Traveling to Vienna and not sure how much time you should spend there? We’ll help you figure that out with this detailed guide to exploring Vienna! We’ve got a list of all the top sights in Vienna, as well as itineraries for two, three, and five days in the city!
We’ve also included a few day trips at the bottom, for all of you who are lucky enough to have enough time in Vienna to explore other cities that are nearby. So, read on to see how many days you should spend in Vienna, and what you can do while you’re in the Austrian capital!
Ideally, you should stay in Vienna for at least three days. This gives you plenty of time to explore all the famous landmarks in the city, as well as any other places you’d like to check out.
It’s worth noting that Vienna’s famous palaces take a while to explore, so if you plan on attending detailed palace tours, you’ll definitely need more than two days in the city. It’s about 4-5 hours per palace, and there are at least three of them that are worth checking out!
Two days can be enough time to see most top sights in Vienna, but you will need to skip some of them. Sure, you can explore all the sights in the Old Town, but you won’t have enough time to visit more than a couple of museums. Also, trying to see everything worthwhile in Vienna in just two days means you’ll be on your feet pretty much the entire time.
If you want to go on a day trip or two and explore some places outside the city, you should plan to stay in Vienna for at least five days. This should give you plenty of time to thoroughly explore Austria’s capital city, and visit a town or two that are nearby.
Your first day in Vienna is the perfect time for a guided walking tour of the city center. There are a lot of Vienna walking tours, so you just need to find one that starts at a time that is convenient for you. Most of these tours are free and you just need to tip the guide, so they’re a great option no matter what your budget is.
A walking tour of Vienna’s old town focuses on the history and architecture of the city. You’ll see all the famous landmarks in the city’s 1st District, and you’ll have plenty of time to explore the many restaurants and shops that are situated in this part of Vienna. If you have enough time, day one is also a good time to visit one of the museums you’re most interested in and the Prater.
Day two in Vienna is a great time to explore the sights that are a bit further away from the city center. Head to the Schönbrunn Palace, Belvedere Palace, Hofburg Palace, and spend your remaining free time checking out any other museums you might be interested in.
It’s worth noting that touring the entire Schönbrunn Palace and its gardens can take up to 4-5 hours, so be sure to bring some water and snacks! A detailed tour of the Hofburg Palace is just as lengthy – it can take you up to ten hours just to see these two Vienna landmarks, so you see why it’s important that you stay in the city for as long as possible.
The third day in Vienna is a great time to check out the museums and shop for souvenirs. Go back to the old town, but this time try to visit as many museums as you want. You could spend the entire day going in and out of museums in the MuseumsQuartier, only stopping to grab a bite to eat or catch a break.
Plus, since this area is also in Vienna’s old town, you’ll never be far from the city’s best shops and restaurants. If you’re lucky enough to be able to spend five days in Vienna, you’ll want to take advantage of that and go on a few day trips. Bratislava is only an hour away by train, and both Graz and Brno are just two hours away by train.
There are also several nature preserves and natural parks very close to the city, so consider visiting those if you’re in the mood for some hiking and awesome views. Whether you’d rather experience another European metropolis or pristine nature is entirely up to you!
Below is a list of the most famous historical attractions and landmarks in Vienna, so be sure to check off as many of them as you can while you’re out and about exploring this incredible city!
The Hofburg is a historical palace and one of the most famous landmarks in Vienna. The Habsburg palace complex is renowned for its fascinating architecture, with decorated baroque interiors, museums, and imperial apartments.
It can take up to 4-5 hours to tour all the different attractions in Hofburg, so you might want to skip a detailed tour of the palace if your time in Vienna is extremely limited.
Rathaus is Vienna’s Neo-Gothic city hall that was built in the late 19th century. It’s estimated that around 30 million bricks were used in the construction of the building, which is now used mostly to host balls, markets, and other events. Touring the interior of the Rathaus is not worth the time, so just check out the architecture and continue your tour of Vienna’s top sights.
Volksgarten is a vast public park near Hofburg. It features pristinely manicured lawns, rose gardens, fountains, temples, and many other stunning sights. It’s also right outside Vienna’s famous palace, so getting to it is super easy. Take your time to see the different landmarks in the park, but also just admire the beautiful nature and take in the lovely views.
MuseumsQuartier is a district in Vienna that contains some of the city’s best museums. It’s where you’ll find the Leopold Museum, the Vienna Museum of Natural History, the Contemporary Art Museum, the Architekturzentrum Wien museum, the Zoom Children’s Museum, and many others.
This district also features several bars and eateries, so if you get hungry or need a break, you don’t have to even leave the MuseumsQuartier!
The Vienna State Opera house is another spectacular building worth your time. It takes less than an hour to tour the interior of the opera house, during which time you get to see the state rooms and the auditorium, all the while learning about the building’s rich history and what it takes to run an opera house. It’s certainly one of the most interesting sights in Vienna, especially for lovers of performance arts!
Albertina is also an iconic Vienna building. It’s a museum in a 19th-century Habsburg palace, which houses one of the world’s largest print rooms. This is also one of the best Vienna museums to visit since its vast collection includes works by Picasso, Monet, Magritte, Degas, and many other famous artists.
This is one of the most-visited art museums in the entire world, and it’s definitely worth touring while you’re in Vienna.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral is one of the most famous Vienna sights, possibly just as famous as the city’s fascinating palaces. The medieval Roman Catholic cathedral is known for its spectacular ornate spire, catacombs, and a rather interesting treasury museum.
If you don’t have the time to tour the cathedral and the catacombs, at least make time for the tower room. It offers one of the best panoramic views of the Vienna skyline, and it’s definitely worth your time!
Prater is Vienna’s famous amusement park. It’s open 24/7, and it’s a great place to visit if you’re in the mood for a rollercoaster ride in an iconic city landmark. Prater is best known for its huge Ferris wheel, which offers some of the best panoramic views that you could possibly experience in Vienna.
A night-time ride on the Ferris wheel is particularly charming since you get to see all the other rides lit up in various bright colors.
The Danube Tower is another Vienna landmark that offers mesmerizing city views. The tower features both covered and open-air terraces, as well as a café/restaurant where you can sit down for a cup of coffee or a meal, while you admire those breathtaking views.
This is by far the best place in the city for panoramic views of the Danube and the Vienna skyline, so make this tower a priority if you want to be swept off your feet.
Schönbrunn Palace is an iconic Vienna landmark. The 18th-century baroque palace is famous for its lavish interiors and sprawling gardens with a maze. It takes anywhere between an hour and five hours to tour the palace, depending on what you want to see, and whether or not you skip the museums.
Tour the entire palace for sure, but you don’t have to tour every corner of the gardens – it’s enough to check out the maze and the Roman ruins, but the zoo and the greenhouse are skippable if you’re pressed for time.
Belvedere Palace is an 18th-century palace complex famous for its art museums and gorgeous gardens. The exhibit of fine art in the Austrian Gallery Belvedere is exceptional, with a vast collection that includes art from the Middle Ages to contemporary works.
The art gallery is best known for its sizeable Klimt collection, making it a must for anyone who is into the Austrian artist’s works. It’s worth noting that the grounds are divided into Upper and Lower Belvedere, and it’s possible to purchase individual entrance tickets for the sections you’re interested in, as well as a combined discounted ticket.
Karlskirche is a baroque church situated on the southern side of Karlsplatz in Vienna. It’d best known for its ornate frescos inside the huge dome, as well as beautiful city views from the viewing platform in the tower. The domed cathedral is a beautiful building inside and out, so don’t miss out on a chance to see it while you are in Vienna!
If you’re staying in Vienna for more than three days, you should have enough time for a day trip or two. Below is a list of our recommendations for the best day trips from Vienna!
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, and it’s only an hour away from Vienna by train. Similar to Vienna, the city is known for its many castles that offer spectacular panoramic views, but there are also a lot of examples of socialist architecture throughout the city. If you’ve never visited Bratislava before, doing so on a day trip from Vienna is an excellent idea!
Graz is one of the most beautiful cities in Austria, and visiting it on a day trip from Vienna is entirely possible. It’s only two hours away from Vienna by train, so if you wake up early enough, you should have plenty of time to explore this gorgeous Austrian city.
Visit the city’s famous old town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the abundance of historical landmarks. Graz is also very popular for shopping thanks to a plethora of shopping malls and outlet stores.
Brno is a city in the Czech Republic, just two hours outside Vienna by train. It’s the second-largest city in the country, and it is best known for its many modernist buildings. The city is also the seat of the country’s judiciary institutions, as well as an important hub for higher education.
Tourist attractions in Brno include UNESCO World Heritage Sites, one of Europe’s largest exhibitions centers, several castles and fortresses, fascinating cathedrals, and many others.
Baden bei Wien is a small spa town in Lower Austria. It’s about half an hour outside Vienna by train, and it’s the perfect place to visit on a day trip if you’re in the mood for some medical springs.
The town is also popular for its charming architecture, many museums, and beautiful parks in the hills, which seamlessly transition into the Vienna woods. If you need to escape the busy streets of Vienna for an afternoon, Baden bei Wien is one of the best and most convenient day trips you can make.
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.