Magnificent buildings, parks and gardens - one after another. What's best from a tourist's point of view is that most of them are very close together. No need to use any transportation to reach the best sights of Vienna.
Even on a few-hour stopover it's a comfortable city to walk around and see the most of it.
And if the going gets too hectic, Danube Canal and Naschmarkt (an outdoor marketplace) offer a nice contrast to the city life. And yes, they are both located right next to the Historic Centre of Vienna.
Where to stay in Vienna
Somewhere close to where most of the pictures were taken would be best. The most ideal location would be around the two famous streets in the centre: Graben (black) and Kärtner Strasse (red).
Mariahilfer Strasse is marked with a blue line, because it's very pedestrian-friendly and all about shopping (image 1 - image 2). So if you are looking for a hotel a little outside the city centre, close to Mariahilfer Strasse could be the best choice.
Things to do in Vienna
There is the Lower Belvedere Palace and the Upper Belvedere Palace with a large garden in between. They both have different exhibitions, but especially the Upper Belvedere would be well worth visiting even without the masterpieces on the walls.
The garden is free to enter, and is walked around in about 30-45 minutes (be sure to check the other side of the upper palace as well). An admission fee is required to enter the palaces.
Belvedere palaces and garden are located on the south side of the city centre and within walking distance. 1.5 kilometers from Stephansplatz and 900 meters from Karlsplatz. Tram 71 has a stop at the entrance at the Lower Belvedere.
If you walk from the city centre, take the left side after the Hochstralbrunnen fountain (street: Rennweg), and the entrance is within 250 meters. If you take the right side (Prinz Eugen-Strasse), you have to walk around almost the whole area to find and entrance.
More information: belvedere.at
Probably the number one attraction in Vienna is the only one outside the city centre. But visiting Schönbrunn Palace is a must for every one spending more than a day in Vienna.
It’s easy to spend at least a couple of hours walking around in the various magnificent gardens. The area is about one kilometer long and one kilometer wide with plenty of things to see. And you can do it for free within opening hours. There’s an admission fee for the Palace and other attractions.
Getting there is pretty quick, since there’s a direct metro line (green 4) from the city centre. The right stop is called Schönbrunn, and there’s a 600-meter walk from the station to the front gate.
Bus 10A takes you all the way to the front gate. Or trams 10 or 60 within 200 meters.
I don't publish any pictures, because it's a private area, and they have a strict policy when it comes to photos for other purposes than for personal use. But google it, and you'll know what I'm talking about. Or visit their website: schoenbrunn.at
Hofburg is the former imperial palace that has been expanded many times over the years, so it consists of several wings in a wide area.
When I first went to Vienna, I didn’t even realize they weren’t actually separate buildings, but parts of one large palace complex.
The main image on the top of this page is Neue Burg, just a part of Hofburg.
There’s a good map/image of them all in the Hofburg Wikipedia page.
Stadtpark is located on the southwest side of the Vienna centre, Innere Stadt. It’s mostly a place to hang out and take a rest from seeing the sights.
There’s a small pond in the middle of the park, and numerous park benches and statues around the area, as well as grass areas to eat a picnic or enjoy the sun.
Kursalon Music Hall is also found in the park as well as restaurants and cafes.
Opposite of the Parliament building and next to the Hofburgtheater is a beautiful and well-maintained park with fountains and a rose garden. If you walk around the Parliament building, City Hall, Hofburg and Neue Burg, you cannot miss Volksgarten, because it’s in the middle of them all.
Have drinks along the Danube Canal
Danube Canal in Vienna isn’t otherwise that interesting, but there a many small bars along it with sunbeds and imported sand. So although there are no real beaches in Vienna, it’s still possible to get into the feeling, take off your shoes, tip your toes into sand and have a drink or two. A nice break from the city life.
The easiest way to get to the area is to take the metro line 4, get off at Schottenring, and take the exit on the east side of the canal.
Vienna is a city of endless museums, but there is an area that is full of them, the MuseumsQuartier. And on the opposite side of the street are located the twin museums Museum of Fine Arts and Museum of Natural History.
Pictures number 6 and 5 on the map above were taken in the area.
More information: mqw.at
Naschmarkt is a large marketplace on the south side of the city centre. The area near to the centre is dedicated to food. Fruits, vegetables, spices, drinks and endless choice of restaurants. It's a must for every food lover, and a good place to eat even in the evening, since many of the restaurants are open until late at night.
From the airport
- City Airport Train (CAT), red line on the map below, is an easy option. Trains run every 30 minutes (06-23) and the journey lasts only 16 minutes with no stops between airport and Wien Mitte. Tickets can be bought almost anywhere in the airport and the CAT station is easy to find. It costs €11.00 for one-way or €19.00 for return.The metro station at Wien Mitte train station is called Landstraße (Lines U3 and U4).
If you have an evening flight back, it's also possible to check-in your bags at Wien Mitte early and enjoy the day without worrying about luggage. You have to have bought CAT tickets for that and it's not an option for all airlines. More information: cityairporttrain.com
Express train S7 route is marked with a black line. It's slower than the CAT with so many stops along the way, but it's also cheaper (€3.90). Timetables: oebb.at.
The airport is Flughafen Wien and the other station names can be found on the map. Just look for the trains with zero train changes at ÖBB website to find the S7 trains, because it suggests all possible options. The airport is outside the Vienna city zone, so the normal city ticket (€2.20) is not enough, but one needs to buy another ticket (€1.70) for the outer zone as well. Totaling €3.90.
- Railjet trains (blue line) are long distance trains, but they stop at the main station Wien Hauptbahnhof and also at Wien Meidling. Link for the timetables is above, same as the S7 train. The price is also the same (€3.90), but it takes only 15 minutes to reach the main station. The stations for that route are called Flughafen Wien Bahnhof (airport) and Wien Hbf (main station). The metro station at Hauptbahnhof is called Südtiroler Platz (Line 1).
- Since there are no train stations right in the city centre, bus can be the best option. Vienna Airport Lines have 14 stops at Vienna, five of them (the most centrally located ones) are marked on the map below. Price is €8.00 single and €13.00 return. It takes between 22 minutes to 60 minutes to reach the stops on the map. Timetables and more information: viennaairportlines.at
Weather in Vienna
Winter: The winter months in Vienna are cold and the temperature goes below 0°C from December to February. On the coldest days it can get to -10°C, so a proper winter clothing is necessary, such as hat, winter shoes, gloves and scarf. December is great time to visit Vienna, as the snowy Christmas Market is one of the prettiest in Europe.
Spring: By March, the temperature starts rising towards further spring. The temperature is on average around 8°C - 15 °C. May can be already a very warm month with temperatures going occasionally over 20°C. The evenings aren’t that warm so it’s still good to have a coat with you along with a jumper and trousers. Late spring and summer months are the periods when it rains the most.
Summer: June, July and August are the warmest months of the year though the average high temperatures stay around 25°C though the mercury can rise to over 30°C . June is the month when it rains the most but in all, Vienna in the summer is pretty sun safe.
Autumn: The temperatures drop to 8°C - 15 °C in the Autumn months. In November the temperature can be already at 0°C. Similar clothing than in the spring time is advisable.