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I had such a fantastic 3 days in Vienna. The time whizzed by and I could have totally stayed forever. If you’re planning a visit to Austria‘s capital, let me share my Vienna 3 day itinerary to help you make the most of your trip.
I was expecting really beautiful, ornate places from Vienna but I didn’t realise it had such a cool and quirky side to it with loads of impressive Vienna street art and hipster bars down by the canal.
The last time I visited Austria was actually the first time I went abroad EVER on a family holiday when I was 14. My memories of it obviously aren’t the strongest but I definitely rekindled my love for the country this time around.
3 DAYS IN VIENNA ESSENTIALS
Copy of Lonely Planet Vienna // Lonely Planet Austria
Accommodation: Browse hotels in Vienna (Booking.com) // Browse hostels in Vienna (Hostelworld)
Getting there: flights (Skyscanner), train (RailEurope), bus (FlixBus)
Tours & activities: GetYourGuide
Pre-book your Vienna airport to city transfer
How to get to Vienna
There are many ways to get to Vienna…
By air: The international airport is well connected with Europe and the rest of the world. I use Skyscanner to find the best-value flights.
Getting from the airport to central Vienna: There’s easy access to the city as the City Airport Train takes just 15-minutes to get from the airport to Wien-Mitte station in the heart of the city. Alternatively, pre-book your Vienna airport to city transfer.
By car: If you plan to drive in Austria, pick up a car hire in Vienna from Rentalcars.com.
Train: You can also arrive by train from neighbouring cities including Prague and Bratislava into the Wien Hauptbahnhof. Book tickets on RailEurope.
Bus: To arrive by bus, take a FlixBus into the international bus terminal. FlixBus runs all around Europe and is by far the cheapest way to get around, even if the journeys take slightly longer than the train.
Where to stay during 3 days in Vienna
Here are a few accommodation options during your Vienna 3 day itinerary:
Hotels in Vienna: Boutiquehotel Stadthalle (from €100 a night) is one of the best boutique hotels in Vienna boasts bright, comfy rooms, a spacious garden area and a superb continental breakfast. For a more affordable option with clean, comfy rooms and all your amenities, book at B&B Hotel Wien-Hbf (€60 a night).
Best hostels in Vienna: If you’re going solo and looking for cheap accommodation, I’d recommend the Meininger chain. I’ve stayed a few times in Germany and they’re clean with everything you need. The Meininger downtown hostel has a lounge and games room for meeting other travellers and a kitchen where you can cook to keep the costs down. It’s also right beside the lovely Augarten.
For a quirky stay with gardens and allegedly a free stuff basket (say what?) I’ve heard good things about Ruthensteiner Hostel, too.
Getting around during 3 days in Vienna
Vienna is generally a walkable city with many of the key attractions closeby and very few rundown or unsafe areas you’d want to avoid. We walked a lot during our 3 days in Vienna and only took the S-Bahn a handful of times.
There are a few areas slightly further out of the city that would be too far to walk, for example the Hundertwasser House to the east to Vienna, and the most popular attraction in Vienna, Schönbrunn Palace.
For these attractions and any others you don’t want to walk to, board the S-Bahn which is Vienna’s underground Metro network. These trains leave regularly and cover all areas of the city. Prices are as follows:
|Children and dogs||€1.20|
Top activities in Vienna
- Vienna Mozart Concert (€55)
- Ghosts and legends of Vienna night walking tour (€15)
- Evening dinner cruise (€59)
Is the Vienna card worth it?
I seem to spend hours weighing up whether city cards are worth the money! In many European cities, museums are free so it often doesn’t worth it.
In the case of Vienna, not many of the museums are free. If you’re planning three days in Vienna and want to see as much as possible, it’s probably worth it, especially since you get skip-the-line priority on most activities (very useful during summer weekends!).
The Vienna pass can be booked for 1, 2, 3 or 6 days of sightseeing. The 2 or 3 day pass is best value.
Book the Vienna PASS for free entry to attractions & skip-the-line access.
Vienna itinerary – day 1
So you can enjoy the city as much as I did, I’ve put together this 3 days in Vienna itinerary including sightseeing, cafes, best meals and more. Enjoy your 3 days in Vienna!
Morning – shopping at the Naschmarkt
The fruit stalls are amazing and I found all my
Read next: Complete guide to the Naschmarkt Vienna
Not a clue where to start or what to buy? Take a tour & picnic with a local guide.
My favourite vendors were the stalls selling Middle Eastern food. It’s not just run-of-the-mill falafel: you’ll find baklava, olives, tomatoes stuffed with feta, and figs filled with Parma ham and walnuts. We picked ourselves up a picnic and ate it at the Alfred-Grünwald-Park across the road.
Getting to the Naschmarkt: The closest station is Kettenbrückengasse which is on the U4 (green) underground line. Walk out of the station and you’re there.
Day 1 afternoon – Schönbrunn Palace
While we just spent a couple of hours at Schönbrunn Palace, you could invest a whole day. As well as admiring the stunning building itself, you can climb the hill to the Gloriette structure, visit the Palm House, explore the labyrinth maze or go to the zoo.
We had our sights set on the apple strudel show which happens once hourly but sadly we missed the last one of the day (4pm) and salvaged the situation by eating it at the cafe instead. Some things like going inside the Palace cost extra but you can still go and enjoy the free bits like we did.
Schönbrunn Palace is open 7 days a week from 10am-5pm. There are various prices depending on what you wish to see.
The website will tell you about Schönbrunn Palace ticket options but we took the Schönbrunn Classic Pass for €29.50 which included an audio guide tour around the Grand Palace, Privy Garden, Maze & Labyrinth, Orangery Garden and Gloriette building looking out over Vienna.
This was enough for us but you can upgrade to include to the Grand Tour or Imperial tour if you’re interested in seeing the staterooms and private of ex-emperor, Franz Joseph.
Getting to Schönbrunn Palace: Catch the green U4 underground line to Schönbrunn and follow signs to the palace.
Sunset drinks during 3 days in Vienna
If there’s one bar I’d recommend visiting during your 3 days in Vienna it’s Das Loft on the 18th floor of the Sofitel Hotel. We worried we would be out of place at the fancy bar and restaurant in our casual day clothes but it was fine.
Prices weren’t too insane. The cocktails were expensive at €15 but a glass of wine was €6 and a beer €5 which was well worth it when you consider the view you’re getting.
Getting to Das Loft: Back on that trusty U4 line to Schwedenplatz station. Look out for the Sofitel Hotel which is just across the bridge from the station exit.
Where to eat during 3 days in Vienna
There are plenty of places for vegetarians too (though you may not end up with traditional Austrian food).
We headed to a place I’d read about online, Der Wiener Deewan for
Getting to Der Wiener Deewan: The closest station is Schottentor. However, if you’re following my Vienna itinerary step by step, you can walk from Das Loft to Der Wiener Deewan in 15 minutes.
Vienna itinerary – day 2
Keen to fill our Vienna 3 day itinerary, we got up early to explore the city centre. Of course, that started with coffee!
Day 2 morning – get your caffeine fix
We started our day over cappuccinos at Kleines, a long-standing cafe in a gorgeous square. For such a central location, it didn’t feel too touristy and doesn’t seem to have changed much since its heydey either. The interior is worth a peep, too with tiled floors and newspapers on the walls.
Kleines has been open since 1936 and was particularly popular with a bohemian crowd in the 1970s.
While we just stopped for morning coffee, the breakfast dishes looked amazing. Silver trays of eggs, ham, cheese and fresh bread were brought out to other guests while we looked on, regretting having eaten cereal in our Airbnb.
Getting to Kleines: It’s a five-minute walk from Stephansplatz underground station on the U2 and U4 lines.
Day 2 Vienna itinerary – morning walking tour
There are loads of walking tours you can take during 3 days in Vienna including free ones but we decided to see some of the highlights at our own pace. Check out some of the following spots which are all close together:
If you visit two palaces in Vienna make them Schönbrunn and Hofburg. Unlike Schönbrunn which you’ll want to watch the S-Bahn to, Hofburg is right in the
You can choose to wander the grounds for free or pay to go inside to the Imperial Apartments and museum. Either way, you’ll be impressed by the baroque architecture dating back to the 13th century.
Personal note – you will see horse and cart rides at Hofburg. I would always encourage you to use your judgement and do research before engaging in any activities with animals around the world.
Hofburg was once the imperial palace during days of the Habsburg dynasty from 1804 to 1867. Nowadays, it’s the residence and offices of the President of Austria. It’s crazy to think the president lives in such a busy, central location. I’m assuming there’s a sneaky back entrance so he can get in and out without bumping into thousands of tourists!
Back of the Hofburg Palace & Burggarten
The front of the Palace is most popular but round the back you’ll find an equally pretty area with gardens, a pond and a Mozart statue complete with giant music note made of flowers. The Habsburg dynasty didn’t do anything by halves!
You could easily spend a half-day just at The Hofburg but we did an hour’s recce before continuing with our Vienna itinerary.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
One of the most distinctive buildings in Vienna is St Stephen’s Cathedral built in Romanesque, gothic style. You’ll see it from afar thanks to the black, green and white stripes of the rooftop made from elaborate tiles.
We climbed the 334 stairs to the top of this beaut which wasn’t as tough as I expected. However, the top was a little disappointing. Rather than an open top, we found ourselves in the finish point of a gift shop with smeary windows.
The tower climb was $5.50 or alternatively, you can head underground on a catacombs tour.
This rustic row of shops is down the most atmospheric alleyway. You can browse jewellery and trinkets here as well as see a collection of Vienna’s best doorways. Insta heaven!
Day 2 Vienna itinerary lunch
There are so many places to eat in central Vienna whether you fancy a sit-down meal or a quick bite between sightseeing.
I took the latter option and had a quick schnitzel from a takeaway stall outside the Hofburg Palace. It wasn’t the fanciest meal of my Vienna trip but I wasn’t complaining.
For highly-rated schnitzel in Vienna, you could try Plachuttas Gasthaus zur Oper which claims to serve the best in the city or Figmüller which has been serving its original recipe for 110 years!
We continued our walking tour before stopping for…
Day 2 afternoon tea break – Cafe Diglas
My family are pros at stopping for tea and cake and we outdid ourselves by stumbling across many of the best Vienna coffee houses including the lovely Cafe Diglas on Wollzeile street.
The pretty pink outside is a prelude to the classic style inside. If you don’t believe me, check out the extravagant lampshade above our table and the chandelier made out of teacups. You should also pay a trip to the bathroom where the clear doors turn frosted at the flick of the lock!
We tucked into Sachertorte which is famous in Vienna. For the original, head to Cafe Sacher, While I didn’t try it there, the one we did have at Cafe Diglas was very tasty and chocolatey.
Day 2 late afternoon – Hundertwasser Village
Seasonal note: in winter you might want to move this stop to the next morning or next day to see it in daylight. Pre-book tickets for the house and museum.
By 5.30 pm we’d finished our city tour and arrived at the Hundertwasser Village which was somewhere I’d been keen to see the whole trip. It was built in 1990 by Friedensreich Hundertwasser who apparently hated straight lines so made everything curvy.
It’s a unique piece of architecture definitely worth adding to your Vienna 3 day itinerary simply to compare it with the classic palaces you’ve seen so far!
Getting to Hundertwasser Village: Catch the underground to Landstraße (on the green U3 or orange U4 line) and walk for 10 minutes. This attraction is a little far from the rest of Vienna’s tourist attractions but worth the trip. Personally, I’ve never seen anywhere like it before.
Day 2 evening – sunset on the Prater Ferris wheel
No 3 day Vienna itinerary would be complete without a spin on the Prater Ferris wheel. Just a 15-minute walk from the Hundertwasser Village is this permanent fairground with rides and a Madame Tussauds.
We were mainly there for the Ferris wheel which is the world’s oldest. It was a bit pricey at €10 for a 20-minute spin (and there was a pretty long queue) but the views of the city were worth it.
Looking for Vienna’s best city views? I’d say the Prater Ferris wheel, St. Stephen’s Cathedral Tower and the Gloriette panorama at Schönbrunn Palace.
Tip: Book a skip-the-queue ticket at no additional cost
Getting to Prater: the nearest station is Messe-Prater which is on the U2 line. If you’ve been to Hunderwasser House previously, it’s within walking distance.
Day 2 Vienna itinerary – dinner
We ate dinner at Swing Kitchen. Feeling like we’d walked a marathon that day, we crashed at the Opernhaus branch of Vienna’s vegan burger chain.
I went for a ‘cheese’ burger which was made with a bean patty, lots of salad and a soft roll. At €8 for a burger, chips and drink it was a bargain.
Evening drinks by the canal
After 12 hours on our feet in the heat we were exhausted so headed back to the apartment but if you want to head for drinks, I’d recommend the canal area. There are tons of quirky bars decked out in fairy lights where you can sit and enjoy the atmosphere, plus lots of the boats double up as restaurants.
Or why not book an evening canal cruise?
Vienna itinerary – day 3
With our 3 days in Vienna about to draw to a close, we made a solid effort to see as much as possible before our flight. Whether you have a full day or a half-day, here are some options for sightseeing before you go.
Street art tour
On our final morning in Vienna, we took ourselves on a street art tour around Vienna, snapping some of the colourful urban art around the canalside.
I enjoyed this tremendously because I have a bit of an obsession with street art around the world (as I’m sure you know if you’ve visited this website before!). In a city like Vienna with so many grand palaces and traditional architecture, I enjoyed finding this alternative, quirky side to the city even more.
Read next: Vienna street art guide
Day 3 Vienna itinerary – lunch at Erich
We finished our street art tour at Erich which has awesome breakfasts, tacos, skewers and cheese melts. I couldn’t decide between skewers and ended up with the platter of one of each of them, plus two tasty bruschettas.
Joni tucked into a sweet potato bowl with brown rice and spinach and we both had our fave cocktails, Hugos. Gutted I can’t find these in England!
Getting to Erich: You’ll find Erich on Neustiftgasse which is just around the corner from the Museums Quarter. Catch the purple U2 underground line to Museumsquartier underground station.
Dessert was ice cream down the street at Veganista. I had a scoop of raspberry and a scoop of lavender and we mused over how good vegan ice cream tastes!
Day 3 Vienna itinerary – afternoon at Belvedere Palace
Belvedere Palace is a gorgeous set of Baroque palaces well worth adding to your Vienna itinerary. The Austrian Gallery Belvedere is home to the famous painting, The Kiss by Gustav Klimt which shows two life-size gold figures in an embrace.
Apparently, it was deemed risque by a Victorian audience (even though the couple are fully dressed) but is now worth $135 million. The €16 entrance fee doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?
Belvedere is open 10am-6pm, 7 days a week and you can eat delicious strudels and sacher torte afterwards in the cafe.
To learn about the art, take a world-class art tour of the grounds, palaces and museum with a qualified art historian.
Getting to Belvedere Palace: You can walk from central Vienna in 30 minutes or catch the red U1 line to the nearest metro station, Südtiroler Platz.
Day trips during 3 days in Vienna
If you have any extra days to spare, why not add a day trip to your Vienna itinerary? My fellow Europeans probably won’t appreciate the novelty of visiting a whole new country in a day trip but I know many of American and Aussie readers will.
Local day trips from Vienna include Liechtenstein Castle, Salzburg, Hallstadt Village and Castle Franzenburg, while international trips include Budapest (Hungary), Brno (Czechia) and Bratislava (Slovakia). Book a return Vienna to Bratislava boat trip down the Danube River.
Related read: How to spend 1 perfect day in Bratislava
Photos from my Vienna 3 day itinerary
Some of my
Vienna is one of my favourite cities I’ve visited recently so I’m sure you’ll love it too!
Travelling in Central Europe? These are a few of my favourite cities nearby Vienna…
- Bratislava, Slovakia: I loved spending 1 day in Bratislava and exploring the excellent food and drink scene. If you need reasons to visit Bratislava, have a read of my blog! You can catch a train in 1 hour or take a river cruise.
- Prague, Czech Republic: Before visiting Vienna, I ate endless food in Prague and also checked out Cesky Krumlov, a lovely city in South Bohemia known for spectacular Cesky Krumlov Castle. It’s easy to catch a FlixBus between Cesky Krumlov and Vienna.
- Budapest, Hungary: Who doesn’t love Budapest? From hot spas to synagogues, castles and quirky ruin bars, you can easily spend 3 days in Budapest while indulging in the fantastic Budapest food scene. Budapest is a 2.5-hour drive from Vienna or you can catch a train or Flixbus.
MY TRUSTED RESOURCES FOR VISITING AUSTRIA
Getting around by air – I use Skyscanner to find the best-value flights, using the ‘search by month’ tool to find the cheapest dates. You can also use the ‘to anywhere’ feature if you’re flexible on where you’re going.
Driving in Europe – use Rentalcars.com to compare car rentals in European countries (and all around the world).
For trains, I use RailEurope. The search feature allows you to compare prices, and they show live departure times on the website.
For buses, I use Flixbus. Find journeys between European countries from €1!
For hotels and self-catering apartments, I use Booking.com. You can filter by review score and price to find the best-rated budget places. For hostels, I use Hostelworld.com.
Browse tours and activities on GetYourGuide.
For food tours pairing travellers with passionate local chefs and foodies, check out EatWith.
Need travel insurance? I use World Nomads. They cover 150 countries and have 24-hour emergency assistance.
Check out my resources page for more travel discounts and budget tips from my 10+ years on the road!
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