What to do in Vienna in 3 days: The ultimate travel guide for 3 days in Vienna plus a detailed itinerary
- How many days to stay in Vienna – You’ll need at least 2-3 days.
- How much time I spent – the first time I spent 2 days and a half, but in the following years, I returned few times for a longer stay.
- Map of the itinerary
- 1 Day – Explore the Historic Centre and Vienna Prater – see St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Imperial Palace and take a ride on the Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel.
- 2 Day – Stroll along Ringstrasse and visit Belvedere Palace – visit the most famous museums, St. Charles’s Church and Belvedere Palace.
- 3 Day – Explore the imperial summer residence, Schönbrunn Palace.
- How to save money – by using Vienna pass you will save 77 EUR.
- What else to see in and around Vienna – see more places to visit in Vienna in 3 days.
- Recommended tours – take a guided tour of Vienna and attend a concert of Vienna Mozart Orchestra.
- Getting around the city
Vienna is the capital of Austria and it is the largest city in the country. It’s known as a City of Music due to the many famous musicians and composers who lived here (like Strauss, Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart and Brahms).
How many days to stay in Vienna
Are you planning a weekend in Vienna and wondering how many days to spare? Are 2 or 3 days in Vienna enough to see the city?
The first time I visited Vienna was for a weekend getaway and I tried to see everything. I mean really everything and it was exhausting! So my advice is to spare at least 3 full days (or 3 nights in Vienna) for your trip. Two days are barely enough to scratch the surface of what the city may offer you.
This Vienna itinerary for three days is perfect for you if you are visiting the city for the first time. It covers all the places you must see. To save time, use a hop-on-hop-off bus tour. In this way, you can easily reach all attractions.
If you want to try some of the restaurants in the itinerary for dinner, better make a reservation or go for an early dinner.
How much time I spent
Vienna is one of my favourite cities. In fact, it shares the first place with Edinburgh. If you’ve never been to the latter, check out what you should not miss in Edinburgh.
I visited Vienna for the first time in 2008 and instantly fell in love with the cold majestic beauty of the city. I’ve spent 2 days and a half, but it wasn’t enough! That’s why I returned again.
In the following years, I visited the city in the summer for the Summer Night Concert in Schönbrunn. I went back again for the Christmas Markets in December. As my favourite season is the autumn, I didn’t miss to see Vienna twice during that time. I guess I’ll never get bored of this imperial city.
I hope that this suggested itinerary for Vienna will be helpful for you.
What to do in Vienna in 3 days – map
Day 1 – Explore the Historic Centre and Vienna Prater
Morning – see St. Stephen’s Cathedral
08:30 AM – 09:30 AM
Start the day with a breakfast at Le Bol or L. Heiner.
L. Heiner has the typical atmosphere of a Viennese café. Take a cup of coffee and a delicious piece of cake to sweeten your day.
Le Bol is a French café and it is a great place if you want something substantial for breakfast. Their Croque-monsieur is mouth-watering.
09:30 AM – 11:30 AM
St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Stephansdom)
The Gothic cathedral, Stephansdom, is one of the most famous sites in the city. Tour the cathedral, the Treasury and climb the South Tower. You can also take a guided tour of Stephansdom, that includes the cathedral’s catacombs. The catacombs can be visited only with a guide.
The Treasury is worth it unless you are also planning to see the Imperial treasury in Hofburg. In this case, choose one of them.
11:45 AM – 12:00 PM
Plague Column (Pestsäule)
The Plague Column is erected to celebrate the end of the Great Plague epidemic in 1679. The column is right in the centre of the most famous shopping street in Vienna – Graben.
12:00 PM – 12:30 PM
St. Peter’s Church (Peterskirche)
St. Peter’s Church is easy to miss, but don’t! Although this Baroque Roman Catholic church is small, it is a real gem inside. You can also attend a classical music concert at St. Peter’s Church.
12:30 PM – 02:30 PM
Try Trześniewski or Hopferl.
Trześniewski offers delicious little sandwiches. You can choose from many variations. They go along great with a cold beer.
Hopferl is a traditional Austrian pub and it is a nice option for a longer lunch.
Afternoon – see the Imperial Palace, Rathaus and Vienna Prater
02:30 PM – 04:30 PM
Imperial Palace (Hofburg) and the Imperial Treasury (Schatzkammer)
Hofburg is the former Imperial Palace. It houses three museums: the Imperial Apartments, the Sisi Museum and the Silver Collection. Buying a ticket for Hofburg allows you to enter all of them.
Continue your walk through the imperial Vienna with a visit to the Imperial Treasury. It is a stunning museum and a must even for a limited time. Here you can see one of the largest emeralds in the world. You need to buy a separate ticket to visit the Imperial Treasury (it’s not included in the ticket for Hofburg palace).
04:45 PM – 05:00 PM
Austrian Parliament Building
You can’t pass without noticing this beautiful white building in Greek style. Since the 19th century, this is the place where the Austrian parliament conducts its sessions.
05:00 PM – 05:15 PM
New City Hall (Rathaus)
No, this is not the house of rats as you might think reading the name in German. In fact, this is the City Hall. The word “Rat” in German means council. The Neo-Gothic building of the Rathaus is outstanding, especially at night. If you have a chance to take a look at it in the evening, do it!
Take the underground
Take metro line U2 (Direction Seestadt): from station Rathaus to Praterstern Bf – 4 stop.
05:45 PM – 07:00 PM
Vienna Prater and Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel (Wiener Riesenrad)
No visit to Vienna is complete without a ride on the Giant Ferris wheel. The 64.75-metre (212 ft) tall Ferris Wheel does only one slow turn. You can even enjoy a candlelit dinner with a ride on the Giant Ferris Wheel.
This attraction is in the Prater, a huge amusement park. If you are not into such parks, you can skip it. Just go for the Ferris Wheel.
I suggest you take the underground back to the city centre instead of looking for a place to eat around the Prater. There are two great places to dine close to St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
If you love spare ribs, go to Ribs of Vienna. They offer more than 20 variations of ribs.
If you prefer a traditional Austrian restaurant, try Gasthaus Pöschl.
I recommend these Vienna tours
Day 2 – Stroll along Ringstrasse and explore Belvedere Palace
Morning – Visit the popular museums
08:30 AM – 09:30 AM
Start the second day of the Vienna itinerary 3 days with a breakfast at Ulrich.
09:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum) and Kunsthistorisches Museum
These identical buildings from 19th-century house the Habsburgs’ collections. It is not possible to see both of them in 2 hours, so choose the one that is more interesting for you.
If you are into art and history, Kunsthistorisches Museum is the better choice. I found their Egyptian and art collections fascinating. You can buy a combo ticket for the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Imperial Treasury and save some money.
On the other hand, the Natural History Museum houses the unique 29,500-year-old statue of Venus of Willendorf and enormous dinosaur skeletons. It’s a really tough choice.
11:45 AM – 12:15 PM
Burggarten and Mozart Statue
Take a rest in the Burggarten and see the famous Mozart Statue that is created in 1896.
12:15 PM – 12:30 PM
Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper)
Pass along the beautiful 19th-century old building of the Vienna State Opera.
12:30 PM – 02:30 PM
Choose between Café Museum and Phil.
Café Museum is a traditional Viennese café where you can order a lunch beside the usual cakes and coffee. Or you can eat few pieces of cake instead lunch as I did.
Phil combines a regular coffee shop with a bookstore.
Afternoon – see St. Charles’s Church and Belvedere Palace
02:30 PM – 03:00 PM
St. Charles’s Church (Karlskirche)
St. Charles’s Church is an outstanding Baroque church from 18th century. The entrance ticket is also valid for the elevator to the dome. You can enjoy a classical concert (Vivaldi’s Four Seasons) at St. Charles’s Church.
03:15 PM – 03:30 PM
Schwarzenbergplatz and Soviet War Memorial
The memorial is built to commemorate the Soviet soldiers who fell in the Battle of Vienna in the World War II.
03:45 PM – 05:30 PM
Belvedere Palace (Belvedere Schloss)
Belvedere Palace used to be the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy. The Palace is housed in two buildings separated by a huge park.
The Upper Belvedere houses the world’s largest collection of Gustav Klimt’s paintings. Here you can see his iconic masterpiece the Kiss (Lovers).
The Lower Belvedere houses temporary exhibitions, but it’s worth to visit it because of the few restored rooms. So if you want to find out how the palace looked back in its glorious days, don’t miss the Lower Belvedere.
You can buy separate tickets for Upper and Lower Belvedere if you want to visit only one of them.
Finish the day with dinner at Wiener Wiazhaus or Salm Bräu.
Salm Bräu is a few centuries old brewery. It is worth visiting for the beer.
However, I love the food in Wiener Wiazhaus more.
Day 3 – Visit Schönbrunn Palace and Vienna Danube Tower
Morning – Take a tour of the palace
08:30 AM – 09:30 AM
Start the last day of the 3 perfect days in Vienna itinerary with a breakfast at Waldemar Tagesbar.
09:30 AM – 01:30 PM
Schönbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn) and the gardens
Schönbrunn Palace is the former imperial summer residence of the Habsburgs. It has over 1400 rooms! The rooms in the palace are well preserved and you can see only 40 of them. There are different kinds of tickets for Schönbrunn Palace.
The gardens are huge.
There a lot of fearless squirrels you can feed with nuts. I don’t go there without a package of walnuts in my pocket.
The most interesting sites in the gardens are Gloriette, the Maze and the Palmenhaus. For all of them, you will need a ticket.
At the entrance of the palace, there is an Imperial Carriage Museum (Kaiserliche Wagenburg).
You can also attend an Apple Strudel Show – see how the original Viennese apple strudel is made. And taste a warm piece of strudel at the end of the show.
As you see there are a lot of options to choose from and you will have to make a choice. If you want to see all of this you will need a full day, not only the morning. It is up to you.
01:30 PM – 02:30 PM
Have a lunch at Café Restaurant Residenz or Landtmann’s Jausen Station. Both of them are located on the grounds of the palace.
Afternoon – choose between Vienna Zoo or Vienna Danube Tower
02:30 PM – 06:00 PM
Vienna Zoo (Tiergarten Schönbrunn) or Vienna Danube Tower (Donauturm)
If you are done with the palace and the gardens you have two options for the afternoon. You can visit the amazing zoo in the garden of the palace or the Danube Tower.
The Vienna Zoo is the oldest one in the world and it is huge. It takes hours to see it. You need an additional ticket for the Vienna Zoo unless you choose a Schönbrunn Pass that includes an entrance to the zoo.
If you stick with this option you can have dinner at Brandauers Schlossbräu or Plachutta. Brandauers Schlossbräu is a typical Austrian pub, while Plachutta is a little more formal.
Vienna Danube Tower
The tower is far away from the palace and you have to use the public transport.
Take metro line U4 (Direction Heiligenstadt): from station Schönbrunn to Schwedenplatz – 9 stops. Then change to metro line U1 (Direction Leopoldau): from station Schwedenplatz to Kaisermühlen – 5 stops. From there you have to walk about 1,5km to reach the Vienna Danube Tower.
A huge calm park surrounds the tower. From the top of the 252 metres (827 ft), you can enjoy spectacular views.
For dinner return to the city centre and try Gasthaus Pfudl or Restaurant Pürstner. Both of them serve delicious Austrian food.
How to save money
The Vienna pass includes:
- free admission to over 60 attractions;
- unlimited rides on the hop-on-hop-off buses;
- fast-track entry at many sites;
By using Vienna pass (99 EUR for 3 days) you will save 77 EUR.
- Sightseeing – 140 EUR (all sites from the itinerary except Karlskirche)
- Hop-on hop-off buses – 36 EUR
What else to see in Vienna
Get another view of the city
Listen to the magical works by Mozart and Strauss
Attend a concert of Vienna Mozart Orchestra in period costumes at the Golden Hall.
Naschmarkt is the best-known market in Vienna since the 16th century. The market has about 120 stands and restaurants, that ensure you a colourful culinary experience. To learn more about the Viennese cuisine and try delicious delicacies, take a gourmet food tour.
Spanish Riding School
The Spanish Riding school is a traditional riding school for Lipizzan horses with a history more than 450 years. You can attend a morning exercise of the Spanish Riding school. The performances take place at the Winter Riding School (Winterreitschule) in Hofburg.
Hundertwasser House (Hundertwasserhaus)
Hundertwasser House is a colourful and extraordinary house. It’s designed by the famous architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The house can’t be visited, but you can tour the nearby Kunst Haus Wien. It is also designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
Mozarthaus is the only remaining home in Vienna of the famous composer Mozart. He lived here from 1784 to 1787. Discover the musical side of Vienna by visiting the Mozart’s former apartment.
Albertina served as a residence of Habsburgs for more than 100 years. Nowadays it’s a must-see art museum. You can admire exhibitions of French and German expressionism, Russian avant-garde and many more. The museum also houses one of the largest graphical collections in the world. Tour the sumptuous staterooms and see some incredible art at Albertina.
Austrian National Library (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek)
The Austrian National Library is a must-see for every book lover. Its lavishing interior is something not to be missed. You can visit the State Hall, Literature museum, Globe Papyrus and Esperanto museum. Keep in mind that State Hall is located separately from the other museums.
Museum of Technology (Technisches Museum Wien)
This is one of the best technology museums I’ve ever been to. It’s very interactive and it’s huge. The museum is close to Schönbrunn Palace, so you can combine it with a visit to the palace.
Anchor Clock (Ankeruhr Clock)
It’s a famous clock in Art Nouveau style. At every hour the clock shows some historical figures and at noon all of them parade. If you want to see the show at 12:00 PM, go 15 minutes early as there is usually a big crowd.
Clock Museum (Uhrenmuseum)
I found this little museum fascinating. It houses about 700 clocks from around the world, some of which date even to the 15th century.
Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial
Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial is a moving memorial in the heart of the Jewish quarter. It commemorates the Austrian victims of the Holocaust. It’s also known as the Nameless Library. This concrete library is filled with books put backwards on the shelves. To learn more what happened to the Jewish community in Vienna during the WWII, take a historical walking tour.
Votive Church (Votivkirche)
If you take a walk along Ringstraße a beautiful sandstone church in neo-Gothic style will come in your sight. The history of Votive Church (Votivkirche) began with a failed assassination attempt. In 1853 during one of his regular walks around the city, Emperor Franz Joseph was attacked from behind. He was stabbed in the collar with a knife by the Hungarian nationalist János Libényi. The attack was unsuccessful. Although the emperor was heavily wounded, his life was out of danger. János Libényi was arrested for an attempted regicide and later he was executed.
The emperor’s brother, Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, decided to build a church in gratitude to God for the salvation of the emperor. Maximilian asked the people in Vienna for donations and after a year the needed amount was gathered. The name of the church Votive Church (Votivkirche) derives from the fact that it is built entirely by donations (votive offerings).
St. Francis of Assisi Church (Heiliger Franz von Assisi/Jubiläumskirche)
The church is built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. It’s very different from the other churches in Vienna, it resembles a small castle. The church is located a bit out of the city centre. Yet you can easily reach it from the underground, getting off at Vorgartenstraße station.
St. Michael’s Church (Michaelerkirche)
St. Michael’s Church is one of the oldest churches in Vienna. The church is mostly known for its crypt. Around 4,000 bodies are buried in the crypt from 1631 to 1784. Due to specific climatic conditions, the corpses are well preserved. The crypt can be visited only in a guided tour. It takes place from Thursday to Saturday at 11:00 AM and 01:00 PM in front of the church.
Imperial Crypt (Kaisergruft)/Capuchin Crypt (Kapuzinergruft)
The Imperial Crypt lies beneath the plain-looking Capuchin Church. It’s the final resting place of the Habsburg dynasty. About 150 Habsburgs are laid to rest here, among them are 12 emperors and 18 empresses. You can tour the crypt on your own.
City Park (Stadtpark)
The City Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the city centre. The famous music hall, Kursalon, is an elegant addition to the park. In the Kursalon you can enjoy a classical concert of Mozart and Strauss.
Tucked away in some side streets, this cat cafe is a must for every cat lover. It’s not fancy, has no entrance fee and five lovely cats are there to welcome you. Go early on weekdays for fewer crowds.
If you happen to visit Vienna in December, don’t miss the Christmas Markets. The best markets are the ones in front of the Rathaus and Schönbrunn Palace.
Take day trips
If you’re into castles, visit Castle Kreuzenstein (Burg Kreuzenstein). It’s only 25km away from Vienna, about a 30min journey with the S-Bahn.
I recommend these Vienna tours
Getting around the city
The easiest way to get from Vienna International Airport to the city centre is by using City Airport Train (only 16 minutes journey).
Vienna has a well-developed public transport network. You can get in no time to every part of the city. In most of the cases, you’ll need to use the underground only to go to Schönbrunn Palace or Danube Tower. Otherwise, Vienna can be explored easily by foot. There are different types of tickets.
During my trip, I mostly used the Weekly Pass (Wochenkarte). It’s a great option for a longer stay within a week. This ticket is valid from Monday 12:00 AM until next Monday 09:00 AM. To reach the airport by the S-Bahn (if you have the weekly pass), you’ll need only a supplementary ticket for Vienna outer zone (aussenzonen).
Also, the hop-on-hop-off buses are a great and easy option to tour the city.
Where to stay in Vienna
Luxury option – Hotel Sacher Wien – a 5-star luxury spa hotel right across the State Opera.
9.5/10 Rating – See reviews and images of the hotel
Mid-range – Hotel Am Stephansplatz – a boutique hotel located as close as possible to St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
9.3/10 Rating – See reviews and images of the hotel
Apartment – The Square Apartments Vienna – beautiful modern apartments right next to Stephansplatz.
9.2/10 Rating – See reviews and images of the apartments
Check out more best places to stay in Vienna.
What are the best things to do in 3 days in Vienna for you?
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About the author
|I'm a travel blogger based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Travelling has always been my passion and I love to discover new places and cultures. I want to show you how easy it is to organize your vacation all by yourself.|
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