24 hours in VIENNA

On my last flight to Vienna, I was surprised how many passengers were on their way to farther destinations, hence only on a stopover in Austria’s mesmerizing capital – therefore, I guess it’s time for another itinerary for up to 24 hours in this Central European metropolis.

Visiting the Albertina Gallery during 24 hours in Vienna
Majestic Vienna: At the Imperial Apartments of the “Albertina”

After having already published an extended article on my stay, I put together my best tips in this post.

Generally, it’s meant as an itinerary for just a layover or a short stop on a road trip through Europe. Austria has eight (!) neighboring countries, after all!

In case you wonder: Austria adjoins Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, and Hungary.

icon bag of money Local Currency

Euro (EUR) / 1 EUR = 1 US$ as of November 2022 / current rate

icon police car Emergency Contacts

Police: 133

Ambulance: 144

National Airline

Austrian Airlines

image airport board Airports

Vienna International Airport, IATA Code: VIA

Tourist Info Online and Onsite

The official Vienna Website is excellent and very informative.

At the airport are dispensers with free maps – albeit only showing the very center.

You get information and help either right away at the airport

Tourist Info Vienna Airport 
at the arrival hall
Open daily from 7 a. m. to 10 p. m.

or at the info point downtown

Tourist-Info Vienna
1010 Vienna
Open daily from 7 a. m. to 7 p. m.

Furthermore, all the hotels can supply you with info material, tourist cards and more.

mean of transportation Getting Downtown and Back

In order to get from the airport to the city center, your best option is to take the S-Bahn 7, which is the regional train, towards Floridsdorf and get off at Landstraße/Mitte.

VIENNA - visited by streetcar
Visiting Vienna by streetcar is fun – and cheap, too.

This train takes only about two minutes longer than the CAT (City Airport Train) and costs a fraction.

If you just buy one way, it’s 4,40 €uros. If you get a 24 hours ticket – for 8 €uros highly recommendable since a single ride costs 2,40 €uros – you only have to pay an additional 2 €uro for the trip from the airport – while the CAT costs 12 €uro (and the shuttle bus 8 €uro).

There are so many different tickets and options – you might want to check for yourself.

There even is a Queer City Pass and although I did some research online, I don’t get what’s the difference and what makes it queer. Once you get it, give me a hint, please.

Morning Activities

Even on a sunny day, a visit to the Stephansdom is, obviously, indispensable.

Stephan's Cathedral in Vienna
Saint Steven’s Cathedral in the heart of the city.

Saint Steven’s Cathedral is Vienna’s most important landmark and is within walking distance from the hotel respectively the Schwedenplatz.

Built in the early 12th century, it is the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and also the seat of Vienna’s Archbishop. It has four towers, the highest being the southern tower with 136 meters.

Accordingly, there are 343 steps to be climbed to get to the tower chamber from where you have an incredible view of Vienna. Besides precious altars and chapels, there are also the treasury and the catacombs to be visited.

Domkirche St. Stephan
Stephansplatz 3
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 515 52 3054
Open daily from 6 a. m. to 10 p. m. (Sunday from 7 a. m.)

You probably will enjoy strolling a little around the Stephansplatz.

Manner Christmas Marchendise
At Christmas time, there even is an entire Manner streetcar!
(Photo: © Manner)

However, this is a good opportunity for watching street artists perform, listening to the hoofs of the horses pulling the ancient carriages, and stocking up on traditional wafers and other delicious treats at iconic Manner.

Manner Flagship-Store
Stephansplatz 7
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 513 70 18
Open daily from 10 a. m. to 9 p. m.

Shopping the Old Fashioned Way

Still in the mood to saunter?

Stephan's Cathedral in Vienna
Stephan’s Cathedral in the heart of the city.

You’re at the perfect location: The Stephansdom is facing the Graben, Vienna’s most important, pedestrian shopping street with the flashy plague column in its center.

Although most of the stores and cafés are more or less like stores and cafés in any other city center, I’d like to point out – believe it or not – H&M: In 2004, this chain opened its 50th store in Vienna and chose the beautiful building of the former ritzy department store Braun & Co.

Even though you are at H&M, in the antique furnishing and decoration you’ll feel like shopping at a posh boutique.
Don’t miss out on a ride with the ancient wooden elevator!

Spiegelgasse 1
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 810 – 90 90 90

Walking down the Graben away from the Stephansdom, you’ll reach another Viennese institution, the coffee roaster and deli Meinl am Graben.

Shopping at the Graben while for 24 hours in Vienna
Vienna’s elegant promenade is called “Graben” – which means trench. Well, as we all know, sometimes shopping can be war.
(Photo: ©WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)

Here you’ll find all sorts of wonderful Austrian delicacies – i. a. of course Meinl’s famous coffees – to sample on the spot or take with you home. This is also a good place for a short break. Get a light snack on Meinl’s terrace while you watch people.

Meinl am Graben
Graben 19
1010 Vienna
Phone: +43 – 1 – 532 33 34
Open weekdays from 8 a. m. to 7.30 p. m. and Saturday vom 9 a. m. to 6 p. m.

Crossing Squares and Parks

Ready to move on?

Walking up the Habsburgergasse, you’ll get to the Hofburg, the former Royal Castle, that today is the Austrian President’s official seat.

While admiring the magnificent architecture, cross the Hofburg to the huge Heldenplatz, the hero’s square, with the equestrian statue of Prince Eugen.

Then, at the Burgring, turn left and walk a couple of minutes to the gate that opens to the Burggarten, the castle garden with the prominent Mozart statue.

The Burggarten with its huge trees and the little lake is a also the perfect place to just hang out a bit on a hot day.

Enjoying the Burggarten during 24 hours in Vienna
The Burggarten is a great place to chill –
and the Palmenhaus in the backdrop a great place to eat.
(Photo: ©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)

In case you get thirsty, there’s the Palmenhaus serving light snacks or hearty Austrian food. It’s located next to the Hofburg, so it’s not exactly cheap, but it’s really beautiful and if you’re not on a budget, absolutely worth the visit.

Burggarten 1
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 533 10 33
Open weekdays 10 a. m. till midnight, Saturday 9 a. m. till midnight and Sunday from 10 a. m. till 11 p. m.

Don’t worry, even if you’re not up for a fancy lunch, you won’t spend the day hungry.

Bitzinger's sausages with all the fixings in the center of Vienna.
(©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)
Bitzinger’s sausages with all the fixings.
(©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)

As you leave the Burggarten on the right side of the Palmenhaus, you find yourself at the Albertinaplatz. Here is also Vienna’s most famous sausage booth, Bitzinger Würstelstand.

Bitzinger Würstelstand Albertina
Phone: + 43 – 660 815 24 13
Email: wurst@bitzinger.at

Morning Activities

Of course, every place looks much nicer in bright sunlight, but if there’s a city ready for liquid sunshine then it’s Vienna with its many, many exhibitions of world-famous paintings and sculptures, but also rather unusual museums like e. g. the Museum of Heating, the Third Man Museum or the Museum of Contraception and Abortion.

Vienna’s public transportation is excellent and if you stay at the recommended hotel or at another one in that neighborhood, you’re centrally hence perfectly located.

Since in the rain you cannot explore Vienna itself, let’s do the next best thing: Explore Vienna’s culture and all the quirky stories around it.

Expressionist Superstars at the Belvedere

One of the best places is the Belvedere, which consists of the ‘Lower Belvedere’, the garden palace, built around 1714 for Prince Eugen, and the ‘Upper Belvedere’, which was added a couple of years later (from 1720 on) and is even more luxurious.

Upper Belvedere, not to be missed during 24 hours in Vienna
The breathtaking architecture of the Upper Belvedere.
(Photo:© WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)

Both are connected by a manicured garden. While the Lower Belvedere houses temporary exhibitions, the permanent collection at the Upper Belvedere is indisputably a must-see since it shows some of the most important works of mainly Austrian painters like the masterpieces by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.

Catch streetcar #2 towards Dornbach at Schwedenplatz and go to Schwarzenbergplatz where you can take a quick look at the Soviet War Memorial.

If it’s not raining too hard, you can enter the Belvedere complex here and walk through the garden to its upper building. If that’s not an option, you can also change at Schwarzenbergplatz to streetcar #D towards Alfred-Adler-Strasse and get off at the Schloss Belvedere stop right next to the gallery.

Österreichische Galerie Belvedere 
Prinz Eugen-Straße 27
1030 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 795 57 – 0
Email: info@belvedere.at
Open daily from 9 a. m. till 6 p. m. (Friday till 9 p. m.)

The good thing about bad weather is, it’s a great excuse to take the tram instead of walking – as you do now back at the Schloss Belvedere stop.

High Density of Art

Eventually, the D-tram towards Nussdorf will take you in only ten minutes to the stop Burgring.

Without a doubt, this stop is located in one of Vienna’s most amazing spots, between the Hofburg complex and two magnificent buildings housing the Natural History Museum to the left and the Art History Museum to the right.

And between them is sitting enthroned monarch Maria Theresia.

Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna
Galleries packed with precious paintings.

Your destination should be the Art History Museum, which houses an incredibly rich collection from any art epoch and every region: the Cranachs, Raffael and Tizian, Caravaggio’s ‘Madonna of the Rosary’ – and of course the masterpieces by the Bruegels like the ‘Tower of Babel’. Besides the paintings, they also show art from Egypt as well as Greek and Roman statues, a coin collection, and much more.

Kunsthistorisches Museum
Burgring 5
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 525 24- 0
Email: info@khm.at


Your lunch options on a sunny day are a couple of snack stops along the way that I’ve mentioned in the morning itinerary.

Schnitzel in Vienna
What would be Vienna without a Schnitzel?!
To the right a pot roast with a dumpling.
These are, of course, two separate meals…

On a rainy day, you probably won’t be up for a quick bite on your way, but will enjoy a hearty hot meal at a cozy restaurant, so it’s good that you’re just a five minutes walk away from a typical Beisl, a pub, serving authentic Austrian food.

Cross the Museumsquartier west of the Kunsthistorisches Museum – where our first afternoon stop will be, anyway – and you’re practically there.

Glacis Beisl
Breite Gasse 4
1070 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 526 56 60
Open daily from 11 a. p. to 2 a. m. (Sunday to 1 a. m.)

Afternoon Activities

It’s possible to walk from the Bitzinger sausage stand to the Belvedere; but it’s not exactly close by.

However, if you choose to walk, go down the Walfischgasse and turn right into Schwarzenbergstraße. Continue till you get to the Soviet War Memorial – you cannot miss it. The Belvedere complex begins right behind this very socialist piece of art.

If you prefer not to walk, just take either tram #1 (towards Prater) or tram #2 (towards Friedrich-Engels-Platz) at Opernring/Karlsplatz and get off at Schwarzenbergplatz.

View of the manicured garden and the Lower Belvedere in Vienna - visited by streetcar
View of the manicured garden and the Lower Belvedere.

As I explained in the itinerary for a rainy day above, the Belvedere consists of two main buildings that are connected by a very elegant park with fountains and statues.

You can just stroll along the gravel paths, rest on the many park benches, and be enchanted by the beauty and majesty of the place.

If you choose to visit the buildings, that today house museums, please check the rainy weather part above for details.

Right next to the Belvedere is another elegant yet cool park that’s worth a visit, the Stadtpark, the city park.

Johann Strauß statue in Vienna's central park
He’s golden – that’s how much Vienna love the so-called ‘King of the Valse’ Johann Strauß

Besides its shady paths and lush trees, there are many romantic statues of Vienna’s great artists – the most famous among them is the Johann Strauß statue, made by Franz Metzner and Edmund von Hellmer in the symbolist style of the Vienna Secession.

Afternoon Activities

The Glacis Beisl is three minutes from the next great museum.

View of Vienna from the Museum Leopold
The Leopold Museum is not only worth the visit for the art, but it also opens to Vienna’s most beautiful views.

The Leopold Museum is focusing mainly on Austrian art from the turn of the last century – a truly exciting era with many ingenious, daring artists such as Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Albin Egger-Lienz, Anton Kolig, Richard Gerstl, and many others.

Since not only the paintings of these gentlemen are colorful, but also the artists’ lives, it’s worth it to get an audio guide telling you about their shenanigans.

Leopold Museum 
Museumsplatz 1
1070 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 525 70
Email: office@leopoldmuseum.org
Open from Wednesday to Monday from 10 a. m. to 6 p. m. (Thursday to 9 p. m.)

As a matter of fact, no Vienna sojourn is complete without a visit to the Hofburg,
the Royal Castle, that was the Habsburg’s residence between the 13th century till the end of WWI in 1918.

The Michaelertor, the Michaeler gate - entrance to the palatial Hofburg complex in Vienna - visited by streetcar
The Michaelertor, the Michaeler gate – entrance to the palatial Hofburg complex.

Later, after WWII in 1945, it became the Austrian President’s official seat.

Besides the official apartments, the Hofburg houses Austria’s National Library and a couple of museums like the Sisi-museum, focusing on the beloved Empress, the ancient State Apartments, and the Silver Chamber.

1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1-  533 75 70
Email: info@hofburg-wien.at
Open daily from 9 a. m. to 5.30 p. m. (in July and August till 6 p. m.)


If after all the snacks or hearty lunches you’re still hungry, there’s one of Vienna’s most rustic and traditional restaurants just a few steps from your hotel.

Tafelspitz, beef in its broth, one of Austria's delicacies.
Tafelspitz, beef in its broth, one of Austria’s delicacies.
Nope, Austrian cuisine is not very light.

If you are coming – on a sunny day – from the Stadtpark, you can also walk there along the Bäckerstraße from which the Sonnenfeldgasse deviates.

Coming on a rainy day from the Hofburg, you walk back to the tram stop Burgring and take either #1 (towards Prater) or #2 (towards Friedrich-Engels-Platz) back to Schwedenplatz.

Sonnenfelsgasse 3
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 512 67 77
Email: office@zwoelf-apostelkeller.at


Vienna might be historical and traditional, but it’s of course also trendy and hip and there are many clubs and bars.

Motto am Fluss in Vienna
Sundowner on the riverfront: Motto am Fluss
(Photo: © WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)

The Motto am Fluss is a pleasant place for a nightcap – especially since it gives you the opportunity to say Good Night to the city: It’s located on the bank of the river Danube and there is a fantastic view over Vienna.

Motto am Fluss Cafe
Franz Josefs Kai 2
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 252 55 11
Open daily 8 a. m. till midnight

illustration of a bed Accommodation

Even if you have a very early flight, it’s not necessary to stay at an airport hotel. A trip from downtown Vienna to Schwechat, where the airport is located, takes only 45 minutes max – and, in addition, you have four options to get there. I’ve stated them above.

Only if you intend to take the S7 train you might have to adjust your schedule since these trains are running only every 30 minutes.
A walk from the highly recommendable Ruby Lissi Hotel & Bar** to the train station Mitte should take about 10 to 15 minutes.

Having more time to spend in Vienna? Need further ideas and inspiration for your stay? Here is my comprehensive guide.

Map – sunny day itinerary

Map – rainy day itinerary

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