One Day In Vienna
Spend at least one day in Vienna! Vienna is the stunning capital of Austria, rich with history and culture, and it’s a must see on your European trip. Vienna was home to some of the world’s most brilliant talents such as Beethoven, Mozart, and Freud, and was the seat of the Habsburg royal family who ruled until 1918. If you don’t have much time, here are 6 things to do in one day in Vienna. You will fall in love with the architecture, art, food, music, and royalty. I found it to be very safe and clean. (Actually, a kind of clean like I’ve never seen in a city before!) Here’s how to enjoy one day in Vienna.
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Know before you go
When To Go
Vienna is gorgeous all year round. I visited in December and highly recommend being there for the Christmas markets, the cold air on your face, and the festive lights lining the streets. The spring is a wonderful time because Vienna is less busy and the temps are very mild. The fall is also a great time to visit Vienna because the temperatures are in the high 60’s and the height of the tourist season is over. The summer is beautiful, but can be hot and difficult to book a place to stay.
Where To Stay
Vienna’s city center, Innere Stadt, is the area known as the first district and is where most of the main tourist attractions are. When booking a rental or hotel, I recommend you try to be as close to this area as possible. You’ll be able to walk to the sites and will be in the heart of one of Europe’s most revered cultural cities.
Your one day in Vienna will include a lot of walking, but you have choices for transportation, including rideshare apps.
Vienna Hop On and Hop Off sightseeing bus tours allow access to many attractions. A Vienna City Card will give you free public transportation for the day, and offers discounts to some attractions.
- The Euro is the official currency of Austria.
- Plug types are types C and F. Type C is the one with two round pins and Type F is the plug with two round pins and two earth clips on the side.
- The language of Vienna is German. Many people speak English, and other European languages, however.
- Cafes, coffee, pastries, cafes, coffee, pastries.
- Take a Free Walking Tour. (Actually, a pay-what-you-can tour). There are over 100 guided walking tours offered in Vienna! Some with themes and others are more basic. I chose the Vienna City Classic Walk.
6 things to do on your One Day In Vienna
1. The Stephansplatz & Heldenplatz
The Inner Stadt is the city center and is flanked by two of the most important places in Vienna. On one side is Stephansplatz, home to Stephansdom, or St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and on the other side is The Heldenplatz, home of The Hofburg, the winter palace of the Habsburg dynasty. The cathedral, originally built in 1147, it’s one of the tallest churches in the world and is famous for its catacomb burial sites, church treasures, and Gothic architecture. The palace, built in the 13th century, is filled with art, silver, and stories of the iconic Elizabeth and Franz Joseph Habsburg. Tours of the church and the palace are well worth it, when you have more time.
2. Albertina Museum
No trip to Vienna is complete without at least a short visit to an art museum. I’m recommending the Albertina Museum because it offers important masterpieces from favorites, such as Picasso and Monet, as well as Klimt, but it’s not overwhelming and has pieces the whole family will enjoy. With not much time, you want to choose your museum wisely.
The World Heritage Site complex of the Belvedere or the Kunsthistorisches Museum are also fantastic because the palace architecture is as important as the art within. You will be able to see Klimt, Rembrandt, and Caravaggio. The most famous work of Klimt, The Kiss, is in the Belvedere.
3. Mozart’s House
The Mozarthaus Museum is a small and simple look into the genius’ life for the three years he lived in Vienna. Visiting the modest apartments gives you a glimpse into Mozart’s world and his music. The ticket price is €12 per adult or €25 for the whole family.
4. The Strudel Show at Schloss Schönbrunn Palace
Schloss Schönbrunn Palace was the summer home for the royal Habsburg family. It is a 15 minute ride outside the city center. You can take a taxi, rideshare app, or the subway.
Pro Tip: For a family of 4 it’s cheaper, quicker, and much more convenient to call an Uber.
Short on time? Skip the palace and make a beeline for the kitchen! The Strudel Show at the Schönbrunn Palace is not to be missed. Watch and learn how to make the traditional apple strudel, Vienna’s most famous desert. Every hour a professional strudel chef bakes an apple strudel for a small audience in the palace. For only €11.50 p/person you can watch a delightful show, eat a delicious piece of fresh apple strudel, and sip coffee or hot cocoa! It’s a legendary hoot! More fun than you can imagine.
If you decide you have more time, the Habsburg’s winter and summer homes are everything you want in palaces! Regal, Rococo, and Rich! With thousands of rooms, you could be touring all day seeing furniture, silver, apartments, art, gardens, etc. For €36 p/adult and €23 p/child you can have a grand tour of either palace.
5. Café Central
Café Central is inside the Palais Ferstel, a Venetian mansion. Trotsky and Freud and friends would gather there for coffee and strudel and conversation. There are many wonderful cafes in Vienna, but this is the most famous and the most beautiful. Well worth the wait in line to be seated. If you are lucky, like us, you will be pulled out of line, Studio 54 style, for a table! Go for a full meal, or just coffee and desert, just go!
6. The Vienna State Opera
Make your plans early enough to buy tickets to the opera. The world famous Vienna State Opera is unlike anything you have experienced. Whether you are a fan of opera or not, make this your last stop on your one day in Vienna. Dress up and enjoy the show. You will not be sorry! Ticket prices range from €15 – €215. So plan ahead!
If you are lucky enough to visit Vienna during the holiday season, be sure to spend time in the Christmas markets shopping and eating your way through town!