Austria

One day in Vienna – how to see the most in the Austrian capital

one day in Vienna
(Last Updated On: 03/02/2019)

Vienna was the first city in Europe I fell in love with. I went there for a school trip back when I was 16 and even if we spent only one day in Vienna I knew I will be returning there. And I did!

Over the years I went to the capital of Austria so many times I’ve lost the count. At some point I even knew the city so much better than Warsaw! In many cases I’ve spent one day in Vienna only, taking a night train there and back, so by now I’ve mastered the skill how to have the most of the little time you might have there!

My recent trip was also rather short so again I’ve squeezed all the best things to see in Vienna in just one day. I know the city deserves so much more, there were trips when I’ve spent a week or so there (including Vienna in winter) and still haven’t seen everything. But if you’re short on time and have only one day in Vienna this little guide might help you to plan your whereabouts!

one day in Vienna

Before you set off to explore Vienna in one day you need to decide how you want to get around the city. You might use the public transport (8€ for 24 hours ticket) or you can use the convenient hop-on, hop-off bus that will take you directly to all the Vienna highlights, without the hassle of navigating through the metro, tram and bus network. Click here to read the details and book the ticket for the hop-on, hop-off bus!

Now, that you’re settled with the transportation let’s see how to use the best the one day in Vienna!

Start your one day in Vienna at traditional cafe

Vienna is famous for its traditional coffee houses that eventually spread all over former Habsburg Empire. I can’t imagine a better place to quietly sip a strong coffee while reading the newspaper or to have a discussion about literature. It feels like the time has stopped there but no one really minds.

The most famous one is Cafe Havelka, hidden in Dorotheergasse, few steps away from St. Stephen’s Cathedral. My favorite, however, is Cafe Pruckel, in front of the Stadtpark and next to Stubentor subway station. Even if you do the budget travel to Vienna you should stop in one of the cafes!

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one day in Vienna
one day in Vienna

Explore the Inner City

The center of Vienna is closed within Ring Road – everything you find inside is the Inner City. After you’re done with your morning coffee that’s where you should head to.

The very center is Stephansplatz with magnificent St. Stephen’s Cathedral – it’s definitely worth stepping inside as the interior is as breathtaking as the building itself. Be sure to visit the tower and the catacombs too! You can prebook the ticket for these and save up to 35%! Click here to find out more details and book the ticket for your visit at St. Stephen’s Cathedral!

Now from Stephansplatz you have two main options: Kartnerstrasse – the main shopping street in this area or Graben – the street with stunning houses along the way. I always choose the second option and go to Hofburg that way.

But before heading that way you can also look for traces of art nouveau architecture in the Inner City! My recent discoveries were Ankeruhr – an art nouveau clock that gives a show at noon (kind of like astronomical clocks in Prague or Olomouc) and the building of Austrian Postal Savings Bank designed by the most famous Viennese architect of that time Otto Wagner.

Since your time in Vienna is limited you might also want to join the highly rated walking tour with the professional guide to get to know the Inner City and to learn more about the capital of Austria. The tour lasts up to 2 hours and gives you a great overview of the place. Click here to read more about it and to reserve your spot!

one day in Vienna
one day in Vienna

one day in Vienna

one day in Vienna

Hofburg – the imperial residence

A majestic imperial palace that used to be home to the rulers of the country. Hofburg was rebuilt numerous time and now it’s a real mix of styles, with baroque and classicism being the dominant ones. When you cross the inner yard pay attention to the renaissance Swiss Gate as it’s really beautiful!

If you’d like to see the incredible Imperial Treasury you’re in the right place as all those beauties are on display in Hofburg! You can book your ticket for a visit here (click!).

one day in Vienna - Hofburg

Ring Road – where to find the most important buildings in Vienna

The Inner Town is surrounded by Ring Road (with couple of different names, always with -ring at the end). That’s where you will find the most important and most spectacular buildings in Vienna: the Opera House, the Parliament, the State Theater, the Town Hall or the University – just to name the few.

The most interesting part is between the Opera and Votivkirche. You can walk it (highly recommended as the sidewalk is broad and hidden in the shadow of trees) or if you feel lazy you might take the tram and look at all these beauties while moving around.

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one day in Vienna
one day in Vienna

one day in Vienna

Karlsplatz and Naschmarkt – the art nouveau hub

Vienna is famous for its art nouveau and even if there aren’t as many amazing buildings as in Riga you can still find some real gems around. The most amazing ones are located around Karlsplatz and Naschmarkt – the metro station, the Secession building with the Museum inside (not worth the money in my opinion) or three houses at Linke Wienzeile 38, 40, and 42.

While you’re at Karlsplatz make sure to visit beautiful Karlskirche – probably the most beautiful church in Vienna with two massive columns on both sides.

You should also walk through Naschmarkt – the most popular market in the city. While the first part is full of small restaurants serving food from all over the world, the further you go the more down to earth it gets and eventually it turns out into the flea market.

one day in Vienna
one day in Vienna

one day in Vienna

one day in Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace – where Empress Sissi used to live

This is one of the most important landmarks in Vienna and whole Austria. A beautiful baroque palace that used to be the summer residence of Habsburgs, including the famous Empress Sissi.

If you manage to get some extra time it’s worth to visit in inside – you will see only a small part of over 1.000 rooms but they are just stunning! But even if you’ll stay outside only you’re in for a treat!

The gardens surrounding the palace are equally beautiful and wandering around is a pure pleasure! Be sure to go up to the Gloriette too as the view from there is really good!

To use your time as best as possible I highly recommend booking the tour of the palace and the gardens with the skip-the-line ticket. The guide will show you all the best corners of the premises and tell you all about Schönbrunn Palace. Click here to read more details about the tour and to book it!

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one day in Vienna
one day in Vienna

one day in Vienna

one day in Vienna

Hundertwasserhaus – the funky side of Vienna

The capital of Austria isn’t only about imperial, Habsburg remnants. In your one day in Vienna you can see also its funky side with its best example – Hundertwasserhaus.

This is probably the most famous work of the Austrian / New Zealand artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and you will see how popular it is when you get there. There always seems to be tours visiting the place, opposite Hunderwasserthouse you will also find a big souvenirs shops. But even with the hype, it is a really lovely place to visit as the house is just the cutest, with all these strong colors and unusual shapes!

Not too far from Hunderwasserthouse you will find KunstHausWien, designed by the same artist but with way less people around! That’s where the Museum Hundertwasser is located – if you are intrigued by the funky artist and his work you can’t miss this place! Click here to book your ticket!

one day in Vienna

Prater – a fun ending of your one day in Vienna

Prater – a huge park that used to be Habsburg’s hunting area – is especially known for the amusement park with the big wheel built in 1897. Your one day in Vienna wouldn’t be completed without riding the famous ferris wheel, with spectacular views of the city! Click here to book your ticket for the ride!

Besides the Ferris wheel, there are so many attractions to choose from and some of them are really terrifying (I’m speaking from my own experience). The amusement park is open till midnight which makes a perfect and fun end of your one day in Vienna!

If you’re tired with Prater amusement park you might choose another activity to finish your day – a relaxing evening cruise through Danube Canal with the dinner included. Click here to read more details and book the cruise!

one day in Vienna

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO VIENNA

With over 15 years of independent traveling I’ve learned which websites and services are the best when planning a trip. I always use and trust the following websites:

Flights – I search for the best deals on either Momondo or SkyScanner. Both search numerous sites to find the best offers. I also really like the “everywhere” option when searching for the flights as it often gives me the inspiration, if not for this trip then for the next time.

Accommodation – I always book my accommodation through Booking.com. They have really good deals (especially with their “Genius” program that you become a member of after few reservations) and in most of the cases, if your plans change, you can cancel the reservation without any extra costs. I also value them for a really good customer service that I had to use a few times.

Recommended accommodation in Vienna:

Insurance – I never travel without the insurance as you never know what might happen on the road (I’ve learnt my lesson). I can recommend World Nomads that offer the insurance dedicated to travelers just like you and me. Check the insurance options for your trip here!

Guide books – I do like reading a guide book before and during the trip. Depending on the destination I usually buy either Lonely Planet or Bradt. You can get your guidebooks for Vienna here (only Lonely Planet available)

Day tours in Vienna – I do go for a day trips when I travel as often they are the most convenient way to see the place that save you time and money. Click here to see and book the best day tours in Vienna!


For the end I left a few announcements that might interest you:

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  • I’ve included a few handy links of services and products I personally like and use so you can plan your own trip to Vienna too. They are often affiliate links. This means I will get a small commission if you book/purchase anything through my links, at no extra costs for you. If you like what you are reading and seeing here and would like to support me and my blog please consider using those links. It would be like getting me a virtual drink that you don’t have to pay for! Thanks!

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How to spend one day in Vienna Austria


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25 Comments

  • Reply
    VictoriaK
    17/08/2017 at 07:07

    “Best” is subjective, of course. However did you achieve this itinerary in one day? Did you tour either Hofburg, Schönbrunn, or Peterskirche, or just take photos of the exterior? (And just for reference, the flea market at Naschmarkt only occurs on Saturdays.)

    • Reply
      kami
      21/08/2017 at 19:38

      of course it is subjective but so are blogs (or most of the websites in the internet actually). I started my day fairly early so that could have been the key to success. Also it was mid July so the day was pretty long (although the weather wasn’t much on my side). I did went inside the Secession Museum and Schoenbrunn and I didn’t rushed from one place to another. Thank you for telling me about flea market, I was there on Saturday so I thought it’s a regular thing!

  • Reply
    Stefania - The Italian Backpacker
    17/08/2017 at 14:51

    I love those zucchini pictures, ahahahah! By the away, weird to think that Warsaw to Vienna by train is almost the same time as Venice to Vienna…

    • Reply
      kami
      21/08/2017 at 19:51

      It’s pretty close actually, just looks distant on the map as it’s a striaght line and you need to cross one more country on the way :)

  • Reply
    Magdalena Broda
    17/08/2017 at 18:10

    Vienna is a glorious city. I lived there for a couple of months. The day I moved there I was just walking around the Ring Road mindlessly and smiling at how beautiful everything was :D

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      23/08/2017 at 13:16

      I can imagine! I would probably do the same thing :)

  • Reply
    Joshua Cummings
    17/08/2017 at 19:09

    My wife and I made a return trip to Vienna back in June. The highlight for us was booking tickets to swan lake at the Vienna state opera house. Love the metro system there! It was a pleasure to have day passes and just jump on and go where you want.

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      23/08/2017 at 13:17

      the metro system in Vienna is great! I just adore art nouveau stations on U4 line!

  • Reply
    Tati
    17/08/2017 at 21:19

    Patrząc na zdjęcia, aż mi się zachciało wrócić do Wiednia. A ja z Wiedniem za bardzo romansu nie czuję. Był to weekend w bardzo ładnym mieście, ale bardzo sztywnym jak dla mnie. Może jednak powinnam odłożyć wspomnienia na półkę i zrobię drugie podejście.

    • Reply
      kami
      21/08/2017 at 19:53

      zdecydowanie! Czasami te kolejne podejścia dają zupełnie inny pogląd na miasto (ja tak z Ryga miałam, za czwartym razem naprawdę ją polubiłam). Nie jestes pierwszą osobą, która tak o Wiedniu mówi! Ja trochę lubię przez historię bo Habsburgowie, a trochę przez sentyment, bo to jedno z pierwszych dużych miast jakie zagranica odwiedziłam

  • Reply
    Tamara Vrielink-Ferwerda
    17/08/2017 at 22:43

    Thank you! I’m in Vienna at the moment. :-D

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      23/08/2017 at 13:17

      I hope you had a great time!

    • Reply
      Tamara Vrielink-Ferwerda
      23/08/2017 at 14:03

      Yes, I had a beautifull end very hot time.

  • Reply
    Pauline McCarthy
    18/08/2017 at 00:52

    Yes! The city was so stately!! Loved all the architecture on the Ring Road!! My favorite place was Schonbrunn Palace!!

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      23/08/2017 at 13:17

      I adore Schonbrunn too! :)

  • Reply
    Jennifer Deborah Walker
    18/08/2017 at 09:35

    Perfect timing, as I’m going for one day next Friday :P

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      23/08/2017 at 13:17

      perfect! :D hope you will enjoy it!

  • Reply
    Angie
    18/08/2017 at 16:47

    One day will never be enough but I think you made the most out of it in this Vienna trip.. and that’s a skill. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Reply
      kami
      21/08/2017 at 19:54

      Thank you! I agree that one day is not enough, in many places, but sometimes we have a limited time and need to take out as much of it as possible!

  • Reply
    Kata Niksic
    18/08/2017 at 17:48

    Voted the most livable city in the world.

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      23/08/2017 at 13:18

      I can understand why, it’s such a pleasant place!

  • Reply
    Albena
    27/09/2017 at 09:57

    Vienna is one of my favorite cities. There is so much elegance and aristocracy in it. I have already been to Vienna twice and will return indeed.
    From my experience there I can recommend to visit the crypt of Stefansdom. It is very interesting.

    • Reply
      kami
      11/10/2017 at 11:49

      Thank you for the recommendation, I will make sure to make it there next time! And elegance is the perfect word to describe Vienna!

  • Reply
    Epepa
    20/10/2017 at 14:17

    Jeśli lubisz secesyjne budynki, polecam Ci następnym razem udać się również do mniej znanych miejsc w Wiedniu takich jak Willa Wagner I i II oraz Kirche am Steinhof. Rzadko docierają tam turyści, a architektura robi wrażenie.

    • Reply
      kami
      22/12/2017 at 21:46

      miałam oba na liście, ale czasu nie starczyło niestety. Ale skoro mówisz, że robią wrażenie to kolejnym razem obowiązkowo tam jadę! Dzięki!! :)

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