Discover the best of Vienna in just 48 hours with our travel guide. From iconic landmarks like the Schönbrunn Palace to hidden gems like cosy coffeehouses, we’ve got you covered. Get insider tips on where to eat, drink, and explore in this beautiful city. Start planning your ultimate weekend getaway to Vienna today!
Vienna, the capital of Austria, exudes imperial grandeur and artistic legacy. Every time I have visited this historic city, I have been in awe of its stunning architecture, classical music, and culinary delights. Though as cliched as it sounds, the city perfectly blends old and new with its beautiful historic buildings and contemporary cultural scene. Vienna attracts millions of visitors annually, making it one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. Although I’ve visited this imperial city thrice, I explore it like a first-time visitor. Therefore, I could only say yes when Air India offered me to visit Vienna on their newly launched Delhi-Vienna route.
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Why visit Vienna
Wein or Vienna has been voted the most liveable city in the world many times. Not only do its residents love it, but it’s a darling of tourists alike. The imperial capital of Austria, Vienna, has mind-blowing architecture and offers a lively cultural scene. From visiting the grand imperial palaces to attending classical music concerts, there is plenty of things to do and see in Vienna. Known as the Music Capital of the World, you can enjoy the music in virtually every square, park and cafe. And foodies would love to know that the city is also known for its captivating coffee culture and pastry shops that can melt away your heart in a bite. Vienna is also an excellent destination for art lovers, with a wide variety of museums and galleries showcasing works by famous artists. Although Vienna is an expensive city, it has an abundance of flea markets offering many unique and wonderful items on sale, such as authentic antiques, handcrafted jewellery, local cuisine, and so much more waiting to be discovered.
Last but not least, Austria’s capital, Vienna, is the biggest wine-producing city in the world. Home to 700 hectares of vineyards and more than 630 wine producers, Vienna is the only capital in the world to produce so much wine within the city limits – including famous wine destinations like France’s Bordeaux, Italy’s Tuscany and USA’s Napa Valley.
When is the best time to visit Vienna?
Although there is no wrong time to visit Vienna, having visited Vienna several times in different seasons, the best time to visit Vienna is during the spring and fall months – from April to May and September to October. The weather is mild, and the city has a lesser influx of tourists than in the peak summer months. However, visiting Vienna during the holiday season is a must if you enjoy Christmas markets.
Spring in Vienna is a magical time of year when the city is brimming with blooming flowers, warm sunshine, and abundant cultural events. Renowned for its beautiful gardens and parks, the city has many spots to check out spring blooms. Some of Vienna’s best places to check out spring blooms are Schönbrunn Palace Gardens, Stadtpark, Belvedere Palace Gardens, and Volksgarten.
How to reach Vienna
Conveniently located in Central Europe, the Austrian capital is exceptionally well-connected with the rest of the world. Several international and local flights operate flights to and from Vienna International Airport. Alternatively, you can reach Vienna by train, bus, car, or boat from Budapest or Bratislava.
My Experience Flying Delhi to Vienna by Air India
If you are flying from India, I recommend you take Air India’s direct flight from Delhi to Vienna. I flew business class with them, and it was a delightful experience. Firstly, the flight timings are super convenient – departure and arrival are not at odd hours of the day. My Delhi to Vienna flight departed from Delhi at 2.30 pm and arrived at Vienna airport at 6.30 pm. This convenient time of flying and landing gifted me extra time to explore the nightlife the same day. While returning, I had an 8:30 pm flight departure and a 7 am landing. This gave me a whole night’s rest and no jet lag.
The in-flight comfort and entertainment were exceptionally great, and the multicourse meals served on the plane were prepared by the reputed Chefs of the Taj Hotel. My entire journey from airport check-in to landing at Vienna airport was smooth and comfortable.
Most importantly, the friendly and polite cabin crew won my heart. They made me feel like I was not travelling with some airline staff but with family members.
Getting around Vienna
Once in Vienna, there are multiple ways to explore the city – by foot, through public transport or car hire.
Exploring Vienna by Public Transport
Although Vienna is a walkable city, I recommend purchasing a Vienna City Card to cover more ground in less time. This card offers unlimited use of Vienna’s public transportation system and discounts at various attractions and restaurants. Vienna has one of the best public transportation systems in Europe, which includes buses, trams, and a metro system known as the U-Bahn. You can purchase single tickets or a 24-hour or 48-hour pass, depending on your needs. Prices start at Price 17 Euro. Taxis and Uber are also available for getting around the city.
Exploring Vienna by a River Cruise
If you want to explore Vienna in 2 days from a different perspective, a river cruise can be a great way to see the city. Although I’ve not done it myself, a river cruise lets you see Vienna’s most iconic sights, such as St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Danube Tower, and the Vienna State Opera, from the water.
It’s a relaxing way to take a break from walking around the city and enjoy the views and the breeze. You can book a Vienna river cruise through operators such as DDSG Blue Danube, Vienna Sightseeing, Vienna Danube Cruises, and Danube Canal Tours. Vienna Cruise prices start at around €20 for a basic sightseeing tour and up to €60 for a dinner cruise.
Exploring Vienna by a Hop-on Hop-off Bus
A hop-on hop-off bus ticket is another option for exploring Vienna. It is a convenient way to see the city’s top attractions. Big Bus Vienna prices start at €22 for a 1-day ticket, €28 for a 2-day ticket, and €34 for a 3-day ticket. These prices may vary depending on the provider and season. Additionally, while a hop-on hop-off bus ticket can be a convenient way to see the city, it may not be the most economical option for those on a budget. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons and consider alternative modes of transportation, such as public transit or walking, when planning your itinerary.
How many days are enough for Vienna?
You could spend weeks exploring Vienna, but 2-3 days are enough to see the city’s top attractions if you are hard-pressed for time. However, if you want to take your time and soak in the city’s culture and history, then 4-5 days would be ideal.
Where to stay in Vienna
You’ll be able to experience the top things in Vienna in 2 days or more when you stay at a centrally located place. Thankfully, Vienna has a wide range of accommodation options, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious five-star hotels. Some of the best areas to stay in Vienna are the Inner City, Leopoldstadt, and Neubau. Suppose you want to be close to the major attractions. In that case, the inner city (City Centre) is the best area to stay, as it is close to the main attractions and has excellent transportation links. Some of the best and most luxurious hotels in the Inner City are the Bristol Hotel, Hotel Sacher Wien, Hotel Imperial, and Grand Hotel Wien. I stayed at the Bristol Hotel. This elegant five-star hotel is located in the heart of Vienna. It offers spacious rooms, excellent restaurants, and top-notch service. This vintage hotel has been one of Vienna’s prime addresses since 1892. It serves as a living example of Viennese charm and personalised service. I was really impressed by their luxurious Art Deco style. The hotel has 150 rooms, including 24 unique suites. I enjoyed their lavish buffet breakfast and several meals at Bristol Lounge, which offers all-day dining and delights guests with its stylish elegance and tasteful décor.
If you want a more affordable option, you can stay in Leopoldstadt. NH Danube City and Courtyard by Marriott Vienna Prater/Messe are some of the famous hotels in this area. Neubau is another excellent option, particularly for budget travellers. The Wombat’s City Hostel Vienna and Hotel ViennArt are some of the popular budget options in this area.
Top things to do in Vienna in 1, 2 or 3 days
Vienna might be renowned for its imperial past but scratch the surface, and you’ll find there’s a lot more here than what meets the eye. Whether you are a history buff, a music lover or a foodie, here are some of the top things to do in Vienna in 1, 2 or more days:
Vienna for Architecture and History buffs
As you stroll through huge parks, surrounded by buildings with astonishing baroque architecture, Vienna is where you feel like a Kaiser or Kaiserin (emperor and empress in English) with every step. There is so much history around, and here are some of the places that are worth checking out:
- Walk the Ringstrasse: A walk around the Ringstrasse is the easiest and quickest way to admire some of the city’s grandest buildings and architecture of the Habsburg era. Walking between Karlsplatz and Schottentor alone will take you through the city’s top landmarks such as the Opera House, Burggarten, Hofburg, National Library, Art History, Natural History and World museums, Parliament, Volksgarten, Burgtheater, the Town Hall and the University.
- Stroll through Hofburg Palace: The Hofburg Palace is one of Vienna’s most iconic landmarks and a must-visit for any traveller. The palace complex includes several museums, including the Imperial Treasury and the Sisi Museum.
- St. Stephen’s Cathedral: Located in the heart of the city, St. Stephen’s Cathedral holds nearly 900 years of history around its walls and symbolises Austrian identity. This iconic building witnessed not only Mozart’s wedding, and Antonio Vivaldi’s funeral but also World War II.
- Karlskirche: considered one of Vienna’s most astounding baroque buildings, Karlskirche is famous for a large dome and two flanking columns of bas-reliefs, symbols of imperial power.
- Schönbrunn Palace: Constructed in 1696, the palace is one of the most beautiful Baroque pieces of architecture in Europe and used to be the summer home of the Habsburg monarchy. Now a UNESCO World Heritage, Schönbrunn Palace has witnessed many important events through the years, like a six-year-old prodigy called Mozart playing music in the mirrored hall of the palace.
- The Volksgarten: Volksgarten or ‘People’s Garden’ is a beautiful landscape park located on one side of The Hofburg palace complex. The garden has many points worth visiting, like the Theseus temple, the Sisi memorial and a cosy café.
- Belvedere Palace: The Belvedere is not only a magnificent Baroque palace but also houses one of Austria’s most valuable art collections – with key works by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka. The unique, overall complex, with its two palaces, the Upper and Lower Belvedere, and their extensive gardens, is one of the world’s most stunning Baroque architectural ensembles.
- Wiener Riesenrad: You can see Vienna’s giant Ferris wheel for miles. Built to mark Emperor Franz Joseph’s 50 years on the throne, this gorgeously gaudy fin-de-siècle landmark has been towering 200ft over Prater Park since 1897.
Vienna for Museum lovers
Museums and Vienna are inseparable. It’s not an overstatement: museums are one of Vienna’s main attractions for curious visitors. Here are the museums worth checking out:
- Explore the MuseumsQuartier: The MuseumsQuartier Wien has everything from the world’s finest art collections to an array of upscale bars, cafés and restaurants. Photographers like me love the Sculpture Graden and the MQ Libelle rooftop terrace that provides some of the best views of the city centre. The Leopold Museum is one of Vienna’s finest art museums. At the same time, the MUMOK boasts the city’s premier contemporary art collection.
- Check out the Sigmund Freud Museum: Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, lived and worked at Berggasse 19 until 1938. You can visit the family’s private rooms and get a fascinating peek into Sigmund Freud’s life. The Sigmund Freud Museum hosts many events and has a fantastic gift shop.
- Kunsthistorisches Museum: The Kunsthistorisches Museum is home to one of the world’s most impressive art collections. From ancient Egyptian artefacts to Renaissance masterpieces, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
- Composers’ Houses – the Vienna Museum operates museums in former houses/apartments of Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Strauss, and Haydn. The museums are free with the Vienna City card or 4 euros each without the card.
Vienna for Music Lovers
If you love classical music, you must plan a trip to Vienna in Austria. For over 250 years, Vienna has been dubbed the City of Music. And no wonder! The Classical movement started here, and many great composers, such as Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, and Strauss, lived and worked in Vienna. If you visit Vienna today, you’ll see evidence everywhere of Vienna’s illustrious musical past.
- House of Music – Make time in your Musical Vienna Itinerary to visit the House of Music, also known as Vienna’s Museum of Sound. Housed in the historical palace of Archduke Karl in the old city center, this museum is a must-see for everyone. And it is absolute heaven for music lovers.
- Wiener Musikverein – Home to the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Wiener Musikverein is the epicentre of Vienna’s classical music scene. Having opened back in 1870, it has hosted countless concerts throughout history. Today, apart from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, many famous composers, orchestras, and other musicians have also performed here. Its decadent facade is among the most famous in the city, housing gilded halls that are just as stunning and majestic as ever. Its most renowned hall, Großer Saal (Golden Hall), has a seating capacity of 2,000. It is the ultimate platform for many classical musicians who strive to perform here one day.
- Vienna State Opera: The Vienna State Opera is one of the world’s most famous opera houses and a must-visit for music lovers. During the spring season, the opera hosts a variety of performances, including ballets and operas.
- Karlskirche: Perhaps the most beautiful and grandest display of Baroque architecture in Vienna, the famous church Karlskirche is a shrine where classical music lovers can also make a pilgrimage. And it’s all because of one man: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Every December 5th, the day when the legendary composer died back in 1791, ‘Mozart’s Requiem,’ his iconic final piece, is performed here. It’s become an annual tradition that fans of Mozart and the centuries-old genre should experience at least once. Not only does this yearly performance pay tribute to the tragic artist, but it also commemorates the fact that he once spent time in this church when he lived here.
- Wiener Konzerthaus: Wiener Konzerthaus is another concert hall worth visiting in Vienna. Home to the Vienna Symphony, this place is devoted to legendary composers such as Beethoven, Strauss, and the like. And if you want to listen to the iconic classical pieces here, make sure to visit around April or May to attend the Vienna Spring Festival.
Vienna for Foodies
I must confess I am not a foodie, but if there’s one city where I won’t mind travelling for food, it’s got to be Vienna.
One of the top things to do in Vienna, whether you are staying for 2 days or more, is to experience its rich culinary scene, with many restaurants and cafes serving traditional Austrian dishes and international cuisine. However, my favourite was the city’s incomparable Kaffeehaus (Coffeehouse) culture. Here are some of the best restaurants to eat and drink in Vienna:
- Figlmüller: If you want to try some traditional Viennese schnitzel, Figlmüller is the place to go. The restaurant has been serving its famous schnitzel since 1905 and is known for its large portions and crispy, golden breading. There are now several locations throughout the city, but the original restaurant in the Wollzeile district is the most popular.
- Steirereck: For a more upscale dining experience, head to Steirereck in the Stadtpark. The restaurant has two Michelin stars and is consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in Vienna. The menu features innovative dishes that highlight Austrian ingredients and flavours.
- Café Landtmann: Café Landtmann is one of Vienna’s most famous coffee houses. Established in 1873, the café has hosted famous guests such as Sigmund Freud and Gustav Mahler. In addition to its renowned coffee and pastries, Café Landtmann also offers a full menu of Viennese and international dishes.
- Visit Hotel Sacher or Demel: Try Vienna’s signature cake, the Sachertorte, a luxurious combo of dense chocolate sponge, dark chocolate ganache and finely spread apricot jam, traditionally served with the freshest unsweetened whipped cream; it is more than just a dessert – it is a closely guarded secret. And, if you want to try the most authentic Sachertorte, visit Cafe Sacher or Demel, one of the oldest and most famous pastry shops in Vienna
- Plachutta: Known for its traditional Viennese dishes, Plachutta is a must-visit for anyone looking to try classic dishes like schnitzel and tafelspitz. With several locations throughout the city, finding a dining spot is easy.
- Dine out in the open in the Naschmarkt: If you want a more casual dining experience, check out the Naschmarkt. Running between Karlsplatz and Kettenbrückengasse, Vienna’s iconic open-air market is a foodie paradise. The Naschmarkt is Vienna’s largest outdoor market and a popular foodie destination. With over 120 vendors selling everything from fresh produce to exotic spices, you will indeed find something delicious to try. But do keep a few hours to explore it at ease.
- Hang out in the Neubau district: Vienna’s trendy 7th district, Neubau, has some great food. This area is home to various independent shops, galleries, and cafés. It is a great place to get a taste of modern Viennese culture. Try Erich for the city’s best drinks list and its sister restaurant Ulrich for a banging brunch. And, if you are a vegetarian or vegan, do try out TIAN Bistro am Spittalberg. If you fancy a cocktail, pop up the road to Moby Dick, which prides itself on innovative cocktails and food pairings.
Beer Gardens and Wine Tasting
Vienna is known for its beer gardens and wine bars, offering plenty of options for enjoying a drink outdoors. Here are a few places to consider:
- 1516 Brewing Company: Known for its craft beer and outdoor seating, 1516 Brewing Company is a popular spot for locals and tourists.
- Heuriger: Vienna’s wine taverns, known as heuriger, offer local wines and traditional Austrian cuisine. Many heuriger have outdoor seating and live music. The capital has over 100 of these dotted around the town.
- Weingut Cobenzl: Vienna’s outskirts are home to a number of top vineyards. High above the Danube, Weingut Cobenzl boasts 60 hectares of lovingly tended vines, producing everything from Grüner Veltliner to Riesling and even a couple of unusual reds. A guided tour of the winery is a fantastic way to brush up on your vinous knowledge.
Overall, Vienna offers something for every type of foodie, whether you’re looking for traditional Viennese dishes or international cuisine. Be sure to try some of the city’s famous coffee and pastries, and be bold and explore the local markets and street food scene.
Where to Shop in Vienna
Vienna is an excellent place for shopping, particularly for its luxury items, such as porcelain, crystal, and traditional clothing, such as dirndls and lederhosen. Some of the best places to shop in Vienna are:
- Kohlmarkt: One of the most expensive shopping streets in Vienna, home to high-end luxury brands
- Mariahilfer Strasse: The longest shopping street in Vienna, with a mix of high-end and mid-range stores
- Naschmarkt: Vienna’s most famous market, selling a range of food, clothing, and souvenirs
- Schönbrunn Palace: Home to several shops selling traditional Austrian souvenirs and gifts.
Suggested Itineraries for Vienna, Austria
Top things to do in Vienna in 1 day
- Visit Schönbrunn Palace and its gardens or visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Explore the Hofburg Palace.
- Stroll through the Naschmarkt.
- Attend a classical music concert at the Vienna State Opera or visit the Kunsthistorisches Museum.
Top things to do in Vienna in 2 days
- Day 1: Visit Schönbrunn Palace, Belvedere Palace, and the Sisi Museum.
- Day 2: Explore the historic centre of Vienna, including St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Inner City, and visit the Prater amusement park and Hofburg Palace.
- And, on both days, remember to enjoy coffee and cake at a traditional Viennese coffeehouse.
Top things to do in Vienna in 3 days
- Day 1: Visit Schönbrunn Palace and explore the MuseumsQuartier, which houses several museums and galleries, such as the Sisi Museum.
- Day 2: Explore the Inner City, visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and watch a performance at the Vienna State Opera. Take a ride on the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel at the Vienna Prater amusement park.
- Day 3: Visit Belvedere Palace and the Naschmarkt or Take a day trip to the Wachau Valley and visit the Melk Abbey.
Day tours from Vienna
Apart from covering the above-said top things to do in Vienna in 2 days, there is a lot to explore around the city. Vienna is surrounded by several beautiful towns and cities that can be explored on day trips. You can take plenty of day trips from Vienna, and they all offer something unique. Here are a few of our top recommendations:
- Visit the beautiful city of Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart and home to stunning architecture and scenery.
- Explore the picturesque Wachau Valley, known for its vineyards, charming towns, and scenic river views.
- Take a trip to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, which is just an hour away from Vienna by boat.
- Discover the history and beauty of Budapest, Hungary’s stunning capital, which is just a few hours away by train.
Budget for doing top things in Vienna in 2 days
Vienna is a relatively affordable city, but costs can increase quickly if you’re not careful. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to spend during a 2-day trip to Vienna:
Depending on your budget and preferences, you can expect to spend anywhere from €50 to €500 per night on accommodation. I stayed at the Bristol Hotel, where the rates start at around €300 per night.
Food and drinks
You can find affordable meals at local restaurants and cafes at Naschmarkt for around €10-15 per person. A cup of coffee costs around €2-4, while beer costs around €4-6. Prices for food and drinks at the beer gardens vary but expect to spend around €15-20 for a meal and a drink.
If you want to cover most of the top things in Vienna in 2 days, the best way to get around Vienna is by public transport, which costs around €8 per day. If you plan on taking a taxi or ride-sharing service, expect to pay around €20-30 for a short trip. On my first two visits to Vienna, I bought a Vienna Travel Card whose prices start at €17 for a 24-hour ticket, €25 for a 48-hour access, and €36 for a 72-hour ticket.
Admission fees for attractions and museums vary but expect to pay around €10-20 per person. Guided tours and concerts can cost more, depending on the provider. Here are a few examples of the cost:
- The entrance fee for the Schönbrunn Palace’s Grand Tour is €20 for adults and €16 for students and seniors.
- The Belvedere Palace entrance fee for the Upper Belvedere is €16 for adults and €13 for students and seniors.
- The Wiener Riesenrad Ferris wheel at the Vienna Prater amusement park costs €12 per person for a ride.
- Vienna State Opera ticket prices for performances vary depending on the show and seat location. Standing room tickets start at €4, while seated tickets can range from €20 to over €200.
Overall, you can expect to spend around €400-500 to experience the top things to do in Vienna in 2 days, including accommodation, transportation, and activities. However, the cost of spending 48 hours in Vienna can vary depending on your spending habits and travel preferences. Be sure to budget accordingly and look for deals and discounts to save money during your stay.
Visa Required to Visit Vienna
Suppose you’re travelling outside the European Union, such as India, to Vienna. In that case, you may need a Schengen Visa to enter the country. Visitors from the United States, Canada, and Australia can stay in Austria for up to 90 days without a visa. Still, checking with your embassy to ensure you have the necessary documentation before travelling is always best.
Vienna offers a wealth of experiences for travellers, from its stunning parks and gardens to its world-class museums and cultural events. Whether you’re looking to explore the city’s history, indulge in its culinary scene, or relax and enjoy the scenery, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. With its convenient transportation options, luxurious accommodations, and diverse attractions, Vienna is a destination you won’t miss. I hope this travel guide helps you in planning the top things to do in Vienna in 2 days well.