Vienna is more than a world class tourist destination, it’s the elegant capital of central Europe and the mighty Habsburg empire. There is a wide range of landmarks and monuments to explore, activities to indulge in and experiences to live.
Jump to: First timers’ top 10 | Top 10 for returning visitors | Top 10 panoramas of Vienna | Vienna for Families Top 10
Here are a few hand-picked lists of must-see and must try things in Vienna.
First timers’ top 10
- Take a walk on the Ringstrasse to discover some of Vienna’s most famous monuments. This 5km ring road surrounds the heart of Vienna and is lined with many of the city’s most famous landmarks.
- Explore the inner town with the cathedral of St. Stephan. Here medieval and baroque buildings surround cozy narrow streets and many small squares. Some of the most beautiful architectural treasures can be found in the Innere Stadt.
- Go for a ride at the iconic Riesenrad (giant Ferris wheel) in Prater amusement park, and see Vienna from above (65 meters).
- Visit the Natural History museum. It has an impressive collection of animals from all over the world, geology, space-related videos and much more.
- Visit Schönbrunn palace to catch a glimpse of the life of the Habsburg emperors.
- Enjoy an evening concert or opera by the world’s most famous composers in the music capital.
- Experience Vienna’s coffee house culture and some of Europe’s oldest coffee shops.
- Visit the famous Belvedere palace with its beautiful gardens, where you’ll find the works of Gustav Klimt and other contemporary artists.
- Mozart was perhaps the most famous Viennese. Visit Mozarthaus to learn more about the most famous composer of all time.
- Explore Naschmarkt, the largest market in Vienna. Find a freshly squeezed fruit juice or explore culinary delicacies from all around the world.
Top 10 for returning visitors
- Explore the masterpieces of the most famous artists in the Kunsthistorisches museum.
- Visit the Albertina gallery for a great private collection of art.
- Have fun learning about music and sound at the Haus der Musik.
- Visit the magnificent Schönbrunn zoo, one of Europe’s oldest and finest zoological gardens.
- Explore Vienna Woods for a touch of nature and spectacular panoramic views of the city.
- Go on a day trip to discover Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, which is just an hour away.
- Go for a boat tour on the Danube, or even better on the Donaukanal.
- Visit Haus des Meeres – Aqua Terra Zoo to see sharks, crocs and 10.000 other exotic animals.
- If you come in summer, enjoy sunbathing on hammocks in one of the city’s parks.
- Try to catch a Lipizzan horse dance at the Spanish Riding School. It’s a spectacle you can only experience in Vienna!
Top 10 panoramas of Vienna
- Climb the towers of Stephansdom for the best panoramic views of central Vienna. Both towers are available for climbing.
- From the Danube Tower or Donauturm you can see the city and its surroundings when the weather is nice.
- The Haus des Meeres also offers great panoramas of the city centre.
- The Vienna Woods offer great views of the entire city and it’s surroundings.
- Take a coffee break at the Schönbrunn Gloriette cafe and admire the entire palace complex and the surrounding neighborhood.
- The viewing terrace of the DC Tower (tallest building in Austria) at 207 meters offers stunning views of the city.
- The roof of the Natural History Museum offers impressive views of the old town and the Ringstrasse.
- From the deck of the Sky Cafe and Restaurant you can see the rooftops of the downtown including the coloured roof tiles of the Stephansdom.
- The restaurant and Onyx Bar at the top floors Do & Co hotel offer beautiful views of the tiled roof of the Stephansdom cathedral, the surrounding rooftops and Stephansplatz below.
- I almost forgot the Riesenrad, the iconic 50 meters tall Ferris wheel of the Prater amusement park. From its gondolas you can enjoy panoramic views of the vast green space of the Prater park below, the Danube nearby and downtown Vienna surrounding the park.
Vienna for Families Top 10
- Kids of all ages will enjoy attractions at the Prater amusement park. From a super tall swing and log water slide, to a giant Ferris wheel, planetarium or wax museum, there are dozens of attractions for everyone.
- At the Naturhistorisches museum, some parents might find the rocks interesting, but almost every child, teen and adult will be impressed by the animal collection. And the dinosaurs move and roar.
- Haus der Musik offers plenty of fun activities for the entire family to learn about music and sound in general, including composing your own masterpieces.
- The Vienna Zoo is an attraction you shouldn’t miss on a family visit to the city.
- At the Haus des Meeres – Aqua Terra zoo, you can see tropical and water animals. It is hosted in a refurbished anti-aircraft tower.
- Unless someone is afraid of heights, go to any of the above mentioned panorama spots for some breathtaking views of the city.
- Roam around the Imperial palaces (Hofburg & Schönbrunn) and see how the princes and princesses lived, the coach they rode and the gardens they played in. They both have special tours for children.
- Let the kids get lost in the maze at the Schönbrunn complex.
- If you come here in Winter, look for the many Christmas markets and enjoy Ice skating in front of the City Assembly (Rathaus). If you come in summer, enjoy at one of the beaches at the old Danube, or one of the swimming pools in the area.
- Rent some bicycles (if you haven’t brought yours), and ride by the Danube, Danube Canal, at the Danube Island or at the Prater park.