Vienna, Austria: 3 top sights to see in 1 day

Vienna in One Day – Itinerary, Map, and Photos

Wondering what to see in Vienna in 1 day? I will help you! Vienna’s main sights are shown on a specially designed itinerary. If you’re passing through the capital of Austria, or going to Vienna from nearby cities in Europe for 6-8 hours, this post is for you.

What to see in Vienna in a day

I suggest you start in the heart of Vienna – Stephansplatz (Stephansplatz), the easiest place to get to by subway. To travel around Vienna, I recommend buying a daily pass.

If you do not start your route from the train station, but from the airport or hotel, then the starting point for you will still be Stephansplatz.

A tip for those who like interesting stories and all sorts of chips. Take a guided tour of Vienna at 3:15pm. How to get a discount on it.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Graben Street and Kohlmarkt

Once you get off the subway, you’ll find yourself in the heart of Vienna’s historic area. Here begins our Vienna itinerary for the day. In front of you rises a huge hulk of one of the main symbols of the Austrian capital – the Cathedral of St. Stephen.

Vienna's main church is named after Saint Stefan.

Gothic temple, I advise you to pay close attention – you can see it not only from the outside but also inside.

St. Stephens Cathedral in Vienna

St. Stephens Cathedral in Vienna is free to enter.

If you are lucky, you will hear the organ, of which there are three in the cathedral.

I also recommend climbing up to one of the two observation decks operating in the cathedral.

  1. In the South Tower is an observation deck, which you can climb only by stairs, the height of 67 meters – you have to overcome 343 steps.
  2. At the top of the North Tower will take you up an elevator. The entrance fee is 6 euros.

St. Stephens Cathedral in Vienna has two observation decks

I advise you to choose the platform in the North Tower, but not for the elevator, but for a better view.

View from the observation deck of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna

Best viewing platform in Vienna

Then we go on to the Graben, but first we will walk through the Stock-im-Eisen-Platz, adjacent to the Stephansplatz, and stop at the corner of a house. Here is the Stock-im-Aisen or pole in iron.

The landmark that gave its name to the square is a trunk of spruce with nails hammered into it. From the effects of the environment and overly curious tourists it is protected by a glass cylinder.

Wood and nails

In the 18th century in the Austrian Empire, it was customary for blacksmiths to hammer a nail into the trunk of the tree for good luck. According to some reports on this very square nails were hammered in the XV century, that is, more than 500 years ago.

So you find yourself in the street Graben, and its main attraction is the plague column or the column of the Holy Trinity. It was built at the end of XVII century after the terrible plague that struck Vienna.

The Plague Column in Vienna

Then we walk along Graben street to the place of its intersection with Ungferngasse. Here I suggest to visit the church of St.Peter. The church is said to have been founded by Charlemagne himself at the end of VIII century. The present church building was erected at the beginning of XVIII century.

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St. Peters Church in Vienna

On the Graben street there are also many stores and restaurants. Graben street smoothly flows into the street Kohlmarkt, where the famous confectionery “Demel” (address: Kohlmarkt, 14) is located.

Cafe Demel in Vienna

The house specialty dessert is violets in sugar. Grab a cup of coffee and watch the chef at work (the wall separating the hall and the kitchen is glass). The street is home to boutiques of famous brands like Tiffany, Burberry and Gucci.

Hofburg and Maria-Theresien-Platz

Hofburg Palace in Vienna

We continue our route through Vienna in one day. The street ends with Michaelerplatz and the Hofburg. It was the home of the Austrian rulers for over seven centuries. During the reign of the Habsburgs the palace became the official winter residence and was home to the imperial court.

Now the palace has several museums that you can visit. I recommend visiting the Sisi Museum, the Imperial Apartments, and the Silver Collection.

Sissi Museum Vienna

Museum lovers should buy a combo-ticket, which in addition to the three above-mentioned exhibits includes a visit to the Habsburg Summer Residence:

  • Habsburg Summer Residence of Schönbrunn (Schönbrunn Palace);
  • Furniture Museum (Hofmobiliendepot).

The inner courtyard of the Hofburg is entered through an archway and ends up on Heldenplatz. Here in 1938, Adolf Hitler announced the Anschluss (annexation) of Austria to Germany.

Heldenplatz Square in Vienna

Free access to the Hofburg

On the left is a monument to Prince Eugene of Savoy and on the right to Archduke Karl. Passing a little beyond the monument to this commander, you can admire from afar three historical buildings – the parliament, the town hall and the Burgtheater. About how to see them up close I will tell below.

If you have time, you can walk through the Volksgarten park. In the warmer seasons, especially in spring, it is very beautiful and picturesque.

Behind the Hofburg lies Maria-Theresien-Platz. In the center of the square is a monument to Empress Maria Theresia. On both sides of the square stand the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Art History. A visit to the Kunsthistorisches Museum is possible only if you are in Vienna for a longer time.

Maria Theresia Monument in Vienna

Natural History Museum Vienna

Tram-tour – The opera, the parliament, and the city hall

I suggest that you continue the “What to see in Vienna in 1 day” itinerary by public transportation. Next to Maria Theresia square there is a streetcar stop Burgring.

Tramway in Vienna

You need the streetcar number 1, going in the direction of Prater-Hauptallee. However, if you get on here, you won’t be able to admire the Vienna Opera House. Therefore I suggest to go down to the stop Kärntner Ring. Oper, where after getting to know the building you have to take the same streetcar No. 1.

Briefly about the Vienna Opera – the largest opera house in Austria, which was built in the second half of the XIX century and completely destroyed during the Second World War. The Vienna Opera was restored in 1955.

Vienna Opera House

It will take you to the famous Hundertwasser House, and on the way, without leaving the streetcar, you can see other no less famous buildings of Vienna – the parliament, the Burgtheater, the town hall and the university.

Briefly about the Parliament – the building was built in the second half of the XIX century in the Neo-Greek style, was severely damaged during the Second World War, it was restored at the end of it. In front of the Parliament building there is the famous statue of Athena-Pallas with the fountain

Briefly about the town hall – the building was built in the second half of the XIX century in neo-Gothic style. It still houses the offices of the mayor and the municipality. The central tower of the town hall is 105 meters high.

The Burgtheater is a court theater, founded by order of Empress Maria Theresia in 1741. Previously it was called the Royal Palace Theater.

Briefly about the University of Vienna – it is one of the oldest in Europe (it was founded in 1365), although the modern main building was built in 1877-1884.

The Burgtheater in Vienna

If you have time, you can get off at each stop for a closer look at the sights.

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Hundertwasser House and Vienna Gasometer

The streetcar will then travel along the Danube waterfront toward the city’s most cheerful house. You need the Hetzgasse stop.

A few meters away is an unusual building, the Hundertwasser House, to which I have devoted a separate post.

The Hundertwasser House in Vienna

From there I suggest you walk to the subway station Rochusgasse (line U3), take the four stops and get off at the Gasometer stop. Upstairs is another must see attraction of the Austrian capital, about which I also wrote in detail – the Vienna Gasometers.

Viennese gasometers

After visiting the gasometers, my time in Vienna came to an end and I drove to the train station to return to Budapest. However, if you have time to spare, I recommend going as far as Schoenbrunn .

Schoenbrunn and Belvedere

The best way to get to the main summer residence of the Austrian emperors of the Habsburg dynasty is by metro – the station is called Schönbrunn (line U4).

Schönbrunn, the Habsburg summer residence

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna is rightly considered one of the most beautiful palace-park ensembles in Europe. On its detailed study can spend a whole day, because there are a large number of attractions in addition to the main building of the palace. This beautiful park, and the Palm House, and the Glorietta, and the labyrinth. To visit the palace, which is open to tourists 40 rooms, you should allocate about an hour.

The Park in Schönbrunn

Another palace complex in Vienna is called Belvedere – south-east of the city center. It can be reached by subway (line U1) to Südtiroler Platz-Hauptbahnho station or by streetcar № 18 (stop Quartier Belvedere) and D (stop Schloss Belvedere).

Belvedere in Vienna

The Baroque palace complex was built in the early 18th century for Prince Eugene of Savoy. After his death, the Belvedere was bought by Empress Maria Theresia.

Fountains in Belvedere Park

The Upper and Lower Belvedere palaces are separated by a beautiful park with ponds and fountains. There are now museums in the palaces. I wrote more about this palace complex in a separate article – Belvedere (Vienna).

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Prater and Karlsplatz

An alternative to visiting the palace complexes can be parks where you can relax after long walks through Vienna. The most famous park in the Austrian capital is the Prater Park in Vienna, in the southern part of Leopoldstadt. Get there by subway (line U1) to the Praterstern Bf subway station. The main attraction is the Ferris wheel Riesenrad, built at the end of the 19th century. It is officially recognized as the second oldest in the world.

The Prater, Vienna's most famous park

If you don’t have a lot of time and don’t feel like venturing too far from the city center, take a walk down Karlsplatz and visit the Karlskirche. If you are not in the city center, take the subway (U1, U2, U4 lines) to the square, getting off at the Karlsplatz stop.

The Karlskirche in Vienna

The 72-meter high church, which in summer has a fountain in front, is an outstanding example of Vienna’s Baroque style. An elevator takes you up to the dome and you can also reach the observation deck.

I attach a map of the above route with all the major points (better open in a separate window). The blue line is the walking route, the red line is the streetcar ride.

Now you know what to see in Vienna in one day. On the one hand it will be great if you have time to visit everything planned in this tour. But for me it is better that the time is not enough. After all, then will be an excuse to come back to Vienna again :).

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Where to stay in Vienna for a night or more

For lovers of apartments and flats, I advise you to book an accommodation through the service Airbnb. I myself look for apartments exclusively with Airbnb. There is a separate article about how to get a discount on the first booking.

If you prefer to stay in hotels, here’s a selection of several accommodation options in Vienna via the popular Bucking.

Hotel Topazz – Rated 8.7. The luxurious five-star hotel is located 200 meters from St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Rooms of the hotel are originally decorated, look at the photos on the hotel page and see for yourself.

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Hotel König von Ungarn – rated 9.2. It is considered the oldest hotel in the Austrian capital, located just 50 meters from St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The guests of the hotel receive fruit and chocolate as a gift on arrival. The hotel has an excellent and varied breakfast.

Derag Livinghotel An der Oper (rated 9.1) is located just 50 meters from the Opera House. Visitors particularly praise the spacious rooms and the work of the staff.

The Queens Aparthotel with a rating of 8.7. A special feature of this hotel is the rooftop terrace where guests can relax. You will be offered breakfast or you can cook it in your own kitchen. The cost of a day’s accommodation starts from 4 000 rubles.

If you choose Aparthotel Johannesgasse (rating 8.1.), you will live in the building of the former Ursulinka Monastery, renovated in 2014. The apartments are a 5-minute walk from St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

Always yours, Daniel Privolnov.

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Vienna, Austria: 3 top sights to see in 1 day

There is only one city that literally transports tourists back in time . It is majestic Vienna with its streets, buildings, castles. The history of the Austrian capital dates back to the middle of I century, as evidenced by the remains of the Roman camp Vindobona found on its territory – under the square Hoher Markt.

But of course, when mentioning Vienna the first thing that comes to mind is the Habsburgs, who ruled from 1282 to 1918. Their summer residence in Schönbrunn and winter residence in the Hofburg are recommended.

If time is limited, you can see the three main sights – the true symbols of Vienna. And on the way to them meet other monuments of Austrian history, culture and architecture.

Vienna, Austria: 3 best sights to see in one day - photo 2

Vienna, Austria: 3 top sights to see in 1 day

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Start your journey through Vienna with St. Stephen’s Cathedral – the residence of the archbishop and the most magnificent monument of Austrian Gothic . What makes it special is that the entire huge building is built of sandstone in the late Middle European Gothic style.

The very first church was consecrated on this site in 1147. In 1263 a new church was built to replace it. From that time the western towers, which are also called “pagan”, the windows and the main gate with their sculptures remained. Later there was a new Gothic choir and a baroque altar .

Vienna, Austria: 3 best sights to see in one day - photo 3

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

After seeing St. Stephen’s Cathedral from the outside, it is imperative to look inside . Inside, Gothic sculptures on columns immediately catch the eye. The beautifully decorated pulpit, figures of the Madonna, Jesus Christ and St. Christopher attract the eye.

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If possible, a guided tour of the cathedral will take you to the legendary catacombs. A system of underground passages was created in 1720 as a cemetery.

Vienna, Austria: 3 top sights to see in a day - photo 4

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

City Hall

A walk through the historic center of Vienna, called the Inner City, will be a source of constant delight . Squares, buildings, streets – all this richness delights tourists. The buildings of the Vienna State Opera, Parliament, and especially the City Hall cannot be overlooked.

On the Town Hall Square, the Rathausplatz, you will find the Castle Theater and the town hall itself in neo-Gothic style. The new building replaced the old one and was commissioned in 1883 and became one of the symbols of Vienna. The middle tower reaches 100 meters in height and ends with a copper statue called “Councillor”. The facade is decorated with sculptures and lancet windows.

On a tour of the town hall tourists are invited to visit the hall, which are protected as monuments, walk through the corridors connecting 1575 rooms. But it requires a separate day. A quick walk is enough to admire the facade of the town hall.

And if you happen to be in Austria in December, you can visit the city’s biggest Christmas market right in front of the building.

Vienna, Austria: 3 top sights to see in a day - photo 5

City Hall


On the castle Hofburg preferably take a whole day, but you can admire it quickly. It would be a shame to visit Vienna and not even look at the residence of the Habsburg dynasty. 18 buildings, 19 courts, 2,600 rooms – all this is the Hofburg, which was built in several stages. The last part of the architectural ensemble appeared in the twentieth century.

Start with Michaelerplatz, walk to the old part of the Hofburg, which is the heart of the complex.

From there we go to the Outer Castle Yard . The Gothic chapel is located there. Then you can walk to Josephsplatz, where the classical buildings are: Pallavicini Palace, the famous Palfi Palace, where Mozart, the young genius, once played music, and the Austrian National Library.

Vienna, Austria: 3 top sights to see in a day - photo 6

If the Hofburg is desperately short of time, then it is worth trying to visit at least the Treasury, whose 21 halls contain the most valuable exhibits, and the Sissi Museum. In the latter it is interesting to admire the life of one of the most beautiful women in Europe – Empress Elisabeth. A tour of the museum reveals an unexpected side of her.

While walking through exquisite Vienna, you just need to find an hour for gastronomic enjoyment and try strudel and Zacher cake. After sampling the culinary masterpieces and a cup of coffee, you can continue exploring the Austrian capital.

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