I’ve been to Vienna two times and I’d go back anytime. It’s one of the most beautiful European cities, a modern yet full of history place. There’s a lot to explore but if you want to visit Vienna in a day, follow this itinerary and you’ll see all the main tourist attractions in the city.
The capital of Austria is filled with cultural heritage, coming from the past centuries when it was the seat of the Holy Roman Empire, the Austrian or the Austro-Hungarian Empires.
There have been few periods of time when Vienna was not in the spotlight of world historical events and this can be seen throughout the city. Vienna is a complex and amazing destination, a combination of beautiful architecture and elegant streets, old magnificent palaces, majestic cathedrals, charming parks and so much more.
There is an overwhelming number of things to see and do here, but I’m here to help you visit Vienna in a day and get a taste of this city’s culture and vibe.
1. Vienna tips & tricks
Travel passes – Are they worth it?
You can buy the Vienna Pass that gives you free entrance to over 60 attractions in the city, unlimited uses of the hop-on/hop-off tourist bus and other benefits such as airport transfers. It costs about 80 Euros for 1 day. If you plan to spend more days in Vienna, there are also passes for 2, 3 and 6 days.
Another option is the Vienna City Card that includes both free transport and discounts for museums and attractions. It costs 17 Euros for 24 hours.
However, for this particular itinerary I don’t recommend buying a travel pass. In my opinion, the passes are worth it only if you plan to spend more than one day in Vienna.
2. Transport in Vienna
The transport network is extremely developed and well organised in Vienna, so you should have no problem getting around. Also, many of the main sights are located within walking distance from one another so you can visit them on foot.
Other places like the Schonbrunn Palace can be easily accessed by using the subway or the buses. The public transport system includes trains (S-Bahn), subways (U-Bahn), trams (Strassenbahn) and buses (Autobus).
Usually, for a Vienna day trip, the subway network is the best choice, as it gets almost everywhere and is fairly affordable. There are day tickets (8 Euros) that could save you a lot of money, allowing unlimited trips within Vienna for 24 hours. You can buy these tickets from newsagents’ shops or ticket machines. A one-way ticket costs 2.4 Euros and is valid for all public transportation.
Good to know – Children under 6 travel for free on public transport. Children under 14 can travel for free on Sundays and public holidays. Don’t forget to have proof of age!
Buses are less used for tourist transportation but can be a cheaper choice sometimes. Taxis are everywhere in the city and can be expensive for longer trips.
Another good way to get around Vienna is by cycling, as there are plenty of places to rent a bike for a day and the city provides plenty of bike lanes. One service that I recommend is Citybike. The first hour is free and there are lots of stations for renting bikes.
Good to know – for the subway and train map, click here.
3. Vienna 1 Day Itinerary
If you only have one day in Vienna, it should be spent seeing the most fascinating sights of this city, filled with cultural treasures. There are a lot of things to do in Vienna in one day, so starting early in the morning is a must.
Since our first stop is St. Stephen’s Cathedral, I recommend being there when it opens at 9 am (make sure to consult the full schedule).
We’ll start the day by visiting the main sights in the inner city, also known as Vienna Ring Road. After that, we’ll head to Schonbrunn Palace and in the evening we’ll visit the quirky Hundertwasserhaus and then we’ll end the day with a few hours of fun at Prater Amusement Park.
Vienna one-day itinerary summary: St. Stephen’s Cathedral -> Hofburg Palace -> Austrian National Library -> Vienna State Opera -> Schonbrunn Palace -> Stadtpark -> Hundertwasserhaus -> Prater Amusement Park or river dinner
Good to know – This itinerary is suitable for those who want to make the most out of their time in Vienna. I recommend buying some sandwiches and snacks from the supermarket. Eating at restaurants will take a lot of time.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Estimated time for visiting – 1 hour
Among the best places to visit in Vienna in one day, the Saint Stephen’s Cathedral should never be missed. The astonishing Gothic edifice houses a wealth of art treasures, some of which can only be seen during a guided tour.
The church combines Romanesque and Gothic architecture and is one of the most recognisable landmarks of Vienna. When visiting the church, make sure to admire the following treasures:
- The red-marble sepulcher of Emperor Frederick III, sculpted from 1467 to 1513 by Niclas Gerhaert van Leyden;
- The pulpit, a wonderful Gothic sculpture, believed to be made by Anton Pilgram
- The Altarpiece of Wiener Neustadt (Wiener Neustädter Altar), a Gothic winged altar from 1447
- The tomb of Prince Eugene of Savoy, dating from 1754 and the tomb. of Frederick III
- The catacombs where some of the Habsburgs were buried. Also, here you can see a stack of bones dating from the Black Plague. This is definitely not a place for the faint-hearted.
I recommend climbing the 343 steps to the top of the tower and enjoying a breathtaking view of the city.
Opening Hours – Monday to Saturday – 9 am to 5.30 pm. Depending on what you want to visit, the schedule might differ. Click here for the full schedule.
Entrance Fees – Cathedral – 6 Euros for adults (2.50 Euros for children), Catacombs – 6 Euros for adults (2.50 Euros for children), Stairs to Steffl Tower – 5 Euros (1.50 Euros Children). There is also a lift to the north tower. A combined ticket for all attractions is 15 Euros for adults.
Estimated time for visiting – 1 and a half hours
Walk for 8 minutes from the St. Stephen’s Cathedral and you’ll arrive at this impressive palace located right in the heart of the city. Residence of the Habsburg imperial court for more than 6 centuries, the Hofburg Palace houses an immense amount of treasures.
Nowadays, the president of Austria lives here and the palace is home to offices for ministers and secretaries of state. However, much of it can be visited so don’t hesitate to explore this stunning palace.
A tour of the grounds includes the Imperial Apartments, where visitors can admire various rooms and halls filled with lavish amenities and beautiful works of art. The Sisi Museum provides a glimpse into the life of beloved empress Elisabeth. The palace also includes an amazing Silverware Collection, as well as other spaces.
I recommend skipping the Sisi Museum since later you’re going to visit Schonbrunn Palace, her residence.
Opening Hours – 10 am to 5 pm (last admission at 4 pm)
Entrance Fees – 15 Euros for adults and 9 Euros for children (includes the Sisi Museum, the Imperial Apartments, the Silver Collection). For 2 Euros extra, you can take a guided tour. For more details, click here.
Austrian National Library
Estimated time for visiting – 1 hour
Just 4 minutes of walking away from the Hofburg Palace is the beautiful Austrian National Library. The largest library in Austria, includes the State Hall and five insightful museums, including the Literature, Globe, Papyrus, Esperanto and House of Austrian History.
It is located in one of the wings of Hofburg complex and includes over 12 million items within its extensive collections. You can choose the museums you wish to quickly visit, depending on your interest.
Opening Hours – 10 am to 6 pm (closed on Mondays) – Some museums have different schedules. Click here for the complete schedule.
Entrance Fees – The tickets are as follows – State Hall 8 Euros for adults, 6 Euros for students; Literature Museum 7 Euros for adults 4.50 Euros for students; All other museums 5 Euros for adults, 4 Euros for students. For more details, click here.
Vienna State Opera
Estimated time for visiting – 30 minutes
A short walk away from the Austrian National Library is the beautiful Vienna State Opera. Built in the second half of the 19th century, it was the first major edifice on the new Ring Street that encircles the city center.
It is one of the most prestigious and famous opera houses and ballet halls in the world, hosting impressive events all year-round. The opera hosts 350 performances each season with more than 600,000 spectators in total. Visitors on guided tours can admire the stunning architecture and richly decorated interiors.
Opening Hours – various times through the weeks, depending on other events, check times here.
Entrance Fees – 9 Euros for adults, 4 Euros for children
Estimated time for visiting – 3 hours
From Vienna State Opera, take the U4 line and hop off at Schonbrunn Station. The ride will take about half an hour.
To visit everything that Schonbrunn Palace has to offer, you’d easily need an entire day. The grounds of the palace are huge and there’s a lot to explore, including the oldest zoo in the world that features an overwhelming 700 species of animals and a maze.
If you want to make the most out of your visit, skip the lines and learn about the palace’s fascinating history, I recommend booking a 2-hour guided tour. The tour includes a tour of the palace and its gardens.
The most impressive and famous attraction of the city and one of the most fascinating palaces of the world, Schonbrunn was built in the late 17th century. It served as the main summer residence of the Habsburg court for a long time, still retaining its former glory and character.
It has over 1400 rooms and halls, some of which contain historical and artistic treasures. The most impressive highlights of the baroque palace and its grounds include the great and small gallery, Franz Josef bedroom, the hall of ceremonies, the palace chapel, the Orangery, the Maze, Gloriette fountain, Neptune Fountain, Botanic Garden, Privy Garden, the statues of the gardens and many more.
Opening Hours – Palace – 9.30 am to 5 pm, Park – 6.30 am to 8 pm, Zoo – 9 am to 6.30 pm.
Entrance Fees – The Classic Pass Plus (includes all attractions) costs 47 Euros for adults and 26 Euros for children. The Imperial Tour (includes 22 imperial rooms) costs 18 Euros for adults and 13 Euros for children. The Schonbrunn Zoo ticket costs 22 Euros for adults and 11 Euros for children.
Estimated time for visiting – 40 minutes
If you still have the energy for a short stroll in the park, stop for a few minutes at Stadtpark, one of the most beautiful parks in Vienna. From Schonbrunn Palace, hop on the U4 line and exit at Stadtpark Station. If you want to skip this park, continue your journey until Landstrabe Station and visit Hundertwasserhaus.
The Vienna city park is a large green area close to the city center. It makes for a great escape from the busy streets of the city and offers the chance for pleasant strolls. The park features enchanting pathways filled with statues of famous people of Vienna, as well as other attractions.
Opening Hours – Always Open
Entrance Fees – Free
Estimated time for visiting – 40 minutes
Vienna is a city full of history but after seeing so many historical sites it’s important to also see the modern part of the city. That’s why I decided to include the quirky Hundertwasserhaus in this Vienna one-day itinerary.
This is one of the most original and unusual artworks in Vienna, but well worth a few minutes of your time. The tall apartment building is the creation of Friedensreich Hundertwasser (an Austrian visual artist) and features unique architecture, a vibrantly colored façade, hundreds of shrubs and trees planted on balconies and roof.
Just a short walk away from Hundertwasserhaus is another quirky building, designed by the same artist – KunstHausWien. This is a less popular place, with fewer tourists around.
Opening Hours – Can be admired at all times
Entrance Fees – Free (outside)
Prater Amusement Park
Estimated time for visiting – the rest of the day
Our last destination on this Vienna one day itinerary is the famous Prater Amusement Park. It’s located one and a half kilometers away from Hundertwasserhaus.
Prater is a huge green area located to the east of the city center. It’s considered to be the oldest amusement park in the world but don’t worry, all the attractions are safe.
These include the Madame Tussauds Vienna, the Giant Ferris Wheel (built in 1897), the Praterturm (highest swing in the world), the Liliputbahn (small gauge railway around the park), as well as a rollercoaster, a planetarium and many restaurants and shops.
If you feel too tired to end your day with a visit to Prater, I highly recommend an evening dinner cruise. You can sit back and relax while enjoying a delicious meal.
Prater Opening Hours – open 24 hours, 7 days a week (individual attractions might have different schedules)
Entrance Fees – free to enter, although many attractions have tickets ranging from 2 to 5 Euros.
4. Vienna day trip – budget
If you follow the above itinerary, the entrance fees will cost you anywhere between 76 Euros and 126 Euros (depending on what packages you choose for each attraction).
You also have to add another 7 Euros for transport and 20 Euros for food (if you choose to shop at supermarkets). If you choose to eat at restaurants, add another 50 Euros.
In total, if you’re on a budget, you can easily visit Vienna in one day for about 100 Euros per person. If you’re not on a budget, expect to pay around 180 Euros for one day in Vienna.
-> While in Austria, make sure to visit the wonderful Hallstatt
5. Best Restaurants in Vienna
If you feel like this itinerary is too much for you, I recommend replacing some of the attractions with having a meal at one of the following restaurants.
Schachtelwirt – A cheap to moderate choice, this restaurant is located a few streets away from the St. Stephen’s Cathedral towards the Danube. It serves a small changing menu but you can always find the best roasted pork imaginable here. All meals are served in paper boxes that can be taken away if needed. To check out the website, click here.
Paul – Located close to the Stadtpark, this extremely well reviewed and moderately priced restaurant serves traditional Austrian and international dishes, including the authentic schnitzel and apple strudel, all in a pleasant atmosphere. To check out their website, click here.
Ef16 – One of the most popular and appreciated restaurants in Vienna, it is more on the moderate to expensive side and is located a few streets away from the city center. It offers delicious and creative meals, including delicious local traditional recipes (schnitzel, pasta, beef and chicken specialties). Check out the menu and prices here.
Loca – Located next to Stadtpark, the slogan of this little restaurant is Better Eat Better and it was included in the prestigious Michelin Guide in 2019. Although somewhat expensive, it is well worth the price for the amazing menu and excellent service. Offers a 6-course surprise menu with wine pairings. Check out the website here.
6. Where to stay in Vienna
If you plan to spend the night in Vienna, I’ve got you covered. I’ve searched for the best hotels in the city, for each budget. Here are my recommendations.
- Budget – Mini Apartment – good location, clean rooms, private kitchen, quiet area
- Mid-Range – Motel One Wien – good location, modern and clean rooms, beautiful design, great amenities, friendly staff
- Luxury – Hotel Austria – excellent location, close to tourist attractions, spacious rooms, great amenities, comfortable beds, quiet area
7. Is one day in Vienna enough?
Vienna is such a complex destination, with one of the richest heritages in the world. One day in Vienna is a good way to start exploring and fall in love with the city. It might not be enough to see everything it has to offer, as this will most likely need at least 5 or 7 days, but it will surely make you want to return.
There are plenty of things to do in Vienna in one day so make sure to put on your most comfortable shoes and bring your camera. I’d recommend staying two nights in Vienna to completely take advantage of a day in the city. Also, make sure to wake up early in the morning and start exploring!
8. Final thoughts
Even though spending one day in Vienna might not seem like a lot of time, it’s enough to see the main attractions and catch a glimpse of the city’s vibe.
Vienna is one of those places that makes you fall in love with it instantly. I loved visiting it twice and I’d go back in a heartbeat. If you plan to spend more time in Austria, make sure to visit the beautiful Hallstatt and the culturally rich Salzburg City. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments section below.
May the travel bug bite you!
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