Extravagant. Charming. Lavish. Those are three words we would use to describe Vienna, Austria.
Visiting Vienna, transports you back in time to when kings and queens ruled and rich kingdoms reigned. The city is ornately decorated with beautiful buildings. It’s also extremely well-kept. You can tell that Vienna has been very prosperous over the years because it’s like walking through a fairy tale.
Vienna is Austria’s capital city and sits in its’ northwestern corner making it a great stop on many Europe travel itineraries. It’s close to the Bratislava, Budapest, Zagreb, and Prague. If you chose to visit any of those cities and then Vienna, you will notice the stark difference between them.
If you are visiting Vienna and looking to make the most of your short amount of time there, this guide tells you everything you need to know about What to Do for 3 Days in Vienna.
Where to Stay in Vienna:
We stayed at a friend’s place across the river in Leopoldstadt near the Taborstrasse metro station. It was a little further out than we’d recommend staying, but it was great to stay with a friend. Plus, it was cheaper.
Vienna is very well-connected by public transit and is very walkable. If you want to stay further away from the center of Vienna, it will be cheaper, but it will take you longer to get to most of what you probably want to see and do.
If you want to stay in the center of Vienna, look for a place in the Innere Stadt neighborhood inside their ring road that surrounds the city center, the Ringstrasse. It will be more expensive to stay here, but much closer location-wise.
Fun fact! Vienna was once occupied by the French, Americans, and British at the same time right after World War II. You can actually see the influences of these 3 countries as you walk around the city.
What to see in Vienna:
Ring Road (Ringstrasse) – The aforementioned ring road circles the center of Vienna and is a great option for budget travelers in Vienna. Walking around the ring road, you will hit numerous famous Vienna landmarks, including the Opera, Parliament, Imperial Palace, and the Rathaus (City Hall). Each and every one of these buildings is remarkable and impressive with their elegant details.
In the summertime, there is an outdoor market in front of the Rathaus with food, drinks, movies, and live entertainment every night. While around Christmas, there is a market and ice skating rink. It’s definitely a place to be in Vienna!
Schönbrunn Palace – To visit the Schönbrunn Palace, you have to take a train out of the city center. Lines can get really long, especially in peak months, so get up early or prepare for a line.
The Schönbrunn Palace was the summer home for the Hapsburgs. We know that visiting royal palaces might not sound like the most entertaining thing to everyone, but this one is worth the visit. They have a free, interactive audio guide that takes you through the palace. Obviously, the palace is beautiful. It is a palace after all… Fun fact! Mozart was invited to perform here at only 6 years-old!
Once you are done visiting the palace, make sure to take a stroll around the gardens and grounds and go to the top of the hill. It’s a great view of the Schönbrunn Palace and the surrounding area. You can really see how powerful the Hapsburgs were and how pristine they kept the grounds.
Hofburg – As the Schönbrunn Palace was the Hapsburg’s summer residence, the Hofburg was their winter residence. It’s just as impressive as the Schönbrunn Palace but is located right in the Vienna city center.
Perhaps what the Hofburg is most famous for is the Spanish Riding School where they teach and perform Spanish horse riding. It’s one of the top 4 Spanish Riding Schools in the world. If you are interested, you can actually see a performance from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. Tickets can be purchased here.
Albertina – The Albertina is a world-class museum in Vienna that houses many famous pieces of art. There is art from Leonardo Da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, and Claude Monet.
Hundertwasserhaus – The Hundertwasserhaus is an expressionist work of art in Vienna. It’s a quirky multi-use building that was designed by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and built by architect Joseph Krawina. Visiting the Hundertwasserhaus is a great free thing to do in Vienna that will help you save some cash in this more expensive European city.
Mariahilfer Strasse – Now that you’ve saved some money by visiting the Hundertwasserhaus, you can go spend some on the Mariahilfer Strasse, the longest shopping street in Vienna. This street is lined with tons of shops for you to stock up of souvenirs or the latest in European fashion.
Hiking – If you are looking to get outdoors and do some exploring of the Vienna countrdyside and go hiking, you are in luck! The Nussdorf area just north of Vienna has plenty of hiking trails that take you through vineyards and up to some great overlooks of Vienna and the Danube River.
We recommend hiking up to Leopoldsberg. It has some of the most stunning views of Vienna, the surrounding countryside and the Danube. You can take a bus to the top and then hike down if hiking all that way isn’t for you.
On your way back down, stop at one of the many Buschenschanks located on the trail. A Buschenschank is where local wineries have a small restaurant where they serve some traditional Austrian food and their wines.
Where to Eat in Vienna:
Hotel Sacher Cafe – Why not start with dessert? Vienna is famous for its Sacher-Torte, which has been around since 1832. It is a chocolate cake with a layer of apricot jam. The chocolate is decadent and incredibly delicious. It’s a very rich dessert, so know that going into it. It’s available at Hotel Sacher. We recommend going inside and waiting for a table, so you can enjoy this delicious dessert with the majestic atmosphere inside.
Rathaus – As mentioned before, the Rathaus has numerous outdoor markets in front of it throughout the year. If one is going on when you are visiting Vienna, this is a great place to eat!
Buschenschank Andreas Wagner – While there are many Buschenschanks, this one has wonderful food and wine, plus a great outdoor area!
Bros. Pizza – A small, tasty pizza restaurant located right off the Mariahilfer Strasse, Bros. Pizza is a lovely place to stop for some delicious pizza in Vienna.
Eis-Greissler – Clearly we had a sweet tooth while traveling in Vienna…This is the go-to place for gelato in Vienna. It was fresh, delicious, and hit the spot on a hot day. It’s a definite must if you are craving ice cream or gelato in Vienna.
Cooked at Home – As any traveler on a budget can tell you, one of the best ways to save money while traveling is to cook your own food. It’s obviously not as exciting as going out and eating at local restaurants or trying to finest local cuisine, but it will help you save money while traveling.
Vienna is an expensive city to visit, especially compared to cities further east in Europe, like Zagreb, Budapest, Bratislava, and Mostar. Therefore, we decided to cook more food while traveling in Vienna compared to these other cities to help us save money so we could travel more.
Where to Drink in Vienna:
25 Hours Hotel – 25 Hours Hotel is a wonderful place to grab a cocktail in Vienna and enjoy the city views. It has a rooftop bar that looks over the city of Vienna. It’s not super high up, but you get to see Vienna from a different vantage point.
Buschenschanks – When traveling in Vienna, try the wine! The many buschenschanks as we’ve already mentioned are a great place to do this, especially because they are located right in the vineyards! If you can’t decide on one, try multiple!
Vienna has plenty of options for travelers to do. We hope that this guide has helped you plan your trip and decided what to do for 3 days in Vienna!