24 hours in...Vienna

On my last flight to Vienna, I was surprised how many passengers were on their way to farther destinations, i.e. in Austria's capital only on a layover. Therefore, after having already publish an extended article on my stay, I put together my best tips in this "24 hours in..."-post.

Majestic Vienna: At the Imperial Apartments of the "Albertina"

As usual, 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*!

If you have more time to enjoy Vienna, don't miss my recent post!

­čĺ░   Local Currency:

Euro (EUR) / 1 EUR = 1,14 US$ (November 2018) / current rate

­čÜö    Emergency Hotline:

Police: 133

Ambulance: 144

­čŤź    National Airline: 

Austrian Airlines

­čŤČ    Airport:

Vienna International Airport, IATA Code: VIA

­čŚ║    Tourist Info online and onsite:

The official Vienna Website is excellent and very informative.

At the airport are dispenser 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.

­čÜć    Getting Downtown and Back

Taking the streetcar is the fastest and cheapest way  to visit Vienna.  (@ WienTourismus/Peter Rigaud)
Taking the streetcar is the fastest and cheapest way
 to visit Vienna.
(@ WienTourismus/Peter Rigaud)
To get from the airport to the city center, your best option is to take the S7 ('S-Bahn') towards Floridsdorf and get off at Landstra├če/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 3,90 €uro. If you get a 24 hours ticket - for 7,60 €uro highly recommendable since a single ride costs 2,20 €uro - you only have to pay an additional 1,70  €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 option - 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; if you get, give me a hint, please.

­čî×    Morning Activities

Inside Saint Steven's Cathedral
(©Wien Tourismus/Daniela Stallinger)
Even on a sunny day a visit to the Stephansdom, Saint Steven's Cathedral is Vienna's most important landmark and within walking distance from the hotel resp. the Schwedenplatz. Built in the early 12th century, it is the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and the seat of Vienna's Archbishop. It has four towers, the highest, southern tower is 136 meters / 446 feet high. 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.)

At Christmas time there even is an
entire Manner streetcar!
(Photo: © Manner)
You'll probably will enjoy strolling a little around the Stephansplatz, watching some street artists performing, listening to the hoofs of the horses pulling the ancient carriages and stock up on traditional wafers and other delicious sweets at Manner.

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

01589-Pests├Ąule Barockengel, Am Graben©WienTourismus-MAXUM
This little golden Cherub on top of the baroque
plague column is watching over Vienna's shoppers.
(Photo: ©WienTourismus/MAXUM)
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 caf├ęs are more or less like stores and caf├ęs in any other city center, I'd like to point out - believe it or not - H&M: In 2004, this chain opened its 50st 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

Vienna's elegant promenade is called "Graben" - which means trench. Well, sometimes shopping can be war. (Photo: ©WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)
Vienna's elegant promenade is called "Graben" -
which means trench. Well, sometimes shopping can be war.
(Photo: ©WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)
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 sort 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.

 HeldenplatzFotograf © WienTourismus-Christian Stemper
The Heldenplatz, the hero's square, was not
always a place for the better men.
(Photo: © WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)
Ready to go on? Walking up the Habsburgergasse, you'll get to the Hofburg, the Royal Castle, that today is the Austrian President's official seat.

Admiring the magnificent architecture, cross the Hofburg to the huge Heldenplatz, the hero's square, with the equestrian statue of Prince Eugen.

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.

50133-Im Burggarten@ WienTourismus-Peter Rigaud
The Burggarten is a great place to chill -
and the Palmenhaus in the backdrop a great place to eat.
(Photo: ©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)
The Burggarten with its huge trees and little lake is a perfect place to just hang out a bit on a hot day. If 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 10 a. m. till 11 p. m.

Bitzinger's sausages with all the fixings.  (©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)
Bitzinger's sausages with all the fixings.
(©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)
Don't worry, even if you're not up for a fancy lunch, you won't spend the day hungry: Leave the Burggarten on the right side of the Palmenhaus and you find yourself at the Albertinaplatz. Here is Vienna's most famous sausage stand, Bitzinger W├╝rstelstand.

Bitzinger W├╝rstelstand 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 than 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.

The breathtaking architecture of the Upper Belvedere.
(Photo:© WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)
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 the 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.

├ľsterreichische Galerie Belvedere 
Prinz Eugen-Stra├če 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 - like you do now back at the Schloss Belvedere stop: #D towards Nussdorf will take you in ten minutes to the stop Burgring, located between the Hofburg, the Royal Castle, 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 monarch Maria Theresia.

Pieter Bruegel's 'Tower of Babel' - certainly one of world's most famous paintings.  (©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)
Pieter Bruegel's 'Tower of Babel' -
certainly one of world's most famous paintings.
(©Wien Tourismus/Peter Rigaud)
Your destination should be the Art History Museum, that 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

­čŹŁ     Lunch

Your lunch options on a sunny day are a couple of snack stops along the way described in the morning itinerary.

What would be Vienna without a Schnitzel?!
Two the right a pot roast with a dumpling.
These are of course two separate meals...
On a rainy day you'll probably won't be up for a quick bite on your way, but will enjoy a hearty hot meal at an cozy restaurant, so it's good that you're just a five minutes walk away from a typical Beils, a pub, serving authentic Austrian food.

Cross the Museumsquartier west of the Kunsthistorisches Museum (were our first afternoon stop will be, anyways) 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.)

­čî×    Afternoon Activities

It's possible to walk from the Bitzinger sausage stand to the Belvedere; but it's not exactly close by. If you choose to walk, go down the Walfischgasse and turn right into Schwarzenbergstra├če. 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.

Designed for walking solemnly, not for pacing:
The Belvedere Garden.
(Photo: © WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)
Like I explained in the itinerary for a rainy day above, the Belvedere consists of two main buildings which 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.

He's golden - that's how much Vienna
honors the'King of the Valse'
 Johann Strau├č
(©Wien Tourismus/Willfried Gredler-Oxenbauer)
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 Strau├č statue, made by Franz Metzner and Edmund von Hellmer in the symbolist style of the Vienna Secession.

⛈    Afternoon Activities

The Leopold Museum is not only worth the visit for the art,
it also opens to Vienna's most beautiful views.
The Glacis Beisl is three minutes from the next great museum focusing mainly on Austrian art from the turn of the last century - a truly exciting era with many ingenious, darin 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 their 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.)

The Michaelertor, the Michaeler gate -   entrance to the palatial Hofburg complex.  (Photo: ©Wien Tourismus MAXUM)
The Michaelertor, the Michaeler gate -
 entrance to the palatial Hofburg complex.
(Photo: ©Wien Tourismus MAXUM)
No Vienna-sojourn is complete without a visit of the Hofburg,
the Royal Castle, that was the Habsburg's residence between the 13th century till end of WWI in 1918. 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.)

­čŹŁ    Dinner

Tafelspitz, beef in its broth, one of Austria's delicacies.
Nope, Austrian cuisine is not very light.
If after all the snacks or hearty lunches you're still hungry, there's one of Vienna's most rustic and traditional restaurant just a few steps from your hotel.
If you are coming - on a sunny day - from the Stadtpark, you can actually walk there along the B├Ąckerstra├če 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

­čŹŞ   Nightcap

41028-© WienTourismus-Christian Stemper - motto
Sundowner on the river front: Motto am Fluss
(Photo: © WienTourismus/Christian Stemper)
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 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

­čś┤    Accomodation

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 45 minutes max - and you have the a. m. four options to get there. 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 your hotel to the train station Mitte should take about 10 to 15 minutes.

Ruby Lissi Hotel & Bar 
Fleischmarkt 19 / Laurenzerberg 2
1010 Vienna
Phone: + 49 - 89 - 12 50 95 210 (note: this is a Germany phone-no at their central office in Munich)
Email: info@ruby-hotels.com

Need more ideas and inspiration for Vienna? 

Check out this post.

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* In case you're curious: Austria adjoins to Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Hungary.

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  1. I’ve been to Vienna but not for long so I really enjoy your morning and afternoon activities that you suggest! And of course, eating a schnitzel is a must, too! Very well written and informative post with so much detailed information!!

  2. A useful tips and activities list! I haven’t been to Vienna but when I do I’ll be ticking off some of the things listed here. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Been to Vienna a number of times. Wonderful city. Most recently there for two days -- resting on a bike ride from Regensburg to Budapest along the Danube. It was raining. ;-) And yes, this city is just fine, as you say, in the rain. Great tips and info!

  4. What a complete itinerary! It's very useful when you only stay for a day in a city. I haven't been to Vienna but this post is a good start. Thank you.

  5. Thank you so much for this very informative post! I am considering a week's trip to Austria this summer,so your blog just went to my bookmarked list :-)

  6. I loved Vienna! Grand architecture, delicious patries and beautiful art... especially from Klimt! Thanks for the read :)

  7. Happy you had fun in my country :) Next time you should stay longer :*
    Have a nice day and safe travels,

  8. Vienna is simply amazing. We've been there a couple of months ago and we loved it, Renata. Have you tried the famous Sacher Torte?

  9. Wow this is a super comprehensive guide. I love how you have added additional information such as address and contact numbers. Such a fun packed day with many things to see and do. Thanks for the guide

  10. You did so much in 24 hours! I always love to see people jam back a lot in so little time. I love how you outlined the entire post into categories! That is a neat idea, thank you for sharing this!

  11. Vienna is such a beautiful city full of history. I would love to see it someday, even if only for 24 hours.

  12. 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.

  13. I never got to travel to Vienna, definetley in my bucket list!
    Thank u for the info

  14. 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!

  15. 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 :)

  16. 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

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Wow! sounds like you're really having great time, amazing photos too! Thanks for sharing these wonderful post!

  19. Vienna is so majestic - full of such beautiful architecture, music and art!

  20. 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!

  21. 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!

  22. 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!

  23. 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.

  24. 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

  25. 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!

  26. 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:)

  27. This is a great list of tips and recommendations. I haven't been to Vienna yet, but I'd love to go.

  28. 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

  29. 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!

  30. 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!


  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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

  34. 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.

  35. I would say your blog is a perfect guide. This trip to Vienna post has perfect itinerary and would definitely maximize your 24hrs.

  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

  37. 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 :)

  38. 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!

  39. Such an amazing photos! Those great and huge architectures are pretty impressive. One of the most beautiful places all over the world!

  40. 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.

  41. Amazing you were able to enjoy Vienna and capture all these great pics in 24hours. Thanks for sharing!

  42. 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.

  43. 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 :)

  44. 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. :)

  45. 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.

  46. 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!

  47. 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!

  48. 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 :)

  49. I have never visited Vienna, definitely in my bucket list!
    This is a very detailed and informative post,. Thanks for sharing this.

  50. I've never been to vienna but want to go. Great post with lots of very useful information. Thanks.


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