So you are travelling to Vienna and you only have 2 days to explore this amazing city? Well, good news! I have made this guide with the absolute must-do’s for 48 hours. This was made bearing in mind it’s your first time visiting the capital of Austria… Let’s begin!
1- Start your day with a good breakfast. Don’t say I didn’t warn you before! 😉 The starting point will be Karlsplatz subway station, take the Opera exit:
2- Walk straight along the Kärtner Strasse (one of the most elegant streets of Vienna) until you see a huge Cathedral. This is Stephansdom, built in 1137.
3- I would visit the cathedral at this point (the entrance is free). You could also climb the South or North tower for a panoramic view over Vienna. Then, continue walking along the Graben street, where you will see the Monument of the Plague. Keep going till the end of the street, and turn left in the Kohlmarkt street -This is the street which is filled with a “rain of light” during Christmas-.
4- If you are craving for coffee make a stop at Demel, a very traditional Viennese Café. You can even see how they make Strudel here! At this point you could visit the Hofburg together with the Sisi Museum and Royal Apartments (highly recommended but will take up to 3 hours). I would go straight across the Hofburg until you see the National library (Nationalbibliotek). Here you are a few steps away from the Ring Street, the one that encircles the city center. All the main attractions are along this street. Walk right along the ring and you will see the Burggarten:
5- Keep walking until you see the Parliament building on your left. There are guided tours if you are interested on going inside. Follow the Ring and you will then see the Town Hall (Rathaus) on your left:
There is always something going on here, so take your time to have a look! Opposite, you will find the Burgtheater-the most important German speaking theatre- (big thanks to Uschi Gross!). Right next to it you’ll see the gorgeous Volksgarten, which is one of my favourite parks and a must-see in summer when it fills with roses.
6- If you keep going through the ring you will see one of Beethoven´s houses on your right, as well as the University of Vienna on your left. Finally, you may want to admire the Votiv Church:
7- From there, you could choose between 2 options. If you are ready for a lunch break, you could visit Cafe Landtmann. However, if you still have the energy, take the tram 1 or 2 or walk along the ring, until you can turn to the Justice Palace. This is not a touristic spot, but the interior is simply breathtaking.
You will have to go through a security check first, and if the ask tell them you are going to the Café on the last floor (free entrance). After having a look around you could grab a bite at the Cafe on the last floor (highly recommended for the views and the good prices)
8- Once you are done, head to the Maria Theresien platz square. There are 2 museums facing each other: The Natural History and the Historical Art Museum.
Right behind there is the Museums Quartier, which once housed the horse stables of the court. Here you can visit several museums (e.g MAK, Leopold)
9- If you are visiting during summer have a glass of Grüner Vetliner at Glacis Beisl or a vegan ice cream in Veganista. For winter you may visit the traditional Cafe Sperl or for a modern and relaxed atmosphere Cafe Phil.
10- For those who want to shop, this would be a good moment to go to Mariahilferstrasse. For dinner I would recommend Schweizerhaus, located inside the Prater. Ask for Stelze, the Austrian specialty and why not take a ride on the wheel!
1- First thing in the morning go to Schönbrunn, which was the imperial summer residence of the Habsburg family. If you are planning to visit the inside of the palace, it will take around 3 hours. I would do it in winter, but not during the summer. For the latter, take a stroll around the beautiful gardens and admire the countless flowers and wonderful trees
Here you will also find one of the oldest Zoos (founded in 1752), the Palmenhaus and a fun Labyrinth (included with the entrance to the palace). Don’t forget to climb the Gloriette for some amazing views! If you need a break at this point, Landtmann JausenStation (inside the gardens) is a lovely and colorful place to recharge batteries.
2- In the afternoon head to the Belvedere Palace. Here you could also have a walk through the gardens or visit the “Oberes Belevedere” which is where there is a large collection of art and the well-known painting “The Kiss” by Klimt.
3- For drinks with a view go to either Bar Le Loft at the Sofitel’s Rooftop, or during summer to Bar Bloom, located at the Hotel Lamee, a few steps away from Stephansdom.
4- For a proper, yet affordable dinner you could go to Centimeter (there are many, I have only tried the one on the 7th district) Ask for the Wiener Schnitzel, another typical dish I am sure you will enjoy.
Last but not least here are some important tips about Vienna:
Getting around Vienna
– Transfer to/from the Airport to the city center: Travel by train (S-Bahn) to Prater or Wien Mitte stations that allow to combine with the subway. (Cost: € 4.20)
– Each single ticket allows you to use all means of transport during 1:30 hours in one direction (inside the city boundaries)
– Always buy transport ticket (the fines are very high) and remember to validate it. Ideally buy the ticket daily, or for several days. The daily ticket can be purchased cheaper with the Wiener Linien app and it is not necessary to validate it, just have the phone always with you.
– Use the AnachB application or Quando to know how to go from one point A to another B
– The metro runs from 5 am to midnight on weekdays. Fridays, Saturdays and days before holidays it runs 24 hours. After midnight there are night buses.
– Stores close around 18:30. Supermarkets at 8:00 p.m. On Saturdays shops have reduced hours and on Sundays most are closed.
-The local currency is the Euro. Most of the shops accept credit card, although it is advisable to also carry cash. As for tipping it’s normal to round the check or leave between 5 and 10%
-The most common greeting here is the “Grüß Gott”
-Keep your voice low, especially in public places. Viennese tend to be quiet and respectful.
-Do not cross traffic lights in red (even if cars don’t come)
– Keep right when on an escalator. Only use the left if you want to climb fast.
I hope you enjoy your visit! Let me know how it went 🙂