Vienna’s Grandeur: The 12 Best Things To Do in Austria’s Capital

An opera house illuminated by lights

Posted by on 29 Feb 2024

Vienna is a city that captures the perfect blend of Old World elegance and grandeur and modern, world-class art and culture.

From museums celebrating national artists to palaces that take you back to the days of the Habsburgs, there are tons to see in Austria’s capital—so much so that it can be a bit overwhelming for the first-time traveller.

Need help planning your Viennese bucket list for your next European holiday? Here are the 12 best things to do in Vienna, Austria.

12 Must-Try Activities in Vienna, Austria

Admire the Stunning Schönbrunn Palace

Arguably the most marvellous palace in Vienna, the Schönbrunn Palace was once the summer residence of the Habsburgs. It was also where the prodigious Mozart held his first concerts as a child.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site is known for its timeless, sophisticated Baroque architecture with breathtaking Rococo elements that wow travellers from around the world.

It’s a fairytale palace that rivals the stunning chateaux and castles in France, where Habsburg princess Marie Antoinette—who spent her younger years in Schönbrunn—would one day be queen.

Explore the Historic Inner Stadt

One of the best things to do in Vienna is to explore Ringtrasse, Vienna’s central “ring road” that leads you to Innere Stadt, the historical district of the city.

Here, you’ll see plenty of impressive Baroque buildings, museums and monuments. Some must-sees in the area include Belvedere Palace (which houses the iconic artworks of Gustav Klimt) and the glamorous Vienna State Opera.

Enjoy the Views at the Majestic St. Stephen's Cathedral

Also in Inner Stadt is St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna’s majestic Gothic church. While the intricate features and roofing inside the cathedral are absolutely exquisite, it’s highly recommended to head to the top of the 136-metre tower to see panoramic views of the city.

Marvel at the Majestic Hofburg Palace

Another iconic attraction in Inner Stadt is Hofburg Palace, also known as the Imperial Palace. What was once the residence of the powerful Habsburg Royal Family is now the official home of Austria’s President.

Visitors can marvel at the opulent Crown Jewels housed in the palace. Nature lovers can frolic in the lush greenery at Volksgarten, a stunning park within the palace grounds, similar to the expansive gardens in Frederiksberg Palace in Copenhagen.

Revel in Arts and Culture at the MuseumsQuartier

Art lovers must spend a day at MuseumsQuartier, a vibrant, 90,000-square-meter space devoted to art museums, theatres, restaurants and all things creative. It’s a hub for creative souls and culture enthusiasts. Top spots to see here include the Leopold Museum for classical art and the Mumok (Museum of Modern Art) for more contemporary pieces.

Ride the Giant Ferris Wheel at Prater Park

Travelling with kids? One of the best activities in Vienna for families is riding the Wiener Riesenrad, a giant Ferris wheel in Prater Park.

The amusement park has been open to the public since 1776 and continues to brim with life. There are plenty of lush green spaces and meadows, as well as rides and games for the whole family to enjoy.

Go to Tiergarten Schönbrunn, the World’s Oldest Zoo

Another of the most popular Vienna activities for families is visiting Tiergarten Schönbrunn, the world’s oldest zoo. The zoo was first built in the 1750s and was designed to be a private menagerie for the imperial family. In 1779, it was officially opened to the public.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to over 8,000 animals, including giant pandas, Siberian tigers, Brazilian tapirs, Indian rhinos, meerkats, sika deer and hundreds of other creatures from all over the world.

Visit Naschmarkt, Vienna’s Famous Market

Naschmarkt is Vienna’s largest and oldest market, which has been around since the 16th century. Here, you can shop for freshly baked bread, produce, vibrant flowers, antique collectibles and even international spices and food.

It’s also dotted with restaurants and cafés where shoppers can sample some of Vienna’s most delicious dishes.

Get Viennese Coffee at a Kaffeehaus

Vienna has a strong coffee culture. For this reason, you can’t miss out on visiting a traditional kaffeehaus when on holiday in Vienna.

It isn’t just a place to grab a coffee and go—it’s where you can sit down, read a good book and savour every drop of your delicious coffee. We recommend ordering a mélange (coffee and steamed milk) or an einspänner (espresso and whipped cream).

Explore the Central Cemetery

Honour the historical figures that made Vienna what it is today by paying respects to them in Zentralfriedhof, the city’s central cemetery.

This is the final resting place of millions of Austrians, including its world-famous residents, including Beethoven, Brahms and Strauss.

Appreciate the Colours of Hundertwasserhaus

Vienna may be known for its Baroque and Rococo architecture, but it’s also home to several modern and eclectic buildings. Hundertwasserhaus, for example, is an apartment block that features vibrant colours, irregular shapes and wavy lines, much like an expressionist painting.

This unique, dynamic structure is a sight to behold in Vienna’s Landstrasse district and a refreshing contrast to the Old World buildings in the city centre.

Visit the Sigmund Freud Museum

You might know Vienna as the city of classical music and imperial families, but it’s also the birthplace of Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis.

Psychology enthusiasts must come to the Sigmund Freud Museum, a museum that highlights Freud’s life and contributions to psychoanalysis and how we understand the human mind today.

What’s interesting is that the museum was also Freud’s former home and where he would see patients. Today, it houses many of his documents and belongings, including his iconic psychoanalytic couch.

Don’t Miss Out on the Best Things to Do in Vienna

Whether you’re interested in marvelling at stunning Baroque architecture from a bygone era or having a quiet stroll through the market and enjoying Viennese coffee at a Kaffeehaus, there’s always something to do in Austria’s breathtaking capital.

Need help planning out the perfect holiday in Vienna? Check out Entire Travel Group’s to discover the best Vienna has to offer.

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