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.
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.
Euro (EUR) / 1 EUR = 1 US$ as of November 2022 / current rate
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
Open daily from 7 a. m. to 7 p. m.
Furthermore, all the hotels can supply you with info material, tourist cards and more.
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.
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.
Even on a sunny day, a visit to the Stephansdom is, obviously, indispensable.
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
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 795 57 – 0
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.
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.
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 525 24- 0
Your lunch options on a sunny day are a couple of snack stops along the way that I’ve mentioned in the morning itinerary.
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.
Breite Gasse 4
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 526 56 60
Open daily from 11 a. p. to 2 a. m. (Sunday to 1 a. m.)
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.
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.
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.
The Glacis Beisl is three minutes from the next great museum.
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.
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 525 70
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.
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.
Phone: + 43 – 1- 533 75 70
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.
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.
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 512 67 77
Vienna might be historical and traditional, but it’s of course also trendy and hip and there are many clubs and bars.
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
Phone: + 43 – 1 – 252 55 11
Open daily 8 a. m. till midnight
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
If you choose to pin this post for later, please use one of these pictures:
Note: I’m completing, editing, and updating this post regularly – last in November 2022.
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50 Replies to “24 hours in VIENNA”
These are truly great ideas for a visit to Vienna! Thanx so much!
This was a really wonderful article. Many thanks for supplying this info.
I've never been to vienna but want to go. Great post with lots of very useful information. Thanks.
I have never visited Vienna, definitely in my bucket list!
This is a very detailed and informative post,. Thanks for sharing this.
Really great overview of Vienna! You've really got me remembering the amazing time I spent there a few years ago and why i really must return .. and it's not just for the Manner 🙂
Wow what a trip! Vienna is somewhere `I would love to visit, my husband often goes to Austria for work so this is somewhere we have spoke of going. You packed in so much!
I haven't thought much about Vienna yet, but this makes a quick trip there from Scotland in the next few months a possibility! I've always found Vienna to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe…from what I've seen on google images. Thanks for the detailed itinerary, keeping this in mind!
To try and cram 24 hour shift into any major city is tough but Vienna would be very tough. You listed out so many amazing attractions that it would be near impossible to narrow down the must do's on a given trip. Vienna is definitely a city we want to visit someday.
That's a lot to cover in 24 hours! Vienna is such a culturally rich and stunning city with fabulous architecture, museums and heritage. We spent 5-6 days there and we're still falling short of time. 🙂
Wow, you can do a lot in Vienna in 24 hours! Thank you so much for this detailed guide, I especially appreciate the food recommendations. The historic architecture is just lovely. Adding Vienna to my 2018 travel list 🙂
Thanks for an elaborate guide to Vienna. I very much want to visit this lovely city for a couple of days at least. And I am in the planning stage, gathering information. I am bookmarking your article for it contains many valuable information including currency and transport details that will be very useful for me.
Amazing you were able to enjoy Vienna and capture all these great pics in 24hours. Thanks for sharing!
What a perfect way to spend 24 hours. I love your photography and the exquisite detail you put into your blogs. I would love to explore Vienna.
Such an amazing photos! Those great and huge architectures are pretty impressive. One of the most beautiful places all over the world!
Vienna is one of those places that I'd love to visit, but have never really known where to start. This list is really comprehensive, and the level of detail you added is so very helpful! The photos you chose are stunning, and are really lovely travel inspo. Thank you for this!
This is one of the most informative travel post I have ever read. I have never been to Vienna but I always love to squeeze in some sight seeing if my layover is longer than 10 hours in a certain city. However, I'd love my trip to Vienna to be longer than that. I mean who wouldn't love to take a leisurely look at all these amazing places 🙂
I would say your blog is a perfect guide. This trip to Vienna post has perfect itinerary and would definitely maximize your 24hrs.
Thats very detailed article. I liked the way you arranged the information and those photos also. We also enjoyed Vienna. It really a great city.
Such a well constructed post, I like how youve put all the information you you need on here. Vienna is a city that's escaped me so far but I must visit it at some point. I can't believe you managed to pack all that into just 24 hours – i think I would lose my time in Stephansplatz watching the street entertainers while munching waffles haha
I had never thought of Vienna as a stop over city but it makes sense. It is kind of in the middle of everything. When I went to Vienna, I spent three days there. I was also taking a bus from Germany, so I never really experienced the airport. It was wonderful to see the city. I also went to the Belvedere. It was amazing.
I've always wanted to go to Vienna and seems that you can pack in both city and a bit of greenery while your there! That's a packed 24 hours. I'm also a huge fan of Schnitzel, so would love to try it in Vienna.
Love the in depth guide about Vienna! We've been to Vienna last month and boy was it cold because of the icy wind. The weather in Yahoo showed +2 deg C but it felt like more than that compared to -2 deg that we were experienced in Oslo. Those Schnitzels though! We'll back for them sooon!
Thank you so much for sharing this great list of tips and recommendations! I have bookmarked the list as we are planning to visit here soon. Vienna is so majestic – full of beautiful architecture, music and art!
I love the name of your blog, I've been to Vienna only once not as a layout, but i was so sick i mainly stayed in bad in my hotel. so sound like i need to go back, I love the museum there with Klimt paintings, and i had no idea about their night life option
This is a great list of tips and recommendations. I haven't been to Vienna yet, but I'd love to go.
How incredible. I would like to visit one day and wow if I did half of that in one day I would be wore out when I came back home, but oh what fun it will be:)
Walking up the Habsburgergasse to view those magnificent architectures is the one would love the most. My parents have been to Vienna, but I'm yet to plan a trip to this beautiful place soon. Thanks for the detailed itinerary!
Our neighbors went to Vienna last year and have talked a lot about how much they enjoyed it. In fact, their photos of Saint Steven's Cathedral were my favorites. I have a soft spot in my heart for churches of any kind and it's a place I'd love to visit one day too. Also, they raved about how good the food was, particularly the Wiener Schnitzel & Apfelstrudel. x
I really enjoyed your post and all the details. I was in Vienna 20 years ago and remember loving it. I think I want to go back there now with my husband and I will use some of your itinerary suggestions.
Oh Vienna, how sweet you are! What a great rundown and guide for 24 hours. Although, I think I'll be spending more time there once I get there so I clicked on the additional info you provided. Thanks for sharing!
Your post on Vienna is a very good practical guide for the first time traveller to Vienna. I'm very impressed that you have included all travel options down to the best value options available. I have not been to Vienna yet but its on my list as I hope to travel to all major European cities . Great post!
For those visiting Vienna for the first time, your article is a good starting point! I like how you have arranged all the essential information in a very coherent way, making it easy for everyone to skim through and still receive the most useful information 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing!
Vienna is so majestic – full of such beautiful architecture, music and art!
Wow! sounds like you're really having great time, amazing photos too! Thanks for sharing these wonderful post!
Thats amazing and so informative!! I can't believe how much you got to see and do in only 24 hours! Thats super impressive! I'll definitely be planning a trip there soon! x
Wow that's a lot of coverage in just 24 hours. I think with a toddler i can cover only about half of this. Going to use this page as my itinerary. Thanks 🙂
I've heard Vienna is a beautifullllll city so I'd love to go one day. Your post was full of VERY helpful tips so thanks so much for sharing!
I never got to travel to Vienna, definetley in my bucket list!
Thank u for the info
This is a really well written and thorough guide. I don't have plans to visit Austria but when do I will absolutely look this up again and use your guide for directions and activities.
Vienna is such a beautiful city full of history. I would love to see it someday, even if only for 24 hours.