Three days in Vienna: the perfect itinerary
A true traveler always craves interesting adventures that are not limited to standard sights. Only a local who knows his city better than any guidebook can organize an immersion in the city’s natural environment. Vienna guide Vlada Nikiforova told for tripmydream what to see in Vienna in 3 days.
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Vienna is famous for its imperial heritage, the Schoenbrunn, Belvedere and Hofburg palaces. Vienna shines with the highest level of musical and cultural events in concert halls, museums and various stages, from the Golden Hall of the Musical Society and the Kunsthistorisches Museum to the Staatsoper. Vienna is also known for its gastronomic culture, which for centuries has developed in coffee houses and wine taverns, called “heurigers” by Viennese. More than half of the city is velvet green parks and gardens, the Vienna Woods and the Danube Banks.
Vienna always has something to surprise true connoisseurs – those who prefer the quality and regularity of life. For them, it is ready to lift the veil of Vienna’s extravagant charm. If you don’t want to miss a thing, take our 3-day Vienna itinerary.
Start admiring the splendor and power of the former imperial capital from the Ring Boulevard. Only 150 years ago there was a medieval wall here, and today you can see a real parade of palaces: Vienna Opera, Parliament, Town Hall, University, and Stock Exchange. The transport is up to your taste and your wallet: streetcar, bicycle, segway or fiaker.
If you plan to visit museums and take public transportation, I recommend buying a discount card Wienkarte. It gives you discounts on admission to museums and free transport for 72 hours – just what you need!
A walk to the Hofburg to visit the emperor
Originally the Hofburg was a medieval castle. Only the surviving chateau chapel reminds us of that time. As the Habsburgs gained power and expanded their domain, the castle was rebuilt into a lavish residence. During a walk around the palace you can easily meet the President of Austria, because his office is located here.
The Hofburg contains the famous Congress Hall, the Vienna Boys’ Choir, the Lipizzan horses of the Spanish Riding School as well as the Silver Chamber and the imperial apartments.
Extravagant: Visit the Kaisergruft Capuchin Crypt, where members of the imperial house are buried.
Don’t miss the most unusual thing about the Hofburg:
- The Silberkammer
- The Schatzkammer Treasury
- Spanish Riding School Spanische Reitschule
Every Sunday at 9:15 a.m. the Wiener Sängerknaben boys’ choir performs in the Imperial Chapel. The world-famous composer Franz Schubert began his career in this choir.
A smart tip: buy tickets for several museums at once. For example, the Hofburg, Schönbrunn and the Hofmobiliendepot can be visited with a Sisi karte ticket (available at any museum). Annual pass to the Kunsthistorisches Museum allows you to visit as many as 7 museums.
The world’s most famous chocolate cake Sacher was invented in 1832 by Franz Sacher and you can sample the original cake in the family-run hotel of the same name. But we know that the cake was invented in the Demel imperial confectionery and is made there today according to an old recipe in a manufactory, while the Sacher Hotel is a factory production. We sample both famous instances for comparison.
Address: Kohlmarkt 14 Opening time: 8:00 – 19:00
The Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper) is one of the major opera houses in the world. That’s an impressive repertoire that ranks the Wiener Staatsoper number one in the world. One of the major events of the year, the Vienna Ball, is held in February.
If you were not able to get to the performance – do not worry, you can get in a famous opera hall during the excursion “Behind the scenes of the Vienna State Opera with the guide Vlada Nikiforova.
Address: Opernring 2
St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom)
Then we go to St. Stephansdom, symbol of Vienna and the most important Gothic building in Austria. It contains countless riches, some of which can only be seen during a guided tour, such as the pulpit carved from sandstone by a medieval master, the main altar, and the sarcophagus in which Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg was buried. For the sportiest of people, the ascent to the south tower on foot – a total of 343 steps – or the elevator of the north tower for those who are not sure of their climb (admission €4.50).
Restaurant Plachutta – It’s worth a visit to taste Emperor Franz Joseph’s favorite dish, the Tafelspitz – boiled beef cooked over low heat for 5 hours and served with broth and vegetables, apple horseradish, and cream sauce.
Address: Stephansplatz 8 Opening time: 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Maria Theresa Square
The square is easy to find by the colossal monument to the empress – the largest in Vienna.
Here it is interesting to visit the Museum of Art and History with countless masterpieces: Madonna in green by Raphael, portraits by Velazquez, works by Vermeer, Rubens, Rembrandt, Dürer, Titian and Tintoretto. The museum has the world’s largest collection of paintings by Peter Bruegel the Elder.
Also be sure to stop by the Kunstkammer to see the rarities from the Habsburgs’ “cabinet of curiosities,” including the world-famous gold salt cellar by Benvenuto Cellini, which was stolen in 2003 and later found and safely returned to the museum.
If you’re into art history, check out the museum’s branches in Neue Burg – the Ephesus Museum, the Hunter’s Chamber, the Armory, and the collection of antique musical instruments. Note the balcony of Neue Burg – from here in 1938 Adolf Hitler proclaimed the annexation of Austria to the German Reich.
The meeting place of advanced youth is the Museumsquartier, which is one of the ten largest cultural venues in the world. The 60,000 square meters of the former imperial stables offer all kinds of art, restaurants, cafes and stores.
Here you can have a delicious meal in one of the many establishments, such as MQdaily, Kantine, Café Restaurant Corbaci, famous for its tiled vault, or Café Leopold.
Then pay a visit to the Museum of Modern Art of the Vienna Ludwig Foundation (Mumok), the Leopoldsmuseum with the largest collection of paintings by Egon Schiele in the world, or the Architekturzentrum Vienna. Take your pick.
At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries a group of artists left the conservative art community and founded a new cultural association, the Secession. Its motto was: “To time its art and to art its freedom”. The dome of the Secession with a laurel leaf ornament was nicknamed by the Viennese “cabbage head”. On the lower floor of the building is a cycle of paintings called “Beethoven’s Frieze” – a virtuoso interpretation of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, 34 meters long, created in 1902 by Gustav Klimt.
Address: Friedrichstraße 12 Opening hours: 10:00 – 18:00
In the evening you can go to Vienna’s most famous market with more than 120 stalls and restaurants with a variety of culinary offerings. The market has become a favorite meeting point for foodies, alternative youth and the typical Viennese public. At the Saturday flea market you can find the coolest vintage items and antiques.
Here’s a tip: Look for the tastiest fish at La Mare or Fischviertel. Opening hours: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The core of the collection of the Austrian National Gallery, located in the upper Belvedere, are paintings by Gustav Klimt, including the famous “The Kiss” and “Judith”. Masterpieces by Schiele and Kokoschka, as well as works by French Impressionists and representatives of Viennese Biedermeier (Waldmüller, Amerling, Fendi) are displayed here along with paintings by Makart, Beckl, Wotruba, Hausner and Hundertwasser.
Afterwards, take a leisurely stroll through the spacious park adjacent to the palace ensemble.
A word of advice: Stop by the Botanical Gardens of Vienna’s Botanische Garten near Belvedere. Here you can admire more than just alpine herbs, exotic trees, and ferns. The gardens are open from April to the end of October.
Opening hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Mottled surfaces, irregular shapes, an abundance of greenery. Hundertwasserhaus is a residential house where along with the usual residents “live” the most real trees. They grow on the roof and even stick out of the windows. The locals laugh that the trees pay a kind of rent.
What do they pay? Oxygen, of course. Artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser not only breathed new life into the architecture of Vienna, but he also created an exhibition center where you can find both his own works and the most interesting contemporary art exhibitions.
Address: Kegelgasse 36-38
The Giant Ferris Wheel, also a symbol of Vienna, is in this favorite amusement park of the Viennese. Here they say that if you have not taken a ride on it, you have never been to Vienna. Well, challenge accepted.
The Ferris wheel was built in 1896/97 by British engineer Walter Bassett and is one of the oldest in Europe. Bassett installed similar rides – a hit with the public in the late 19th century – in Chicago, London, Blackpool, and Paris.
Address: Monday-Thursday 12:00-22:00; Friday 11:30-22:30; Saturday-Sunday 11:00-23:00.
At Madame Tussauds, near the park, you can see famous Austrians and world stars: Amadeus Mozart, Sigmund Freud, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Empress Sissi, Gustav Klimt.
The Prater is home to the legendary beer house Schweizerhaus, which serves the best pork knee in town.
If that’s not enough, the evening goes on – because the Prater lights up. Here, traditional Vienna meets youth pop culture. The Fluc Club, located in the immediate vicinity of the Ferris Wheel, was the starting point. The Fluc Wanne dance floor, in a former pedestrian underpass, is the place to hang out.
Away from the city center – into the wilderness!
We visit the former summer residence of the emperors, Schönbrunn Palace. The beautiful gardens, the Palm House, the Gloriette Pavilion, and the Orangery are the true gems of this Baroque complex. You can spend an entire day here. Walk through the halls of the palace, appreciate the splendor of the Bergle Halls, and wander through the park labyrinth.
The next item on the program is the local zoo, the oldest in the world. It was voted the best zoo in Europe three times already. Here you will see the local “star” – panda bear, elephants and many other animals.
The best option for a snack is, of course, Viennese strudel with coffee. The best apple strudel in Vienna is baked in the Schönbrunn Palace Bakery according to a 300-year-old recipe. At the Residenz Café you can not only sample the pastries, but also watch a real strudel show.
A word of advice: don’t be lazy and go up to the Glorietta. Here you’ll find a cafe with a view of Vienna, which, in addition to delicious pastries, offers an unreal view of Vienna. And at Sunday brunch you have a chance to listen to live music.
Address: Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47
Opening times: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Vienna City Parks
Looking for the perfect place for an Instagram photo? You’re sure to find photogenic locations in Vienna’s Stadtpark. Meadows, flowerbeds, exotic trees and a large pond make the Stadtpark a green oasis in the center of the city.
Volksgarten and Burggarten
A monument to Empress Sissi, who was loved by the Viennese, can be found in the Volksgarten. Mozart devotees should make a pilgrimage to the statue of the genius composer in the Burggarten. In the past, only the imperial family could walk here; today, we can do the same. And finally, one can meet Franz Joseph himself: There is a monument to the emperor in the park, which was not erected until 1957, and even then, thanks to a private initiative.
The Burggarten is also home to the Palmenhaus, one of the most beautiful art nouveau buildings, which was designed by architect Friedrich Ohmann. Deeper into this tropical oasis you will find the Butterfly Pavilion, where hundreds of exotic Schmeterlinghaus butterflies live and a café-restaurant with a pleasant atmosphere can be found.
The Vienna City Hall Park is symmetrically located between the university and the parliament. Both halves of the park are separated by Town Hall Square, where various events take place almost all year round. The most famous are the “Vienna Ice Dream” on New Year’s Eve and the largest Christmas market in Austria.
It is impossible to pass by the Town Hall, which is almost a replica of the medieval Rathaus in Brussels. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays there are free guided tours, starting at 1 p.m. The tour includes Vienna’s largest ceremonial hall, the mayor’s office and the oldest elevator in the city, which you have to jump into on the fly.
The Austrian Parliament is interesting to visit at least from an educational point of view – to learn, for example, how the democracy of the Austrian state, one of the oldest in Europe, is organized. From the Imperial Council of Austria-Hungary almost all prime ministers of the states formed after World War I: Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia…
Lifehack: Have dinner at the Palmenhaus restaurant, there’s a really good selection of fish and wine.
An interesting museum for all those who are into design. The MAK Museum of Applied and Contemporary Art places great emphasis on design. There are exhibits ranging from the Middle Ages to the present day. Glassware and porcelain, silver and textiles, as well as furniture are all on display. Paintings by master craftsmen from the Viennese workshops, bentwood furniture from the Thonet factory and art nouveau highlights such as a gilded design for the frieze of the Stoclet Palais in Brussels by Gustav Klimt are on view.
Address: Stubenring 5 Opening hours: 10:00 – 18:00
Haus der Musik
In Vienna, the city of music, there is a place where you can even conduct the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. What does a baby hear in the womb and what does the capital of China sound like? Intrigued?
Lifehack: Tickets from Kiev to Bratislava cost 30-50 euros, and from Bratislava to Vienna you can get by bus in 1-1,5 hours. Address: Seilerstätte 30 Opening hours: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday – 10:00-16:00, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday – 10:00-20:30, Sunday – closed.
For those who want to save time for leisurely strolls in the park, an excellent solution would be to go on a tour “Welcome to Vienna!”. This way, you will get to know the main sights of the city in just one day and can enjoy your vacation longer.
What’s to see in Vienna? Itinerary for 1, 2 or 3 days
We’ve put together an itinerary of Vienna’s main sights. How to see them on your own in 1, 2 or 3 days and not to miss the most interesting things? The list includes descriptions, pictures, and prices for admission tickets. Map with directions in Russian.
Where to find cheap tickets? Use Aviasales and Skyscanner search engines – they compare prices of all airlines. Learn the secrets of finding cheap airline tickets.
Look for discounted hotels on Roomguru.ru. Here are the top hotel search rules.
Choose Vienna tours on Sputnik8 and Tripster. Individual and group, without crowds of tourists and in Russian.
(Photo: BRJ INC / flickr.com / License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Itinerary on a map of Vienna
What to see in Vienna in 1 day?
If you come to the city for the first time, you may want to take the sightseeing streetcar for a tour. The streetcar runs along the Ringstrasse and makes 13 stops in half an hour. You can see the Town Hall, Parliament, Vienna State Opera and other sights of Vienna. Ticket costs 9 euros.
An independent walking tour is better to start with the historic center of Vienna – Stephanplatz and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The cathedral has two observation decks – in the South and North Tower. You can visit them from 9:00 to 17:00 by taking the stairs or the elevator. Near the North Tower is the descent to the catacombs – the burial place of the Habsburgs.
(Photo: –Filippo– / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0 license)
Go around Stefanplatz square on the left and emerge at 5 Domgasse. Find the yellow house – this is where Mozart lived and created for almost 3 years. The entrance fee to the museum is 9 euros.
Graben and Kohlmarkt
After Stefanplatz, walk to the Stok im Eisen square and from there turn to the Graben. There, enjoy the stores, restaurants, and fountains, and the 17th century Plague Column. Go a little further and turn off at Kohlmarkt. In the Middle Ages it was a market for firewood and coal, but now it’s a concentration of the Austrian capital’s high-end stores.
A visit to the former imperial residence of the Hofburg in Vienna on Michaelerplatz is a must. There you will see the imperial rooms, the treasury, and the royal stables. If you don’t feel like exploring the palace, just take a stroll through the park. Walk to the Hofburg along the Kohlmarkt. The palace is open from 9:00 to 17:30, full ticket price 15 euros.
Across the street from the Hofburg is Maria Theresa Square. In its center rises the monument to the Empress, next to two museums. If you walk a little further north you will see the Austrian Parliament building and the City Hall. There is a small English park next to the town hall. In winter it has Vienna’s largest fair with an ice rink. Town Hall building is especially beautiful in the evening, when the lights turn on.
A useful selection:
(Photo: Colin RedGriff / flickr.com / License CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
What to see in Vienna in 2 days?
For day 2 in Vienna, we suggest visiting the Belvedere palace complex. It is located on an elevated site with a good view of St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the city. The complex is divided into the Lower and Upper Belvedere. In the upper palace housed the National Gallery, in the lower palace – residential apartments and stables, preserving the original furnishings. Open daily from 10:00 to 18:00, entrance to the park is free, paid only to visit the palaces. The ticket costs from 11 to 19 euros.
(Photo: pasja1000 / pixabay.com)
Art lovers are advised to see the exhibitions in the museums in Vienna. In the heart of the city, across the street from the Hofburg, is the Museum Quarter. This is the name of the area of the former imperial stables, now occupied by museums and antique shops.
The most popular are Mumok (Museum of Modern Art Ludwig) and Leopold Museum with a full collection of Austrian modernists. Both museums are open from 10:00 to 19:00, the ticket costs 9-10 euros. The Kunsthalle exhibition is dedicated to contemporary art and is available to visitors from 11:00 to 19:00.
After seeing a lot of works of art, you can immediately relax, have a cup of coffee and discuss what you have seen. In the museum quarter there are restaurants and cafes, and it is pleasant even to take a walk here without visiting the museums.
(Photo: Kamil Rejczyk / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0 license)
What to see in Vienna in 3 days?
On the third day in Vienna, see the luxurious summer residence of the emperor – Schönbrunn. It is worth spending at least 4 hours on it, or better – the whole day. It is very beautiful here in warm seasons, in winter it looks a little dull and monotonous. The territory is huge: 40 rooms open to the public, a palm house, greenhouse and pavilion. On the territory of the residence is laid out a beautiful park and a zoo. In the court bakery you can taste apple strudel, made according to an ancient recipe.
The classic tour costs 24 euros and includes a tour of the palace, garden, and colonnade, as well as a walk through the labyrinth and greenhouse. It is convenient to get to the place by subway line U4, the station is so called – Schönbrunn.
This is a large shady park with rides and attractions. Around the park laid out a miniature railroad, which you can use to bypass its entire territory. Most of the Prater is green with trees, paths, benches, and picnic areas. In the northern part there is a large amusement park, of which there are more than 250. The park is always open, admission is free, rides cost an average of 3-5 euros.