Ah, Vienna! A city filled with elegance, romantic architecture, world-class museums, bustling squares, and the fragrance of wiener schnitzel in the air. If you only have 24 hours in this city, I have listed some of the best places for your one day in Vienna. Although you will want to stay longer after visiting, you can get a brief taste of this city with my one-day Vienna travel guide.
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Information To Know Spending One Day In Vienna
First, before we began our one day Vienna itinerary there are a few things to know that will be helpful during your visit there.
Currency Used In Vienna
Austria’s national currency is the Euro, but debit and credit cards are accepted pretty much everywhere in Vienna. Keep a few small bills handy just to be on the safe side for small shops and cafes. Vienna is a very expensive city so make sure you have plenty of cash for your one day in Vienna trip.
Language Spoken In Vienna
German is the official language spoken in Austria; however, most locals speak English very well.
As a nice gesture, I suggest learning a few basic phrases before you go. Some phrases I recommend while in Vienna:
- ‘Hello’ (hallo )
- ‘Thank You’ (danke)
- ‘Sorry’ (Es tut mir leid)
This is a great place to start learning any new language. Even though locals speak some English most seemed more willing to help when I made an attempt to speak German.
Getting Around In Vienna
The best way to explore Vienna for a day is by foot and metro. Vienna has one spectacular public transit system that is very easy to figure out.
For your one day in Vienna, you will only use the U-Bahn and once you exit your stop it’s a super quick walk to wherever you need to.
I suggest purchasing a Vienna City Card, you can explore Vienna with unlimited use of the metro, tram, and buses. Also, there are over 210 discounts on museums, shops, and popular attractions. Purchase your tickets in advance online here.
Taking a taxi or Uber is another way you can get around Vienna, but the costs can add up quickly with each trip. Stick with the metro and walking, and you will discover places along your route to pop inside.
When To Visit Vienna
Any time of the year would be perfect, but based on your weather preference is when you should plan your vacation there.
For a true holiday experience then plan one day in Vienna during the winter season. Vienna is famous for its Christmas Markets and has one of the biggest in Europe. Get a taste of the holiday cheer with delicious treats, Christmas decorations, and mulled wine between mid-November and Christmas.
If you prefer a warmer climate visit from May through September. Beginning in June and through August is Vienna’s busy season and hotel prices will be a little more expensive.
Where To Stay In Vienna
During my one day in Vienna, I booked The Austria Trend Hotel Astoria, which was conveniently located in the city center.
There are many hotels in Vienna that are available to cater to any budget.
Day Trips From Vienna
If you decide to stay in Vienna a little longer, take a day trip to some surrounding cities nearby. Here are some other charming European options to consider:
Györ, Hungary- Go off the beaten path and visit Györ, a small town centered between Vienna and Budapest. From Vienna, you can reach Györ in 60 minutes by train. You can read about my day trip to Györ right here.
Budapest, Hungary- Vienna to Budapest is about 2 1/2 hours by train. I suggest you take this day trip if you have 3 or more days in Vienna. If you’re interested in heading to Budapest you can book your trip here.
Salzburg, Austria- Reach Salzburg from Vienna in 2 hours by train. Salzburg borders Germany and has captivating views of the Eastern Alps. If interested in doing some site seeing in Salzburg, you can book your trip quickly right here.
Tickets can be purchased on the day off at Wien’s train station. Trains are departing frequently which makes it easy to squeeze in another city during your trip to Vienna.
If you are waiting for your train at the station and need to use the toilet, you will have to pay €.50. Bring some change just in case you need to go!
How To Spend One Day In Vienna
1| Have Breakfast At Cafe Central
Start your perfect day in Vienna off with a hearty meal, and dessert at one of the most popular cafes in Vienna- Cafe Central. Here you will have one spectacular Viennese experience!
Cafe Central is lavishly decorated on the inside with enormous columns, gold accents, and arched ceilings. This cafe is the epitome of European place to hang out.
If arriving for breakfast wake yourself up by starting with an authentic Viennese coffee. For breakfast, I ordered the delicious smoked salmon paired with scrambled eggs and brown bread.
Cafe Central is known to have some of the most amazing desserts. Even if you go for breakfast you must order one. They have an overwhelming amount of desserts to choose from showcased in a glass display by the entrance.
Make reservations online before you go, if not just arrive when before doors open like I did to avoid waiting in line.
- Hours: Cafe Central is open Monday to Saturday from 7:30 AM-10P M. Sundays you can sleep in a little and arrive by 10 AM and it closes at 10 PM.
- Address: Ecke Herrengasse, Strauchgasse, 1010 Wien, Austria
- Metro Tip: You can get there by taking the metro and exiting Herrengasse. From there it is less than a 5-minute walk.
2| Visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral
One of Vienna’s most iconic landmarks is the 137-meter-high St. Stephen’s Cathedral located in the main square Stephenplatz. St. Stephen’s Cathedral is 700—years old and one of Vienna’s most visited attractions by tourists.
The exterior consists of a limestone rocket and a colorful tiled roof and is a must-see when spending one day in Vienna.
The cathedral’s interior is intricately decorated and deserving of a visit. Before wandering off head to the tower to catch a panoramic view of Vienna from the tower. Reach the top by climbing the stairs for €5 (343 steps) or take an elevator for €6. Since I had to climb an overwhelming amount of stairs to my prior day trip to Copenhagen and d Munich I opted for the elevator. Waiting for an elevator may take up to 30 minutes depending on time and day you visit.
Expect St. Stephen’s Cathedral to easily take 1-2 hours out of your day.
- Hours: Daily from 9 AM-5:30 PM. Last entry to the towers is 30 minutes prior to closing. Holiday hours vary, so check in advance if visiting then.
- Admission: Free
- Location: Stephansplatz 3, 1010 Wien, Austria
- Metro Tip: You can easily arrive to St. Stephen’s Cathedral by taking the metro and exiting Stephenplatz. Once you exit the metro station you cannot miss this gigantic cathedral.
3| Walk Around Stephenplatz
After viewing St. Stephen’s Cathedral walk around the heart of Vienna – Stephenplatz. The main square in Vienna is filled will numerous shops, restaurants, and cafes. Alleyways there are hidden treasures to explore and exquisite architecture.
Stephenplatz is always buzzing with activity all day. You can easily find a cafe for people watching and taking in the atmosphere for your one day in Vienna.
Stephenplatz is open all day to explore, except for the restaurants and it’s free to wander the square.
- Hours: Daily all day, expect stores and restaurants close
- Admission: Free to walk around
- Location: Exit Stephenplatz from metro
- Metro Tip: To arrive at Stephenplatz on the metro, exit Stephenplatz. Easy peasy!
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4| Visit Karlskirche (St. Charles Church)
Karlskirche is an impressive Baroque style influenced church constructed in the early 1700s and in my opinion it is one of the most impressive churches in Vienna to view. Here you can also get another panoramic glimpse of Vienna.
If you chose to tour the inside of the church, opening hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 AM-6 PM. Sundays Karskiche is open until 7 PM. Admission to enter St Charles Church is €8, which includes the panoramic lift.
- Hours: Monday through Saturday from 9 AM-6 PM. Sundays Karskiche is open until 7 PM.
- Admission: €8, which includes the panoramic lift.
- Location: Kreuzherrengasse 1, 1040 Wien, Austria
- Metro Tip: Hop on the metro and exit Karlsplatz. You will be able to spot the turquoise-blue dome outside of the metro station.
5| Grab Lunch At Schrnk
Your stomach may be growling and needs to be fed, time to grab some schnitzel! Spending one day in Vienna you must taste this popular Viennese dish. Schrnk is a local cozy hotspot that serves up darn good fried pork and frothy draft beers. Walk inside and don’t expect to get seated, just grab a table – one that is empty of course!
Schrnk has some of the most delicious fries I have ever eaten. They are served hot and crispy so make sure you order two to accompany your schnitzel. Seven beers are available on tap to wash down your meal. Schrnk has the perfect ambiance, friendly servers, and food that arrives quickly.
- Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Sunday 11 AM-11 PM, Wednesday & Saturday 11 AM-10 PM, Thursday 11 AM-12 AM
- Location: Kaerntner Strasse 61, Vienna 1010 Austria
- Metro Tip: Get on the metro and exit Karlplatz to arrive at Schrnk. However, if you are leaving St. Charles Church, you can just walk on over and 86 the metro.
6| Browse Naschmarkt
Stroll through the ‘real Viennese market,” Nashmarkt, one of the most famous and luxurious markets just like everything else in Vienna. Several booths have colorful food displays and fresh produce for purchase.
Naschmarkt has been the market for locals to do their daily shopping since the 16th century and is one place you must see during your one day in Vienna.
Naschmarkt is open Monday to Saturday as early as 6 AM and closes down around 7:30 PM. Saturdays the doors shut as early as 5 PM. Unfortunately, if you’re in Vienna on Sunday it is closed except for a few coffee stalls.
- Hours: Monday to Saturday as early as 6 AM and closes down around 7:30 PM. Saturdays the doors shut as early as 5 PM. Unfortunately, if you’re in Vienna on Sunday it is closed except for a few coffee stalls.
- Admission: Free
- Location: Kettenbruckengasse Kettenbrückengasse, Vienna 1040 Austria
- Metro Tip: Take the metro exit to the Kettenbrückengasse or Karlsplatz Stations to reach Naschmarkt for your day in Vienna. If you dined at Schrnk, then it is only a short walk from the restaurant. No need to hop on the metro!
7| Check Out Danube Canal Promenade
Explore another part of the city and check out some spectacular street art and graffiti walls alongside the Danube Canal Promenade. Walls at the promenade are splashed with various yellows, pinks, reds, and turquoise from talented local artists.
Best of all it is free to stroll and view all the murals and walk along the canal. It is a great way to view another side of Vienna outside of its whimsical architecture.
- Hours: 24/7
- Admission: Free
- Metro Tip: If you are taking the metro around the city, you can reach the graffiti walls by exiting at the Schwedenplatz Station.
8| Ride The Rollercoasters At Vienna Prater
A Vienna must-see located in the 2nd district is Vienna Prater and it’s perfect for a stroll, a thrill, and getting an idea of daily Viennese life.
Ride the bumper cars or anything else that will make your stomach flip at Vienna’s most famous park. Take a ride on a 100-year-old Viennese Giant Ferris Wheel (Wiener Riesenrad) which is a favorite with the locals since 1766. If you hang around until evening you can see the night lights in Vienna from the Ferris wheel.
During Christmas time Vienna Prater has booths to ignite the holiday spirit serving up festive foods and good ole mulled wine to keep you all warm and cozy.
It is free to walk around Prater Vienna! But, if you are looking for a quick thrill on the rollercoasters or other rides it does cost. You can book your tickets in advance here.
The park is open Monday to Thursday 12 PM-10 PM, Fridays 11:30 AM-10:30 PM, and Saturdays 11 AM-11 PM. Holiday hours may affect opening hours. So check with your concierge if you arrive during the holidays.
- Hours: The park is open Monday to Thursday 12 PM-10 PM, Fridays 11:30 AM-10:30 PM, and Saturdays 11 AM-11 PM. Holiday hours may affect opening hours. So check with your concierge if you arrive during the holidays.
- Location: Prater 7/1 Riesenradplatz 1, Vienna 1020 Austria
- Admission: Free, for rides purchase tickets here.
- Metro Tip: To reach Prater, just hop on the metro and exit Prater you will see the massive Ferris wheel.
9| Eat Authentic Viennese Cuisine At Cafe Ritter
End your perfect one day in Vienna with a truly Viennese experience at Cafe Ritter. This refined cafe is filled with chandeliers and polished wood floors and is truly one elegant atmosphere. Cafe Ritter was highly recommended by a local as one of the best spots for authentic Viennese cuisine in the city. And, it did live up to its expectations.
If you are not too schnitzeled out from Schrnk then go with the pork. Even though it is fried, Cafe Ritter prepared a very light and tender piece of meat. My friend ordered the goulash, it was tasty, hearty, and the essence of comfort food.
Don’t fill up too quickly, I am going to surprise you with one more stop to end our day in Vienna.
- Hours: Monday to Saturday from 7:30 AM-10 PM, and Sundays from 9 AM-9 PM.
- Location: Mariahilfer Str. 73, 1060 Wien, Austria
- Metro Tip: To reach Cafe Ritter, look for the U-line exiting Neubaugasse. From there it is about a 5-minute walk to reach the cafe.
10| Have Dessert At Aida Cafe
One of the most popular pastry shops in Vienna is Aida Cafe located all over the city and you can spot their pink exterior easily.
Their cakes are light, tasty, and pretty darn moist. Don’t leave Vienna without grabbing a dessert at this staple.
- Hours: Daily 7 AM-11 PM
- Location: Singerstraße 1, 1010 Wien, Austria
- Metro Tip: You can find this cafe in the main square Stephenplatz, which is the metro exit too! It is the perfect spot to end the night if your hotel is also in the main square.
More Things To Do In Vienna In One Day
If you find yourself with some additional time and looking for more things to do in Vienna in one day – then squeeze in some of these other recommendations:
Not only is the City Hall building simply astonishing, but it is a staple to visit during the summer months. Between July and August, food stalls and tables are aligned in front. While you sit and chat you have Jazz or Opera playing from a large screen.
Schonbrunn Palace is one of the most popular palaces in Vienna. Keep in mind you could spend up to 5 hours here exploring the 1,441 rooms inside.
Thirty minutes outside of the inner city you can find the historical palace, Belvedere is known for its paintings collected by Gustav Klimt, fountains, and magnificent sculptures.
Vienna State Opera
Vienna State Opera is one of the top leading opera houses in the world. During the season, they hold 350 performances.
One Day In Vienna Conclusion
Hope you enjoyed this one day in Vienna guide. Keep an open mind with this itinerary and pick and choose what flips your fancy. You can have all these cool places to visit by adding them to your Google maps trip planner. Have one fabulous trip to Vienna.
If you enjoyed this one-day guide, check out these posts from other European cities:
- France: 24 Hours In Paris
- Denmark: One Day In Copenhagen
- Germany: One Day In Munich
- Switzerland: Layover In Zurich
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