Vienna in 3 Days – A city rich in tradition, history and home to geniuses such as Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and Strauss. Vienna is magical and without a doubt deserves to be crowned as the most liveable city in the world.
The city moves at its own slow pace beckoning visitors with its ornate imperial palaces, relaxed coffeehouses, cobbled alleyways. On the other hand it’s also bohemian, trendy, and a place to party late into the night.
So let’s find out all you can do in Vienna in 3 Days
Things to know about Vienna
Vienna is the capital of Austria and home to 23 districts which go back in history and were first documented as a city in 1137. The city is well known for is rulers Maria Theresa’s, Emperor Franz Joseph I and his beloved wife, Empress Elisabeth of Austria (aka Sissi).
The official language of Austria is German, although most people speak English but always nice to learn a few words in local language.
You can get some great information about this city from travel ,accommodation and sightseeing through a very trusted and informative site Austria Info.
Best time to go Vienna
There is never a best time to visit Vienna. Vienna is famous for its enchanting Christmas markets. In the winter months the city is illuminated and festive but the long sunny days of the summer attracts thousands and there are people everywhere.
Vienna is an all year city so take your pick and visit this magical city when you fancy.
However the best time to visit Austria is during spring, between April – May, and in fall, between September – October.
The weather is excellent for outdoor activities, and less crowded. The high tourist season is between June – August with great weather and long sunny days. We decided to visit Vienna in late August and its was perfect for a long summer weekend.
How to get to Vienna
Being in the heart of Europe, Vienna’s Flughafen International airport is well connected to most parts of the world. It is located in Schwechat, 18 km away from the main city and 57 km west of Bratislava.
Vienna is easily accessible by train from cities such as Budapest, Bratislava, Prague and Munich.
The airport is small but very efficient. Once you’ve touched down there is a choice of transportation including the CAT (City Airport Train). The CAT – direct train service takes just 15 minutes to reach the city centre from the airport
If you prefer a taxi then walk out of the airport and there is a taxi stand. The rough cost for a taxi from Vienna airport to the city centre is €40.
How to get to Vienna –
Skyscanner is a good place to start your search and gives you a good comparison searching millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, book directly through the airline.
Level Airline – We went with a brand new airline Level, owned by the British Airways owner IAG and a new European budget airline.
Flying directly from London Gatwick to Vienna International and a very impressive service.
How to get around Vienna in 3 days.
Visiting Vienna for the first time, it’s not cheap so be prepared.
Is Vienna safe ? Yes Vienna is very safe and has a fantastic infrastructure.
There are buses, trams, trains and subways which are run on time and can take you virtually everywhere. A day pass in Vienna will cost you €8 and you can access any mode of transport within the city.
The public transport system is amazing and we spent a to of time on the trams which is a great way to see the city.
If you prefer the more touristy way the then the Hop on Hop off Bus company is at your service.
Most of the sightseeing in Vienna is quite close together and within walking distance so a good way to enjoy the city is to walk.
If you are tired of walking around, you can always hop on to a tram or use the underground or the buses.
Vienna City Card – For only 24 Euros you get unlimited travel for 3 days in Vienna.
Make sure to order yours online.
Where to stay in Vienna
When it comes to accommodation and where to stay there is a vast choice depending on your budget and priorities. I would suggest living centrally in and around the main Cathedral where it all happens and is a walking distance from most tourist sites.
Apart from 2 main tourist attractions ( The Schonbrunn Palace and The Prater ) everything is within the so called 1st District and walking distance so try and book your accommodation around this area.
We decided to stay in Vienna at the Vienna Marriott Hotel .
The Vienna Marriott Hotel is located in the heart of the city and a short walk away from Saint Stephen’s Cathedral
The Vienna Marriott Hotel has the perfect location for a holiday or if you are visiting on business.
The hotel is opposite the Stadtpark, Vienna’s so called green lung and welcomes its guests with a mixture of Viennese charm and American spirit.
You can read all about The Marriott Vienna here.
Things To Do in Vienna
Vienna is not a cheap city so be prepared. Most of the attractions have entry fee so buying a Vienna Pass is a good way to save some money. For details check their website @ Vienna Pass.
Vienna in 3 Days – Day 1.
Start your tour of Vienna with the Inner City which contains most of the popular sites of Vienna. Adorning the city is the St. Stephen’s Cathedral which is in the heart of the city and a must visit.
If you can make sure to visit the viewing gallery at the top of the cathedral for some great views of the city and the ornate tile work of the cathedral.
St Stephen’s Cathedral has stood here for more than 700 years now, the magnificent cathedral watches over the city, and seen by the Austrians as one of the most important and most beloved landmarks of the country.
You could climb the 343 steps up to the tower and enjoy some of the most breathtaking views of the city.
Walk along the the 1st district and envy the historical buildings along the Ring or around the St. Stephens Square.
Visit the Hofburg Imperial Palace.
Next stop the famous Hofburg Imperial Palace. Built in the 13th century and expanded several times afterwards the palace lies at the centre of Vienna with its great copper dome called the Michaelerkuppel.
The palace is the former imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty rulers but currently serves as the official residence and workplace of the Austrian President. It also served as the imperial winter residence, as Schönbrunn Palace was the summer residence.
This is one of Vienna’s most magnificent baroque palaces and is located within the listed historic centre. Visitors to the Hofburg can explore the Imperial Apartments, visit the Sisi Museum and the Silver collections which are unique and a great pice of art.
The Sacher Cafe – Must visit place in Vienna
After our date with history it was time to sample some of the most popular cafes of Vienna. Vienna is the birthplace of the coffeehouse and one of the most famous and talked about is the The Sacher Café.
Popular for its delicious Sachertorte you can’t visit Vienna and miss this prestigious establishment.
Be prepared to wait as Sacher Cafe is the most famous cafes in Vienna.
The best way to enjoy the sweet torte is with a strong cup of Viennese coffee.
Take a stroll at Stadtpark (City Park)
After all that caffeine and sugar we walked around Vienna’s green lung the Stadtpark (City Park) which was right opposite out hotel.
Stadtpark is home to the famous golden statue of Johann Strauss on his violin and another composers Franz Schubert is also featured here in the park . Stadtpark is a popular tourist attraction and great place to have walk and enjoy the greenery of this city.
Schnitzel at Figmuller.
We finish our day with a schnitzel at Figmuller. The establishment is famous for Viennese food and celebrated for its fabulous schnitzel that symbolises Vienna’s incomparable lifestyle for over 110 years.
It is as popular with the locals as the tourists so try and book in advance to avoid long waitings.
I would highly recommend a visit to Figmuller not just for the food but also a very good collection of Austrian wine.
The perfect way to end our first day in Vienna.
Vienna in 3 Days – Day 2.
The most popular sight of Vienna – Schonbrunn Palace.
We start with the Schönbrunn Palace. The Schönbrunn Palace is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. It houses the collections of Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Sisi.
The palace contains some of their personal items as the Empress left them.
Visit the famous Hall of Mirrors, where a star was born. At the age of six Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart practiced here and there is a rumour that he once kissed the Empress Maria Theresa.
Another key part of the Schonbrunn Palace is the Million Room panelled with rosewood and decorated with miniatures from India and Persia.
After a tour of the palace you can spend your time walking around the beautiful gardens.
The Schonbrunn palace is also home to the world’s oldest zoo and a great way to keep the little ones happy.
Try and book tickets online to avoid the rush or make use of your Vienna Pass, it is best to arrive early to make most of this palace.
The ticket to enter Schonbrunn Palace have a specific time and come with an audio guide provided in a language of your choice.
Lunch at Cafe Residenz –Schonbrunn Palace.
After our rounds of the palace it was time to enjoy our lunch at the elegantly decorated Cafe Residenz situated within the Schönbrunn Palace grounds.
They have a great selection of pastries and the best place to find out how to make the original Viennese Apple Strudel.
You can attend the Apple Strudel Show located just outside the Cafe which runs by the hour and you will get to sample it at the end of the show.
You also receive the original recipe all for a nominal fee of €6 or free with your Vienna Pass.
Photo at Hundertwasser Haus
Next stop – Prater and the Giant Ferris Wheel, but on the way we stopped at the Hundertwasser Haus a popular attraction made up of colourful apartments in a quiet neighbourhood of Vienna.
A residential building built under the mayor of Vienna, Leopold Gratz and Helmut Zilk in the years 1983–1985. A house in harmony with nature.
As there are people residing in these apartment you can’t enter them but all you can do is to admire them and take pictures from the outside. Very popular spot of Vienna on Instagram
Hundertwasser Haus is made up of 53 apartments, 4 offices, private and communal terraces and it is considered as a place of cultural heritage.
Prater and the Giant Ferris Wheel.
The Wurstelprater is an amusement park in the outskirts of Vienna and dates back to the time of the Emperor Joseph II who used it as an Imperial hunting ground until it was opened to the public in 1766.
The best-known attraction is the Wiener Riesenrad, a Ferris wheel. The park also features various rides, shooting galleries, ghost trains and houses the famous Madame Tussauds wax works as well.
Apart from the rides, the park features various famous traditional Viennese restaurants such as the Schweizerhaus and the Walfisch and is buzzing with both locals and tourists.
Prater opening timing – The park is open from 10:00 am to 1:00 am daily from March 15 to October 31.
The Giant Ferris Wheel has been turning since 1897 with some of the best views of Vienna from above. The wheel rotates quite slowly and was made popular by the epic film “The Third Man”.
Vienna in 3 Days – Day 3.
Trip to Naschmarkt
Started our day with a visit to the popular Naschmarkt. The most famous food and produce market in Vienna with a wide range of things to shop, see, eat, drink and to enjoy.
Visited by the Austrians since the 16th century the Naschmarkt had products brought here by vendors from overseas by boats and ships from different parts of the world.
There are several restaurants where you can enjoy cuisines from around the world and a fun place overall. On the weekend, the market extends with a bunch of vendors from surrounding farms and is a great place to visit.
From fresh produce to quick bites featuring Austrian and ethnic cuisine in more than 120 stalls, it’s excellent for people-watching swell.
The Belvedere Palace and Garden
The Belvedere gardens are a gem of Baroque landscape and design and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Made up of 2 different layers known as the Lower and Upper Belvedere it features beautiful gardens which connect the palace.
The Upper Belvedere is home to the world’s largest collection of Gustav Klimt’s art.
The Lower Belvedere features many temporary art exhibitions. The Palace is beautiful with fountains, statues and cascades. Entry to the garden is free of charge.
We finish our day with a visit to the Golden Quarter located in the heart of the city between St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Stock Exchange.
Here you can find luxurious shopping with some of the major European brands plus some local gems.
Marvel at the Vienna Opera House
You can walk all the way to the famous Vienna Opera House and marvel at this beautiful building. If you get a chance try and watch a concert in this magnificent building. The Vienna State Opera is prized for its exceptional acoustics.
There are performances at the Vienna Opera House almost 300 nights a year and a different billing virtually every day.
The best cafes in Vienna – Vienna in 3 Days
Coffee at Cafe Central –
We finish our day with a visit to the Cafe Central one of the many cafes Vienna has to offer.
It is said that the Ottoman soldiers left a few sacks of coffee beans as they retrieved after a failed siege, leaving behind the accidental gift of coffee.
Café Sacher Wien –
The quintessential Austrian café in the heart of Vienna which gives you the chance to sample a typical Viennese coffee-house atmosphere and the Original Sacher-Torte. The most famous cake in the world since 1832 and the original recipe remains a well-kept secret here. It tastes best with a portion of unsweetened whipped cream.
Aida Café. –
A Viennese tradition since 1913, perfect for a coffee and cake, and people watching. This is a popular chain now and has a few outlets dotted around Vienna.
Café Diglas –
With its rich interior, cozy red chairs, take a step back in time and listen to the live piano in the evening while you sip and savour their perfect treats. A great place for a quick lunch as well.
Cafe Central –
Opened its doors in 1876 and visited by numerous notable historical figures such as Leo Trotsky, Arthur Schnitzler the café continues to profit from the reputation of its literary past.One of the most popular with tourists so be ready to wait.
Café Hawelka –
One of the oldest and still manages to keep up with its authentic charm.Th legendary bohemian spot in Wien, Hawelka is a Viennese institution and a must visit.
The coffee house of the royal court confectionery is renowned for its exquisite sweets that are served in a unique originally preserved saloon, furnished in rococo style at the end of the 19th century. If you value traditional ambience you should not miss this confectionery which was founded more than 200 years ago.
You could end up spending a lot of your time in some of these finest cafes Vienna has to offer.
If you have more than 3 days in Vienna then some of the other Tourist attractions in Vienna are
There are few other places that make up the tourist trail in Vienna which I am listing below so take your pick and make the most of this beautiful city.
Imperial Burial Vault – Also known as the Capuchin Crypt, the imperial burial vault is the resting place of the emperors and empresses of the House of Hapsburg.
The Leopold Museum is located in the Museum Quarter and hosts some important Viennese Art Nouveau, Wiener Werkstätte, and expressionism. Although I enjoyed the art presented in the museum, I found the customer service to be a little abrupt.
Mumok Museum One of the largest museum of modern and contemporary art in Central Europe.
Natural History Museum Opened its doors in 1889 with an amazing collection, including the famed “Venus of Willendorf”, a very old and treasured artefacts the museum.
Mozart Concert – Another must if you can is to try and attend a Classical Music Concert in the capital of classical music. There are several concerts that happen in various locations in the city but the best is the Mozart Requiem at the St. Charles Church.
Vienna in 3 days – Must Do and See in Vienna
- Treat yourself to the Apfelstrudel a Viennese speciality.
- Marvel at the centrepiece of Vienna the St. Stephen’s Cathedral standing tall in all its glory.
- Stroll the palace grounds of the Schonbrunn palace on a sunny afternoon.
- Enjoy a meal at the open-air extravaganza of the Naschmarkt with its fresh produces from around the world.
- Spend an afternoon in the Museums Quarter an enormous cultural institution comprising of numerous top-notch museums.
- Visit the State Opera House the city’s premier venue for the performing arts and a major focal point of Viennese life.
- Enjoy the Belvedere palace and gardens the best examples of Baroque architecture in the world.
- Watch the Lipizzaners perform at the famous Spanish Riding School.
- Ride the Wiener Riesenrad the charmingly old-fashioned Ferris wheel
- Walk the streets of Judenplatz a neighbourhood that remained the epic-enter of Jewish life in Vienna.
- Spend time at the Hofburg Palace, a city within a city and reflecting the royal family’s wealth and grandeur.
- Sip a coffee and watch time fly at one the many cafes of Vienna.
- Cruise the Danube and enjoy a candle light dinner.
- Enjoy an evening at one of the many events held in front of the Town Hall located on Rathausplatz.
- Dine at the Figmuller flagship restaurant on Wollzeile often referred to as the “Home of the Schnitzel”
- Visit the Tiergarten Zoo, the oldest zoo in the world located within the grounds of the Sconbrunn Palace.
- Step back in time with a horse carriage ride from the Heldenplatz at the Hofburg Palace.
- Say goodbye with a piece of Vienna ,the most famous cake in the world since 1832 The Original Sacher-Torte.
What an amazing city and truly one that needs to be crowned one of the best city to live in.
These 3 days have given me a true sense of what the Viennese life is all about. Whether it’s the grandeur of the palaces or the classic coffeehouse, there is something special about Vienna.
I visited Vienna 9 years ago, when I was teenager. Prater was my favorite place there. Did you have a chance to go outside Vienna and see places around such as Kahlenberg?
Hi. I did visit Salzburg
I would love to go back to Vienna, I spent a short day there back in the 1980s and it wasn’t enough to see all the many gems of the city that you list, let alone enjoy the food and atmosphere. I think a spring or autumn visit would suit me best, and easy to fly in.
It’s an amazing city.
I love that your posts always include the history of the place you are visiting, it always makes it extra special. When I travel I almost always get a city pass like the Vienna pass if its available, they are awesome. Looks like you had a great time.
Thanks and helps to say a story about the city
Loved the detailed post. Its so helpful for me personally. We intend to go there shortly. Especially loved the amazing spires of St Stephens cathedral. Great informative post!
Glad it helps
Your posts are so descriptive, with all those lovely pictures. You give your readers so much more in terms of History and good tips. Thanks An ad.
Thanks fir taking out the time to read
A wonderful post full of helpful tips – thank you!
The architecture is stunning and a wide variety of styles. I adore the manicured gardens. I can imagine strolling through the cathedrals and stopping for coffee in between.
It is a beautiful city to visit
It’s a great city.
Vienna looks so beautiful and inviting on your photos! I remember visiting Austria once as a child but unfortunately not Vienna yet. And what I see here makes me want to visit this charming place right now. The Hundertwasser Haus looks so interesting since I already saw some of his works in different cities and I really love his work and style. I can totally understand that Vienna was very interesting and special for you, since you really saw a lot of things in just these 3 days.
It’s an amazing city
Thanks for all the detail, especially concerning those things that would entertain the little people in the group. I’d love to get to those gardens and just wander for a day. And the Hundertwasser Haus looks so unreal. Were there many tourists standing around photographing it? I wonder if the inside is just as amazing as the outside. How fun it must be to live there.
It’s very beautiful
Wow…I can certainly see why you would say this would be the most liveable city. Vienna looks just gorgeous! Such beautiful buildings (externally and internally), clean streets, beautiful gardens, wonderful cafes. This together with the classic Viennese cuisine, history and culture makes this a place I would love to spend some time.
Indeed a very clean city and should be great to live in
Such an amazing three day itinerary! I have visited Vienna multiple times and I must say you covered everything worth seeing in three days. Thank you for sharing
This was a really interesting post. And I am an ardent history lover so I can so Vienna definitely figures very high on my bucketlist. I find your post very helpful. Will try to make it to your spots when I get there. And I hope I get there soon!
Brilliant place for history lovers. Try n make it.
We’ve been toying with a combined trip of Vienna-Prague-Strasbourg. I really appreciate a 3 day itinerary because it helps me decide whether 3 days in Vienna is enough. I would really like to see the Hofburg Imperial Palace. And I’m glad you’ve warned us that it is expensive – I always wonder whether those city passes are worth it. Thanks!
3 days is good enough unless you love art and can spend hours in a museum.
I loved Vienna in my Austrian trip as it is very elegant, musical and peaceful city. It also comes under one of the most livable city in the world. I loved the Schonbrunn Palace, especially their maze gardens. Having coffee and cake in rustic style of cafe in Vienna is another best thing to here.
It’s s beautiful city.
Vienna is indeed a very exciting destination. You have made a wonderful guide. It is useful for a first timer like myself. It looks like a charming place and I like that fact that it is slow paced. I would love to explore it on public transport especially the trams.
Thanks. Yes you must visit it. A great city
Such a beautiful city! It does look very enchanting. The architecture would be incredible to see – especially St Stephens Cathedral. And of course to feast on the delicious chocolate treats! A great place to soak up incredible architecture and culture, for sure.
Indeed a great place if you enjoy architecture
I would have to agree that Vienna is an all-year round destination. Though we normally visit in December since I enjoy their Christmas markets. The food is great and the rare finds are just as exciting.
Can’t wait to visit again! 🙂
Christmas markets must be great 👍
Wow! Vienna looks incredibly beautiful. I love the architecture and vibrance of the city. You have provided detailed information on everything a traveller needs to know about the place. St Stephens cathedral looks and sounds amazing. A cathedral that’s more than 700 years old is definitely a worth visit. The Belvedere gardens also look lovely.
It’s a beautiful city
What a great guide and it looks very much like you and your family enjoyed their time there. We visited Vienna last year but only spent a day there, wish we had spent longer. Lovely photos!
Thanks. There is quite a bit to see and you need more then a day
St. Stephen’s Cathedral looks amazing and I’d love to see that one day! It’s genius how you put in even the information about getting to and from the airport, it’s so useful. The only thing besides price right now that keeps me away from Austria is that they don’t really know much about vegetarianism except for grape leaves and things so that makes it hard for me to want to go somewhere that I am not sure that I can eat.
It’s great and I’m sure you can find vegetarian food though not that popular.
I really enjoyed my (short) time in Vienna a couple of years ago. Such an elegant city! The St Stephens Cathedral is outstanding and a stop at the sachercafè is a must!
Absolutely a great city and the Sacher cafe a must
You have given just a ideal itinerary for us to explore Vienna in 3 or more days! The suggestions fit in the way we love to travel too… using local transportation, referring to Skyscanner for flights and trying out different food options! Loved your must do list. This would be a perfect guide for any one to plan a trip to beautiful Vienna.
Thanks. Try and share as much as possible.
I never knew that Vienna was the home of Mozart. Fact of the day! It looks like a true gem of a city that i’d more than likely visit in the summer time. Do you know where is the best place to fly from in the UK?
Any U.K. airport connects you into Vienna
You’re right, there’s no right time to visit Vienna, it’s beautiful any time of the year! I went last winter and the Christmas Markets were out of this world! I loved Vienna, and specially the lovely palaces – Hofburg Imperial Palace and Schonbrunn were amazing. Also, just walking around the city, Museums Quarter, looking at the lovely architecture, St Stephan’s cathedral and Opera House – it was such a brilliant experience!
It’s a beautiful city all year round
My friend who recent had her trip to Austria, says Vienna is another city I must consider visiting next time. Especially the museums and architecture and urban arts. I think she is right, I need to prepare for this exciting trip!
You must visut
Vienna is in my plans for 2019. Thanks for your itinerary. I might go for 2 days though. Day pass at 8 euros is not bad. Good to know there’s a Vienna pass as well.
The Vienna pass is helpful indeed
No wonder Vienna is one of the amazing places to visit. So glad that you shared your 3-day itinerary. This could be perfect for our plan in the future.
Thanks and hope ur helps
Amazing three days in Vienna. It looks so beautiful in all your pictures! thanks for sharing the must-do list. I also like the Vienna Pass tip!
the Vienna pass is a must
Great post! I will be there for a day in December. Will keep this in my back pocket for things to do!
Thanks. Let me know if you need any tips
I visited Vienna some years ago now, but hadn’t heard of most of the places you mentioned so didn’t check them out! Hundertwasser Haus In particular looks sooo interesting, and I’d be keen on seeing it up close nexttime I visit.
There is a lot to see in Vienna.
Interesting. I saw two world class exhibitions there. But I don’t think I would want to go back to that city.
Very informative article and I love the pictures especially the Schönbrunn ones! We only had 2 days in Vienna but I loved the atmosphere and all the amazing cafes. Would love to go back and spend more time in Austria, perhaps in the springtime.
I loved the city and would love to return someday.
Absolutely love this post and all of these beautiful photographs makes me wanna pack a 💼 oh Vienna you beauty! My happy place for sure 🙂
Hope you can make it to Vienna soon.
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