Vienna, Austria: see the sights and see the sights

What to see in Vienna in one day

Vienna is a city of chic castles, music, grand avenues and parks.

It looks like the capital on the canvas of an 18th century artist: stern and bright. If you want to see traditional Europe, come to Vienna.

The Austrian capital has many sights. Two weeks would not be enough to go around them all and explore them thoroughly. But travelers often find themselves in Vienna for a short time when they make a connection in the city. If the connection is longer than 5 hours, I suggest getting downtown and walking around the old streets.

I spent a week in Vienna and will tell you what is worth seeing in the city in one day. I suggest you walk from the Karlskirche to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. On the way you will see the Vienna Opera House, the Albertina Gallery, the Hofburg Palace complex, the Museum of Art History, the Vienna City Hall, and the Café Central.

How to get to the beginning of the route. You can take a train from the airport to the city center. Train S7 runs 25-30 minutes.

Prop the ticket on the platform, do it in the train will not work. Get off at the station Wien Mitte Landstraße.

If you buy your ticket online on CAT train it will cost from the airport.


The Karlskirche is one of the most beautiful and photographed cathedrals in Vienna. It has a sad history: the temple was built after a plague epidemic that killed 8,000 people. The columns depict an angel with a sword, a funeral procession and people asking for an end to the suffering.

Inside the Karlskirche are colored marble, frescoes and sculptures. The cathedral is finished in Baroque style, but it is spoiled by a modern elevator and staircase surrounded by scaffolding and a line of tourists near it. The church also has a museum of St. Carlo Borromeo, where his clothes and church paraphernalia are on display.

costs an adult ticket to the Karlskirche

In the Karlskirche you can listen to classical music concerts. The most visited are Mozart’s Requiem and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Usually starts at 20:15, but check the times and schedules on the website beforehand. There you can also buy tickets.

When I walked next to the cathedral, there was a literary evening with locals and tourists reading poems in different languages. It sounds incredible – I had a lot of fun listening to the speakers

The Vienna State Opera opened in 1869 with the premiere of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. It is said that although the theater building was considered one of the best in the world in terms of acoustics and decoration, Emperor Franz Joseph disliked it very much. His unflattering review drove one architect to suicide and another to a heart attack.

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What tourists see now is a remake. The theater building was badly damaged by bombing during World War II and was almost completely destroyed. It was restored from the old drawings.

The repertoire now includes ballet and opera by Verdi, Strauss and Puccini. In November 2019, they are giving “Eugene Onegin” and “Don Giovanni.” The playbill is on the theater’s website, and tickets are sold there as well. The performance schedule is known through June 2020.

Ticket prices do not change over time, and the most popular shows sell out quickly. If you are planning a trip, buy tickets as far in advance as possible. There is no strict dress code for visitors to the opera – tourists come in casual wear.

It is worth a tour of the Vienna State Opera.

Albertina Gallery – art museum with one of the largest collections of graphics in the world. Paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Klimt and other famous artists are on display there.

It also houses an important collection of modernist art – “Munch Chagall Picasso. The Butliner Collection.” Sometimes there are specialized exhibitions, such as the recent importation of items from the fashion house Guerlain from the Pompidou Center in Paris. Expositions in the museum change, so it is better to clarify the current exhibitions on the website of the gallery.

costs an adult ticket to the Albertina

If you’re not a fan of painting, go up to the Albertina’s roof for a great view of the city. It has its own entrance, and you can get there without going through the museum. Admission to the observation deck is free.

View of the Albertina. In Vienna, at every turn you can see a new palace, a fabulous house, or a baroque church.

The Hofburg is the imperial residence. There are 19 palaces, built in different periods and architectural styles. The oldest building, the Alte Burg, was erected in the 16th century, the newest in the 20th century.

Hofburg reminded me of Peterhof: rich interiors, portraits of royalty and gold vases on marble tables. There is also a museum of Elisabeth of Bavaria, or Sissi, one of the most famous empresses of Austria. Her life was full of romantic stories, and Sissi became a favorite of all Germans and Austrians. In the museum, you can look into the imperial chambers and walk through Elisabeth’s rooms.

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I preferred to just walk around the residence and admire the beauty of the opulent palaces, chapels, and fountains. You can see the architecture of the Hofburg for free.

Next to the Hofburg are two parks – the Burggarten and the Volksgarten. In the latter from mid-spring to mid-autumn exhibition of roses: hundreds of varieties are planted in alleys and flower beds. And in winter, there’s a rose market.

You can find information about all of Vienna’s events at

The Kunsthistorisches Museum is located opposite the Hofburg. Sculptures, paintings, and objects of luxury from ancient times to the present day are exhibited there. The building itself is no less admirable than the paintings and sculptures in it: the interiors are decorated with magnificent stucco, frescoes and marble. However, there are no plaques with information under paintings – you have to rely on your own memory and the Internet.

Vienna City Hall is a symbol of the city – it is one of the most visited places in Vienna after the Hofburg. The building is crowned with a 105-meter tower, which can be seen from all parts of the city. Usually you can climb it with a guided tour, but it was closed for renovation in the summer of 2019.

Town Hall staff give free tours on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 1 p.m. . They talk about the history of the town hall and the progress of the construction, but only in German. Even if you don’t know the language, it’s a good idea to go: The guide will take you to the most interesting places, which are difficult to find on your own. Sign up in advance is not necessary: just come 10-15 minutes before the start.

Every day at the town hall dozens of activities. For example, in the evening, tourists and locals watch movies outdoors here. There I watched a TV show in English: I liked the atmosphere and the production itself.

Outside, the central part of the town hall is covered with scaffolding. Lunch is served to classical music that plays in the square

Café Centrale was opened in 1876. It is a pompous Venetian-style place with chic architecture, dressed waiters and a grand piano. Austrian intellectuals, like Sigmund Freud, loved to relax there. Adolf Hitler, who liked to draw in the café, also used to visit the Central.

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St. Stephen’s Cathedral is located in the center of Vienna’s historic part. At night it looks majestic and formidable, while during the day it looks bright and direct. The towers of the cathedral have the most gorgeous view of the city, in my opinion. I recommend climbing the South Tower: it’s the tallest and has the best view.

A ticket with access to all parts of the cathedral

The cathedral often hosts concerts. You can find out about them on the website.

The Gothic towers of the cathedral can be seen from afar. The tower on the right is the South Tower at 136 meters high.

The Gothic towers of the cathedral can be seen from afar. The tower on the right is the South Tower at 136 meters high.


Elisabeth of Bavaria’s favorite delicacy. You can eat them as candy or pour them into the champagne: the bubbles cause the violets to open and the champagne to take on a blue color and violet scent

Belvedere. If you have an extra three or four hours, go to the Belvedere. This is a palace complex, which was converted into an art gallery in 1903.

The complex consists of three buildings: the Upper Belvedere, Lower Belvedere, and Belvedere 21. Around – a huge park, which somehow resembles the Peterhof.

It costs a ticket to all three buildings of the Belvedere

The main composition is in the Upper Belvedere. There you can see sculptures and paintings by famous artists, but the main attraction is Klimt’s “The Kiss”. The other two buildings exhibit contemporary art. Personally, I didn’t find these exhibitions very impressive. If I went to Vienna a second time, I would limit myself to the Upper Belvedere.

Upper Belvedere. If you just want to walk around the park, wander the labyrinths and sit by the fountain, be warned that it will take quite a while: the area is huge. Photo: canadastock / Shutterstock

In the lobby is a reproduction of The Kiss. Many tourists mistake it for the original and take pictures with it. It’s funny: the reproduction is twice the size of the painting and printed on thin plywood. The original hangs in the wing to the right of the entrance to the second floor

Music can be heard on every corner in Vienna. Both professional ensembles and street musicians perform in the squares in front of the Town Hall, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Hofburg and in the parks. Even if you don’t go to a concert, you can still hear some of the classics.

Occasionally churches hold free mini-concerts of 20-25 minutes each. It may be an organ concert, string quartet, or even an a cappella choir. The schedule is hard to find online, but is usually posted on the information board outside each cathedral. I stopped by the Mariahilf church, near where I rented an apartment, and attended an organ concert – it was delightful.

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Schönbrunn is a palace complex with a huge park, in the far corner of which is Vienna’s zoo. It is famous for its gardens, orangeries and fountains. A trip to Schönbrunn is worthwhile if you have an extra couple of hours: you can not get around the castle and the park quickly.

The complex has a greenhouse, which resembles a rose garden in Moscow Botanical Garden. Near the palace is a hill with a triumphal arch, which offers a magnificent view over the entire complex and the alleys. However, it is boring to walk on it after 20-25 minutes.

costs the most expensive ticket to Schoenbrunn Palace

What to bring from Vienna. In the city are very expensive souvenirs. If you go away from the center, prices are lower, but only by a couple of euros.

Most souvenir stores and shops with handicrafts are around St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The big stores are crowded and clingy sellers – you want to get out of there quickly.

A mug with a Klimt painting costs a pretty penny.

At Vienna International Airport the duty-free zone extends as far as the baggage inspection area. There are no stores or cafes further on, only one water dispenser. At the inspection, the customs officers make you throw out all the water for which there are no duty-free receipts, so keep them.

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Valeria Ferzer


Alexander Morozov

Thank you for the article! Even though I have been to Vienna twice, I discovered a couple of new places.

I would also recommend: – to try sausage or hot-dog in Bitzinger near Albertina; – to get some strudels or croissants in Anker; – to visit the memorial to the Soviet soldiers who died during the liberation of Austria, near Belvedere; – to go to the zoo (definitely one of the best in Europe).

Evgeny Istokov

Alexander, you should not promote zoos and circuses, they should be banned long ago for cruel and inhumane treatment of animals. Look in Yandex, the information is in the public domain for a substantive understanding of what is done there behind the scenes. For example, Slovakia has completely banned circuses; Russia has banned contact zoos in shopping malls. At least they started to do something. Good evening to you all:)

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Robert Jordan

The author – well done, not a bad recommendation. I’d also recommend to try a Zaher cake in a cafe with the same name, to have a walk in the Körthnerstrasse and to go to the Sisi Museum in the Hofburg. I loved it there. For lovers of military history, there’s a wonderful armory with knightly halls, too. And yes, there are horse lines at the Café Central. IMHO.

( for meat-eaters. a little gastronomy) And also near Belvedere ( and in Prater) there is a great stylistic restaurant Salm Braeu, where they serve delicious knuckle.

Robert Jordan

And in the evening enjoy a glass of Grüner. In places like WEIN & CO Wien, not so expensive.

Alexander Morozov

Rss, thanks for the reasoned response.

Eva Shreiber

If you have a valid metro ticket around the city (e.g. you bought a pass for a day/two/triple), when buying a train ticket to the airport you need to tick the box at the top, like “only area outside Vienna” and the ticket to the airport is 1.4 euros (or 1.6, I do not remember exactly) Karlskirche is beautifully lit in the evening, I recommend. In front of the town hall there is no gastromarkt anymore, it was a temporary event, every year some festival in summer, always Christmas market in winter. As for the food, guided by the price of schnitzel, the normal price is 9-10 euros, 12- it must be very tasty, still a reasonable price, all that above – most likely a tourist spot. And a lot of small places, where it’s not so expensive, wurstel stand near the opera – the most delicious Keizerkrainer (sausages with cheese inside), try dumplings! sweet or with meat and cabbage, very nourishing and tasty, price, 3-5 euro per dumpling (it’s big), in winter it’s good to eat baked chestnuts! If you want beautiful views, go up to the hills (there’s a cafe and a bus) – the view over the whole vein, from hill to hill you can walk along the trail, in winter there is even snow. Passed the museum quarter, it’s across the street from Kunsthistorischen Museum, a lot of interesting things there too, mostly modern. From cafes I recommend Oberlaa near the Staatpark, there’s a nice ice cream and a nice park nearby, if you go in summer, you can go to cafes on the Donau canal, it’s not so hot and sandy.

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