2 Days in Vienna may not be a lot of time, but the city is so well connected with public transportation (and it’s not that big). So luckily you can easily see a ton of sights in only two days in Austria’s capital.
Vienna is a beautiful European city with plenty of history, culture & food to experience. Vienna’s history is a rich one. The city was central to the Austro-Hungarian Empire of the early 19th Century, and it had a defining role in World War II. Many famous artists and scholars have their roots in Vienna —like the world’s first psychotherapist Sigmund Freud. Because of its rich history, Vienna offers a wealth of art, architecture, and music to explore. Viennese cuisine was also heavily shaped by Germanic influence and offers exciting opportunities for wine enthusiasts, meat lovers and chocoholics alike.
Vienna is also a great European city for tourists. It’s modern, easy to navigate and people friendly. In Vienna, you’ll find wide, paved, pedestrian walkways as well as bike paths. There’s also plenty of green space and parks with benches always in sight. The cleanest public toilet I’ve ever seen was in Vienna (we had to pay a small fee- maybe 0.50 Euros but it was totally worth it!!). Furthermore, it is easy to navigate and communicate in Vienna because most Austrians speak both German and English. Locals are so friendly! My cousin and I must have looked lost while waiting for our Uber, and two people came up to ask if we needed help in a span of 10 minutes. Needless to say, we loved Vienna!
Where to Stay in Vienna?
Vienna is very well connected by public transportation, but I recommend you try to walk and bike whenever possible. In order to get the most out of the city in a short weekend, you’ll want to stay close to the city center. My top picks for luxury hotels are the Ritz Carlton Vienna and the Park Hyatt Vienna. These are both 5-star hotels in great locations. The Ritz Carlton in Vienna also offers access to a rooftop bar called Atmosphere.
If you’re looking for an affordable luxury option, I recommend the Ibis Hotel Wien Hauptbahnhof. This hotel is modern, brand-new and conveniently located right next to the Vienna Central Station. To see how close your accommodation may be to the main attractions, see this Vienna sightseeing map.
If you prefer independently-owned hotels, there are also plenty of great boutique hotels around Vienna. Some of my favorite boutique hotel options are:
- Hollman Beletage Design and Boutique Hotel: It’s about the same price as the chain options ($150 per night to start). It has stunningly designed rooms, a nice quiet courtyard, and is well located in a hipster neighborhood. Book a stay at Hollman Beletage Design and Boutique Hotel here.
- Altstadt Vienna: As the name suggests, this is in the old town area of the city and the design is utter perfection. It also includes a cooked breakfast every morning. Book a stay at Altstadt Vienna here.
Vienna is also a great spot for backpackers with plenty of affordable options. If you’re looking for hostels check out Wombat’s which has tons of great reviews and is well located. Hostel Ruthensteiner is on the higher end side of the hostel spots in the city, but rooms are clean, there’s breakfast, and the staff is crazy helpful when it comes to finding things to do in Vienna. This is a great option if you are looking for other travelers to hang out with.
Two Days in Vienna
Day One Morning & Early Afternoon
Start your first day in Vienna with breakfast at the 15 sweet minutes Café. This cute café offers a fantastic selection of organic teas. It is less than a 10-minute walk from the Ibis Hotel Wien Hauptbahnhof & a short 15-minute walk to Belvedere Palace.
Visit Belvedere Palace. There’s a lot to see here. The palace grounds are made up of the Upper Palace, the Lower Palace and the Belvedere Gardens that connect the two structures. Both complexes are stunning examples of Baroque architecture. They were built as a summerhouse for Prince Eugene of Savoy. The Upper & Lower Palaces are now the home of an impressive museum. This museum contains countless masterpieces but is most famous for its collection of Gustav Klimt’s works. Nearby, you can also visit Belvedere 21 —Vienna’s premier contemporary art museum.
You’ll need to give yourself a few hours to fully appreciate the enrichment that Belvedere has to offer. After Belvedere, you can stop at Das Lokal im Hof for lunch. This is a very popular restaurant serving Austrian fare with a modern twist.
Day One Late Afternoon & Evening
Head to Cafe Central. This will take about 20 minutes by public transportation (U & U1 lines) or 35 minutes walking. Now you’ll be in the heart of the city center.
Café Central is a traditional Viennese Cafe which became the meeting place for famous intellectuals in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Greats like Theodor Herzl and Hugo von Hofmannsthal chatted here. It is even rumored that Sigmund Freud, Joseph Stalin, Hitler and Trotsky all visited this cafe in one year (1913). I recommend the Sacher Torte, a famous Viennese dessert. Eating Sacher Torte was on my Vienna bucket list. Also, you’ve got to have a second coffee of the day when in Europe.
Next, you’ll explore the city center. St. Michael’s Church is only a 3-minute walk from Café Central. It is one of the oldest churches in Vienna & one of the very few remaining examples of Romanesque architecture in this city. Nearby, you can visit the Hofburg Palace, the Albertina art museum and the beautiful St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
The Hofburg Palace is the former residence of the Habsburg dynasty rulers. Now, at the palace, you can visit the Sisi museum dedicated to preserving the history of Empress Elisabeth. Nearby, the Albertina art museum is famous for its print room. The famous print room is one of the largest in the world and displays about 65,000 important drawings.
After you’ve tired of sightseeing, you can get a drink and watch the sunset at SKY- Cafe, Restaurant & Bar. Go to Figlmüller for dinner. Figlmüller serves traditional Austrian food with old world Austrian style. You must try the schnitzel! Also, drink the Wiener Gemischter Satz –it’s a Viennese mixed blend white wine. Austria is known for its climate, soil, and tradition in winemaking. If this isn’t enough wine for you, you can head to nearby Gigerl, Der Stadtheurige. It’s a local’s favorite heurigen, or wine bar, with lovely outdoor seating in the summertime.
Day Two Morning & Early Afternoon
Start your day off at Rathaus —the city hall building. Marvel at its unique Gothic architecture. Walk south toward the Austrian Parliament Building and appreciate its Neoclassical design. Then, enjoy some leisurely green space at the famous Volksgarten. Each of these locations is a short walk from one another. Volksgarten is especially beautiful during rose season from May through June.
When you get hungry, head to Naschmarkt. Naschmarkt is Vienna’s foodie paradise. It is a multi-cultural open street market with fresh, ethnic and local options. I recommend getting small portions from a few vendors so that you can try many different flavors. This is a great place to sample local cheeses & meats.
After enjoying Naschmarkt, you can return to the museum game. There are a few museums nearby. Walk from Naschmarkt to Maria-Theresien-Platz. This should take you less than 10 minutes. Maria-Theresien-Platz is a large and beautiful town square that joins the Museum Quarter with Vienna’s Ringstrasse.
The most famous museums in this area are the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Leopold Museum. The Kunsthistorisches Museum is the largest museum in Austria. The Leopold Museum has impressive collections from Austrian modern artists such as Gustav Klimt and Richard Gersti.
Day Two Late Afternoon & Evening
Head to the Hundertwasser House. This is a famous expressionist architectural landmark in Vienna. It is an apartment house built by the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, and one of the most visited buildings in Vienna. It’s a 20-minute walk from the Schweizerhaus beer garden & park. Enjoy strolling through the park and then relax in beer garden heaven. A trip to Vienna isn’t complete without enjoying local brews. One of the most common brands is Stiegl, but Ottakringer is brewed locally in Vienna.
Have more time?
- Visit the Chocolate Museum in Vienna.
- Pick up some Mozartkugel for your friends and family.
- Walk south down Mariahilfer Street from the Museum Quarter for the best shopping (check out Bershka, Pull & Bear or Mango).
- Learn about the history of psychology at the Sigmund Freud Museum.
About the Author
Valentina’s Destinations came from a passion for travelling and an obsession with crafting the most organized and optimized travel itineraries. Valentina was born in Serbia and immigrated to the United States with her family when she was little. She now travels the world with her partner Remi. Her blog strives to help empower others to engineer the vacations of their dreams. When she’s not traveling, Valentina lives in Chicago and works in the field of psychiatry as a physician assistant. You can find her most often on Instagram and Pinterest.