3 Days in Vienna Austria – Recommended Itinerary by Locals

Do you have only three (3) days in Vienna, Austria? That’s perfect because you can essentially see, eat and do everything in that amount of time to experience a Viennese holiday.

Known for its opera, Hofburg history, and schnitzel, Vienna is consistently ranked number one with the highest quality of living and is one of the safest cities in the world. Plus, Vienna provides excellent class, culture, and history for visitors and locals to enjoy thoroughly.

So how does spending three (3) days in a fantastic city in Austria sound to you? Check out the full itinerary below made by my friends and me to make the most of your Viennese holiday. Have fun!

Day One Itinerary for Vienna Austria

Start your morning by having breakfast at Ulrich, a hip and superb restaurant known for its creative and delicious food. We recommend sipping on their homemade Chai tea and trying their egg and bacon sandwich.

Once you complete your meal, start your Viennese adventure by taking a short walk to the Museums Quarter, also known as the MQ”). The MQ has an inner courtyard with unique lounge chairs, cafés, and two leading museums — The Mumok with Modern Art and the Leopold holds Austrian Impressionism. Additionally, the MQ has smaller museums such as the Children’s Museum and the Austrian architecture museum.museum quartierThen take a stroll around Maria-Theresien-Platz, a public square named after Empress Maria Theresa, the only female ruler of the Habsburgs and reformer of public education. This square sits in front of the MQ. It holds two massive art museums — the Kunsthistorisches Museum as the Fine Arts Museum, and the Naturhistorisches Museum – Museum of Natural History, which notably showcases the famous prehistoric Venus of Willendorf.Maria theresien platzA little walk from this square takes you to Burgring on the Ringstrasse – one of the most beautiful boulevards globally that features prominent must-see sights in Vienna, such as the City Hall and the State Opera. From the Ringstrasse, you have the option of taking a tram around the boulevard and getting off at the sights, or you can walk to them.

If you don’t want to do too much walking to see the main sights on the Ringstrasse, take Tram #1 and get off at any place of your choosing. End the tram ride at Schwedenplatz to transfer onto Tram #2 to see the rest of the sights.

Read our Must-See Vienna Guide

Start your journey on this boulevard to the left, where the first sight you will see is the Austrian Parliament building. Here, the two chambers of the Austrian parliament (the National and Federal Councils) have conducted their political sessions since 1833. This building is known for its ancient Greek architecture and has Athena at the top of the fountain. One joke among the Viennese is that the goddess herself was so disgusted by the political fighting inside the Parliament that she turned her back to the building!parliament

A brief walk from the Parliament will take you to the Rathaus, or Vienna’s City Hall, an incredible Gothic-styled monumental building from the late 1800s. This is where the city’s most significant events are held, as a charming Christmas market. Check out the street across the town hall and marvel at the Burgtheater – the Austrian National Theater – one of the most important German-language theaters in the world.burgtheater

Then, have a break at Cafe Landtmann, an elegant Viennese café and tourist hot-spot founded in 1873. The famous psychologist Sigmund Freud was a frequent customer here.

Next to the Burgtheater is Volksgarten, translated as “The People’s Garden,” part of the Hofburg Palace. The neoclassical Theseus Temple is the center of the garden, a small-scale replica of the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens, Greece. Volksgarten is a beautiful area to explore, especially in the spring and summer.Volksgarten

Walk through the garden until you see Heldenplatz (Heroes Square) – a large public square in front of Hofburg’s residence with a dark historical background. In 1938, Adolf Hitler’s speech about the invasion and forced incorporation by Nazi Germany took place here. There are two equestrian statues on the plaza and the Austrian National Library, which houses a vast and ornate public library with 7.4 million items in its collections.national library heldenplatz vienna

Consider visiting the State Hall, an incredibly elaborate library with more than 200,000 volumes. The whole place looks inspired by the famous dancing scene in Beauty and the Beast! Behind the library is Burggarten, another imperial garden, where you can take a picture alongside a statue of Mozart.state hall vienna

As you walk through the Hofburg residence, pass by the Sisi Apartments from Austria’s most misunderstood Empress. Nearby is the Imperial Spanish Riding School, the only riding school in the world where the classic equestrian skills (Haute école) are preserved and practiced in their original form.

Eventually, you’ll come out onto Michaelerplatz, or St. Michael’s Place, with the domed Michaelertrakt, a Neo-Baroque monument. In the middle of Michaelerplatz are excavated Roman house ruins with medieval foundations. One part of the circular area has St. Michael’s Church from 1792, dedicated to the Archangel Michael, and one of the oldest Romanesque buildings in the city.michaelerplatz

Stroll over to Demel, a famous pastry and chocolate shop built-in 1786 that once served the royal court. Order a sweet treat for here or “takeaway,” like a Sacher-Torte (famous Viennese chocolate cake with an apricot filling) or an apple strudel. Then, head to the back of the shop to watch bakers prepare their Viennese delicacies through a window. After Demel, explore the Golden Quarter, a luxury shopping street.

Walk around Stephansplatz, features the famous Stephansdom, or St. Stephan’s Cathedral, founded in 1137. Rich in history, Stephansdom features guided tours of their catacombs, where the skeletal remains from the Black Plague from the 14th century are buried. Plus, it’s possible to climb up a 343 step tower to catch stunning views of the city.Stephansdom

Have dinner nearby at Figlmüller, known as the “home of the schnitzel” for more than 100 years, by ordering their original Wiener Schnitzel with potato salad. Top the night with ice cream at Eis Greissler, a nearby Austrian ice-cream shop with excellent homemade organic ice cream, including vegan options.

Day Two Itinerary for Vienna Austria

Start your morning by having breakfast in the beautiful Viennese surroundings at Haas und Haas, a relaxing café that serves a large variety of delicious international teas and breakfasts. Make sure to check out their tea shop next door!

Then take your time walking down Kärtnerstrasse, a famous shopping street, and eventually end up at the Vienna State Opera House, one of the top opera houses in the world. This masterpiece from the 19th century provides first-class performances with over 50 operas, and ballet shows 300 days per year. Next door is the Albertina Museum, known for its elegant staterooms and valuable art collections (such as Monet and Picasso paintings). vienna state opera

Nearby is the famous sausage stand, Bitzingers – well known for their Kasekrainer, a cheese-stuffed sausage. Plus, the Naschmarkt is a few blocks away, ample space with restaurants and a market with fresh fruits, vegetables, exotic spices, meats, and other international goodies. 

Only a few minutes away is the Secession Contemporary Art Building, with its ever-changing collection of modern Austrian artwork. 

Next door is another “must-see” – Karlsplatz, or Charles Square, with the enormous Baroque-style church of St. Charles built-in 1737. Tours of the inside are available for a reasonable price.Karlsplatz

Nearby, check out Hochstrahlbrunnen, a fountain showing respect for Vienna’s first water supply system. Then, travel to Belvedere Palace, an exquisite palace from the 1700s. Take your time exploring the beautiful and extensive palace grounds, and tour inside the two buildings to see the outstanding collection of famous artwork, including some of Gustav Klimt’s pieces.belvedere

Spend your evening at Prater, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. Take a ride on the Wiener Riesenrad, a giant Ferris wheel with a famous Vienna landmark built in 1897. Later, have dinner at The Schweizerhaus or the Luftburg, and order their Bavarian pork knuckle specialty, the Stelze with a dark Austrian beer.stelze

Day Three Itinerary for Vienna Austria

Enjoy your morning in Vienna by having breakfast at Motto am Fluss, a popular café shaped like a yacht sitting on top of the Danube Canal. This place serves some of the city’s best organic breakfasts and homemade pastries. Their almond chocolate croissant is terrific!motto am Fluss breakfast

Next, take a tram ride over to the Hundertwasserhaus; here, you can snap photos of the whimsical apartments and sidewalks styled by the Austrian artist Hundertwasser.

Spend the majority of your day having fun at the 17th century Schönbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the Habsburg dynasty and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Several gardens surround the palace, which is beautiful during the warm months. If you come in the cooler months, you can still admire the palace with its Neptune Fountain and the gorgeous Gloriette monument at the top of the hill. Schönbrunn also offers guided tours, a maze, a cafe, a tropical palm house, and a zoo.Schoenbrunn vienna

If you have more time and are willing to make the trip, visit these spots: 

  • The Central Cemetery and see the burial grounds of famous musicians like Beethoven, Strauss, and Schubert, to name a few.
  • The wine tavern village of Grinzing and have some excellent wine and food at Feuerwehr Wagner, a family-owned establishment with a 300-year-old vineyard. Enjoy their buffet with seasonal specialties while sipping on their Wiener Melodie wine.

End your last night in Vienna by taking a night walk in the first district, eating some of the best gelatos in the city like Ferrari Gelato, located near the Opera House. The almond and caramel flavors are so delicious! 

How to Get Around Vienna

practical information vienna austria

Airport transfers

  • Central Airport Train: A 16 minute non-stop ride to the city center between the airport.
  • The S-Bahn suburban railway between the airport and city center (25 minutes).
  • Airport Bus to and from the airport to specific Vienna stops (15 – 45 minutes).

Public Transportation

  • A 72-hour ticket through Wiener Linien guarantees unlimited access to all public transportation: Bus, subway/underground, and tram in zone 100 Vienna for three days. Tickets can be bought online, through your mobile phone, tobacco shops, and vending machines in and at public transportation centers.
  • The 72-Hour Vienna Card provides free travel on the subway, buses, and trams and more than 210 discounts on attractions and restaurants in the city. In addition, your Vienna Card lets you take one child up to 15 years of age with you free of charge on public transport!
  • To find out how to get from A to B in Vienna or detailed information for all public transportation lines, go on wienerlinien.at.

Practical Information for Vienna

  • We suggest bringing a valid photo ID is sufficient when you’re traveling around Vienna.
  • Please make sure you always have cash on you because some stores and restaurants do not accept credit cards. Otherwise, major credit cards and Apple Pay is accepted.
  • There are plenty of ATMs for you to take out money.
  • Most banks are open Monday to Friday from 8:00am – 12:30pm and from 1:30pm – 3:00pm and on Thursdays open until 5:30pm. In the 1st district, almost all the banks are open after lunchtime.

Local Customs and Culture in Vienna

  • Tip 5-10%, or round up your bill at cafes and restaurants.
  • Most restaurants in the city center are open daily. Food is generally served throughout the day or offered from 11.00 am – 2.00 pm and 6.00 pm – 10.00 pm. Some restaurants are closed on one day each week, sometimes on Sundays. Viennese sausage stands are usually open all night.
  • Shop Hours: Shops are usually open Monday – Friday from 9.00 am – 6.30 pm, Saturday until 6.00 pm, and some shopping centers are available until 9:00 pm Monday – Friday. The majority of grocery stores are closed on Sundays.
  • Consider making reservations ahead of time at any restaurants and cafés you want to dine at. Making one will ensure you a seat you can easily attain once you come in.
  • Keep right when on the escalator.
  • Watch your volume when speaking, especially if you dine out. There are policies about the noise level in certain restaurants and attractions.

We hope you enjoyed this full itinerary of spending three (3) days in Vienna, Austria. As always, you can contact us with any questions! Have a great time in Vienna!

In collaboration with Expedia UK

30 Replies to “3 Days in Vienna Austria – Recommended Itinerary by Locals

  1. Hi Michelle, thanks for your guide. I will be visiting Vienna solo in first week of April. What’s the best way to buy an affordable ticket to the opera? Thanks a lot!

  2. I am planning ti Vienna in July. I would like to visit the places on this site. I wonder if they are close to each other.
    Do I need to commute via public transportation, if so, how long? Is there any walking distance among them?

    Thank you very much for your time.


    1. Hi Louise,

      For Day 1 you can easily walk to all spots, but you can get tired, so there is transportation to take and you can use the City Transportation App Qando (or website http://www.wienerlinien.at/eportal3/).

      Day 2, you can walk through the first 5 suggested spots just fine, but from Karlspplatz to Belvedere you will want to take a tram up there (or if you have the energy, can totally do the walk — I’ve done it several times and is about 15 minutes). But for Prater, it is far away from the suggested places, so public transportation works.

      Day 3- the places are quite spread out, some a couple of tram rides will do the trick. You actually inspired me to create a Google Maps Guide for this blog post – so I can show people where exactly all the places are in Vienna.

      Thanks Louise, let me know if you have any more questions!

  3. Thank you , Michelle, for your kind reply. Did you also go on a Danube Cruise to Bratislava? Did you also go to Budapest from Vienna?

    If you did, how do you do it? Thank you for sharing.


    1. Hi Louise,
      Unfortunately I have not been on the Danube Cruise so do no have experience with it…perhaps Viator.com would have good details on such trips!

      Best wishes–

  4. Thank you very much for this article! I’m going to spend several days in Vienna and it gave me a lot of inspiration to plan my trip 🙂

  5. Hello Michelle.
    Thanks for your lovely experience you shared with us thru this beautiful article, very well written and images are excellent, great 🙂

  6. HI, Michelle,

    Thank you for replies and your articles. My family and I will be going to Austria soon. Your articles are very informative and useful. Thank you again. I would also like to know what is good to buy for souvenir? I don’t need any upscale brands or shopping. There are a lot already in the US. I wonder if there are any local arts and designs, fashions and nice stuff to bring back? Thank you again for your time.

    1. Hi Louise,
      You are welcome!
      For souvenirs: I like to purchase Mozart Kugel chocolate balls (found at major grocery stores and Heindl chocolate stores), Pumpkin Seed oil, and Viennese coffee from Jonas Reindl. I actually recommend the Jonas Reindl shop for Viennese foods and products.

      As for local arts, designs and fashions, I suggest you check out this website below for more info:

      Best wishes!

      1. Michelle,
        You forgot to mention Manner Schnitten, Demel has Sacher Torte in wooden gift boxes to take back home and of course Julius Meinl coffee, There is just so much to choose from.

        An Austrian in Texas.

  7. Thank you again
    If I wanted to make dinner reservations in advance what time should I be making them for?
    We are planning our trip for mid November.
    if I buy the 72 hour Vienna pass with transportation are there any other tickets I need to buy in advance?

    If we wanted to hire a guide for a few hours do you have any suggestions and what would you suggest they guide us on?

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      -For dinner reservations, I suggest earliest time to be 6pm.
      -If the 72 Hour pass includes transportation, then you don’t need to buy additional tickets!
      -For tour guides, I suggest you check out them here and it’s really what you would enjoy most! Can be a walking tour, a food tour – whatever fits your fancy 🙂


  8. Thank you again
    If I wanted to make dinner reservations in advance what time should I be making them for?
    We are planning our trip for mid November.
    if I buy the 72 hour Vienna pass with transportation are there any other tickets I need to buy in advance?

    If we wanted to hire a guide for a few hours do you have any suggestions and what would you suggest they guide us on?

  9. Where did you stay? Where you happy with the location of your hotel or did you wish you stayed in a different location? Hope to hear from you back. Thank you!

    1. Hi,
      My parents were happy with Motel One Wien Westbahnhof Hotel, and that is the hotel I recommend to everyone due to the price, quality and location. Other than that, I’ve rented AirBnb’s around the area, and now have my own apartment in the 6th district. Best wishes!

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