The best one day trips from Vienna – a full guide to the most beautiful castles and places near Vienna, Austria.
The capital city of Austria is a wonderful base to explore this region of Europe. There are a lot of beautiful places to visit near Vienna – from emerald river valleys and picturesque cities to medieval castles and abbeys. All this due to the city’s fantastic location on the banks of the Danube and in proximity to three other countries.
Of course, don’t miss to spend 2 or 3 days in Vienna and explore this gorgeous imperial city.
What day trips I took
Vienna (Wien) is so beautiful that during my first visit to the city, I just couldn’t leave it. There was always more and more to explore – from interesting museums and stunning architecture to lovely little coffee shops.
However later I fixed that mistake and took a few one day trips from Vienna. As a huge castle fan, my first side trip from Vienna was to Kreuzenstein Castle. It’s a lovely 19th-century castle, only 30min away from the city.
For my second trip, I chose Bratislava, the capital city of Slovakia. You can easily explore this lovely little city in one day. And you need only an hour by train to get there.
Mid-range – Das Capri – a lovely 3-star hotel at a walkable distance from the Old Town and Praterstern railway station.
9.3/10 Rating – See hotel images and 2,530+ guest reviews
Luxury option – Sofitel Stephansdom – a boutique 5-star hotel with an amazing rooftop restaurant.
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Apartment – Singerstrasse 21/25 Apartments – spacious modern apartments in the heart of the Old Town.
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Check out what is the best area to stay in Vienna, if you have doubts about what district to choose.
The best one day trips from Vienna
If you’re visiting the city for the first time, take a look at these short side trips from Vienna. They feature the most popular places.
You can easily plan your journey using the route planner of the Austrian Railways.
A trip to the magnificent Melk Abbey is one of the most popular excursions from Vienna. Leopold II, Margrave of Austria founded the abbey in 1089. Soon it became famous for its extensive manuscript collection. Today, the abbey is a stunning example of the Baroque architecture.
During the winter you can visit the abbey only with a guided tour.
Wachau valley and Melk Abbey Tour
Combine a visit to the medieval Melk Abbey with a boat cruise on the Danube River. Explore the beautiful Wachau valley, the most picturesque area in the region. The tour includes the entrance fee to Melk Abbey.
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How to get to Melk Abbey from Wien
Take a regional train from Wien Westbahnhof to Melk Bahnhof (1-hour journey). From there it’s about 800m to the abbey.
Bratislava, the charming capital of Slovakia, is another popular place to visit near Vienna, Austria. It’s a vibrant city with a unique mixture of 18th-century buildings and Soviet-era architecture. An impressive castle, quirky statues and a modern UFO tower add a little bit of atmosphere to the city.
To see the highlights of the city in a day, check out What to do in Bratislava in one day.
Bratislava Full-Day Boat Tour
It’s one of the best selling tours and it’s available only in the spring and summer. Combine a cruise along the picturesque Danube River with a visit to Bratislava.
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Bratislava Tour by Bus and Boat
If you want to spend more time in Bratislava and less cruising, choose this tour. In addition, it includes a guided walking tour of Bratislava.
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How to get to Bratislava from Wien
Take a train from Wien Hbf to Bratislava hl.st. (1h journey). From there it’s about 1.5km to the Old Town.
Take the Twin City Liner boat (1h 15min journey).
Stretching between the town of Melk and Krems, the spectacular Wachau Valley is a great option for a day tour. The scenic area is filled with picturesque villages, abbeys and idyllic vineyards. And not to forget the medieval castle at Dürnstein, where Richard the Lionhearted was held as a prisoner. This popular getaway from Vienna is the perfect choice for history, nature and wine lovers.
Wien to Wachau Full-Day Danube Boat Cruise
The best way to explore the beautiful Wachau Valley is by taking a boat cruise. This tour will take you through the hills of Wienerwald to the picturesque vineyards of Tulln. At Tulln, known as the Town of the Roses, you’ll have the chance to sample different local wines. In addition, the tours also include an individual afternoon program for Krems, Dürnstein or Spitz.
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Wachau Valley Winery Biking Tour
Explore the scenic Wachau Valley on a bike and visit small family-owned wineries. Sample quality dry and fruity whites as well as other delicacies. Then tour the medieval castle in Dürnstein.
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If you prefer to explore the Wachau Valley on your own, check out this combined Wachau-Ticket. It includes train and boat tickets plus an entrance to Melk Abbey.
Castles near Vienna
If you are more into castles, you won’t be disappointed, too. There are 4 awesome castles near Vienna, Austria. And all of them are about an hour away by train.
Lichtenstein Castle (Schloss Lichtenstein)
Hugo of Liechtenstein commissioned the construction of the castle in 1130. For the following 200 years, it served as a residence of the Liechtenstein family. During its history, the castle switched hands several times and was largely expanded by its numerous owners. In 1807 the Liechtenstein family regained the ownership of the fortress and it’s still their property.
You can see the Lichtenstein Castle only with a guided tour (every hour on the hour). Tours are held in German and English.
After touring the castle you can visit the nearby Seegrotte Hinterbrühl, the largest underground lake in Europe. It’s only about 1,5km away from the fortress.
How to get to Lichtenstein Castle from Vienna
Take a suburban train to Mödling Bahnhof (30min journey). From there it’s about a 4km walk to the castle. You can also take the local bus 262 and get off at Maria Enzersdorf Siedlungsstraße. From there it’s about 700m to the site. Keep in mind that the bus runs only once every hour.
Kreuzenstein Castle (Burg Kreuzenstein)
The history of Kreuzenstein Castle started around the 12th century. Its first owner was Dietrich of Grizanestaine from the Bavarian Formbacher family.
In the 13th century, the Habsburg took possession of the castle for the following 250 years. In 1645, during the last years of the Thirty Years’ War, after a siege, the fortress fell in the hands of the Swedish army. During its retreat, the building was largely destroyed and then abandoned. The following decades brought nothing good to the castle and soon it sank into oblivion.
In 1702 it became a possession of the Wilczek family, Polish nobles, through marriage. And in 1874 Johann Nepomuk Wilczek took the hard task to reconstruct the castle. Johann was a chamberlain at the court of Emperor Franz Joseph I. He was also one of the most famous aristocrats of his era.
During the rebuilding of the castle, the existing ruins were incorporated in the new building. In addition, various original components were used. These components were collected from Wilczek during his research tours through Europe. This gave the authentic and interesting look of Burg Kreuzenstein.
The castle can be visited only in a guided tour. It takes place every hour on the hour and lasts about 45-60 minutes. The tour is only in German. However, sheets with printed information in English are provided.
How to get to Kreuzenstein Castle from Wien
Take the suburban train S3 or S4 to Leobendorf-Burg Kreuzenstein station (30 min journey). You have to validate your tickets before boarding. If you have a weekly pass, you have to buy only one ticket for the area outside of Vienna. When you arrive at the station, head to the centre of the town.
After 1 km of walking, you will see signs, leading to the castle and the castle itself is visible from a distance. The road to the castle continues through the woods. Just follow the signs and you won’t get lost. You will need about 30-40 minutes (2 kilometres) of walking to reach the castle.
Franzensburg Castle began as a small hunting lodge of the Habsburgs in 1333 (today called Altes Schloss). Later in 1801 Francis II, the last Holy Roman Emperor, commissioned the construction of the castle. It’s built on an artificial island in the middle of a pond, surrounded by a huge park. The place is the perfect setting for a romantic day trip from Vienna. No wonder why the famous Empress Elisabeth of Austria (known as Sisi) spent her honeymoon here.
Although the gardens are free to visit, you have to join a guided tour to explore the castle.
How to get to Franzensburg Castle from Vienna
Take bus number 200 from Wien Hbf (Busbahnhof Südtiroler Platz) to Laxenburg Franz-Joseph-Platz (a 40min journey). From there it’s about 2.5km to the castle through a park.
Esterházy Palace (Schloss Esterházy)
Esterházy Palace is one of the most fascinating Baroque palaces in Austria. The Esterházy family acquired the property in 1649 and for 300 years it was their royal residence. The place is famous for its connection to Joseph Haydn. This world-renowned Austrian composer left a deep mark in the palace’s history. He served at the court of Esterházy for over 40 years.
How to get to Esterházy Palace from Wien
Take bus number 200 from Wien Hbf (Busbahnhof Südtiroler Platz) to Eisenstadt Esterházystraße (1h 15min journey). From there it’s about 200m to the palace.
Take a regional train to Eisenstadt Schule Bahnhof (1h 10min journey). Then walk 1.5km to the palace.
More places to visit near Vienna, Austria
For more weekend trips from Vienna, check out these suggestions. These trips take longer as the destinations are further away from the city. I’d recommend taking an organized tour or adding an overnight stay.
Located at the heart of the Alps, this picturesque city is a true Baroque gem. It’s also the birthplace of the world-famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Highlights of Salzburg include the Cathedral, Mirabell Palace, Hohensalzburg Castle and Mozart Museum.
You’d better spend at least 2 days here and explore the city on your own pace. Yet, if you’re on a tight schedule, take an organized tour to save time.
Day Trip to Salzburg from Vienna
Combine in one day trip the three jewels of Austria – Salzburg, the Wachau Valley and Salzkammergut. Enjoy the beautiful scenery of Wachau on your way to Salzburg. Then see the best of the city in a guided walking tour of the Old Town.
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Budapest is known as Paris of the East. And there is a reason why. It’s an outstandingly picturesque city due to its architecture spanning from Baroque to Art Nouveau style. Some of the top attractions are Buda Castle, Fisherman’s Bastion, Hungarian Parliament Building and St. Stephen’s Basilica. Find out more must-see sites in this Budapest weekend itinerary.
It’s better to add an overnight stay for this destination. However, if you don’t have time, take an organized tour that will show you the highlights of the city in one day.
Budapest Full-Day Trip From Vienna
Get a taste of Hungary and see the most popular attractions of the beautiful capital of Hungary.
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Margrave Leopold III founded Klosterneuburg Abbey in the 12th century. According to the legends, he chose this place for the abbey for a reason. On this spot, he found the veil of his bride after it was seized by a strong wind on their wedding day. During the centuries, the abbey served as a royal residence of many Imperial dynasties, including the Habsburgs.
The oldest winery in Austria is also here. You can tour the wine cellar and sample some excellent wines.
How to get to Klosterneuburg Abbey from Wien
Take train S40 to Klosterneuburg Kierling Bahnhof (a 15min journey). From there it’s about 700m to the abbey.
Vienna Woods is a part of the lower foothills of the Alps. It’s a large belt of woodland populated with small historic towns and vineyards. Besides the numerous hiking trails, there are some must-see attractions like Mayerling hunting lodge and Heiligenkreuz Abbey. The Mayerling hunting lodge is the infamous place where Rudolf, the Crown Prince of Austria, was found dead with his mistress Baroness Vetsera in 1889.
Vienna Woods and Mayerling Half-Day Tour
Explore the scenic Vienna Woods and discover its most popular sites. Visit the historic Mayerling hunting lodge and the beautiful Heiligenkreuz Abbey. Finish the tour with a boat trip in Seegrotte, Europe’s largest underground lake.
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Attend the morning exercise of the Spanish Riding School of Wien.
Take a ride on the Giant Ferris Wheel for panoramic views of the city.
Find self-guided walking tours and historical insights in DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Vienna.
Don’t miss to attend to any of the numerous Vienna classical concerts.
To save money on entrance fees, get a Vienna Pass. Find out more in Is Vienna Pass worth it.
Find out how to spend a romantic weekend in Vienna.
If you look for a convenient accommodation, check out the best hotels in Vienna city centre.
If you’re planning to rent a car, compare the car rental prices in Europe.
|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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