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When will you realize, Vienna waits for you... (Billy Joel)
The capital of Austria is full of grand buildings, cozy traditional coffee houses, and a large selection of museums, concert venues, and other cultural attractions. The former capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire still has plenty of imperial grandeur to admire, but it was also the home of scientists and artists including Gustav Klimt, Hedy Lamarr, and Erwin Schrödinger.
Maurizio MassaroBy Maurizio Massaro

The 10 Best Things to Do in Vienna

There are dozens of museums, historical sites, and attractions to explore in Vienna, but we’ve gathered ten things that will combine to create an awesome itinerary for any trip to Austria’s glorious capital city.
Schönbrunn Palace
1

Stroll through the Grounds of Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace is fit for the finest of royals, whether you want to visit the palace’s interior to see the finest of its 1,441 rooms, or whether you want to explore the stunning 395 acres of parks and gardens that surround it. The baroque summer residence of the Hapsburgs (including Empress Elisabeth, also known as Sisi) is visited by around 4,000 guests every day making it one of Vienna’s most popular tourist attractions. The grounds also include a maze, a café, and a zoo.
Giant Ferris Wheel
2

Ride the Famous Vienna Ferris Wheel

The Vienna Prater is the largest public park in the city, and at the entrance, there’s a famous amusement park known to locals as the Wurstelprater. Inside you’ll find the oldest Ferris wheel still in operation today! A ride in one of the bright red cabins will give you a great view of the center of Vienna.
The Entrance of the Kunsthistorisches Museum
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Discover Art and Dinosaurs

The twin museums at Maria-Theresien-Platz are sure to delight both scientists and art-lovers! The Kunsthistorisches Museum contains paintings by Old Masters such as Bruegel as well as sculptures from Ancient Rome and Egypt, which the Naturhistorisches Museum will teach you all about zoology, biology, anthropology, and the wonders of the natural world.
Vienna's Naschmarkt | Flickr: Sandor Somkuti CC BY-SA 2.0
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Take a Culinary Journey at the Naschmarkt

Vienna’s Naschmarkt brings together delicacies from all over the world, with plenty of discoveries awaiting foodies. The market is open on weekdays and Saturdays and it’s also extremely popular with locals looking for special ingredients or workers from nearby offices who take advantage of its lunchtime deals.
Naschmarkt
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Vienna State Opera
5

Enjoy a Tour of the Vienna Opera House

One insider tip for tourists: the guided tours of the Vienna State Opera are surprisingly cheap. They take place daily and you don’t often need to book in advance, with tours covering both the front of house areas and several backstage areas. In addition to learning about the operation of a busy opera house, you’ll also learn all about the famous Opera Ball which takes place annually on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday.
Vienna State Opera
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Original Sachertorte | Flickr: Fooding Around CC BY 2.0
6

Eat the Original Sachertorte at the Hotel Sacher

You might have heard of a Sachertorte, but did you know that they were invented at the Hotel Sacher? This 5-star hotel can be found right next to the Opera House and lines for a seat in the café can be extremely long during the peak tourist season. The desert was originally created for Klemens von Metternich, and most cafés sell their own version but fans of chocolate might still want to wait in line for the original and best.
Donauturm
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Get an Awesome View from the Donauturm

The Donauturm is the tallest building in Austria and is located across the river from the inner city, in the 22nd district. From the observation deck at the top you can see the whole city plus the Vienna Woods, the Danube, and the Donauinsel, while visitors can also enjoy a meal or a snack in the rotating restaurant. Thrifty visitors should consider investing in a ticket that combines entry to the tower with a ticket to another attraction in Vienna.
Danube canal | Flickr: Willem van Valkenburg CC BY 2.0
8

Cruise down the Blue Danube

The famous waltz was named after this river: the Danube is open to explorers who can join cruises from the dock at Schwedenplatz. You can look out for tickets for the pleasure ship MS Vindobona, which was designed by the artist Hundertwasser and which departs at 11.30 am and 3 pm during summer. You can also take an ultra-modern catamaran out to the Slovakian capital of Bratislava for a day trip.
Cruises & Water Tours
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See Vienna the easy way
9

Travel in Style on a Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

A Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour is a great way to orient yourself in the city when you’re not sure how the public transport system works yet. Whether you want to stay on for the whole loop to see everything or you want to jump off and visit attractions during the day, it’s a great way to get to know Vienna.
Hop-On Hop-Off
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St. Stephen's Cathedral
10

Climb the Towers of the Stefansdom

St. Stephen’s Cathedral marks the center of Vienna’s 1st district and its tower can be seen for miles around. You can climb it yourself to get a bird’s eye view of the city but watch out: there’s no elevator to take you to the top and the staircase contains 343 steps. Visitors who are afraid of heights might prefer to keep their feet on the ground or explore the fascinating crypt.

5 Fun Activities for Families in Vienna

If you’re traveling with children, then Vienna offers a range of exciting and interactive museums, plus the Schonbrunn Zoo and the Haus des Meeres.
Schönbrunn Zoo
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See Tigers, Pandas, and Polar Bears in Schönbrunn Zoo

Schönbrunn Zoo has been voted the best zoo in Europe 5 times in a row, and it deserves its great reputation! It’s also the oldest zoo in the world. Children and adults alike will enjoy spotting the young Kibali in the elephant enclosure and the baby polar bear who was born in 2019.
Haus des Meeres | Flickr: Ungry Young Man CC BY 2.0
2

Visit Sea Creatures in the Haus des Meeres

This unique aquarium is inside a flak tower from World War II, giving the complex of tanks and enclosures some unique challenges. You can see sharks, rays, and turtles swimming around, while children are sure to enjoy exploring the indoor jungle habitat which houses monkeys, birds, and flying foxes
Zoom-Kindermuseum | Wiki: Max Wittmann CC BY-SA 3.0
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Explore the Zoom-Kindermuseum

The interactive exhibitions inside the Zoom children’s museum are specially designed to help children learn through play. Exhibits and activities vary throughout the year but include themes like the human body, society, and child-friendly introductions to art and culture.
Photo: Soroush Karimi, Chain Carousel - Unsplash
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Have Fun in the Prater

The Vienna Prater isn’t just home to the Giant Ferris Wheel, but also to several rides and attractions for children of all ages. They’ll especially love the Lilliputbahn, a miniature railway that takes passengers on a tour of the park. The Prater is also where you’ll find Madame Tussauds Vienna, the Chocolate Museum, and several other attractions.
Vienna Technical Museum | Flickr: thom CC BY-SA 2.0
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Learn and Play at the Vienna Technical Museum

The Viennese Waltz takes its name from the city, and Vienna has also been home to several important figures in classical music over the centuries. There are several attractions that music-lovers shouldn’t miss, and you should also watch out for the chance to attend an opera or concert. Important concert halls include the Vienna Musikverein, the Konzerthaus, or the Vienna State Opera - some of which can also be visited on a guided tour - while the Haus der Musik is an interactive museum which is also family-friendly.
Technisches Museum Wien
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Vienna State Opera | Flickr: Jiuguang Wang CC BY-SA 2.0

Get Classical in the City of Music

The Viennese Waltz takes its name from the city, and Vienna has also been home to several important figures in classical music over the centuries.There are several attractions that music-lovers shouldn’t miss, and you should also watch out for the chance to attend an opera or concert. Important concert halls include the Vienna Musikverein, the Konzerthaus, or the Vienna State Opera - some of which can also be visited on a guided tour - while the Haus der Musik is an interactive museum which is also family-friendly.
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Concerts & Opera
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Musikverein
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Vienna State Opera
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Vienna Pass

Combine Activities with the Vienna Pass

The Vienna Pass includes admission to over 60 attractions and several other perks, and it’s available to buy for a period of 1, 2, 3, or 6 days.If you want to see a lot of sights on a short trip then it’s ideal: it includes entry to museums and attractions like Schonbrunn Palace and Madame Tussauds while also granting you access to the local Hop-On Hop-Off buses and the Vienna Ring Tram.
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City Passes
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Discover Austria on Day Trips from Vienna

Vienna is wonderful, but there’s also a lot to see in the rest of Austria.For those interested in history, a trip to the Mauthausen concentration camp may be educational. If you’d like to experience beautiful landscapes, good wine, and visit the abbeys at Melk or Gottweig, then it’s worth visiting the Wachau in Lower Austria. For lovers of the Sound of Music, a day trip to Salzburg might be just the ticket. Meanwhile, the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava, is also within reach and its small but picturesque old town is enchanting.
Wachau is famous for its vineyards
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The 6 Best Things to See in Vienna

There are several icons of the city that appear on most postcards, and if you want to check them out then we’ve gathered a list of the most popular attractions with tourists. Whether you go inside or just admire the architecture from the street, you’re sure to enjoy checking these attractions off your list.
Stephansdom | Flickr: Sandor Somkuti CC BY-SA 2.0
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Stephansdom

St. Stephen’s Cathedral is Vienna’s central landmark and the seat of the Archbishop of Vienna. It’s one of the most important examples of Gothic architecture in Austria and, as the focal point of the city, is a must-see for tourists. You can even climb the towers, the tallest of which is 447 feet (136.4m) high.
Giant Ferris Wheel
2

Wiener Riesenrad

The Ferris wheel that stands in the Prater park is the oldest still in operation today, and it’s become a symbol of the city of Vienna. From one of the bright red cabins, you’ll get an amazing view of the whole city. Private dining experiences are also available if you’d like to arrange something extra special for your trip.
Karlskirche at Night
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Karlskirche

The baroque Karlskirche is especially worth seeing for its massive relief columns that flank the entrance and its dome, which is decorated with a fresco by Johann Michael Rottmayr. It also hosts classical concerts that combine beautiful music with stunning surroundings.
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Special event at the Vienna Rathaus
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Vienna Rathaus

The impressive building on Vienna’s Ringstrasse was built between the years 872 and 1883. The city hall was inspired by its equivalent building in Brussels, and its 321 foot (98 m) high tower can be seen for miles around.
Gate at the Heldenplatz
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Heldenplatz

Heldenplatz, or Heroes’ Square, is a public space in front of the Hofburg and is a great place to take pictures of the National Library or to visit the Weltmuseum. It’s also a great place to start exploring the famous Ringstrasse.
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Vienna State Opera
6

Vienna State Opera

The majestic opera house in Vienna is worth visiting inside and out. Guided tours take place daily and tickets to operas and ballets are highly sought after. An insider tip is to buy standing tickets on the day: they aren’t the most comfortable seats in the house but they’re extremely cheap.
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5 Special Attractions for Tourists

Visitors who’d like a unique experience while in Vienna should consider one of these attractions, which have all been designed with tourists in mind.
Donauturm
1

Donauturm

The observation deck of the Donauturm (or Danube Tower) is 541 feet (165 m) above the ground, giving you an excellent view of Vienna from the tallest building in Austria. The Donauturm also offers visitors a unique culinary experience in its rotating restaurant.
Haus des Meeres | Flickr: Ungry Young Man CC BY 2.0
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Haus des Meeres

In the aquariums of the Haus des Meeres, you can visit piranhas, sharks, and sea turtles, plus tropical fish, monkeys, birds, and reptiles. This ‘Aqua Terra Zoo’ is one of Vienna’s most visited attractions and is also great for families.
Time Travel Vienna
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Time Travel Vienna

Time Travel Vienna treats guests to a fun and interactive tour of the history of the city, incorporating a 5D cinema and a Virtual Reality show. Their guided tours really help history come to life!
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Conchita Wurst at Madame Tussauds | Flickr: Luke Rauscher CC BY 2.0
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Madame Tussauds Vienna

Vienna’s foremost wax museum showcases Austrian stars and personalities like Mozart, Falco, or Richard Lugner alongside global stars such as Taylor Swift, Angelina Jolie, and Will Smith. You can even take a selfie with your favorite famous figure at this interactive exhibition.
Schönbrunn Zoo
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Schönbrunn Zoo

Schonbrunn’s zoo contains a huge range of animals to admire, including sea lions, giraffes, tigers, monkeys, elephants, polar bears, and pandas. The oldest zoo in the world is located in the glorious gardens of the famous imperial palace.

Sisi & Franz, an Imperial Romance: 3 Imperial Attractions

Many visitors to Vienna already know the story of Emperor Franz Josef and his beautiful wife Elisabeth, better known as Sisi. If you have yet to discover this tale of royal romance, then we recommend a visit to one of these former imperial palaces where you can learn all about it.
Schönbrunn Palace
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Schönbrunn Palace

The imperial summer palace and its impressive garden is one of the most important and most popular sights to see in Vienna. Guests can take a tour of some of the staterooms, including those belonging to Franz Josef and Sisi, or they can simply enjoy a walk in the park. The grounds also contain the Imperial Carriage Museum that exhibits carriages and other vehicles that belonged to the Habsburg aristocracy.
Schloss Belvedere
2

Schloss Belvedere

The complex that includes the Upper and Lower Belvedere is located to the south of the inner city, and both museums exhibit important works of art. The best-known painting is probably The Kiss by Gustav Klimt, but the collection also includes contemporary art. The palaces are also set in a refined garden that is wonderful to explore.
Hofburg | Flickr: wohnblogAt CC BY-SA 2.0
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Hofburg

The former palace known as the Hofburg is now home to several different museums as well as some of the offices of the Austrian government. The Treasury contains the imperial insignia of the Holy Roman Empire and the Empire of Austria, while the Imperial Apartments and Sisi Museum display some of the personal belongings of Empress Elisabeth. The Hofburg also houses the Spanish Riding School, where the famous Lipizzaners train and perform to music. The horse shows are one of the most popular events with visitors to Vienna.
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More Royal Sights in Vienna
Vienna Philharmonic | Flickr: Peter Matthews CC BY 2.0

Concerts & Music

Vienna is known as the city of music, so it’s no surprise that there are several places to watch concerts or see an opera.The Vienna Musikverein is famously the location of the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Day concert but it also hosts concerts throughout the year with performances by different orchestras and ensembles, or special programs for children. The Vienna Symphony Orchestra plays in the Vienna Konzerthaus, but you’ll also find that it hosts performances by international grounds of musicians. Meanwhile, the history of the Vienna Philharmonic and several important Austrian composers is presented at the Haus der Musik, where visitors can also enjoy interactive exhibits about the science behind how we experience music. Children will particularly enjoy the Virtual Conductor and the musical staircase.
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9 Museums in Vienna for Rainy Days

There’s a museum in Vienna for every interest going, so if it’s raining you’re sure to find somewhere indoors where you can be as nerdy as you like. In addition to the large art museums such as the Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Albertina, and MUMOK, there are several museums, big and small, where you can spend an afternoon.
Keith Haring. The Alphabet | Photo: Flickr, Heinz Bunse - CC BY-SA 2.0
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Albertina

The Albertina is one of the most popular museums in Vienna, and it exhibits paintings, prints, and graphical art from Durer through the Renaissance and Baroque to the classical modern period. Today it offers innovative exhibitions, but the foundations of this unique collection was laid in the time of Empress Maria Theresa.
Kunsthistorisches Museum | Photo: Flickr, Marcus Winter - CC BY-SA 2.0
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Kunsthistorisches Museum

The art gallery of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna is one of the city’s most important collections. The corridors and rooms of this palace-like building contain masterpieces by Bruegel, Caravaggio, Rubens, Titian, Vermeer, and more.
Moctezuma's feather headdress | Photo: Flickr, Richard Mortel - CC BY 2.0
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Weltmuseum

The Weltmuseum used to be known as the Museum of Ethnology, and it brings together artifacts from cultures around the world. One highlight is a crown of feathers, or penacho, which supposedly belonged to the Aztec ruler Moctezuma. It also hosts temporary exhibitions that highlight anthropological research or artwork from different cultures.
Mumok at MuseumsQuartier | Photo: Flickr, Sandor Somkuti - CC BY-SA 2.0
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mumok

If you’re interested in modern and contemporary art, then the Museum of Modern Art, Ludwig Foundation, Vienna, or Mumok for short, should definitely be on your list of things to see. In addition to works by Picasso and Andy Warhol, the gallery hosts several temporary exhibitions each year that focus on contemporary artists and their work.
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Technical Museum Vienna | Photo: Flickr, thom - CC BY-ND 2.0
5

Technical Museum Vienna

The Technical Museum is huge, and in its 22,000 square meters of space, it highlights a range of technological innovations from throughout the centuries. Many of its exhibits are interactive, and special guided tours and demonstrations are available throughout the day to give visitors an insight into areas of physics, engineering, and chemistry that influence new technology.
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Vienna Jewish Museum | Photo: Flickr, Sam Litvin - CC BY 2.0
6

Vienna Jewish Museum

Vienna’s Jewish Museum can be found in two separate locations in the heart of Vienna. They present the history of the Viennese Jewish community from the Middle Ages through the dark years of Nazi rule and the Holocaust and into the present day. A single ticket gains you entry to both sites of the museum and the memorial for Austrian Jewish victims of the Shoah which can be found at Judenplatz.
Mozarthaus Vienna
7

Mozarthaus

The Mozarthaus open today is actually only one of the many apartments where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived in Vienna. He and his family resided at the residence near Stephansplatz between 1784 and 1787. The museum explains the life and work of Austria’s favorite musical genius in a series of vivid exhibits over 6 floors.
Hundertwasserhaus | Photo: Flickr, Pedro - CC BY 2.0
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Kunst Haus Wien - Museum Hundertwasser

Friedensreich Hundertwasser was a painter, architect, and environmentalist. The only permanent exhibition of his works can be found in the Kunst Haus Wien, a building that has also been redesigned according to the artist’s principles, with a lack of straight lines, uneven floors, and a roof planted with trees.
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Naturhistorisches Museum | Photo: Flickr, Sandor Somkuti - CC BY-SA 2.0
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Naturhistorisches Museum

The Natural History Museum in Vienna is home to the famous paleolithic Venus of Willendorf, the largest collection of meteorites in the world, and a fascinating collection of dinosaur fossils. Its botanical and anthropological departments are also well worth a visit for any budding biologist.
More Museums in Vienna
Leopold Museum12 tickets & guided tours
Museumsquartier10 tickets & guided tours
Dom Museum Wien3 tickets & guided tours
Museum of Illusions4 tickets & guided tours
More sights in Vienna
Palais Esterházy1 tickets & guided tours
St. Anne's Church3 tickets & guided tours
Mauthausen11 tickets & guided tours
Belvedere 21: Museum of Contemporary Art2 tickets & guided tours
Imperial Crypt1 tickets & guided tours
Kursalon Hübner8 tickets & guided tours
Peterskirche2 tickets & guided tours
Naschmarkt8 tickets & guided tours
Maurizio Massaro
Written byMaurizio MassaroMaurizio is a cosmopolitan, a musician and comes around. In his role as a content manager at TicketLens, he is always striving to find new offers as well as writing about sights all over the world.Translated by Anneliese O'Malley
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