50 things to do in Vienna

So you’re planning a trip to Vienna, Austria and you need a little travel inspiration to get you started? Well, this list has you covered! From palaces to obscure museums, and elegant cafes to nearby vineyards, here are 50 things to do in Vienna! All you have to do is pick and choose based on your interests to create your perfect trip to the city.

Things to do in Vienna - enjoy the views atop St Stephen's Cathedral

50 things to do in Vienna

1) Walk along the Ringstrasse. Known as the Ring Road to tourists, this is a circular boulevard that encases Vienna’s Old Town. The road is located where the city’s medieval fortifications once stood, and it’s a beautiful part of the city to explore on foot seeing as it’s lined with parks, museums, palaces and numerous historic buildings.

2) See Vienna from St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Also known as Stephansdom, this is a striking Romanesque-Gothic cathedral with a colourful roof that you need to admire up close. Ride the elevator to the top for stunning views of Vienna.

3) Have a slice of Sacher Torte. The Sacher Torte is a dense chocolate cake, filled with a thin layer of apricot jam and covered in a dark chocolate icing. This is the one cake you have to try in Vienna!

Things to do in Vienna - eat Sacher Torte!

4) Visit the house where Mozart lived. The famed composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart may have been born in Salzburg, but he also resided in Vienna for a few years. Today you can visit Mozarthaus Vienna which is located at Domgasse 5. This was his place of residence from 1784 to 1787.

5) Catch a concert at St. Peter’s Church. Peterskirche is a Baroque church that holds free daily organ recitals (donations are welcome), as well as scheduled concerts by the Classic Ensemble Vienna that require tickets

6) Visit Hofburg Palace. This was the imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty and it’s one of the most striking sights in all of Vienna. Hofburg Palace was built in the 13th century and expanded many times over. Tickets give you access to the Sisi Museum, the Imperial Apartments and the Silver Collection. You can’t miss this place on your visit!

Visiting Hofburg Palace in Vienna

7) Check out the Roman ruins at Michaelerplatz. Yes, that’s right, Roman ruins just a few layers beneath the modern city! Located in the plaza right in front of Hofburg Palace, these are believed to be the ruins of a brothel for soldiers.

8) Catch the Lipizzans at Spanish Riding School. These stallions, known as Lipizzans, are a horse breed that was developed in the 16th century by the Habsburgs. You can watch them perform their “Ballet of the White Stallions” at the Winter Riding School inside Hofburg Palace.

9) Go on a carriage ride through Vienna. One of the most popular things to do in Vienna is to go on a horse-drawn carriage ride, or a Fiaker, through the city.  You can find them around Stephansplatz and Hofburg Palace.

10) Go for a stroll along the People’s Garden Park of Vienna. The Volksgarten is a public park in Vienna and a beautiful place for a stroll in between all the sightseeing. There’s a beautiful rose garden – you can actually sponsor a rose bush as a way to tell that special someone you love them! – and on the north end of the park, you can also see a statue of Empress Sisi.

Statue of Empress Sisi in Vienna

11) Have a slice of Wiener Apfelstrudel. We’ve already mentioned the Sacher Torte, but another dessert you can’t miss is the Viennese Apple Strudel! This delicious pastry is stuffed with apples, raisins, sugar and cinnamon, and it’s the perfect afternoon pick-me-up after a few hours of sightseeing around Vienna.

12) Drink a Wiener Melange. This is the specialty coffee of choice in Vienna; one espresso shot served in a large coffee cup topped with steamed milk and milk foam.

13) Enjoy a typical Viennese breakfast. You can’t skip the most important meal of the day! Sit down at a cafe and order up a coffee (bonus points if you go for the Wiener Melange), croissants, read rolls, butter, jam, and an assortment of cheeses and deli meats. Now you’re ready for a fun day of sightseeing around Vienna.

Breakfast in Vienna, Austria

14) Visit the Hapsburg Imperial Crypt. Another interesting thing to do in Vienna is to visit this crypt which sits below the Capuchin Church and Monastery. This is the final resting place for 12 emperors, 18 empresses, and 113 members of the Habsburg family. You can get your ticket here.

15) Eat the infamous Käsekrainer at a Würstelstand. If you enjoy sampling street food, then you need to try Vienna’s Käsekrainer, a sausage filled with small pieces of cheese that ooze out! Here’s a list of some of the top Würstelstände in the city.

16) Attend a Viennese Ball. The tradition of carnival balls is alive and well in Vienna! The city hosts over 450 balls every year with peak season happening around January and February. If you think you’d like to attend but you aren’t quite sure where to start, check out this list of some of the biggest and best events. And it may be worth taking a dance lesson or two while you’re at it!

17) Find Mozart in the park. Say hello to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at Burggarten and snap a pic!

Visiting the statue of Mozart - ticking off another item on the Vienna travel bucket list!

18) Catch a performance at the Wiener Staatsoper. Opera, ballet, orchestra or choir? Whichever you prefer, you can enjoy it at the Vienna Opera House. You can have a look at their calendar to see what’s on during your visit. If you really want to splurge on your visit, you can book a 4-course gourmet dinner, horse-drawn carriage ride, and the best seats to the Mozart concert here.

19) Tour Schönbrunn Palace. While Hofburg Palace was the winter residence of the Habsburg, Schönbrunn Palace was the summer residence. Painted a cheery yellow, this Baroque palace had a whopping 1,441 rooms at the family’s disposal! You can skip the line and enjoy a guided tour of the 22 staterooms at Schönbrunn Palace with these tickets.

20) Take a stroll through the Schönbrunn Palace Gardens. Located directly behind the palace, the formal gardens are not to be missed! If you’re visiting Vienna on a budget, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Palace Park is free to visit. However, if you want to access some of the special attractions like the Privy Garden, the Orangery Garden or the Maze, you will need to buy individual tickets. For something memorable, you can even catch one of the classical concerts at the palace

Visiting the Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens is another must things to do in Vienna

21) Catch a performance by the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Renowned around the world, the choir is made up of approximately 100 sopranos and altos aged 10-14. They sing at various venues and events across the city (you can view their schedule here), but if you happen to miss them, you can also watch them overseas as they tour worldwide.

22) Spot an art fake. The Museum of Art Fakes is a small gallery that’s full of forgeries. That’s right, not one single piece of original artwork, but the untrained eye would probably not be able to spot the difference.

23) Set foot in Hundertwasser’s world. For a touch of whimsy and colour, you can’t miss Hundertwasserhaus. This is an apartment building in Vienna that was designed by Friedrich Stowasser. The building is characterised by its bright colours, wonky lines, and uneven surface. It’s unlike any other building you’ll see in the city. After visiting Hundertwasserhaus, go into Hundertwasser Village just across the street.

The colourful Hundertwasserhaus is a place you won't want to miss in Vienna.

24) Visit the Republic of Kugelmugel. Located in Prater Park and enclosed in barbed wire, this micronation is home to a spherical house. This republic came into existence in 1984 when the government had a dispute with Austrian artist Edwin Lipburger over the construction of his spherical house in central Vienna. This lead to Lipburger declaring his property an independent nation – a rather strange attraction in Vienna!

25) Ride the Wiener Riesenrad. This Ferris wheel dates back to 1897, and from 1920 until 1985, it was the world’s tallest existing Ferris wheel! The gondolas creak and sway, and it can be a bit unnerving if you’re not fond of heights, but you get some truly amazing views of Vienna. You can skip the line for the Ferris wheel with this ticket here.

26) Go on the rides at Prater Park. The nice thing about Prater is that admission to the park is free of charge and you pay per ride. If you get hungry, you can’t go wrong with a meal at Schweizerhaus – the name translates to “Swiss House” but they have tasty Austrian dishes!

Riding the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris Wheel in Vienna, Austria.

27) Shop at the flea markets. If you’re in the market for antiques, collectables, and oddities, Vienna has a few different flea markets to choose from. Naschmarkt is by far the most popular, but Riesenflohmarkt is another option with more of a local feel.

28) Drink wine at Vienna’s vineyards. Did you know that Vienna has numerous vineyards within the city limits? If you’re craving a city break without going very far, the vineyards are a great option. You can spend the day at the Heurige or wine taverns, sipping to your heart’s content. If you happen to visit in autumn, see if your schedule coincides with Vienna Wine Hiking Day, otherwise, you can book this half-day countryside wine tour with a meal any time of year.

29) Order up a Wiener Schnitzel. Another dish you need to try when you visit Vienna is the Wiener Schnitzel! This dish is a thin, breaded, pan-fried veal cutlet and it’s a staple at almost every restaurant. Squeeze a little lemon on top and voila!

30) Enjoy an ice cream break. Austrians love their ice cream so it’s always a good time to stop for a scoop or two. Here’s a list of some of the top ice cream parlours in the city to tempt you!

Taking a break after a busy day of sightseeing in Vienna.

31) Rent a “floating island” on the Alte Donau. It’s easier to look at a picture than to explain it, so here it is. A fun summer option with a group of friends, right? The island boats can be tied to a floating dock for parties and concerts.

32) Go for a swim at Amalienbad. Budapest may be known for its thermal baths and spas, but Vienna has a few surprises of its own. If you’re looking to be wowed, look no further than the indoor pool at Amalienbad.

33) Watch animals roam wild at Lainzer Tiergarten. Once a hunting ground for Ferdinand I of Austria, this park is now a wildlife reserve where deer, boar, and mouflon roam free!

34) Shop until you drop. A few nice pedestrian shopping streets in the Old Town are Kärntner Strasse, Graben and Kohlmarkt. The first two have lots of familiar brand names with fairly affordable prices (though prices do go up the closer you get to Hofburg Palace), and by the time you reach Kohlmarkt, it’s all very high end, perfect for window shopping.

Beautiful buildings in Vienna's Innere Stadt

35) Soak in the artworks at the Belvedere Museum. The Belvedere is a Baroque palace that houses the Belvedere Museum, which holds the largest collection of Gustav Klimt’s paintings in the world. This is where you can see The Kiss.

36) Watch time go by on the Anker Clock. Located in the in the Hoher Markt – the oldest square in Vienna – the Ankeruhr is an Art Nouveau clock that was designed by Franz von Matsch. The clock is a tribute to various historical personalities, and every hour, you can see a new copper figure emerge. As a tip, if you visit at noon, you’ll be able to see all twelve figures come out!

37) Bring your appetite and try some Stelze. Another thing to do in Vienna is eat pork knuckle – a very popular dish around these parts! The portion will be massive, the meat will be tender, and you will leave feeling stuffed.

38) Explore MuseumsQuartier and choose your art. The Museum Quarter features numerous museums and art galleries. These include MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art), Kunsthalle Wien and Leopold Museum.

The Museum Quarter in Vienna has lots of art galleries and museums

39) Visit the Sigmund Freud Museum. This museum welcomes tourists into Freud’s former office and apartment, and also covers the history of psychoanalysis. The exhibit contains furnishings from his waiting room, part of his antiquities collection, as well as first editions of his works.

40) See the city from the Donauturm. If the views from St Stephen’s Cathedral were not enough, you can always go up the Danube Tower for a bird’s eye view. This is the tallest structure in Austria standing 252 metres high.

41) Feel like you’re at the beach at Strandbar Herrmann. Sand, sun and cocktails right on the banks of the Danube River. If you’re looking for things to do in Vienna in summer, this is a pretty ideal spot. Vienna may not have a natural beach per se, but this comes pretty close!

Sightseeing around Vienna

42) Find the tree covered in nails. Stock im Eisen means “staff in iron” and it’s a tradition of covering trees in nails which dates back to the Middle Ages. These trees have been found throughout southeastern Europe and this particular one, which now sits behind a glass shield at the Palais Equitable, is believed to date from the 1400s.

43) Eat your way through the Naschmarkt. If you’re a foodie you’ll want to make a beeline for Vienna’s Naschmarkt. This market has both produce stands as well as restaurants. Pick up some items to cook for yourself, or grab a seat at one of the many international eateries! You can read about some of my favourite restaurants in Vienna here. This Vienna food tour takes you to Naschmarkt as well as some other parts of the city for 4 hours of non-stop eating.

Eating at Naschmarkt - a fun thing to do in Vienna as a foodie!

44) Descend into Vienna’s Underworld. The city’s sewage system may seem like an odd item to add to this list of things to do in Vienna, but it was made famous in the movie The Third Man. This network of tunnels dates back to the mid-1800s and today tours are available via guided visit.

45) Visit the Albertina Museum. Once home to the Habsburgs’ imperial apartments for guests, the Albertina now houses an impressive collection of graphic prints, photographs and drawings.

46) Grab drinks at the 25hours Hotel. This hotel has a rooftop bar called Dachboden-Bar and it’s a pretty cool spot to enjoy some nighttime city views.

Views of Vienna at night from the Dachboden Bar at the 25hours Hotel.

47) Be wowed by the Austrian National Library. There are few libraries around the world that will make your jaw drop; this one is one of them! It was the former court library to the Hapsburgs and contains 2.5 million books!

48) Learn about a made-up language. Esperanto was created by L. L. Zamenhof in the year 1887. The goal was for it to serve as a universal second language and foster peace and international understanding. You can learn all about it – and perhaps decipher some texts! – at the Esperanto Museum which is located inside the Austrian National Library.

49) Fuel your wanderlust looking at globes. The Globe Museum houses over 250 artefacts including terrestrial globes, celestial globes, lunar globes, planetary globes, and astronomical instruments. It is also located inside the Austrian National Library.

50) Lastly, walk in the footsteps of Jesse and Celine. If you haven’t watched the movie Before Sunrise, you need to do so now before you leave for Vienna!

Where to stay in Vienna

Budget:

Wombats City Hostel Vienna – The Lounge

Vienna Hostel Ruthensteiner

MEININGER Vienna Downtown Franz

Mid-range:

Hotel Zipser

Hotel zur Wiener Staatsoper

Austria Trend Hotel Rathauspark Wien

Luxury: 

Grand Hotel Wien

Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna

Park Hyatt Vienna

Things to do in Vienna on your visit to Austria

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Have you travelled to Vienna?
Are there any other things to do in Vienna that you’d add to this list?

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6 Comments

  1. Great article Audrey, thanks for sharing this 🙂

    Vienna is one of the best cities to visit in the world in my opinion.

    There is no other location that can match Vienna for its rich and intriguing culture.

    Have you ever ventured out into the any of the Austrian alpine locations?

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