How to spend three days in Vienna

How to spend three days in Vienna

a city rich in arts, music, and history, is one of Europe‘s most beautiful cities. (At the very least, I think so!)

Vienna’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to countless museums, art galleries, baroque palaces, and traditional markets.

When I first went to Vienna, I wasn’t a fan. It was a little stuffy (which is understandable, given its history). After a few visits, I began to love the city and found it full of art, music, and life. It was so good that I brought groups of readers to visit!

You can do a lot here. There is so much to do that spending a whole week here without getting bored is easy.

If you have only a few hours, I’ve assembled a three-day itinerary for Vienna. This itinerary hits all the highlights.

Table of contents [ display]

Vienna itinerary: Day 1

Free walking tour

When I reach a new destination, I take a tour by foot. A walking tour can be a great way to learn about the history and culture of a city. You can also ask your guide about the best places to eat or go since they’re always locals and know all the insider tips!

Two excellent free walking tours:

  • Good Tours
  • Anna Loves Vienna

Consider taking a guided bike tour to see more of the city. I like the term offered by Pedal Power Vienna. The time lasts for three hours and includes all of the main highlights.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

The Stephansdom, built in Romanesque-Gothic styles, has stood since the 12th Century. The roof is decorated with 230,000 colorful glazed tiles. But the interior is also ornately designed, with vaulted ceilings and statues. Two beautiful altars are also inside: the 17th-century High Altar and the 15th Century Wiener Neustadt Altar.

Over the years, the cathedral was destroyed and rebuilt. The current version, which is essentially the work of Duke Rudolf (413-965), was primarily the result. The most recent reconstruction was carried out just after World War II.

Stephansplatz 3, +43 1 515523530, Open to worship from Monday through Saturday, 6 am-10 pm. Sundays are open until 10 pm. Open to visitors from Monday through Saturday, 9 am-11:30 am; 1 pm-4.30 pm and Sunday, 1 pm-4.30 pm. Admission costs 20 EUR. Guided tours cost 3.50 EUR, and audio guides cost 6 EUR. Catacomb tours cost 6 EUR, while going up the South Tower costs 5.50 EUR and the North Tower 6 EUR. Dress with respect, as this is a religious site.

See the Imperial Palace

The 13th-century Hofburg was the principal palace of the Habsburg dynasty (one of the most prominent in European history) for more than seven centuries. Today, it’s the official residence of the president of Austria.

You could easily spend half a day here exploring all the attractions, which include the Sisi exhibit (highlighting the life of Empress Elisabeth), the Imperial Silver Collection, and the royal apartments themselves. It’s huge.

My favorite section is the Imperial Treasury, with its royal artifacts, crowns, scepters, and detailed Hapsburg family and empire history. And, although it’s not free, I recommend getting the audio tour, which adds a ton of context to the exhibits. It’s worth the money.

Michaelerkuppel, +43 15337570, Open daily, 9:30 am-5 pm. Admission is 16 EUR. If you have the Vienna PASS, it’s free. Skip-the-line tours start at 48 EUR.

Wander the Naschmarkt

This is Vienna’s largest open-air food market. It has 120 stands, including restaurants, street stalls, and grocers, and, on Saturdays, a flea market too. It’s a little touristy (don’t go grocery shopping here), but it has a relaxed vibe, and it’s a nice place to sit and eat. Despite its fame, you’ll still find a lot of locals here, so don’t feel like this is a tourist-only place. Be sure to hit up Umarfisch for seafood and wine. The food there is delicious.

If you want a deep dive into the market, you can also take a guided tasting tour.

Vienna Itinerary: Day 2

Explore the Museumsquartier

Start day two with the Museumsquartier (MQ). Once the imperial stables, it now encompasses over 90,000 square meters and 60 cultural institutions, including the Leopold Museum for Art Nouveau and Expressionism; Kunsthalle Wien, with rotating exhibitions; and the Museum of Modern Art, which has the most extensive such collection in Central Europe. The MQ is also home to several festivals throughout the year, including open-air concerts and a fashion week. If you love art, this place is a must.

A pass to five of the leading museums is 35 EUR. Guided tours of the district are also offered for just 8 EUR.

Explore the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts)

Created by Emperor Franz Joseph I in 1891, this is now the largest art museum in the country. You could easily spend several hours here (if not more). Most items are from the Hapsburgs’ old collection, with artifacts from ancient Egypt and Greece, as well as paintings by Rubens, Raphael, Rembrandt, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, and more. The interior is also incredibly ornate, boasting lots of marble, gold leaf, and murals.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *