Traveling is a great way to explore new places, cultures, and experiences. Vienna, Austria, is a city filled with history, art, culture, music, and delicious cuisine. Spending one week in Vienna will allow you to explore and discover all that this beautiful city has to offer.
Where to stay in Vienna
Vienna has a variety of accommodation options, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels. The best area to stay in Vienna largely depends on your preferences and travel goals, as each neighborhood has its unique charm and attractions. When deciding on where to stay in Vienna, it’s important to consider factors such as proximity to attractions, public transportation, and the atmosphere you’re looking for. For budget-friendly option, consider staying at one of the numerous aparthotels equipped with a kitchen, so example we stayed at Metro Apartments right next to the subway station. Some of the higher-class hotels that we can recommend are H+ Hotel Wien, Flemings Selection, Hotel Ambassador.
Day 1: Exploring the Historic City Center
On the first day of your trip, start by grabbing breakfast at a traditional Viennese café. From there, visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral, one of Vienna’s most recognizable landmarks. After that, take a stroll through Hofburg Palace and its various museums, including the Imperial Treasury and the Sisi Museum. End the day by admiring the stunning architecture of the Ringstrasse.
Grab breakfast at a Viennese café
One of the best places for breakfast at a Viennese café is Café Central, located in the city center. The café has a rich history, dating back to the 19th century when it was a meeting place for famous writers, artists, and intellectuals. The stunning architecture, high ceilings, and luxurious interior of the café will transport you back in time. Café Central offers a wide range of breakfast options, including traditional Austrian dishes such as Kaiserschmarrn (shredded pancakes with raisins) and Apfelstrudel (apple strudel). They also offer a variety of pastries, sandwiches, and eggs cooked to your liking. Café Central is popular with tourists and locals alike, so be sure to arrive early to avoid the crowds.
Visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral
St. Stephen’s Cathedral is one of the most iconic landmarks in Vienna and a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the city. It is a stunning example of Gothic architecture, with its towering spires and intricate details. The cathedral dates back to the 12th century and has witnessed some of the most significant events in Austrian history. From the Habsburg Empire to the Second World War, the cathedral has been a silent witness to the country’s history. Visitors can climb the south tower of the cathedral for a breathtaking view of Vienna. The climb is challenging, with 343 steps to reach the top, but the view is worth the effort.
Take a stroll through Hofburg Palace
The palace has served as the seat of power for the Habsburg dynasty for more than six centuries, from the 13th to the 20th century. It was the imperial residence of the Austrian monarchs until the end of the Habsburg Empire in 1918. It is home to several museums that offer a glimpse into the history and culture of Austria. The Imperial Apartments Museum allows visitors to explore the private chambers of the Habsburg emperors, while the Sisi Museum offers a fascinating insight into the life of Empress Elisabeth, one of the most popular and enigmatic figures in Austrian history. The palace gardens are a tranquil oasis in the heart of Vienna, offering a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Admire the architecture of the Ringstrasse
The Ringstrasse was constructed during the second half of the 19th century, a period when the Habsburg Empire was at the height of its power. The architecture of the Ringstrasse is characterized by a wide range of styles, including Neo-Gothic, Neo-Renaissance, and Neo-Baroque. It is home to some of Vienna’s most magnificent palaces, including the Imperial Palace (Hofburg), the Museum of Fine Arts (Kunsthistorisches Museum), and the Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum). Along with the palaces, the Ringstrasse also features a number of public buildings, such as the Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper), the Austrian Parliament Building (Parlament), and the Vienna City Hall (Wiener Rathaus).
Day 2: Experiencing the Art and Culture Scene
Vienna is known for its rich art and cultural scene. Start by visiting the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which houses some of the world’s most famous art pieces. After that, see the famous Spanish Riding School and watch the Lipizzaner horses perform. Take a break and explore the Naschmarkt, where you can find a wide range of foods and drinks. End the day by attending a classical music concert at one of Vienna’s famous concert halls.
Visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum
The Kunsthistorisches Museum’s collection includes works from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, as well as European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the Middle Ages to the 18th century. Some of the most famous works in the collection include Bruegel’s Tower of Babel, Raphael’s Madonna of the Meadow, and Vermeer’s The Art of Painting. Visitors can explore masterpieces by artists such as Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and Titian, as well as ancient Egyptian sarcophagi, Greek vases, and Roman mosaics.
See the Spanish Riding School
The Spanish Riding School has a rich history that dates back over 450 years. It was established in 1572 and has since become an institution that is synonymous with the Habsburg dynasty and the city of Vienna. The Spanish Riding School’s horses are one of its main attractions. The Lipizzaner horses, which are a rare and unique breed, are carefully bred, trained, and maintained to perform at the highest level. Visitors can witness the horses’ grace and beauty as they perform their intricate dressage movements.
Explore the Naschmarkt
Naschmarkt is Vienna’s largest and most popular open-air market, attracting both locals and tourists. It is a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, exotic spices, artisanal cheeses, cured meats, seafood, baked goods, and international cuisine. You can find anything from traditional Viennese cuisine to Middle Eastern, Indian, Thai, and many other global cuisines.
Attend a classical music concert
Vienna is widely regarded as the capital of classical music, and there are numerous venues where you can attend a classical music concert. Here are some of the best places to experience classical music in Vienna: Vienna State Opera, Konzerthaus, Schönbrunn Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Hofburg Palace,
Day 3: Discovering the Palaces
No trip to Vienna is complete without visiting some of its stunning palaces. Start by visiting Schönbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the Habsburg monarchs. Take a walk through the gardens and admire the stunning views from the Gloriette.
Visit Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palace is one of Vienna’s most iconic and popular tourist attractions. It was once the summer residence of the Habsburg dynasty and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are several different tour options available at Schönbrunn Palace, depending on your interests and preferences. The Grand Tour takes you through 40 rooms of the palace and includes an audio guide, while the Imperial Tour takes you through the private apartments of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth. The gardens at Schönbrunn Palace are just as impressive as the palace itself, featuring over 1,800 acres of landscaped grounds, fountains, and sculptures.
Explore the Belvedere Palace
The Belvedere Palace was built as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy and consists of two Baroque palaces, the Upper and Lower Belvedere, which were built in the 18th century. It was later used as a royal palace and was home to many members of the Habsburg dynasty. The Belvedere Palace is home to an extensive collection of Austrian art, including works by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Oskar Kokoschka. The museum also has a large collection of Baroque art, as well as contemporary and modern pieces. To make the most of your visit to the Belvedere Palace, it’s recommended to purchase tickets in advance to avoid long lines. You should also plan to spend at least a few hours exploring the museum and gardens.
Day 4: Taking a Day Trip
Day trip to Saltzburg
The journey from Vienna to Salzburg takes approximately 2.5 to 3 hours by train or car. Trains run frequently throughout the day, and it’s recommended to book your tickets in advance to ensure availability. Salzburg’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it’s a great place to explore on foot. The city is filled with stunning architecture, including baroque churches, medieval castles, and elegant plazas. Some of the must-visit sights in the old town include the Salzburg Cathedral, Mirabell Palace and Gardens, and Hohensalzburg Fortress.
No visit to Salzburg is complete without a visit to Mozart’s birthplace, a museum located in the heart of the old town. The museum showcases the life and works of the famous composer, with exhibits and artifacts including his original instruments, sheet music, and personal belongings.
Day trip to Hallstatt
Hallstatt is a picturesque village located in the Salzkammergut region of Austria. The Hallstatt Salt Mine is one of the oldest salt mines in the world and has been in operation since prehistoric times. Visitors can take a guided tour of the mine, which includes a ride on a funicular and a slide down to the underground salt lake. The Skywalk is a viewing platform that offers panoramic views of the village and the surrounding mountains. Visitors can take a cable car to the top and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.
The village of Hallstatt is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its charming, traditional Austrian architecture. Visitors can stroll through the narrow streets and alleyways, explore the local shops, and enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants. Lake Hallstatt is a beautiful lake that’s surrounded by mountains and is a popular spot for boating, fishing, and swimming in the summer months. Visitors can rent a boat or take a guided tour of the lake.
There are several ways to travel from Vienna to Hallstatt, but the most convenient and popular options are by train or by car. If you’re short on time or prefer a guided tour, there are several day tours from Vienna to Hallstatt that you can join.
Cruise to Bratislava
Taking a cruise to Bratislava from Vienna is a popular way to explore the Danube River and experience the beauty of the region. The duration of the cruise varies depending on the route and the type of vessel, but it typically takes around 1.5 to 2.5 hours to reach Bratislava from Vienna. During the cruise, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the Danube River and the surrounding landscapes, including the vineyards and the historic towns along the way. Upon arrival in Bratislava, you’ll have several hours to explore the city on your own or with a guided tour.
Day 5: Exploring the Viennese Cuisine
Sample Austrian wine and beer
Austria is known for its excellent wine and beer, and there are many great places to sample these beverages in Vienna.
- Wine bars: Vienna has many wine bars where you can sample local wines from different regions of Austria. Some popular wine bars in Vienna include Wein & Co, Vinothek W-Einkehr, and MAST Weinbistro.
- Traditional taverns: In Vienna, traditional taverns (called “Heurigen”) are a popular spot for sampling local wines and beers.
- Beer Gardens: Vienna also has several beer gardens where you can try local and regional beers in a casual, outdoor setting. Some popular beer gardens include Schweizerhaus in the Prater park, 1516 Brewing Company in the city center, and Ottakringer Brauerei in the Ottakring district.
Enjoy a Wiener Schnitzel or Tafelspitz for dinner
Wiener Schnitzel is a beloved Viennese dish, and there are many places in Vienna where you can try this classic dish. No matter where you choose to try Wiener Schnitzel in Vienna, make sure to pair it with a local beer or wine to fully immerse yourself in Viennese cuisine.
Vienna has a long and rich history when it comes to coffee culture, and there are many traditional coffee houses throughout the city where you can experience this unique aspect of Viennese culture.
Day 6: Visiting the Museums
Vienna is home to a plethora of museums that cater to all kinds of interests. Here are some top picks for museums to visit in Vienna:
The Technisches Museum Wien, or Vienna Technical Museum, is one of the most popular museums in Vienna. It is dedicated to the history of technology and science, and features a vast collection of exhibits that showcase everything from transport and communication to energy and manufacturing. The Technisches Museum Wien also has many interactive exhibits that allow visitors to get hands-on experience with technology. For example, you can try your hand at programming a robot, or learn how to build a simple machine.
Natural history museum
The museum has a vast collection of preserved animals, including insects, birds, and mammals. The highlight of the animal exhibits is the “Hall of Mammals,” which features life-sized models of mammals from around the world. The museum’s collection of plants includes over 500,000 specimens, including rare and exotic plants from all over the world. Visitors can see everything from towering trees to delicate flowers. Visitors can see meteorites from all over the solar system, including pieces of the moon and Mars.
See the Sigmund Freud Museum
The Sigmund Freud Museum is dedicated to the life and work of the famous Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. The museum is housed in the former apartment of Freud and his family, which he lived in from 1891 until 1938 when he and his family were forced to flee Austria during the Nazi occupation. In 1971, the apartment was turned into a museum to preserve the legacy of Freud and his contribution to the field of psychology.
Day 7: Relaxing and Shopping
Visit the Prater Amusement Park
Prater Amusement Park is one of the most popular attractions in Vienna, Austria. Located in the Leopoldstadt district of the city, it is easily accessible by public transportation. The park has been a favorite among both locals and tourists since it opened in 1766, making it one of the oldest amusement parks in the world.
Things not to miss:
- The Giant Ferris Wheel, or Wiener Riesenrad, is an iconic symbol of Vienna. It was built in 1897 and is one of the oldest Ferris wheels in the world. At 65 meters high, it offers panoramic views of the city.
- Prater Turm: If you’re looking for a thrilling experience, try the Prater Turm. It is a 117-meter tall swing ride that offers breathtaking views of the park and the city.
- Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is located in the heart of Prater Amusement Park. It features lifelike wax figures of celebrities, historical figures, and other famous people.
Enjoy the roller coasters: Prater Amusement Park is known for its exciting roller coasters. The park has several different coasters to choose from, including the Wild Mouse, the Olympia Looping, and the Jet Star.
Walk through the Volksgarten
Volksgarten is one of Vienna’s most popular and beautiful public parks, situated in the heart of the city. With its beautiful flower beds, fountains, and impressive monuments, it is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Vienna.
Explore the Mariahilferstrasse shopping district
This bustling shopping street offers a wide range of stores, from luxury brands to affordable fashion chains. With its mix of local and international brands, the Mariahilferstrasse shopping district has something for everyone.