24 hours in Vienna
Vienna is famous for its palaces and gardens, but there is so much more to explore in the Austrian capital. Use our itinerary to pack the most into a 24-hour whirl around coffee houses, museums, parkland and more.
9AM // THE ARCHITECTURE
The palatial city centre
Start your day by visiting St. Stephen's Cathedral, the symbol of Vienna, where you can climb the South Tower for a closer look at the cathedral's eye-catching tiled roof and one of the best views over the city.
Most of Vienna's grandest buildings are then a short walk to the southwest. Look out for The Hofburg palace complex, the Austrian parliament building and The Rathaus (city hall), which hosts Vienna's Christmas Market in winter and the free Film Music Festival in summer.
12 PM // The cafe culture
Coffee house pit-stop
Be sure to take some time out at one of Vienna's beloved coffee houses, an essential part of Viennese culture. The major establishments offer everything from a coffee and snack, to Austrian specialities like goulash and wiener schnitzel. Make sure to leave space for an apple strudel or a sachertorte! The most famous coffee houses include Café Central, a favourite of Sigmund Freud, 1950s-style Café Prückel and the cosy Kaffee Alt Wien.
If you prefer to eat somewhere with more city hustle, colours and smells, then check out the Naschmarkt, a 1.5km-long market with over 120 stalls selling food and drink from around the world. If you visit on a Saturday, then you will even find a flea market as an added bonus.
2PM // THE ART
MuseumsQuartier or Schönbrunn Palace
The MuseumsQuartier is one of the best places to discover Vienna's famous art and music scene, because it is home to a number of major galleries and exhibitions, like MUMOK and the Leopold gallery. In the summer, the central square is filled with loungers and frequent free art events, so is a great place to soak in the urban sun.
If you prefer your art and culture on a larger scale, then take an excursion to Schönbrunn Palace. It is a half-hour train journey out of town, but you can walk in the spectacular gardens for free. Stroll to the Gloriette for a prime photo op.
5PM // The park life
Prater or Danube Island
After a morning of walking, take the U-Bahn train to the city's northeast. Those seeking further excitement should head to the Prater amusement park, packed full of coasters, flumes and dodgems. The highlight is the Giant Ferris Wheel, built in 1897. It is open year-round and provides another great view of the skyline.
If you would rather slow down, then go to Danube Island, one of Europe's largest recreation areas, where you can swim in the Danube (yes it's possible!), play volleyball or chill at trendy Copa Beach.
9PM // Night out at the beach
Vienna has a beach?!
Austria may be a landlocked country, but thanks to the Danube, Vienna has many kilometers of beaches. You barely need to leave the city centre to find the sand because the inner-city Danube Canal is lined with beach bars, offering cocktails, food and Ibiza beats, amongst street art and urban industrial vibes.
Try Strandbar Hermann to watch the sunset from a deckchair or Summerstage for street food stalls.
Explore all of Austria
Visit Salzburg and Innsbruck and all of the jaw-dropping scenery in between.
Travel by train in Austria
Hop on board Austrian trains with these passes:
Interrail Austria Pass
Best for exploring Austria in-depth
Interrail Global Pass
Valid in 33 countries including Austria