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27 things to do and eat in Vienna, Austria

Updated: Sep 17, 2019



Vienna, the capital of Austria, is the dreamiest European city, in our opinion. A city rich in history and culture, the historic centre has even been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. With countless imperial palaces, museums, and art galleries, there's just so much to do in Vienna.


Especially for first-timers, here's a useful guide for you to find out what you can do in Vienna. You may also wish to read our All you need to know about travelling to Vienna Travel Guide to find out more about how you can get to Vienna, transport within Vienna, accommodation and wifi information.


1. St. Stephen's Cathedral (Stephanskirche)



Also known as the symbol of Vienna, be marvelled by the most important Gothic structure in Austria. The cathedral has four towers and is 107.2 meters long and 34.2 meters wide and has a colourful roof to create the Royal and Imperial double-headed eagle and the coat of arms of the city of Vienna.



Enter the cathedral and experience the beautiful interior architecture too. Entrance is free but should you want to head up the tower for a splendid view of Vienna, you'll have to pay a nominal fee.


St. Stephan's Cathedral

Stephansplatz 3, 1010 Wien, Austria

http://www.stephanskirche.at

Nearest underground: Stephanplatz


2. Sample Viennese Schnitzel at Figlmuller


Also known as the home of the Schnitzel, where best to sample local Viennese fare at Figlmuller. It is also located close to St. Stephan's Cathedral so you can just take a short walk there for lunch. Be warned, the schnitzel's huge!!

Head down this little alley and you'll arrive at their original Wollzeile store. It is normally packed and you will be turned away (and directed to their other branch) if you do not have a reservation. Strangely and fortunately, we walked in an immediately got a seat in the glass-covered atrium!



Menu at Figlmuller Wollzeile

I previously dined at the Baeckerstrasse outlet 6 years back and had to stand in line to even get into the restaurant. I remembered having delicious and crispy schnitzel and the unforgettable potato salad. Since I've tried the veal one previously, and we so fortunately managed to get into the original Wollzeile outlet and had an amazing seat, we ordered the Figmuller-Schnitzel (pork version, 14.90 euros) and the potato salad (4.70 euros)! We ordered a portion of each to share and a glass of grape juice spritzer (2.6 euros). Prices are affordable and kept that way for a restaurant dining experience.


For some reason, the original Wollzeile outlet has slightly cheaper prices than the Baeckerstrasse outlet. Also, if you want to sample the veal version (Wiener Schnitzel, 20.50 euros), it is only available in Baeckerstrasse.



Service was very good too, the waiter served us our Schnitzel alongside two smaller plates as we were sharing the portion. Because it was all fried, a glass of fizzy drink or beer is absolutely necessary. Also, it may be too much for one Asian stomach. But really, most of the patrons there were having one all to themselves!


If you do want to head over, remember to reserve your seats online! For your information, at the time of writing, all lunch and dinner December slots are filled at both branches.


Figlmuller

Wollzeile 5, 1010 Wien, Austria

Bäckerstraße 6, 1010 Wien, Austria

https://figlmueller.at/en/

Nearest underground: Stephanplatz


3. Watch them dance at the Anchorclock


The Anchorclock is adorned with copper accents that looked almost like gold shining in the sunlight. It is situated in the oldest square in Vienna and represents an Art Noveau design. At each hour, 12 historical figures move across the bridge and the highlight is at noon where all 12 figures will parade across the bridge accompanied by music.


If you're in the area close to noontime, head over to watch this tourist spectacular!


Anchor Clock

Hoher Markt 10-11, 1010 Wien, Austria

Nearest underground: Schwedenplatz


4. Go shopping in Vienna: Kärntner Strasse and the longest and liveliest Mariahilfer Strasse


Kärntner Strasse is the most famous high street in Vienna and it is also home to the flagship store of Austrian brand Swarovski. You can also find many international fashion brands like H&M, Zara, Forever 21, as well as luxury shops like Hugo Boss. Souvenir stores also line this street as it is popular pathway from St. Stephan's Cathedral to the Vienna Opera House.


The other must-go is Mariahilfer Strasse! It starts somewhere close to Wien Westbahnhof and you can find almost every departmental store and shop here. Hidden in the smaller lanes you'll be able to find fun and interesting stuff; definitely a must-go!


5. Go cafehopping and experience Vienna's coffeehouse culture



At the end of Kärntner Strasse, head into Cafe Sacher for an afternoon bite. The original Sachertorte, a dense chocolate cake with apricot jam, is a delicious treat after all that walking. Plus, take some time to take in the Coffee House culture in Vienna.


Beautiful interior of Cafe Central Wien

Other cafes that we've visited include Palmenhaus, Cafe Central and Cafe Landtmann. We've written short posts on them so do click on the respective links for a read!


6. Tour Vienna's Operahouse (Wiener Staatsoper)



There's only two ways to view the inside of the Operahouse: one, to purchase a ticket for its almost-daily shows or two, to head for the tour! Since we didn't want to queue up in line for a standing ticket and stand some more for the night, we decided our best bet was to go for the tour. Plus, we weren't that keen fans of ballet (it was screening on the nights we were there), we very much prefer Opera. That being said, I kinda regret heading to Vienna thrice and not even watching any of the performances once. Arghhh... Time to plan another trip back!



Nonetheless, going for the tour requires some planning in advance as tickets for the tour is only available about 30 minutes before the tour and they only open the opera house strictly during the tour times. Check the tour timings online before your visit.


The tour was very enjoyable as we got to learn about lots of fun facts like how some important interviews are held due to the majestic rooms and how you will get to watch a different play, opera, or ballet each time you go to the Operahouse because of their variety of programmes. Also, we were able to see a little of the "behind the scenes" as we sat in the opera house watching the backstage crew move the sets to get ready for the evening's show.


Wiener Staatsoper

Opernring 2, 1010 Wien, Austria

https://www.wiener-staatsoper.at/en/

Tour tickets: 9 euros

Nearest underground: Karlsplatz


7. Grab a Käsekrainer at a Wurstelstand



Wurstelstands are all over Vienna and they usually serve a selection of sausages and leberkase. When in Vienna, you'll have to try the Käsekrainer which is a german sausage filled with cheese. Be careful when you bite into the juicy sausages as, if not careful, the cheese would ooze out!


While waiting for the ticket office to open to purchase our tour tickets into the opera house, we decided to drop by the famous Bitzinger. It has two outlets in Vienna, one behind the opera house and the other one at Prater.




We had their currywurst and a Käsekrainer hotdog. It was delicious! They usually have a long line waiting for their piping hot sausages and beer but we waited only for about 3 minutes! Yipee! Oh, they are also a popular option for hungry opera go-ers after the opera as they open till late.


Bitzinger

Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Wien, Austria

Gabor-Steiner-Weg S, 1020 Wien, Austria

https://www.bitzinger-wien.at

Opening hours (Albertina branch): Daily, 8 am to 4 am

Nearest underground: Karlsplatz



We also tried another Wurstelstand that was really good called Würstlstand. Their leberkase looks really good too but we were really too full to stomach another one.


Würstlstand

Kupferschmiedgasse, 1010 Wien, Austria


8. Head up and into Albertina



The Albertina is special because it is constructed on one of the few remaining fortifications of Vienna, the Augustinian Bastion; that's why you'll have to take the escalator up to get into the museum. The Albertina houses tons of valuable drawings and paintings and is worth a visit for art lovers!


Albertina

Albertinaplatz 1, 1010 Wien, Austria

http://www.albertina.at

Opening hours: Daily 10am to 6pm, Wednesdays and Fridays 10am to 9pm

Tickets: 16 euros

Nearest underground: Karlsplatz


9. Observe butterflies at the Butterfly House (Schmetterlinghaus)


Just next door to Palmenhaus, you'll find the Schmetterlinghaus (or Butterfly House). In a greenhouse filled with lush greeneries and beautiful orchids, butterflies flutter about the area. Since they've placed food at several viewing spots, we got to see the butterflies up close.



How close? This close such that we could even take a shot like this. The Butterfly House is a small area but you're really paying for a tropical greenhouse with butterflies in a non-tropical city.


We also saw some artists drawing and painting butterflies while watching them up close, perhaps that could be an activity for the kids!


Schmetterlinghaus (Butterfly House)

Hofburg, 1010 Wien, Austria

http://www.schmetterlinghaus.at

Opening Hours:

Mondays to Fridays, 10am - 4.45pm; Weekends and Holidays, 10am - 6.15pm

Price of tickets: 7 euros

Nearest underground: MuseumQuartier


10. Stroll in Burggarten and visit the Mozartdenkmal


Besides the beautiful garden and little fountain in the Burggarten, the other part you can't miss is the Mozart Statue. It is erected against the backdrop of the Neueburg which makes it a really good photo spot. During summer and spring, flowers will be planted in the shape of a treble clef in-front of the Mozartdenkmal which makes it even more mesmerising. Fans of music and mozart, this is a must-go spot!


Mozartdenkmal

Josefsplatz 1, 1010 Wien, Austria

Nearest underground: MuseumQuartier


The Hofburg



Identifiable by its green dome on its roof, the Hofburg is not exactly a single building, but an imperial palace complex. In the complex, you'll find the library, the imperial apartments, Sisi museum, the Spanish Riding school, the Imperial Silver Collection, Welt Museum and more. Each of these are in itself attractions of its own.


Don't be overwhelmed by these various sites, unless you have weeks in Vienna, you probably won't be able to cover all of them. As such, we recommend the Austrian National Library, Sisi Museum and the Imperial Silver Collection (since the latter two are included in the all-access Schonbrunn palace tickets)


11. Head to the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Austrian National Library)



The Austrian Library is one of our favourite attractions in Vienna. We went over just before the opening and were one of the first few ones in. Oh, this is the State Hall of the library. The actual library is not open to visitors and although we tried hard to ask the receptionists, we weren't allowed entry.


There are also several museums in the library should you have more time and are interested. We only viewed the state hall and paid 8 euros per person for entry.


Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Austrian National Library)

Josefsplatz 1, 1015 Wien, Austria

https://www.onb.ac.at/en/

Opening hours: Daily, 10am to 6pm (closes at 9pm on Thursdays)

Entrance fees: 8 euros

Nearest underground: Herrengasse


12. Maria-Theresien-Platz



Maria-Theresien-Platz is a quaint square situated in the middle of the Kunsthistorische Museum and the Vienna Natural History Museum. During end November, the square also turns into a bustling Christmas market.




Even if you are not into visiting all the museums, walk through this area to get to and from the MuseumQuartier area.


Maria-Theresien-Platz

Burgring 5, 1010 Wien, Austria

Nearest underground: MuseumQuartier


13. Get lost in MuseumQuartier



Like the Hofburg, MuseumQuartier is an area where an abundance of art museums are located. The most interesting architecture in that area would be the huge grey concrete Mumok. It is a contemporary art museum and even the exterior seems to portray it that way!


14. Learn about the history of the Volkstheater


Besides its beautiful facade, the volkstheater has an interesting history. The name itself actually loosely translates into the people's theatre. It was founded in 1889 by the Viennese citizen's request. Now, it the location for alternative and experimental theatrical works.


Volkstheater

Arthur-Schnitzler-Platz 1, 1070 Wien, Austria

http://www.volkstheater.at

Nearest underground: Volkstheater


15. Enter the Palace of Justice



Did you know that you can actually enter the Palace of Justice and gawk at the beautiful interior? Oh, plus, there's actually a cafe at the top floor that is open to the public! #traveltips #freethingstodoinVienna


All you have to do is to go through a thorough security check and you'll be able to get away from the crowded streets of Vienna. Plus, the sight is something to behold isn't it?


Palace of Justice

Schmerlingpl. 10-11, 1010 Wien, Austria

http://www.justiz.gv.at

Opening hours: Weekdays 7.30am to 3.30pm


16. Austrian Parliament Building


Ever since the Austrian Parliament building was erected at the end of the 19th century, the building has yet to undergo any major renovation. After 130 years, the building was showing signs of deterioration such as leaking roofs and something had to be done.


The parliament building is currently undergoing renovation so if you were to head to Vienna anytime soon, you won't be able to admire the intricate carvings and towering white columns. Instead, all of the Parliamentary Business has been relocated to the Hofburg and in three temporary buildings. Should you still wish to witness the parliamentary sessions, you could head over to the Hofburg for its guided tours.


Besides fixing the antiquated portions of the building, the parliamentary members also sought to repurpose unused areas, making it a lot more accessible to the public once the renovation is complete. That sounds really exciting and I can't wait to see its transformation!


Austrian Parliament Building (currently under renovation)

Dr.-Karl-Renner-Ring 3, 1017 Wien, Austria

Nearest underground: Volkstheater


17. Head over to another important site, the Wiener Rathaus (Vienna City Hall)


Vienna's City Hall is the most important secular building in the Neo-Gothic style in Vienna. It is the official seat of the Mayor and is a venue where city senates, provincial governments, and the municipal council hold their meetings.


For such a vital building, you can also get to go on #freeguidedtours here! Oh, and during the Christmas season, there's also a Christmas Market held in front of the building.


Vienna Rathaus

Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz 1, 1010 Wien, Austria

https://www.wien.gv.at/english/

Guided tours: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays at 1pm

Nearest underground: Rathaus


18. Act like you're 18 at the University of Vienna (Universitat Wien)



When I was still a student visiting Vienna, I was very excited to head into the university. I mean, Singapore's university looks great with awesome facilities, but such a young nation could never have universities looking like that!


If you still look young enough, you can enter the grounds of the University just to look and get a feel of the place. Otherwise, if you're afraid that your cover may be revealed, you'll have to hope that you are in Vienna on the day of their guided tours to experience the rich history of the campus. Do note that tours take place only ONCE per month (except the winter months) and are held in German.


University of Vienna

Universitätsring 1, 1010 Wien, Austria

https://www.univie.ac.at/en/

Tour prices: 6 euros

Nearest underground: Rathaus


19. Gustav Klimt staircases at the Burgtheater



True to Vienna's music and cultural centre, it has countless theatres and the Burgtheater is another wondrous and exquisite one. Head inside to gaze at the marble staircases and some even claim that it looks better than the Opera House.


Should you not have the time to watch plays here, go for the guided tour. Similar to the opera house, ticket sales start 15 minutes prior to the time of the tour (daily at 3pm). Tours are conducted in English and German.


Burgtheater

Universitätsring 2, 1010 Wien, Austria

https://www.burgtheater.at/en/

Guided tours: Daily at 3pm

Tickets: 7 euros

Nearest underground: Herrengasse


20. Votivkirche


Doesn't this church look similar to the City Hall? That's because the Votivkirche is a net-gothic style church that was constructed by the emperor's brother to thank God for saving Emperor Franz Joseph's life when an attempted assassination failed. Now, besides functioning as a church, it also houses art exhibits.


Votivekirche

Rooseveltplatz, 1090 Wien, Austria

http://www.votivkirche.at

Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays, 10am to 6pm; Sundays, 9am to 1pm

Nearest Underground: Schottentor


21. Karlskirche


Another magnificent church is the Karlskirche; this time a baroque style church, is considered the most outstanding baroque church in Vienna. The pair of white columns were modelled after Trajan's column in Rome with intricate spiral narratives.


Karlskirche

Kreuzherrengasse 1, 1040 Wien, Austria

http://www.karlskirche.at

Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays 9am – 6pm, Sundays and Holidays 12pm - 7pm

Entrance fees: 8 euros

Nearest underground: Karlskirche


22. Go grocery shopping at Naschmarkt



Vienna's most popular market is the Naschmarkt. It existed ever since the 16th century and is 1.5 kilometres long. Here you'll find a variety of items to buy such as the breads, vegetables, fruits, Asian groceries, and turkish sweets.


Even if you not intending to purchase anything, it is still fun to walk down the long lanes and admire the colourful groceries in the market!


Naschmarkt

1060 Vienna, Austria

Opening hours: Daily, 9am to 6pm

Nearest underground: Karlsplatz, Kettenbrückengasse, MuseumQuartier


23. Watch the night lights and indulge in some exciting rides at Prater



6 years back when I went to Prater, it was amazing. It was so lively at night and everyone was either feasting or trying on exciting rides. This time, however, there was almost no one at the park! Perhaps it was because it was in Winter and it was too cold to play in a theme park. Or maybe people head over only in the day or weekend nights?


Nonetheless, Prater is the oldest amusement park in the world and the fact that you do not need to pay for any admission fee is a plus point. How this works is that you only pay for the rides you would like to take. Prices range from 1.50 to 5.00 euros. No more paying pricey amusement park admission tickets!


The mammoth park also has a large variety of rides that suit the young, the adventure-seekers, and the older sightseeing crowd. For instance, the Wiener Riesenrand (ferris wheel) would give you a great view of Vienna! Do be warned that lots of walking is required!


Prater

1020 Vienna, Austria

http://www.prater.at/GeneralInformation.php?LI=1

Opening hours: The park is opened daily for 24 hours, but the rides do have different operating hours ranging from 10am to 1am.

Nearest underground: Praterstern / MessePrater


24. Spend an entire day at Schonbronn Palace and the Tiergarten (Zoo)



I had very fond memories of Schonbronn Palace as it is one of the most majestic palaces that I've seen and I knew I had to visit it again. Besides the palace, there's also a lot more to do... The Schonbrunner Schlosspark is great for having a picnic (in the summer months) or just a stroll to people-watch. Don't forget to hike up the little hill for a great view of the palace! There were also lots of photo spots in the park.


Visiting Schonbroon, I would say, is an entire day trip. You'll absolutely have to also head to the Schonbrunn Zoo, which is not only the oldest zoo, but it has also been voted as Europe's best zoo for the fifth consecutive year. Some of its achievements include how it has allowed the world to witness the birth of an African elephant conceived in captivity in 1906, it has enabled a panda baby to be naturally conceived in a zoo in 2007, the second bear cub was born in 2010 and a third in 2013, and twins Fu Feng and Fu Ban were born in 2016.


And at night, you can head back to the Palace to watch a concert. Tickets can be bought online.


Schonbrunn Palace

Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, 1130 Wien, Austria

http://www.schoenbrunn.at

Opening hours: Daily, 8am to 5pm

Nearest underground: Schobrunn


25. Schloss Belvedere



The Belvedere is a historic building complex and consists of an upper and lower one. It now houses paintings and art exhibits. Here you'll also be able to see Gustav Klimt's The Kiss. The Belvederegarten park between the upper and lower buildings was huge and there wasn't that many people in the wintery November month. We really loved walking and also finding pretty spots for photos!


Belvedere Palace

Prinz Eugen-Straße 27, 1030 Wien, Austria

https://www.belvedere.at/en

Opening hours:

Upper Belvedere - Daily, 9am to 6pm (Fridays 9am to 9pm)

Lower Belvedere - Daily, 10am to 6pm (Fridays 10am to 9pm)

Tickets: For both upper and lower, 22 euros; single upper or lower, 15 euros

Nearest underground: Taubstummengasse (better to take the trams as the nearest underground is still quite far away)


26. Wien Museum Mozart Apartment (Mozartwohnung)



Located just round the corner from St. Stephan's Cathedral is the Mozart Apartment museum for music lovers. Mozart resided there from 1784 to 1787 and the rooms where he rented is showcased alongside some of his transcripts. The museum also includes other notable composers' works. Although Mozart Birthplace in Salzburg was much better in our opinion, here's still one museum to check should you want to experience Vienna's City of Music!


No photography is allowed within the museum but we did manage to get a picture of the inner courtyard!


Wien Museum Mozart Apartment

Mozarthaus, Domgasse 5, 1010 Wien, Austria

http://www.wienmuseum.at/de/standorte/mozartwohnung.html

Opening hours: Daily, 10 am to 7 pm

Entrance fees: 11 euros

Nearest underground: Stephanplatz


27. Hop on a horse-drawn carriage



I know, I know... It is kinda touristy to do so, but if its your first time to Europe, it's just one thing that you have to do...


Most of the horse-drawn carriages start at St. Stephan's church so you can just purchase a ticket from the vendors there.


Where to stay in Vienna, Austria?


With so much to do in Vienna, you'll really need to be well-rested every night. If you're wondering where to stay in Vienna, we stayed at 25hourshotel at MuseumQuartier and really enjoyed our time there. We had a luxurious breakfast each morning and even had a roof top bar to relax and wind down. Read more about our experiences in our blog post.


You may also wish to check out these 10 best places to stay in Vienna that travel bloggers from all around the world recommend.


So there you go, we spent a long time crafting this post and really do hope it benefits our readers! Vienna is a lovely city and even after heading back for three times, we are still craving for more Cafe Melange and viewing even more of the city. We'll be back Vienna! :)




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Hello there! Michelle is based in Singapore, and she started The Munching Traveller to document her love for travelling, trying delicious food, and writing.

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