Austria is a great destination for a trip in Europe. You’ll find beautiful nature, including towering mountains, lakes and waterfalls, as well as charming cities like the capital Vienna. I toured Austria on a road trip in 1 week which is a great way to experience the highlights of the country. But making a city trip to the capital Vienna also is a great idea! The best sights in and within driving distance of Vienna are listed below.
20 Things to do in Vienna
Zoom in om de bezienswaardigheden in Wenen beter te bekijken.
1. St. Stephen’s Cathedral
St. Stephen’s Cathedral is one of the first sights you encounter when you get off the metro/train in the center of Vienna. This Roman Catholic cathedral is in fact the largest cathedral in Austria with its 107 meters long and 34 meters wide.
Entrance is free, but climbing the cathedral costs €3.50.
2. St. Peter’s Church
The beautiful St. Peter’s Church is an 18th century church on Petersplatz. It is well worth taking a look inside to admire the murals and the decorated ceiling, which is free
The Hofburg is a huge palace in the center of the city. From the 13th century until 1918, the Habsburg Archdukes lived there. These residential quarters can be visited. Since 1945 it has been the residence of and Federal President of Austria.
The Hofburg houses the Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek, the Sisi Museum and the Spanish Riding School is also part of the Hofburg complex.
4. Austrian National Library
The Hofburg has housed the Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek since 1722. It is no less than 80 meters long and 20 meters high and has more than 200,000 books. The library was high on my list of things to do in Vienna. The hall is very impressive, but the entrance fee of €8 was a bit on the expensive side in my opinion. After 15 minutes I had seen everything.
5. Sisi Museum
At the Sisi Museum you will learn all about Empress Elisabeth, also known as Sisi. The museum covers an area of 200 square meters and has a beautiful decor. You can see a gigantic collection of crockery, silver cutlery, golden chandeliers, furniture and more. Tickets are €15.
6. Spanish Riding School
The Spanish Riding School is one of the oldest institutions for training horses. Being first mentioned in 1565, it’s even the oldest existing riding school in the world. The “Winterreitschule” from 1735 is part of the Hofburg.
There are several tours and performances for which you can buy tickets (online). For all current shows, check out the Spanische Hofreitschule’s website.
7. Votive Church
The Votive Church, built in 1876, is one of the most important neo-Gothic buildings in the world. The reason for the construction of the Votiefkerk was a failed assassination attempt on the Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. To commemorate this attack, the church is near the site of the attack.
The 99-meter-high towers are, after those of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the tallest church towers in Vienna.
8. Wiener Rathaus
The Wiener Rathaus, or Vienna City Hall was built in 1883 and is the seat of both the Vienna City Council and the state of Vienna. Adjacent to the City Hall is the Rathausplatz and the Rathauspark where you can have a nice walk around or sit on one of the many benches.
The Stadtpark is a beautiful park located near Wien Mitte, where most trains and subways arrive. The park has a size of 65,000 m² and features several lawns, ponds and a playground. Scattered throughout the park are several statues of famous Viennese, including the composer Johann Strauss.
The Roman Catholic Karlskirche is a huge Votive Church in the south of Vienna. It was built in the 17th century after a competition for architects proclaimed by the emperor.
Admission is €8 which allows you to visit the museum and the beautiful frescoes in the dome using the glass elevator.
11. Vienna Naschmarkt
Are you looking for clothing, fruit/vegetables, spices, delicacies from different countries or clothing, then you are at the right place at the Viennese Naschmarkt. For example, you can buy fresh olives, hummus, various oriental herbs or tasty cheeses.
12. Schloss Schönbrunn
Schloss Schönbrunn is one of the most visited sights and most popular things to do in Vienna. It’ is even considered the most important cultural monument in Austria. With 1441 rooms, a beautiful large garden with even a zoo ‘Schönbrunner Zoo’, it was the emperor’s summer residence for many years.
13. Schloss Belvedere
At the Schloss Belvedere you can easily spend a few hours. The baroque castle has a huge garden and two museums with a special collection of Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka. The most famous work of Gustav Klimt, The Kiss, for example, is housed here.
14. Strandbad Gänsehäufel
With nice weather, I can highly recommend to visit the Strandbad Gänsehäufel. This small island in the Alte Donau has been transformed into Vienna’s outdoor swimming pool. It features several pools, beaches, a soccer field, basketball court and more.
As well, at the east end of the island you can rent Standup Paddleboards for €13 per hour. The water is quite clear and is great for swimming.
For the island you pay a few euros entrance fee, but after that you can stay there for a whole day if you want.
North of the city lies the Kahlenberg. From this 484 meter high mountain (or hill) you’ll have a beautiful view of Vienna. The viewpoint is quite easy to reach with bus 38a which leaves from the main train station Heiligenstadt S+U. From this station the bus takes about 25 minutes after which you only have to walk a few minutes to reach the viewpoint.
It’s recommendable to walk a bit down to the vineyards on the way back. For example, make a stop at Hans und Fritz Buschenschank where you can enjoy your drink with a beautiful sunset and a great view.
The Prater (also called Wiener Prater) is a huge park in Vienna. Part of the park is an amusement park, the Wurstelprater, which houses an 1897 Ferris wheel.
Things to do within driving distance of Vienna
If you have time to spare, or if you have a car or want to rent a car, it’s also worth spending a day driving around. The following attractions are within driving distance of Vienna and can be easily visited in a day.
The Myrafälle are located in a ravine in the Austrian state of Lower Austria, about an hour’s drive from Vienna. I really enjoyed the whole hike up. It akes you along a wooden walkway past several viewpoints. The entire hike is about 1.3 kilometers long.
A ticket for the Myrafälle is €5.
About an hour’s drive from Vienna, or a 30-minute drive from the Myrafälle if you want to combine them, lies the Johannesbachklamm. Through this 60 meter deep gorge you can hike a beautiful route along a small stream and several small waterfalls. You can choose an easy route or a more challenging one.
On the website of the Wiener Alpen you can even find a 9 km long walking route.
19. Burg Seebenstein
Just 20 minutes drive from the Johannesbachklamm is Burg Seebenstein located. The castle dates from about 1180/1230 and is located on a hill over 400 meters high.
A ticket to visit the castle is €6. For more information you can take a look at the website of Burg Seebenstein.
20. Forchtenstein Castle
The impressive Forchtenstein Castle is located at the foot of the Rosalien Mountains in Burgenland at over 500 meters above sea level. From Burg Seebenstein it’s only a 30 minute drive. Inside the medieval castle you can admire, among other things, one of the largest private weapon collections in Europe, as well as the castle garden and several portraits.
A ticket to the castle costs €15. For all information, visit the Forchtenstein Castle website.
Transport in Vienna
The center of Vienna is great to visit by foot. You can walk from one side of the center to the other in just 30 minutes. However, the distances are too big if you want to visit all the above mentioned sights in Vienna. But in the center, by foot is a great option!
The public transport in Vienna is excellent. Tickets for a single ride usually cost around €2 for the metro, tram and bus and you can get from point A to B in no time.
It’ also possible to rent a bike in the city. Throughout the city there are clearly marked bicycle paths which make it easy to cycle past all the sights in Vienna.
During my first day in Vienna, I discovered that there is another practical (and very fun!) way of transport in Vienna. That is, by electric scooter. What an invention! These E-scooters are called Lime and are located throughout the city. Simply download the app, find a scooter on the map, scan the code on the scooter and off you go! Once you reach your destination, finish the ride and take a picture to prove that you parked your scooter properly.
From the airport to Vienna city center
There are several options to travel from the airport to the center of Vienna. One option is to take the S7 train, which takes just under 30 minutes to reach the center. A ticket costs €4.20 for a single journey and the train leaves every half hour.
- Airport > City center: daily between 5:18 – 00:18
- Wien Praterstern station > Airport: daily between 4:15 – 23:45
- Wien Mitte station > Airport: daily between 4:19 – 23:49
A faster option is the City Airport Train (CAT) which takes only 16 minutes to reach the city center. The train runs daily between 05:37 – 23:38.
Use the route planner to see all available trains and buses.