Things to do in Vienna + Top Instagram Spots

Vienna is the capital city of Austria, in fact the historic city of Vienna is a UNESCO site.  Things to do in Vienna;

  • UNESCO historic center of Vienna
  • Schönbrunn Palace (UNESCO world heritage site) and Vienna Zoo
  • Hofburg Palace
  • Belvedere Palace Museum (and view of the city)
  • St. Stephen’s Cathedral (and view of the city)
  • Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museumsquartier)
  • Naschmarkt
  • Hundertwasserhaus – Top Instagram Spot
  • Sacher Torte

Hotels in Vienna are surprisingly good value for a capital city in Western Europe.  Furthermore, the most famous hotel in Vienna is the Sacher Hotel which is famous for the Sacher Torte.

UNESCO World Heritage Historic Center of Vienna

Things to do in Vienna - UNESCO World Heritage historic city of Vienna

The whole of the historic center of Vienna is classified as a UNESCO city.  Most of the buildings you photograph and probably the hotel you choose to stay in will be within the historic city boundaries.

Vienna is quite a spread out city so I’d recommend buying a 24 to 72 hour public transport ticket. The cost of this pass is between $10 – $20 depending on the length of time you choose.  You can use the pass on train, metro, tramway or bus but not the airport bus or train.  If you arrive by bus or train in Vienna then you can buy a pass in any self service kiosk at any U-Bahn station.

Schönbrunn Palace and Vienna Zoo

Things to do in Vienna - Schönbrunn Palace and Vienna Zoo

Schönbrunn Palace and it’s gardens are located outside the historic city of Vienna but are however a UNESCO world heritage site.  The easiest way to get the palace is to take the U-Bahn line U4 to Schönbrunn.  The best place to photograph the palace from is the front where you’ll find a small pond which gives a perfect reflection shot.  As it was frozen over and full of snow when I visited I took a picture with the sun shining on the rear (above).  The palace used to be the summer residence of royals but now it’s a museum.  It’s comparable to the Palace of Versailles in France with its well kept gardens and royal interior.  In the Schönbrunn Palace gardens you’ll find the largest Gloriette in the world and you can take a beautiful reflection photograph here.

In the palace grounds you’ll find the Vienna Zoo and it’s possible to buy combo tickets for both the zoo and palace.

Hofburg Palace

Today Hofburg Palace is the residence of the current president of Austria.  It’s the Austrian equivalent of the White House in Washington DC or 10 Downing St in London.  As a matter of fact, it’s a far better looking building than the US or UK equivalents.  Finally, Hofburg Palace has been the residence of royalty in the past.

Belvedere Palace Museum

Things to do in Vienna - Belvedere Palace Museum

The Belvedere Palace is located in the historic center of Vienna.  It’s free to enter the gardens and walk around where you can get a good view of the city.  There is a huge man-made lake in front of the building which offers wonderful reflection shots but due to the snow I couldn’t make this shot.  The grounds are huge and include upper Belvedere where you can take the reflection shot of the palace.  You can take the city shot from lower Belvedere and the gates of Belvedere are also worth photographing.

St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Things to do in Vienna - St. Stephen's Cathedral

St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the most popular site in Vienna.  Located in the center of the historic city makes it the best place to get a 360° view of the city.  The only problem with the view from the top is that you have to take your pictures through small windows.  It costs $7 (€5,50) to climb the 343 steps of the cramped spiral staircase to the top.  The cathedral stands at 136 meters tall.

Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Art History)

Things to do in Vienna - Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
The Kunsthistorisches Museum is the largest museum in Austria.  Art lovers must visit as the museum features works of art by Rembrandt, Pieter Brueghel, Raphael and Caravaggio among many others.  The stunning building opened in 1891 and the height of the dome is 60 meters.


Things to do in Vienna - Naschmarkt

The Naschmarkt is the most popular market in Vienna and sells luxurious food / snacks.  There are also a lot of restaurants in the market meaning foodies will love it.  The food stalls open from from early morning until 6-30 pm Monday to Saturday, the restaurants stay open until midnight.


Things to do in Vienna - Hundertwasserhaus

I would describe Hundertwasserhaus as a very unique, colorful building and therefore a top Vienna Instagram spot.   It is located in the Landstraße district which is a short U-Bahn ride from the historic center.  The Hundertwasserhaus was designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser with architect Joseph Krawina and completed in 1985.

Sacher Torte

Things to do in Vienna - Sacher Torte

Vienna is famous for it’s Sacher-Torte which is chocolate cake sold at the 5 star Hotel Sacher.  Outside the hotel is a small boutique store which sells the cake.  The cheapest Sacher-Torte in the shop is about $5 (€4) which is called a cube.  As a chocolate lover I was disappointed with the Sacher-Torte and I would prefer a bar of Milka chocolate.

Vienna to Bratislava by bus

Vienna and Bratislava by bus (Flixbus)
The bus from Vienna to Bratislava takes just over an hour.  With Flixbus you can find a one-way ticket for around $5.  For your $5 you get a seat with good legroom, personal power socket and free WiFi.  I took the bus leaving from Vienna International bus station located at Erdberg U-Bahn station.  This will take you to Bratislava bus station which is located in the historic center of Bratislava.

Bratislava To Budapest

2019-01-02T14:18:34+00:00August 5th, 2017|Austria, Western Europe|46 Comments


  1. Nicole Anderson August 6, 2017 at 10:22 pm - Reply

    I just love the beautiful architecture of the enormous buildings you have included here. The history and culture are so interesting to me although I must admit I would probably prefer to go in the summer. Like you I am a chocolate fan and it is a shame that the Sacher-Torte was a disappointment seeing that it is so famous. Sometimes though we do get easily let down when we are expecting so much from what we have heard about it. Vienna is no doubt a beautiful city.

  2. Abigail Sinsona August 7, 2017 at 8:14 am - Reply

    The Schonbrunn Palace of Vienna is one of the most beautiful architectural features I’ve laid my eyes on. However, this is the first time that I’ve seen the palace with snow and it looks just as beautufiul. It looks like you were able to see so many great sights in Vienna! I’ve always wanted to go but you reminded me why I need to do it soon!

  3. Iuliana Marchian August 7, 2017 at 8:33 am - Reply

    I remember my one-week stay in Vienna two years ago. It was winter, cold and the sun didn’t want to come out of the clouds at all for one entire week. The best way to experience Vienna in this conditions was by visiting its museums. Have you been also to Mozart’s house? I remember I was so impressed that I bought the CD with the film about Mozart.

    • James Smith August 7, 2017 at 5:54 pm - Reply

      No, I’ll have to check out Mozart’s house next time.

  4. Susanna August 7, 2017 at 8:49 am - Reply

    Flixbus is such a great way to get around Europe. I live in Munich and it’s so easy to get around with them. Vienna is such an amazing city I love going there to walk around and just enjoy the sights. Hope you enjoy Bratislava just as much!

  5. Mariella August 7, 2017 at 9:04 am - Reply

    I absolutely loved Vienna when I visited two years ago. Its such as breathtaking place worth the visit at least once in the lifetime. The Sacher-Torte from Sache Hotel is such a delight! Words are not enough to describe how indulgent this chocolate treat was to my palate 🙂

  6. Aisha Sylvester August 7, 2017 at 11:40 am - Reply

    Vienna looks like such a beautiful place! The architecture is so grand and stunning and your photos capture it beautifully! Being a foodie I’d have to check out the Naschmarkt.

  7. yukti August 7, 2017 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Vienna has so many beautiful palaces and stunning architectural buildings. NaschMarket is so colorful and a treat for foodies. Schonbrunn Palace is the most beautiful one with snow in front and sun on rear. All pictures are amazing. Again this bus is very affordable for Intercity travel.

  8. Julz August 7, 2017 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    Love this post!! So many things to see and places to discover! Vienna is in my top 5 of i really want to go…

  9. Chris August 8, 2017 at 12:28 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your experience in Vienna. I have yet to visit and was happy to hear that there are some good value hotels there.
    Is there a limit to the amount of luggage that you can take on the Flixbus?

  10. Brian August 8, 2017 at 4:15 am - Reply

    I really didn’t know that Vienna has so many beautiful architectural places to admire. As an art lover I would love to visit the Art Museum (Kunsthistorisches), I love Rembrandt. I’m planning a road trip through Europe the traveling by bus option sounds like the best way to do it.

  11. Nastasha August 8, 2017 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Very interesting. We are doing a bit of Europe in May 2018 but were mainly looking at flights, this option may be better for us to reduce the cost a little. The market in Vienna looks wonderful

  12. Sonja August 8, 2017 at 11:27 am - Reply

    I visited Vienna and Bratislava a few years ago and before I went I had no idea how close they were. Vienna really does have so many beautiful buildings to see! The history is so interesting. I had no idea the whole centre is a UNESCO site though!

  13. Joanna August 8, 2017 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    Your post reminded me of my many trips to Vienna and of that time when I went from Vienna to Bratislava by bus. I did find the bus station to be awkwardly situated outside the city centre, compared to the train station at least. I did enjoy the Sacher Torte at Hotel Sacher. I went to the restaurant upstairs and pretended i was posh, haha 🙂

  14. Aditi Shukla August 8, 2017 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    I can’t wait to plan a visit to Vienna. I have to visit the historic centre and spend some time at Naschmarkt. I had no idea bout Sacher-Torte though. Being an ardent chocolate lover, I’m sure I’ll be able to polish half the cake on my own. 🙂 Cheers!!

  15. Lisa August 8, 2017 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    $5 is crazy cheap for a bus ticket from Vienna to Bratislava! Thank you for reminding me of the great memories of Vienna; I was there in Easter and had a wonderful time. I didn’t get to visit the Naschtmarket or Hundwasserhaus though; I’ll be sure to remember them for when I next return.

  16. Anna Schlaht August 8, 2017 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    I’ve always wanted to go to Vienna, but I haven’t seen many pictures of it; it’s always been a whim I think about on occasion. So all this to say, the colors are just amazing! Especially Schönbrunn Palace. I wish I could paint my house that color and get away with it. 😉 Naschmarkt also looks quite lovely with its wide variety of foods and produce. I can imagine spending a whole afternoon there. Thanks for the sightseeing tips … and the info about the bus! As others have said, $5 is so affordable (especially if it comes with free WiFi). And the trip sounds short, too, which makes it even better.

  17. Tania Mukherjee August 9, 2017 at 5:47 am - Reply

    I had no idea the entire city of Vienna is classified as a UNESCO city. This status makes it pretty clear how unique Vienna must be. The public transport ticket sounds like a lifesaver for a tourist who wants to tour the city on budget. The Vienna to Bratislava bus is a budget way to reach Bratislava! Thanks for all these tips. It incredibly help in my travel financial plannings.

  18. Ania August 10, 2017 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    I went to Vienna once and I absolutely loved it. I had no idea that it was a UNESCO site. I also did the trip from Vienna to Bratislava, this is a great option.

  19. kathy August 10, 2017 at 5:24 pm - Reply

    I really enjoyed my time in Vienna, it really is a beautiful city. I too took a trip to Bratislava but I did this by train. I wish I knew the bus ticket was so cheap as I think the train ticket was a lot more expensive. In Vienna, I really recommend taking a walk by the river and viewing the street art under the bridges.

    • James Smith August 10, 2017 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      Thanks Kathy, that’s a good tip about street art in Vienna.

  20. Mimi & Mitch August 10, 2017 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Wow it’s so different to see these palaces in winter. It is quite another place literally! We totally forgot to go have a little tour in the Sacher Hotel… regretting it now! Craving for some sweets now…

  21. Jean August 10, 2017 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    Vienna looks amazing! As a fellow chocolate lover I was sad to read that you didn’t enjoy the famous Sacher torte. Now I’m craving a block of milka which can be really hard to find in Australia!

  22. Punita Malhotra August 12, 2017 at 5:18 am - Reply

    We stayed for a week in Vienna. The whole city is a planned like a palace, so beautiful, elegant and royal. All the sights that you mention here are stunning, specially the gardens. Don’t mind a second trip.

  23. Mandy August 12, 2017 at 11:44 pm - Reply

    Schonbrunn palace looks incredible and Versailles is the first place I thought of to compare it to. Buying the day or week passes has been beneficial to us in the past. I think it would be no different for Vienna considering how spread out the city is. I have heard nothing but great things about Vienna and definitely look forward to visiting some day.

  24. Mel Butler August 13, 2017 at 11:52 am - Reply

    I love Vienna, it is such a beautiful place full of amazing history. I wished that i got spend longer their than just a weekend. Your post took me right back there ???? You have some great tips there and i appreciate the fact you share the prices of things too. Btw i didn’tknow the whole city was classed as UNESCO

  25. Anita August 13, 2017 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    I just love Vienna. Gorgeus architecture and so many places to visit. Kunsthistoriches museum is my favorite. I would love to get back some day.

  26. Richard August 14, 2017 at 12:03 am - Reply

    Vienna is so full of colors and culture, I didn’t know the historic center was a UNESCO site. I’m a food lover so would love to sample the local food in Naschmarkt. Schonbrunn palace looks like an amazing trip, I would love to photograph it.

  27. Ami Bhat August 14, 2017 at 7:29 am - Reply

    Vienna is undoubtedly one beautiful city. Those palaces and museums would be my key reason to visit the city. The architecture and the history is what interests me.

  28. Brooke August 14, 2017 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    Its amazing you can travel from Vienna to Bratislava for 5 Euros! Great travel tip-

    I loved how cheap the buses from Prague to Germany were too (and decent space and nice coaches!)

  29. Annie B August 15, 2017 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Vienna is totally on my ‘I need to see list’. I absolutely adore how much culture there is and how affordable it is.

  30. Archana Singh August 17, 2017 at 11:41 am - Reply

    I have read so many of your posts. And onething I can say is – you really love heritage and architecture. And who wouldn’t. The Kunsthistorisches Museum looks beautiful. I had been to Austria but after reading this I wanna go back.

  31. Paul August 18, 2017 at 6:16 am - Reply

    Vienna certainly is an Instagrammable city to visit, great photos! Interesting to see you were not a fan of the chocolate, often famous brands can be a little disappointing. The bus journey is very reasonable and looks a comfortable ride too!

  32. Marcelle August 18, 2017 at 8:15 am - Reply

    For me the best of Vienna is the Sacher Torte. I’d love to take the bus from Vienna to Bratislava, a wonderful cultural treat.

  33. Ruth August 18, 2017 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    The market was one of my favorite places in Vienna! We went like three times in four days. Agree with your observation with hotels. I got a really good hotel deal (kind of shocking for such an expensive city). When in Vienna, I suggest a visit to the Wachau Valley.

  34. Lolo August 18, 2017 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    Love Vienna! It’s where my husband proposed! Also visited Bratislava this year and loved it! Always surprises me how close the two capitals are!

  35. May August 18, 2017 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Both Vienna and Salzburg in Austria are in my wishlist! You know that I like to visit UNESCO sites and this place has 2! Its awesome how you were there in the perfect weather. With blue skies and white snow covered land, all your shots have come out so stunningly well!

  36. Shona @ August 19, 2017 at 7:46 am - Reply

    I’m a sucker for beautiful architecture and would consider myself a bit of a foodie too, so Vienna and I would get along very well I think. Beautiful shots as usual. 🙂

  37. Michael August 20, 2017 at 5:27 am - Reply

    Totally agree regarding the Sacher Torte! We popped into the Sachet hotel too and it was pretty stunning.
    Love all your photos of the architecture, Vienna is absolutely stunning!

  38. Kreete August 20, 2017 at 10:20 am - Reply

    That bus ticket is crazy cheap! Takes me back to that time I was travelling overland in Europe. I love the architecture on your photos and would love to visit the food market with all the restaurants. Your photos, however, make me feel cold haha! How cold was it there when you visited?

    • James Smith August 21, 2017 at 6:41 am - Reply

      Hi Kreete, it was about 4 degrees when I visited, the snow was melting!

  39. Lyn August 20, 2017 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    On our first trip to Vienna in 2014 we caught a bus to Bratislava for the day and loved it. We actually found it easy to do a bus trip to Budapest and also Prague, so first time round actually didn’t see as much of Vienna as we’d hoped. Last time we were there was for Christmas and although not a White Christmas, had an amazing time and experience quite a lot of the beautiful city.

  40. Barry August 21, 2017 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    Vienna is a stunning city with some great buildings. I’m surprised the bus is so cheap and free Wi-Fi + power sockets are a plus. I don’t mind travelling by bus or train as it can often be more fun than flying.

  41. Clair August 24, 2017 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    A very informative post about Vienna. Brings back some great memories, I wish I had know about the 1 hour bu ride to Bratislava though.

  42. Terry August 27, 2017 at 8:52 am - Reply

    I really enjoyed exploring Vienna when I visited a few years ago but I really didn’t spend as much time there as I would have liked! Great tips of places to visit and I am thinking about going back there soon!

  43. Siddharth and Shruti August 28, 2017 at 3:53 am - Reply

    Love all your road journeys! Vienna is on our bucket list. We will probably end up spending a lot of time and money at the Naschmarkt market! Can’t believe the bus is just $5!

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