Vienna 4 Day Itinerary and Travel Guide

Revised 5/7/20.

If you’ve read my See Italy and Austria in 2 Weeks then you’re here to read how to spend 4 amazing days in Vienna, even on a budget, yes? Great! Here I will break down my perfect Vienna 4 day itinerary (with the Wachau Valley) perfect for any traveler, budget or not.  In fact, it’s such a great itinerary it’s flexible enough to do in three or five days! I have done this suggested travel myself as a solo, budget, female traveler so, yes, these four (or three or five) fabulous days in Vienna can be done! 

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The Vienna 4 Day Itinerary (or
3 or 5 Days) and Travel Guide

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Booking Resources for Your Vienna Itinerary Success!

Vienna on a Budget (or Not)

To help with your Austria travel planning, remember to check out my great travel information on Austria along with my suggested travel resources

Don’t forget to also peruse my Guide to Budget European Accommodations for additional accommodation-planning information.

Let me state here that when I say “budget”, I mean your daily travel expenses should total €100 or less.  Yes, it is very possible to visit Vienna on less than €100. Or more!  It’s up to you and your budget. The following travel guide can work for anyone, budget or not. The key factor that can push you out of the “budget” range is the accommodations you choose, not the attractions. Nice, huh?

Ok, now let’s get you to Vienna!

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    Vienna skyline from Riesenrad Ferris Wheel
    Vienna from Riesenrad Ferris Wheel

    What's Vienna Famous For?

    The capital of Austria, Vienna rests on the Danube River, which runs for 1770 miles and through 10 countries. Vienna is famous for many things such as its opera and the Vienna Opera House, stunning baroque architecture, music, and tasty schnitzel, strudel and coffee, just to name a few. 

    Depending on time of year you visit, you can experience cold, rainy (or snowy) days to beautiful, warm sunny days.  Vienna is diverse so it provides for plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy so you can work your sightseeing around the weather.

    Is Vienna Worth Visiting?

    Undoubtedly yes!  Personally, Vienna blew me away.  I can’t wait to go back.  But see it for yourself!  Even if you have only a few days to spend in Vienna, Vienna will prove to you why it has been ranked the top city in the world to live ten years in a row.

    Getting Around Vienna

    Arriving Vienna

    From Munich, Salzburg, Venice or other locations, it is more than likely you’ll arrive by train to either the Wien Hauptbahnhof or Wien Westbahnhof  station.  If you arrive by plane at Vienna International Airport, you can easily transport to your hotel or hostel in or close to the historic city center by train, taxi, Uber, or bus in about 20 minutes.

    Yes, Vienna does have Uber, but do research on where it is available and if there are any restrictions.

    If you arrive by train, consider purchasing a Weekly Travel Pass (covers the bus and U Bahn) at the station (or buy online).  A Weekly Travel Pass goes for around €17 (that’s roughly €4 /day for a 4-day stay) and will take you all around the city.  Another option is purchasing the Vienna Card, which I’ll discuss below.

    If you don’t wish to purchase the weekly pass you could purchase a 24-, 48-, 72-hour-ticket if this better suits your schedule. Personally, I like to know my general plans in advance so I can do one purchase and forget about it.

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    Check Out Austria Transportation

    Explore the transportation options to and from Vienna now to get the best deals and plan your trip to Vienna!

    Schloss Schönbrunn Palace Gardens
    Schloss Schönbrunn Palace Gardens

    Vienna is Walkable

    Depending on where you stay, much of Vienna can be walkable, but combined with public transportation you are sure to be able to see more a lot quicker.  Some attractions do require taking either the bus or U-Bahn. 

    I encourage you to take the Vienna public transportation. It is extensive and efficient, not to mention inexpensive. 

    Vienna Safety

    Vienna is a safe city to visit.  When I last visited, I never felt uneasy walking alone, day or night.  Police are visible, but not overbearing.  Vienna knows how to make all feel welcome.

    Where to Stay in Vienna

    Vienna is comprised of 23 districts, discernable by its four-number zip code.  Vienna zip codes start with a “1”, but the third number tells you what district you are in, for example, 1010 is the 1st District (Innenstadt, Inner Stadt, or historic “City Center”), 1020 is the 2nd District, 1030 is the 3rd District, and so on. Street signs also start with the district number.

    The centralized historic center is surrounded by the Ringsrtrasse.  The further you get away from the historic center, the higher the district number goes.  Remember, the historic center holds a great number of the top attractions, but not all.

    Where Should a First-time Tourist Stay in Vienna?

    For optimum ease of walking and seeing the sights on a 3 to 5-day visit, I recommend staying within, or as close to, the historic district (No.1) as possible.  This will also provide you access to many tram, bus and train stations so no need to rent a car.  Bonus!

    As such, I recommend staying within the circle on the map:  

    Where to stay in Vienna Austria map

    For budget purposes, my hotel recommendation/value for the money with breakfast and taxes included at €55/night is Time Out City Center. Time Out City Center had a very friendly, accommodating staff, great restaurant with breakfast available, and great prices  – all within a fabulous location.  I would definitely stay there again.

    If you want cheaper accommodations, there are other hotels and hostels to choose from starting at around €20/night, depending on what amenities and location you want. Hostelworld has some great, Vienna listings.

    Conversely, if you want to pay more, take a look at Austria accommodations.  I would still recommend staying in the suggested area noted above.

    Many accommodations may not let you check in until 2-4pm, but if available, have them store your luggage until your room is ready so you can get out and enjoy Vienna!

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    Check Out Your Future Vienna Accommodations!

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    Top Things to Do in Vienna

    Marie-Theresien-Platz Square Vienna Austria
    Marie-Theresien-Platz Square

    Hands down, Vienna is amazing and you just can’t see it all in one trip.  Period.  That said, depending on your stamina, much of the Vienna highlights can be seen in a few days but, of course, the longer you have in Vienna, the better. 

    Your tastes will also dictate how you spend your sight-seeing time in Vienna; however, my top attractions list below is prioritized so the not-to-be-missed attractions can be fit in four days.  If you have less or more time in Vienna, you pick and choose which to forego or add to your itinerary.

    Please keep in mind most of these attractions are popular tourist draws which could draw long lines, especially April to October and on the weekends. Prices may have changed since time of writing.

    • Schloss Schönbrunn Palace & Gardens (8.30am – 5.30pm) Palatial imperial residence for Emperor Joseph I. Imperial Tour with audio guide €11,50 or Grand Tour €14,50.
    • Café Gloriette – sits on the top of the hill overlooking  the Schloss Schönbrunn. Try the amazing Viennese coffee here.
    Vienna Schonbrunn Palace from the hilltop
    Schloss Schönbrunn Palace
    • Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral) (6am – 10pm Mon-Sat, from 7am Sun). Completed in 1160, this church is considered the most important religious building in Vienna. Audio tours 9-11.30am & 1-4.30pm Mon-Sat, 1-3.30pm Sun. Free to enter; all-inclusive tour €16,90.
    • The Hofburg Palace (9.00 am – 5.30 pm) Currently the official residence and workplace of the President of Austria, this palace was originally home to Habsburg emperors. Admission with audio guide €15; with guide €18.  Allow for 1.5 hours for audio tour (you can pre-download the audio guide file to your smartphone).
    • Imperial Treasury (Hofburg Palace) Houses the Crown of the Holy Roman Empire, the Austrian Imperial Crown and other Habsburg treasures of immeasurable value. €12. 
    • Prater Park (10am – 10pm) A large park with meadows, woodlands and an amusement park (the Würstelprater) and one of the city’s most visible icons, the Riesenrad Ferris Wheel. Free to enter.
    • Riesenrad Ferris Wheel (Prater Park) Built in 1897 offers great views of Vienna. You can also dine in the cars! Car ride €10.
    Riesenrad Ferris Wheel Vienna Austria
    Riesenrad Ferris Wheel
    • Schloss Belvedere Palace (10am – 6pm) Former palace that now hosts great artworks by Klimt, Monet, van Gogh and more. Oberes Belvedere €12,50, Unteres Belvedere €11, or combined ticket €19.
    • Vienna State Opera House (Monday to Sunday) One of the leading opera houses in the world, it was completed in 1869 and seats 1709 for regular performances. Guided tour in English  (Individual guests do not need to book in advance) €9.  Consider also catching an opera performance at night!  The opera house has musical events 300 days of the year. Tickets can be found as low as €50, depending on performance.
    • Ringstrasse (Vienna Ring) Tram (10am – 5:30pm) The Ringstrasse is one of Europe’s great streets. In Vienna, it arcs around three miles of its City Center. You can walk the Ringstrasse or take the #1 and #2 Trams around the Ringstrasse for a less expensive ride.  However, if you want the authentic carriage experience with audio tour, try the official Ringstrasse Tram. €12.
    Ringstrasse Tram ticket taker
    Ringstrasse Tram
    • Schmetterlinghaus (Imperial Butterfly House) (10am – 4:45pm) Next to the Hofburg Palace, this Art Nouveau palm house is home to a plethora of beautiful butterflies. €7.
    • Kunsthistorisches Museum – (10am – 6pm Tue – Sun, 10am – 9pm Thur) The largest art museum in the country and considered one of the most important museums €16 / €15 with Vienna City Card.
    • Danube Beach – A 12-mile-long, thin island that runs parallel to the Danube. It’s a popular grassy park with the Viennese to hang out on a beautiful day. Free.
    • City Center, Ringstrasse, and Danube Canal – Take in the sites walking for free.
    • Burggarten Park – Beautiful park on the Ringstrasse with the famous Mozart monument. Free.
    • Marie-Theresien-Platz Square – In between the Art History Museum and the Natural History Museum on the Ringstrasse, this is a lovely park to rest your feet and people watch. Free.
    • Naschmarkt – (6am – 9pm Mon – Sat) This open-aired market with 16th century origins features fresh produce and gourmet goodies from over 100 food stalls and restaurants.
    • Heurigen Area – If you’re into wine like me, the Heurigen area within the northern Vienna city limits and its more than 1,700 acres of vineyards is bound to get your
    Inside the Vienna Opera House before a performance
    Vienna Opera House

    More Things to Do in Vienna

    If you passed on some of the above attractions, consider adding some of these if they strike your fancy.

    • Lipizzaner Horse Show – (4 to 5 days a week) Enjoy a live training of the famous Spanish-bred stallions at the Spanish Riding School, which is part of the Hofburg Palace (allow 2 hours). €19.
    • Kaisergruft (Emperors’ Crypt) (10am – 6pm) Burial place of the Habsburg Emperors. Tours through Capuchins’ Crypt takes you through 400 years ofAustrian and European history.  Entrance €7,50, tour add €3.
    Inside the Butterfly House Vienna
    Butterfly on flower at the Butterfly House Vienna

    Butterfly House

    • Schönbrunn Zoo (9am to 4:30pm or 6:30pm, depending on the season). The world’s oldest zoo. €
    • Wagenburg Imperial Carriage Museum (10am – 4pm) Located at the Schönbrunn Palace, see carriages and vehicles used by the imperial household of the Austrian Empire. €9,50.
    • Mozart House (10am – 7pm daily – last admission 6.30 pm) Now a museum to Mozart, this house served as his residence from 1784 to 1787. €11.
    • Haus des Meeres (9am – 8pm) Home to over 10,000 fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals. €19,90.
    • The Museumsquartier (MQ) – A 90,000 square meter area in Vienna’s 7th district of the city of Vienna, Austria that contains multiple Baroque buildings and art museums such as the mumok. 
    • mumok (open daily – check hours) Vienna’s modern art museum. €13.
    Burggarten Park Vienna Austria
    Burggarten Park

    Vienna Card vs Vienna Pass

    Vienna Card

    If you are like me, the Vienna Card may be something you wish to purchase, especially if you are relying on the public transportation.  For the same €17 cost for the Weekly Transportation Pass (I mention above), you get up to 72 hours of free public transportation plus discounts to museums and attractions. 

    Ultimately, it just depends on how many days you wish to use public transportation, which museums and attractions you wish to see, and how much discount the Vienna Card will give you.

    It’s something to at least look into if you plan ahead and have a general idea of what you wish to see and do in Vienna.  Hopefully my suggested itinerary below will help!

    Vienna Pass

    The Vienna Pass’ 1-Day, 2-Day and 3-Day Adult passes cost €79, €99 and €129, respectively. It’s also available for 6 days.  It allows you access to over 60 attractions and museums with fast-track entry, unlimited use of the Hop On Hop Off Bus, and a free guidebook.  The travel pass for Vienna’s public transportation (I covered this above) is extra.

    Note, this Vienna Pass is not ideal for large groups (groups of 10 or more may be refused entry at some attractions.

    When you look at my 3 – 5 Days in Vienna Suggested Itinerary below, even on the most expensive day of attractions, with the €4/day you paid for your travel pass (right?), the total is €39/day. My first three days suggested itinerary totals €97,40 with travel pass.   

    Personally, I have never purchased the Vienna Pass.  I don’t think it’s worth it. Even if you have an itinerary, you could change your mind on what you want to see.  What if you feel ill one day, heaven forbid, and miss some attractions?  Whatever the case, I leave it up to you on if you feel this is a good option for you.

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    Vienna Events Calendar

    If it helps in planning what you would like to see, here is a list of annual events held in Vienna.

    Vienna Dining

    Traditional Viennese Food
    Traditional Viennese fare

    What Should You Eat in Vienna?

    As with all vacations, chuck the diet out the window, especially in Vienna!  How else can you enjoy the wine and beer, pastries with Viennese coffee, apfelstrudel, wiener schnitzel, spare ribs, zwiebelrostbraten, würstel, topfenstrudel (shall I go on?) that Vienna is famous for?

    How Should You Dine in Vienna?

    The Viennese love their coffee houses and slow dining.  It’s a relaxing experience to dine in Vienna – breakfast to dinner time – so don’t feel rushed.  Enjoy the experience.  Don’t forget to take time to unwind from it all in an outdoor café people watching with a café in hand.

    The Viennese also typically do dinner around 7 to 8pm, which is perfect after a long day of sightseeing.

    For dining recommendations, here are some of mine to get you started:

    Viennese coffee
    Viennese coffee

    Coffee and Pastries:

    • Mozart Café – a must for Viennese coffee and pastry in the Inner City.
    • The Demel – café, bakery and chocolate shop. It’s loved for its cakes and pastries.
    • Café Sperl – another famous Viennese coffeehouse I would try.

    On a Budget?

    • Trześniewski – for a quick lunch, Vienna buffet style.
    • Naschmarkt – here you can meander the stalls for a nibble or bite to go. Yum!

    Traditional Viennese Meal:

    Feeling a Little Italian in Vienna?

    My Dinner Recommendation? 

    • Go all out for dinner at Figlmuller, “Home of the Schnitzel” (and they’re not kidding). This recommendation came from someone I met in Munich, and I’m so glad it did. I would get there a little early as they do tend to have waits.
    Schnitzel dinner at Figlmuller Vienna Austria
    Dinner at Figlmuller - schnitzel bigger than the plate!

    Like Wine?

    • Remember the Heurigen wine district? Why not take a tram north to enjoy the local grüner Veltliner with a plate of cold meat and cheeses with potato salad and sip the day away? 
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    Things to Do Outside Vienna

    Speaking of wine… If you’re feeling adventurous or want a break from museums, get out of the Vienna city limits altogether for wine tasting and/or visiting the Melk Abbey in the Wachau Valley.  I did and highly recommend it!

    Melk Abbey & Wine Tasting, Wachau Valley

    Melk Abbey, Melk Austria
    Melk Abbey

    The Wachau Valley, about an hour west of Vienna, is a UNESCO heritage landscape valley famous for its peaches from which it makes wine and schnapps.  The Danube River runs through the Valley’s rolling hills and vineyards between the towns of Melk and Krems, and is also home to famous, historic towns like Dürnstein.

    Adjoining the Wachau Valley is the Baroque Melk Abbey, a Benedictine abbey that sits on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube river and town of Melk, Austria. Open 9am – 5:30pm (last admission at 5pm.) April to October, it offers group and individual guided tours in English and German.

    The guided tour, which comprises the Abbey museum in the former Imperial Rooms, the Marble Hall and the library, lasts an hour but feel free to spend a couple of hours walking the Abbey.

    The Melk Abbey is located directly on the bike path Passau-Vienna. Bike stands with lockers are at the abbey entrance.

    Vienna to Wachau Valley – by Train

    You can go inexpensively by train from Vienna to Melk.  Daily trains leave Wien Hauptbahnhof, with a train switch at Wien Franz-Josefs-Bahnhof, to the Melk Bahnhof.  Train tickets can run around €33 round trip. Not bad!

    On a beautiful day, rent a bike for as little as €15 a day and explore the Wachau Valley, towns and vineyards at your own pace. Stop for lunch and wine tasting. Ride along on the south side of the Danube for better views. Catch a 5-6pm train back to Vienna in time for dinner.

    Vienna to Wachau Valley – Danube River Cruise

    An alternate method to explore the Wachau Valley is by boat.  There are many to choose from, but boats leave Vienna to Wachau Valley daily.  Prices vary, usually €95 – €200.

    Vienna to Wachau Valley – Group Excursion

    If the weather hadn’t turned so chilly when I last visited, I would have done the train and bicycle trip to the Wachau Valley.  Thankfully, Viator has many trips available – large and small groups – from Vienna to the Wachau Valley, that absolutely saved me.

    I caught the Wachau Valley Wine Tour (€135), and loved it!  It provided me all that I was looking for – the Melk Abbey to lunch to wine tasting – and I met some fabulous people.  Group excursions are great for anyone, especially solo travelers looking to meet people.

    Bottle of wine in front of people wine tasting
    Wachau Valley wine tasting

    Bratislava, Slovakia

    Not into wine tasting or the Wachau Valley?  How about a self-guided day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia?  Just an hour’s train ride East of Vienna, you can cross over into Slovakia (confirm in advance if a travel visa is required for you) and wander another town for the afternoon.

    About 30 trains leave Vienna daily and round trip tickets could run as little as €32, depending on time and day, and how far in advance you purchase.

    Bratislava has beautiful architecture, ambience and food.  Check out what might be happening in Bratislava on your trip – you might catch something special.

    Suggested Vienna 4 Day Itinerary (Flexible)

    Depending on how much you want to see (and spend) is completely up to you.  Vienna has plenty of options, as I have outlined above.

    That said, here is my recommended itinerary, with prices, so you know what you can see and do in Vienna from 3 days, to 4 days, to 5* (see itinerary below). Mix and match the attractions and excursions to meet your tastes and budget.

    Note, my suggested Vienna hotel (private room) can be booked for €220 for 4 nights (that price includes a fabulous breakfast and taxes). If you get a better deal or choose a more budget-friendly accommodation, then your average daily costs, with all meals, for your stay in Vienna could be €100 or less!  There are hotels and hostels to choose from starting at around €20/night, depending on what amenities and location you want.

    Daily itinerary prices below reflect using my hotel suggestion with breakfast, but not lunch or dinner prices as they can vary. They also do not include using the Vienna Card or Vienna Pass. The itinerary below merely shows how anyone, even a budget traveler, can do Vienna and have a wonderful time!

    Note: prices below may have changed slightly since time of writing.

    Schloss Belvedere Palace Gardens
    Schloss Belvedere Palace Gardens

    Vienna Day 1 = €69 - €78*

    • Check into (or check bags at) hotel
    • Lunch, café – Mozart Café
    • City Center walking and shopping
    • Ringstrasse via Tram 1 & 2 (free) or Ringstrasse Tram – €9*
    • Prater Park – free entrance
    • Riesenrad Ferris wheel – €10
    • Dinner
    • Weekly Travel Pass / Day – €4
    • Hotel (breakfast and taxes included) – €55

    Vienna Day 2 = €73,50 - €90,40*

    • Early breakfast (hotel)
    • Schloss Schönbrunn Palace – Grand Tour €14,50
    • Lunch, café – Café Glordiette
    • Stephansdom – free or all-inclusive tour €16,90*
    • Danube Beach
    • Dinner
    • Weekly Travel Pass / Day – €4
    • Hotel (breakfast and taxes included) – €55
    Inside St. Stephen's Cathedral Vienna
    St. Stephen's Cathedral

    Vienna Day 3 = €94

    • Early breakfast (hotel)
    • Schloss Belvedere Palace – combined ticket €19
    • Lunch – Naschmarkt
    • Vienna State Opera House – guided tour – €9
    • Burggarten Park – free
    • Butterfly House – €7
    • Marie-Theresien-Platz Square – free
    • Weekly Travel Pass / Day – €4
    • Dinner
    • Hotel (breakfast and taxes included) – €55

    Vienna Day 4 = €86

    • Breakfast (hotel)
    • Hofburg Palace with audio guide – €15
    • Imperial Treasury – €12
    • Café and pastry – The Demel
    • Walk and shop City Center
    • Dinner – Café Spell
    • Weekly Travel Pass / Day – €4
    • Hotel (breakfast and taxes included) – €55

    *Vienna Day 5 = €86

    • Breakfast (hotel)
    • Kunsthistorisches Museum €16
    • Mozart House – €11
    • Heurigen wine district – lunch and wine and dinner and wine…
    • Weekly Travel Pass / Day – €4
    • Hotel (breakfast and taxes included) – €55

    Alternatively, if you wish to spend a day outside of Vienna:

    *Trip to Wachau Valley / Melk Abbey - Day 5 = €120 - €259*

    Town of Sptiz, Wachau Valley Austria
    Town of Sptiz, Wachau Valley
    • Breakfast (hotel)
    • Round trip train Vienna to Melk – €33
    • Bike Rental – €15
    • Melk Abbey guided tour – €13
    • Lunch

    – OR –

    • Vienna to Wachau Valley River Cruise (with Lunch) – €95 – 200*

    – OR –

    • Vienna to Wachau Valley Wine Tour with Melk Abbey (with Lunch) – € 135
    • Dinner
    • Weekly Travel Pass / Day – €4
    • Hotel (breakfast and taxes included) – €55

    – OR –

    *Day Trip to Bratislava - Day 5 = €116

    • Breakfast (hotel)
    • Round trip bus/train to Bratislava – €32
    • Bratislava attraction 1 – €10
    • Lunch
    • Bratislava attraction 1 – €15
    • Dinner
    • Weekly Travel Pass / Day – €4
    • Hotel (breakfast and taxes included) – €55

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    Gwen is the Founder of CORR Travel and a global traveler and photographer with over 25 years of solo travel experience. She is also the Founder of the sustainability blog. Travel is her passion and environmental sustainability and biodiversity protection is her "religion".

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