A trip to Vienna is like an unforgettable journey through time. It is a city that understands perfectly how to unite tradition and modernity. Encounter splendour and gentility on one side of the street, and healthy big city bustle on the other. The Austrian capital will charm you with its small-town flair, combined with splendour, cultural history and trendy spots.
There are royalty and mesmerizing art in every little corner of the city. Most of the must-see sightseeing spots of Vienna are very close to each other and well-connected, making it perfect for exploring Vienna in a day.
From Baroque architecture to art museums and fancy shopping options, there’s a lot to discover in Vienna.
In this article, we’ll show you the best places to visit while you’re in Vienna for one day.
#1 Embrace the international cuisine at the Naschmarkt city market
Welcome to Vienna’s most popular market! The 120 stands of the Naschmarkt offer a wide variety of culinary delights from all around the world. A vivid crowd gathers here regularly to buy fresh fruits, vegetables and international delicacies. Next to restaurants with traditional Viennese food, you’ll find places that serve Indian, Turkish and Italian cuisine, among many others.
You’ll also love to explore the trendy bars in the market and taste good quality wine. On the weekend, DJs are often invited to create a fun atmosphere.
#2 Be mesmerized by the architecture of the St Stephan Cathedral
The St Stephan Cathedral rises proudly on the Stephanplatz as a symbol of Vienna since the 12th Century. The opulent exterior design of the building is a feast for the eyes: Contemplating the intriguing Romanesque and Gothic motifs and how the sunlight reflects on the multicolored tile roof will leave you astonished.
We also recommend entering the cathedral and exploring the interior. It contains a total of 18 altars, 5 chambers and even some tombs and catacombs. 343 steps are all it takes to reach the viewing room of its highest tower, from where you can marvel at the beauty of Vienna.
#3 Go shopping on the Kärntner Straße
Take a stroll on Vienna’s most popular shopping mile, the Kärtner Straße. This huge pedestrian street starts at the Stephanplatz and goes all the way down to the Wiener
Staatsoper. Abundant with flagship stores from the world’s most famous brands, it has something to offer to every budget and taste. Fans of luxury shopping will find themselves in heaven in the Steffl Department Store: Where once Mozart wrote the Magic Flute during the last years of his life, you can nowadays buy designer clothes.
#4 in Café Phil
An interesting place for a break during your stay in Vienna is Café Phil, a shabby-chic café, furniture flea market and reading room all in one. Everything you find here can also be bought and taken home with you. This includes the chairs, on which you can make yourself so comfortable. A varied breakfast spread is offered here.
Whether an Alpine enthusiast, Italy fan, gourmet or hedonist – there is something for everyone.
#5 Feel like a royalty in the Hofburg imperial palace
Pay a visit to the Hofburg palace to see the place where the Habsburg dynasty lived and ruled. You can enter the areas open to the public and get an insight of the splendid everyday life of the imperial family. Learn details about the life of the Empress Elizabeth in the Sisi Museum and enter the Kaiserappartments to take a closer look at the rooms once inhabited by the Empress and her husband.
Today, the Hofburg palace hosts important institutions, such as the Federal President’s office, the National Library and the Spanish Riding Horse.
#6 Surround yourself with art in the Museum Quarter
A true cultural hub, the Museumsquartier combines impressive Baroque buildings with Modern architecture and it’s a must-see during your one day in Vienna. Art enthusiasts will love to visit the Ludwig Museum, the Kunsthalle Wien or the MUMOK and marvel at the collections of modern and contemporary artworks. Thanks to the artist-in-residence program, hundreds of artists have came to live and work in the many studios on the Museumquartier. Lose yourself in a place full of creativity and culture and don’t forget to visit the designer cafés and the trendy shops.
#7 Try the original Viennese coffee in Café Sperl
A trip to Vienna is not complete without a visit to an original Viennese coffee house! Café Sperl is one of the best preserved and the one with the best homemade cakes.
This is not merely a café though, but rather a Viennese institution. For legendary figures of the likes of Beethoven and Mozart met here back in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Indeed, to this very day, people do not merely come here for a tasty slice of cake and a coffee, but rather also to read, relax or work on their laptops. The Viennese coffee culture forms part of the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.
#8 Explore the Schönbrunn palace and gardens
With its 1,441 rooms, the Schönbrunn palace and the huge surrounding gardens are one of the most important historical complexes in the world. This Rococo palace was the main summer residence of the Habsburg emperors and the place where Emperor Franz Joseph was born. Today, 40 of its rooms are open to visitors so don’t hesitate to book a tour.
Not less impressive than the palace are the Schönbrunn park and gardens. Take a walk between the colorful flower beds up to the magnificent Neptune Fountain. While strolling through the gardens, you might find an obelisk with Egyptian hieroglyphics that make no sense or a collection of Roman ruins, built artificially.
#9 A night in the town
Are you in the mood for a night out in Vienna? The abundant nightlife of the city has plenty to offer you. The alternative crowd meets for drum ‘n’ bass in Flex, a well-known club in Europe for its amazing beats. In the vaulted cellar in Chelsea, you can enjoy from electronic or alternative beats to the best of the pop and punk scene and broadcasts of football games. It is one of the oldest Gürtel bars in Vienna built beneath the elevated railway track. Electro music fans will feel most at home in the Prater Sauna, a club with great DJs, tasty cocktails and a pool high over the roofs of Vienna.
Is one day in Vienna enough?
Well, Vienna is not a huge city so you can definitely cover a lot of ground in a day. Our one-day in Vienna itinerary as listed above can be easily done in a day or less. For more tips you can read our article about the best things to do in Vienna!
Where to stay in Vienna?Our MEININGER hotels Vienna Downtown Sissi und Vienna Downtown Franz are waiting for you in the 2nd District, from where you can easily reach to the Old Town.
Our hotels are equipped with all you need during your stay: from a guest kitchen and a game zone to a washing machine, free Wi-Fi and bikes for renting