Travel Guide: What to do in Vienna within 24 hours?
Attracting over 6.8 million tourists a year, Austria’s Vienna is one of the hottest places to visit in Europe. But what can you do in the city within 24 hours?
It would be a lie if I drafted up an entire list that shows that you can see everything within 24-hours of the city, but, sadly, you can’t. After taking a short break from Bratislava and jumping on a bus over to the Austrian capital, I found myself in the position of needing to pack as much sightseeing into the trip as possible . However, despite my valiant efforts and 24,000 steps later, I still found that I missed a few things within Vienna but did capture a majority of what I needed to see.
Here is my guide to 24 hours in Vienna:
Getting to Vienna from Bratislava is a very simple task. You have a few options to take and these are:
- Twin City Liner: This Hydrofoil boat will get you to Vienna in style as you race up the Danube River. This is certainly the scenic route for sightseeing, but will set you back about €25 each direction.
- Coach: Flixbus and SlovakLines run direct to Vienna Erdberg (International Bus Station), which is a short 15-minute metro ride into the city, and can cost as little as €5 if you book in advance.
- Rent-a-car: Sixt, Europcar, and Avis all have pick-up spots here, which will give you the freedom of renting a car from as little as €12 a day.
After arriving into Vienna Erdberg, in my instance, the first stop was to get to Karlsplatz (U2). You will need to get on the U3 until Landstraße, which will then give you the chance to get on the U2 metro line for a couple more stops and you have arrived at your desired spot. From here, you will be able to walk through the grounds of Vienna’s University of Technology and be amazed at the beautiful 18th-Century baroque church, Karlskirche.
After capturing that in all its glory, you will be able to walk on over to grab a nice bagel and coffee from Blueorange Gastro OG on Margaretenstraße 9, 1040 Wien, Austria. Like a lot of places in Vienna, this is a “table-service” cafe so be sure to sit yourself down and wait for the staff to come serve you – there are menus on the tables in German and English. Unfortunately, this bistro is cash-only so be sure to pick some Euros out of the bank before you arrive.
After your breakfast delights at Blueorange, you can now continue walking over to Naschmarkt. This vast market contains over 100 food & vintage stalls and remains on the original 16th-century origins. Here you will get to feel like a local as you barter with stall owners, who are showing you their fine collection of cheeses, fruit, sausages, and, of course, souvenirs. There are also plenty of bars and restaurants if you fancy having that midday eat/drink.
For me, despite the bagel, I was still hungry and opted to pop over the street to a nice corner-bar cafe called Cafe Amacord. I was told by past visitors that in the summer that this place is often very crowded with reservations needed in advance but, for lunchtime, I was able to get in and sit myself down without any delays. They have a menu in German and in English, depending on your fluency, and, if you do opt to drink, get ready to be asked if 1litre is enough. The restaurant offered many Austrian delicacies and they do serve a traditional 3-course menu for €22.80 (service not included), which includes beef soup to start, veal schnitzel with potato salad for the main, and apple strudel with mango sauce and whipped cream to close. The service was quick, the waitress was extremely helpful, and the beer was fresh.
From here, you now have the chance to walk up to the MuseumsQuartier. This district has everything you need to fill out your afternoon with; be it for modern art at Leopold Museum to photo-realism in mumok, or the Museum of Natural History to the lavish Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien. Personally, the Leopold Museum stood out the most as that contains an extensive collection of work from the city’s very own Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.
After walking through Maria-Theresien-Platz, you can continue into the grand public space of Heldenplatz. This open to public park is situated directly in front of Hofburg Palace and contains a lot of statues, from Prinz Eugen to Erzherzog Karl and, of course, famed Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Mozartdenkmal).
After exploring the lovely parks, you can now make your way back into the city centre as you begin to draw a close to your little adventure. I opted to swing past the Albertina, Kaisergruft (famed for housing tombs of Hapsburg royalty), and Donnerbrunnen on the journey to Domkirche St. Stephan (St. Stephen’s Cathedral) which is situated right in the middle of town near Stephansplatz station. This medieval Roman-Catholic church has an ornate spire, catacombs, and a treasury museum. The building captivates the entire square with its size and the design internally leaves many awe struck.
After this and possibly wandering over to see Mozart’s House, you will have one last occasion to visit a much-needed “Kaffeehaus” in order for some cakes. Being close to Domkirche St. Stephan, this was the perfect chance to visit Café Diglas – a long-established venue which plays piano on the evenings – but you also have the opportunity to visit Kaffee Alt Wien, an old-fashioned cafe, or Café Frauenhuber, notable for Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven both performing here. All in all, no trip to Vienna would be complete without trying some shredded pancakes (Kaiserschmarrn) or Bundt cakes (Gugelhupf),
As you can see, trying to get everything in within 24 hours is extremely difficult given the vast amount of things to do. Here are a few things that you may want to see instead or, if you have a longer time, the chance to visit:
- Schönbrunn Palace: The Palace was the former summer residence of the imperial Habsburg family.
- Hundertwasser Village: A former factory that has been renovated into a thriving artistic community with vibrant colours.
- Prater: A large open park which is open 24 hours and houses an old-school amusement park including their famous 1987 ferris wheel, Prater Turm.
- Stadtpark: English-style park with plenty of flower-beds and statues. It is also the only place in Vienna where I spotted a homeless community.
Let me know if you have visited any of these places or have any other Vienna tips by commenting below.