huge number of tourists coming in throughout the year. Many of the Hollywood movies have chosen the Palace and gardens of Schönbrunn as a location for their shoots. The Schonbrunn Palace is also popularly known as Schloss Schonbrunn.

attractions in vienna

Artistic Patterns Of St Stephen’s Cathedral

Don’t miss the most iconic building of Vienna, St Stephen’s Cathedral which stands on the ruins of two earlier churches. St Stephen’s Cathedral attracts more than 3 million visitors every year. This monolithic building stands proudly in the Stephansplatz and is the most important church in Vienna since its construction. The massive structure dominates the Vienna skyline, like Austria’s own colossus! The place oozes opulence from the Romanesque and Gothic design of the exterior to the dominating pointed tower. Its intricately decorated main roof has hundreds of colored tiles that form an intriguing pattern. It also houses a wealth of art treasures, such as a red-marble sepulcher from 1467 – 1513, the pulpit from 1514 – 15, Gothic winged altar from 1447 and the tomb of Prince Eugene from 1754. The most prominent feature of the Cathedral is the Gothic South and North Tower.

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Catch Sight Of The Hofburg Palace

Vienna Hofburg palace was built by the Habsburg dynasty. This is another huge palatial complex that pays tribute to the power and influence of kings. It served as the main winter palace for the rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire for hundreds of years. Today, things have changed with the palace serving partly as the presidential base. The complex is home to offices of the President of Austria and has undergone many additions since its creation in the 13th century. The Hofburg has been expanded over the years to include various residences like, the Imperial Chapel, the Naturhistorisches and Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Austrian National Library, the Imperial Treasury, the Burg theater, the Spanish Riding School, the Imperial Horse Stables, and the Hofburg Congress Center. The most impressive part of the palace is the fabulous semi-circular Neue Burg.

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Austrian Parliament Building An Architectural Marvel

Spread over 13,500 square meters, the Austrian parliament building is a must visit for photographer professionals as well as amateurs. The Greek Roman style designs by architect Theophil Hansen makes this building look absolutely stunning and awe inspiring. A walk around this building will take you back to the world of ancient Greece. This building contains over one hundred rooms that are decorated with self-designed furniture, chandeliers and pictures. There are a few historical rooms like the Chambers of the National Council, the Federal Council, and the former Imperial House of Representatives. One of the building’s most famous features is the 5.5 m high statue of Pallas Athena in the middle of a big fountain in front of the main entrance. Other Viennese tourist attractions in this building include committee rooms, libraries, lobbies, dining rooms, bars and gymnasiums.

Rest Your Legs At The Schönbrunn Gardens

From the center of Vienna, comes another exceptional piece of magic. The garden of the Schonbrunn Palace is filled with pleasant sights where you can spend hours walking through the various sections and displays. Whether you choose to walk through the Parterre and admire the uniform flower beds, or to get lost in the beautiful hedge maze and labyrinth, the gardens have it all set for your visit. Don’t miss Neptune’s fountain, a stunning piece of artwork, an artificial Roman Ruin complete with stone statues. You will never fall short of glorious sights and reasons while enjoying all the attractions in Vienna.

vienna

Explore UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage Site

The historic center of Vienna is rich with many monuments, parks, gardens and beautiful architectural structures. All the architectural attractions in Vienna and urban qualities have earned the historic center a place in the UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage list. This place is regarded as one of the most beautiful landmarks of Europe. More than millions of people visit the historic center of Vienna every year. Do visit this place to view the late-19th-century Ringstrasse lined with grand buildings, churches, monuments and parks. The outstanding attractions in Vienna and rich art collections gathered by wealthy rulers are sure to bewitch you.

The Marvelous Belvedere Palace

The Belvedere palace was built by Prince Eugene of Savoy as his summer residence. Today this is one of the most important baroque buildings in Austria and a place worth seeing in the city of Vienna. There are two Baroque palaces that face each other: the Upper and Lower Belvedere, which are connected by a stunning baroque garden. The stunning Upper Palace includes the Ground Floor Hall with mesmerizing statues, and the rich stucco relief and frescoes Ceremonial Staircase. Many of the palace rooms are now open for visitors like the mirror hall, dining room and even the bedrooms. Don’t forget to visit the museum of modern art while you are here. This museum is a historical site and one of the main attractions in Vienna that has many displays of various Baroque sculptures and paintings.

Catch A Play At The Vienna State Opera House

The Vienna State Opera House was planned by the Viennese architect August Sicard von Sicardsburg. Interior was designed by Eduard van der Null. The grand staircase, the Schwind and the exquisite Tea Room with valuable tapestries are the main highlights of the interiors. This architectural marvel was opened on 25th May 1869 in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth! One of the world’s largest theaters, the Vienna State Opera House has hosted many of the world’s most prominent composers, conductors, soloists, and dancers. It can accommodate an audience of 2,211 along with 110 musicians. Take a tour guide to get more captivating information about the Vienna State Opera Houses. If you are a music lover, you can also pay a visit to Wiener Musikverein (a concert hall) and the House of Music.

The Vienna Central Cemetery

The Vienna Central Cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in the world. This cemetery was large from the beginning since 1863 and not the one that has evolved slowly with the passing of time. Opened in 1874, this cemetery this cemetery is a quaint place that houses the remains of some of the most well-known artists in the history such as Ludwig Van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Salieri, Franz Schubert and Johann Strauss to name a few.  The Vienna Central Cemetery opened in 1874 and since then this cemetery has become one of the main attractions of the city due to history associated with it. Take a walk inside this calm and quiet place till you reach a beautiful Art Nouveau-style church (Charles Borromeo Church) in the center. This church was built in 1908–1910 by Max Hegele.

Pay Homage At The Soviet War Memorial

The Soviet War Memorial also known as the Heldendenkmal der Roten Armee (Heroes’ Monument of the Red Army) is located at Schwarzenbergplatz. Located between Palais Schwarzenberg and the Hochstrahlbrunnen fountain, this is one of the most obvious landmarks on Schwarzenbergplatz. One must visit this place to have a look at this astounding monument that speaks of history and martyrdom. This memorial is dedicated to 17,000 Soviet soldiers who were killed in the Battle for Vienna of World War II. The monument consists primarily of a semi-circular white marble colonnade partially enclosing 12 meter figure of a Red Army Soldier. The soldier atop this column bears a flag, a machine gun, and a golden shield in his hands. A large beautiful fountain occupies the space in front of the curved colonnade making it one of the great attractions in Vienna.

This city has a charm to it that you might not see elsewhere. We recommend that you take a guided tour to cover all the major historical places. Make sure that you go to all the places in this list for a great trip! Open your heart to Austria’s sensation and fly down here to experience all the attractions in Vienna that’s sure to capture your heart and soul. You will surely take a piece of Vienna with you when you fly back home, so pack your bags today to set out for another visual treat. Bon Voyage!

The best time to visit Vienna is between April to May or from September to October.

Vienna was ranked the world’s most livable city a couple of years back and it plays host to 5.8 million tourists every year.

Three days is the perfect amount of time to visit Vienna without being too rushed.

The four main forms of transport within Vienna are subway, local train, tram and buses.

Viennese German is the city dialect spoken in Vienna, the capital of Austria.

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Visit Vienna: Top 25 Things To Do and Must-See Attractions

Things to do in vienna: the 25 best places to visit and highlights.

You’re planning to visit Vienna during your next trip to Austria ? You’re looking for the best things to do in Vienna?

You’re at the right place!

Boasting grand palaces, numerous cool museums , and a historic city center listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site , the former capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire has preserved all its glamour and splendor.

In order to help you plan your stay , I have prepared for you this guide of the 25 best places to visit in Vienna , with all points of interest and must-see attractions.

In addition to this list of things to do and activities, I will also give you itineraries to visit Vienna in 1, 2, 3 or 4 days as well as my selection of the best accommodations depending on your budget.

And as always, this travel guide contains all my best tips to make the most of your stay.

So, what are the best things to do in Vienna? Where to stay?

Let’s find out!

1. Schönbrunn Palace

2. visiting the gardens of schönbrunn, 3. hofburg imperial palace, 4. belvedere palace, 5. stephansdom, vienna’s st. stephen’s cathedral, 6. take a cruise on the danube, 7. the vienna prater / vienna’s giant ferris wheel, 8. museumsquartier, 9. the staatsoper, vienna state opera, 10. going to a concert in vienna, 11. the naschmarkt, 12. visiting the albertina museum, 13. spanish riding school of vienna, 14. mozarthaus / mozart’s house, 15. vienna city hall, 16. the capuchin crypt, 17. guided tour in vienna, 18. shopping in vienna, 19. taking a break in a viennese café, 20. saint charles church, 21. hundertwasserhaus, 22. austrian national library, 23. the museum of art history, 24. day trips from vienna, how many days to visit vienna, exploring vienna in 1 day, best things to do in vienna in 2 days, exploring vienna in 3 day, best things to do in vienna in 4 days, visiting vienna in 5 days or more, where to stay in vienna, where to eat in vienna, how to get to vienna, vienna tourist map, you’re traveling in austria these articles will help you, visiting vienna: 25 must-see attractions.

Here’s a bit of advice before you dive into my list of the best things to do and see in Vienna.

To explore Vienna and its key attractions, you should really get the Vienna Pass .  It’s the best way to save time and money!

Here’s what’s included:

  • Access to 70 must-see sites, monuments, and museums like Schonbrunn Palace, Hofburg Palace, Belvedere Palace, and most of the spots I’ll be talking about.
  • Unlimited hop-on hop-off bus rides – 6 routes with 47 stops.

Depending on how long you’re staying in Vienna, you can choose between a 1, 2, 3, or 6-day pass .

To get your Vienna Pass, you simply need to click on the green button below :

The Schönbrunn Palace is definitely an unmissable sight during your stay in Vienna.

A UNESCO World Heritage site , often compared to the Palace of Versailles, it used to be the summer residence of the Habsburgs , the imperial Austrian family.

Today, you can join guided tours of this stunning 18th-century Baroque masterpiece. It’s the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in its incredibly rich history!

Book a guided tour of Schönbrunn Palace , including access to the interior and gardens, by clicking on the button below :

Check out the imperial apartments , the sumptuous state rooms , and immerse yourself in the everyday life of the former ruling class by visiting the intimate quarters of the emperors and empresses .

The grand gallery with its mirrors, towering windows, and exquisite frescoes is particularly breathtaking, as are the Chinese cabinets , lavishly decorated with priceless Chinese porcelain.

If you’re not up for the guided tour, don’t forget that the ticket for Schönbrunn is included in the Vienna Pass .

Best things to do in Vienna at night

Another cool thing I’d recommend doing at Schonbrunn is to attend a classical music concert in the famed Orangery .

This exceptional venue was once the host to grand court banquets. The concert features: Mozart’s most famous operas followed by Strauss’s waltzes

Don’t hesitate, make your Vienna visit unforgettable with a memorable night, and book your tickets now by clicking here .

Schönbrunn Palace

At Schönbrunn Palace, I also recommend you amble around the extensive park. It’s over a kilometer long and one of the best places to stroll in Vienna!

On your walk through the gardens you’ll see:

  • The Palm House , the last of its kind in Europe. Inside, you’ll find a recreation of various climates including cold, temperate, and tropical, creating optimal conditions for the diverse flora.
  • The zoo (get your tickets here!) caused quite a stir in 1828 when it hosted the first giraffe on Austrian soil. It even started a “giraffe” fashion trend, complete with clothing, accessories, and hairstyles.
  • The numerous fountains scattered throughout the park.
  • The Vienna Imperial Carriage Museum (get your ticket here!) , a spectacular collection of carriages, ceremonial cars, and sleds frequently used by the royal family.

Admission to the buildings within the park, such as the zoo or the museum, is not included in the castle entry ticket.

That’s why I’ve provided links for you to buy your additional tickets separately if you wish to visit them. They are, however, included with the Vienna Pass.

Since the gardens of Schönbrunn are so big, there’s a miniature panoramic train that lets you tour the area and hop off whenever you want. You can get on and off as many times as you like at the 9 stops on the circuit .

To book your miniature train tour in the park, click here!

Let’s continue this Vienna tour with a visit to the iconic Hofburg Palace .

Just like Schönbrunn, Hofburg Palace is a must-visit attraction in Vienna that has served as the residence of the influential Austrian emperors for over six centuries!

With each emperor adding their personal touch with extensions here and there, today the palace is the largest in the city and arguably Vienna’s most imposing historical building .

During your visit, you’ll be amazed by the opulent imperial apartments , including highlights such as the lavish bedrooms , the intricate toilet and gym rooms, the magnificent salon of the empress , and the emperor’s elegant study .

Only part of the palace is accessible as it currently houses the offices of the presidential administration and several museums, including the Albertina museum (I’ll tell you more about it later).

Speaking of museums, I highly recommend you visit the museum dedicated to Empress Sisi .

It traces the entire (quite eventful) life of the famed empress up to her tragic assassination in Geneva. You’ll find many personal artifacts of hers as well as some of her most beautiful dresses and jewels .

Another wing of the palace also houses an impressive collection of silverware , gathering nearly 7,000 pieces of fine tableware .

The entrance fee to the palace includes visits to the royal apartments, the Sisi Museum and the silverware collection.

The visit is included in the Vienna Pass otherwise you can purchase the standalone ticket here:

Hofburg Palace

The Belvedere Palace is the 3 rd must-see Baroque palace in Vienna . It actually consists of two palaces connected by a grandiose French-style garden .

In the first palace, situated in the Upper Belvedere , art enthusiasts will find the largest collection of works by the renowned Austrian painter Klimt , and also paintings by Monet and Van Gogh.

The Lower Belvedere, on the other hand, is used for setting up temporary exhibitions .

The visit is included in the Vienna Pass .

If you wish to skip the queues but don’t have the pass for visiting Vienna, you should get your skip-the-line tickets for the Belvedere Museum here :

Belvedere Palace

The famous St. Stephen’s Cathedral sits on Vienna’s central square, Stephansplatz . It’s one of the main tourist attractions in Vienna .

Built from the 14th century on the ruins of an old church, the cathedral is a wonderful example of Baroque and Gothic architecture . Its colorful tiled roof showcasing the double-headed k.u.k eagle (kaiserlich und königlich, which means Imperial and Royal in German) and the coats of arms of Vienna and Austria, is truly impressive.

Once inside the cathedral, you’ll be blown away by its stunning interior. Take a moment to admire the relics adorned with gold and other precious metals and explore the catacombs, where you’ll find the final resting spots of Emperor Frederick III and Prince Eugene of Savoy.

Finally, to cap off your visit beautifully, I recommend climbing the 343 steps to reach the Turmerstube which offers a stunning view over all of Vienna .

To make the most of your visit to the cathedral, you should get an all-inclusive ticket so you won’t have to queue at the entrance!

What’s even better is that this ticket not only grants you access to the stunning cathedral but also includes a visit to the cathedral museum and a fascinating guided tour of the catacombs. Book it clicking the button below:

Several nights a week, you also have the opportunity to attend a classical music concert held in Vienna Cathedral. However, it’s absolutely essential to book your seats in advance by clicking on this link !

Stephansdom

Another great activity I have in store for you in this top 25 list of things to do and see in Vienna is a cruise along the legendary Danube River .

Embarking on a boat trip along the river will treat you to unforgettable vistas of Vienna that you won’t find anywhere else. Various options are offered in terms of duration.

The most popular one is the 1-hour outing that you can book by clicking the button below:

There’s also an option with lunch included :

You could also opt for a cruise with concert and romantic dinner .

Some cruises even include a visit to the Danube Tower (tickets available here), where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city from its 150-meter-high observation platform.

Speaking of admiring the city from above, you can also book an exhilarating helicopter ride over Vienna !

You can find all the details about this activity by simply clicking here !

Danube cruise in Vienna

The Prater is a massive public park in Vienna that’s definitely worth a visit.

It’s particularly famous for housing another one of the city’s symbols, its Giant Ferris Wheel: the Riesenrad . Standing at a precise 64.75 meters high, it’s one of the oldest still-operational Ferris wheels in the world.

You’ll get to take a spin in one of the 15 wooden cabins in 20 minutes to catch a stunning panoramic view of the whole city .

You can buy your tickets directly here , but note that the ride is also included with the Vienna pass .

Besides the Ferris wheel, you’ll also find other rides in the park as it hosts a permanent fair with more than 250 attractions .

If you’re wondering what to do in Vienna with kids , this is a fantastic idea!

Another section of the park, known as the “ Green Prater ” is a haven for walkers and cyclists . It offers a plethora of pathways that invite you to explore its forests and meadows. And for those who don’t feel like walking, a small train will take you on a tour of the park .

To discover everything about the activities available in the Prater during your Vienna vacation, make sure to visit the official website .

Prater

If you’re a fan of museums, the MuseumsQuartier is a must-visit for you. It’s the best neighborhood for a bit of cultural tourism in Vienna .

Built on the site of the former imperial stables, this pedestrian area offers a variety of incredibly interesting museums spread over nearly 60,000 m². It’s also packed with restaurants, cafés, and bookstores.

Among Vienna’s most famous museums, be sure to visit (click on the orange links to book your tickets one by one):

  • The Leopold Museum : it houses the world’s largest collection of works by Egon Schiele and a few works by Gustav Klimt (whose other works are exhibited at the Belvedere Palace).
  • The MUMOK : the museum of modern art mainly focused on 20 th century art with works from Andy Warhol or Yoko Ono. It also features paintings by Pablo Picasso.
  • The Kunsthalle Wien : focused on international contemporary art.

You’ll find the MuseumsQuartier map and the list of museums to visit right here .

It’s worth noting that access to all museums in the MuseumsQuartier is included with the Vienna city pass .

MuseumsQuartier

It’s simply unthinkable to visit Vienna without at least stopping by the Staatsoper, the iconic temple of classical music that showcases world-renowned operas and concerts.

If you have the time, I highly advise you to attend an opera performance at the Staatsoper . Contrary to popular belief, ticket prices aren’t that high considering the exceptional quality of the performance offered .

And if you don’t speak German, the language of most operas, no worries! You can easily activate subtitles in your preferred language during the performance.

The Staatsoper also offers live opera performances , especially during the months of April, May, and June . The performances are projected live on a giant screen in front of the Opera . A really great idea to allow everyone to enjoy, and it’s free !

Finally, the Vienna National Opera also organizes tours of the interior and behind-the-scenes on select days when there are no rehearsals. If you can’t afford to attend a performance, you can at least admire the place.

Head to the Staatsoper ticket counter 1.5 hours before the start of performances .

You can get tickets for less than €10 , but keep in mind that for this price, you’ll be required to stand at the back of the room for the duration of the 2 to 3-hour show.

The Staatsoper, Vienna State Opera

There are also other Vienna venues known for their music performances, like the Musikverein , the Orangery at Schonbrunn Palace , and the Vienna Volksoper .

The prices are often lower than for the Staatsoper.

You can find the entire musical program in Vienna on this website .

I’ve also prepared a selection of the best concerts in Vienna for you just below. Click on the links for details and to book:

  • Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at the Musikverein
  • A concert featuring 30 musicians from the Mozart Orchestra in the Musikverein’s Golden Hall
  • A classical music concert in Vienna’s magnificent St. Peter’s Church
  • A classical music concert performed by a string quartet at St. Anne’s Church
  • A performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at St. Charles Church
  • Mozart and Strauss concert at Vienna’s Kursalon , a show with musicians, singers, and dancers.
  • A concert by the Vienna Residence Orchestra , one of the world’s best chamber orchestras, at the Auersperg Palace.

You’re going to Vienna?

You probably know it: the hardest part of planning your trip is to find an hotel offering a good value for money!

And that’s even worse in the large European capitals 😅.

The closer you get to your travel dates, the harder it will be to get a good deal. Tens of thousands of people will be visiting Vienna on the same dates as you , so you can be sure that the best deals are booked extremely quickly!

Hopefully, there is a pretty simple solution to this problem: do like me and book your hotel as early as possible!

So, my best advice is to take 5 minutes (now) to have a look at the list of travelers’ favorite hotels in Vienna.

And if you see a good offer, book it!

Most hotels offer free cancellation, so it’s quick, easy, and you will avoid the the inconvenience of finding nothing but mediocre rooms at exorbitant prices.

To check the current best deals for your hotel in Vienna, simply click on the green button below 😎:

Once you’ve booked your hotel, it will be time to continue reading this guide and find out more about the best things to do in Vienna!

Still wondering what to do in Vienna ?

Look no further than the Naschmarkt, Vienna’s perennial market .

Open Monday to Saturday, it’s your go-to for all Austrian local products , but also goods from all over the world . Whether you crave Indian, Italian, Vietnamese, or other global delights, you’ll find yourself spoiled for choice.

On Saturdays , there’s also a huge flea market where you can find nifty items or just something to clutter your house a little more!

The spot is lively and fun, boasting loads of cafes and restaurants . The DO-An and the Naschmarkt Deli are particularly well-known.

You can also book a culinary guided tour at the Naschmarkt . Your guide will lead you to the best stalls for tasting local and worldwide specialties .

The Albertina is situated in Vienna’s historical center and is one of the Hofburg Palace’s museums .

The museum showcases permanent and temporary exhibitions covering a period from the 15th century to the present day . You’ll find masterpieces by Cézanne, Picasso, Monet and even Chagall and Renoir .

Aside from these masterworks, your museum entry allows you to visit the 20 recently restored state rooms whose original furnishings will transport you back to the opulent times of the imperial family.

This is the must-visit museum in Vienna!

Priority access tickets can be purchased ahead of time with the button below :

As you can see, there’s a lot of museums to visit in Vienna . I’ve mentioned some of the popular ones that are widely known, but there are many more to discover out there!

  • The Vienna Museum of Natural History , a fantastic museum that houses an impressive collection of artifacts. Discover the world’s oldest meteorites, marvel at dinosaur skeletons, and don’t miss the chance to see the Venus of Willendorf, a remarkable Upper Paleolithic limestone statuette.
  • The Chocolate Museum , which displays an impressive collection of yummy chocolate sculptures. The museum also organizes workshops where you can create your own chocolate bars. You can book here (this includes the museum ticket too!)
  • The House of Music , a museum on the history of Viennese classical music. An engaging and interactive experience that is anything but boring!
  • The Torture Museum , focusing on the various corporal punishments enforced throughout the centuries
  • The Museum of Technology , a captivating and well-executed museum that immerses you in the world of technological advancements.
  • The Museum of Illusions, where you can capture mind-bending photos in various 3D settings. A brilliant idea for a kid-friendly visit in Vienna!
  • The Vienna Jewish Museum and the Judenplatz Museum on the history and traditions of Jews in Austria
  • The Vienna Madame Tussauds Museum , for selfies with your favorite stars.

The Albertina museum.

Vienna’s Spanish Riding School is a long-standing institution. They’ve practiced the classic art of High School dressage since the Renaissance.

Even today, the school is a world-renowned dressage center . Riders train daily on their purebred Lipizzaner stallions . It takes years of training to achieve perfection.

Watching their morning training is one of the most popular tourist activities to experience in Vienna . The venue where the training takes place, the Imperial Winter Riding School , is truly a sight to behold. With its magnificent chandeliers and elegant balconies, the venue adds an extra touch of grandeur to the experience.

If you want to attend the morning training, you should book in advance using the button below :

Entry is included with the Vienna Pass.

You also have the possibility to:

  • Take a guided tour of the riding school (click here)
  • Attend one of their performances. Make sure to book well in advance by clicking here.

Spanish Riding School of Vienna

Next on this Vienna guide is Mozart’s house.

The famous composer lived at No. 5 Domgasse from 1784 to 1787. It’s the only one of Mozart’s Vienna dwellings that still exists today, out of the dozen where he lived.

You can visit the rooms of his apartment and step into the intimacy of this fascinating and brilliant artist. With a bit of imagination, you can even picture him in the place where he composed one of his most beautiful operas: The Marriage of Figaro .

Tickets for the visit to Mozart’s house can be purchased here if you don’t have the Vienna Pass. The English audioguide is included.

If you’ve decided to explore Vienna on foot, I recommend passing by Vienna’s city hall, or Rathaus . You can’t miss it, its tall tower of nearly 100 meters topped by the Rathausmann (the iron man) is a city emblem .

Thanks to its neo-gothic style, the building stands out as the most significant non-religious structure in Vienna .

Constructed between 1872 and 1883, the construction of the building required an astounding amount of materials. They used nearly 30 million bricks and approximately 40,000 cubic meters of stones to bring the imposing structure to life. Its inner courtyard is one of the largest in Europe and it boasts a grand ballroom.

The Rathaus is the seat of Vienna’s municipality and thus houses the offices of the mayor and his advisors. Guided tours are available on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 1 pm without reservation.

Throughout the year, Rathausplatz, the square in front of the city hall , hosts a plethora of events.. Don’t hesitate to stop by during your Vienna tour .

If you’ve decided to visit Vienna in winter , you’ll find there the Christmas market , the screening of the Vienna New Year’s concert and even a skating rink in January and February.

Rathaus Vienna

If you have an interest in learning about imperial Vienna, I highly recommend paying a visit to the Capuchin Crypt, also known as Kaisergruft .

The crypt is located beneath the Capuchin Church and houses many tombs of the Habsburg imperial family .

In total, 149 family members are buried there, including 19 empresses and 12 emperors . And this is where you’ll find Empress Sisi’s tomb .

And once again, your Vienna Pass will allow you free entry! Otherwise, you also have the option to buy it in advance by clicking here !

The Capuchin Crypt

Why not explore Austria’s capital with a guided tour ?

It’s hands down the best way to learn about the history of the place and its monuments !

And you’re in luck, one of the best guided tours is available with an English-speaking guide . You’ll have the choice of duration, between 2 to 6 hours , and your guide will craft a custom itinerary based on your interests.

They’ll even meet you directly at your accommodation!

To book an English-speaking guided tour of Vienna , click the button below:

If you’re not up for a walking tour, no worries, there’s loads of other cool and original options in Vienna :

  • A 3-hour Segway tour of Vienna in a small group. No problem if you’ve never done it before, you’ll pick it up quickly!
  • A 2-hour guided tour in a Hotrod , a single-seater car (driver’s license required)
  • A 3-hour guided bike tour
  • A 60-minute guided electric bike tour
  • A horse-drawn carriage ride through the old town to admire the architecture of the monuments while you imagine yourself as a nobleman. Perfect for a romantic activity in Vienna!
  • A sightseeing tour of Vienna in a retro electric car . You can choose from various durations for the ride.

And if you prefer a quirky guided tour in Vienna , I especially recommend:

  • A Ghost Tour: a nighttime walking tour on the theme of ghosts, witches, and vampires. You’ll learn all about Vienna’s scariest stories!
  • A tour of the Vienna underground with a visit to the archaeological site of Michaelerplatz and the crypt of Saint Michael’s Church where nearly 4,000 people were buried.
  • A guided tour of the central cemetery in Vienna where numerous local celebrities are buried.
  • A scavenger hunt through the city where you’ll follow clues and solve riddles. To be downloaded to your phone.

Fancy a bit of shopping in Vienna ?

No problem, you’ll find everything you need and don’t need on Graben and Karntner streets .

Graben Street is the most popular for shopping with its skillful mixture of modern and traditional shops . It’s Vienna’s busiest pedestrian street.

Be sure to look up from your bags occasionally to admire the stunning architecture of the buildings that line it.

Karntner is also a major pedestrian shopping street in Vienna . It runs from Stephansplatz to Karlsplatz . It’s a must-visit in Vienna for shopping fans.

Graben shopping

And there you have it, snack time has (finally) arrived, it’s time to head to one of Vienna’s famous cafes to taste the local specialties. The culture of Viennese cafés is even part of the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage !

The cream of the crop , my friends, are these establishments:

  • Get a taste of Café Sperl’s apple strudel. It’s worth every bite.
  • At Café Sacher, you can’t miss their homemade Sachertorte, a delightful chocolate cake.
  • Then there’s Hawelka, one of Vienna’s oldest coffee houses.
  • Café Central is another place worth your time, known for its selection of homemade pastries.

To sample 3 types of Viennese coffee along with various pastries, why not tour the best coffee houses with a guide ? Drinks and pastries are, of course, included!

Book this 2.5-hour tour directly by clicking here!

Café Sacher

During your excursion to Vienna , I’d strongly suggest you to take a leisurely walk around Karlsplatz , where you’ll discover the magnificent St. Charles Church (or Karlskirche as the locals call it).

Commissioned in 1713 by none other than Emperor Charles VI himself as a celebration marking the end of the pesky plague epidemic, this church stands as a pretty impressive specimen of Baroque architecture . Between you and me, it’s rather photogenic.

Surprisingly, inside the church, a panoramic elevator takes you up close to the beautiful ceiling frescoes to admire the minute details. Don’t hesitate to try it out, I’m not sure this exists anywhere else.

The church is open from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm and Sunday and during holidays from 12pm to 7pm.

You can also attend a Mozart Requiem in the church on some winter evenings. Info and reservations right here !

Karlskirche

The Hundertwasserhaus is an unusual sight to visit in Vienna .

The building was constructed by architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser , who, let’s admit it, had rather unique tastes.

With its multicolored facade, its strange floors, and its green walls, it’s not really describable – you’ll have to see it for yourself!

You won’t be able to enter, but there’s a café on the ground floor that shows a film in which the architect himself gives a tour of his work.

The building is located at 37-39 Kekelgasse Street .

Near Hundertwasserhaus, you can also visit the Kunst Haus Wien, the Hundertwasser Museum , which showcases several of his works and also features an unconventional building design.

Entrance is included in the Vienna pass but you can also purchase a single ticket directly here !

Hundertwasserhaus

The Austrian National Library is the largest Baroque library in Europe . So, I highly recommend you pop by during your Vienna escapade .

The library houses an impressive 7 million works, books and papyruses !

Besides being the biggest, the library also boasts one of the most beautiful rooms in the world, the State Hall .

With its 80 meters length and 20 meters height, its dome adorned with frescoes and a collection of 200,000 old volumes , the hall is truly jaw-dropping.

Entry is free with your Vienna Pass .

Austrian National Library

The Museum of Art History, or Kunsthistorisches Museum , is one of the city’s most prestigious cultural edifice.

Commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph to house his personal collections, the museum today exhibits an extensive collection of works by Rubens, Vermeer, and Rembrandt .

The “ cabinet of curiosities “, Kunstkammer in German, also located within the museum, showcases one of the world’s most extravagant collections of priceless artifacts , many of which were once the pride and joy of the Habsburgs.

To avoid hours of waiting, consider grabbing your skip-the-line entries right here or purchasing the Vienna Pass .

Kunsthistorisches Museum

Best things to do around Vienna

If you’ve decided to jet off to Vienna for a few days , you could also take the opportunity to explore the surroundings .

I’ve compiled for you my list of the top things to do around Vienna .

Setting out from Vienna , you’ve got plenty of options if you’re in the mood to venture on a day trip into the neighboring countryside.

Conveniently, they all come with return transportation from Vienna and a friendly guide for the day.

I’ve selected the best ones for you below. All you need to do is click on the orange links to access the information, the rates, and proceed to booking :

  • From Vienna: Wachau and Danube Valleys excursion – Bus tour exploring the scenic valleys around Vienna + 1-hour cruise along the charming Danube + a visit to the renowned Melk Abbey .
  • Visit to the Salzkammergut Lake Region + Guided tour of the picturesque village of Hallstatt . The day also includes a visit to Admont Abbey .
  • From Vienna: Salzburg Tour – Discover Mozart’s birthplace during a guided tour of the main points of interest.
  • A Day at Hallstatt with a trip to the panoramic observation platform
  • Visit 3 family-owned vineyards with wine tastings + 1 traditional lunch or dinner
  • Excursion to Bratislava, Slovakia . The two cities are only 60 km apart, which is a great idea for a day trip around Vienna. The journey there is by bus and the return is by catamaran on the Danube. You’ll have plenty of time to explore the old town during a guided tour.
  • Excursion to Budapest from Vienna – Spend the day exploring the capital of Hungary.
  • Excursion to Prague from Vienna – Take a day to visit the Czech capital!

Hallstatt

From Vienna, you can also reach Graz in 2h15 by car .

In Graz, I suggest you visit:

  • The Schlossberg , the city’s highest point offering a superb panorama
  • The Hauptplatz, the main square from where all the main shopping streets start
  • The Landeszeughaus, a museum whose collection of weapons and armors is one of the most impressive in the world
  • St. Giles Cathedral in Graz

To learn more about places to visit in Graz , you should read my detailed article: Best things to do and see in Graz !

Hauptplatz Graz

You’ve probably noticed, there’s a heap of things to see in Vienna . Most visits can easily take you 2 to 3 hours, which quickly limits the number of places you can visit in a day.

So, I suggest you stay a minimum of 4 days in Vienna if you want to cover the must-sees without rushing and while allowing for some Viennese coffee breaks!

If you’re plotting to hang around Vienna for 5, 6 days, or even a whole week, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to embark on a few day trips in and around the city .

Here are 2 tips to save money during your stay in Vienna:

For those looking to zip around Vienna using public transport , you should grab the Vienna City Card ( available right here ), starting from just €13.90 for a day. They’ve also got 48h and 72h options . You’ll be able to get around freely by metro, bus, and tramway!

And don’t forget the one that I’ve already mentioned, the Vienna Pass . Not only does this gem offer unlimited access to hop-on-hop-off buses, but it also grants you entry to around sixty of Vienna’s must-see sights . Sounds pretty good, right?

Book your Vienna city pass using the button below:

If you’re looking to squeeze all of Vienna into one day, here’s my itinerary:

  • Kick things off with a visit to the splendid Schönbrunn Palace .
  • Lunch break at the Naschmarkt
  • Swinging by St. Charles’s Church
  • Strolling through the historic center to admire landmarks like the Opera House and the Rathaus
  • Wrapping up the day with a climb up the tower of St. Stephen’s Cathedral to soak in the sunset over the city.

To make the most of Vienna in 1 day, you might also consider a hop-on hop-off bus tour if you don’t fancy doing a lot of walking. Some tours even throw in a boat ride , which could be a lovely little addition to your Viennese venture.

Catch your hop-on hop-off bus tickets for Vienna right here !

To visit Vienna in 2 days , just stick to the one-day itinerary and add:

  • Attending the Spanish Riding School’s morning exercise
  • Touring the Hofburg Palace
  • Lunch break
  • Taking in the awe-inspiring Vienna National Library
  • Exploring the Albertina Museum
  • Catching an opera or a classical music concert .

For a 3-day trip to Vienna , follow the two-day itinerary and include:

  • A wander around the MuseumsQuartier where you’ll have a tough choice to make between popping into the MUMOK or the Leopold Museum .
  • Lunching at one of the many restaurants in the area
  • Heading down into the Capuchin Crypt to see the tombs of the emperors and Empress Sisi
  • Stopping by the Hundertwasserhaus
  • Rounding off the afternoon at the Prater with a Ferris Wheel ride at sunset.

For a 4-day trip to Vienna, use the 1, 2, and 3-day tour itineraries and add:

  • Visiting the Kunsthistorisches Museum
  • Shopping spree down Karnten and Graben streets
  • Discovering Mozart’s house
  • Taking a ride along the Danube and heading up the Donauturm, the Danube Tower .

If you’re planning a 5-day or longer stay in Vienna , you’ll have plenty of time to explore the surroundings .

For example, you could go on one of the day trips I mentioned in point 23 of this article.

  • Wombat’s CITY Hostels Vienna – Naschmarkt : Youth hostel located next to the Naschmarkt. Dormitory beds from €25. Strong points: Perfect location to reach the main points of interest on foot, cleanliness, spacious rooms.
  • Leonardo Hotel Vienna: Located 100 meters from a shopping street with restaurants and shops, and 5 minutes by metro from the historical center. Comfortable and spacious double room from €80, breakfast at €13. Strong points: The good breakfast, the location, close to the metro, the cleanliness.
  • Motel One Wien-Staatsoper : Located in the heart of the old city, within walking distance of all the tourist sites and the main museums. Warm and modern double room from €130 per night, breakfast at €11. Strong points: Excellent location, the superb bedding, the great breakfast and room decor. It’s my favorite for its excellent value for money !
  • Hilton Vienna Danube Waterfront : Situated on the banks of the Danube, not far from the Prater and 5 minutes by metro from the historical center. Spacious double room with a sitting area and some with a river view from €150, breakfast at €26. Strong points: The outdoor pool, the very friendly staff, location and tranquility.
  • Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof : Nestled next to the Hofburg Palace, this 5-star spot offers cozy and modern rooms starting from €230, with breakfast at an additional €32. Strong points: The tranquil Spa, the friendly staff, and its unbeatable location. This one’s my top pick for a high-end stay in Vienna!
  • Grand Hotel Wien : Another 5-star hotel, just a 3-minute walk from Vienna Opera House. Expect spacious and comfortable rooms with classic-style furniture starting from €300 per night, including breakfast. Strong points: the Spa, the superb 1-star Michelin restaurant, and the peaceful ambiance of the hotel.
  • Hotel Sacher Wien : This is Vienna’s iconic hotel, right across from the Opera House. It welcomes you with stunning and luxurious rooms featuring heated floors, marble bathrooms, and a perfect blend of modernity and vintage furniture. Starting at a cool €430. Strong points: the little perks, attentive staff, and central location. The best hotel in Vienna for a luxury stay !

Next up, I’ve got a selection of apartments I simply couldn’t decide between – they’re all pretty similar in terms of amenities and budget. Prices range from €110 to €140 a night, including cleaning fees. All of them modern, fully equipped and in great locations.

  • Vienna Mariahilfer Apartment : A sprawling 70m² for just €110 a night.
  • Apartments Spittelberg Gardegasse : Starting from €120 a night.
  • HeyMi Apartments in City Center : A range of apartments, each more spectacular than the last, starting from €130 a night. A big thumbs up for their value for money !
  • HeyMi Apartments Opernring : Run by the same folks as above, but set in a different neighbourhood.

Vienna

  • Plachutta: This restaurant, just a stone’s throw from Mozart’s house (but there are several others in Vienna), comes highly recommended. Try the typical Austrian cuisine in a really cozy atmosphere. Their tafelspitz, a sort of long-simmered pot roast served with a plethora of sides, is a house speciality. And it’s seriously hearty! Reservation recommended.
  • Zum Alten FassL : Located at Ziegelofengasse 37. This typical Viennese restaurant offers great traditional dishes at a very reasonable price. And as a bonus, you get to enjoy your meal in a beautiful courtyard.
  • Le burger : Located at Mariahilfer Strasse 114. No local specialties here, but a really tasty burger for a real bargain! Excellent quality buns, tender meat, homemade fries, and a super warm ambiance. Perfect for a quick and delicious lunch.

Stefanie Restaurant is another Viennese institution , tucked away in the city’s oldest hotel , open since the 17th century! They serve traditional dishes only like goulash, Wiener Schnitzel, and the must-try apple strudel (Austrian pancakes) for dessert.

Tip: Make sure you arrive hungry because the portions are massive!

Reservations are a must , and you can book your 7-course meal + 3 drinks by clicking here :

The Hard Rock Café is also a bit of an institution in Vienna, and you should definitely check it out at least once during your stay! The only problem, is the long line at the entrance… …

But that was before 😉.

It’s now possible to reserve your spot in advance by prepaying a menu. You’ll have the privilege of walking by with a smug smile at all the other patrons who didn’t read Voyage Tips and are stuck in line! 😃

All you have to do is click the button below :

Vienna is approximately 2 hours away by plane from France . Many European national and low-cost airlines offer several round trips a day.

Top tip: It’s also worth checking prices to land in Bratislava , Slovakia’s capital, which is only 60 km away from Vienna . The two cities are connected by a bus line , so it’s super easy to get to Vienna while saving on the cost of the flight!

And even more fun than the bus, there are also transfers between Vienna and Bratislava by catamaran. Info and bookings here !

Compare all the flight offers now with Skyscanner. Once on the results page, don’t hesitate to compare several websites to make sure no fees are added to the final prices.

To help you visualize the city a bit better, I’ve created a tourist map of Vienna listing the places to visit that I talk about in this top 25 things to do. You can display the map legend by clicking the button with a small arrow at the top left corner.

So, what exciting places are on your itinerary for Vienna ?

Discover all my articles about Austria : All my articles to help you plan your trip to Austria are listed there.

  • 20 Best Things to Do in Austria : all best places to visit and activities
  • Itinerary: One week in Austria – The perfect itinerary for your 7-8 days trip to Austria
  • Graz: TOP 10 best places to visit
  • Hallstatt: TOP 6 things to do during your stay
  • Innsbruck: The 15 best things to do and see
  • Linz: TOP 12 places to visit and must-see attractions
  • Salzburg: The 17 best things to do
  • Vienna: TOP 25 tourist attractions  

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Best places to visit in Vienna

Creator of the Voyage Tips blog, travel and photography lover. I give you all my best tips to plan your next trip.

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Discussion 2 comments.

Thomas Malone

Is the WienMobile EasyCityPass the best public transport option for Vienna? We will be buying the Vienna Pass, as per your recommendation, for the bulk of our sightseeing, but we want to know what is the best general public transport option outside of Vienna Pass usage. I love your site. It is my favorite!

Vincent

Hello Thomas,

Thanks a lot! I’m glad that my guide with the best things to do in Vienna helps you to organise your visits.

For the best public transport option, it will depend on the length of your stay in Vienna. You can look at this page which summarises all the options with fares: Wien Mobil .

Enjoy your trip to Vienna!

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Vienna   Travel Guide

Courtesy of Christoph Hetzmannseder | Getty Images

historical places to visit in vienna

11 Best Things To Do in Vienna

Updated May 8, 2023

Vienna is a city that relishes its past, and it has the attractions to prove it. Whether you're interested in the long-reigning Habsburg family, classical music composed by Vienna's own Mozart, or antiques; this city has enough to keep you

  • All Things To Do

historical places to visit in vienna

St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) free

Towering above the streets of the Innere Stadt , this massive cathedral is the true centerpiece of Vienna. St. Stephen's has stood in this very spot since the early 12th century, but little remains of the original aside from the Riesentor (Giant's Gate) and the Heidentuerme (Towers of the Heathens). The Gothic structure standing today was built in the early 1300s and has survived the Turkish siege of 1683.  It was here that mourners came to pay their respects to Amadeus Mozart in 1791. In 1805, Napoleon used St. Stephen's doors to post his farewell edict. And it weathered attacks from both German and Russian armies during World War II. Today, this stunning cathedral remains an active house of worship, a national icon and a top tourist attraction.

After you've toured the main section, head underground to the catacombs where many victims of the Great Plague of Vienna were laid to rest. Move on to the gruft , or vault, where numerous urns contain the remains of members of the Hapsburg royal family. Before you leave, you should climb the 343 steps to the top of the South Tower or use the elevator to reach the lookout terrace at the North Tower – you'll be treated to a spectacular view. Visitors call this one of those "must-visit" attractions in Europe, praising the gorgeous church and its surroundings.

historical places to visit in vienna

Museum of Fine Arts (Kunsthistorisches Museum) Museum of Fine Arts (Kunsthistorisches Museum)

The works at the Kunsthistorisches Museum , or Museum of Fine Arts, range from ancient Egyptian and Greek objects to masterpieces by numerous European masters, including Titian, Velasquez, Van Dyke and Rubens. In fact, the collection here is so extensive that many people say the walls of the Hofburg Palace look bare in comparison. The building itself, which opened to the public in 1891, impresses travelers as well; its facade features ornate sculptures.

Recent travelers appreciated the wide range of work on display at this museum and note just how large the building is and how much art is held within. A few suggested breaking up the day with a quick cup of coffee at the on-site shop.

historical places to visit in vienna

Schönbrunn Palace Schönbrunn Palace

Originally constructed in 1696 as a hunting lodge, Sch ö nbrunn Palace later became the official Hapsburg summer residence. Under the supervision of Maria Theresa (the only female Habsburg ruler), Sch ö nbrunn evolved into an expansive paradise with ornate rooms and vast elaborate gardens comparable to King Louis XIV of France's palace at Versailles . A  tour will lead you through apartments belonging to Maria Theresa as well as Emperor Franz Joseph, his wife Elisabeth, and Archduke Franz Karl. Other highlights include the Blue Staircase, the Mirror Room and the Hall of Ceremonies. Also plan to spend at least an hour in the gardens, which are connected by shaded promenades that extend diagonally from the Gloriette, a stunning Roman-style arch overlooking a vast pool. Located within the grounds is Tiergarten , the oldest zoo in the world.

Travelers say the grounds are beautiful, the tour is insightful and the zoo is entertaining for the whole family, but many warn about how crowded this attraction gets. Many suggest visiting first thing in the morning to avoid the congested atmosphere.

historical places to visit in vienna

Popular Tours

Hallstatt Day Trip from Vienna With Skywalk or Admont Abbey

Hallstatt Day Trip from Vienna With Skywalk or Admont Abbey

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Vienna Classical Concert at St. Peter’s Church

Vienna Classical Concert at St. Peter’s Church

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Budapest Small-Group Day Trip from Vienna

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historical places to visit in vienna

Naschmarkt Naschmarkt free

Every Monday through Saturday, hundreds of vendors flock to this market in the Wieden District (located just south of the Ringstrasse) to sell fruit, meat, dairy products and other local food items. This open-air extravaganza, Naschmarkt, is considered one of the largest of its kind, and it's a great intro into everyday life in Vienna. In addition to shops, you'll find food stalls and small eateries throughout. Recent visitors said you should come hungry to this market and plan to sample a few things from each stand. 

You don't have to pay to peruse, but you'll want to bring some cash in case you see something that whets your appetite. The market is generally open from around 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. Also, make sure to keep an eye on your belongings – the market is crowded and popular with tourists, so beware of pickpockets.

historical places to visit in vienna

House of Music (Haus der Musik) House of Music (Haus der Musik)

Vienna has long been a musical epicenter. It was here that renowned composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn, Mahler and Strauss lived, composed and performed. So it's hard not to be tempted to stop in a site known as the House of Music ( Haus der Musik ) during your time in the city. This small but fascinating museum showcases the works of Vienna's elite musicians with displays featuring manuscripts and sound bytes. Exhibits also explain the evolution of sound and the mechanics behind our ability to hear. Plus, there's an entire floor dedicated to the Vienna Philharmonic where you can even use a virtual wand to conduct the musicians. (Be careful, though, if you mess up they may ridicule you.) Travelers say if you're a classical music fan (or even a fan of the science of sound), a visit to the House of Music should be a priority.

You'll find the Haus der Musik located in the Innere Stadt just a few blocks southeast of the Hofburg Palace complex. It's open every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is 13 euros (about $15) for adults and 6 euros (about $7) for children younger than 12. Discounts are available for students, seniors and groups. For more information, check out the museum's website .

historical places to visit in vienna

Vienna's Tiergarten Vienna's Tiergarten

It began in 1752 as an exotic menagerie amassed by Franz Stephan, the husband of Maria Theresa (the only female Hapsburg ruler) and the country's Holy Roman Emperor. Today, Tiergarten is the oldest zoo in the world, home to about 750 animal species (around 8,500 animals total) ranging from tigers to lemurs. The zoo hosts daily animal talks and feedings that visitors can watch, with animals like orangutans, elephants, penguins and otters.

Since its founding, Tiergarten has undergone many a renovation to bring it up to par with modern facilities. Travelers say that while the cost of admission is on the pricey side, it's worth it to see the variety of animals and impressive facilities at this zoo.

historical places to visit in vienna

MuseumsQuartier Wien MuseumsQuartier Wien

Straddling the southwest section of the Ringstrasse, the MuseumsQuartier Wien is an enormous cultural institution comprising numerous top-notch museums. If you're interested in art, head to the Leopold Museum, which houses an impressive collection of Austrian masterpieces dating from the 19th century to the present. Next door, the Museum of Modern Art is home to the national collection of 20th-century works by famed artists like Max Ernst, Rene Magritte, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol. Adjacent to the MUMOK, the Kunsthalle Wien showcases an ever-rotating collection of avant-garde exhibits.

If art isn't really your passion, you may benefit more from a visit to the Architekturzentrum (Architecture Center). Or, if you're traveling with children, you might like the ZOOM Kindermuseum's interactive displays on everything from life underwater to life on the big screen. The  Naturhistorisches Museum (Natural History Museum) is also a hit with the younger set.

historical places to visit in vienna

Vienna State Opera (Staatsoper) Vienna State Opera (Staatsoper)

Since 1869, the Vienna State Opera has been the city's premier venue for the performing arts and a major focal point of Viennese life. Its directorship is one of the most prestigious positions in Austria. The Staatsoper still hosts performances, but you can also tour this magnificent building on a guided tour. You'll find 40-minute tours run every day (times vary depending on the performance schedule) and allow you a behind-the-scenes look at this beloved landmark. Tours come highly recommended by previous visitors.  If you're interested in learning more about the Staatsoper , head over to the Staatsopermuseum , which displays photographs and articles spanning the house's history.

While some visitors say viewing a performance here is worth the pricey admission fee (especially opera lovers who called the experience unforgettable), others note that you can enjoy the performance for free: In April, May, June and September, live opera and ballet performances are screened on the front of the opera building. 

historical places to visit in vienna

Private Day Tour of Salzburg, Hallstatt and Melk from Vienna

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from $ 880.90

Vienna: Skip the Line Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens Guided Tour

Vienna: Skip the Line Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens Guided Tour

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Schönbrunn Palace Concert in Vienna

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historical places to visit in vienna

Belvedere Palace (Schloss Belvedere) Belvedere Palace (Schloss Belvedere)

If you're can't get your art fix at either the MuseumsQuartier or the Kunsthistorisches Museum , you're sure to find satisfaction at Belvedere. There are actually two palaces here – separated by an ornate 17th-century French-style garden – which some say are the best examples of Baroque architecture in the world. Formerly home to such notable Austrian figures as Prince Eugene of Savoy and Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the buildings now house an impressive array of Austrian art from such renowned artists as Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka. Travelers love the gardens, ornate buildings and array of paintings on display at this attraction.

Belvedere Palace sits just southeast of the Innere Stadt,  between the Wieden and Landstrasse districts. It is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the Lower Belvedere building offering extended hours on Wednesdays. Admission varies depending on the different buildings you're interested in visiting and special exhibits on display; though, children up to 18 can enter for free at all sites. Guided tours are available and there are a variety of combo ticket packages available as well. For more information, visit the palace's website .

historical places to visit in vienna

Hofburg Palace Hofburg Palace

Unlike Vienna's other royal residences, Hofburg is like a city within a city. Sitting on the southwestern edge of the Innere Stadt, the 13th-century palace shelters several individual attractions, and if you want the full royal experience, you'll need to spend at least half a day here.

Experienced travelers say it's best to start in the middle of this massive complex and work your way out. The oldest parts surround the Swiss Court, named for the Swiss guards who used to patrol the area. And from there you'll find the Kaiserappartements (Imperial Apartments), more than 2,000 rooms where the royal family lived. Only a dozen or so are open to the public. Take some time to explore the Kaiserappartements ' Sisi Museum, which offers insight into the life and death of Vienna's beloved Empress Elizabeth. Then swing by the Imperial Silver Collection or the butterfly house. (For more information about the Kaiserappartements , click here .)

historical places to visit in vienna

Museum Judenplatz Museum Judenplatz

Judenplatz earned its name back in the 13th century when it was first designated as the Jewish Ghetto. For centuries, this neighborhood remained the epicenter of Jewish life in Vienna, an identity that still lives among the exhibits found at the Museum Judenplatz. This small yet effective branch of the Vienna Jewish Museum (located a little south of Judenplatz) details the role Viennese Jews played in the development of city life, leading up to when they became the targets of violence during World War II.

Located below the museum, the Mittelalterliche Synagogue (Medieval Synagogue) gives a more authentic look at the history of Jewish life in Vienna. Constructed in the mid-13th century, this synagogue was once one of the largest in the world. It was systematically torn down starting in the 14th century as the surrounding neighborhood fell victim to pogroms. Finish your tour of the area with a visit to the nearby Holocaust Memorial. Many say a visit here is a moving and humbling experience.

historical places to visit in vienna

Explore More of Vienna

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LIFESTYLE & TRAVEL BLOG IN VIENNA

3 days in vienna itinerary for first time visitors food, tips (incl. video) austria.

BelvedereViennaTravel3Days

Last Updated on April 24, 2023 by gregor

This is a complete 3 days Vienna itinerary for first-time visitors that covers every single must-visit historical landmark, attraction, monument, and other amazing places to visit in Vienna. Making it the only way to get a full Viennese experience. From open-air museums, imperial castles, and grand Baroque architecture, to soothing sites; the city has it all. 

Three days in Vienna, we believe, is the ideal length of time to spend there. Three days will allow you to see the bulk of the famous sites in this magnificent city, as well as a few lesser-known ones, without feeling rushed.

In this piece, we’ll provide our recommendations for the perfect three-day itinerary in Vienna. We’ll give some practical suggestions and information about your visit, including where to stay, dine, get around Vienna, and how to save money on sightseeing, in addition to covering all of the key attractions we know you’ll enjoy seeing.

Vienna, the Capital of Austria – Home of the Habsburg Dynasty

Vienna is commonly referred to as the capital of Austria, and the birthplace of classical music. Being home to the Habsburg dynasty has ensured that every inch of the city is culturally rich, and offers something spectacular. Where pedestrians can easily make their way through the city, taking in its lush green park, and enjoying a sip in the gorgeous coffee shops. 

Table of Contents

3 Days in Vienna Itinerary: The Best Places To Visit In Vienna, Austria

Day 1 itinerary: viennese old town city center.

The best place to start off your journey is in the old town. The place offers a view of what Vienna used to be, and can easily be covered with a classic city walking tour. One that includes a detailed history that helps you uncover some great gems. In case you want to go about it yourself, here is a quick guide.

VIENNA’S OLD HISTORIC STREETS IN THE CITY CENTER, AUSTRIA

FranziskanerplatzVienna

Visit Vienna Mozart House

Located on Domgasse Street, Mozart’s house is one of the most celebrated places in Vienna. Called the Mozarthaus, it is the only Mozart apartment in Vienna. Mozart lived there for approximately 3 years and produced some of his best work while living there. The space offers you a full view of his 18th Century work and touches on his personal life.

Book your Ticket here: Tickets for the Mozarthaus Vienna with Audio Guide

MozarthausWien

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Just a short walk away you will find the stunning St. Stephen’s Cathedral. A defining landmark in Vienna, one that you cannot miss. Showing a breathtakingly beautiful sight, it is set up with a vibrant multicolored tiled roof, that will take your breath away. Head on inside, as both towers are open to the public and can even be climbed for a fee. While the south tower offers the best view, we suggest you pick the one you like. 

Book your tickets here: Secrets of the St. Stephan’s Cathedral

StephansdomViennaTravel

Vienna Opera House

A 10-minute walk away is the Vienna Opera House. Built in 1869, the opera house in Vienna is a magnificent work of art. Set in layers, the space has been home to some of the greatest of all time. Here is the place where all the best conductors and singers have stunned the world. If you are an opera fan, we suggest you take out 40 minutes and enjoy a complete tour of the place. 

Book your Ticket here :  Vienna State Opera Skip The Line Tour Ticket

ULTIMATE GUIDE VISITING THE VIENNA OPERA HOUSE, AUSTRIA

ViennaStateOpera_theviennablog

Visit a Vienna Coffeehouse  – A Viennese Coffee Break

Once you have taken on the three greatest, it’s time to take a short break and enjoy a cup of coffee, and even a slice of cake. Slow down your mood a little, so you can take in the simple pleasures of life. 

BEST COFFEEHOUSES IN THE CITY CENTER OF VIENNA, AUSTRIA

TopCoffeehousesViennaCafeCentral_theviennablog

Vienna Museum & Art

When in Vienna you are truly spoiled for choices when it comes to museums. There are so many choices, that you can waste endless hours wondering which one to cover. To help ensure you do not miss out, we have listed down the best. From the list, you may choose the ones that suit you best. 

  • Albertinaplatz
  • Museum Quarter 
  • Sigmund Freud Museum
  • Kunsthistorisches Museum
  • Beethoven Museum

THE BEST 12 MUSEUMS YOU NEED TO VISIT IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA TRAVEL GUIDE (UPDATE 2022)

AlbertinaMuseumVienna

Vienna Food, Dinner & Drinks

After a long day exploring all the museums, you can finally make your way to a restaurant. The best way, the only way to ensure you do not miss out on the fabulous food is to plan ahead. Everyone has a different taste, so we suggest you do your research and find restaurants that match your mood. 

VIENNA FOOD GUIDE – TRADITIONAL VIENNESE FOOD YOU MUST EAT IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA (UPDATE 2022)

Il Melograno_ItalianRestaurant_theviennablog

Day 2 Vienna Itinerary: Palaces in Vienna

Plan your Trip to Vienna?

  • 🏨 Find the perfect accommodation on  Booking.com
  • 🎡 Book the Best Guided Tour on  GetYourGuide
  • 😍 Get more emotions from your trip with  Tripadvisor
  • 🚘 Rent a car on  Rentalcars
  • ✈️ Buy the cheapest flight tickets with  WayAway
  • 🚂 🚌 ✈️ Best prices for Train, Buses, Cars, Ferries, and flights Omio

The only way to ensure you experience everything in a timely manner is to get an early start. You can have breakfast where you are staying or grab a bit on your way. Remind yourself that you will be walking it all off soon, so we suggest you grab something that offers you energy. 

THE BEST BREAKFAST BRUNCH SPOTS IN VIENNA, WIEN AUSTRIA UPDATE 2022

Pro Tip: Get your tickets in advance so you do not waste precious moments in lines. 

Schönbrunn Palace

A UNESCO heritage site, and one of the most elegant palaces in the world. A Renaissance palace that was the summer home for the Hapsburg dynasty , enjoying its marvelous beauty for more than 650 years. The place is just half of the story, as the real journey begins when you make your way to the extensive garden complex. 

Book your tickets here: Schönbrunn Palace: Tour with Gardens

*) Let your guide bring the history of the palace and its gardens to life on a guided tour. See how the Habsburg Dynasty lived and learn more about the life of the Austrian court.

A QUICK TRAVEL GUIDE TO VIENNA’S SCHÖNBRUNN PALACE, VIENNA AUSTRIA

SchoenbrunnGuide_theviennablog-palace-in-vienna-austria

Belvedere Palace

 The second palace you need to see is the Belvedere Palace, it is a grand place and is said to be the most visited tourist spot in Vienna. Built back in 1712-23, by Johann Lucas von Hildebrandt. This masterpiece is considered to be one of his best works. While the place served as a summer home to Prince Eugene of Savoy , it is now open for everyone to explore. Said to be one of Europe’s most important museums, it has a great deal to offer. One that is sure to take hours of your day. 

Book your ticket here: Entrance Tickets for Belvedere

Ending The Day – Once you have had dinner we suggest you take in the city as much as you can. You can either walk around or grab a ride. As nothing is more magical than taking in Vienna at night. If you don’t mind walking more, you can take on a two-hour nighttime walking tour to hear stories about Vienna

BelvedereViennaTravel3Days

Liechtenstein Garden Palace

In the middle of Vienna, there is a stately garden palace, which is of outstanding interest to only a few tourists. The property with its extensive park can look back on a long history and houses one of the largest private collections in the world.  https://www.palaisliechtenstein.com/

PALAIS LIECHTENSTEIN GARDEN PALACE WALKING TOUR VIENNA, AUSTRIA

  • https://www.palaisliechtenstein.com
  • https://www.facebook.com/palaisliechtenstein/
  • +43-1-319 57 67-0
  • [email protected]

How to get there

  • U-Bahn:  U4 Rossauer Lände
  • Tramway:  D Bauernfeldplatz
  • Bus:  40A Bauernfeldplatz

GardenPalaisLiechtensteinViennaGardenTour-14

Day 3 Vienna Itinerary: Viennese Architecture and Culture

Another day, another palace! Yes, for the history buffs we suggest you take on the Hofburg Palace . It is one of the most beautiful places you will ever experience, filled with a rich history that will take you back in time. Offering you everything you need is a wonder that is ideal for anyone who loves taking a walk down the past. 

Lunch breaks are a must and will help you keep going. You can grab lunch at one of the stands, or pick any restaurant in the city center. 

St. Charles Church – Karlskirche

Built back in 1737, this freestanding column Church is a stunning sight to see. One that is known to hold some of the best concerts, and offers a full panoramic view of the city. However, if you are not in the mood for a concert or a view we suggest you talk to the Naschmarkt , which is filled with exotic and traditional foods. A market is a great place for any foodie.

Book your tickets here: 3-Hour Churches of Vienna Private Tour

*) Visit 5 of Vienna’s stunning churches on this 3-hour private tour. Follow your guide on a special route to see architectural masterpieces and learn the history of the city’s famed churches. Enter St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Votivkirche, and more.

St.CharlsChurchViennaTravelBlog

Vienna City Hall

 The 19th-century Rathaus is designed by Friedrich von Schmidt, making it a monumental and stunning sight you cannot miss. If you book in advance you can enjoy a complete guided tour. 

Book your tickets here: Traditional Dinner Show at the Wiener Rathauskeller

*) Experience the Austrian Dinner Show and enjoy the best regional delicacies along with popular melodies in the vaults of the famous Vienna City Hall.

RathausTownHouseVienna

Burgtheater

Just a short walk you will find the Burg, offering tours at 3 pm sharp, you can enjoy some of Klimt’s early artwork. There are four ceilings in the space, and a grand staircase to match the setting. Features the works of Klimt, Ernst, and Franz Match. 

Guided Tours Burgtheater: Info and Booking here (Click)

BurgtheaterWienGuide

Concert at Schönbrunn Orangerie

A great way to spend your last evening in Vienna is to take in a concert at Schonbrunn. You can book a concert in advance, or simply take in the space and head to any other place you feel you need to experience. 

Book your tickets here: Tour of Schönbrunn Palace with Dinner and a Concert

*) Get the best that Schönbrunn Palace has to offer with a tour of the Palace, a fine dinner in a restaurant within walking distance, and the classical sounds of Mozart and Strauss in the Orangery.

Remember that everyone has a different idea when heading to explore a city, so do not be afraid to tweak the itinerary to find a guide that works best for you. Creating something based on your likes and dislikes can help ensure you enjoy your three days in Vienna.

How to Save Money on your Vienna Trip?

As a European capital. Vienna is not exactly a budget destination, although there are ways that you can save money on your trip.

Almost every site on this list has an admission price, which can range from a few dollars to thirty euros per person. As a result, the cost of tourism might soon mount.

Fortunately, there is a solution in the form of the great Vienna Pass. We believe that city passes like this are one of the finest ways to save money, and that the Vienna Pass is one of the best value city pass cards available.

Get your Vienna Pass Tickets here: Vienna PASS: 1, 2, 3, or 6 Days of Sightseeing

*) The Vienna PASS is an all-inclusive sightseeing card that gives you the opportunity to experience the many faces of Vienna. You’ll get free admission to many attractions, skip-the-line entry, unlimited hop-on hop-off bus rides, and plenty of discounts.

How to get around Vienna?

There are 4 Ways to get around Vienna.

By Public Transport, Vienna City Card

Taking public transportation is the most convenient method to get around Vienna (Euro 8.- for a 24-hour ticket).

A Vienna City Card , which permits unlimited use of the city’s metro, tram, and bus lines, can be purchased in advance.

Vienna City Cards are available for 1, 2, or 3 consecutive days, and prices range from 24 hours for Euro 17, to 3 days of use + airport transfer for Euro 46.-.

The  Vienna City Card  also offers discounts at over 210 major attractions, making it an excellent value.

By Bicycle   Rent a Bike in Vienna

The city center of Vienna, and the majority of tourist attractions, are reachable by bicycle.

WienMobil Rad is the most popular bike-sharing service in Vienna.

Simply register online, find a terminal and scan the QRCode to unlock a bike.

Detailed Information on How to Rent a bike in Vienna on my Blog:

BIKE RENTAL IN VIENNA – EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW – WIENMOBIL RAD (VIDEO TOUR)

There is also the very popular Classic Vienna:  3-Hour Guided Bike Tour  available to book in advance.

By Hop On Hop Off Bus

The City Card provides access to standard buses throughout Vienna. There is, of course, the well-known Vienna  Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Bus .

This  Hop On Hop Off bus  allows you to hop on and off at many locations throughout the city, including the Museums of the Hofburg, the House of Music, and the Schönbrunn Palace.

This choice is always popular amongst travelers, and it is a great way to see many of Vienna’s famous attractions.

By Guided Tour

There are some amazing tours available to book in advance on  Get Your Guide  for people who are short on time or prefer everything to be organized for them.

There’s much to do in the Austrian capital, from food tours to river cruises and bar crawls!

15 Best Food Tours in Vienna

15 BEST FOOD TOURS IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA – UPDATED 2022/23

HOW MANY DAYS DO YOU NEED TO VISIT VIENNA?

The perfect 2-days vienna itinerary.

So here’s a complete two-day Vienna itinerary, for those looking to do Vienna in two days.

When you are ready to explore  Vienna in two days  you need to decide how you want to get around the city. In this blog post, we give you a perfect answer:  How can I spend 48 hours in Vienna? 

https://www.theviennablog.com/2022/06/04/two-days-in-vienna-i-the-perfect-2-day-itinerary/embed/#?secret=PBoGb8VUEP#?secret=Czx7thlz5E

The Perfect 4-Days Vienna Itinerary

This is a complete  4 days Vienna itinerary for first-time visitors  that cover every single must-visit historical landmark, attraction, monument, and other amazing location in Vienna. Making it the only way to get a full Viennese experience. The city has everything from open-air museums, imperial castles, and grand Baroque architecture to soothing sites.

https://www.theviennablog.com/2022/09/25/4-days-in-vienna-best-vienna-travel-itinerary/embed/#?secret=1TsvfsCxbC#?secret=eVNSqYW0y3

What to see in Vienna in ONE Day? 1 Day Itinerary

Please have a look at my blog post with all the detailed information

ONE DAY IN VIENNA I THE PERFECT 1 DAY ITINERARY

VIDEO TOUR OF BELVEDERE PALACE

historical places to visit in vienna

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historical places to visit in vienna

History Hit

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historical places to visit in vienna

The History Hit Miscellany of Facts, Figures and Fascinating Finds

10 Key Historic Sites in Austria

Discover the best historic sites in austria, from schonbrunn palace to salzburg catacombs..

historical places to visit in vienna

Kyle Hoekstra

24 nov 2020, @kylehoekstra.

From the stately Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna to the daunting edifice of Hohensalzburg Fortress, there’s no shortage of incredible historic sites in Austria. They include the mausoleums carved into the face of Salzburg’s Mönchsberg and the remains of a strategically vital Roman city. Enjoy our list of the 10 best historic sites in Austria.

historical places to visit in vienna

1. Schonbrunn Palace

Schonbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn) in Vienna was in the possession of the Habsburg Dynasty from the 16th century to 1918, when it passed into the hands of the Austrian Republic. Originally known as Katterburg, it was renamed as Schonbrunn in approximately 1642.

The land on which Schonbrunn Palace sits was purchased by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II in 1569 and used as a hunting lodge and recreational venue before the buildings were destroyed as part of the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683.

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Schonbrunn Palace and its magnificent gardens are one of the most popular historic tourist destinations in Vienna and visitors can avail themselves of various themed guided tours or make use of free audio guides.

historical places to visit in vienna

2. Hofburg Imperial Palace

Hofburg Imperial Palace, or just “the Hofburg”, is a grand palace in Vienna. It was owned by the Austro-Hungarian Habsburg Dynasty until 1918, when it passed to the Austrian Republic. Today it is a buzzing network of museums, restaurants and halls as well as the seat of the President of Austria.

Although the oldest, square parts of the building date back to the 13th century, Hofburg Imperial Palace became a residence of the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire from the 15th century. It became the seat of the Emperor of Austria in the early 19th century.

Hofburg Imperial Palace contains a wealth of architectural gems. It includes works by Filiberto Luchese, Lukas von Hildebrandt and Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach. Joseph Emanuel also designed parts of Schonbrunn Palace.

Hofburg Palace is now made up of a series of museums, such as the Sisi Museum, housing the imperial silver collection, the Euphesus Museum of neo-baroque architecture, the natural history museum and the collections of military armour.

historical places to visit in vienna

3. Vienna State Opera

The Vienna State Opera House dates back to 20 December 1857, when Emperor Franz Josef made his intention to expand Vienna’s public buildings known. The design of the Vienna State Opera House was awarded to architects August Sicard von Sicardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll.

Neither lived to see its completion on 25 May 1869. The structure’s renaissance style is still prominent today, despite the building’s destruction in 1945 by American bombing raids. The first post-war performance of Fidelio by Beethoven was held in the renovated building on 5 November 1955.

Today, the State Opera House houses the world famous Vienna Philharmonic. Guided tours of the building are available. They include the entrance foyer, the main staircase, the marble room, Schwind foyer and the Gustav Mahler room, and occasionally a tour of the auditorium.

The nearby Vienna State Opera Museum displays a series of exhibitions relating to the building and its history since 1955. Of course, another way to tour the Vienna State Opera is to buy a ticket to a performance, but do so far in advance as these are very popular.

historical places to visit in vienna

4. Mozart’s Birthplace

The house where Mozart was born was built in the 12th century in Salzburg, Austria. Mozart’s Birthplace has been transformed into a museum of the composer’s life. Set over three floors, the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart now features exhibits dedicated to his life and career.

The exhibits of the third floor include Mozart’s childhood violin and harpsichord alongside family letters, portraits and early versions of his music. The house’s second floor is devoted to Mozart’s passion for opera, housing the clavichord on which he composed The Magic Flute. The first floor reconstructs life in Mozart’s lifetime with period furniture.

The rooms are in their original state and include artefacts such as some of his instruments, documents, keepsakes and portraits. Guided tour and mobile phone text guide are available. The visit usually lasts 1.5 hours.

historical places to visit in vienna

5. The Belvedere Palaces

The two magnificent Baroque Belvedere palaces – Upper and Lower – are the most visited cultural sites in Vienna. They were built in the early years of the 18th century as a summer residence by Prince Eugene of Savoy, one of the Holy Roman Empire’s most distinguished statesmen and military commanders.

Built by world-renowned Baroque architect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, Lower Belvedere where Prince Eugene lived was completed in 1716 and Upper Belvedere in 1724. The palaces are connected by a spectacular garden designed by Parisian garden designer Dominique Girard.

The Lower Belvedere Palace includes the Marble Gallery with plaster medallions of the Greek god Apollo, the Grotesque Hall’s detailed wall paintings and the richly decorated Sale Terrene and Garden Pavilion. Meanwhile the Upper Belvedere Palace contains one of Europe’s finest art collections.

Prince Eugene was a famous patron of the arts and was an avid collector of 16th and 17th century Italian, Dutch and Flemish art. The palace features the world’s largest collection of Gustav Klimt paintings. It also has famous works by Monet and Van Gogh, and the grimacing character heads of sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt.

historical places to visit in vienna

6. Hohensalzburg Fortress

Hohensalzburg Fortress, also known as Hohensalzburg Castle, in Salzburg, Austria, is an incredibly well preserved citadel and one of the largest remaining medieval fortresses in central Europe.

Hohensalzburg was built in 1077 by Gebhard von Helfenstein, also known as Prince Gebhard I of Helffenstein and Archbishop Gebhard, and was later expanded over the centuries, including by Archbishop Leonhard von Keutschach in the sixteenth century.

Hohensalzburg Fortress sits high atop Salzburg and is an imposing white stone structure with large battlements and turrets. The Fortress Museum displays ancient weaponry, Roman coins, and historic musical instruments. Visitors can see several state rooms and also torture chambers. Worth the trip alone, the views from Hohensalzburg Fortress are spectacular.

historical places to visit in vienna

7. Salzburg Cathedral

Salzburg Cathedral is the centre of this historical Austrian city’s ecclesiastical community. Whilst the city’s first cathedral was built there in 767 AD, Salzburg Cathedral has been built, destroyed, reconstructed and expanded numerous times and has been consecrated three times.

Salzburg Cathedral was destroyed when the city was attacked in 1167. It was subject to another fire in 1598, which precipitated a controversy when the archbishop tore down the entire church rather than trying to preserve what remained.

Salzburg Cathedral’s final incarnation took shape in the 17th century, when architect Markus Sittikus was commissioned to design a new cathedral. Sittikus designed Salzburg Cathedral in a Baroque style with a majestic marble façade, crowned with green domes and flanked by towers.

The cathedral’s dome was destroyed and rebuilt when it was struck by bombing raids in 1944. The  cathedral was consecrated again in 1959 and dedicated to Saint Rupert of Salzburg. His statue stands in front of Salzburg Cathedral, together with apostles Peter and Paul and Saint Virgil.

Inside the ornate interior of Salzburg Cathedral, visitors can find the place where composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was baptized and where he composed music.

historical places to visit in vienna

8. Salzburg Catacombs

The Salzburg Catacombs are a series of mausoleums carved into the face of the Mönchsberg rock by the city’s St. Peter’s Cemetery. St. Peter’s Cemetery (Petersfriedhof) was built in 1627, making it Salzburg’s oldest graveyard.

St Peter’s Cemetery is the resting place of several eminent people including the composer, Michael Haydn, the architect of Salzburg Cathedral, Sanction Solaria and Mozart’s sister, Mannerly. The historic Salzburg Catacombs overlook this beautiful cemetery and are accessible via a stone staircase.

Inside the Salzburg Catacombs, visitors can wander through the altars, deciphering their fascinating inscriptions and taking in the murals. It is unknown when the Salzburg Catacombs were originally constructed, but they are believed to have been built by early Christians.

historical places to visit in vienna

9. Hohenwerfen Castle

Hohenwerfen Castle is an impressive fortress in the Salzach valley of Austria, flanked by the Berchtesgaden Alps and the Tennen Mountains.

Hohenwerfen Castle was built by the Archbishop of Salzburg in the 11th century, making it a “sister” of the city’s Hohensalzburg Fortress and Burgruine Petersberg in Friesach. While the castle’s original fortifications were probably made from wood, Hohenwerfen had by the 15th century developed into a vast stone structure.

The castle belongs to the state of Salzburg today, and the fortifications of Hohenwerfen Castle have been used as a tourist attraction since 1987. Hohenwerfen is near the region of the Salzkammergut, Austria’s lake district which includes historic sites such as Hallstatt, the Kaiservilla in Bad Ischl, and castle ruins like Burgruine Wartenfels.

historical places to visit in vienna

10. Carnuntum

Carnuntum Archaeological Park in Austria contains both reconstructed and original remains from this once-thriving and strategically vital Roman city. The site is made up of a number of different attractions spread across a rather large area.

Roman ruins sit amongst restored and reconstructed buildings, designed to encourage visitors to experience life in the Roman era. Roman influence took hold at Carnuntum in the early 1st century AD. The Danube was vital to Rome’s defence and the site was chosen as the home to Rome’s 15th Legion.

The Emperor Claudius recognised the potential of the city, erecting a military camp designed to hold 6000 men while the city became the capital of the province of Upper Pannonia. A thriving civilian city expanded at Carnuntum, which became one of the largest Roman cities in the region.

Carnuntum’s position on the border left it vulnerable and the Barbarian Invasions gradually reduced the city to ruin. Visitors to Carnuntum can explore the city’s military camp, amphitheatre, religious buildings as well as the museum.

Architectural reconstructions on site were largely made with Roman tools and craftsmanship. They are among the most accurate representations of Roman life in the 4th century ever produced.

The Crazy Tourist

Home » Travel Guides » Austria » 15 Best Things to Do in Vienna (Austria)

15 Best Things to Do in Vienna (Austria)

The Capital of Austria is home to nearly one third of the county’s inhabitants and is its primary city. This metropolitan city hosts the United Nations organisation and is a major centre for Austria’s culture, economy and Politics. With many different names like the City of Music and the City of dreams, Vienna is renowned throughout the world and has a plethora of stunning historical buildings, gardens and establishments.

Ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world with its inhabitants enjoying a high quality of life, Vienna is a haven in central Europe and remains a popular tourist destination. Listed below are the top must do’s in Vienna and should provide you with more than enough information to plan your trip.

Let’s have a look at the best things to do in Vienna :

1. Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace

Standing since the 1600’s and holding a major role of cultural importance in Austria, the Schonbrunn Palace is a colossal 1441 room structure and complex that is the main tourist attraction in Vienna.

The Habsburgs have held residence here for many years and indeed emperors of Austria have been born in the palace too.

The palace itself is an immense building and designed in a Baroque style with a symmetrical main building that has hundreds of windows and statues on the rooftop.

Inside the palace are an assortment of rooms all fully furnished and decorated in the original style – You can enjoy a tour through the rooms and admire the sumptuous furnishings and see how Austrian royalty lived.

2. Hofburg Palace

Hofburg Palace

The Hofburg Palace is another huge palatial complex that pays tribute to the power and influence of the Habsburg dynasty and served as the main winter palace for the rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire for hundreds of years.

Today the complex is home to offices of the president of Austria and serves as a presidential base.

The buildings have undergone many additions since their creation in the 13th century and the most impressive of which is the fabulous semi-circular Neue Burg.

Visitors can admire the beauty and style of the baroque architecture, take a tour through the imperial apartments or visit one of the detailed museums in the complex.

3. St Stephen’s Cathedral

St Stephen’s Cathedral

This monolithic structure stands proud in the Stephensplatz and has been the most important church in Vienna and Austria since its construction.

The beauty of this building is undeniable and its huge tower dominates the Vienna skyline and stands as the tallest church tower in Austria.

Everything about St Stephen’s Cathedral oozes opulence – From the Romanesque and Gothic design of the exterior, to the dominating pointed tower, and the intricately decorated main roof complete with hundreds of coloured tiles forming an intriguing pattern.

Inside the church there are a total of 18 altars, several smaller chapels, and even some tombs and catacombs.

As an iconic building of Vienna, St Stephens cannot be missed!

4. Schonbrunn Gardens

Schonbrunn Gardens

Another exceptional part to the Schonbrunn Palace Complex and worthy of a separate visit in its own right, the gardens at Schonbrunn are simply magical.

The grounds of the park extend from the Palace for over a kilometre and you could spend hours walking through the various sections and displays.

You can walk through the Parterre and admire the uniform flower beds, or get lost in the beautiful hedge maze and labyrinth; Neptune’s fountain is a stunning piece of artwork, while there is even an artificial Roman Ruin complete with stone statues.

The crowning glory to all of this is the Gloriette which stands opposite the palace and features a pool and a classical colonnaded long building – Enjoy a drink here in the cafe or simple admire the views of the whole gardens in front of you.

Vienna Rathaus

Vienna is full of historical and significant architecture and the Town Hall located on Rathausplatz is a fine addition to this collection.

A later addition to the city, the Rathaus was constructed in the 1800’s in a Neo-Gothic style to accommodate the offices of the mayor for an ever increasing city population.

Similar in style to the town hall in Brussels, the Rathaus has five towers, the middle of which is the largest and is topped by the iconic Rathausman statue.

Guided tours are available of the inside of the Town Hall on certain days, and this is well worthwhile just to see the extravagant style of the rooms and what it must be like to work inside such a wonderful building.

6. Tiergarten Schonbrunn (Vienna Zoo)

Vienna Zoo

Located within the grounds of the Schonbrunn Palace, the Tiergarten Zoo is the oldest zoo in the world and touts itself as a centre for species preservation and educational fulfilment.

Originally built as a menagerie, the Zoo has several original buildings from that era and mingled together with more modern structures, create a pleasant place to walk through.

The Zoo is home to a myriad of animals from the endangered giant Panda, to Giraffes, Sea Lions and Sloths – There are many talks throughout the day by experienced Zookeepers and even a simulated Amazon rainforest environment to walk through.

As Zoos go, the Vienna Zoo is one of the finest in the world and you can see the care the animals receive.

Tip : The Vienna Zoo is included in the Vienna PASS

7. Belvedere Museum

Belvedere Museum

This gigantic palatial complex and gardens is split into Upper and Lower Belvedere and served as a summer residence for Austrian princes in the 1600’s.

The two palaces themselves feature amazing architecture and stand out royally in the gardens – Upper Belvedere has a detailed façade with green domed semi-towers while Lower Belvedere has a simpler design; both palaces face the stunning gardens.

Sights at the Belvedere Museum include the two palaces which hold a staggering collection of artwork and decorated staterooms and the expansive landscape gardens complete with pools and an Orangery.

8. Vienna State Opera

Vienna State Opera

Opera and fine architecture is synonymous with Vienna, and the Vienna State Opera provides both in abundance.

This outstanding building is located centrally in the Innere Stadt district and is considered one of the finest Opera Houses in the world.

The exterior has a Neo-Renaissance style and is characterised by its many arches and arched windows, while the interior is extremely decadent and feels more like a palace than a place of musical celebration.

Daily guided tours are available which last around 40 minutes and give a good overview of the building.

If you wanted to see a live concert or Opera, you would need to research what is showing before your visit and buy tickets.

Available activity : Mozart & Strauss Concert at the Vienna State Opera

9. Vienna Natural History Museum

Vienna Natural History Museum

Housed in a sophisticated palace complex that is typical of the historical architecture in Vienna, the Natural History Museum has a huge collection of minerals, precious stones, meteorites, fossils, skeletons of animals, displays of various insects and mammals and even some taxidermy of extinct species.

With over 30 million objects the museum’s collection is one of the most important in Europe and new additions are arriving all the time.

This fascinating venue also has a digital planetarium where you can see intriguing films about the earth and its development.

Adults and children alike will love the sheer amount of information and eye-boggling displays in this epic museum.

10. Prater Amusement Park

Prater Amusement Park

What could be a more enjoyable way to experience Vienna than having a fun packed day at the Prater Amusement Park? The Wiener Prater Park was once a hunting ground that developed into a public space for food stands and small amusement stalls, it now hosts the impressive Amusement Park and is free to enter (You pay for the individual rides instead). Inside the park is a multitude of rides and stalls including a huge Ferris wheel, bumper cars, carousels and hair-raising rollercoasters.

There are also such things as shooting ranges, a wax works display and a light gauge railway to keep you entertained.

If rides and thrills are not your kind of thing, there are several restaurants and cafes in the park to sit back and enjoy the scenery in.

11. The Spanish Riding School

Spanish Riding School

One of the finest institutes for classical dressage in the world, and a long-standing renowned tradition In Austria, The Spanish Riding School has been responsible for training horses in the art of dressage for hundreds of years.

The riding school as built during the Habsburg Monarchy and has stood ever since.

The building is open to the public and you can watch demonstrations and in some cases training sessions too.

For anyone who loves riding this is a must see in Vienna, while even for non-riders you can still appreciate the passion and love that is put into this art form.

Available activity : Spanish Riding School 2-Hour Morning Exercise

12. Donauturm (Viewing tower)

Donauturm

Listed in the tallest 75 free-standing towers in the world at a whopping 252m, the Donauturm stands as an observation tower in the Donaustadt district of Vienna.

The Donauturm stands out against the relatively low-rise skyline of Vienna and is easily recognisable; the structure contains radio transmitters and cell phone antennae, two revolving restaurants, and observation platform and even a bungie jumping gangway.

The tower provides a fantastic and different way to see Vienna and it is easy to see why it draws so many visitors.

13. Naschmarkt

Naschmarkt

Market places often define a city and give a good representation of its heritage and culture, they are engaging places to walk through and provide tourists with an authentic slice of local life.

The Naschmarkt is held on the Wienzeile street and stretches for around 1.5km, full of stalls selling anything from fresh fruit and vegetables to herbs, cheese and seafood.

The atmosphere, sounds, sights and smells are tantalising and the grand scale of the market make it famous world-wide.

14. Vienna Ring Road

Vienna Ring Road

The opulent Ring Road that surrounds the Innere Stadt district of Vienna was especially constructed in the 19th century after the removal of the city walls.

It features eclectic architecture and has many famous buildings lining its pavements.

The road itself is wide and is framed by the cities tram line which remains an important mode of transport, there are also sections lined with trees and the road proves a great cycle route.

It is well worth walking on parts of the ring road to see its importance and also the beautiful buildings that frame it.

15. Vienna Woods

View from Vienna Woods

At the foothills of the Northern Limestone Alps, the Vienna Woods lie to the west of the city and span some 45km.

Several rivers form the boundaries of the woods or Wienerwald and the area is popular with both Austrians looking to escape the city, and tourists looking to enjoy the beautiful Austrian countryside.

The woods are full of hidden gems from underground boat rides (The seegrotte) to Hunting Lodges and small villages untouched by the expanse of Vienna.

There are companies that provide half day tours, or you could simple do some research and form your own itinerary – The possibilities are endless in this alluring part of Austria.

15 Best Things to Do in Vienna (Austria):

  • Schönbrunn Palace
  • Hofburg Palace
  • St Stephen’s Cathedral
  • Schonbrunn Gardens
  • Tiergarten Schonbrunn (Vienna Zoo)
  • Belvedere Museum
  • Vienna State Opera
  • Vienna Natural History Museum
  • Prater Amusement Park
  • The Spanish Riding School
  • Donauturm (Viewing tower)
  • Vienna Ring Road
  • Vienna Woods
  • Best Time to Visit Vienna
  • How To Reach Vienna
  • Restaurants in Vienna
  • Events & Festivals in Vienna
  • Things To Do in Vienna
  • Vienna Itineraries
  • Vienna Tours
  • Vienna Hotels

Historical Destinations in Vienna

  • Things To Do In Vienna

Top Historical Places in Vienna

Are you looking to explore the history of Vienna through the ages? There are a number of historical destinations in Vienna including the time-honored buildings, monuments, palaces, and parks where you can learn about the glorious past of Vienna. The presence of these historical sites and museums will take you on a walk through Vienna ‘s rich history. If you are willing to have an in-depth historical information about Vienna, we recommend that you take a wonderful guided tour to cover the major historical attractions. Also, check the opening and closing time for each so that you can organize your time. Make sure that you go through the complete list of historical places in Vienna for a great trip!

Let's witness the history of Vienna with these top historical places - monuments and landmarks:

Schonbrunn Palace

Schonbrunn Palace

Art And Culture, Landmark, Palace, Heritage Building

Historic Centre Of Vienna

Historic Centre Of Vienna

Historical Site, Unesco Site

St Stephens Cathedral

St Stephens Cathedral

Religious Site, Cathedral

Belvedere Palace

Belvedere Palace

Karlskirche

Karlskirche

Church, Religious Site, Cathedral

Hofburg Palace

Hofburg Palace

Church, Library, Museum, Palace

Stadtpark

Park, Statue, Picnic Spot, Sculpture

Austrian Parliament Building

Austrian Parliament Building

Architecture , Heritage Building

Donauturm

View Point, Cafe, Restaurant, Tower

Ringstrasse

Ringstrasse

Historical Site, Architecture , Boulevard

Central Cemetery

Central Cemetery

Monument, Cemetery

Pestsaule

Soviet War Memorial

Soviet War Memorial

War Memorial

Russian Orthodox Cathedral Of St. Nicholas

Russian Orthodox Cathedral Of St. Nicholas

Maria Am Gestade

Maria Am Gestade

Church, Religious Site, Historical Site

Historical Tours

  • Private Sightseeing Tours in Vienna
  • History & Heritage Tours in Vienna
  • Local Culture & Education Tours in Vienna
  • Day Trips in Vienna
  • Luxury Tours in Vienna

Explore

The Best Museums To Visit In Vienna

Europe is a dream destination for many. After all, it's home to some of the most historic, charming, and friendly cities in the world. From Amsterdam's canals and endless museums to Florence's incredible food and London's endless family-friendly attractions , there's something for every type of traveler. The list of popular holiday destinations in Europe is extensive, but there is one place that's often overlooked. In fact, it may just be Europe's most underrated metropolis: Vienna.

It's time to change that! The Austrian capital is home to royal palaces, top-rated art museums, family-friendly attractions (like the world's oldest zoo), a rich cafe culture with mouth-watering cakes at every turn, and more. Many of its star attractions are located within walking distance of each other and a large portion are clustered in the MuseumsQuartier. Exploring the historic city center on foot is not only easy but a must. Meanwhile, attractions that are further afield are well connected by an extensive metro and tram network. To help inspire your next trip and make planning your itinerary a little easier, here are the very best must-visit museums in Vienna.

The Hofburg

The Hofburg was once the imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty and served as the royals' winter residence as of the 13th century. It's one of the largest palace complexes in the world and today, it's home to numerous museums. Interestingly, it's also the official residence of the President of Austria. As a tourist, you can visit the Imperial Apartments to see where and how the Habsburgs lived for over six centuries and walk through lavishly decorated bedrooms, salons, and even Empress Elisabeth's exercise room. The empress, who was nicknamed Sisi, also gets her time in the spotlight in the second major museum here: the Sisi Museum . Comprising over 300 personal objects – including a milk glass complete with a traveling case! – it paints a full picture of the life (and personality) of Emperor Franz Joseph I's wife. A single-day ticket will get you into both attractions. 

Hofburg is also home to the Imperial Treasury where you can see crowns and other royal treasures; the Spanish Riding School where you can see Lipizzaner horses in action at a training or dressage performance; and the Austrian National Library, whose 18th-century State Hall is one of the most beautiful in the world. These require separate tickets.

The Belvedere

Set in a sprawling park, the Belvedere  museum complex is made up of two historic palaces (Upper Belvedere and Lower Belvedere), a modern-day addition dedicated to contemporary art (Belvedere 21), and lush Baroque-style gardens. You could easily spend an entire day here, but if you're tight on time and still want to visit all three museums (Tip: Opt for the 3-in-1 day ticket), you'll need to allocate about three hours.

Built by Prince Eugene of Savoy in the early 1700s, Upper and Lower Belvedere were meant to serve as his summer home. Now, the lavish estate houses some of the world's greatest art. Start at Upper Belvedere to see works from the Middle Ages running through Baroque, Modernism, and all the way up to the 1970s. Here, you'll have the chance to view pieces from greats like Egon Schiele, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh. However, it's the Gustav Klimt collection – the largest in the world – that sets art lovers' hearts aflutter, including the iconic "The Kiss."

As for Lower Belvedere, it's home to temporary exhibits, like 2023's "Klimt. Inspired by Van Gogh, Rodin, Matisse," and offers a chance to glimpse how Prince Eugene lived through preserved period rooms, including the Marble Gallery, Gold Cabinet, and Hall of Grotesques. Finish off your visit at Belvedere 21, which was specially built to showcase contemporary art, film, and music.

Schönbrunn Palace And Schönbrunn Zoo

Located just outside the historic city center, Schönbrunn Palace is perhaps the most popular attraction in the city. The sprawling complex became the Habsburgs' summer home under the 18th-century rule of Maria Theresa. Today, the imperial palace, along with its lush gardens and award-winning Schönbrunn Zoo, is on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. While you could easily spend half a day exploring the palace, walking through the various green spaces, and getting lost in the park maze and labyrinth, you can tailor your visit to your time frame. Ticket reservations for the palace are a must and you can opt to visit the State Apartments (about 25 minutes), take the Imperial Tour (about 40 minutes) to see Emperor Franz Joseph I and Sisi's private apartments, or the Grand Tour (about 60 minutes) which covers all of the above, as well as Maria Theresa's rooms.

Schönbrunn Zoo, where you can spend the rest of your day, is equally impressive. In addition to being the oldest zoo in the world, it's repeatedly been voted Europe's best zoo and is home to 700 species, from Siberian tigers to capybaras, bearded dragons, exotic birds, and the show-stealing giant pandas. Tip: Make sure to check the daily animal feeding schedule for an added treat.

Depending on what you'd like to visit, there are various combination tickets available. For a family day out, be sure to also stop by the Children's Museum Schönbrunn Palace where kids can learn about royal life through hands-on exhibits.

Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna looks like a palace and the collection it houses is truly royal in nature. Opened in 1891, the museum was commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph I as a place to display the Imperial Collections of the Habsburgs. Step into the opulent entrance hall and you'll be greeted by a dizzying array of sculptures, marble columns, and gold. Walk up the grand staircase and admire the paintings created by brothers Ernst and Gustav Klimt and Franz von Matsch, which decorate all of the empty spaces between arches and columns.

This breathtaking beginning sets the tone for the impressive (and varied!) art collection you'll experience inside. Spanning Ancient Egypt to the late 18th century, artifacts range from Egyptian sarcophagi to Greek and Roman antiquities, some 600,000 coins, as well as paintings by an impressive array of Old Masters. Here, you'll be able to admire works by the likes of Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Johannes Vermeer, as well as experience the world's largest collection of works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. In need of a break? You can stop by the café-restaurant for a traditional coffee and torte served in the gorgeous Cupola Hall or settle in for a full breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Natural History Museum Vienna

The Natural History Museum Vienna has a history as impressive as its displays. Franz I Stephan of Lorraine was a Habsburg monarch, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire as of 1745, and an avid lover of the natural world. It was he who founded the Schönbrunn Zoo in 1752, followed by Schönbrunn Palace's botanic garden the following year. His passion was so strong that he even funded scientific expeditions abroad and, in 1750, purchased what was then the world's biggest collection of natural history objects. Among the 30,000 pieces he acquired were fossils, minerals, corals, and much more. Following his death in 1765, the collection was made public, laying the foundation for today's museum.

Located right next to the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, it brings together biology, earth sciences, anthropology, and archaeology. The rich permanent collection features everything from fossils to meteorites, minerals, animal specimens, and (always a hit) dinosaurs. Just some highlights include a full-sized pteranodon model, pterosaur skeletons, and an animatronic version of an allosaurus placed next to the real deal.

Leopold Museum

The Leopold Museum is conveniently located next to the Natural History Museum Vienna and Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna and is home to an impressive array of Austrian modern art collected by Dr. Rudolf Leopold and his wife, Elisabeth Leopold. Dr. Leopold began acquiring works in the 1950s and eventually ended up with over 5,000 pieces from local masters like Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, and Oskar Kokoschka. As his obituary in The New York Times pointed out, Dr. Leopold was particularly fond of Schiele, even though his works were taboo and quite controversial at the time. In addition to writing books about the artist, he amassed the largest Egon Schiele collection in the world, comprising 42 paintings, 187 original graphics, and various manuscripts.

In 2001, the Leopold Museum opened to allow everyone to enjoy the fruits of Leopold's art collecting. The space is truly a love letter to the art of Vienna, particularly Viennese Modernism. In addition to the Schiele collection, the permanent exhibition, "Vienna 1900. Birth of Modernism," brings together 1,300 paintings, sculptures, photographs, textiles, furniture, and more to present a well-rounded picture of the art of the times.

Albertina And Albertina Modern

Although these two museums are housed in separate buildings, it's just a nine-minute walk between them and buying a combined entry ticket will save you over 25% on admission. Begin at Albertina and get lost in the stellar permanent exhibition "Monet to Picasso: The Batliner Collection," which features works by greats like Marc Chagall, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, and Paul Cézanne. The museum also hosts top-rated temporary exhibits, like 2023's "Dürer, Munch, Miró: The Great Masters of Printmaking." But it's not just fine art you'll see here. The building that houses Albertina was once the residence of the Habsburg Archdukes and today, there are 20 restored and furnished Habsburg State Rooms for you to visit.

Once you've finished your journey to the past, you can venture over to Albertina Modern for a big dose of contemporary art. While the permanent collection focuses on post-1945 Austrian artists, temporary exhibits take a more international approach with shows like 2022's "Ai Weiwei: In Search of Humanity" and 2023's "Andy Warhol to Damien Hirst: The Revolution in Printmaking."

Tip: It makes sense to do both museums on the same day, given their proximity, but your ticket allows you to visit them on different days within one year.

Former Apartments Of Beethoven, Strauss, And More

Think of a famous composer and chances are, they lived and worked in Vienna – at least for a time. Indeed, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Strauss, Franz Schubert, and Joseph Haydn all called the city home and six of their former apartments have been turned into museums. You can purchase a combined ticket to save nearly 40% on admission and gain access to: Haydnhaus where Haydn spent the last 12 years of his life; Johann Strauss Wohnung where Strauss lived and worked for seven years; Schubert Geburtshaus where the composer was born; Schubert Sterbewohnung, the apartment where he spent the last few weeks of his life before his death at just 31; Beethoven Pasqualatihaus where Beethoven worked on many of his famed symphonies over eight years; and the Beethoven Museum which showcases the famed maestro's life, work, and struggles. While the museums are compact, they are spread out across the city, so you may want to visit them on separate days. Luckily, your ticket is valid for a full year.

Note: You may also wish to visit Mozarthaus Vienna, the only remaining Viennese apartment that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart once called home, but that will require a separate ticket.

Klimt Villa

Located close to Schönbrunn Palace, Klimt Villa is a must-visit for Gustav Klimt fans. While it may not generate as much buzz as, say, Upper Belvedere's collection of Klimt paintings, it is the only space in the city where you can literally walk in the artist's footsteps and learn more about him as a person.

What is now an impressive villa used to be a single-story summer house which Klimt rented and used as a workshop from 1911 until his death in 1918. Notably, while the home was later expanded (and nearly demolished!), the studio space was left untouched. Today, it has been meticulously reconstructed to look as it did when Klimt was in residence. With help from photographs and historical accounts, curators were able to bring Klimt's reception room and studio back to life, offering visitors the unique chance to experience the space as the artist himself would have seen it. Once you're done inside, you can wander out into the very garden he once painted and imagine yourself the subject of one of his works. Tip: If you happen to be visiting on a weekend between May and October, you can enjoy a coffee break in the Garden Café.

Jewish Museum Vienna

The first Jewish museum in the world was founded in Vienna in 1895 and today's Jewish Museum Vienna continues that storied legacy. During WWII, Nazis closed the museum and confiscated its collection, over half of which was never to be seen again. The surviving objects now make up the core of today's museum, which aims to shine a light on Jewish history, religion, and culture. It is split into two locations – Museum Judenplatz and Museum Dorotheergasse – but they can easily be visited at the same time, as they're just an eight-minute walk apart. However, your ticket is valid for seven days, so you can also split them up if you prefer.

We recommend starting at Museum Dorotheergasse where the permanent exhibit "Our City! Jewish Vienna - Then to Now" will teach you about Jewish life from the Middle Ages until the present day. Other highlights include the Atelier, which showcases the art of celebrating various holidays and festivities, as well as Visible Storage, which houses the remaining collection from the original museum. Then, you can make your way to Museum Judenplatz, housed on the site where a 13th-century synagogue once stood until its destruction in 1421. This was the heart of the Jewish quarter at the time and the synagogue's remains can be seen inside the museum alongside a virtual reconstruction.

Museum Of Applied Arts (MAK)

The Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) dates all the way back to 1863 when Rudolf von Eitelberger, the first-ever professor of history at the University of Vienna, dreamt up the space to rival London's Victoria and Albert Museum. Initially called the Imperial Royal Museum of Art and Industry, the MAK showcases a wide-ranging collection, from furniture to textiles, contemporary art, and Venetian glass. Its permanent exhibition, titled "Vienna 1900," is a must-see made up of 500 pieces that shine a spotlight on the various art forms of the time. Fans of Gustav Klimt will be delighted to find that the exhibit is home to a shimmering design drawing that runs over three feet in length and is covered in gold leaf, silver leaf, and platinum leaf. The panel depicts the design from the Stoclet Frieze, which Klimt designed for the Palais Stoclet in Brussels (a private home) around 1900.

Other highlights include the MAK Permanent Collection Asia, as well as temporary exhibits from the likes of French performance artist Lili Reynaud-Dewar and New York Minimalist Rosemarie Castoro.

Ernst Fuchs Museum (Otto Wagner Villa)

Yes, the Ernst Fuchs Museum (Otto Wagner Villa) is off the beaten path, but it rewards those who make the effort to reach it with a truly surprising gem of a visit. Accessible by public transport from the Maria-Theresien-Platz, this unique museum brings together two great artists – Otto Wagner and Ernst Fuchs – and offers a rare respite from the crowds.

Famed Austrian architect Otto Wagner (born in 1841) left his stamp all around the city and you can still admire his Art Nouveau creations while wandering Vienna's historic center, from his Majolikahaus (Majolica House) to the Karlsplatz metro station. However, this villa offers the unique opportunity to visit an entire home dreamt up by Wagner. Built in 1888 as a summer getaway for his family, the villa later changed hands and fell into disrepair until Viennese painter Ernst Fuchs (born in 1930) purchased it in 1972. With help from Wagner's original designs, he lovingly restored the home and went on to use it as his own studio. These days, a visit offers the chance to admire the works of both men.

Walk through the opulent rooms filled with period furniture (including Art Nouveau decor designed by Wagner himself), take in the Fuchs paintings adorning the walls, and get ready to have your breath taken away by beautiful touches, like the stunning stained glass windows by Adolf Böhm.

Read this next: It's Time To Ditch These 10 Outdated Travel Tips

Vienna skyline with St. Stephen's Cathedral

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  1. THE 10 BEST Vienna Sights & Historical Landmarks to Visit (2024)

    Things to Do in Vienna Sights & landmarks in Vienna THE 10 BEST Vienna Sights & Historical Landmarks Vienna Landmarks Enter dates Attractions Filters • 1 Sort All things to do Category types Attractions Tours Day Trips Outdoor Activities Concerts & Shows Food & Drink Events Classes & Workshops Shopping Transportation Traveler Resources

  2. The 30 most historic buildings and sites in Vienna

    With favorites like The Hofburg, St. Stephen's Cathedral, and Belvedere Palace and more, get ready to experience the best places in Vienna. Why trust us We scoured through the internet and read through 5 reputable sites and blogs like viennahipsterguide.com and st-christophers.co.uk.

  3. 27 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Vienna

    1. Explore Imperial Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens The spectacular 18th-century Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn) is worth visiting not only for its magnificent architecture, but also for its beautiful park-like setting.

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    You can attend spellbinding concerts at historical musical venues around the city, such as the Vienna State Opera, the Vienna Philharmonic, and the Musikverein. The fans of architecture will appreciate the city for its unique and elegant architecture that blends Gothic, Baroque, and Art Nouveau styles.

  5. 17 BEST Places to Visit in Vienna (2024)

    The Austrian capital is famous for its elegant architecture, imperial past, opera and classical music, Christmas markets, and the annual Carnival with its opulent balls. With culture, history, great dining, and plenty of ways to have family fun, Vienna is a great European destination for all.

  6. Historic Center of Vienna

    The historic centre of Vienna is rich in beautiful architecture, including Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the late-19th-century Ringstrasse lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks. Duration: 2-3 hours. Suggest edits to improve what we show.

  7. 20 Must-Visit Attractions In Vienna Austria

    Belvedere Palace Museum Share Add to Plan © WienTourismus / Popp and Hackner Home to the world's largest collection of Gustav Klimt's paintings, the Belvedere Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site made up of two Baroque buildings.

  8. 18 top things to do in Vienna

    Highlights include - including the Leopold Museum, MUMOK, Kunsthalle Wien, Architekturzentrum and Zoom but there are multiple micro-museums and creative spaces to explore. It's also one of the key locations for the annual Wiener Festwochen (Vienna Festival) held over six weeks in May and June.

  9. Must-see spots for history buffs in Vienna

    Römermuseum - Roman Museum A part of the Wienmuseum, the Roman Museum has a variety of relicts on display dating back to the days of the Roman settlement named Vindobona, which once was situated at the area which today is known as Hoher Markt in Vienna's first district.

  10. Historic Centre of Vienna

    It played an essential role as a leading European music centre, from the great age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century. The historic centre of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the late-19th-century Ringstrasse lined with grand buildings, monuments and parks.

  11. The best museums in Vienna

    Naturhistorisches Museum Wien: best for natural history Opposite the Kunsthistorisches Museum - also commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph I in the late 19th century - is its mirror image, the cupola-capped Naturhistorisches Museum Wien.

  12. My top 10 places to visit in Vienna

    Vienna is full of such experiences (cough, Beethoven, cough, Haydn, cough Strauss, and many more ), but the Mozartwohunng and surrounding Mozarthaus are perhaps the most impressive of them. 11. Christmas in Vienna. (The Christmas market in front of Upper Belvedere palace) One more tip than promised.

  13. 20 Best Things to Do in Vienna, Austria

    Stop by St. Stephen's Cathedral. At its tallest point, St. Stephen's Cathedral reaches 136 meters, making it the tallest church in Austria and one of the most recognizable sights in Vienna ...

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    There's no better way to see Vienna than from the top of this 200ft-high landmark, although for €89 (£79, $94) the more adventurous can take a full spin in the open air while harnessed to the ...

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    1. See where Mozart lived at the Mozarthaus museum. Mozarthaus is the only apartment where Mozart lived that still exists in Vienna today. Mozart lived in this beautiful building between the years of 1784 and 1787 and was where he composed a number of famous works.

  16. Popular Historical Attractions In Vienna To Explore

    More than millions of people visit the historic center of Vienna every year. Do visit this place to view the late-19th-century Ringstrasse lined with grand buildings, churches, monuments and parks. The outstanding attractions in Vienna and rich art collections gathered by wealthy rulers are sure to bewitch you. The Marvelous Belvedere Palace

  17. 25 Best Things to Do in Vienna

    Visiting Vienna: 25 Must-See Attractions. Here's a bit of advice before you dive into my list of the best things to do and see in Vienna.. To explore Vienna and its key attractions, you should really get the Vienna Pass.. It's the best way to save time and money!. Here's what's included: Access to 70 must-see sites, monuments, and museums like Schonbrunn Palace, Hofburg Palace ...

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    St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) free #1 in Vienna 0.2 miles to city center [SEE MAP] Address: Stephansplatz 3

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    This is a complete 3 days Vienna itinerary for first-time visitors that covers every single must-visit historical landmark, attraction, monument, and other amazing places to visit in Vienna. Making it the only way to get a full Viennese experience. From open-air museums, imperial castles, and grand Baroque architecture, to soothing sites; the city has it all.

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    Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Schonbrunn Palace and its magnificent gardens are one of the most popular historic tourist destinations in Vienna and visitors can avail themselves of various themed guided tours or make use of free audio guides. Image Credit: Shutterstock 2. Hofburg Imperial Palace

  21. 15 Best Things to Do in Vienna (Austria)

    1. Schönbrunn Palace Source: saiko3p / shutterstock Schönbrunn Palace Standing since the 1600's and holding a major role of cultural importance in Austria, the Schonbrunn Palace is a colossal 1441 room structure and complex that is the main tourist attraction in Vienna.

  22. Famous Historical Places in Vienna

    The palace of Schonbrunn is an imperial palace with 1,441 rooms. It is one of the most important cultural monuments of Vienna. This palace attracts a huge number of tourists throughout the year. The aspirations, interests, and tastes of Habsburg monarchs are displayed by the palace and gardens.

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    More for You. The Austrian capital is home to royal palaces, top-rated art museums, family-friendly attractions, a rich cafe culture with mouth-watering cakes, and much more.