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You want to visit Vienna in 3 days? Perfect, you have enough time to see all main sights, enjoy culture and wonderful art in one or two of the city's museums and still have some time for other fun activities! We help you cover the city's major attractions and key experiences within this short span so you can make the most of your stay in Vienna. Here's our Ultimate City Guide on how to explore Vienna's main sights and popular activities within 72 hours:

How to get to Vienna & How to get around

Viennese red tram | @8thdistrictphotographer

Vienna's only airport, Schwechat is located 19km (12 miles) southeast of the city center. From there you can take the airport train CAT (City Airport Train), which runs every 30 minutes (5:35am to 11:35pm) to and from Wien Mitte Station every day, including holidays. The tickets can be booked here or at the counters at the airport and a one way ticket costs 14,90€.

But we really recommend to take the ÖBB Railjet train to Vienna Central Station. It runs from 6:33am to 11:03pm every 30 minutes as well. But the ticket is much cheaper! The ÖBB Railjet train ticket only costs 4,40€ from the airport to the center. You can book it here or at the counters at the airport as well.

Many of Vienna's iconic sites are conveniently clustered around the historic city center (around the Ring street). This central location facilitates easy exploration and minimizes travel time between attractions - thats why it's easily possible to explore the city on foot.

However, for your 3 day stay and in order to save time we recommend to buy a ticket for the extremely efficient city transport system (Wiener Linien). You can choose between a Single Ticket (2,40€), 24h (8€), 48h (14,10€) or 72h (17,10€) tickets online, at the ticket machines in the metro stations or in the Wiener Linien App on your phone.

Vienna's public transport network consists of trams (Straßenbahn), buses (Autobus), metros (U-Bahn) and trains (S-Bahn). With the ticket you can use all these vehicles and reach almost every part of Vienna with them.

Day 1: Catch some Culture in the City Center

Vienna State Opera, view from the Albertina

Sights & Activities on your first day:

  • Breakfast in the City Center

  • University of Vienna

  • City Hall

  • Burgtheater

  • Parliament

  • Volksgarten

  • Heldenlpatz

  • Kunsthistorisches Museum

  • Naturhistorisches Museum

  • Austrian National Library

  • Burggarten

  • Palm House & Butterfly House

  • Vienna State Opera

  • Albertina

  • St. Stephen's Cathedral

  • Lunch in an Austrian restaurant

  • Learn more about Vienna during a tour

  • Café Demel / Café Central

  • Karlskirche

  • Secession

  • Danube Canal

  • Schwedenplatz

Yes, that looks very much but we promise it’s still possible to reach all these sights within a short walking distance - Almost every sight is located on the Ring street!

Good Morning: Breakfast and Coffee

Being a tourist in Vienna has one obligation attached to it: having Viennese coffee and cake - there is just no way around it. No worries, we got you covered! Let’s start this day in the 9th district, next to Votivkirche. There you'll find one coffee shop after another - some more classic, some a bit more modern and hip.

Start your day with a walk along the Ringstraße

Being fueled by these sugary Viennese treats you are now ready to explore the city. We recommend walking along Wiener Ringstraße, which is Vienna's 5.3 km circular main street that serves as a ring road around the historic first district of Vienna. Walking along the Ringstrasse is like strolling through an open-air museum of architectural marvels. You'll find most of Vienna's sights there.

From the Votivkirche you will pass the historic University of Vienna, Vienna's City Hall, Burgtheater, the newly renovated Parliament, romantic Volksgarten with its thousand flowers as well as famous Heldenplatz. On the other side you can see the two museums Naturhistorisches Museum and Kunsthistorisches Museum at the Maria Theresien Platz. Stop at those sights that interest you the most!

Walking just a bit further you can go through one of the entries to beautiful Burggarten, our next stop. The first thing you’ll see, entering the park is the backside of Hofburg which houses the Austrian National Library. A bit further in the back you'll see the Palm House & Butterfly House. This building was used by emperor Franz who himself was an educated gardener who liked to grow plants from all over the world.

After a short break in the greenery go further along the Ring to Vienna State Opera. From Albertina you have a picturesque view to that building! After your photoshoot walk to Vienna's symbol, St. Stephen's Cathedral. From there you can easily reach our next stop.

Lunch like Schwarzenegger

Of course the line between lunch and dinner is quite thin in Vienna, as we like our Wiener Schnitzel any time of the day. This thinbreaded and pan-fried veal cutlet is traditionally served with either a classic potato salad or buttered parsley potatoes. However: a dollop of lingonberry jam is a must, otherwise it’s just not the “real deal”.

Being served at almost every Austrian restaurant, the first district is where you want to go! Our tip? Head to Figlmüller! They even offer a vegan alternative! PS: Arnold Schwarzenegger even went this far as to call his own dog “Schnitzel” - now that we call commitment!

If you're not a big Schnitzel fan, there are also many other options to try typical Viennese food! Here you can read everything about the dishes and where to find them.

Afternoon tours & walks in the city

After you got an overview of the main sights and where to find them in the city center, you can deepen your knowledge by booking a tour. If you want to relax while hearing some lesser-known stories about the city, we recommend our Electric Oldtimer Tour.

If you want to learn more about Viennas symbol book the tour „Secrets of St. Stephen’s Cathedral“. Still nothing for you? Here you‘ll find a special selection of interesting tours in Vienna!

Before continuing our tight sightseeing pragram, you may have another short break at the famous Café Demel or Café Central to enjoy Viennese coffee house culture.

Next up: The baroque St. Charles Church (Karlskirche). Pass the city center and Vienna State Opera one more time to reach this majestic church quickly. On the right hand side of Karlskirche you'll find the beautiful Art Nouveau building Secession. Walk in the other direction to visit Vienna's biggest park, the Stadtpark.

After strolling through the beautiful greenery walk along the Ringstraße to the Danube Canal. The first building you'll see is the Urania, a public educational institute and observatory. Go down to the Danube Canal (Donaukanal) to admire the colourful street art on its walls and to have a drink in one of the hip bars along the riverbank while watching the sunset. Donaukanal is really a canvas for artistic expression.

Experience Vienna's Nightlife at Schwedenplatz

After a short walk along the Danube Canal you'll reach Schwedenplatz. Schwedenplatz is a vibrant square nestled along the banks of the Danube River. The square is a hub of activity, featuring a variety of cafes, bars, restaurants, and shops. It's a favorite spot for both daytime leisure and nighttime revelry. As the sun sets, Schwedenplatz comes alive with the energy of Vienna's nightlife. Numerous bars and clubs in the vicinity ensure that visitors can experience the city's social scene well into the night.

The perfetct ending to an exciting day.

Day 2: Visit Schönbrunn & a Museum

Schönbrunn Palace

Sights & Activities on your second day:

  • Breakfast in a historical setting

  • Schönbrunn Palace & Gardens

  • Gloriette

  • Maze

  • Palm House

  • Lunch in a traditional restaurant

  • Schönbrunn Zoo or Museum

  • Rooftop Bar

Breakfast in a historical setting

Here are some Café recommendations for your breakfast at Schönbrunn:

  1. Kurkonditorei OBERLAA: In the heart of Hietzing, excellent patisserie, delicious cakes, pastries and warm pastries, coffee and tea specialties, as well as Viennese and international cuisine awaits you in a traditional setting.

  2. Gloriette Café: Having breakfast the imperial way! To get to this Café you have to enter Schönbrunn gardens. You'll find it right inside the impressive early neo-classical building Gloriette on a hill opposite Schönbrunn Palace! With a backdrop that is virtually impossible to outclass, it's without doubt one of Austria’s most impressive coffeehouses.

  3. Landtmanns Jausenstation: Only a few minutes from the Meidlinger gate you'll find the charming pavilion with terrace garden, where the Emperor's children once played. A beautiful spot for having breakfast while enjoying the view over the palace.

  4. Schlosscafé Schönbrunn: Located directly at the main entrance, this Café has a beautiful outdoor seating area with a magnificent view of Schönbrunn Palace! Apart from specialty coffees and teas it serves various types of breakfast (available all day) as well as a wide range of typical Viennese cakes and pastries .

Visit Schönbrunn Palace and its gardens

After your royal breakfast, it's time to visit Vienna's most popular sight: Schönbrunn Palace and its gardens! Schönbrunn Palace is open every day, including public holidays. Closing times vary depending on the time of year, but the park opens every morning at 6:30am. You can see all opening times and prices here.

The park is home to impressive fountains, statues, monuments, trees and flowers as well as the magnificent Gloriette. The Gloriette stands on higher ground in Schönbrunn Palace park and is definely worth a visit as it offers a fantastic view over Vienna.

The park also houses a Maze that has been recreated according to historical plans from the year 1698, a Palm House with more than 4,000 species of plants from all over the world and the famous Schönbrunn Zoo.

Schönbrunn Zoo or "Tiergarten Schönbrunn" is the oldest existing zoo in the world, the only remaining "Baroque menagerie". It's considered one of the best and most modern zoos in the world and its definetly worth a visit if you're a fan of zoos. If not, there are some other activities you can do instead after strolling through Schönbrunn gardens!

Get your zoo tickets here and get an entry ticket of the Palace + gardens tour here.

Have lunch in an Austrian Restaurant

If you have decided to go to the zoo, we recommend to eat at Tirolerhof at Schönbrunn. This tavern with its beautiful sitting rooms and shady outdoor dining area serves Tyrolean delicacies, and grilled specialties in summer. The zoo also offers some other restaurants like the beautiful Emperor's Pavillion in the heart of the zoo. In this baroque gem you can enjoy Viennese and international specialties while watching flamingos, zebras, cheetahs, giant pandas, hippopotamuses, and antilopes from the terrace.

If you have decided to so something else instead, we recommend to visit a traditional restaurant close to your chosen activity - Vienna is full of amazing restaurants!

The most Viennese afternoon activity? Visit Sisi, Klimt or Strauß!

Vienna offers a variety of art and culture not only including artworks like Picasso’s "Woman in a Green Hat", Monet’s “The Water Lily Pond” or Klimt's "The Kiss" but also imperial residences of the Habsburgs and famous monuments.

Not a fan of art? No problem! Here's a list that shows how diverse Viennese museums and activities can be:

  • Schönbrunn Palace (✔)

  • Belvedere Museum (Ticket)

  • Art History Museum (Ticket)

  • Natural History Museum

  • Albertina (Ticket)

  • Mumok - Museum of modern art (Ticket)

  • House of Music (Ticket)

  • Spanish Riding School (Ticket)

  • Technical Museum (Ticket)

  • Madame Tussauds (Ticket)

  • Sisi Museum

  • Wien Museum

  • Imperial Treasury (Ticket)

  • Austrian Film Museum

  • Museum Of Illusions (Ticket)

  • Haus des Meeres (Aqua Terra Zoo)

  • Folter Museum

  • MAK - Museum of applied arts (Ticket)

  • Mozarthaus Vienna (Ticket)

  • Museum of Art Fakes

End your Day at a rooftop bar

After a long day you deserve a refreshing cocktail and a snack with an amazing view above the city! One of the top rooftop bars in Vienna is "Dachboden". It's a part of the 25 Hours hotel, but open to the public and has a glorious view into the historic city centre, looking across to Museums Quartier and the Hofburg.

Another famous rooftop bar is Lamée Rooftop. The trendy bright rooftop bar is in the centre of Vienna with a view directly to St. Stephen's Cathedral. They specialise in cocktails and wines here, so your best bet to order is a Kaiserspritzer or Hugo.

Atmosphere Rooftop bar at the top of Ritz Carlton, Aurora Rooftop Bar, Das Oben or Das Loft are worth visiting as well.

Day 3: Visit Hundertwasserhouse & Prater

Hundertwasser House

Sights & Activities on your third day:

  • Breakfast in the City

  • Hundertwasser House

  • Hundertwasser Village

  • Kunst Haus Wien

  • Grüner Prater

  • Prater

  • Riesenrad

  • Lunch at Schweizerhaus or Luftburg

  • Sunset at Kahlenberg / time for individual plans

Breakfast with a view

We recommend to have a breakfast at Klyo at the Urania (which you passed on your first day on your way from Stadtpark to Danube Canal. (look, you already know almost the whole city!)) There you'll get a delicious breakfast while watching the ships passing by.

From there it's just a 15 minutes walk to our next stop!

Visit the colorful Hundertwasser House

You can reach the Hundertwasser House with the tram line 1 station Hetzgasse or with the metro U4 station Landstraße Wien Mitte. From there it's approx. 900 m away.

The Hundertwasser House is a apartment house and can be visited from outside around the clock. The small Info-shop is located in the building and is open from 9am to 5pm (in summer until 7:45pm).

The Hundertwasser Village is located in the Kegelgasse directly across the apartment house. The building with a whole forest on the roof was also designed by Hundertwasser and was built because of the high visitor rush to the apartment house. It's open everyday from 9am till 6pm.

The Hundertwasser Museum in the Kunst Haus Wien is unfortunately closed until probably the beginning of 2024. But you can visit it from the outside. It's only 400 m away from the Hundertwasser House and is easy reachable by a short walk.

Visit Vienna's famous amusement park Prater

From the Hundertwasserhouse, our next stop is just another 15 minutes walk away! Go to the Wien River (Wien Fluss) over the bridge "Franzensbrücke". Then walk along the Vivariumstraße until you reach Prater Hauptallee. Stretching over 4.5 kilometers and lined with large trees Prater Hauptallee is a majestic boulevard that runs through the heart of the Prater.

The Prater Hauptallee is the perfect starting point for exploring the amusement park Prater. The area is home to a variety of attractions, including the famous Ferris Wheel (Riesenrad), an iconic symbol of Vienna. Here you can get a ticket.

But the Prater has much more to offer: It's full of turbulent roller coasters, spooky ghost trains, restaurants, snack stands and it's an oasis of greenery for relaxing.

Lunch in a traditional Biergarten

After (or before) taking a ride on one of the many attractions you can visit one of Prater's restaurants like the famous Schweizerhaus. Besides the classic Viennese culinary specialties, such as Goulash and Wiener Schnitzel, the trademark dish of the restaurant is Schweinsstelzen - and you have to try it! Basically, a Stelze is an huge pork knuckle, which is first boiled with caraway seeds to produce tender salty meat before then being roasted to create the most amazing crispy crackling. You can visit this restaurant from March 15th until October 31th.

Alternatively you can visit the restaurant Luftburg, which is open all year around to try the popular "Stelze".

If you visit Vienna in winter and the rides at Prater aren't open have a look at our blog for more inspiration on fun or free activities in Vienna! (And don't forget to visit Vienna's romantic christmas markets!)

End your 3 day trip right

Having made all the points on the list, you deserve it more than any of us to relax. However, it just takes one more busride with the bus 5B and 38A to Kahlenberg and you will find what we think is the best spot to watch sunsets in Vienna! Up here you will find a café as well as a restaurant to have a nice glass of Austrian wine and dinner while enjoying the view above Vienna.

Alternatively you may have some time left for one or two activities that are still on your bucket list for Vienna.

Have fun and enjoy your stay!

3 Days in Vienna

12 mins reading time
Aug 19, 2023
Kathrin Schwarz

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