(Last Updated On: May 7, 2019)
Vienna is a city of glitz and glam. It reminds me of Paris, but more so as being Paris’s little sister. After all, can anyone truly compete with Paris? Being in Vienna is like being transported back in time. Picture this… all dressed up, sitting at a café that was built in the 1800’s. Live piano and quiet chatter filling your ears, sipping on a cappuccino and eating Vienna’s famous sachertorte. All before heading out for a night at the opera. Or instead, picture yourself walking the streets marveling at the grandiose architecture with horse pulled carriages trotting by.
If I’m certain of only one thing, it’s that Vienna is one of the most glamorous cities I’ve been to. And in all of its glitz and glam, the city is far from uptight. There are many areas in Vienna that are cozy and laid back. So pack your bags and get ready to see what makes Austria’s capital so enticing with this guide to Vienna!
With Austria being at the center of Europe, there’s many ways to arrive to this country. If you’re flying internationally you’ll be arriving to Vienna International Airport (VIE). From here the easiest transportation would be to hop on the City Airport Train, known as the CAT. A one-way ticket costs approx $13, and in 16 minutes will drop you off at Wien Mitte, close to city centre. From here you can walk, catch a taxi, or use the U-Bahn – the underground railway to get to your final destination.
If you’re already in Europe there’s a chance you’ll be arriving by train. The main train station in Vienna is Wien Hauptbahnhof, located less than two miles from city centre. From here you can walk, catch a taxi, or use the U-Bahn (depending where you’re going U1 takes you into the centre).
Or, if you’re like me, you’ll be coming to Vienna by bus! I hopped on FlixBus and took the short one-hour journey from Bratislava to Vienna and was dropped off at Vienna Erdberg, Vienna’s main international bus station.
Note: Uber does operate in Vienna.
Airbnb – There are many Airbnb listings offered throughout Vienna. (If you’re new to Airbnb, use my referral code for a $55 credit).
Hotel Beethoven Wien – This four-star hotel is centrally located for a reasonable price. Close to the Naschmarkt, Museumsquartier, many coffee houses and great restaurants. My favorite part of my stay at Beethoven Wien was the weekend piano sessions where we were served complimentary champagne.
Hotel Daniel – Another four-star hotel a bit further from the city, but only a two-minute walk to the nearest train station.
Language – German (most everyone speaks English as well)
Currency – Euro; at time of writing 1 USD = 0.88 Euro
- Viennese Coffee House Culture is a real, UNESCO heritage tradition. It is the practice of taking up space and time while enjoying coffee and/or cake if desired. You are welcome to sit at any coffee house as long as you’d like with only ordering one cup of coffee. Bonus points for ordering a cappuccino, which was originally made in Austria.
- In Austria it is considered dirty to wear shoes in ones home. If you’re staying in an Airbnb or visiting someone’s house, make sure to remove your shoes first, and leave them outside.
Where to Eat
Figlmüller – Serving classic Austrian fare, don’t miss your chance to try some of the best weiner schnitzel in Vienna. Open seven days/week 1130-2330.
Address: Backerstrasse 6, 1010 Wien, Austria
Labstelle – Labstelle is a cozy and laid back restaurant in a glamorous building, serving classic food. Open Monday-Thursday 1130-2400; Friday-Saturday 1130-0200; closed on Sundays
Address: Lugeck 6, 1010 Wien, Austria
ULRICH – A charming restaurant located on one of Vienna’s more charming streets, I particularly liked ULRICH for its brunch. Open Monday-Friday 0730-0200; Saturday-Sunday 0900-0200.
Address: Sankt-Ulrichs-Platz 1, 1070 Wien, Austria
Where to Drink
Gerstner K. u. K. Hofzuckerbacker – Famously known for their wide selection of bubbles, indulge in a glass and watch the pastry chefs do their thing. The biggest problem here will be stopping at one dessert. Open seven days/week 1000-2300.
Address: Kamtner Str. 51, 1010 Wien, Austria
Demel – An ultra fancy café, built in 1888, Demel is the place to experience coffee culture. Belly up to the bar, order a cappuccino (or champagne), and delight in Austria’s famous cake – Sachertorte. Open seven days/week 0800-1900.
Address: Kohlmarkt 14, 1010 Wien, Austria
Das LOFT – Located in the Sofitel Hotel, this bar has floor to ceiling windows giving you 360 degree, panoramic views over Vienna. A bit pricier, but the views are worth it for a drink or two. Open seven days/week 1000-2300.
Address: Praterstrasse 1, 1020 Wien, Austria
Café Central – A beautiful and glamorous café in the heart of Vienna. Where you can experience what its like to sip on coffee, eat some cake, and taking your time. Also complete with live piano daily from 1700-2200, and gorgeous interior. Open Monday-Saturday 0730-2200; Sunday 1000-2200.
Address: Herrengasse 14, 1010 Wien, Austria
What to Do
See Vienna from St. Stephen’s Cathedral – St. Stephen’s Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Church, standing 446 feet tall, and sitting in Stephansplatz, a square in the heart of Vienna. Entrance into the church is free, but for views from atop it’ll cost. There’s two ways to access the roof – from the north or the south tower. The south tower stands taller, but there is no elevator access up, instead you’ll walk 343 steps to the top. Cost to enter the south tower is five Euros. The north tower is shorter, but I think it allows for better views. The only way to the top is by elevator, and it will cost you six Euros. You can access both sides of the tower seven days/week 0900-1730.
Address: Stephansplatz 3, 1010 Wien, Austria
Visit the Naschmarkt – An elevated food market in the heart of Vienna. Not only serving local produce, but many shops, restaurants, and bars located within the market as well. Open Monday-Friday 0600-2100; Saturday 0600-1800.
Address: 1060 Vienna, Austria
Visit Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens – A 1,441 room palace sitting on extensive gardens, complete with the worlds very first zoo. Schönbrunn is a place unlike any I’ve seen before. Occupied by the Habsburg rulers, visit to get a taste of what being royalty was like. Now there are restaurants on the property, so you can make a day out of seeing the palace and the gardens. (If you can eat beforehand, do. The food is subpar and expensive). Make sure to buy tickets ahead of time. I made the rookie mistake of not doing this and had to stand in line for an hour for my ticket. Then I had to wait for my allotted time to visit the palace, which was four hours later. Open seven days/week 0800-1700.
Address: Schönbrunner Schloβstrasse 47, 1130 Wien, Austria
Take a day trip to Bratislava – Spending a few days in Vienna and want to venture out for a day? The capital of Slovakia, Bratislava, is only a one-hour bus ride away. Operating multiple times a day, this day trip is easy and cheap. Find tickets on Flixbus, and read my guide on how to spend a day in Bratislava.
Visit the colorful Hundertwasserhaus – The Hundertwasserhaus is an unlivable apartment complex in Vienna. Created and built by Friedensreich Hundertwasser and Joseph Krawina. The artist wanted to create a place that you not only saw the movement, but felt it as well. Visit for yourself to see what I mean.
Address: Kegelgasse 36-38, 1030 Wien, Austria
See the opera at the infamous Vienna State Opera – There’s a different show every day, and standing room tickets are sold for cheap as long as you’re willing to queue up in the morning. If you’re willing to spend more you can always reserve seats ahead of time.
Walk the Danube, making sure to stop at Tel Aviv Beach – In the summer the Danube River comes alive. With sand, bars, restaurants, and lawn chairs, you could spend all day walking down the Danube.
I have been incredibly lucky to visit Vienna twice now. I’ve seen the city in the summer, with blue skies and sunshine. With the people hanging out on the river and the parks packed. And I’ve seen the city in the winter. With the enchanting Christmas markets and the big famous Vienna red bow. Both season give Vienna different feels, but both are magical. There’s so much to see and do in Austria’s capital that there’s no doubt I’ll be back.
Planning on spending two days in Vienna? Make sure to read 48 Hours in Vienna.
For more on my time spent in Vienna, make sure to watch my Instagram story highlights.