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This three-day guide to Vienna features my suggestions for first-time visitors to my hometown — with a mix of must-see sights and insider tips. The guide is not exhaustive, but it should provide you with a good overview of what it is possible to see in three days.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Luxury Traveler
  • Thrifty Traveler
  • Trendsetter
  • Like a Local

16 Places

5 City Tips

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16 Places

Day 1

Ringstrasse

Historic Sites, Historic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Kaerntnerstrasse

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Winterpalais

Specialty Museums

Zu den drei Hacken

Restaurants

Museum of Applied Arts

Specialty Museums

Silberwirt

Restaurants

Day 2

Imperial Palace (Hofburg)

Specialty Museums

Bitzinger Wurstelstand Albertina

Restaurants

Konditorei Heiner

Restaurants

MuseumsQuartier Wien

Specialty Museums

Hofzeile 27

Restaurants

Day 3

Cafe Museum

Restaurants

Secession Building (Secessionsgebaude)

Architectural Buildings, Art Museums

Naschmarkt

Flea & Street Markets

Plachutta Hietzing

Restaurants

Schoenbrunn Palace

Architectural Buildings, Castles, Historic Sites, Gardens, Other, Lookouts

Barbara G's City Tips

  • Get the 72-hour Vienna Card, which includes public transport and 210 discounts on selected museums, attractions, restaurants, and shops.
  • In the warmer months, consider renting a Citybike from one of the town's 80 bike stations. With a Citybike Tourist Card, you can rent a bike very cheaply.
  • Cafes are a good and relatively cheap way to have a warm meal. Servers generally expect a 10% tip, so you can just round up the final bill.
  • The Viennese love to dress smart casual.
  • Viennese like to greet each other when entering and leaving shops — you could say "Gruess Gott" ("Good Day") and "Auf Wiedersehen" ("Goodbye").
    Day 1
  • Save
    Ringstrasse
    Historic Sites, Historic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Barbara G Says:

    Vienna's state boulevard girds the city center and is the perfect place to orient yourself. It stands in the place of the former city walls, which were torn down after the Napoleonic Wars. Take the Yellow Ring Tram for a 30-minute tour past beautiful buildings such as state museums, the Opera, Austrian Parliament, Vienna City Hall, and Stadtpark.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • The Ring Tram has LCD screens and audio phones in several languages.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #19 of 475 things to do in Vienna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful collection of sublime Architecture 04/13/2015
    • Ride around on the tram at night 04/12/2015
    • Ringstrasse
  • Save
    Kaerntnerstrasse
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Barbara G Says:

    Vienna's luxury shopping mile is part of the pedestrian area in the center, running between the State Opera and St. Stephen's Cathedral. The most famous shops are Oesterreichische Werkstaetten and glass manufacturer Lobmeyr Swarovski's stunning flagship store. However, Kaerntnerstrasse is better for window shopping than souvenir shopping.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveler
    • History Buff
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • For great rooftop views, take the glass elevator to the Sky Bar and Restaurant in Steffl department store.
    • As tempted as you may be to drop into Konditorei Heiner's cake shop, carry on until you reach its second outlet in nearby Wollzeile — there are far fewer tourists there!
    • Make sure you look up from the shops to the historic facades.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #103 of 475 things to do in Vienna
    • Luxury and history 04/09/2015
    • Modern Luxury Shopping in Historic District 03/23/2015
    • Kaerntnerstrasse
    Phone:
    431 512 78 01
    Other:
  • Save
    Winterpalais
    Specialty Museums
    See more photos
    Barbara G Says:

    Winterpalais is a hidden gem of a town palace, and many travelers discover it by chance. It's located just off Kaerntnerstrasse and has only 10 rooms, so it won't overwhelm you on your first day. The palace once belonged to Prince Eugene of Savoy, one of Austria's most famous military commanders.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    • Like a Local
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Watch out for occasional temporary exhibitions — check the website to see what's on during your visit.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #221 of 475 things to do in Vienna
    • A BEAUTIFUL PLACE.......UTTERLY RUINED 04/03/2015
    • A Magnificent Baroque Palace Building. 11/03/2014
    • Winterpalais
    Address:
    Himmelpfortgasse 8
    Vienna 1010
    Austria
    Phone:
    179557-0
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    10:00 am - 6:00 pm
    Other:
  • Save
    Zu den drei Hacken
    Restaurants (Austrian)
    See more photos
    Barbara G Says:

    Situated on the outskirts of Vienna, the historic tavern Zu den drei Hacken (To the Three Axes) provides a rustic break from Kaerntnerstrasse. The place is well known, busy, and a great introduction to classic Viennese cuisine — from schnitzel (breaded meat) to schweinsbraten (roast pork loin) and knoedel (dumplings).

    Good for
    • Foodie
    Tips
    • Make sure you arrive around noon if you haven't booked in advance.
    • In the summer, enjoy sitting in the outdoor space along the pavement of quiet Singerstrasse.
    • If you're sitting inside, choose the small side room with its carved wooden chandelier to the left — it's really charming.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #269 of 2,476 restaurants in Vienna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice, pleasant and tasty 04/13/2015
    • Great find 02/19/2015
    • Zu den drei Hacken
    Address:
    Singerstrasse 28
    A-1010
    Vienna 1010
    Austria
    Phone:
    01/5125895
    Hours:
    Mon - Sat
    11:30 am - 11:00 pm
    Other:
  • Save
    Museum of Applied Arts
    Specialty Museums
    See more photos
    Barbara G Says:

    Situated on Ringstrasse, the Museum of Applied Arts displays a wide array of Viennese arts and crafts, from 14th-century stained glass to 1950s figurines. Highlights include an excellent collection of Biedermeier sofas and Thonet chairs.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    • Like a Local
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Consider having dinner or a glass of wine at the museum's Oesterreicher im MAK, a nice fusion of traditional and contemporary styles.
    • After viewing historic Thonet chairs, be on the lookout for them in Viennese coffeehouses — they are still used!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #51 of 475 things to do in Vienna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Interesting visit 04/12/2015
    • The world before IKEA 04/09/2015
    • Museum of Applied Arts
    Address:
    5 Stubenring
    Vienna 1010
    Austria
    Phone:
    +43 4317 11360
    Hours:
    Tue
    10:00 am - 10:00 pm
    Wed - Sun
    10:00 am - 6:00 pm
    Other:
  • Save
    Silberwirt
    Restaurants (Austrian)
    See more photos
    Barbara G Says:

    If people ask me for a great insider place to have Austrian food, I often recommend Restaurant Silberwirt, for a variety of reasons. First, the menu covers the best of Austrian delicacies, including contemporary favorites. Second, the building complex, Schlossquadrat, dates from the 14th century and is a historic gem with a romantic courtyard. Finally, it's located off the beaten path in the trendy district of Margareten, popular with urban professionals and young families alike.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Go for one of Silberwirt's schnitzel variations, with potato salad topped with pumpkin seed oil. Wash it all down with wine or homemade Kracherl fruit fizz.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #451 of 2,476 restaurants in Vienna
    • Excellent spinach dumplings 02/05/2015
    • Great Austrian food 10/08/2014
    • Silberwirt
    Address:
    Schlossgasse 21
    Vienna 1050
    Austria
    Phone:
    01544-4907
    Price range:
    $0 - $17
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:00 pm - 12:00 am
    Other:
  • Day 2
  • Save
    Imperial Palace (Hofburg)
    Specialty Museums
    See more photos
    Barbara G Says:

    For six centuries, Vienna was the capital of the mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire, ruled by Habsburg dynasty. The Hofburg, home of the Habsburgs from the first emperor in 1273 until the last in 1918, grew in scope and grandeur over the years, as each emperor sought to outdo his predecessors. Today, it houses a cornucopia of attractions, including six museums, the National Library, and the Imperial Apartments. To get a feel for this place that was at the center of European history for hundreds of years, start in the middle and work your way out.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveler
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • Don't miss the Sisi Museum, which explores the life and tragic assassination of Vienna's beloved Empress Elizabeth.
    • The Imperial Palace compound is huge, so it can be daunting. If you're short on time, be sure to hit the Imperial Apartments and the Sisi Museum.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 475 things to do in Vienna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Imperial Delights 04/18/2015
    • Definitely walk around here 04/17/2015
    • Imperial Palace (Hofburg)
    Phone:
    +43-1-533 75 70
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 am - 5:30 pm
    Other:
  • Save
    Bitzinger Wurstelstand Albertina
    Restaurants (Austrian)
    See more photos
    Barbara G Says:

    After so much pomp, treat yourself to a down-to-earth meal of Vienna sausage at a traditional Wurstelstand (sausage stand). Bitzinger's is located near the State Opera and serves up tasty treats. The sausages are cut up and served with mustard and a roll or a slice of dark bread. Alternatively, try a 'Leberkase semmel' (warm meat loaf in a white roll), which is very popular with locals, from students to blue-collar workers.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • If the weather doesn't allow you to enjoy the outdoor tables, there is also a heated counter inside.
    • My favorite sausages are Kaesekrainer (which has cheese mixed in) and Waldviertler (with a smokey flavor).
    • Other great sausage stands in town include Wurstelstand Hoher Markt and Wurstelstand am Stadtpark.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #261 of 2,476 restaurants in Vienna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Best wursts in Vienna 04/17/2015
    • Great Hot Dogs for a Quick Bite 04/14/2015
    • Bitzinger Wurstelstand Albertina
    Address:
    Augustinerstrasse 1
    Vienna 1010
    Austria
    Phone:
    +43 (0) 1 533 10 26
    Other:
  • Save
    Konditorei Heiner
    Restaurants (Austrian, Coffee Shop, Dessert, Bakery)
    See more photos
    Barbara G Says:

    Konditorei Heiner is one of my favorite cake shops in the center of Vienna. You can go mad with cream cakes, gugelhupfs (bundt cakes), fruit tarts, pralines, cookies, waffles, and macaroons... You can also try the famed Sachertorte here. Heiner is a former supplier to the Imperial Court, but far less touristy than Demel, another former supplier. The cake shop has three different salons, including one upstairs.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • My favorite salon is the wood-paneled one on the right side, as it's very cozy.
    • Choose Heiner's outlet at Wollzeile, as the one on Kaerntnerstrasse is often too crowded.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #31 of 2,476 restaurants in Vienna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Charming 04/02/2015
    • Mmm 03/09/2015
    • Konditorei Heiner
    Address:
    Kaerntnerstrasse 21-23
    1010 Vienna
    Vienna 1010
    Austria
    Phone:
    +43 1 5122343
    Other:
  • Save
    MuseumsQuartier Wien
    Specialty Museums
    See more photos
    Barbara G Says:

    Museumsquartier is Vienna's most exciting museum complex, housing more than 10 museums and cultural institutions. It's a great place to explore contemporary and 19th- and 20th-century art. Museumsquartier is located in the former Imperial stables, a beautiful baroque complex with a vast courtyard and funky lounge chairs that are perfect for relaxing.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • If you love Art Nouveau, visit the Leopold Museum for works of Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and representatives of Wiener Werkstatte.
    • For an update on modern art, visit MUMOK, then hang out at 1950s retro-style Cafe Leopold.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #18 of 475 things to do in Vienna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great Area to sit relax 04/17/2015
    • Lots to see 04/16/2015
    • MuseumsQuartier Wien
    Address:
    Museumsplatz 1
    Vienna 1070
    Austria
    Phone:
    +43 1 5235881
    Other:
  • Save
    Hofzeile 27
    Restaurants (Austrian, International, European, Central European)
    See more photos
    Barbara G Says:

    If you're always tempted to sneak behind private curtains, Hofzeile 27 is for you. For this private dining experience, Chef Sybille Fellner Kisler and her husband Wolfgang invite guests to their beautifully stylish townhouse in the leafy suburb of Doebling. The exquisite meals feature modern Austrian cuisine that can compete with top-quality Austrian restaurants. It's a fantastic way to explore contemporary urban living!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Foodie
    • Hidden Gems
    • Luxury Traveler
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Don't forget to have a drink in the downstairs bar.
    • Book a place in Sybille's garden in the summer (they sometimes do a barbecue).
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #247 of 2,476 restaurants in Vienna
    • Unique and Unforgettable 04/08/2015
    • Delicious food and wine in a beautiful tranquil setting 07/13/2014
    • Hofzeile 27
    Address:
    Hofzeile 27
    Vienna 1190
    Austria
    Phone:
    +436645277929
    Price range:
    $74 - $85
    Hours:
    Wed - Fri
    11:30 am - 11:30 pm
    Other:
  • Day 3
  • Save
    Cafe Museum
    Restaurants (Austrian, Dessert, Café)
    See more photos
    Barbara G Says:

    Start your day with a Viennese breakfast at Cafe Museum, where Gustav Klimt used to take his coffee. I love the clean but cozy original 1930s feel: red velvet semi-circle benches, marble coffee tables, a fantastic selection of cakes and coffees, and very friendly service.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • For a traditional Viennese breakfast, order Semmeln (bread rolls) with butter and jam, a Melange (milk coffee), and a soft egg.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #360 of 2,476 restaurants in Vienna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A must visit kaffeehaus 04/12/2015
    • Average food ... Great location 04/02/2015
    • Cafe Museum
    Address:
    Operngasse 7
    Vienna 1010
    Austria
    Phone:
    +43 1 24100620
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    8:00 am - 12:00 am
    Other:
  • Save
    Secession Building (Secessionsgebaude)
    Architectural Buildings, Art Museums
    See more photos
    Barbara G Says:

    On your way to nearby Naschmarkt, you will pass the Secession Building, Vienna's key Art Nouveau landmark. Compare it to the city's Baroque buildings and you will understand the artistic revolution at the start of the 20th century, when Gustav Klimt and a number of his contemporaries 'seceded' from the conservative Künstlerhaus to found a new art association, (they commissioned the Secession Building as the exhibition space). Take the time to walk round the cubist architecture and to admire its signature globe of golden leaves.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Head downstairs to see Gustav Klimt's gigantic Beethoven Frieze, which visualizes Beethoven's 9th Symphony and is full of dramatic and spiritual metaphorical characters.
    • Admission is somewhat pricey, but worth it if you enjoy contemporary art.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #149 of 475 things to do in Vienna
    • Small but sweet 04/16/2015
    • Do some research before you pay! 04/12/2015
    • Secession Building (Secessionsgebaude)
    Address:
    Friedrichstrasse 12
    4th District/Wieden
    Vienna
    Austria
    Phone:
    01-587-5307-0
    Other:
  • Save
    Naschmarkt
    Flea & Street Markets
    See more photos
    Barbara G Says:

    Naschmarkt is Vienna's most popular food market, and the perfect hunting ground for all things vintage. Soak up the multicultural Balkan flair and try not to be bothered by the crowds! The green cast-iron stalls are almost 100 years old, and the whole market dates back to the 16th century.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • Watch out for the Otto Wagner Art Nouveau houses at Linke Wienzeile 38 and 40, and Koestlergasse 3 (on your right if you walk up Naschmarkt).
    • If you shop for souvenirs, go for Zotter chocolates, regional honey products, and Gegenbauer's aromatic oils and vinegars.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #60 of 475 things to do in Vienna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Interesting and Atmospheric 04/17/2015
    • Great place to walk and grab a bite to eat 04/17/2015
    • Naschmarkt
    Address:
    Wienzeile, Kettenbruecke
    Vienna 1040
    Austria
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    6:00 am - 7:30 pm
    Sat
    6:00 am - 6:00 pm
    Other:
  • Save
    Plachutta Hietzing
    Restaurants (Austrian)
    See more photos
    Barbara G Says:

    From Naschmarkt, take the Vienna U-Bahn Metro (U4 line) out to Hietzing for lunch in one of Vienna's most beautiful residential neighborhoods. Plachutta restaurants are well known for tafelspitz, a traditional boiled beef dish that became popular because it was one of Emperor Francis Joseph's favorites; while Plachutta has several busy outlets in the city center, Hietzing is more off the beaten track.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Foodie
    • Like a Local
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Ask the server to explain the different beef cuts if you are not familiar with them.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #235 of 2,476 restaurants in Vienna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Excellent 04/01/2015
    • Average Food, but nothing special 03/01/2015
    • Plachutta Hietzing
    Address:
    1130 Wien, Auhofstrasse 1
    Vienna
    Austria
    Phone:
    +43(1)87770870
    Other:
  • Save
    Schoenbrunn Palace
    Architectural Buildings, Castles, Historic Sites, Gardens, Other, Lookouts
    See more photos
    Barbara G Says:

    From Hietzing, take one Metro station back to Schoenbrunn Palace, Vienna's number one attraction (and rightly so). The Habsburg Emperor's summer residence, with its richly decorated salons and beautiful garden compound, brings back Vienna's Imperial past in all its pomp and glory. In the warmer months, make the effort to climb up to Gloriette Belvedere for coffee, cakes, and a beautiful view of Schoenbrunn and the city.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • If you have kids, don't miss a visit to the maze and Schoenbrunn Zoo, which has been acclaimed as one of the best zoos in Europe.
    • Unless you are a romantic escapist, resist onsite concert-and-dinner tourist events. Instead, visit the historic Marionette Theater for Mozart's Magic Flute — it's enchanting!
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 475 things to do in Vienna
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Hapsburg bling 04/17/2015
    • Ok but somewhat arrogant 04/17/2015
    • Schoenbrunn Palace
    Address:
    Schlosstrasse 47
    Vienna 1130
    Austria
    Phone:
    +43 1 811 13-239
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    8:30 am - 5:00 pm
    Other:
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