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FREE Vienna Walking Tour Map - Do It Yourself Guided Tour

Old Town Vienna Walking Tour:

Location :  Vienna’s Historic City Center Cost :  Free, Self-Guided ( Museum and sight costs below ) Style :  Do-It-Yourself Walking Tour ( Self Guided ) Start :  State Opera House ( Karlsplatz Metro stop ) End :  Museum Quarter ( Volkstheater Metro stop ) Walking Distance :  2.5 miles Time :  90 minutes for walk ( with sights 4-5 hours ) Fun Scale :  9.5 out of 10

The heart and soul of Vienna ( Wien ) is by far its beautiful Old Town which is filled with historic sights.  Modern buildings mix in with tons of Medieval and Renaissance elements, making the city center quite magical.  From cathedrals to beer gardens, and shopping to museums, there is diversity to entertain all travelers.  Maybe the best thing about our free Vienna walking tour is that most of Old Town is very compact and easily seen on foot.  Because the city center is so easy to walk, we created this free do-it-yourself Vienna walking tour map for you to follow which covers all the best stops with some insider tips.  Enjoy our free Old Town Vienna walking tour!

History Of Old Town Vienna:

Settlement of Old Town Vienna began with Celtic tribes in 500BC with a riverfront camp called Castrum.  The area grew thanks to the Romans who arrived in 15AD and built a walled military fort in 97AD to ward off Germanic forces.  The Roman fort,  called Vindobona  ( meaning White Village ) took up about 1/3 the area of today’s Old Town.  While mentioned in the movie Gladiator, Vindobona was where the real-life Emperor Marcus Aurelius died in 180AD.  On this free Vienna walking tour, we will see some of the original Roman ruins, follow the outlines ancient camp’s wall, and give you a better understanding of early day Vienna.

At its peak, Vindobona had 6,000 legionary soldiers in its walled fort and 24,000 civilians in the surrounding suburban area, but was much smaller than the 50,000-person regional capital of Carnuntum.  The Hun armies crossed the Volga River into Europe in 370AD and invaded as far west into the Roman region as Castra Constantias ( modern-day Budapest ).  This broke down the Limes Road connecting the Roman camps along the Danube and the large regional capital of Carnuntum was sacked by Germanic tribes ( Goths ) in 395AD.  By 433AD most of the Northen Roman Empire had fallen apart, the soldiers withdrew, the remaining citizens around Vindobona moved inside the walls of the abandoned camp.

The old Roman camp was refortified including a small castle Berghof Restsiedlung built in 800AD over the thermal baths to help defend against Magyar ( Hungarian ) armies.  Shortly after, in 881, Vindobona took the name Vienna ( Wein ) after the Vienna River ( Weinfluss ) which is  Celtic for Wood Creek .  Under the rule of the  Babenbergs and the Habsburg Dynasty  ( 1153-1918 ), Vienna’s Old Town wall expanded outward and the city even became the seat of the Holy Roman Empire for over 300 years ( 1483–1806 ).

Vienna truly blossomed into one of the cultural hubs of Europe during the 18th & 19th centuries through the arts, classical music, and opera.  The Waltz and Viennese Balls were born here and Vienna’s city center  became home to musicians  such as Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and Strauss.

Emperor Franz Joseph I and his wife Elizabeth ( Sisi ) made the biggest changes to modernize Vienna in the 1800s replacing the Medieval wall with the Ringstrasse Boulevard, fixing up nearby palaces, and tearing down homes in the Old Town to make way for new grand buildings.  During this transformation, the Austrian Empire and Kingdom of Hungarian were merged and Vienna’s population quickly grew.  While losing two World Wars greatly stunted city’s 200 years of booming progress, a modern second coming has made the historic Old Town Vienna a world class place to visit once again.

Free Vienna Walking Tour:

1. vienna state opera house ( staatsoper ):.

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - State Opera House

About The State Opera House :  In a city famous for music and the arts, it is the grand Vienna State Opera House ( Staatsoper ), that definitely takes the prize.  Opened in 1863, this gorgeous 1200 seat theater has housed some of Austria’s most famous classical musicians and still hosts over 300 performances a year.  The beautiful theater and grand common areas make touring the Opera House amazing.  If you are looking to catch a show, you can expect to choose from famous operas, ballets, and can even take part in large Viennese Balls each February.

This  monument to music  is the perfect place to start our free Vienna walking tour as the arts have been such an important part of the city’s culture and history.  It was in Vienna where the Waltz was born and where Mozart wrote his famous opera The Marriage of Figaro.  The building of the opera house was part of a larger protect in the mid-1800s where the Emperor replaced Vienna’s Medieval moated wall with grand buildings and a modern boulevard known as the Ringstrasse.  Will will revisit the Ring Road at the end of this walking tour.

Guided Tours : 9€ for Adults; 4€ for kids; also includes the Opera Museum; 1-6 tours daily ( check website ).  Tour is great and brings you to a lot of backstage areas.   Live Performances : Tickets range from 16-215€, can be bought online , and go fast.   Ticket Tip :  If a show is sold out or if you just want a taste of a show without sitting through a 3-hour opera or ballet, they sell 567 standing room tickets the day of each performance, 160 of these tickets are right below the Emperor’s Box.  Standing Room tickets are cheap, 2€ upstairs and 3.50€ downstairs, and allow you to easily leave when you’ve had your fill.  These tickets go on sale 60 minutes before each show at the front door and 80 minutes before the show inside the side door at the Standing Room ( Stehplätze ) booth which always has a short line.   Interactive 360 Degree Tour : ( 360 Degrees During a Viennese Ball ).   Opera House Website : ( HERE ).

2. Castle Park ( Burggarten ):

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Castle Park Burggarten

About Burggarten :  Covering the entire backside of Hofburg Palace’s Neueburg wing is the large and peaceful Castle Park ( Burggarten ).  From the 1200s through the 1500s, the Castle Park you see today part of a wide protective moat that circled Vienna’s Medieval city wall.  It was these strong defenses that protected the city and stopped the Ottomans from taking over Europe in Siege of Vienna in 1529.  After some further attacks in the mid-1600s, this Western section of the city wall was bumped outward to create a buffer zone for the nearby Hofburg Castle which also allowed the castle to gradually expand into a sprawling multi-wing palace.

By 1710, there was a vast private Royal park that started here and stretched a 1/2 mile to the Northwest along the inside of the expanded city wall.  With the new found space in this huge Castle Park, the Habsburg rulers were able to build over their former private park, called the  Paradise Royal Garden , to establish the Winter Riding School and National Library.  We will visit both the riding school and library later on this free Vienna walking tour.

In 1806, Napoleon Bonaparte and his French forces heavily damaged the city wall and bastions near Castle Park before occupying the city, declaring an end to the Holy Roman Empire , and later marrying into the Habsburg family in 1810.  A new curtain wall was added to repair the damage left by the French and Emperor Franz Joseph I got to work transforming this section of the park into a fenced-off  private English Garden .  During the park upgrades, around 1819-1820, Emperor Franz Joseph I had a statue of himself on a horse moved from the old Paradise Royal Garden to the pond in Castle Park.  Cast in 1781, the statue is the oldest equestrian statue in Vienna  and still a focal part of Castle Park.

Today the Castle Park has an awesome backdrop of the enormous Neueburg wing of Hofburg Palace ( built from 1881-1913 ), which was we will visit later on this free Vienna walking tour.  The new building divided the Royal park in two separating the English Garden which forms today’s park from the rest of the grounds.

Just five years of Neueburg was finished, the monarchy fell in 1918 and the private Castle Park  became a public park  almost overnight.  More statues were brought into Castle Park from around Vienna after WW2 including one of Hercules originally cast in 1770.  Our favorite piece that was brought in is the  white-wash Mozart statue  which was carved in 1896 and previously sat in nearby Albertina Square.  Make sure to take time to relax in the park just like the Viennese royals used to do.

3. Palm Tree House ( Palmenhaus ):

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Burggarten Palmen Green House

About The Palm House :  While revamping his private Castle Park in 1823, Emperor Franz Joseph I also had a huge two-winged greenhouse built on the Northeastern end of the royal garden dubbed the Palmen House.  This  gigantic greenhouse was built right over the foundation of a section of Vienna’s Medieval city wall that dated back to the year 1200.  The Palmen House was a huge luxury for the royal family as it was able to grow tons of tropical plants and palm trees even in the coldest Austrian days.

In 1902, the Palmen House was expanded to over 22,000 square feet and remolded in its current  Art Nouveau-style .  In modern times, the Palmen House has been turned into a really unique restaurant where you can eat under the palms trees even in the dead of Winter.  Especially if you have kids with you, consider stopping at the tropical  Butterfly House  ( website ) which is attached to the North side of the restaurant.

Palmen House Restaurant Hours : Monday-Friday 10am-Midnight; Saturday 9am-Midnight; Sunday 9am-11pm.  The outdoor terrace bar is open until 2am in Summer.   Restaurant Website : ( here ).   B utterfly House Cost :  Adults 7€; kids 4€.

3. Albertina Museum :

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Albertina Museum Paintings

About The Albertina Museum :   The Albertina Museum is a breath of fresh air house priceless art inside a stately villa.  The most prized pieces are the works by Albrecht Dürer including the Young Hare from 1502 ( original is displayed twice every 5 years, but an exact copy is shown daily ).  Other paintings & sketches include works by Monet, Picasso, Chagall, Klimt, Raphael, Warhol, and Rubens.

Like the Palmen House, the Albertina Museum was built over part of the early-Medieval wall section ( called the Augustine Bastion ) dating back to the 1200s.  The property first served as the office for the Royal Court Building Authority before it was rebuilt as a mansion for Count Emanuel in 1744.  This stately villa was later gifted to Duke Albert by Emperor Franz II in 1794.  After moving in, the powerful Duke Albert started to display his private collection of works from old world master painters  in the mansion which laid the groundwork for today’s museum.  The works include the artists Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dürer, Rembrandt, and Ruben.

Over the generations the Duke Albert’s family owned the villa, the back of it was expanded into parts of the neighboring Augustiner Monastery .  The historic Augustiner Church was the only part of the block-long monastery complex ( built in 1327 ) which was spared from the expansion of the Albertina Mansion.  The church is famous as the location of many of the Habsburg imperial weddings including that Marie Louise to Napoleon Bonaparte  in 1810.  The Augustiner Church also holds the hearts of the former Hapsburg rulers.

The most famous of the 20 staterooms added onto the villa are the ones built for Maria Christina  ( 1858-1929 ), the only one of Marie Antoinette’s siblings who was allowed to marry for love.  The opulent rooms are typically called the Spanish Apartments because of Maria Christina’s marriage to the Spanish King Alfonso XIII.  Her sister  Marie Antoinette  even stayed in the apartments before being sent off to France for her arranged marriage with King Louis XVI.  Our favorite of the staterooms is the Hall Of Muses which is ringed with Greek statues and lit with 5 crystal chandeliers holding 258 candles.

Make sure to check out the wonderful bronze statue of Duke Albert on the terrace near the museum entrance.  At the street level below the statue, there is also a magnificent fountain depicting the river God Danuvius and the embodiment of Vindobona, Vienna’s name in Roman times.

Museum Cost : 16€ for Adults; 19-26 years old 11€; Children under 19 are free; guided tour 4€. Online Tickets :  To skip the line and get a mobile-friendly ticket you can book  HERE .   Museum Hours :  Daily from 10am-6pm; until 9pm on Wednesdays & Fridays; best after Noon. Museum Website : ( here ).

4. Sacher Café :

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Sacher Cafe Torte Cake

About Sacher Café :  Sacher Café is known for having the best slice of chocolate cake you can find anywhere.  Their  world-famous cake , known as the Original Sacher-Torte, was the creation of chef Franz Sacher who was asked to make a dessert for a Hapsburg royal party in 1832 while only 16 years old.  Word of the Sacher’s amazing cake spread and he quickly became a household name.

Forever known as the family of rich cake, Sacher’s son Ed opened the Sacher Hotel and Café in 1876 and spared no expensive decorating every elegant detail.  When Ed died 16 years later, his wife Anna took over and pushed the property to gain global recognition as one of the best hotels , all while continuing to sell the famous cake of course.

The Gürtler family has been running the Sacher Hotel and Café since 1934 and it remains one of the very few privately owned five-star luxury hotels in the World.  The Sacher Café has been the meeting point for  famous figures  from Gandhi, and Queen Elizabeth II to John F Kennedy.  A visit to Sacher is truly a must while in Vienna and even if you are on a budget just 8€ can get you a really good coffee and an excellent slice of cake.

Inside the Sacher Hotel, there are three different colored fancy salons for dining in addition to the main cafe plus the 2-story Eck which views over the Opera House.  If there are crowds hoarding the fancier dining area of the cafe consider buying your Sacher cake at the neighboring Sacher Stube Café which is run by the same family.  If you are confused and which coffee goes best with the cake, the traditional drink in Vienna is hot black coffee with foamed milk and whipped cream.

Hours :  Daily 8am-Midnight.   Photos :  ( Treat Photos  via their Facebook Page ).   Restaurant Website : HERE .  Cafe Website : HERE .

6. Anti-War & Fascism Monument :

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Anti War and Fascism Monument Gate of Violence

About The Monument :  In the late-1800s a huge  luxury apartment complex  named Philipphof was built right in the middle of this large open courtyard overlooking Albertina Square.  Previously the courtyard had been a Medieval pig market before being turned into the apartments in 1882.  During the construction, they found even more history when they dug up an ancient Roman grave and a 21-foot section of Roman road.

Sadly in the height of WW2, hundreds of residents sought shelter in the basement of the Philipphof Apartments and  were buried alive  in an air raid on March 12th, 1945.  The bombing was so heavy that most of the victims’ bodies couldn’t even be recovered from the rubble.  With the memory of the war victims in mind, a series of statues were erected in 1988 on the site of the former apartment which now serves as the Anti-War and Fascism Monument.

The Anti-War Monument is primarily made up of four artistic pieces  which highlight the violence and tragedy that Austrians faced in WWII while under Nazi rule.  The most predominant part of the monument are the two large carved marble columns called the  Gate of Violence  which represent the victims of war and the concentration camps.  The graphic images on the columns are actually carved into stone that came from Austria’s Mauthausen Concentration Camp.  Another heartfelt piece is the  bronze figure kneeling  and covered in barbed wired while scrubbing the street which is meant to be a reminder of the humiliation many Jews went through before being more formerly persecuted.  There is also a memorial for the people who died in an air raid of the Philipphof Apartments and the final section celebrates a free Austria after the end of Nazi rule.

In 2009, the open square was renamed Helmut Zilk-Platz after the Mayor of Vienna who pushed for the monument to be built in the 1980s.  The gravity of a visit is definitely is worth a moment of silence and reflection to take it all in.  Knowing the history behind what you are looking at makes the Anti-War & Fascism Monument one of the most moving stops on our free Vienna walking tour.

7. Imperial Crypt ( Kaisergruft ):

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Capuchin Imperial Crypt Kaisergruft

About The Imperial Crypt :  The unique and slightly creepy Imperial Crypt below the Capuchin Church is a true must-see on our free Vienna walking tour.  The church was part of the Capuchin Monastery,  founded in 1617  by the Holy Roman Emperor Matthias’ wife Anna.  Just one year later Anna died followed by her husband in 1619 which lead the way for their nephew Ferdinand II to take over as Holy Roman Emperor.  In honor of his family, Ferdinand II started work on a royal crypt below the Capuchin Monastery in 1622 which took 11 years to finish because of delays from the 30 Years War.

The tombs of Emperor Matthias and Empress Anna were the first to be moved in the Imperial Crypt which has since been expanded eight times to hold  elaborate tombs  of some of Austria’s greatest leaders.  In total there are bodies of 150 members of the Hapsburg royal family buried at under the Capuchin Church.  Oddly it is really only the bodies in the tombs as the Habsburgs’  organs are not buried here .  The royal guts are actually housed below Saint Stephen’s Cathedral and their hearts are in the Augustiner Church.  While the Crypt has huge visual and photogenic appeal, it is also a very informative experience.  The most visited tombs are those of Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Franz Joseph.

In front of the Capuchin Church is  New Market Square  which served as one of the main markets in Roman times when this area of town was a civilian settlement just outside the walls of the Vindobona fort.  The square was given a makeover as the new city of Vienna was laid out in the 1200s and became it a grain market.  The beautiful fountain from the 1700s is called the Fountain of Providence ( Providentiabrunnen ).  This is a replica as the original fountain was moved from here to Belvedere Palace because the central statue had a bare-chested lady on it.  Many of the buildings surrounding the square were leveled by bombing in WW2.

Crypt Cost : 7.50€ for Adults or 4.50€ for kids. Visiting Hours : Daily from 10am-6pm ( last admission 5:30pm).  Guide Tours :  Wednesday-Saturday 2pm in German and 3:30pm in English for 3€ extra.  Crypt Website : HERE .

8. Carinthia Road ( Kärntner Strasse ):

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Carinthia Road Kärntner Strasse Shopping Street

About Kärntner Strasse :  Today the  pedestrian-only  Kärntner Strasse is one of Vienna’s most popular streets lined with great shops and places to eat.  If you need to get any souvenirs for yourself or gifts while in Vienna then Kärntner Strasse is a perfect place to look.  A stroll down the street offers excellent people watching, window shopping, and even your fix of American fast food, but we suggest sticking to the local cafes to get the true Viennese feel.

Back when Vienna was fortified military camp of Vindobona ( 97-433AD ), Kärntner Strasse cut right through the 24,000-person urban settlement surrounding the fort.  Initially called the  Strata Carinthianorum , it cut straight South from the fort’s Eastern gate and past the main civilian market.  The name Kärntner Strasse comes because the road led to Austria’s Southernmost state of  Carinthia ( Kärntner )  which sits on the modern Alpine border with both Italy and Slovenia.

Kärntner Strasse became more important after the 50,000-person regional Roman capital of Carnuntum just 30 miles East of town fell in 395.  This caused the North-South trade route called the  Amber Road ( Bernsteinstraße )  to be re-routed from Carnuntum right down the center of Vindobona.  The route which started in Saint Petersberg, Russia on the Baltic Sea and transferred precious amber to Rome, Greece, and even Egypt in the South with access later to the port of Venice.

While many of the Roman camps never recovered after the Northern part of the Empire collapsed by 433AD, Vindobona was reborn as Vienna ( Wien ) in 881AD .  The re-foritifcation and re-settlement of the town was largely thanks to its river access and ability to sustain itself with trade routes like Kärntner Strasse.

The road finally got its own gate into the city when the old Roman walls were  expanded outward in 1257  to make way for a growing Vienna.  Through Medieval times, Kärntner Strasse even had a drawbridge and bastion over the city’s moat.  Over the centuries, modern-day Kärntner Strasse was re-revamped along with the town and has remained one of the busiest shopping streets in Vienna.

8. Staff In Iron Square ( Stock-im-Eisen Platz ):

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Stock In Eisen Platz Hass House

About Staff In Iron Square :  As you reach the end of Kärntner Strasse, look immediately to your left and check out the  Palais Equitable  before getting distracted by any nearby sights.  The humongous mansion was built for an American insurance company in 1891 in place of five Medieval buildings on what was once the small square called Staff In Iron Square ( Stock-im-Eisen Platz ).  The square, which in ancient times was a Roman cemetery, was named after the  historic nailing tree  which sits encased in glass on the corner of the Palais Equitable.

The nailing tree ( nagelbaum ) grew nearby in the early 1400s and was used by travelers who pounded nails into it for good luck.  The gesture was considered a sacrifice because in the Middle Ages iron nails were quite valuable.  While the tree was cut down in 1440, the trunk continued to be used as a nailing tree, was put on display in 1548, and later iron banded by the former homeowner Hans Buettinger.  As you inspect the Palais Equitable mansion, you’ll see reliefs on the doors showing the legend of the nailing tree.

In the 1900s, the North side of Staff In Iron Square was opened up to connect to Saint Stephen’s Square which we will visit next on this free Vienna walking tour.  The focal point of this new construction is the very modern 8-story tall  Haas House  with flowing, curved glass walls.  The building truly was meant to blend the old with the new as it sits right on the Southern corner of the former Roman camp Vindobona.

During the construction of the Haas House in 1990, it was very controversial that it was built anchored into some of the ancient Roman wall ruins.  Make sure to get some photos of the Saint Stephen’s Church  reflecting in the windows .  If you are not too rushed and want the best view of Saint Stephen’s Church, head to the coffee house on the top floor of the Haas House for a unique perspective.  The concept behind the design was to trace the Roman wall and provide a mirror image of Vienna’s largest church.

If you have an extra minute, make sure to go down into the subway station to see the underground  Saint Virgil’s Chapel ( Virgilkapelle )  which was unearthed 40 feet below the ground in 1973.  The old world chapel was carved out below the former Roman graveyard in 1220 as a private place for the Vienna’s wealthy residents to worship.  Greek crosses, which can still be seen on the stone walls today were painted in 1246.  In 1338 the funeral Chapel of Saint Mary Magdalene was built above the Saint Virgil’s which then became a bone house.  A faint an outline of the former Saint Mary’s Chapel ( burned down in 1782 ) can be seen in the pavement as you approach Saint Stephen’s Square.

10. Saint Stephen’s Church ( Stephansdom ):

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Saint Stephen’s Church Stephansdom Interior

About Saint Stephen’s Church :  The massive Gothic-style Saint Stephen’s Cathedral is the focal point and geographic center that modern Vienna orbits around.  Saint Stephen’s started as a  small parish in 1137 , in a large Roman cemetery in the former civilian area just outside of the walls of Vindobona.  While Saint Stephen’s Chapel wasn’t finished until 1160, it was dedicated early in 1147 in the presence of King Otto II who was heading out to join the 2nd Crusade.

From 1230 to 1245, the chapel was completely redone as a larger Romanesque church with an impressive door and towers.  Unfortunately, the Romanesque church burned down in 1258, but the  front door and towers were saved  and worked into the facade of the rebuilt church which was completed in 1263 over the ruins.

Looking at the front of Saint Peter’s today, you can still see the outline of the original Romanesque church towers.   Working their way about halfway up today twin peaks you can see the change in the stone as they were extended upward in the rebuild and named the  Roman Towers ( Heidentürme ) .   The 213-foot-tall towers got their name because they were built using pieces of the former wall of the heathen ( heiden ) Roman military camp called Vindobona.  Keep in mind that during the time of the Roman settlement here, the Empire did turn Christian under Constantine so calling them heathen was more of the Medieval Duke’s way of appearing greater than their predecessors.

Saint Stephen’s finally got official Cathedral status shortly after the construction began on the Gothic-style  Albertine Choir  on the North end of the Church in 1359.  The large choir, with three naves, has fantastic Medieval stain glass windows which are the only ones in the church to survive WW2.  Instead of merely remodeling the rest of Saint Stephen’s original Romanesque interior to match the Gothic choir, they built a new church around it instead.  New sidewalls were added outside of Saint Stephen’s, with a vaulted wooden roof hovering 125 over the floor.  After the new walls and roof completely encapsulated Saint Stephen’s Church, the old side walls were simply removed.

By far the most iconic thing to come out of the Gothic-remodel is the mega-sized South Tower called  Old Steve ( Alter Steffl ) .  At 466 feet tall, the gigantic tower dominates Old Town Vienna from every angle.  We highly suggest taking the tiring 363 steps up to the top for the best views of Vienna.  If you aren’t up for the hike up the Old Steve, consider taking the elevator up the North Tower ( Nordturm ) instead.  The stumpy North Tower was supposed to be a complete match to Old Steve, but construction stopped in 1511 freezing it at 231 feet tall.  While excavating for North Tower in 1443, they found a  thighbone of a mastodon  and placed it above the church’s front door nicknaming it the  Giant’s Door ( Riesentor ) .  

The North Tower is best known for its large bell, appropriately named  Boomer Bell ( Pummerin ) , which famously rings each year at midnight on New Year’s Eve.  The was cast out of Turkish cannons after the Siege of 1683, is over 20 tons in weight and 10 feet in diameter.  It is considered the 2nd largest free-swinging bell in Europe.  From either side tower, you will also get a great view of the brightly colored  ceramic tiled roof  which replaced the wooden one burn in WW2.  The patterns on the roof include a double-headed eagle which is the crest of Vienna.

As you wander around Saint Stephen’s Cathedral there are a lot of exciting details worth noting.  We really love the centrally located  sandstone pulpit  carved in 1510.  It shows faces of the four fathers of the Latin Church ( Ambrose, Jerome, Gregory and Augustine ) as well as the artist who carved it peaking through a window near the stairs.  Below the Medieval glass windows of the nave is the baroque  New City Altar ( Neustädter Altar )  carved in 1447.  Near the altar is the tomb of Emperor Frederick III who is one of the only Habsburgs to be buried outside of the Imperial Crypt.  Below Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, you can tour the catacombs where the  guts of the Habsburgs  rulers are stored along with the bodies of Vienna’s cardinals and archbishops.  The catacombs also have stacks of bones as bodies were tossed down here during a plague in the 1700s when the cemetery surrounding Saint Stephen’s Church was closed.

Around the Saint Stephen’s exterior, you can see the stark color difference where coal pollution darkened the church’s white limestone and where it has been cleaned.  You will also see dozens of headstones from former church cemetery’s worked into the building’s facade.  Speaking of death,  Mozart  had his funeral at Saint Stephen’s in 1791.  The famous composer not only spent time working at the church, but was also married here in 1782.

Cathedral Hours : Monday-Saturday 9-11am & 1-4:30pm ( restricted access starting at 6am ); Sundays not until 1pm; Tower Climbs Daily 9am-5:30pm. Cost : Cathedral entrance is free but restricted unless you pay 6€ for the audio guide; North Tower 6€; South Tower 5€; Treasury 5.50€, Catacombs 6€ ( takes 30 minutes ).  Discounted Online Tickets :  You can skip the lines, save money, and get a mobile combo ticket for the South Tower, North Tower, Cathedral tour, Catacombs Tour, Treasury Tour, and audio guide  HERE .   Religious Service : Sundays & Holidays at 10:15am, 9:30am in July & August.   Tower Access : South Tower via 363 steps or North Tower with elevator.   Cathedral Website : ( here ).

11. Mozart’s Vienna Apartments ( Mozarthaus ):

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Mozarthaus Apartment Museum

About Mozart’s Apartments :  Most of Mozart’s life was spent in his hometown of Salzburg, but he also had close ties to Vienna.  It started when Empress Maria Teresa brought the young prodigy in to play a concert at Schönbrunn Palace as a child and continued when Mozart  moved here in 1781  to get out from under the thumb of Salzburg’s archbishop.

Mozart was taken in by Vienna’s Archbishop Colloredo and lived his monastery for six weeks in the year 1781 from March 16th until May 2nd.  The monastery was built in 1375 for the Teutonic Knights, and its intimate  Sala Terrena  concert hall where Mozart performed still hold live chamber music performance you can attend.  Sala Terrena is Vienna’s oldest concert hall and was painted the Venetian late Renaissance style in the mid-1700s making it a fantastic place to hear a string quartet.

After leaving the monastery in 1781, Mozart moved in on the Graben near Saint Peter’s Square with the Weber who was in Vienna from Mannheim, Germany.   Mozart had met the family in German in 1777 where he tried to court the daughter Aloisa, but ended up marrying their younger musician  daughter Constanze  in 1782 at Saint Stephan’s Cathedral.  The couple moved around before settling on a lavish apartment behind the cathedral known today at the  Mozarthaus Museum  where they lived from 1784-1787.

The family’s apartment only had 4 main rooms, but with its city center location and rich details cost 450 florins a year to rent which was more than Mozarts dad’s annual salary.  Although Mozart was horrible at saving money, he was making a lot of it teaching piano to young aristocrats mixed in with significant commission works. To the sculptured ceiling in the Camesina room.  The Mozarthaus Museum is quite popular with theatergoers as the apartment is where Mozart wrote his famous opera  The Marriage of Figaro  which premiered in Vienna.

Most of the items on display at the Mozarthaus Museum today are from the time of Mozart and  not actually his stuff , but it all helps to give a peek into his time here.  Tours start on the 3rd floor of the building covering details of Mozart’s time in Vienna. The displays focus on where Mozart lived and performed, who his friends and supporters were, his relationship to the Freemasons, his passion for games and much more.  The presentation on the 2nd-floor deals with Mozart’s operatic famous works he wrote while living here, and the apartment on the 1st floor focuses more on Mozart and his family.  The basement also has a vaulted ceiling event space that often holds piano concerts.

Mozarthaus  Cost :  11€ for Adults, 4.5€ for Children, also has a family rate of 24€ ( up to 2 Adults, 3 kids ).   Discounted Tickets : You can save money and get a free audio guide by pre-booking  HERE .   Mozarthaus H ours :  Daily from 10am-7pm; last entrance 6:30pm; least crowded 10am-Noon.   Mozarthaus  Website : ( here ).     Sala Terrena Concerts : 90-minute concerts are on Thurs, Fri, & Sun at 7:30pm and Sat at 6pm.   Sala Terrena Website : ( here ).

12. Graben & Plague Monument ( Pestsäule ):

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Graben Shopping Plague Monument

About The Graben :  The Graben ( meaning ditch ), was once  used as a dry moat  by the Romans along the Southern wall of their ancient military camp Vindobona ( 97-433AD ) which pre-dates Vienna.  With Vienna’s population growing the graben was filled in and the walls were expanded outward in the 1200s.  A King’s ransom largely funded this massive project, and it’s from a tail you may have heard of before.

After fighting together in the 3rd Crusade, Duke Leopold V of Austria captured King Richard I of England ( also known as Lionheart ) over a dispute.  King Richard ( of Robin Hood fame ) was held as a prisoner for 14 months from 1192-1194 while his brother Prince John sat on the throne.  It’s said that Pince John offered to pay the Duke to keep his brother longer so he could stay on the throne.  King Richard, I was finally released after a colossal ransom to the Holy Roman Emperor, of which Austria got 35 metric tons of silver ( worth over $15 million today ).

For the next 60 years, this ransom money was used on projects in Vienna from establishing the Austrian Mint, filling the Graben, building churches, and expanding the city wall.  With the wall expansion completed by 1257, the Graben quickly became a market and busy shopping street.  The first of two elegant fountains along the Graben is dedicated to Duke Leopold V for getting the money to start the project.

The half-timber Medieval homes first lined the boulevard are now gone, can see the wealth the shopping has generated by the elegant facades of massive buildings that line the Graben.  We love walking here as the Graben became Vienna’s first pedestrian-only area in 1974 and it feels built for people watching.  If you happen to be in Vienna during Advent ( late-November through Christmas ), you need to put a night-time stop at the Graben on the top of your list as its endless strings of holiday lighting are magical.

Americans visitors often overlook the impact of the epidemics in Europe during the Middle Ages making the  Plague Monument ( Pestsäule )  in the center of the Graben an important attraction.  The 69-foot-tall column was built in 1693 to honor the 1/3 of Vienna’s population who died in the Plague of 1679 and pays thanks to God for the ones who survived.  The golden-capped Baroque column replaced a previous column dedicated to the Holy Brotherhood.  It was the Brotherhood of the Holy Trinity who was among the first groups in Europe to use science to stem the plague in a time where religion and superstition trumped all.

Photos :  ( Night Time During Advent ).

13. Saint Peter’s Church ( Peterkirche ):

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Saint Peter's Church

About Saint Peter’s Church :  As you turn the corner off the Graben down Jungferngässchen Alley you catch your first glimpse of the green-domed Saint Peter’s Church.  Entering the alley, you are also crossing what was once the Southern wall of the Roman fort Vindobona ( 97-433AD ).  Local folklore says a larger Romanesque-style church was built here by Emperor Charlemagne between 792-800AD while the former camp was being re-fortified.

While Charlemagne church story may be true, records show that the first church here named Saint Peter’s was finished in 1137  before the original city walls were expanded outward.  The church which was later run by the Scottish Monastery which burned down in the late-1600s giving way to the  Baroque masterpiece  you see today.

Completed in 1732, today’s Saint Peter’s Church is one of the hidden gems on this free Vienna walking tour.  We are amazed the builders were able to fit such a large structure tightly tucked into a small square .  When you get inside the church, you quickly forget how small the plot of land is that it sits on.  This is because the builders used an open layout and unique dome to make Saint Peter’s Church feel huge.  Unlike most churches, Saint Peter’s is actually  oval shaped  instead of round to take maximizing the space to a whole new level.

Most people walk by taking a couple of pictures of the exterior and leave, don’t be one of those people.  Take a couple of minutes to step inside, inspect the beautiful marble interior, and see if you can make out the dome’s oval shape.

Hours :  Monday-Friday 7am-8pm; Weekends 9am-9pm.   Cost :  Free.   Tours :  Daily 9-10am & 1-3pm.   Interactive 360 Degree Tour :  ( Interior ).   Church Website : ( here ).

14. Vindobona & In Court Square ( Am Hof ):

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - In Court Square Am Hof Christmas Market Vidobona

About Vindobona & Am Hof :  Lightly settled by the Celts in 500BC, the groundwork for modern-day Vienna was laid out from 15-97AD as a  fortified Roman camp  named Vindobona ( meaning White Village ).  Outlined on our free Vienna walking tour map, the walled Vindobona fort marked the edge of the Roman Empire at the time and was used to help fight off Germanic forces North of the Danube River.

While the nearby regional Roman capital of Carnuntum was much more significant with over 50,000 residents, at its peak Vindobona was home to 6,000 soldiers inside its walls and another 24,000 residence in the surrounding urban area.  The most famous moment in the history of the camp was when Roman Emperor  Marcus Aurelius died here  in 180AD.  After the Northen Roman Empire fell in 433AD, the remaining citizens around Vindobona moved inside the walls of the abandoned camp, and the population drastically declined.

The former camp was re-fortified in the 800s including a small Berghof Restsiedlung Castle to help defend against Magyar ( Hungarian ) armies.  The castle was built over the Roman thermal baths between the Hoyer Market and Saint Ruperts Church.  Shortly after the refortification, Vindobona took the name Vienna ( Wein ) in 881 after the Vienna River ( Weinfluss ) which is  Celtic for Wood Creek .

In 1156, Heinrich II of Babenberg was forced by the Holy Roman Emperor to give up his title Duke of Bavaria to Henry the Lion and was named the 1st Duke of Austria by the in return.  With a fresh canvass at his disposal, Heinrich II moved to Vienna and built  Castle Babenbergerpfalz  inside the old Roman wall.  The new castle sat right on the foundations of Vindobona’s former barracks and armory in the former fort’s Southwest corner ( where today’s Am Hof Church and Park Hyatt Hotel are ).  The large square next to the castle became the city’s 1st established Royal Court ( Am Hof ) .  So if you stay in the Park Hyatt ( website ) today, you are not only staying at one of the best hotels in town, but also over the former castle.

The Duke really wanted to impress his wife Theodora Comnena, who was a Byzantine princess, with is new city plans.  He used is former home, and capital of Bavaria at the time, Regensburg, Germany as the model to layout Vienna.  Under Heinrich II’s rule, Vienna quickly became the  2nd largest city  in the Holy Roman Empire behind Cologne, Germany.

Five years after the last Duke in the Babenberg family died in 1246, Ottokar Duke of Moravia ( King of Bohemia ) was elected Duke of Austria and significantly expanded the Kingdom to stretch all the way to the Adriatic Sea.  Ottokar also started to expanded Vienna’s city walls outward and built a new four-towered royal castle called Hofburg on the Southern edge of town ( see photo ).

In 1273, Rudolf I of Hapsburg ( King of Germany ) was elected the new Duke of Austria, but Ottokar wouldn’t give up his title which led to his death on the battlefield.  Rudolf’s success  led to 645 years of Hapsburg rule  over Austria including over 300 years as Holy Roman Emperors ( 1483–1806 ).  While the royal court was officially moved to Hofburg Castle, Am Hof Square at Castle Babenbergerpfalz continued to be used for jousting tournaments and a market.

While most of the old Castle Babenbergerpfalz was removed, part was rebuilt as the Gothic-style  Am Hof Church  in 1386.  The church was given its current white Baroque facade in 1662, and the Mariensaeule ( Marian Column ) was added to the center of the square. The column, finished in 1667, was commissioned by the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III to thank the Virgin Mary for repelling the Swedish forces during the 30 Years’ War.  In 1806, having defeated the Austrian army, Napoleon announced the  end of the Holy Roman Empire  from the balcony of the Am Hof Church.  This move split the former territories up and established the Austrian Empire.

Am Hof Square got a rise in pop culture thanks to the hit  1949 movie The 3rd Man .  Many scenes from the famous film take place here from Anna’s door to Orson Welles’ character Harry Lime casting a long shadow in the alleyway North of the Church.  In the cellar of the Am Hof Square’s Fire Brigade Building, you can still find the remains of a main brick drain from the ancient Roman sewer system beneath Vienna.

For more Vindobona sites check out the  Roman Museum  ( website ) under Hoyer Market.  Located on one of Vienna’s oldest market squares, the museum has a great collection of authentic Roman era artifacts.  The best objects are the intact sections of soldier homes and underground heating they found below the square.  We also like stopping Saint Rupert’s Church which is Vienna’s oldest church dating back to 740 and sits near a maze of Medieval streets.

15. Kohlmarkt & Demel Café :

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Kohlmarkt Demel Cafe Bakery

About Kohlmarkt :  The prestigious Coal Market ( Kohlmarkt ) shopping lane is home to Vienna’s most luxurious stores .  From Tiffany’s to Gucci and Louis Vuitton you’ll find a little bit of everything for today’s high-end buyers.  In Roman times, this road led to the main Southern gate tower ( Peilertor ) of the walled fort called Vindobona ( 97-433AD ) which pre-dates Vienna.  It was an important road as two blocks outside the walls it intersected with a civilian bypass of the Lime Road ( Limesstrasse ) trade route around the fort before continuing all the way through Linz to Salzburg ( then called Juvavum ).

When the Roman wall was extended outward in 1257, the lane remained vital as it connected the new  Royal Castle ( Hofburg ) to the heart of Vienna.  While the name Coal Market came from the coal dealers who once set up shop here, it quickly became a prestigious shopping area.  Kohlmarkt was soon home to the shops of various jewelers appointed by the Royal Family and gained the nickname the  Golden U .

During the 1700s, the street blossomed into a well-rounded, high-end shopping street.  Even the original city gate tower, called the Direction Finder Tower ( Peilertor ), also remained an essential feature of Kohlmarkt.  Through Medieval times the tower ( rebuilt in 1511 ) served as a watchtower and jail until it was removed for traffic concerns in 1867.

Today the lane is a real treat, especially during Advent when hanging lights give Kohlmarkt a beautifully lit temporary ceiling.  While you window shop along Kohlmarkt, the one place you have to make sure to stop at is the  Demel Café & Bakery .  Dessert artist and baker Ludwig Dehne moved to Vienna from Wuerttemberg in 1786 and quickly impressed the Emperor with his skills.  In the bakery’s early days, all the ladies of importance in Vienna came to the cafe to drink a cup of hot chocolate on the first cold day of the year.

Ludwig’s cafe business did so well that it gained the esteemed prefix K. u. K., or  König und Kaiser , meaning “good enough for the king”.  With Vienna being a trend-setting cafe town, Ludwig’s bakery became a favorite meeting point of the aristocracy as well as of the bourgeoisie.  In 1857, Ludwig son August sold the shop to his first assistant Christoph Demel giving the cafe its current name.  Even though it is a fancy place, Demel offers a 10€ cake and coffee deal, along with their other amazing chocolates and desserts to make your mouth water.

Demel Hours : Daily 9am-7pm.   Demel Website : ( here ).

16. Michael’s Square ( Michaelerplatz ):

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Michael's Square Michaelerplatz Hofburg Palace

About Michael’s Square :  Michael’s Square is dominated by the Baroque facade of  Hofburg Palace’s Saint Michael Wing .  This huge building was completed in 1889 in place of the old Royal Theater ( Burgtheater ).  The former theater had opened here in 1741 inside an unused Royal banquet hall and was where many famous musical premieres took place.  These premieres included Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro in 1786 and Beethoven’s 1st Symphony in 1800.  While the first sections of the Royal Castle ( Hofburg ) were built near the Square in the mid-1200s, it’s been a critical intersection for nearly 2,000 years .

In Roman times, a civilian bypass of the Limes Road ( Norica Limes ) around the legion fort Vindobona ( early day Vienna ) met the main road into the fort’s Southern gate at Michael’s Square.  The intersection also connected to a secondary route to Linz and Salzburg, but the diagonal bypass off the Limes Road ( seen as Herrengasse Street on modern maps ) was the big driver of traffic.  The Limes Road essentially marked the Northern border of the Roman Empire while linking the 30 main legion camps along the Rhine and Danube Rivers from the North Sea all the way to the Black Sea.

At the crossroads of Michael’s Square stood a large guarded  Roman Legion outpost ( Canabae Legionis )  to help protect the South side of the fort, its 6000 soldiers, and the 24,000 area civilians who lived outside of Vindobona’s walls.  Eventually, the Limes Road broke down from hostile invasions ( Huns & Germanic Goths ) and most of the Northern Roman Empire collapsed by 433AD.  Vindobona was largely abandoned until it was re-fortified as Vienna in 881AD, but luckily remains from its Roman roots are still easily found.

Ruins of the Roman Legion outpost at Michael’s Square were excavated in 1990, unearthing an entire neighborhood of Roman building foundations and ancient sewers.  In addition to the guard houses, the outpost buildings were believed to have included shops, an inn guesthouse, and a brothel.  Further excavations around Michaelerplatz have shown that the Romans also had created a long aqueduct to get water from the surrounding hills as well as several canals dug all the way to the Danube River.

The Roman Legion outpost was essentially  like a small suburb , although it wasn’t given a town charter.  The civilian settlement spread out many blocks from Michael’s Square and foundations of half-timber homes have been found in the courtyard of the Globe Museum ( Herrengasse #9 ), Porcia Mansion ( Herrengasse #9 ), and the Harrach Mansion ( Freyung #3 ).  You can see the extent of the civilian settlement centered on Michael’s Square to the South of the square Vindobona fort  here .

Before leaving the square, make sure to check out  Saint Micheal’s Church  which it is named after.  First completed as a small Romanesque chapel from 1221-1252, it was rebuilt in 1792 as you see it today.  The church is best known for its captivating crypt with the bodies of 4,000 wealthy residents who are buried here with many of them mummified or with open caskets.  The crypt is very interesting, but is one of the most overlooked tourist spots on this free Vienna walking tour.  Investigating the open ruins and sights around Michael’s Square is one of the best windows into Vienna’s Roman past.

17. Spanish Winter Riding School :

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Spanish Riding School Shows Tours

About Spanish Winter Riding School :  The Spanish Riding School has been operating in Vienna since 1565 when it was a wooden stable in nearby Josefsplatz Square making it the  oldest riding school in the World .  The beautiful Spanish Winter Riding School building you see today was built into Hofburg Palace in 1735 in place of the former Paradise Garden.

This historic riding school gets its name from the stars of the show, the delightful  white Lipizzaner horses  from Spain.  Getting accepted into the Spanish Riding School has always been a very prestigious thing.  In its early days, the riding school was limited to young aristocrats and royals who used it to practice jousting and horse dancing called dressage.  The horse dance training helped the riders the gain agility and control needed military campaigns.  Outside of occasional public festivals, watching the horse dancing practices  were reserved for the Royal family  and guests of the court until the monarchy fell in 1918 which opened the shows up to the public.

Tickets for the horse dancing shows can be hard to come by so make sure to book ahead if possible.  Even if you can’t make a dressage show, consider one of the school’s architectural tours that brings you through every nook and cranny of the building including the rafters.  In addition to the horse ballet shows, the training space also hosts a series of elegant Viennese Balls throughout the year.   

Across the street from the Winter Riding School is the Renaissance-style  Royal Horse Stables ( Stallburg ) .  The stables were first built from 1559 to 1569 as a mansion for crown prince Maximilian II by his dad Emperor Ferdinand I.  Folklore says that the Emperor wanted his son under a different roof as they had differing religious views.  The mansion later housed part of the royal art collection which helped to launch Vienna’s Art History Museum.  When the new Winter Riding School opened in 1735, the mansion was turned into the official Royal Horse Stables and is now an active museum.

Ticket Office Hours :  Tuesday-Sunday 9am-4pm; on Fridays when there is a performance they are open until 7pm.   Morning Exercise :  Most weeks Tuesday-Friday from 10am-Noon you can watch Morning practice to music for 15€ which is lighter on the jumping.  Check the schedule  here  as some months have training every day.  You book at the box office each morning.   Main Performances :  The full dressage show performances typically happen on Saturday and Sundays at 11am and can sell out far in advance.  Standing tickets room start out at 25€ and go up to 135€ for the lower level seats.  You can book  online here  or at the box office.  Please note that from late-June through early-August they typically don’t run the full show, but will have practice.   Guided Tours : Most afternoons they have 2-5 time slots for 50-minute guided tours of the grounds and stable for 18€ ( kids half off ) with the most time slots on Mondays while the horse training is off.  You can book at the box office each morning.  Riding School Website :  ( Here ).

18. Joseph’s Square ( Josefsplatz ):

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Josefsplatz Emperor Joseph Square Statue

About Joseph’s Square :  Before checking out the beautiful National Library, it is essential to inspect the often overlooked Joseph Square ( Josefzplatz ).  Today the main feature of the square is the giant  equestrian statue  from 1795 of Emperor Joseph II in Roman clothing riding a horse.

The equestrian statue is actually a take on an ancient statue of Roman Empire Marcus Aurelius which sits on Capitoline Hill in Rome, Italy.   The connection is important both because Marcus Aurelius died in the Roman camp Vindonba ( early day Vienna ) in 180 AD and the Habsburgs always claimed to have a bloodline connection to the Roman leaders.  This equestrian statue is also fitting as Joseph Square was once the home to the original Spanish Riding School back when it was just a small wooden structure.

As you circle the square, there are a couple of old mansions that are worth mentioning.  The 1st is the beautiful  Pálffy Mansion  ( website ) which served as a law office in the 1300s, was rebuilt as the home of a banker in the 1600s, and given a new facade after damage from WW2.   Mozart performed at Pálffy Mansion as a child and did screenings of this opera The Marriage of Figaro with a small audience before premiering it at the Royal Theater that once sat a block away at Michaelplatz.  Every night at 8pm ( except Wednesdays ) you can get tickets for the Vienna Walzer Orchestra which performs for small crowds just like Mozart once did here.

Next door to Pálffy Mansion is the impressive  Pallavicini Mansion  ( website ) which was once the site of the Queens Monastery ( 1581-1782 ).  Unlike Palffy, this mansion was largely untouched by WW2 and serves as a time capsule for Viennese life in the late 1840s.

On the South side of the Joseph’s Square is the former  Augustiner Monastery Complex  ( built in 1327 ), which still has some of its original inner courtyards and main chapel.  The monks had been operating in Vienna since 1260, and Pope John XXII directly approved the building of this complex.  The small Loreto Chapel next to the main altar  holds the hearts  of various Habsburg rulers.  Earlier in this Vienna walking tour, we saw the royal bodies in the Imperial Crypt and their guts in Saint Stephen’s Cathedral.  The church probably the most famous as the place of many Habsburg imperial weddings including that of Marie Louise to  Napoleon Bonaparte  in 1810.

19. Austrian National Library :

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austrian National Library Interior

About The Austrian National Library :  Built by Emperor Charles and Empress Maria Theresa from 1720-23, the Austrian National Library remains  one of the most beautiful libraries in the world to this day.  It is easy to find the entrance as the building is capped by a large golden globe supported by a statue of the Greek God Atlas.  A walk through the Baroque State Hall is bound to leave any visitor with a sense of wonder.

The library’s marble accents are fantastic and the ceiling paintings are among some of the best for any building of its era.  The paintings are so detailed that it’s no wonder they took an extra 7 years to complete after the library was open.  The scenes show the virtues of the Hapsburg rulers as well as depictions of their territories.

The Habsburg Dynasty was a dominant one who had already had a private library collection started as early as the 1300s.  This meant that the new library was able to be filled with over 400 years of treasures the day it opened.  Mix in an over 300-year span where the Hapsburgs served as Holy Roman Emperors ( 1483–1806 ),   you have the makings of one of the  best book collections in the world .  Construction plans even had to be expanded mid-build in the 1700s as the family’s collection continued to grow.

Two of the most popular exhibits run by the library are the impressive Papyrus and Globe Museums.  The Papyrus Museum is best accessed through the reading rooms entrance of Heldenplatz ( Stop 21 ) while the Globe Museum is just down the street ( Herrengasse Avenue #9 ).

Library Hours :  Daily 10am-6pm; Open Thursdays until 9pm.    Cost :  7€ for State Hall; Add for 4€ the Papyrus and Globe Museums; Discounts for kid & families. Audio guide 5€ for 2 people.   Library Website :  Here .

20. Hofburg Castle’s Swiss Court ( Schweizerhof ):

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Hofburg Castle Medieval Swiss Court Royal Treasury Family Jewels

About The Swiss Court :  This was the original portion of today’s Hofburg Palace ( or Imperial Castle ), built from 1220 to 1278 as a  square Gothic castle with corner towers.  The most construction happened along the expanded city walls under Ottokar II who became the Duke of Austria in 1251 and also soon became the King of Bohemia ( 1253-1278 ).  After failing to win the Imperial crown numerous times and raising arms about it, Ottokar II was crushed in battle in 1278 and his castle was taken by the Habsburg who ruled Austria for the next 750 years ( 1278-1918 ).

Only fragments of the original castle remain today as it was given a Renaissance makeover in the 1400s.  This project included a complete rebuild of the Palace Chapel ( Burgkapelle ) in 1449.  A beautiful wooden statue of the Virgin Mary near the altar was carved in 1410 and is quite stunning.  The royal chapel was first established in 1296 ( remodeled again in the 1700s ) and is famous for the angelic Vienna Boys Choir  ( website ) who have been signing High Mass since 1498.  They are one tour in July & August so if you miss out on the Boys Choir, the nearby Augustiner Church ( built in 1327 ) also has music at their 11am religious services.

In 1745, the original castle got another facelift during an expansion of the Palace, and the central courtyard was renamed the  Swiss Court ( Schweizerhof ) after the guards who protected the Royal family.  This substantial makeover also saw the removal of the corner towers and the castle’s drawbridge which once led to the preserved red-black Swiss Gate ( Schweizertor ) from 1552.  The impressive gate displays the Holy Roman Empire’s Imperial Coat of Arms in the variation of the Order of the Golden Fleece which is a secret Medieval fraternity established in 1430.  On the ceiling inside the Swiss Gate are murals showing the titles and lands ruled by Emperor Ferdinand I.

The core of the former castle now houses the Royal Treasury in over 21 Medieval rooms.  While touring the Treasury, you will see the jewels of the Holy Roman Empire, including the Imperial Crown and the Holy Lance, the Crown of Emperor Rudolf II, and gems including one of the world’s largest emeralds.  You will also see a ton of Holy Relics in the Treasury as the Habsburgs had become obsessed with collecting them as a status symbol.  There are items from the Order of the Golden Fleece, and Counter-reformation among other secular treasures.   Our favorite piece is the  giant narwhal tooth  from the 1500s which Medieval times was believed to be a unicorn horn.

Hofburg Treasury Hours :  Wednesday-Monday 9am-530pm; open until 6pm in July and August; Closed Tuesdays.   Admission Cost : 11.50€ for Adults; 10.5€ for Kids; which includes an audio guide.   Royal Treasury Website :  ( HERE ).   Imperial Chapel Hours :  Chapel is  available for Free Mondays & Tuesdays 10am-2pm & Friday 11am-1pm.   Vienna Boys Choir Shows : From September through June you buy a ticket can hear the Boys Choir sign in the chapel most Sundays at 9:15am.  Vienna Boys Choir Tickets : You can buy tickets online  here or on Fridays in person.  Tickets are 5-29€ plus there is free stand room only tickets available for the first 60 people in line.  Vienna Boys Choir Secret : You only hear and don’t see the Boys Choir with your ticket, but you can watch it on a screen for FREE in the small lobby to the right of the Chapel entrance.  Imperial Chapel Website :  ( HERE ).

21. Hofburg Imperial Apartments :

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Hofburg Palace Imperial Apartments Golden Milan Table

About The  Imperial Apartments :  The Imperial Apartments are our favorite part of the Hofburg Palace as they were the residential and state rooms used by Emperor Franz Joseph I and  his wife Elizabeth , known as Sisi.  The apartments are filled with over 165,000 pieces of original furniture from the Hapsburg Dynasty spanning over 300 years.  There is also a section for the over-the-top Imperial furniture and a small museum dedicated to Sisi which includes many of her preserved dresses.

If you think the apartments and decor are fancy, just wait until you check out the  Royal Sliver Collection  ( website ).  It seems like there is an endless amount of wealth on display, but they actually only display about 7,000 of the Habsburgs over 150,000 silver and gold items at a time.  Our favorite part of the collection is the golden centerpiece spanning the entire length of the 90-foot-long Milan Table .  The amazing work was commissioned for the coronation of Emperor Ferdinand in 1838.

Hofburg Palace Hours :  Daily 9am-530pm; open until 6pm in July and August.   Admission Cost : 15€ for Adults; 9€ for Kids; which includes an audio guide. Guided  Tours : A guided tour is required to see the Imperial Apartments and Sisi Museum. They last for 55 minutes, leave daily at 2pm and adds only 2€ to admission cost.   Combined Sisi Ticket : The  Sisi ticket  ( 34€ for Adults; 21€ for Kids ) is the best deal as it includes Schönbrunn Palace, Imperial Furniture Collection, Hofburg with the Imperial Apartments, Sisi Museum, and the Imperial Silver Collection.

22. Hero’s Square ( Heldenplatz ):

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Hero's Square Heldenplatz Archduke Charles Hourse Statue

About Hero’s Square :  As enter the large  Hero’s Square ( Heldenplatz )  you’ll quickly get drawn to the backdrop of the beautiful  Neue Burg Wing  ( New Castle ), but the square itself is worth investigating.  Heldenplatz and 2 other large gardens ( Burggarten & Volksgarten ) were laid out after parts of a Medieval castle wall that stood here were destroyed Napoleonic Wars.

While the other Gardens in Vienna have remained green, most of Heldenplatz has been paved over during the decades.  Luckily a couple of the original equestrian statues still remain in the square.  The first great statue is  Archduke Charles of Austria  riding a horse while triumphantly holding a flag.  The statue of Charles, erected in 1860, was meant to portray the Habsburg Dynasty as great Austrian military leaders.

While the statue of Archduke Charles is cool, our favorite is of  Prince Eugene of Savoy  which sits right by Neue Burg’s main entrance.  Eugene left France for Austria after being denied entrance to their military for appearance and went on to become the greatest General in Austrian history.  He led military campaigns for 60 years over 3 different Holy Roman Emperors based out of Vienna and was very successful.  Eugene’s claim to fame with battles over the Ottomans later gaining heavy praise fro Napoleon all while getting super rich from his endeavors.  To this day Eugene serves as a point of Austrian pride and willpower.

If you want more of a true garden experience visit the  People’s Garden ( Volksgarten )  on the Northern end of Hero’s Square.  This garden, featured in our  Vienna Ring Tram Tour  has a wonderful rose garden, a replica of the Greek Temple Hephaestus ( Theseion ), and a memorial to Empress Sissi.

Before leaving Heldenplatz, make sure to check out the huge gateway going over the road on the South side of the square called  Outer Castle Gate ( Äußeres Burgtor ) .  The columned gateway is all that remains from a curtain wall built around the Palace in 1817 after the original castle wall was damaged during the Napoleonic Wars in 1809.

This new Palace wall section didn’t last long as it and the entire Medieval wall that surrounded all of Old Town Vienna were torn down in 1860 by Emperor Franz Joseph I to making way for the Ringstrasse loop.  This move helped the growing city expand and was part of a large series of enhancements the Emperor made to the City.

23. New Royal Palace ( Neue Burg ):

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Neue Hofburg Ephesos Museum

About The New Royal Palace :  Emperor Franz Joseph’s had a dream of creating  Kaiserforum  complex to how off Austria’s might through architecture and arts.  As seen in this 1865  mockup sketch , the complex covered the Neue Burg Wing ( or New Castle ) wing of Hofburg Place, the Museum Quartier, and numerous other buildings.

The huge Neue Burg section was started in 1881, but its construction was drug out for over 30 years into the beginning of WW1 which Austria lost, further delaying the project.  Because of the lengthy, delays most of the rest of the Kaiserforum complex was scrapped for the most part, but overall the completed buildings are really impressive.

Once inside Neue Burg, it is easy to be in awe of the marble-lined corridors, grand staircases, and our favorite is called the  Hunting Plateau  which is a common place for weddings.  The amazing details of the grand Neue Berg make it the perfect setting for the building many museum collections.  The 1st collection that was housed here came from Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1908 after he got back from an extensive trip around the World.  After Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in 1914, which sparked WW1, his entire collection was given to Neue Berg giving a starting to a series of wonderful museums.

Today the building houses Papyros Museum,  Ephesos Museum  ( website ) ,  Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments and the  Collection of Arms and Armor  ( website ) which takes up the entire Southside.  Our favorite of these museums is the Ephesos which has a great collection of classical and even ancient statues.  The highlight of the Ephesus Museum is the Parthian Monument, part of an antique altar erected at Ephesus ( modern-day Turkey ) during the Hellenistic Period.  In Roman times, Ephesus was the capital of the Province of Asia and one of the largest early-Christian communities in the world with around 200,000 inhabitants.

Neue Burg Museum Hours :  Wednesday-Sunday 10am-6pm; Closed Monday & Tuesdays.  If you only have time for one museum stop, consider the world-class collection of museums at nearby Museum Quartier instead of Neue Berg.   Museum Cost :  15€ for Adults; Children are free; and guided tours are 3€ extra.  Your ticket covers all of Neue Burg’s Museum plus the Art History Museum ( Kunsthistorisches ) in Museum Quartier.  You can also get a combo ticket to include the Natural History Museum and Leopold Modern Art Museum for a couple of euros more. We’ve bought the combo ticket and they let us see the two museums on different days, but ask to make sure.   Neue Burg Website :   Here .

24. Museum Quartier :

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Museum Quartier

About Museum Quartier :  As Emperor Franz Joseph designed his grand Kaiserforum complex, a series of museums built around a park was an integral part of his plans, but is was never fully completed.  As seen in this 1865  mockup sketch , there were to be a ton of buildings, but at least the 2 large museums they did finish turned out to be masterpieces.

On the Eastside of the square is the highly rated  Art History Museum , or   Kunsthistorisches  ( website ), which holds Vienna’s greatest collection of paintings covering very fun loving art from over a 200-year span.  The Koonst as it’s called, also holds an amazing Egyptian Museum.

The twin building on the Westside of the Maria Theresa Square is the  Museum of Natural History , or  Naturhistorisches  ( website ), whose vast collection holds Austria’s most famous work of art, the 4-inch-tall Venus of Willendorf Statue.  This statue depicts a chubby, naked female figure carved into limestone and dates back to 24,000-22,000 BC.

Behind these two massive main museums is a third section worth a stop for any modern art lover, the  Leopold Modern Art Museum  ( website ) &  Mumok Museum .  Of favorite piece at the Modern Art Museum comes right away and is an upside down house home smashed into the side of the Museum called House Attack.

Art History Museum Hours : Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm; on Thursday until 9pm; Closed Mondays ( except June & August ). Art History Cost :  15€ for Adults; Children and teens are free, but a guided tour is +3€ and audio guide is +4€. Combo ticket with Neue Berg and Imperial Treasury is 20€ -or- with Neue Berg and Modern Art Museum is 24€.   Natural History Museum Hours :  Wednesday-Monday 9am-6:30pm; Wednesdays until 9pm; closed Tuesdays; best before Noon.  Tours in English are every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 3pm.   Natural History Museum Cost :  10€ for Adults; Children and teens are free, but a guided tour is +3€ and audio guide is +4€.   Modern Art Museum Hours :  Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm; Thursdays until 9pm; closed Mondays.   Modern Art Museum Cost :  13€ for Adults, students 8€, buy a mobile ticket online  HERE . Combo ticket with Kunsthistorisches and Neue Burg is 24€.

Other Sights Near Old Town Vienna:

25. ringstrasse tram tour :.

self guided walking tour vienna

About The Ring Tram :  When Vienna’s original Roman wall was expanded outward in 1257, it followed the path of today’s Ringstrasse.  This new wall was very heavily fortified with watchtowers & bastions, was surrounded by a moat, and ringed with a wide building-free meadow ( glacis ) separating the city from the suburbs.  This protection helped Vienna fight off the Turkish Sieges of 1529 & 1638 which may have saved the rest of Europe from being overtaken.

In 1860, the growing city of Vienna needed more room so Emperor Franz Joseph I tore down the Medieval wall and filled in the former moat that circled old town to create today’s grand boulevard.  This was a boom time for Vienna and grand buildings sprung up all along the new Ringstrasse circling around Vienna.

Thanks to a modern system of tram lines, making the mile loop around the Ringstrasse to check out the sights is super easy.  The entire loop can be done in less than 30 minutes , but we suggest hopping off at various points to explore and fully experience the Ringstrasse attractions.  To help make your trip a smooth one we have put together a great guide to the best sights and tips for using the trams along with a helpful printable map.

Read More :   Vienna Ring Tram Tour .

26. Saint Charles Church ( Karlskirche ):

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Saint Charles Church Karlskirche Karlsplatz

About Saint Charles Church :  The giant white St. Charles Church dates back to the early 1700s and is a favorite of photographers with its large green dome and huge  reflecting pool .  The Church was commissioned by the Emperor after Vienna’s last bout of Plague as he felt that his prayers were the reason why the Plague stopped.  This train of thought was a common theme throughout Vienna’s history as after each tragedy the ruling Emperor would use the event as a reason to build an even bigger and more extravagant Church.

Cost : 4€.   Hours : Daily 9am-7pm.   Website :  HERE .

27. Naschmarkt :

Free Vienna Walking Tour Map Old Town Austria - Naschmarkt Market

About Naschmarkt :  The 6 block long Naschmarkt is Vienna’s most popular produce market.  An active market has been operating here since 1780 and today has 100 vintage stalls.

Cost : Free.   Hours : Stalls open Monday-Friday 6am-7:30pm; Saturday 6am-6pm; food & drink Monday-Saturday until 11pm.   Website :  HERE .

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Visiting Vienna

Walking tours & themed walks

Tour guide with listeners

Enjoy a selection of ways to tour Vienna on foot, including self-guided and guided alternatives, along with suggestions for some themed options.

  • Book a guided tour * from a central hub
  • Tours overview for Vienna
  • Hop on hop off buses
  • Self-guided walk around the centre

Guided tours

  • Eras & historical locations
  • Composers, artists & architects
  • All-Inclusive Pass

Self-guided walk

Outside the Vienna opera house

(You start at the State Opera House…)

Many of the historical sights in Vienna live in the compact, largely flat, and eminently walkable city centre.

I’ve put together a set of suggestions for seeing the important locations on your own with photos, instructions, visitor tips, and links to more information on what you pass.

Wander the old town at your leisure (or take a total of around 90 minutes if you don’t hang around):

  • Part 1 : you begin at the Staatsoper and walk to the edge of the Habsburg’s Hofburg palace complex
  • Part 2 : historical Michaelerplatz square and through the Hofburg to Heldenplatz square
  • Part 3 : along a stretch of the old town city limits flanked by many of Vienna’s most famous buildings
  • Part 4 : back through the pedestrianised centre to end at Stephansdom cathedral

View of Stephansdom and south tower

(…and end at the cathedral)

If you prefer a more rural wander around the city, Vienna has numerous formal and clearly-marked hiking routes . Most take you into the surrounding woods and hills, with a couple of notable exceptions (like the social housing walk).

Since Vienna has dozens of certified tour guides willing to take you on all sorts of trips, I would simply send you to three other websites:

  • City tours *: various scheduled tours in Vienna for direct online booking. Many on foot, but also bus & bike tours
  • Findaguide.at : the Chamber of Commerce directory of guides you can hire
  • Guides-in-vienna.at : directory of the Association of Licensed Guides in Vienna

With few exceptions, working as a tour guide in Vienna needs a state license (awarded after completing a lengthy training & education programme and then passing an exam).

A strong alternative to a general guided walking tour is, of course, one of the hop on hop off bus services .

Themed tours

Aside from any specialist tours provided by the above, I have a few articles and links for those looking to explore particular themes. We begin with…

History & architecture

Many locations offer their own specialist in-house tours , notably the two Habsburg palace complexes, the cathedral, the Spanish Riding school, and traditional music venues like the State Opera House or Musikverein.

Architectural epochs

Parliament and Athena fountain at night

(The refurbished parliament building, constructed in the Hellenic style)

Within the following introductions to architectural and design eras relevant to Vienna, you’ll find tips on where to see examples.

  • Baroque : an ostentatious style from the 1600s and early 1700s. Several of Vienna’s more popular palaces and churches date back to this period.
  • Biedermeier : a more conservative, homely approach that developed in the first half of the 19th century as a consequence of what we’d probably call a police state today.
  • Historicism : where architects and designers drew inspiration from the past. Particularly popular in the second half of the 1800s, which explains all the neogothic, neorenaissance and similar buildings from that time.
  • Jugendstil : Vienna’s Art Nouveau movement whose heyday was the late 1800s and early 1900s. The pedestrianised centre has notable architectural examples , as does the rest of the old town .

Other themed historical location tips

The Sisi memorial

(The Sisi memorial in the Volksgarten park)

  • Empress Elisabeth : explore those sights closely associated with the famous Sisi , including her apartments and a dedicated museum
  • Vienna Modernism : Vienna’s creative flame probably burned brightest around 1900 (though my current calender and to-do list are a remarkable experiment in modernist creativity).
  • Jewish Vienna : the article covers just the major locations, but be sure to visit the Jewish Info Point for more detailed information.
  • Social housing : experts consider Vienna a role model for urban development, thanks in large part to the availability of high-quality city-owned housing. This harks back to the remarkably farsighted social housing projects of post-WWI, whose legacy remains in the cityscape.

Music and art

As mentioned above, major concert venues have in-house tours. I can particularly recommend the tour of the Staatsoper . Quite apart from the gorgeous interiors, the guide has enough anecdotes to fill a 5-hour Wagner opera.

The Strauss monument

(The golden Strauss monument)

A musician-themed walking tour is very easy. Just stand anywhere in the older parts of Vienna and look around. Chances are you’re next to where some baton-wielding giant of classical music lived / died / composed / played (not necessarily in that order).

But for detailed tips on places to see, I have a famous footsteps page that lists locations for Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss (II), Haydn, Schubert, Brahms, Mahler, Liszt, Lehár and Bruckner.

Most of the composer guides split into three sections: life locations (residences and similar), music locations (venues for premieres and similar), and memorials & more (monuments, museums and similar).

Artists & architects

The Klimt Villa

(Gustav Klimt’s final studio)

That same On the trail of… page also has location guides for the artists Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, the artist/architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, and the architect Otto Wagner.

All the guides cover places to see their works (or buildings in the case of Wagner and Hundertwasser) and those places associated with their life and legacy.

Vienna All-Inclusive Pass

As a final tip, the Vienna All-Inclusive Pass from Go City is the tourist pass with the greatest focus on tours and activities. At the time of writing, for example, it included one-time free access to 10+ walking, bike and bus tours.

  • Vienna Travel Planning
  • Vienna Notes Newsletter
  • Help Centre: Ask a Question

Vienna Unwrapped Inspiration and Planning For Independent Travellers who are visiting Vienna

What do to in Vienna: Spittelberg walk

Vienna Walks – Six Exciting Sightseeing Routes With Maps

February 2024 Which Vienna walks will best roll out the city to you? First, almost all major Vienna landmarks and attractions line up within the three square kilometres of Old Vienna, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Second, not just the city centre lends itself to walks but also many central neighborhoods.

Walking through the likes of Wieden, Mariahilf and Josefstadt with their typical townhouses and shops will give you a good insight into local urban lifestyles. To help you plan your time in Wien I have pulled together my favourite Vienna walks which are also mapped out.

Is Vienna a walkable city?

As soon as you enter central Vienna you will notice its well-designed urban layout with wide pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, well-maintained streets, and numerous pedestrian zones. As one of Europe’s greenest metropolises more than half of Vienna’s city (53 percent) is green space. In a few parts of the city, designated pedestrian zones hand over the city entirely to walkers. Beyond the city center, many local neighborhoods such as Josefstadt or Mariahilf are pedestrian-friendly, with low traffice zones, shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions within walking distance. The sidewalks in Vienna are generally well-maintained and accessible, making it comfortable for pedestrians.

Interestingly, more than three quarters of local Viennese walk for more than 10 minutes every day (source: Mobilitätsagentur Wien, 2019). And more than 30 per cent of errands are done on foot.

Old Vienna Walk

Vienna Walks: Vienna State Opera

This walk combines sightseeing of Vienna landmarks , such as the Vienna Opera House, the Albertina and the Stephansdom, with my tips for Vienna coffeehouses and traditional snack bars, and the occasional must see shops that will cross your way. Go to Old Vienna Walk .

Vienna 1900 Walks

Vienna Walks: Majolikahaus

Unfortunately for travellers Wien’s fin-de-siècle highlights lie scattered across town. There is no ‘Vienna 1900’ quarter nor are there street signs to help you trace the most exciting and fruitful era of Viennese art and literature.

Hence I have cut, trimmed and aligned my experience of the best places to explore Vienna at the start of the 20th century. The result are two neat day itineraries of museum, coffeehouse and bar visits, street walks, a shopping tour and tips on concerts with music from that era. Get inspired by these Vienna 1900 walks.

To acquire a 360-degree understanding of the era, read my compact one pager about Fin-de-Siècle Vienna before your walk.

Vienna By Night

Vienna Walks: Hofburg

Once you arrive in Vienna, even if it’s later in the evening, don’t think it’s too late to explore the city. In fact, it’s the most brilliant time. Streets, squares, architecture, sculptures and monuments have that magical glow that you will rarely find during the day. If you are a photo enthusiast like me you will find it’s the best time to capture the city’s architecture. I am sharing this Vienna night walk with you for inspiration. Find out more Vienna by night .

Art Nouveau Walk

Vienna Walks: Otto Wagner Pavilion

Vienna Insider Walk

Deutschordenshaus

Find out more in Vienna Insider Walk .

Vienna Walks: objects at Kunstwerkstatt

Especially if you have a hang for interior design, art, fashion , music, architecture, multimedia design, advertising or marketing, you will feel at home during this Art and Design Walk. It is a very relaxed mixture of museums, art crowd cafés and artisan shops. You can easily scale it up or down, depending on the amount of time you would like to spend in one place. Visit Art Walk .

Guided Vienna Walks

If you want to add intellectual depth – and fun – to your walk, consider hiring a great licensed guide: All trained guides know the city center like the back of their hand, and will share many exciting stories. Besides, you could also join one of the regular small group tours. As for neighborhood walks, a few guides also cover out-of-centre areas like the ‘art walk district’ Neubau, Wieden and Alsergrund. And some of these guides will even let you fill your shopping bags, like this award-winning shopping guide . To visit the former Jewish quarter Leopoldstadt and Path of Remembrance make sure you hire a specialised Jewish Vienna tour guide.

Learn more about guided Vienna tours and private tours .

Other Ideas For Self-Guided Tours In Vienna

Other than walking to explore Vienna, there are two further ideal means to roam the city just like a local: Either use one or more of Vienna’s 28 tramway lines, or rent a bike. In Vienna Tours, Self-Guided find inspiration for the best tramway lines and bike rental options to discover Wien.

explore more of What To Do In Vienna back to Vienna Unwrapped homepage

Vienna trip resources: best apps

Resources You Need To Plan Your Vienna Vacation

To fast track your planning for a Vienna vacation I have packed a ton of …

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vienna-walking-route-photo

Exploring Vienna in a day on foot

Vienna , the capital of Austria , is arguably one of the grandest capitals in Europe. I’ve visited this beautiful city five times over the years and have gotten to know it fairly well. My most recent visit was during a river cruise from Budapest (Hungary) to Nuremberg (Germany). The ship stopped in Vienna for a full day and I took my partner, who’d not been there in a long time, out on a walking tour of Vienna to show my take on the city; from its historic grandeur to its vibrant, trendy side. There’s a countless number of things to see and do in Vienna and a stay of at least a few days is recommended, but if you’re short on time, for instance, if you’re on a Danube river cruise , then here’s what you can do in Vienna in a day. Scroll down to see my recommended Vienna walking route and things to see and do along the way.

vienna-walking-route-photo

We started our walk at the Karlsplatz U-Bahn station. From there, we continued past Vienna’s main highlights such as the Museum Quarter, Hofburg and St. Stephens Cathedral, and ended at one of my favourite parts of Vienna: the Danube Canal.

Our self-guided Vienna walking tour covered a distance of approximately 12km and we did it comfortably within a day.

Vienna self-guided walking route

The Ring and Museum Quarter

We started our Vienna walking route at the Karlsplatz U-Bahn (metro) station and continued to our first stop, the Opera House. Originally called the Vienna Court Opera, this magnificent building has a history dating back to the mid-19th century. If you have the time, sign up for a tour inside (or even better, buy a ticket for a performance) as it really is stunning!

vienna opera house

From here, we strolled down the Opera Ring road (Opernring) and entered the Burggarten (Burg Gardens). Inside this compound is one of my favourite Viennese cafés, the Palmenhaus. We stopped here for an ‘Einspänner’ (a Viennese coffee comprised of two shots of espresso and whipped cream) before continuing to the Museum Quarter.

palmenhaus-burggarten-vienna-photo

Our first stop was the Maria-Theresienplatz (Maria Theresa Square), with its grand statues in the middle and the Fine Art and Natural History museums on either side. We then walked further to the striking Mumok (Museum of Contemporary Art) before turning back to the Ring road.

maria-theresien-platz-walking-tour-vienna-photo

If you only have time to visit one museum, I suggest visiting the Fine Arts Museum. The interior is absolutely stunning and the art collection is amazing!

self guided walking tour vienna

We followed the Ring road, passing the Parliament Building, until our next stop: the Rathaus (City Hall). With its beautiful spires, the Rathaus is one of my favourite historic buildings in Vienna. The square in front of the Rathaus was filled with food stalls, benches and tables that day so we grabbed the opportunity to have a local beer and a bratwurst! There were other stalls selling Viennese wines (Vienna is the only capital city in the world with vineyards within its boundaries!) and food but we chose to move on.

parliament-vienna-photo

Austria magnets

Vienna’s love affair with coffee

From the Rathaus, we crossed the Ring road and headed towards the historic centre, passing the Burgtheater and another iconic Vienna café: Café Landtmann. Vienna’s love affair with coffee and cafés dates back to the 17th century when the Ottomans were driven back from the gates of Vienna. This failed attempt by the Ottomans to occupy Vienna was a turning point in European history. As the Ottomans retreated, they left behind their bags of coffee beans. This marked the start of the Viennese coffee culture, which was later reinforced by the opening of coffee houses around the city. These coffee houses soon came up with their own blends and types of coffee (the Wiener Melange is perhaps the most famous), and cakes (such as the Sacher Torte).

cafe-landtmann-vienna-photo

We continued our walk towards the Hofburg, passing yet another historic café along the way: Café Central. The Hofburg, one of the grandest buildings in Vienna, is the former Imperial Palace. Built from the 13th century onwards, the Hofburg now houses the office of the President of Austria. Next door, you’ll find another famous Vienna attraction: the Spanish Riding School.

hofburg-vienna-photo

From here, we criss-crossed various shopping streets like the Graben, passed the lovely Am Hof square and had a peek inside the beautiful St. Peter’s Church before arriving in the heart of Vienna: Stephansplatz (Stephans Square), with its imposing St. Stephens Cathedral (Stephansdom). Built in the 14th century, the Stephansdom is a beautiful mix of Gothic and Romanesque architecture and is a must-visit for any first-time visitor to Vienna.

am-hof-vienna-photo

We left the Stephansdom behind us and continued in a zig-zag pattern through the narrow streets and galleries in the historic centre, passing countless shops, cafés, restaurants and art galleries. We stopped for a minute at Figlmüller Wollzeile, a restaurant famous for its classic schnitzels, but decided to move on as I had dinner plans elsewhere! From here, we made our way to the old Jewish Quarter (around St. Rupert’s Church and the Stadttempel) before reaching the Danube Canal.

The Danube Canal – a different side of Vienna

The Danube Canal (or ‘Donaukanal’ in German) is an arm of the Danube River, Europe’s second-longest river, and runs alongside the historic city centre of Vienna. Originally a natural offshoot of the Danube River, the canal was regulated and turned into a water channel in the 17th century. These days, the canal is a popular recreation area for the locals. With its colourful street art, cool cafés and restaurants, and urban beaches, the Danube Canal is one of my favourite areas in Vienna.

danube-canal-vienna-photo

We strolled along both sides of the canal, admiring the street art and watching the locals enjoy the sunny day. Though minutes away from the historic grandeur of Vienna, the Danube Canal, with its contemporary urban vibe, feels like a completely different world altogether!

urban-beach-danube-canal-vienna-photo

Our stroll ended with a well-deserved wine and dinner at the wonderful Motto am Fluss café/restaurant perched above the banks of the Danube Canal. I can definitely recommend this restaurant for its excellent service and food!

motto-am-fluss-vienna-photo

I had one more treat for my partner. After dinner, we crossed the Danube Canal and headed for the Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom. We entered the hotel and took the lift to The Loft (Das Loft), a restaurant and bar with some of the finest views of Vienna (another bar I can recommend with panoramic views of Vienna is the SKY bar located above the Steffl department store in the city centre). The Loft features floor-to-ceiling windows, a striking ceiling, and above all, spectacular views across Vienna. As we sipped on a delicious Grüner Veltliner, we gazed at the city lights and pointed at the landmarks we’d passed earlier in the day. It was a fabulous end to a terrific day in Vienna!

das-loft-vienna-photo

If you’re visiting Vienna, I highly recommend spending at least 3-4 days there to enjoy the city and its famous attractions . Visit the stunning palaces such as the Belvedere or Schönbrunn, attend a philharmonic concert or opera, go wine-tasting in one of the many ‘heurige’ (wine taverns) in one of the Viennese wine villages such as Nussdorf, Neustift or Stammersdorf, or go shopping in the trendy 6th and 7th districts .

Of course, if you only have a day, I hope you’ll enjoy this walking tour of Vienna! 🙂

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18 Responses

[…] you’re keen to explore Vienna on your own, check out my self-guided walking tour of Vienna for river cruise […]

[…] next day, this time to make schnitzel and kaiserschmarrn, a typical Austrian dessert. I opted to stroll around Vienna on my own but when I returned to the ship and heard all the hilarious stories from those who went, I felt […]

[…] Read about my Danube River cruise. Read more about an evening cruise in Budapest or how I spent one day in Vienna. […]

[…] Read about my walking tour of Vienna. […]

[…] more about Vienna on Velvet Escape, including my suggested walking route. Search for hotels in […]

[…] I visited Passau as part of a Danube River cruise from Budapest to Nuremberg with Viking Cruises. Read more about other cities visited along the way such as Budapest and Vienna. […]

[…] I woke up the next morning to find ourselves in Vienna, one of my favourite European cities! I decided to skip the city tours (I know the city pretty well) and instead went for a full-day of exploring. Read about my walking itinerary of Vienna. […]

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Hi Agness, Thanks for your lovely comment. I totally agree with you: Vienna needs much more attention than one day! This post is for those who only have a day (because they’re on a day trip from another city or they’re on a cruise, like I was). I hope this post helps them to get a great feel for the diversity of Vienna during their short stay.

Cheers, Keith

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I think that Vienna needs much more attention than one day. However, your story is very inspirational Keith! Thanks a bunch for your efforts to share this story.

Hi Jen, Thank you for your comment. Do you mean a day-trip from Vienna? It’s possible to do that but you’ll be travelling most of the day (to and fro) and will have very little time to see any of those cities in a day, which would be a pity because there’s so much to see and do. I suggest spending at least 3 days in Budapest and/or Prague, and at least a night in Salzburg. Enjoy Vienna!

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Wow, such a nice blog. I will definitely follow thai’s walk when I am there in September. Would you recommend a day trip to either Budapest, Prague or Salzburg via Viator ? Thank you

Hi Renata, Thanks for your lovely comment and glad to hear that you plan to follow my walking route! Yay! 🙂 Prague and Vienna are very different cities – I think Prague has a more medieval feel. I’m sure you’ll enjoy Vienna!

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It is very nice and inspiring blog! I am going to go to Vienna for first time next spring and for sure I will take a walking tour according to your advices. It is fun, I have been in a lot of cities of the world but never in Vienna. It is because I live in Prague and many people say that Prague is a similar city like Vienna. So I am curious if it is true.

Thanks Brittany for your comment! I’m sure you’ll love Vienna! Have a great trip! 🙂

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What a fabulous looking city … will definitely slot in during my European tour next year!

[…] Check out my walking tour of Vienna. […]

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self guided walking tour vienna

The ultimate self-guided tour of Vienna’s old city: cobblestones and secret alleyways

Uncover the rarely seen, and be led through the cobblestone streets and secret alleyways of vienna’s old city center – with vienna würstelstand’s self-guided walking tour..

Do you have your own favourite walk you like to do in Vienna that you’d like us to share? Get in contact with us via: [email protected]

Start: Waltz through the the palace gates, and BAM! you’re in Vienna’s old city.

Stand in front of the half moon of the Hofburg (the imperial palace) – reminds us of a wedding cake.

self guided walking tour vienna

Look over your shoulder – that’s the gothic crown of the Rathaus (city hall) poking over the trees. Onward into the Hofburg, do a spin and take in the courtyard for a moment. Take a right into the Schweizerhof. Weave through the courtyards, come out the other side of the tunnel at Josefplatz. Tap dance on the cobblestones, look up and wave to Atlas and his golden balls, and continue.

self guided walking tour vienna

Fly up the steps of the Albertina gallery (housing one of Europe’s most valuable art collections), onto the terrace. Kiss somebody as if you’re Ethan Hawke and a French girl upon the backdrop of the magnificent opera (sound familiar? You have seen this scene in “Before Sunrise”). Head down the ramp, through the Burggarten gates and enter the glasshouse looking structure. You’re in the Palmenhaus coffeehouse. Sip a coffee under a palm tree, if you feel like it.

self guided walking tour vienna

This white tangle of human bodies grappling towards the sky commemorates Austria’s dark days of facism and war. Onward, up to the Neuer Markt for a bowl of coffee (yes, you heard right) and croissant at the French café, Le Bol, if you skipped the Palmenhaus. Left. Little galleries and over-priced old stuff in antique store windows.

self guided walking tour vienna

Be sucked into the hidden courtyard alleyway at Habsburggasse 14, and spat out onto ancient Roman ruins at bustling Michaelerplatz.

self guided walking tour vienna

Sing your favourite song under the dome of the Michaelertor at Michaelerplatz . Walk up the Kohlmarkt boulevard past boutiques with price tags on clothes higher than the cost of the store’s rent. Stop at Julius Meinl, turn around, look over the sea of people on the boulevard in all its glory, and the copper green dome where you sang your song.

self guided walking tour vienna

Squeeze through the alley next to the little button nose cottage attached to old the monastery. If you see a sign saying Schulhof your standing in a part of the old Jewish part of town, and alongside an old Jesuit church. Sit and wait for a horse and carriage to clippety-clop past.

self guided walking tour vienna

Judenplatz (Jewish square) – Sit at the nameless library (the concrete box in the middle of the square). Ponder what it stands for and why it honours the Austrian Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Think about it in the square’s silence. Then look to the lone statue of German writer, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, and think of his words: “Think wrongly, if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.”

self guided walking tour vienna

Right onto Kurrentgasse, slip into the open door next to the Arthur Grimm Bäckerei (bakery). In the narrow courtyard, look to the sky and see how the Viennese once lived … and still do. Listen for sounds of life from the apartments above. Walk down the narrow alleyway located just before the talented goldsmith’s workshop, called the Ring King. Knock on the ancient wooden door down the alleyway and run. After soaking in the cute little courtyard, of course.

self guided walking tour vienna

Walk out onto Kleeblattgasse. Listen to shoes on cobblestones, smell flowers from florist on the corner of Tuchlauben and Kleeblattgasse. Try to pronounce Kleeblattgasse with a squeaky voice.

self guided walking tour vienna

At Café Korb there’s a crossroads where two options present themselves.

1. Take a detour to Peterskirche (church of St Peter). An American priest who smoked, drunk and swore once explained to us: “this Baroque church, like all Baroque churches, implies heaven is here with us on earth. The brightness, the angels – it gives us a preview of the coming attractions in heaven.”

2. Have a coffee at a local favourite coffeehouse, Café Korb. The café’s owner is a famous provocative model turned prominent personality in Vienna, Susanne Widl. Google her. Actually do both of these things, if you have the time.

Walk narrow footpath until Stephansdom flies up out of nowhere in front of you in all of its glory. Take a selfie with saintly Stephan and go inside the gothic arch entrance. Sit at a wooden pew, close your eyes and listen to the echoes. Then light a candle. Spot the skulls and explore gothic architectural features.

The same smoking, swearing American priest explained: “Gothic churches are designed to remind us that we are mere mortals. And the steeples are so high because they’re reaching up into the heavens.” Religious or not, that’s a hell of a holy thought.

Escape tourist crowds through the tunnel at Stephansplatz 6, opposite the horse and cart parking lot. Skip over Wollzeile street into arched entrance to alleyway with the sign Figlmüller above it. Look through the window at famous Heuriger (wine tavern), Figlmüller. Wipe up drool caused by the sight of golden Schnitzel bigger than the plate people feast on inside. Look into the little jewellery shop Schatz Ecke next door. Imagine the stories lived while people wore those rings and other faded gold and silver things.

self guided walking tour vienna

Popping out on Bäckerstraße (Baker’s street). Pop into Kaffee Alt Wien coffeehouse for homemade Apfelstrudel, or beer and Frankfurters, horse radish and mustard. Use your hands like the locals do.

Blutgasse (blood alley) – several legends live here, some of them explaining the name. Google it when you get home, or create them with your own imagination while strolling the street.

self guided walking tour vienna

Franziskanerplatz. Kleines Café (Vienna’s smallest café and one of its most famous) on a charming square with a fountain. Go into the church named after the square. Perched above the entrance inside is Vienna’s oldest church organ.

self guided walking tour vienna

Duck through the arched walkway labeled, Tischlerei (joiner’s workshop) and peek into the old workshop still living on the alleyway.

The End: Würstelstand am Hohen Markt. Every good story in Vienna ends with a würstel and beer.

Order “eine Käsekrainer mit Semmel und ein Pfiff, bitte.” (a cheese kransky with a bread roll and a 0.2l beer).

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The Creative Adventurer

A Historic Self-Guided Walking Tour of Vienna

self guided walking tour vienna

Vienna is the capital and largest city in Austria , and as of 2001, the entire town was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site . It has been named the “ City of Music ” or the “ The City of Dreams ” and for good reason. Vienna is home to some of the most interesting architectural masterpieces in Europe. While Vienna might be a big, bustling city, its historic centre is rather small and easily explorable by foot – the best way to get in touch with the feeling of this remarkable city. Modern buildings intertwine with gothic gems. While some historic towns feel like they are trapped in the past, this city embraces antiquity but still feels a part of the modern world. 

self guided walking tour vienna

Harmony and Poetry

The stone of the republic, sarcophagus of empress maria theresia, mayseder house.

  • Entry into St. Stephen's Church

Healing of the Lame

Great organ.

self guided walking tour vienna

Map of Walking Tour

Vienna State Opera House

Start your tour at the Vienna State Opera House . In the City of Music , there is no better place to start than the Opera. The Opera House opened in 1863 and since then has been home to some of the most world-renowned artists, musicians and directors. Every year there are over 350 performances from over 60 different operas and ballets.

self guided walking tour vienna

The facade of the Opera House hasn’t changed since 1869. Neo-Renaissance style arches and a huge veranda pops out onto the Ring Road and offers the public the chance to use the building as shelter from the rain or even just a shady pathway throughout the year. This integration of the building into the daily lives of people in Vienna also cemented its prominence as a piece of architecture in the hearts of its residences.

self guided walking tour vienna

The bronze statues which top the building represent Erato’ s two winged horses named Harmony and Poetry . Above each of the arches along the outside are five statues representing heroism, tragedy, fantasy, comedy, and love . There are also two iconic fountains on their side of the opera house which depict the two worlds which music can create; one representing dance, joy, and levity, and the other seduction, sorrow, love, and revenge.

self guided walking tour vienna

Deep in the bones of this building, you will find veins of Vienna’s past. The arts were such a huge building block of Vienna’s culture. It was here that Mozart wrote the famous opera The Marriage of Figaro . The city was home to many great composers of the classical music era, during the early 19th century, such as Joseph Haydn and Ludwig van Beethoven .

You can get a behind the scenes tour which will take you backstage with a guide who will tell you all about the history of the opera house. If you’d rather watch a performance, tickets range anywhere from 8€-130€, but if you wanted to save money, you can purchase day-of standing room only tickets for as little as 2€. 

Café Sacher Wien

Café Sacher  is a legendary restaurant. Located inside the Sacher Hotel, the cafe has stood in the same spot, serving the people of Vienna for over a century. Stepping inside the large entry doors, you are welcomed into a stunning Marie Antoinette- inspired dollhouse. Deep red painted walls are accented with bright white linens and sparkling golden chandeliers. The crown moulding is covered in gold leaf and acts like icing on top of a cake.

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Cafe Sacher is famed for their invention of the Sachertorte , made in 1837 for the presiding Viennese prince. There is no better place in the world to sample this uniquely Viennese treat. The Sachertorte is made by combining two layers of airy chocolate cake, separated by apricot jam, coated with chocolate ganache and topped off with whipped cream. The cake itself is quite dry, so the whipped cream and a cup of warm coffee or tea is the best combination to enjoy the dessert to its fullest.

self guided walking tour vienna

Albertinaplatz

Down the street from Cafe Sacher is Albertinaplatz or Albertina Square . Albertinaplatz is met on six sides by six different roads, making it a favourite meeting destination for the people of Vienna. From the square, you can see or visit the Albertina Art Museum , St. Augustin Church or the Austrian Film Museum .

self guided walking tour vienna

In the centre of the square are various powerful statues and monuments. Before 1945, wealthy apartment blocks covered this square. But during WWII they were all subsequently destroyed in an air-raid. The numbers of deaths could never be verified, and the bodies could not be recovered from the rubble.All the statues now standing here, use stones similar to the ones pulled from the wreckage. Standing amongst the statues, almost beneath them, you can imagine how much carnage huge falling piece of stone would have caused.

self guided walking tour vienna

The Gates of Violence

The Gates of Violence stand in the centre of the square and are the most imposing piece. They are made from the same material which was used to create stairs inside many of the infamous WWII death camps. The great stone is split in half, a powerful image symbolic of how war can break apart even the strongest things in this world. Embedded in the stones are images of war, gas masks, men and women caught in their moment of death, medical experiments, chained victims and weapons of war. It is a stirring and honest depiction of the horrors of war.

self guided walking tour vienna

Orpheus Enters Hades

Another piece of sandstone displays a muscular man with his head buried in the stone. This piece is called Orpheus Enters Hades . It is meant to remind all those who pass by that ignorance leaves you as guilty as the rest.

self guided walking tour vienna

A bronze statue lays almost flat on the ground. It is the image of a jew covered in barbed wire. A reminder of the degradation and humiliation that the Jews suffered in Vienna even before WWII. A weak arm is outstretched towards you, asking for help and one only wishes you could tear the copper wries from his body to set him free.

self guided walking tour vienna

The Stone of the Republic is a replica of the 1945 declaration that established Austria’s second republic and helped protect the human rights of all its citizens. It is the best piece to finish on as it is a hopeful message to end with. Although these statues are very emotional to view, I think they are very important to see as we need to understand the entirety of Vienna history; the good, the bad and the ugly.

self guided walking tour vienna

Kärntner Straße

Kärntner Straße or Carinthian Street is the most iconic shopping street in Vienna, frequented by so many people that it has been turned into a pedestrian-only zone. People can walk up and down the street from Karlsplatz to Stephansplatz without fear of running into traffic. The pedestrian zone creates this gorgeously open space. Even when hundreds of people are out and about it feels relaxed and unemcumbered.

self guided walking tour vienna

Kaisergruft

The Kaisergruft , inside the Capuchin Church and Monastery , is home to the  Viennese Imperial Crypts . Since 1618, the deceased members of the House of Habsburg have been buried here in ornate urns and opulent metal sarcophagi. While it might seem a bit macabre to explore the tombs, the resting places of the kings and queens of Vienna are more like a work of art than a graveyard.

self guided walking tour vienna

Metal Sarcophagi

107 metal sarcophagi lay beneath the church, along with five heart urns. The more significant the person laid inside the more magnificent the tombstones. The prominent members of the royal family’s tombs are made of pure bronze while some of the more lowly members are made of cheaper, tin alloy, coated with shellac to appear to be bronze. In the 19th century, some of the tombs were even cast in silver and covered in gold plating for an even more expensive appearance. The study of metalwork throughout the ages is on display here just as much as the dead who lie beneath their masterpieces.

self guided walking tour vienna

When the bodies were buried, most of their organs were removed since the tombs would be free-standing and this would result in excessive putrification of the organs in the basement of the church. The heart was often saved and placed in an individual silver urn atop or beside the tomb. Most of these urns were sent elsewhere, perhaps to stay with the family while their bodies lay to rest here. 

self guided walking tour vienna

The most incredible piece is the Sarcophagus of Empress Maria Theresia and Emperor Franz I Stephan designed by Balthasar Ferdinand Moll. This extravagant double sarcophagus in Rococo style featured the pair, as they would have appeared in life, lying on top of the lid, as if awakened from their slumber. They stare at each other, and their features are so lifelike one is almost skittish as you walk by. Their tombs, like many others, features scenes of critical moments in their lives surrounding the perimeter. The shrouded figures represent the grieving states which they ruled over in their time: Holy Roman Empire, Hungary, Bohemia and Jerusalem . They now rest at peace underneath a domed fresco, heavenly pink and blue painted clouds floating eternally overhead.

self guided walking tour vienna

Neuer Markt

While it might be called the New Market  this square is anything but new. It was first established as the primary market in Vienna in 1234 when the old Hohe Markt was no longer large enough for the needs of this growing medieval city. In the centre of the square stands the Thunder Well . The Thunder Well was created in 1739 by artistic Georg Raphael Donner. The bronze statues which surround the fountain are copies of original sculptures which are now housed in the Austrian Gallery Belvedere . 

self guided walking tour vienna

Surrounding the square are several pastel coloured architectural masterpieces. #10-11 is where you’ll find a house which once was home to a traditional delicatessen. It was built by Arnold Heymann in the Old German Renaissance style. Today you can visit the new owners who still run a delicatessen business out of the storefront.

self guided walking tour vienna

Further down the street, you can find the Mayseder house at #15. This is the oldest house on the square, built in 1548, and now is home to a fancy jewellery shop.

self guided walking tour vienna

In sharp contrast to the houses along the New Market, the Haas House is a postmodern dream of architect Hans Hollein built in 1990. Today it is part retail and part restaurant so if you wish to dine inside you have the chance to eat within an architectural star.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Without a doubt, the most visited building in Vienna is St. Stephen’s Cathedral . The original church was built here in 1137, but after being ravaged by fire, a new church was constructed atop its literal ashes. The current incarnation is a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic influences built in the 14th century. 

self guided walking tour vienna

The most impressive and unique feature of the church is the brightly coloured tile roof. Over 230,000 ceramic tiles create the stunning rooftop mosaic of the imperial double-headed eagle. The double-headed eagle is the symbol of the Habsburg Monarchy who ruled over Vienna for centuries. A double-headed eagle in Rome symbolized you weren’t merely an imperial ruler but a divine one, blessed by the Pope.

self guided walking tour vienna

St. Stephen’s Roof

The iconic roof was the only part of the church to be damaged during WWII. Although there were official orders to fire upon the church until all that was left was rubble, those orders were dismissed. Perhaps the sheer power the church commanded caused those who would destroy it to betray their orders. During the Soviet occupation of Vienna, fires were set in the shops opposite the cathedral and, unfortunately, they spread and set fire to the church roof. Tiles crashed to the floor, but due to the dutiful efforts of their clergy who piled protective bricks atop their precious statues and monuments inside, nothing was too severely damaged before they could put out the fires.

self guided walking tour vienna

The church’s tower overlooks over the entire city, watching over it like a dutiful guard. The tower is named Steffl and stands a staggering 136 meters high and is home to one of Europe most massive bells, which is etched with the face of the mother of god. It is a legend that when Beethoven was a child, he first became aware of his deafness when he stared up at the tower and saw the birds flying away as the bell began to ring but Beethoven himself couldn’t hear a thing.

self guided walking tour vienna

Riesentor  

The Giant Gate  or Riesentor  is your entry into the Cathedral. This gateway was part of the original Romanesque church, built in 1223, which was subsequently burned down.  The name for the gate came from the discovery of a mastodon bone found beneath the church discovered in the 14th century. Before modern science, people believed that giants roamed Europe and that these mastodon and dinosaur bones were remanents of that great race.

self guided walking tour vienna

Entry into St. Stephen’s Church

Although you can view the church from the square surrounding it, you must make the effort of going inside to visit. When you first enter there is an area which is free. To go further inside the nave will cost you, but the price is so minimal and more than worth it. Many day-tripping tourists will walk inside, snap a picture and walk right back out. The entry is so crowded but once you pay your €5,50 (Child: €2,00) the crowds disperse and all that is left is the immense beauty of the overwhelming columns, sparkling stained glass and monumental paintings.

self guided walking tour vienna

As you walk through the church take a moment to study the gothic columns. Each one of them is home to a beautifully carved saint under ornate canopies. At the base of each column is a cluster of a richly pigmented paintings. The magnificent stone pulpit, created by Niclaes Gerhaert van Leydenm , is a gothic masterpiece, which encircles one of the support columns like a stone tentacle.

self guided walking tour vienna

There are six chapels is total which are on either side of the nave. Each one dedicated to a different saint; Saint Barbara, Saint Catherine, the Chapel of the Cross, Saint Eligius, Saint Bartholomew, and Saint Valentine.

self guided walking tour vienna

If you are feeling up to it, and I suggest you muster all your energy, take the time to climb the 342 steps up the South Tower . The steep and narrow ancient staircase will lead you up 246 feet to a lookout which provides one of the most stunning views of Vienna.

After touring the church, you might want to chill out with a walk along the Graben . The Graben is Vienna’s Rodeo Drive . The word Graben means “gutter” as this area was once on the edge of the city walls, where the refuse would be thrown into the outer city moat. Today, it couldn’t be further from the gutter. Along this street, you’ll find some of the most expensive shops, exclusive retail, traditional delights and fantastical architecture – both old and new.

self guided walking tour vienna

The Holy Trinity Plague Column

In the mist of high-end shops and expensive cafes and restaurants stands one of the most impressive Plague Columns in Europe. Plague columns were erected after plague was wiped out from the city. It was a monument of perseverance in the sight of great pain and suffering. Topped with the Mother of God, this Plague Column was also dedicated to the Brotherhood of the Holy Trinity who created plague hospitals to care for the infected.

self guided walking tour vienna

Vienna suffered as many as 75,000 dead during their great plague in 1679. Vienna was spared much of the 14th-century plague but was ravaged when it returned in the 17th century. Although medicine and sanitization techniques were improving much of the treatments for the epidemic were still a mix of religious prayers and outlandish medicine. The column is 69 feet tall. At the base, we see the figures representing faith triumphing over disease. The middle portion has the visages of Emperor Leopold I and is topped with golden cherubs flying around to protect the Mother Mary.

self guided walking tour vienna

St Peter’s Church

The Peterskirche or St. Peter’s Church sits on the corner of the Graben. The earliest church built on this site dates back to the early middle ages, but because nothing remains of that original structure, the church has lost its title as the “oldest church in Vienna”. The current iteration of the church was designed in Romanesque style, initially built in 1137 but redone in the 1700s after fire and plague ravaged the structure. 

self guided walking tour vienna

The interior design of the church was inspired by the Vatican in Rome. When you step inside, you are swept up in a warmth that is almost ethereal. The church uses lots of pink and red marble as well as gold stucco throughout to create this welcoming radiance. A dark, baroque painting covers the massive dome and in the cupolas are frescoes representing the Coronation of Our Lady.  The high altar might be one of the most stunning church altars in all of Europe. Walking up to it, your head cranes upwards, towards the heavens.

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Four columns on either side flanks a beautiful Viennese painting of the Healing of the Lame by St. Peter and St. John in Jerusalem by Martino Altomonte painted in the 16th century. If you continue to look upwards, you’ll see a smaller, circular painting of the Immaculate Conception , painted in the 19th century by the artist Kupelwiese .  The rest of the altar was created by Antonio Galli Bibiena and is a testament to his skill at creating scenes in gold and silver.

To the right of the altar is the spectacular gilded pulpit, crowned with a gold-and-silver representation of the Martyrdom of St. John of Nepomuk , sculpted by Lorenzo Mattielli . Above them on the canopy, sits the mother of God. The faces and expressions on the sculpture are so powerful and those precious metals seem to have such governance over the viewer.

On either side of the altar are the side chapels with paintings of the Holy family (left) and St. Michael (right). In either are glass coffins which contain martyrs from the Roman catacombs, dressed in full Roman regalia. Even the pews in the church are decorated, the ends carved with expressive cherubic heads. As you walk out of the church, take a moment to study the baroque organ built in 1751.

Cafe Demel is the closest thing to walking into Maria Antoinette’s bedroom youll ever find outside of Versaille. Luxurious dark wood with Neo-baroque patterns adorn the walls. Golden chandeliers with crystal petals hang from the ceiling and antique mirrors reflect back from every angle beautiful cakes and pastries hiding behind glass cabinets. Demel was established in 1786 and ever since has served Vienna the most mouth-watering pastries and chocolates.

self guided walking tour vienna

The white-aproned waitresses help the customer pick out their treats. The chocolate comes in some of the most stunning packagings, and although are rather expensive, they make a unique gift which will be treasured by whoever receives it.

self guided walking tour vienna

MANZ Bookstore

Beside Demel is the MANZ bookshop . MANZ has stood here for over 100 years selling mainly judicial literature. Today, it is a landmark not for its literary selection but its iconic art deco portal, designed in 1912 by Austrian architect Adolf Loos .

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The Looshaus was designed by the same man who created the MANZ bookstore and constructed only a year before. But unlike MANZ which received overwhelmingly positive reviews, the Loohaus was considered too modern in 1911. Vienna was a baroque city which loved ornamentation, and the Loohaus was simplistic, geometric and contemporary. Although it took the public a long time to come around to this form of design, today it is viewed as a groundbreaking piece of art design architecture which helped push the movement forward in Europe.

self guided walking tour vienna

Michaelerplatz

Michaelerplatz is a large square which separates the rest of the city from the Hofburg Palace , the former imperial court of Vienna. The enormous Michaelertor , the gate into the palace, dominates the square. Its masterful roman columns seem to swell like the crashing of the waves over the rest of the square. In the centre of the square, you can view an open area which has been preserved with the remains of Roman and Medieval foundations of the square which once stood here hundreds of years ago.

self guided walking tour vienna

Michaelerkirche

On the opposite side of the Michaelertor gate is Michaelerkirche . The Michaelerkirche is an amalgamation of various architectural styles, the original medieval structure was built in 1221, the current facade built in 1792 is neoclassical and the tower, from the 14th century, displays many iconic elements of Gothic architecture.

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Walking inside, you’ll be immediately struck with awe upon looking at the swelling, high altar. Designed in 1782 by Jean-Baptiste d’Avrange it is one of the most majestic stucco sculptures from the Rococo period. The piece features the story of the Fall of the Angels  and includes the Archangel Michael of which the church is named after. Clouds burst from the walls and a golden sunburst beams from the ceiling. Angels and cherubs fall to the ground from above. On the lower sunburst is the altar of Maria Candia , a Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary.

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border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;”></div> <div style=” background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;”></div></div></div><div style=”padding: 19% 0;”></div> <div style=”display:block; height:50px; margin:0 auto 12px; width:50px;”><svg width=”50px” height=”50px” viewBox=”0 0 60 60″ version=”1.1″ xmlns=”https://www.w3.org/2000/svg” xmlns:xlink=”https://www.w3.org/1999/xlink”><g stroke=”none” stroke-width=”1″ fill=”none” fill-rule=”evenodd”><g transform=”translate(-511.000000, -20.000000)” fill=”#000000″><g><path d=”M556.869,30.41 C554.814,30.41 553.148,32.076 553.148,34.131 C553.148,36.186 554.814,37.852 556.869,37.852 C558.924,37.852 560.59,36.186 560.59,34.131 C560.59,32.076 558.924,30.41 556.869,30.41 M541,60.657 C535.114,60.657 530.342,55.887 530.342,50 C530.342,44.114 535.114,39.342 541,39.342 C546.887,39.342 551.658,44.114 551.658,50 C551.658,55.887 546.887,60.657 541,60.657 M541,33.886 C532.1,33.886 524.886,41.1 524.886,50 C524.886,58.899 532.1,66.113 541,66.113 C549.9,66.113 557.115,58.899 557.115,50 C557.115,41.1 549.9,33.886 541,33.886 M565.378,62.101 C565.244,65.022 564.756,66.606 564.346,67.663 C563.803,69.06 563.154,70.057 562.106,71.106 C561.058,72.155 560.06,72.803 558.662,73.347 C557.607,73.757 556.021,74.244 553.102,74.378 C549.944,74.521 548.997,74.552 541,74.552 C533.003,74.552 532.056,74.521 528.898,74.378 C525.979,74.244 524.393,73.757 523.338,73.347 C521.94,72.803 520.942,72.155 519.894,71.106 C518.846,70.057 518.197,69.06 517.654,67.663 C517.244,66.606 516.755,65.022 516.623,62.101 C516.479,58.943 516.448,57.996 516.448,50 C516.448,42.003 516.479,41.056 516.623,37.899 C516.755,34.978 517.244,33.391 517.654,32.338 C518.197,30.938 518.846,29.942 519.894,28.894 C520.942,27.846 521.94,27.196 523.338,26.654 C524.393,26.244 525.979,25.756 528.898,25.623 C532.057,25.479 533.004,25.448 541,25.448 C548.997,25.448 549.943,25.479 553.102,25.623 C556.021,25.756 557.607,26.244 558.662,26.654 C560.06,27.196 561.058,27.846 562.106,28.894 C563.154,29.942 563.803,30.938 564.346,32.338 C564.756,33.391 565.244,34.978 565.378,37.899 C565.522,41.056 565.552,42.003 565.552,50 C565.552,57.996 565.522,58.943 565.378,62.101 M570.82,37.631 C570.674,34.438 570.167,32.258 569.425,30.349 C568.659,28.377 567.633,26.702 565.965,25.035 C564.297,23.368 562.623,22.342 560.652,21.575 C558.743,20.834 556.562,20.326 553.369,20.18 C550.169,20.033 549.148,20 541,20 C532.853,20 531.831,20.033 528.631,20.18 C525.438,20.326 523.257,20.834 521.349,21.575 C519.376,22.342 517.703,23.368 516.035,25.035 C514.368,26.702 513.342,28.377 512.574,30.349 C511.834,32.258 511.326,34.438 511.181,37.631 C511.035,40.831 511,41.851 511,50 C511,58.147 511.035,59.17 511.181,62.369 C511.326,65.562 511.834,67.743 512.574,69.651 C513.342,71.625 514.368,73.296 516.035,74.965 C517.703,76.634 519.376,77.658 521.349,78.425 C523.257,79.167 525.438,79.673 528.631,79.82 C531.831,79.965 532.853,80.001 541,80.001 C549.148,80.001 550.169,79.965 553.369,79.82 C556.562,79.673 558.743,79.167 560.652,78.425 C562.623,77.658 564.297,76.634 565.965,74.965 C567.633,73.296 568.659,71.625 569.425,69.651 C570.167,67.743 570.674,65.562 570.82,62.369 C570.966,59.17 571,58.147 571,50 C571,41.851 570.966,40.831 570.82,37.631″></path></g></g></g></svg></div><div style=”padding-top: 8px;”> <div style=” color:#3897f0; 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The other iconic piece of design worth studying inside is the gilded pipe organ from Johann David Sieber . This is the largest baroque organ in Vienna. As you first gaze up at the centre you might not think it looks that big but look to the left and the right and observe the GIANT organs on either side of the smaller central set of pipes. The unfinished Requiem by Mozart  was first performed here in 1791.

Austrian National Library

The Austrian National Library is older than some modern nations. The library dates back to 1349 and contains some of the most impressive collections of medieval literature across Europe. Although the 7 euro entry fee into the library might seem steep for entry into, basically one big room, trust me, this is one big room you don’t want to miss. Walking into the Grand Hall, you’re met right away with a breathtaking scene. You feel like you’re inside a cathedral with the massively high ceilings, doomed rooftop covered in frescos and enormous marble columns. But the important part of the room are the glossy amber shelves holding precious paper treasures.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Dark Academia Interior Design (@dark.academia.interior.design)

Heldenplatz

This history of Heldenplatz is a sordid one. Heldenplatz or Heroes’ Square is a large public area in front of the Hofburg Palace. One of the darkest parts of this square’s history is its use in Adolf Hitler’s ceremonial announcement of the Austrian Anschluss to Nazi Germany on March 15th, 1938. The square is the perfect place to get an incredible shot of the Royal Castle which sits across the square. In the centre of the square stands the statue of Archduke Charles of Austria . The statue was installed in 1860, and was meant to lift the spirits of the people up after their defeat in a bloody battle. The horse he rides on is rearing up as this is a symbol of military glory. Another equestrian statue in the square is that of Prince Eugene of Savoy designed in 1865.

Maria-Theresien-Platz

Walking west along Heldenplatz Road you will come to another grand square; this one is the Maria-Theresien-Platz or Empress Maria Theresia Square . On either side of the square are two near-identical buildings, one is now the Natural Museum of History and the other the Art History Museum of Vienna . In the centre of the square is a large statue of Empress Maria Theresa, her hand outstretched towards the people below. She is surrounded by variously armed calvary surrounding the round statue. The square itself is decorated with simple yet aesthetically pleasing green shrubs and bushes carved into perfect round nodules.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by 🔥 (@mn0o3_)

Bier & Bierli

This charming tavern has been located along the Operngasse for hundreds of years, and the new owners wanted to continue its excellent legacy. Today this tavern serves up dozens of local and international beers and down-to-earth Viennese specialities. The walls are covered in beer memorabilia from over the years and sitting inside makes you feel like you’re more in a museum than a restaurant. If you want a down-home taste of Vienna, be sure to order the veal schnitzel, this gigantic fried piece of meat is served alongside a traditional helping of cranberry jelly, fried potatoes and a salad to make you feel like you’re offsetting all that fried goodness.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Bier & Bierli (@bierbierli)

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wow, this is the best self guided tour i’ve ever seen!

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Discovering a Different Side of Vienna with Secret City Trails’ Gamified Vienna Walking Tours

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For as long as I can remember, my family has watched the New Years Concert from Vienna, the capital of Austria. Every.single.year! That meant watching Sisi inspired ballet whilst exploring the beauty of Vienna’s richly built palaces and castles through the choreographies of many talented artists. I have also been to Vienna many times in the last few years and covered all seasons. The warm summers enjoyed with gelato on hand or at a beautiful rooftop terrace . Magical yet freezing cold snowy winters. The changing colours of autumn are my favourite with a stop by the Butterfly House . Spring…what can I say about spring, it’s blooming fantastic! However, I had never done one of many Vienna walking tours available.

Anyhow, Vienna is a very interesting city . A royal melting pot of cultures with centuries of history on its back. So many faces, so many different sides to explore. As you know I am a big fan of walking as much as possible while travelling. On your feet, without a tight schedule of things to do, that is where the magic happens. When you get lost in the back streets and discover that little café. That little place where you enjoy your first ever cup of hot white chocolate. Or strolling through that park you see every morning through the window of your hotel. And Vienna is a great city for walking. That’s why I would always recommend a good self-guided walking tour of Vienna.

View of the patio of an old gothic building from one of the balconies of said building

Before my last trip to Vienna, I had been researching new things to do. New places that had opened up in town, cool new tours, anything out of the ordinary. Then I ran into one of the founders of Secret City Trails at an event in Berlin. The moment she started telling me all about their project, I knew it was what I had been looking for. They are an Amsterdam-born-Lisbon-based touring start-up that provides self-guided walking city tours. With a twist of course. All their self-guided tours are game-based, like a grown-up city-wide treasure hunt. But the treasure is a cool/interesting spot in the city you’re exploring.

They work together with local game-makers to create all their self-guided tours. The locals’ research, craft and test each riddle for the most fun experience you could ever imagine. Well, lucky me, self-guided Vienna walking tours were already available and they were kind enough to gift me one * to try during my stay! Needless to say, it exceeded my expectations in every possible way. Anyhow, I’ll stop rambling now because I am sure you are probably asking yourself how a gamified self-guided walking tour work right? Well, let me give you a quick round-up.

How Do the gamified Vienna walking tours work?

Once you buy one of Secret City Trails’ Tours, you’ll get a link you can open on your phone (no need for an extra app! Yuhuuu!). There, you’ll get an introduction to your booked tour and a brief explanation of the rules.

Each tour is made up of about 12 riddles, which you need to solve. Solving each riddle will take you to a new spot. After finding and solving each piece of the puzzle you’ll get a thorough explanation of the spot before you head out to your next clue! If you get stuck at any one riddle, you can ask for a clue, but beware, this will add time to your overall game time!

That being said, you can take as much time as you like to complete the tour, but what kind of game would it be without a little competition? Get some friends together and have some fun!

Such a simple yet incredible concept! Especially if you, like me, love exploring cities on foot! What I would love to do next is, buy 2 tours, get some friends together and play against each other. The winner team pays the next round! This comes in handy at the moment when contact with other people may be restricted, this way you can still do something fun.

The tour prices start at 20€ and they cover different topics in every city of the over 50 cities all over Europe they’ve launched so far. Most Tours will be in English with a few in the local language, such as German in Vienna. Who could possibly not enjoy such a Vienna self-guided walking tour!

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Vienna in 1 day – My self-guided walking tour + route map

Are you going to visit Vienna in 1 day and are looking for a touristic walking tour to see the most beautiful sites in Vienna?

free self-guided walking tour to visit Vienna in 1 day

So, maybe my article will inspire you to organize and make the most of your day in the beautiful capital of Austria.

Indeed, I share with you for free my self-guided walking tour to follow on the attached Google Maps. This tourist circuit tours the most beautiful sites in Vienna . It makes for a simply perfect day to get a global overview of this wonderful city.

How to visit Vienna in 1 day?

We're not going to lie to each other: Visiting Vienna in 1 day is possible, but you have to make compromises. Indeed, it will be impossible for you to make the complete visits of all the monuments and museums.

However, to visit Vienna in 1 day, you still have several possibilities that allow you to discover the city as a whole:

  • Vienna sightseeing bus tour
  • Guided tour of Vienna and its Opera
  • Visit to Vienna and Sissi Castle
  • ou walking tour of Vienna following my sightseeing tour details of which you will find below. It will take you a full day and allow you to see the vienna essential . See details of the itinerary below.

Visit Vienna on foot

When I planned my city tour, I wondered if it was really possible to visit Vienna on foot? Are the tourist sites close enough to each other, where are the most beautiful monuments located, can we take a walking tour to see everything?

Well yes, apart from Schönbrunn Palace which is a little out of the way but accessible by metro, the most beautiful monuments in Vienna are close enough to discover them on foot. In addition, there are many horse-drawn carriages that one can take to get from one site to another.

For information, the small Vienna walking tour that I present to you below only has 8 kilometers that we divide in two:

  • 4 km course in the morning (50 minutes walk)
  • Lunch break
  • 4 km course in the afternoon (50 minutes walk)

What to see in Vienna in 1 day?

When you only have one day, you have to resign yourself to only visiting the must-see sites in Vienna. Because yes, in 1 day in Vienna, you cannot visit all the museums but you can see the majority of the most beautiful monuments and mythical sites in the city.

Visit Vienna following my self-guided walking tour

Find out how to visit Vienna on foot in 1 day with the stages of my self-guided tour:

Vienna Opera

Mozart's house (mozarthaus).

  • Vienna's St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom)
  • The Hofburg Imperial Palace

Heldenplatz Square

  • The Museum Quarter + Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
  • Saint-Charles-Borromée Church next to the Resselpark

Belvedere Palace

Schwarzenberg palace.

  • The Konzerthaus
  • The statue of Johann Strauss in the Stadtpark

Schönbrunn Palace (Sissi Castle)

Visit vienna in 1 day – itinerary map.

Click on "More options" to switch to pedestrian GPS

Visit Vienna in 1 day – Morning stopovers

The morning route represents 4 kilometers of walking. So you have to leave early to be able to see everything!

It is with an emblematic monument of Vienna that we will begin my tourist circuit: the Vienna Opera.

Visit Vienna on foot, starting with its opera

In Renaissance style, it was built between 1861 and 1869 by the Viennese architects Eduard van der Nüll and August Sicard von Sicardsburg.

St. Stephen's Cathedral

From the opera, take Kärntner Strasse to reach St. Stephen's Cathedral in 15 minutes on foot.

Its gothic tower is 137 meters high and can be seen from any corner of Vienna.

Right next to the Cathedral, at no. 5 rue Domgasse, is Mozart's House. Indeed, it is there on the 1st floor, that Mozart lived between 1784 and 1787.

Hofburg Imperial Palace

My circuit takes us a 15-minute walk towards Burggarten Park. You will arrive at the Hofburg Palace which was one of the residential palaces of the Habsburgs. Successive Austrian royalty stayed here during the winter months for nearly 700 years.

Hofburg Imperial Palace

You may be able to choose to take a tour inside the Palace: Sissi Museum, Imperial Apartments, Spanish Riding School or Imperial Treasury of Vienna.

Next to the Hofburg Palace is the Heldenplatz square, which is a historic square in Vienna. From this Heroes' Square, you will have a view of the Vienna Parliament and the town hall. And you can also access the Museum of Art History through the Burgtor door.

Museumsquartier

A few 800 meters to go by taking the street via Bellariastrabe and you will be in the heart of the Museum district. It is one of the largest cultural complexes in the world where many private museums are concentrated.

Visit Vienna in 1 day on foot: museum district

If you only have to visit one, I recommend the Kunsthistorisches Museum which is one of the finest fine arts museums in the world.

Church Saint-Charles-Borromée

Continuing on Getreidemarkt then taking the direction of Teich vor der Karlskirche, you will arrive after a 15-minute walk at the Church of Saint-Charles-Borromée. It is in fact an 18th century cathedral built during the reign of the Habsburgs. It was Emperor Charles VI who had it built in homage to Bishop Saint Charles Borromeo.

Visit Vienna in 1 day – Stopovers in the afternoon

After a well-deserved lunch break in or around the Park, you will continue the circuit by taking the direction of the Belvedere Palace (a 20-minute walk from Saint Charles Borromeo Cathedral).

The Belvedere Palace is one of the most beautiful Baroque castles in Vienna. It houses collections of exceptional paintings including major works by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka.

Vienna in 1 day - My touristic walking tour stop at the Belvedere

Crossing the magnificent Belvederegarten park of the Castle, our circuit brings us back in 15 minutes on foot to the Schwarzenberg Palace. This baroque palace belongs to the princely family of Schwarzenberg, whose current heir is Prince Karl VII of Schwarzenberg.

Vienna Konzerthaus

600 meters from the Schwarzenberg Palace is the Vienna Konzerthaus. It is a superb concert hall which was built between 1911 and 1913 under Emperor François-Joseph.

Stadtpark with the Statue of Johann Strauss

You can then reach the Stadtpark (400 m) to take a photo of the Statue of Johann Strauss. You will also be next to the Stadtpark underground station.

From the Stadtpark metro station, you can take the U4 line to reach Schönbrunn Palace in 11 minutes by metro.

Visit Vienna with Sissi Castle last stop

This castle is one of the most visited tourist sites in Vienna. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, everyone knows it because it is Sissi's castle!

In fact, this castle served as a summer residence for the Austrian emperors and of course for Emperor Franz Joseph I and his wife Elisabeth of Wittelsbach known by the nickname of Sissi.

Where to stay to visit Vienna on foot?

For a short weekend in Vienna, I recommend that you avoid the neighborhoods of vienna too far from the historic center. Indeed, if you only have one day to visit Vienna, your hotel must be located very close to the monuments to visit.

The two most beautiful and convenient areas for tourists are:

  • Inner city  (the 1st district)
  • New Build  in the Museumsquartier (7th district).

Which hotel to visit Vienna on foot?

Right next to the Museum Quarter, the Mariahilfer Strasse shopping street and the Neubaugasse metro station, here is a hotel whose location is ideal for visiting Vienna on foot: HENRI Hotel Wien Siebterbezirk .

Vienna with Free Self-Guided Walking Tour

For tourists who don't have a big budget, here is a hotel with very good value for money. It is convenient for visiting Vienna on foot and is not far from the West station, metros, trams, buses.

Other weekend ideas in Europe? Cheap weekend in Marseille The Bordeaux wine route in 2 days Weekend in Amsterdam Weekend in Lisbon Romantic stay in Collioure

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3 thoughts on “vienna in 1 day – my self-guided walking tour + route map”.

self guided walking tour vienna

Mostly ordered by this roteiro, it was ordered no later than 14/03/24. Add all of this information as well. Gratidão

self guided walking tour vienna

Hi, just wanted to say that the photo depicting the “opera” above is in fact Burgtheater 🙂 Greetings from Vienna!

self guided walking tour vienna

Thank you Louise for alerting me. I made the change. Have a nice day!

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Vienna Walking Tour Map

self guided walking tour vienna

This free, self-guided walking tour is a companion to a free audio tour of Vienna's historic center.

This tour will cover important information about several notable landmarks and locations in Vienna.

But, if you’re looking for an even more in-depth experience, consider downloading the audio tour as well.

SELF-GUIDED TOUR OF VIENNA

If you don't enter any buildings along the route, this tour takes approximately 60-75 min depending on your pace of walking.

We based this route on the free  audio tour from Rick Steves . Our content is unique, but we recommend listening to his well-produced tour.

You can also download his free tour wherever you get podcasts or simply download his Audio Europe app.

Vienna Walking Tour Map

He also offers several travel books for the city. Just check out  Rick Steves Vienna  on Amazon ( Disclosure ).

And be sure to check out our other  free walking tours of Vienna .

Here is our main schedule. More tour options are available here .

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Vienna State Opera

Built over a period of 8 years from 1861-1869, this Renaissance Revival venue has been hosting wonderful operas for over a century.

Originally, this location was known as the Vienna Court Opera, but following the formation of the First Austrian Republic in 1921, they adopted its current name.

Vienna State Opera

This is also the home of both the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Ballet. During Carnival, the Vienna Opera Ball is hosted here.

Although the Vienna State Opera was set ablaze by an American bombardment during WW2, it would later be restored and reopened in 1955.

This is one of the busiest opera houses in the world, producing 50+ operas and ten ballet productions for a grand total of 350 or more total performances -- almost one per day!

Cafe Sacher

This cafe is the home of a famous cake known as the Sacher-Torte. The original cake was crafted in 1832 when Prince Metternich requested a dessert for a special occasion.

The chef was ill at the time, so he had his 16-year old apprentice Franz Sacher take over.

The result was a delicious cake which became a favorite in Vienna for years to come.

Cafe Sacher

Over the years, locals have said that the quality of the cake decreased, but Cafe Sacher uses the same recipe to this day, so maybe it’s just the tastes that have changed?

Whatever the case may be, this would be a great place to stop in for a snack before continuing your tour.

Albertinaplatz

This public plaza is filled with interesting things to see and lined with several notable sites such as the Albertina museum, the Vienna State Opera House, Cafe Mozart, a Schanigarten and more.

Albertinaplatz

There are also a lot of statues on Albertinaplatz, including the Monument Against War and Fascism, which addresses the history of the Nazi occupation in Vienna while speaking out against all forms of war.

The split white stone monument is called the Gates of Violence, and it symbolizes the gates of a concentration camp.

The statue with his head in stone is Orpheus, and he is a reminder of the dangers of ignoring the rise of fascism.

The figure hunched on the ground is a Jew being forced to scrub anti-Nazi propaganda off the street.

This monument is located on Albertinaplatz for good reason, as this is the site where bombs once struck during WW2 and buried hundreds of innocent people.

Karntner Strasse

This street is the old shopping district of Vienna, and it is lined with several interesting stores.

In addition to all the great shopping, you can also enjoy some people watching while you’re in the area.

Karntner Strasse

Some of the stores in this area can be quite expensive, so unless you’ve got plenty of money to spend, we recommend taking a look around and enjoying the atmosphere.

There is also a free glass museum above the J&L Lobmeyr Crystal shop, and this could be a great location to visit if you’re looking for fun and affordable activities.

Kaisergruft

This historic church is the home of a crypt which houses the tombs of Hapsburg royalty, including both emperors and empresses.

Kaisergruft

The crypt is filled with free standing sarcophagi which each have incredibly ornate and detailed designs, including decorative sculptures, reliefs, engravings and more.

The Kaisergruft is open daily from 10 am - 18:00 (6 pm) and tickets are fairly affordable at €7.50 for adults and €4.50 for children and teenagers under the age of 18.

They also offer guided tours for an extra €3.50 per ticket.

Neuer Markt

Also known as the New Market, this public square is lined by notable buildings like the Kaisergruft and there is also a great attraction here as well.

neuer Markt

The Four Rivers Fountain is located at the center of Neuer Markt, and it symbolizes the rivers that flow into the Danube. The fountain was designed by Georg Raphael Donner in 1739.

There are also a few notable hotels in the area including the Hotel Ambassador on the former site of the flour depot and Hotel Meissl & Schadn where Friedrich Adler shot Prime Minister Karl Stürgkh in 1916.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Built in 1160, this is the mother church or the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna.

It’s also the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna. This is arguably the most important religious building in the city.

St. Stephens Cathedral

As with most churches this old, it has seen a number of renovations over the years which have given it multiple different architectural styles including Romanesque and Gothic.

This has been the site of many historic moments, but one of the most notable events was when famed composer Ludwig van Beethoven discovered he was deaf as birds flew out of the bell tower.

In addition to the church, this is also the site of tombs, catacombs and crypts, including the tombs of Prince Eugene of Savoy and Emperor Frederick III.

Stephansplatz

This is the public square in front of St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

There are a few things of note to see in this area, including beautiful architecture and even a tree trunk from the middle ages.

Stephansplatz

The Stock im Eisen, also known as the Staff in Iron, is a section of a tree trunk which has been hammered with hundreds of nails over many centuries.

The earliest written mention of this attraction dates back to 1533.

If you look opposite from the cathedral, you’ll see the Haas-Huis, a unique house built in the postmodern architectural style by Hans Hollein in 1990.

This is one of the most notable streets in the city centre of Vienna, dating back to the 12th century and absolutely filled with interesting history.

Think of this as the main street of the city. It has been used in centuries past as both a marketplace and a site for festival processions.

Graben

The buildings in this area are mostly known for their owners.

The Freisingerhof is named after the See of Freising who owned it in the 12th century and used it as the administrative centre of his estates in Vienna.

The Ankerhaus, built in the 1890’s, was owned by Otto Wagner, who also built the Grabenhof in 1873 with Otto Thienemann.

This is also the site of the Palace of Barons Bartolotti bon Partenfeld, and it is the only remaining baroque structure on the Graben.

There are also two fountains here which feature sculptures of St. Joseph and Leopold, both of which were designed at the request of Leopold I.

Dorotheergasse

Named after the monastery of St. Dorothea, this narrow lane is part of the old town district in Vienna, and it’s also home to one of the oldest auction houses in the world, the Dorotheum.

Dorotheergasse

This is also where you will find the Jewish Museum of Vienna, which tells the story of Jewish history and culture in Austria.

This museum was founded in 1896, so it was well established by the time Nazi Germany entered Vienna, and at that time its contents were distributed to other museums.

Eventually, the artifacts and exhibits which were taken from this location were returned to the Jewish community beginning in the 1950s.

Admission to this museum is free with the Vienna Pass.

The Plague Column

This Holy Trinity column was erected on the Graben after the Great Plague in 1679.

This is an example of the baroque style, and it’s one of the most well known sculptures in the city.

The Plague Column

The top of the column is arguably one of the more ornate pieces on the structure, featuring dozens of angels, cherubs, baubles and of course a prominent cross being held out by a religious figure.

There is a lot of iconography all over the column, but the main message is that the plague was punishment for sin and it was stopped thanks to the piety and work of Leopold I.

Whether or not you believe Leopold’s faith was responsible for the end of the plague, this monument has an interesting mix of both religious icons and political propaganda which is definitely worth seeing up close.

St. Peter’s Church

This baroque Roman Catholic church was first built in the early middle ages, but nothing remains of the original building, and its most recent design was consecrated in 1733.

St. Peter’s Church

The concept for this church was inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, which is one of the reasons why it also has a domed structure.

There are a lot of great things to see in the church, including the Coronation of Our Lady fresco, The Heart of Mary painting, and the beautiful baroque pulpit designed by Matthias Steinl, who also came up with the design for the dome.

If you need to take a break to use a restroom, there are actually some historic public toilets in the area which were not only designed to be very clean, but also quite beautiful.

Public WCs

These were once wine cellars, but they were turned into restrooms in the early 1900’s by a chemist who wanted to prove the effectiveness of his chemicals for cleaning.

The WCs were designed in the modernist style. Originally they had chandeliers for lighting, but they have since been removed.

That said, much of the modernist design remains, and this is still a great place to stop and take a break if you need one.

This street runs from the end of Graben to Michaelerplatz, and there are at least a few notable shops you may want to visit while you’re in the area.

Kohlmarkt

Of course, one of the first things you’ll notice is that Kohlmarkt is filled with upscale stores such as Armani, Tiffany, Gucci, and more.

Most tourists probably won’t want to stop in these locations, but if you’re looking for a treat, the Demel chocolate shop is halfway down the street.

This is one of the best places for chocolate in all of Vienna, and they have a lot of great sweets to purchase.

The former queen Sisi was said to have ordered her chocolates from Demel, and you may notice her image on a few different items in the shop.

Michaelerplatz

This is the site of the main entrance to the Hofburg Palace.

The square was named after St. Michael’s church, which is located right across the street.

Michaelerplatz

They offer tours of the crypt of St. Michael’s which some might consider a bit creepy, as some of the corpses buried here are incredibly well preserved due to the climatic conditions and temperature of the location.

On the right-hand side of the church you’ll see Loden-Plankl, a 19th century shop where you can still find old-world apparel and traditional Austrian formal wear.

The street leading South from Michaelerplatz will take you back to Albertinaplatz, but there are still a few more stops to see before heading back.

The Hofburg Palace

Built in 1275, this is the official residence of the President of Austria, but it also houses several other noteworthy attractions you may want to visit.

Visitors will find a museum dedicated to the history of Queen Sisi, as well as a museum highlighting a collection of silver items.

The Hofburg Palace

The Hofburg Palace is open from 10 am - 17:00 (5 pm) most days, and tickets start at €15 for adults and €9 for children between the ages of 6 - 18.

If you’re interested in seeing more, there is also a museum dedicated to the Imperial Treasury of Vienna and you can also visit the Spanish Riding School to see a demonstration of equestrian art.

Admission to each of these attractions is included at no extra cost with the Vienna Pass.

Heldenplatz

This public square is located on the other side of the Hofburg Palace, and it was actually the site of at least a few notable moments in history.

Heldenplatz

The most infamous event that took place here was when Adolf Hitler made his announcement that Vienna had been annexed into Nazi Germany on March 15th, 1938.

There are also two equestrian statues in the plaza that you might want to see: one of Archduke Charles of Austria and another of Prince Eugene of Savoy.

This is also the side of the Burgot, a city gate dating back to the 1800’s.

On the left-hand side of the plaza, you’ll see the Neue Burg wing of the Hofburg Palace and the Papyrusmuseum.

On the Northern end of the plaza you’ll find the Volksgarten, which also has a rose garden that blooms quite beautifully in the summer.

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self guided walking tour vienna

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Vienna Historic Center Self-Guided Walking Tour Scavenger

Step back in time with the Vienna Historic Center Self-Guided Walking Tour Scavenger, a unique and immersive experience that takes you on a journey through the heart of Vienna’s history.

This interactive tour allows you to explore the Innere Stadt at your own pace, uncovering hidden gems and fascinating stories along the way.

With 29 locations to discover and challenges to complete, the tour promises an exciting adventure for travelers of all ages.

Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking to experience the beauty of Vienna, this self-guided tour is the perfect way to learn about the city’s rich cultural heritage.

So grab your smartphone and get ready to embark on an unforgettable exploration of Vienna’s historic center.

Best Place To Reserve: I highly recommend using GetYourGuide to reserve. They are the most reliable and have the best cancellation policy. This means you can save your spot now and can cancel for free right up to the day before.

Good To Know

Vienna Historic Center Self-Guided Walking Tour Scavenger - Good To Know

  • The Vienna Historic Center Self-Guided Walking Tour Scavenger is a flexible and self-paced tour in Vienna’s historic center.
  • The tour is available in English and French, making it accessible for English and French speakers.
  • The tour is inclusive and accessible for all, including wheelchair users , strollers , and pets .
  • The tour includes 29 locations to see, with engaging challenges that provide interesting historical facts.

It's also worth checking out some other tours and experiences nearby.

  • Vienna Highlight Tour (Max 6 People)
  • Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off – Optional Guided Walking Tour, River Cruise & Night Tour
  • Small-Group Guided Kayak Tour of Vienna
  • Vienna at First Glance a Private Walking Tour for First Time Visitors

Activity Details and Benefits

Vienna Historic Center Self-Guided Walking Tour Scavenger - Activity Details and Benefits

One of the key benefits of the Vienna Historic Center Self-Guided Walking Tour Scavenger is that it offers participants the flexibility to start whenever they’re ready, from their smartphone , with no fixed schedule. This means that visitors can explore at their own pace and begin the tour whenever it suits them.

Plus, the tour is available in English and French, allowing for a wider range of participants to enjoy the experience. Accessibility options are also provided, with the tour being wheelchair and stroller accessible throughout. This ensures that everyone can join in and explore Vienna’s historic center with ease.

Whether you’re traveling with a pet or have mobility needs, this self-guided walking tour caters to all. With its language availability and accessibility options, the Vienna Historic Center Self-Guided Walking Tour Scavenger offers a convenient and inclusive way to discover the city’s rich history and landmarks .

Experience Highlights

Vienna Historic Center Self-Guided Walking Tour Scavenger - Experience Highlights

Highlighting 29 locations to see, the Vienna Historic Center Self-Guided Walking Tour Scavenger offers an engaging and interactive experience for visitors to explore Vienna’s rich history and landmarks. With its accessible locations and language options , the tour ensures that everyone can fully participate and enjoy the experience.

Here are three highlights of the tour:

Available in English and French: Language should never be a barrier to exploring a new city, and this tour offers the convenience of language options for English and French speakers. Visitors can enjoy the history and culture of Vienna while understanding all the fascinating details.

Wheelchair and stroller accessible throughout: The tour is designed to be inclusive and accessible for all. Visitors with mobility challenges can comfortably navigate the tour route with ease, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the sights and landmarks of Vienna’s historic center.

Pet-friendly throughout: Traveling with a furry friend? No worries! This self-guided tour welcomes pets, allowing visitors to explore Vienna’s historic center without having to leave their beloved companions behind.

Embark on this self-guided tour and explore the captivating history and beauty of Vienna’s historic center at your own pace.

Full Description of the Tour

Vienna Historic Center Self-Guided Walking Tour Scavenger - Full Description of the Tour

The full description of the tour provides a comprehensive and immersive experience of Vienna’s historic center, showcasing its architectural treasures, landmarks, and fascinating history.

On this self-guided walking tour, you will have the opportunity to explore 29 locations, including iconic sites like Stephensdom and the Vienna State Opera. As they navigate the 4.1 km route, they’ll encounter challenges that offer interesting historical facts about Vienna’s historic center, providing a fun learning experience for all ages.

From churches to palaces, every step of the tour is filled with local history and advice. The tour is designed to be accessible for wheelchair users, strollers, and pets, making it suitable for everyone.

With instructions and directions provided on their smartphones, participants can start the scavenger hunt whenever they’re ready.

Transportation, entry tickets , food , and drink aren’t included in the tour.

Included in the Vienna Historic Center Self-Guided Walking Tour Scavenger are 29 varied challenges, instructions and directions on a smartphone, 24 /7 customer service , and transportation , entry tickets, food, and drink aren’t included.

Here are some discussion ideas about the inclusions:

Additional services provided:

  • The tour offers free cancellation, allowing participants to cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
  • The option to reserve now and pay later gives travelers flexibility in their travel plans.
  • The tour is valid for 365 days, allowing participants to check availability for starting times that suit their schedule.

Value for money:

  • With 29 locations to see and challenges at every step, the self-guided walking tour offers a fun and educational experience for all ages.
  • The tour is available in English and French, making it accessible to a wider audience.
  • It’s wheelchair and stroller accessible throughout, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the tour.

Booking Details

How can participants book the Vienna Historic Center Self-Guided Walking Tour Scavenger? Booking this exciting tour is a breeze. Participants can easily check the availability for their desired date and time.

The meeting location for the tour is at Stephanplatz Metro, making it convenient for everyone to gather and start the adventure. To begin the scavenger hunt, participants simply need to log in with their account on their smartphone.

The pricing options for this tour are affordable and flexible. The cost is $42.60 per group, which can include up to six people. This makes it a great option for families, friends , or even solo travelers who want to explore Vienna’s historic center in a fun and interactive way.

Here's a few more nearby tours and experiences we think you'll like.

  • Evening at Schönbrunn Palace Vienna: 3-course Dinner and Concert
  • Concerts at Mozarthouse Vienna – Chamber Music Concerts.
  • MAK – Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, Ticket
  • Schlumberger Sparkling Wine Cellar World Entrance Ticket in Vienna
  • Kursalon: Strauss and Mozart Concert Including 4-Course Dinner
  • Entry Ticket Upper Belvedere, Klimt's Kiss & Permanent Collection

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any age restrictions for participating in the vienna historic center self-guided walking tour scavenger.

There are no age restrictions for the Vienna Historic Center Self-Guided Walking Tour Scavenger. Children can participate and there is no minimum age requirement. It’s a fun learning experience suitable for all ages.

Can I Bring My Own Snacks and Drinks During the Scavenger Hunt?

Yes, participants are allowed to bring their own snacks and drinks during the scavenger hunt. This allows individuals to cater to their snack preferences and stay energized throughout the experience.

How Long Does the Scavenger Hunt Typically Take to Complete?

The scavenger hunt typically takes around 2.5 hours to complete. Participants will engage in a fun learning experience as they explore Vienna’s historic center, solving challenges and discovering the city’s iconic landmarks along the way.

Is There a Time Limit to Complete the Challenges?

There are no time limit restrictions for completing the challenges on the scavenger hunt. Participants can take their time exploring the historic center and enjoying the experience at their own pace.

Can I Participate in the Scavenger Hunt Without a Smartphone?

No, participants cannot participate in the scavenger hunt without a smartphone. The tour is designed to be a self-guided experience through an app on the smartphone, providing instructions , directions, and challenges.

Not for you? Here's more of our most recent tour reviews happening neaby

  • Private Transfer From Munich to Vienna, Hotel-To-Hotel, English-Speaking Driver
  • Private Transfer From Munich to Vienna
  • Private Tour From Munich to Vienna Including Innsbruck and Salzburg
  • Munich to Vienna Private Full-Day Tour With Private Transfers
  • Private Transfer From Berlin to Vienna With 2 Hours for Sightseeing
  • Munich Vienna – 2h of Sightseeing – Comfortable Premium Car Private Transfer
  • Private Transfer From Nuremberg to Vienna With 2h of Sightseeing
  • Private Transfer From Munich to Vienna With 2-Hour Sightseeing Stop in Hallstatt
  • Private Transfer From Munich to Vienna With 2 Hour Sightseeing Stop
  • Vienna 45-Minute Sightseeing Tour in a Convertible Car
  • Small Group Half Day Tour From Vienna to Bratislava
  • Guided Tour in a MUSEUM (Tickets Incl.) Vienna in CHRISTMAS
  • Private Full-Day Tour From Vienna to Hallstatt
  • Photo Tour to the Most Beautiful Buildings in the City of Vienna
  • Vienna: Silver Tour (30 Min) Vienna City Center Sightseeing Tour

Vienna Historic Center Self-Guided Walking Tour Scavenger - The Sum Up

To sum it up, the Vienna Historic Center Self-Guided Walking Tour Scavenger offers an exciting and flexible way for travelers to explore Vienna’s beautiful Innere Stadt.

With challenges at every step and a length of 4.1 km, participants can enjoy the rich history and beauty of the city.

The tour is accessible to all, available in multiple languages, and includes 24/7 customer service.

Book your adventure now and discover the wonders of Vienna at your own pace!

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self guided walking tour vienna

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VOICEMAP VIENNA self guided walking tour

THIS VIENNA SELF GUIDED WALKING TOUR IS AN ESSENTIAL INTRODUCTION TO THE CITY’S ROLE IN THE HOLOCAUST

About the tour.

This Vienna self guided walking tour tells the story of the city’s Jews throughout history, with a focus on the Holocaust and the post-war years when justice was being sought. If you like overlooked history, forgotten stories, and off-the beaten path places, this walk through the center of Vienna will be right up your alley (and we’ll be wandering down a few of those too!)

We’ll explore locations with links to Jewish Vienna that aren’t often found on tourist maps. Along the way, you’ll learn about Simon Wiesenthal, the greatest ‘Nazi hunter’ of all time, and how many of his efforts eventually led to justice.  We’ll also learn how the hunt for Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Holocaust, originated in Vienna.

Whether it’s your first time in Vienna or you’re a curious history buff eager to uncover the city’s hidden corners, this 90-minute walk will keep you captivated and have you yearning for more intriguing tales. 

This GPS triggered self guided walking tour uses the free VoiceMap App. 

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Excellent tour! Very well crafted and put together. It’s a part of Viennese/Austrian history that we need to talk about more. I’ve lived here over 15 years and still learned more. Very helpful tour to understand what happened in Vienna during Nazi regime. Extremely well researched and equipped with astonishing details I did not know about despite living in Vienna for several years.

HOW TO TAKE THE TOUR – 3 EASY STEPS

INSTALL VOICEMAP

APPLE ITUNES VOICEMAP VIENNA SELF GUIDED WALKING TOUR

PURCHASE TOUR

 $6.99

DIRECTIONS TO START POINT

The tour begins at Praterstrasse 70/2 in front of the Dogenhof , a beautifully refurbished Venetian palace built in 1899 as part of an Italian Quarter in Vienna.  

UBAHN:  U1 Nestroyplatz or U1/U2 Praterstern.

NEAR THIS PLACE

TRAVEL GUIDE | VIENNA FLAK TOWERS.   The Vienna Flak Towers (Flakturm) and Bunker complex in the Augarten Park serve as a stark reminder of WW2.

SEEGROTTE HINTERBRUHL MINE.   The Seegrotte Hinterbruhl Mine is a family friendly attraction that was once used by the Nazis to build the world’s first fighter jet.

WORLD WAR 2 SITES NEAR VIENNA: MESSERSCHMITT ENGINE FACTORY.   Explore World War 2 sites near Vienna along a scenic hiking trail.  See the Messerschmitt Bf 110 aircraft repair factory and the front lines of the Battle of Vienna.

BEST PLACES TO STAY

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self guided walking tour vienna

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Senderstrabe 127, 1210 wien www.berggasthof-magdalenenhof.at.

self guided walking tour vienna

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JEWISH VIENNA | FORGOTTEN INTERNMENT CAMPS

VIENNA’S JEWS WERE DEPORTED FROM THESE FORGOTTEN INTERNMENT CAMPS PERSPECTIVES   Unlike in Germany, where the Jewish population was deported from several different cities, in Austria deportations of the Jewish population were centralized from Vienna’s Aspangbahnhof or Aspang Railway Station.  From February 1941 to October 1942, the majority of the Vienna’s Jewish population was deported to ghettos and concentration camps in the east from this train station.    The transports to the camps were organized by Austrian born SS Captain Adolf Eichmann, who was in charge of the Nazi Central Agency for Jewish Emigration in Vienna.  Eichmann had one primary objective — to speed up the rate that Jews were being deported from the city. Before being deported, Jews were held against their will at four internment camps in Vienna’s 2nd District: – Kleine Sperlgasse 2a; – Castellezgasse 35; – Malzgasse 7; and  – Malzgasse 16 At these camps, Jews were bullied, humiliated, and robbed of their honor and last possessions before being sent to their deaths.  Today, these camps have all been completely forgotten to history. Between 1939-1945, a total of 48,953 Jews were forcibly deported from Vienna.  Of this number, 47,035 Jews were forcibly transported on trains that departed from the Aspangbahnhof.  Tragically, only 1,073 of the Jews deported from the Aspangbahnhof would survive the Holocaust.    HOMECOMPANION GUIDE    Disclosure: White House Travel is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and Agoda affiliate programs, designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites at no extra cost to you.  

Operation Radetzky Memorial in Am Spitz Floridsdorf

OPERATION RADETZKY MEMORIAL

A MEMORIAL DEDICATED TO THE MEN WHO TRIED TO SAVE A CITY Am Spitz, 21st District   OPERATION RADETZKY On 19 March 1945, Hitler issued what became known as the “Nero Decree” — the planned destruction of all infrastructure within the German Reich.  Operation Radetzky was the code name given to a defensive plan organized by a group of Austrian opponents of the Nazi regime to surrender the city of Vienna to the advancing Soviet army.  The plan involved four major players: Major Carl Szokoll, Major Karl Biederman, Lieutenant Rudolph Raschke, and Second Lieutenant Alfred Huth.  Today, the Operation Radetzky Memorial stands in their honor. THE NERO DECREE In Vienna, German troops were ordered to destroy the city’s vital infrastructure for transportation, information, industry and public utilities.  This would include bridges, railway stations, water plants, electrical plants, gas plants, important road corridors, public transportation networks – in short anything and everything the enemy could use to help them advance their goals.   Viennese Major Carl Szokoll was instructed to draft the plans for Vienna’s self-destruction.  However, this was not Szokoll’s first rodeo.  In July 1944, Szokoll participated in Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg’s plot to assassinate Hitler at the Wolf’s Lair and to assume power.  During Operation Valkyrie, Stauffenberg detonated a bomb in the presence of Hitler; however, Hitler miraculously survived the blast.  Believing incorrectly that Hitler had been killed, Szokoll and other plotters rounded up the leading SS and Nazi officials in Vienna. During the ensuing investigation, Szokoll was able to convince the Gestapo that he had simply been following orders and was released.  Szokoll was promoted to Major and was tasked with defending Vienna from the advancing Soviets.  In Spring 1945, Szokoll joined Operation Radetzky and became one of the key players.  For Operation Radetzky to succeed, Szokoll and other military commanders in Vienna needed to pretend they were making preparations to destroy the city, while actually making plans to save it from annihilation.  Szokoll worked closely with the Austrian Resistance group, the O5, to successfully contact Soviet leadership.  Separately, the Allies agreed to not bomb Vienna during the turnover.   TRAGEDY STRIKES On the evening of 4 April,  Major Karl Biedermann was betrayed and arrested by the Gestapo.  Biedermann’s role in Operation Radetzky, which had now been partially uncovered, was to secure the city’s bridges.  The Gestapo frantically investigated to determine the goals of Operation Radetzky.  The Operation continued as planned. On 5 April, Soviet planes dropped red flares to signal their arrival overhead.  The resistance fighters responded with green flares to mark the beginning of Operation Radetzky.  Lieutenant Rudolf Raschke, and Second Lieutenant Alfred Huth were arrested while trying to commandeer the Bisamberg radio tower on the northern edge of Vienna.  Szokoll was warned, evaded arrest and fled to the Soviet 9th Guards Army command post at Purkersdorf where he briefed the Soviets on the failure of the operation. On 8 April, the Nazis hung Biedermann, Raschke, and Huth from the lampposts at the Am Spitz square in Floridsdorf.  Signs attached to their bodies read “I have made a pact with the Bolsheviks.” SAVING VIENNA In addition to the planned surrender, Szokoll and his team provided the Soviets with the the German battle plans for the defense of Vienna as well as the locations of munitions and other key military details.  Suing this intelligence, the Soviets surprised the Nazis by advancing from the West and North rather than the South.  The Battle for Vienna lasted from 6-13 April 1945.  The rapid Soviet advance prevented the Nazis from creating a siege situation and saved numerous lives and the left Vienna largely intact. OPERATION RADETZKY MEMORIAL Today, the Operation Radetzky Memorial stands in the Am Spitz square to recognize the bravery of Major Karl Biederman, Lieutenant Rudolph Raschke, and Second Lieutenant Alfred Huth.  There is also plaque on the main entrance of the Town Hall in Am Spitz.    EPILOGUE After the war, Szokoll went on to start a film production company.  He is buried in the Central Cemetery of Vienna. Biedermann, Raschke, and Huth were cremated and had their remains buried on 2 August 1945 in Vienna in Hietzingen cemetery (group 66, row 19, number 5). NEAR THIS PLACE VOICEMAP | VIENNA SELF GUIDED WALKING TOUR. Want to learn how the Mossad operation to bring Nazis like Adolf Eichmann to justice originated in Vienna?  Check out our VoiceMap self guided walking tour: VIENNA + THE HOLOCAUST: FROM TRAGEDY TO JUSTICE.  You can preview it for FREE.  Start point is Nestroyplatz on the U1 red line in the 2nd District. SEEGROTTE HINTERBRUHL MINE.  The Seegrotte Hinterbruhl Mine is a family friendly attraction that was once used by the Nazis to build the world’s first fighter jet. WW2 SITES NEAR VIENNA | MESSERSCHMITT ENGINE FACTORY.  Explore World War 2 sites near Vienna along a scenic hiking trail.  See the Messerschmitt Bf 110 aircraft repair factory and the front lines of the Battle of Vienna. BEST PLACES TO STAY SO/ VIENNA. Designed by the famous architect Jean Nouvel, this stylish hotel is near all of the sites. Panoramic views over Vienna, a gourmet restaurant, a gym, and FREE spa facilities. Modern, spacious rooms with air conditioning, FREE mini-bar, and FREE Wifi. ADDRESS: Praterstraße 1, 02. Leopoldstadt, 1020 Vienna. RUBY LISSI HOTEL VIENNA. Boutique hotel located in an 18th-century building in Vienna’s first district. Luxuriously furnished rooms with air conditioning, wooden floors, use of tablet device and FREE Wifi. Each room has a Marshall amplifier and guitars can be rented. Organic breakfast and 24/7 access to Italian antipasti and snacks, beverages and selected wines. ADDRESS: Fleischmarkt 19 / Laurenzerberg 2, 01. Innere Stadt, 1010 Vienna. GRAND FERDINAND VIENNA.  Opened in autumn 2015, located on the Ringstraße boulevard in the center of Vienna. Modern spacious rooms with air conditioning. Rooftop pool, 3 restaurants, fitness center, and FREE Wifi. ADDRESS: Schubertring 10-12, 01. Innere Stadt, 1010 Vienna. LE MERIDIEN VIENNA.  Located on the Ringstraße in the heart of Vienna. Modern, spacious rooms with amenities. Indoor pool, spa facilities, fitness center, FREE mini-bar, and FREE Wifi. ADDRESS: Robert-Stolz-Platz 1, 01. Innere Stadt, 1010 Vienna. BOOKSHELF HOME  AUSTRIA Disclosure: White House Travel is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and Agoda affiliate programs, designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites at no extra cost to you.  

World War 2 Sites Near Vienna Air Raid Shelter in Floridsdorf

VIENNA AIR RAID SHELTER

A WORLD WAR 2 AIR RAID SHELTER NEAR VIENNA HAS A PASTEL MAKEOVER Gerichtsgasse, 21st District   Nestled in a quiet neighborhood across the Danube River in the 21st District, just minutes from the city center of Vienna, is one of the city’s remaining relics of World War 2.  This massive concrete Air Raid Shelter near Vienna was constructed during Summer 1944 – Spring 1945.  You will need to work hard to find this gem as it is not on any tourist maps.  The front of the Air Raid Shelter has been painted in warm pastels.  The Shelter is located just off the sidewalk and sits between two modern apartment buildings.  There are no restrictions or fences, so you can walk around and explore as much as you like.  Although the front of the Air Raid Shelter has been painted, the rest of the structure is “as is” and its 1940’s era concrete remains is good condition.  The doors have been bricked up so you cannot enter.  Although the Air Raid Shelter has been characterized as a Memorial, there are no visible signs to this effect. ALLIED BOMBING OF VIENNA The city of Vienna was bombed 52 times during World War 2.  Allied bombs destroyed 37,000 buildings and approximately 20% of the entire city.  The first air raid took place on 4 September 1942, when a lone Soviet bomber targeted the city.  Allied planes began bombing Vienna in earnest in 1944.   The skies over Vienna were defended by a ring of anti-aircraft batteries set up around the city and by three pairs of Flak Towers.  By early 1945, Vienna had already faced 1,800 bombs.  In February and March 1945, 80,000 tons of bombs were dropped by US and British aircraft.  270,000 people were left homeless. CONSTRUCTION OF THE AIR RAID SHELTER Hungarian Jews as well as Polish and Russian slaves from the Vienna-Floridsdorf satellite camp of the Mauthausen concentration camp were used as forced labor to build the Air Raid Shelter.  After completing the Shelter, the Nazis forced these laborers to march 120 miles to the main Mauthausen concentration camp in Upper Austria.  In 1945, the Shelter was damaged when a munition exploded on the roof.      PURPOSE OF THE AIR RAID SHELTER This Air Raid Shelter was specifically built to protect the workers at the nearby Siemens facility in Floridsdorf.  Among other armaments contracts, this Siemens facility produced control components for the V-2 rocket.  The Air Raid Shelter also protected workers at the Heinkel-Süd aircraft factory, the Floridsdorf Oil Refinery, as well as technicians at the nearby Messerschmitt Engine Factory. In early July 1944, Allied bombers struck the Heinkel-Süd plant in Floridsdorf, destroying the third prototype of the He 177B four engined bomber, and possibly damaging the incomplete fourth prototype He 177B airframe. During the Allied oil campaign, American B-17 and B-24s dropped their payloads 16 times on the Floridsdorf Oil Refinery. AIR RAID SHELTER TODAY NEAR THIS PLACE VOICEMAP | VIENNA SELF GUIDED WALKING TOUR. Want to learn how the Mossad operation to bring Nazis like Adolf Eichmann to justice originated in Vienna?  Check out our VoiceMap self guided walking tour: VIENNA + THE HOLOCAUST: FROM TRAGEDY TO JUSTICE.  You can preview it for FREE.  Start point is Nestroyplatz on the U1 red line in the 2nd District. SEEGROTTE HINTERBRUHL MINE.  The Seegrotte Hinterbruhl Mine is a family friendly attraction that was once used by the Nazis to build the world’s first fighter jet. WORLD WAR 2 SITES NEAR VIENNA | MESSERSCHMITT ENGINE FACTORY.  Explore World War 2 sites near Vienna along a scenic hiking trail.  See the Messerschmitt Bf 110 aircraft repair factory and the front lines of the Battle of Vienna. BEST PLACES TO STAY SO/ VIENNA. Designed by the famous architect Jean Nouvel, this stylish hotel is near all of the sites. Panoramic views over Vienna, a gourmet restaurant, a gym, and FREE spa facilities. Modern, spacious rooms with air conditioning, FREE mini-bar, and FREE Wifi. ADDRESS: Praterstraße 1, 02. Leopoldstadt, 1020 Vienna. RUBY LISSI HOTEL VIENNA. Boutique hotel located in an 18th-century building in Vienna’s first district. Luxuriously furnished rooms with air conditioning, wooden floors, use of tablet device and FREE Wifi. Each room has a Marshall amplifier and guitars can be rented. Organic breakfast and 24/7 access to Italian antipasti and snacks, beverages and selected wines. ADDRESS: Fleischmarkt 19 / Laurenzerberg 2, 01. Innere Stadt, 1010 Vienna. GRAND FERDINAND VIENNA.  Opened in autumn 2015, located on the Ringstraße boulevard in the center of Vienna. Modern spacious rooms with air conditioning. Rooftop pool, 3 restaurants, fitness center, and FREE Wifi. ADDRESS: Schubertring 10-12, 01. Innere Stadt, 1010 Vienna. LE MERIDIEN VIENNA.  Located on the Ringstraße in the heart of Vienna. Modern, spacious rooms with amenities. Indoor pool, spa facilities, fitness center, FREE mini-bar, and FREE Wifi. ADDRESS: Robert-Stolz-Platz 1, 01. Innere Stadt, 1010 Vienna. BOOKSHELF HOME  AUSTRIA Disclosure: White House Travel is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and Agoda affiliate programs, designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites at no extra cost to you.  

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  1. Explore Vienna On This Mapped Self-Guided Walking Tour (by an Austrian)

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  2. Explore Vienna On This Mapped Self-Guided Walking Tour (by an Austrian

    self guided walking tour vienna

  3. Self Guided Walking Tour of Vienna: Fun Route & Best Stops

    self guided walking tour vienna

  4. Explore Vienna On This Mapped Self-Guided Walking Tour (by an Austrian

    self guided walking tour vienna

  5. Vienna Self Guided Walking Tour

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  6. Vienna Self Guided Walking Tour

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  1. Meariahilfer Straße Vienna, Austria

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  3. Walking Tour in Vienna (March 2023)

  4. City walk in Vienna

  5. Self-guided Walking Tour: Regeneration and Sustainable Development in Manchester

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COMMENTS

  1. Explore Vienna On This Mapped Self-Guided Walking Tour (by an Austrian)

    June 15, 2023 One of the best ways to see Vienna is undoubtedly on foot. Mihir and I hardly ever use public transport when we travel and growing up in Austria, I have walked in Vienna a lot. That's why we have created this handy self-guided walking tour of Vienna for you.

  2. Self-guided walking tour of Vienna

    Self-guided walking tour of Vienna Walking tour of Vienna The compact centre makes it easy to walk between the sights in Vienna, but which route should you take? Here my suggestion for your walking tour, with insider tips along the way, links to detailed descriptions of sights, and information on guided alternatives.

  3. FREE Vienna Walking Tour Map

    FREE Vienna Walking Tour Map - Do It Yourself Guided Tour Austria ‎ > Vienna > Free Vienna Walking Tour Top 10 Vienna Tips | Suggested Itineraries For Vienna Vienna Menu Old Town Vienna Walking Tour: Location: Vienna's Historic City Center Cost: Free, Self-Guided ( Museum and sight costs below) Style: Do-It-Yourself Walking Tour ( Self Guided)

  4. 12 Self-Guided Walking Tours in Vienna, Austria

    Self-Guided Walking Tours to Explore Vienna, Austria Vienna is a fairy tale book, and you can walk around the pages that you like the most. Teeming with imperial history, musical and architectural heritage, the Austrian capital has a lot to see and do.

  5. Walking tours and themed walks

    Part 1: you begin at the Staatsoper and walk to the edge of the Habsburg's Hofburg palace complex Part 2: historical Michaelerplatz square and through the Hofburg to Heldenplatz square Part 3: along a stretch of the old town city limits flanked by many of Vienna's most famous buildings

  6. Self Guided Walking Tour of Vienna: Fun Route & Best Stops

    Self Guided Walking Tour of Vienna: Fun Route & Best Stops One of the many things we love about the capital of Austria is that it's an extremely walkable city! Despite it's massive size, most of the popular sights are close together enough to see even if you only have one day visiting Vienna.

  7. Vienna Tours Self Guided: How To Explore Vienna On Your Own

    Rent A Bike Vienna Tours Self Guided. Renting a bike with a bike rental firm gives you all the freedom to explore Vienna on your own. Vienna is largely flat and its network of bike paths covers more than 1,050 kilometres. City Bikes Vienna Tours Self Guided.

  8. Vienna Walks

    The "Old Vienna Walk" is a popular self-guided walking tour that takes you through the historic heart of Vienna, allowing you to explore its rich heritage, iconic landmarks, and charming streets. Start your walk right at the heart, as most of the best in town accumulates here.

  9. Vienna walking route

    Our self-guided Vienna walking tour covered a distance of approximately 12km and we did it comfortably within a day. Vienna self-guided walking route The Ring and Museum Quarter We started our Vienna walking route at the Karlsplatz U-Bahn (metro) station and continued to our first stop, the Opera House.

  10. The ultimate self-guided tour of Vienna's old city: cobblestones and

    The ultimate self-guided tour of Vienna's old city: cobblestones and secret alleyways - Vienna Würstelstand Vienna Würstelstand's Jacob Moss says: Uncover the rarely seen, and be led through the cobblestone streets and secret alleyways of Vienna's old city center - with Vienna Würstelstand's self-guided walking tour. Info

  11. A Historic Self-Guided Walking Tour of Vienna

    A Historic Self-Guided Walking Tour of Vienna - The Creative Adventurer Join us on a journey through time with our historic self-guided walking tour of Vienna. Explore the iconic landmarks and hidden gems of this beautiful city, and discover its rich history and cultural heritage. X Home Destinations Europe Austria Belgium Czech Republic Denmark

  12. Vienna self-guided walking tour and scavenger hunt

    Vienna self-guided walking tour and scavenger hunt cancellation policy: For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Discover and book Vienna self-guided walking tour and scavenger hunt on Tripadvisor.

  13. Self Guided Gamified Vienna Walking Tours With Secret City Trails

    The tour prices start at 20€ and they cover different topics in every city of the over 50 cities all over Europe they've launched so far. Most Tours will be in English with a few in the local language, such as German in Vienna. Who could possibly not enjoy such a Vienna self-guided walking tour!

  14. Self-Guided Walking Tour in The Hofburg Palace in Vienna

    Vienna self-guided walking tour and scavenger hunt. 0. 3 hours. Free Cancellation. From. $38.02. Esterhazy Palace Guided Tour. 12. 1 hour. Free Cancellation. From. $21.00. Likely to Sell Out. Guided Walking Tour of Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna. 0. 1 hour 30 minutes. Free Cancellation. From. $50.84.

  15. Vienna in 1 day

    Visit Vienna following my self-guided walking tour. Find out how to visit Vienna on foot in 1 day with the stages of my self-guided tour: Vienna Opera. Mozart's House (Mozarthaus) Vienna's St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) The Hofburg Imperial Palace. Heldenplatz Square.

  16. Vienna: Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour on Your Phone

    Full description. Discover the vibrant capital and one of the most exciting cities of Austria on this self-guided audio tour on your phone designed by an expert. Take a journey on foot through the city's iconic landmarks while listening to the fascinating stories and history of the city. After downloading your tour on your phone (download ...

  17. Vienna: Self-Guided Audio Walking Tour on Your Phone

    Full Description Vibrant capital and one of Austria's most exciting cities, Vienna offers a self-guided audio tour on your smartphone. With offline content available, including text, audio narration, and maps, you can explore Vienna's historical landmarks at your own pace.

  18. Vienna Old Town Walking Tour (Self Guided), Vienna

    Guide Name: Vienna Old Town Walking Tour Guide Location: Austria » Vienna (See other walking tours in Vienna) Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing) # of Attractions: 14 Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s) Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles Author: leticia Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:

  19. Vienna Walking Tour Map + Self-Guided Attractions Tour

    This free, self-guided walking tour is a companion to a free audio tour of Vienna's historic center. This tour will cover important information about several notable landmarks and locations in Vienna. But, if you're looking for an even more in-depth experience, consider downloading the audio tour as well. SELF-GUIDED TOUR OF VIENNA

  20. Vienna: Cultural Heart of the City Self-Guided Audio Tour

    Weave your way through timeless streets and into the cultural heart of Vienna on this self-guided walking tour. Immerse yourself in the magic of GPS playback as you dive into the history of the city. About this activity. Free cancellation Cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund .

  21. Vienna Historic Center Self-Guided Walking Tour Scavenger

    To sum it up, the Vienna Historic Center Self-Guided Walking Tour Scavenger offers an exciting and flexible way for travelers to explore Vienna's beautiful Innere Stadt. With challenges at every step and a length of 4.1 km, participants can enjoy the rich history and beauty of the city.

  22. VIENNA SELF GUIDED WALKING TOUR

    THIS VIENNA SELF GUIDED WALKING TOUR IS AN ESSENTIAL INTRODUCTION TO THE CITY'S ROLE IN THE HOLOCAUST ABOUT THE TOUR. This Vienna self guided walking tour tells the story of the city's Jews throughout history, with a focus on the Holocaust and the post-war years when justice was being sought. If you like overlooked history, forgotten ...

  23. Mozart Walking Tour (Self Guided), Vienna, Austria

    Mozart Walking Tour (Self Guided), Vienna. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart spent a significant portion of his life in Vienna. Here, he achieved recognition, and the city holds enormous historical and cultural significance for his legacy. Mozart first visited Vienna as a child prodigy in 1762, and in 1781 came here to stay.