Things to do in Vienna

Things to do in  Vienna

Time to face the music

Once one of Europe’s great imperial cities, Vienna still bears the hallmarks of its glory years: opulent baroque palaces, prestigious opera houses, and high society balls held during its annual Carnival celebrations. It’s especially easy to find memorable things to do in Vienna in the historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and along the Ringstrasse. Visit architectural wonders like the Vienna Opera House and St. Stephen’s Cathedral, then indulge in a slice of Sacher torte— rich chocolate cake with a layer of apricot jam—at a classic coffee house.

Top 15 attractions in Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn)

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Built to rival the opulence of Versailles, Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn) was once a summer residence of the Habsburg monarchs. Today, this baroque palace is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most important architectural, cultural, and historic monuments in Austria.More

Hofburg Imperial Palace (Hofburg Wien)

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Formerly the winter residence of the Austrian royal family, the Hofburg Imperial Palace (Hofburg Wien) is now a lasting tribute to the glory of the Habsburg Empire. It’s one of Vienna’s most magnificent baroque palaces, located within Vienna’s UNESCO-listed historic center. Visitors to the Hofburg can explore the Imperial Apartments, visit the Sisi Museum and the Silver Collection, or watch a performance at the world-famous Spanish Riding School.More

St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom)

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With its dark Gothic spires, intricately tiled roof, and imposing bell tower, St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephansdom) is one of Vienna’s star attractions. Centrally located on Stephansplatz square in the city’s UNESCO-listed historic center, the cathedral is architecturally stunning both inside and out. It’s also a site of great historical significance—Emperor Friedrich III and numerous other Habsburg dignitaries were buried here.More

Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper)

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A masterpiece of Renaissance architecture and one of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, the Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper) is a hallowed venue for opera fans. Each year, the auditorium hosts 350 Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Vienna State Ballet (Wiener Staatsballett) performances, as well as the Vienna Opera Ball.More

Belvedere Palace (Schloss Belvedere)

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Built in the 18th century as the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy, the magnificent Belvedere Palace (Schloss Belvedere) is among the many treasures of Vienna’s Baroque era and a UNESCO World Heritage–listed monument.More

St. Peter's Church

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Also known as Peterskirche, St Peter's Church in Vienna is the second oldest church in the city. The original church building was rumored to have been established by Charlemagne, but it burned down in 1661. The new church, inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, was consecrated in 1733 and a relief plaque on the outside of the church tells the legend of Charlemagne. St Peter's Church was the first domed structure in Vienna and features an ornate interior with colorful frescoes and gold stucco. Most notable for visitors are the gilded pulpit with a representation of the Holy Trinity atop the canopy, a gold and silver sculpture of the Martyrdom of St. John opposite the pulpit and the fresco in the cupola depicting the Coronation of the Virgin.Over the years, the 18th-century paintings in the church grew darker and the interior began to turn gray, but a massive renovation project from 1998 to 2004 restored the frescoes to their original bright colors.More

Schlosspark Schönbrunn (Schönbrunn Palace Garden)

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Schönbrunn Palace was once the royal summer residence, and its spectacular baroque-style garden, or Schlosspark Schönbrunn, has been open to the public since the late 1700s. Today, the UNESCO-listed grounds are a popular venue for concerts and scenic strolls, and include an iron-and-glass palm house, hedge maze, and viewing terrace.More

Historic Center of Vienna

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The Historic Center of Vienna is the beating heart of Austria, and the home of top attractions such as Vienna’s city hall, Parliament, and the lively Museum Quarter. Also known as the First District or Inner City and preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the area is rich with baroque castles and gardens, as well as the 19th-century Ringstrasse, a beltway of grand buildings, monuments, and parks that encircles most of the inner city. There are enough landmark sites here to keep you snapping photos all day long.More

Melk Abbey (Stift Melk)

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With its ornate golden-colored facade and grand baroque church towers set against an idyllic backdrop of the Wachau Valley and the Danube River, Melk Abbey (Stift Melk) looks more like a palace than a monastery. Founded in 1089, the Benedictine abbey underwent a dramatic makeover in the 18th century and is now regarded as one of Europe’s most beautiful baroque churches.More

Ringstrasse

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Marking the boundary of the First District where the old city walls once stood, the grand boulevard of the Ringstrasse traces a 3-mile (5-kilometer) scenic ring around the historic Innere Stadt (Inner Town) of Vienna. Follow the Ringstrasse loop on a sightseeing tour of Vienna to take in some of the city’s top attractions along the route.More

Kursalon Vienna (Kursalon Wien)

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Vienna’s most beautiful concert hall, the 19th-century Kursalon Vienna (Kursalon Wien sits on the edge of the Stadtpark (City Park near the gilded statue of composer Johann Strauss, whose music is enjoyed in the concert hall each evening. Recently given a facelift, the Kursalon’s lavish interiors have returned to their former glory.More

Spanish Riding School (Spanische Hofreitschule)

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Vienna’s storied Spanish Riding School (Spanische Hofreitschule), established in the 16th century, is the world’s oldest haute école of classical equitation. Experience the Renaissance tradition of classical dressage—on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list—by witnessing the Viennese institution’s morning exercises.More

Rathaus

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The spires and stonework of Vienna’s city hall have a commanding presence on the Ringstrasse, an impressive feat given the boulevard’s other landmarks. Five adorned towers look out over Rathausplatz, and the nearby Rathauspark is an inviting patch of green with broad walkways, fountains, and park benches.More

Vienna Musikverein (Wiener Musikverein)

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Among the most striking neoclassical buildings in Vienna, Vienna Musikverein (Wiener Musikverein pays homage to the city’s music-infused past and present. The concert hall is home to the renowned Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and boasts some of the best acoustics in the world.More

Sisi Museum

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See an intimate side of Empress Elisabeth of Austria—a fascinating 19th-century monarch often known as Sisi—at a museum that covers her groundbreaking life and death. The personal items on display here include regal clothing, jewelry, and accessories in exhibits inspired by Sisi’s own poetry.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Vienna

Highlights of Vienna City Center Walking Tour
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Hallstatt Day Trip from Vienna With Skywalk

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Mozart and Vivaldi's The Four Seasons Concert at Musikverein
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All about Vienna

When to visit

Winter brings short days and cold, blustery weather to Vienna, but the charm of seeing the city during the Christmas season more than makes up for the weather conditions. Christmas markets dressed up in lights dot the city, each serving various seasonal treats alongside mugs of mulled wine and punch. For a more pleasant time of year for outdoor sightseeing and other things to do, wait for the colorful blooms of spring in April and May.

Getting around

Don’t make the mistake of trying to walk everywhere in Vienna when the city’s U-bahn metro, trams, and buses make it so easy to get around. Even Vienna Airport is accessible by several trains and buses. The only part of the city where walking is still the best way to get between attractions is the city’s historical center—the First District—surrounded by Ringstrasse, although public transit still covers this popular area.

Traveler tips

Vienna’s most famous coffeehouses—Hotel Sacher and Café Central to name just two—are rarely without long lines of tourists waiting to enter. Alternatively, head over to Café Frauenhuber or Café Diglas im Schottenstift for an equally typical experience of Viennese coffee and cake, without the wait. If your sweet tooth isn’t satisfied by that, try kaiserschmarrn, a Viennese dish of fluffy pancakes shredded and served with jammy fruit at Heindls Schmarren & Palatschinkenkuchl, a short walk from St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

Local Currency
Euro (€)
Time Zone
CET (UTC +1)
Country Code
+43
Language(s)
German
Attractions
97
Tours
855
Reviews
31,228
EN
17c2a333-6913-4143-ab7d-fb5ff8aec377
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People Also Ask

How can I spend 3 days in Vienna?

Three days in Vienna will give you enough time to see many of the city's highlights and still have time left over to check out a classical music concert, spend time sampling coffee drinks in local cafes, and take a day trip out into the Austrian countryside.

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What are two things Vienna is famous for?

The two things Vienna is perhaps best known for is its baroque architecture and its long association with classical music. Baroque highlights include the famous Schönbrunn Palace and the Belvedere. The city is also a great place for classical concerts, with regular live performances at the famous Musikverein and at churches across the city.

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What are popular recreation activities in Vienna?

While Vienna proper is a great place to explore by bike, fans of outdoor recreation who want something a bit more vigorous will find better cycling still in the narby Wachau Vallwy, a popular spot for bicycle wine tours. Not far from Vienna, the Ötscher-Tormäuer Nature Park is a great spot for summertime hiking.

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What can I do for free in Vienna?

Vienna is full of free things to do, from wandering Schönbrunn's Palace Park to visiting the interiors of St. Stephen's Cathedral. Many of the city's top museums are also free on the first Sunday of the month, including the Wien Museum Karlsplatz and the Römermuseum (Roman Museum).

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Is Vienna worth visiting?

Vienna is absolutely worth visiting, particularly if you're a fan of architecture and the arts. It's full of museums, historical palaces and churches, and entertainment options (particularly of the classical music variety) and makes an excellent base for visiting other nearby spots such as Bratislava and Salzburg.

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Is 2 days in Vienna enough?

While Vienna merits plenty of time, two days is definitely enough to get a sense of the city. You’ll have enough time to visit the historic Schönbrunn Palace and Hofburg Imperial Palace, see “dancing” Lipizzaner horses at the Spanish Riding School, and check out a museum or two.

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Frequently Asked Questions