You have only 24 hours in Vienna, or maybe double that? Many people on a roundtrip through Europe visit my city in just one or two days. If you plan a short city break Austria’s capital needs to be sliced and diced in the right way.
Here are seven packages of 24 hour itineraries, based on different travel objectives. A tip before you read on: As you are on a tight schedule, consider swapping your hotel breakfast for one in a local coffeehouse. You will gain an hour of experiencing real life.
24 Hours In Vienna: Best Of Sightseeing
8.30am to 9.30am: Have Breakfast at a local coffeehouse close to Ringstrasse, for example Café Prückel, Café Diglas or Café Museum.
9.30am to 10.15am: Get on a Vienna Ringtram for a 30min tour of the Ringstrasse state boulevard. You will see a dozen of Vienna’s most important sites.
10.30am to 1pm: Join one of the guided walking tours. Some of the Old Town Tours also start at 10.30am.
1pm to 2.30pm: Have lunch at one of the restaurants in Vienna‘s city centre.
2.30pm to 6pm: Visit Schonbrunn Palace and gardens. You should have time to take a breath in one of the local cafés there.
6pm to 8.30pm: Return to the centre or surroundings for dinner.
from 8.30pm: Relax while seeing the city by night. Visit rooftop sky bars such as Onyx Bar at Haas Haus opposite St. Stephen’s Cathedral, or Sky Bar on top of Steffl department store in Kärntner Strasse. Art Nouveau Fans will love tiny Loos-Bar. For minimalist chic and a hip American bar feeling, visit Albertina Passage.
Where To Stay: Anywhere central such as Grand Ferdinand or Motel One Staatsoper.
24 Hours In Vienna: For The Romantic
8.30am to 9.45am: Have breakfast at Café Hawelka, Café Sperl or Café Diglas. Alternatively, head for park café Meierei right in the middle of Stadtpark.
9.45am to 12pm: Take a walk through Old Vienna. In addition, the areas between Himmelpfortgasse and Fleischmarkt, and between Am Hof and Seitenstettengasse are full of small romantic alley ways. Consider a Secret Vienna tour if you like romantic courtyards.
12pm to 2pm: Have lunch at a small restaurant such as Zum Schwarzen Kameel or Gasthaus Hanno Poeschl.
2pm to 6pm: Spend the afternoon at Schonbrunn Palace and gardens, or, if you like classic paintings, at the Belvedere Vienna or the Albertina.
from 6.00pm: Have private dinner at one of the city’s two private dining places. Alternatively, wine and dine at one of the Vienna wineries, or at a Viennese tavern such as Zu Den Drei Hacken or Silberwirt.
from 7.30pm: Visit one of the local classical concerts or the Vienna Opera. If you visit my hometown between January and July, book tickets for a traditional Viennese ball.
Where To Stay: Hotel Altstadt , Hotel Sans Souci;
24 Hours in Vienna: For Smart Senior Travellers
‘The moment you lay back you will ruin the city break of a life time.’ Luckily this is not true. Vienna is such a laid-back city itself. Here is an itinerary that both gets you around and gently tips you into the best seats.
9.00am to 12pm: Start the day touring Vienna’s best places for a perfect overview. There are great local transfer companies who will drive you around with a polite and savvy English speaking driver (and tour guide, for more in-depth historical references). I visited some Vienna sights by car, and loved it.
12pm to 1.30pm: Take advantage of your mobility and ask the driver to drop you at an original eatery off the beaten track that is well connected for your return journey by public transport, for example Gasthaus zum Rebhuhn or Servitenwirt in the 9th district.
1.30pm to 4.30pm: Choose a top museum with a fine coffeehouse nearby or on site, and a good museum shop for gift shopping, for example Museum of Fine Arts or Albertina Vienna.
4.30pm to 5.30pm: Vienna’s best parks and gardens also boast a decent number of park benches. My favourites for laid-back strolls are Volksgarten and Stadtpark along Ringstrasse Vienna.
7.30pm: Dine at a local restaurant or tavern close to your hotel. Alternatively, get a Schnitzel and top view of Vienna at Danube Tower’s 170 metre high restaurant which slowly rotates.
Where To Stay: somewhere central, for a quick rest before dinner, for example Hotel Bristol or Pension Suzanne.
24 Hours In Vienna: Hang Out Like A Local
Here is one of my family’s day programmes that we did on our last visit.
10am to 11am: Brunch at Café Heuer or Café Ansari.
11am to 12pm: Visit Karmelitermarkt and nearby Augarten, Vienna’s oldest baroque garden with contemporary art space Augarten Contemporary.
12pm to 1.30pm: Lunch at Zimmer 37 or Café Mima at Karmelitermarkt
2pm to 4.00pm: Muse over the Fin-de-Siecle at the Egon Schiele Museum in Museumsquartier. In the summer, hang out at the Vienna Danube for a little boat ride or swim.
4.30pm to 5.30pm: Delve into Viennese cakes at popular cake shops Heiner or Kurkonditorei Oberlaa.
5pm to 7pm: between April and mid September: visit Volksgarten Pavillon or the city’s Film and Food Festival (July, August) for outdoor drinks and early bite; all year round: shop for local design and crafts.
from 7.30pm: Visit an operetta for fun classical music. Alternatively, dive into local nightlife such as Puff Bar or Rote Bar at Volkstheater.
Where To Stay: Schreiner’s, Graetzl Hotel, ViennaResidences
8.30am to 9.30am: Have breakfast at trendy cafés Neni or Tewa on Naschmarkt (Monday to Saturday). Both open at 8am. On Sundays, join the locals for brunch at Café Drechsler. You may stumble across some party goers as the Drechsler opens from 3am on Sundays.
9.45am to 1pm: Do a Vienna tour by bike if you visit between April and October.
Visit the Vienna Prater. During the summer, you can also take a Segway tour or rent a four-seater family bike in the Prater commons. Have lunch at Schweizerhaus (local institution for crispy pork legs).
4pm to 6.30pm: Join the Third Man Movie Tour (Mondays and Fridays) or one of the other fun private walking tours such as the Old Vienna Photo Safari.
6.30pm to 9pm: Have dinner at a local tavern or winery.
from 9pm: Enjoy our nightlife at Volksgarten Club Disco, Puff-Bar, Rote Bar at Volkstheater, and Platzhirsch.
If your girlie day includes shopping, make sure you don’t spend a Sunday in town, as most shops are closed.
9am to 10am: Have breakfast at charming vegan cake heaven Simply Raw Bakery. For a more traditional experience go to Café Sperl or Café Diglas.
10.30am to 12.30pm: Visit the Museum of Fine Arts or the Albertina for classical art treasures. Both museums have great restaurants. If you prefer a contemporary touch, visit the Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art (MAK).
12.30pm to 2pm: Have lunch at MAK’s Salon Plafond or at Café Prückel opposite.
2pm to 5pm: Go on a shopping tour with added sightseeing.
5pm to 6pm: Relax at Palmenhaus orangery in Burggarten close to the Opera over coffee and snacks. Alternatively, relax inside a Vienna Ringtram during a 30min sightseeing tour.
from 6.30pm: For stylish drinks and food, take the 59A bus (State Opera to Margaretenplatz/Schönbrunner Strasse) to cult bar and restaurant Motto .
9am to 10am: Have breakfast at your luxury hotel or at Gerstner’s Salon Privé next to the opera
10.45 am to 12.45pm: Visit a performance at the Spanish Riding School (certain days only); alternatively go on an exclusive one hour private tour through the Museum of Fine Arts (EUR 90 per tour exc. entrance ticket; email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange at a minimum of 1 week in advance)
1.15pm to 3pm: Lunch at two star Michelin restaurant Steirereck
3pm to 5.30pm: Go on a private tour or do a bit of luxury shopping with added sightseeing of the old town. Hop into pastry shop Demel Vienna for Imperial cakes and coffee.
6pm to 7pm: Go for a 60 min chocolate spa treatment at Hotel Sacher (EUR 120; bookings: email@example.com)
from 7.30pm: Visit one of the local classical concerts or the Opera. Dine at the city’s two star Michelin restaurant Silvio Nickol . If you visit between January and July, book tickets for a traditional Viennese ball.
Where To Stay: in one of these luxury hotels in Vienna