Home to almost one-third of the inhabitants of the country, Vienna is the capital of Austria. A significant centre for Austria’s economy, culture, and politics, this metropolitan city is host to the United Nations organization. Known as the ‘City of Music’ and the ‘City of Dreams’, Vienna has a worldwide reputation for its wide array of splendid gardens, historical buildings, and establishments.
Ranked among the list of the most liveable cities in the world, its inhabitants are provided with a very high quality of life. Situated in Central Europe, Vienna is a very famous tourist destination. There are several fascinating things to do in Vienna that you cannot miss!
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Did you know?
Café Sacher in Vienna offers over 20 different varieties of coffee!
Best time to visit Vienna
The best time to visit Vienna is between April and May and September and October.
Did you know?
Vienna is famed to be the wine capital of the world.
Things to do in Vienna
1. Explore the culture of Austria through a visit to the Schonbrunn Palace
Standing majestically since the 1600s, the Schonbrunn Palace is an excellent symbol of cultural importance in Austria. A colossal 1441 room structure and complex, this palace are the among the top Vienna attractions. For several years, the Hapsburgs have resided here. Even the emperors of Austria were born in this majestic site. An impeccable building designed in a Baroque style, the palace has a symmetrical main building with about hundreds of windows and statues on the rooftop.
The interiors of the palace include an assortment of rooms that are fully furnished and decorated in a unique style. As one of the top things to do in Vienna, a visit to the Schonbrunn Palace is an experience that cannot be missed. Taking a tour through the rooms and adoring the impressive furnishings is sure to give you a glimpse of how the Austrian royalty lived.
2. Witness the majesty of the Hofburg Palace
A large palatial complex, the Hofburg Palace pays tribute to the immense influence and power of the Habsburg dynasty. It used to be the main winter palace for about hundreds of years for the rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today, this palace complex houses the offices of the president of Austria and acts as a presidential base. After their creation in the 13th century, these buildings have undergone several changes and additions since then.
The fantastic semi-circular Neue Burg makes the Hofburg Palace one of the best Vienna attractions. The tourists can adore the style and beauty of the Baroque style of architecture. Taking a tour through the imperial apartments makes for one of the top things to do in Vienna. The detailed museums in the palace complex are worth a visit.
Did you know?
Vienna was home to some of the world’s most famous musicians such as Beethoven, Mozart, and Schubert.
3. Witness the great architecture of St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Situated in the Stephensplatz, the monolithic structure of St. Stephen’s Cathedral has continued to be the most significant church in Vienna and even Austria ever since its construction. The splendour of this building is sure to captivate you like no other. The huge tower of the St. Stephen’s Cathedral dominates the skyline of Vienna and is reputed to be the tallest church tower in Austria.
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St. Stephen’s Cathedral defines opulence in its most beautiful form, from the exterior of the Romanesque and Gothic exteriors to the dominating pointed tower. The intricately woven main roof is complete with over hundreds of coloured tiles that form a very intriguing pattern. There are about 18 altars, smaller chapels, and even some catabombs and tombs. For Vienna sightseeing, a visit to St. Stephen’s Cathedral is a must!
4. Take a walk in the Schonbrunn Gardens.
An unmissable section of the Schonbrunn Palace Complex is the Schonbrunn Gardens. With beauty that is definitely worth a separate visit on its right, the Schonbrunn Gardens is one of the best Vienna places to visit. It stretches from the Schonbrunn Palace for the length of over a kilometre. One can effortlessly spend several hours roaming through the many displays and sections. You can admire the uniform flower beds as you walk through the Parterre. You could even immerse yourself in the splendid hedge maze and labyrinth.
Make sure to witness Neptune’s Fountain, a fantastic piece of artwork. The Schonbrunn Gardens also has an artificial Romain Ruin that has been made complete with statues made of stone. The major attraction of the Gardens is the Gloriette that rests opposite the palace. It contains a pool and even a classical collonaded long building. You can sip on a drink in the café or relax as you enjoy the views of the spectacular gardens that lay in front of you. Being one among the top Vienna tourist places, a stroll through the Schonbrunn Gardens is one of the things to do in Vienna that cannot be missed.
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Did you know?
Sigmund Freud lived and worked in Vienna for almost 50 years.
5. Tour the Rathaus
Filled with historical and significant architecture, Vienna places to visit are many. The Town Hall situated on Rathausplatz is an excellent example of Vienna’s charming sites. The Rathaus was built in the 1800s and was hence, a later addition to the city. Made in a Neo-Gothic style, it houses the offices of the mayor for a population that is continuously increasing in Vienna.
The Town Hall in Vienna is similar in style to the one in Brussels. It has five towers, the middle one being the largest and topped by the significant Rathausman statue. On certain days, guided tours can be taken to explore the insides of the Town Hall. The luxurious style of the rooms and the imagination of life and work inside makes the Town Hall in Rathaus one of the best Vienna tourist places.
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6. Witness wildlife at the Tiergarten Zoo
Famed to be the oldest zoo in the world, the Tiergarten Zoo is situated on the grounds of the Schonbrunn Palace. It is known to be a centre for the preservation of species and educational fulfilment. The Tiergarten Zoo was initially built as a menagerie. Today, it continues to have several original buildings which belong to that era which mingle together with more contemporary structures, making it a lovely place to walk through.
Home to many animal species, including the endangered Giant Panda, Giraffes, Sloths, and Sea Lions, the Tiergarten Zoo is a great place to witness exotic wildlife. Throughout the day, several experienced zookeepers give talks. There is even a simulated Amazon rainforest environment for you to walk through. As one of the most beautiful zoos in the world, evident in the care given to the animals, exploring the wildlife at the Tiergarten Zoo is one of the best things to do in Vienna.
Did you know?
Croissants have their origin in Austria!
7. Visit the Belvedere Museum
Split into the Upper and Lower Belvedere. The Belvedere Museum was used as a summer residence in the 1600s for the Austrian princes. A gigantic palatial complex with sprawling gardens, a tour of this museum is one of the most exciting things to do in Vienna. A great depiction of impeccable architecture, the two palaces signify royalty in their best forms as they stand proud in the gardens.
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The Upper Belvedere has a very intricate façade with green-domed semi-towers. With a simpler design, the Lower Belvedere adds to the magnificence of the complex. Some of the beautiful sights in the Belvedere Museum that must be seen are the two palaces which house a remarkable collection of great artwork and even decorated staterooms. The expansive greenery becomes complete with pools and an Orangery.
8. Admire the magnificence of the Vienna State Opera
Being synonymous with fantastic architecture and opera, Vienna is an excellent place to visit. The Vienna State Opera offers both of these in splendid abundance. Situated in central Innere Stadt District, this impressive building is famed to be among the most beautiful Opera Houses in the world. The exterior of the Vienna State Opera is of a Neo-Renaissance style and is decked with many arches and arched windows.
The interior of the Opera House is decadent and makes you feel like you are in a palace more than a place of musical extravaganza. Offering daily guided tours that last around 40 minutes, you can have a good overview of the finesse of this building. You must check the live concert or Opera schedule to know which performances would interest you. This is one of the interesting things to do in Vienna.
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Fun fact – The snow globe was invented in Vienna.
9. Witness the exhibits in the Vienna Natural History Museum
Situated in a sophisticated palace complex, the Vienna Natural History Museum is an excellent portrayal of historical architecture. The museum houses a vast collection of precious stones, minerals, meteorites, fossils, skeletons of animals, and many insects and mammal displays, including some taxidermy of extinct species. As one of the most significant museum collection in the whole of Europe, it has over 30 million objects with new additions that arrive all the time.
This exciting venue also has a digital planetarium where several exciting films about the earth and its development are put up as one of the best things to do in Vienna, children and adults will love the vast amount of information and captivating displays when touring the museum.
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10. Indulge in the adventure at the Prater Amusement Park
To experience Vienna’s charm in the most adventurous way, the Prater Amusement Park is the place to go to. Once a hunting ground, the Wiener Prater Park developed into a public space for small amusement stalls and food stalls. Today, it hosts the impressive Amusement Park and is free to enter. However, you must pay for the individual rides that you wish to go for.
The insides of the park host multitude stalls and trips that include a gigantic Ferris wheel, carousels, bumper cars, and exciting rollercoasters. The park also has shooting ranges, a light gauge railway, and a waxworks display for your entertainment. To relax after an adventurous time, several restaurants and cafés are available for your enjoyment.
Did you know?
For seven years in a row, Vienna has continued to be the most liveable city in the world.
11. Watch demonstrations at The Spanish Riding School
As one of the best institutes of classical dressage in the world, the Spanish Riding School for years has been dedicated to the training of horses in the art of dressage. A longstanding reputed tradition in Austria, dressage is a demonstration to be witnessed. Built during the Habsburg Monarchy, the riding school has stood firm ever since. Open to the public, and you can watch the demonstrations and even training sessions at times. If you are a person that loves riding, this is the place for you to be at to appreciate the passion put into creating this art form.
12. Catch spectacular views from the Donauturm
A tower that finds its position in the list of the tallest 75 free-standing towers of the world, the Donauturm is of a whopping 252m height. Located in the Donaustadt district of Vienna, this tower stands out amidst the relatively low-rise skyline of the city. It can be easily spotted with structures that contain radio transmitters and cell phone antennae. It also has two revolving restaurants, an observation platform, and even a bungee jumping gangway. Taking in the views of the city from the Donauturm is one of the most epic things to do in Vienna sightseeing.
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Fun fact – Each year, over 450 balls happen in Vienna!
13. Go shopping at Naschmarkt.
The definition of a city, market places offer a good representation of its culture and history. As delightful places to walk through, the market places give tourists a traditional slice of the local life. Spread along the Wienzeile street, the Naschmarkt expands for about 1.5 kilometres. Filled with stalls that sell fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, herbs, and seafood, the market is worth a visit. The beautiful environment of sounds, sights, and smells is sure to fascinate you. Shopping in the vast expanse of the Naschmarkt is one of the best things to do in Vienna.
14. Take the Vienna Ring Road
The Vienna Ring Road surrounded the Innere Stadt district of Vienna and was constructed in the 19th century once the city walls were removed. Featuring exuberant architecture, the Ring Road has several famous buildings that line the pavements. A full road, it is framed by the city’s tram line that continues to remain an essential mode of transportation. The Ring Road also has sections that are lined with trees and provides a fabulous cycling route. This is one of the fascinating things to do in Vienna.
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Did you know?
The bars and cafés in Vienna have special devices that can be used by drunken visitors to sober up.
15. Walkthrough the Vienna Woods
Situated at the foothills of the Northern Limestone Alps, the Vienna Woods expand for about 45 kilometres. Many rivers act as the boundaries of the woods or Wienerwald. This area is popular among tourists and locals looking to relax in the beautiful countryside of Austria. Filled with hidden gems from underground boat rides, the seegrotte, and hunting lodges and pristine village, the Vienna Woods have an aura that cannot be described in mere words. Some companies offer half-day tours of the Woods. You could also do some research and make your itinerary to explore the Vienna Woods. The possibilities here are indeed limitless like no other.
Did you know?
The Stock Exchange of Vienna is the oldest in the entire world, being founded in 1771.
With several fascinating things to do in Vienna, we promise you a time of cheer, joy, and excitement.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What can you do in Vienna for free?
A: You can visit the museums and the Danube Island in Vienna for free.
2. What can you do in Vienna in 3 days?
A: In 3 days, you can visit the main attractions in the Historic Old Town and even spend a day at the Schonbrunn Palace.
3. Is Vienna worth visiting?
A: Yes, Vienna is worth visiting
4. What is Vienna famous for?
A: Vienna is famous for its wine taverns, café culture, opera, museums, and architecture.
5. What are the top attractions to visit in Vienna?
A: The top attractions to visit in Vienna include the Schonbrunn Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the Hofburg.
6. What are the best outdoor activities in Vienna?
A: The best outdoor activities in Vienna include visiting museums, wine touring, and dining.
7. What are the best day trips from Vienna?
A: The best day trips from Vienna can be made to Budapest, Salzburg, and the Wachau Valley and Melk Abbey.