3 Days in Vienna: The Ultimate Itinerary  

> March 30, 2023
3 Days in Vienna: The Ultimate Itinerary  


Vienna is my eternal frenemy. But for you, it’s your next travel destination! Yay! I’ll explain my cold feelings towards the city in just a few seconds, but I agree that it’s an inevitable stop on any Austria itinerary, so you might as well follow a best itinerary out there.   

This one. I mean this is the itinerary you should follow.  

I’ll take you through the city to all of the highlights and some lesser-known spots from my list of unusual things to do in Vienna to make sure you have the best 3 days in Vienna EVER. Complete with details like maps, distances, opening times and the best places to eat and have a sacher.  

If you have more time, see my full Austria itinerary, or at least add a couple day trips from Vienna.  

For your stay in Vienna, I recommend these two hotels: Boutiquehotel Das Tyrol and Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof for their fantastic locations and good value. More about them further in the itinerary (includes photos). 

See the table at the start of each day on this itinerary where I summarize the essentials, like all the places you’ll visit that day.

You might also be interested in reading:


Is Vienna worth visiting? 

Vienna is worth it if only to prove me wrong. Heck, even I plan on visiting Vienna for 3 days soon, because I’m starting to feel like I want to give it a chance to redeem itself. Second chances, you know? 

Austria’s capital isn’t exactly my favorite place in the world, because frankly, it felt a little boring to me. It’s not that there’s anything especially bad about it, it’s more that there’s nothing that spectacular about it when compared to other European metropolises. But it’s clean and well connected logistically, so that’s bonus points!  

But enough yacking about me. Vienna is the star here.  

Day 1 of Vienna itinerary 

Map showing the route of day 1 on the Vienna 3 day itinerary
You can see the route with all the stops of the day on Google Maps

Main sites visited on day 1: Stephansdom, Anker Clock, Cafe Sacher, Belvedere, Karlskirche, Mariahilfer Strasse, Rathausplatz, Hundertwasser House, Kunst Haus Wien
Restaurant tips: KLYO | Superfood Deli | Dogenhof | Taeko Ramen
Hotel recommendations: Boutiquehotel Das Tyrol | Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof
Further reading: Austria itinerary | Austria in a Nutshell | Know Before You Go: Austria 

Day 1, stop 1: Stephansdom 

St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria
St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Time spent here: 1 hour (or less if not seeing all of it) 

St. Stephen's Cathedral stands prominently on Stephansplatz—even a bit too prominently, because it takes up the whole square! You’d think they’d give it a bit more breathing room, sheesh.  

Anyway, Stephansdom is famous not just for its size, location in the very center of Vienna, and cool roof design, but also for its almost constant restoration works—it’s a centuries-long work in progress. Since its first completion in 1160, there’s always been work being done on it.  

Nowadays, the scaffolding on the south tower is finally gone, the heating system is finished… but they found an old mural under the dust on the walls in the gift shop in 2020 (how dusty was it??), so you never know what they’ll be working on next! 

You can see the main length and some smaller chapels of the Stephansdom for free, but you do need a ticket to go further into the church and see the alter, for instance. Remember this is a working church, so access may be restricted if something churchy is going on inside.  

There’s the option of an audio tour or a tour guide for the paid parts. Extra areas include: 

  • Climbing the winding staircase of the south tower to get cool views of the city, the tiled roof, and rich people’s apartments. 
  • Taking an elevator up the north tower for the best views of those tiles that are so inconveniently on the rooftop, and also Vienna’s largest bell, the Pummerin. 
  • Wandering around the catacombs (only with tour guide), where you’ll be in the company of the bones of 11,000 people, including some very high-ranking Habsburgs (actually, Stephansdom only has their internal organs, but more about that on the tour).  

There’s an all-inclusive ticket available for a better price than if you buy each part separately, so go for that if you want to see it all.  

If you want to see everything, set aside 1.5 hours. Otherwise it really depends which parts you want to see. The catacombs tour takes 30–45 minutes depending on how big your group is and how many people speak English vs German (they translate everything into both languages if needed).  

Tickets can’t be bought online on the official site. Buy tickets at the ticket desk in person, they take cash only!  

  • Google Maps link 
  • Open Monday to Saturday 9am–11:30 am and 1 pm–4:30 pm, Sundays and public holidays from 1 pm–4:30 pm. Check the website for detailed opening times for each section though.  
  • Tickets EUR 20 for all inclusive, EUR 6 for cathedral audio guide, EUR 6 for each of the towers and the catacomb tour.  

Day 1, stop 2: Ankeruhr (Anchor Clock) 

Ankeruhr a.k.a the Anker Clock from 1914, Vienna 
The Anker Clock

Distance from last stop: 300 m (0.2 miles)/4 minutes 
Time spent here: 10 minutes  

Now take a little quick stroll through the streets off of Stephansplatz. A couple blocks north is the Anker Clock, built in Art Nouveau design in 1914.  

It forms a bridge between two buildings, with 12 figures “walking” through the little windows, each being showcased for 1 hour and accompanied by music on the hour every hour.  

The main attraction is at noon when all 12 figures form a parade for all of the tourists on the street below. It takes about 10 minutes, so prepare for your neck to ache afterwards!  

Tip: During advent, there are Christmas carols being played by the clock at 5 pm and 6 pm daily.  

There’s a plaque next to the clock that shows the names of the figures for each hour, so you can google who they are when you see them to make more sense of the spectacle. There are composers, singers, emperors and some other people that are somehow important in Viennese history.  

Day 1, stop 3: Time for sacher!  

Sacher torte in Vienna coffee house

Distance from last stop: 1 km (0.6 miles)/12 minutes 
Time spent here: 1 hour   

Is it ever too early for cake? Nah, and this one is a Viennese classic—Sachertorte is a decadent chocolate cake with apricot jam in the middle. So let’s get some of that goodness into your system before continuing on to the next stop in this Vienna itinerary.  

The home of Sachertorte is Café Sacher, a café with a typical Viennese coffeehouse atmosphere. It’s part of Hotel Sacher Wien, which is a fabulous, very Viennese and very expensive 5-star hotel in the center of Vienna. If you book a stay there using my affiliate link, I will love you forever. I get a bit of commission at no extra cost to you, so all you’ll feel is a sense of fulfilment and joy.  

You can walk to Hotel Sacher Wien from Stephansplatz in about 10 minutes using the pedestrian street called Kärntner Straße.  

Café Sacher offers sacher from an original 1832 recipe, so go and try the famous cake at its original home. It sits across from the State Opera, so you can get a glimpse of that on the way, too.   

Making reservations is strongly suggested. They do keep plenty of tables open for casual visitors, but given the famous location, the hordes of casual visitors always outnumber the available tables.   

If you can’t get in, there’s always plan B: head just a few steps down the block to the corner of the hotel to Sacher Eck (“sacher corner”). This two-story café is lavish and belongs under the Sacher Hotel as well, so no need to compromise on sacher quality, it’s just a less famous place to eat it at.   

  • Open daily 8 am–8 pm  

Day 1, stop 4: Belvedere 

The Upper  Belvedere Palac, Vienna 
The South of Belvedere—The Upper Belvedere

Distance from last stop: 1.3 km (0.8 miles)/15 minutes to northern gate 
Time spent here: 2 hours to see at least one museum, min. 4 hours for everything 

Now it’s time to offset those sacher calories and take a walk to the Belvedere palaces and gardens to see some art, history, and some perfectly-shaped bushes.  

The Belvedere consists of the Upper Belvedere Palace (in the south), the Lower Belvedere Palace (in the north), and the 600 m (0.4 mile) long garden that’s between them, plus the Belvedere 21 art space.  

It’s recommended to get your tickets online in advance to get in in your desired time slot for the palaces. You can then stay at the palace of your choosing as long as you’d like.   

Which one you visit really depends on where your interests lie. Expect to spend 1 hour in the Lower Palace and 2 hours in the Upper Palace, but that’s really just focusing on the main parts. If you wanted to see both palaces and the gardens properly, you’d need up to 5 hours.  

To be honest, you don’t have that kind of time on this itinerary, so I suggest to just choose one of the museum/gallery spaces.  

The Upper Belvedere 

The Upper Belvedere is the main palace, bigger and grander, and houses a large Gustav Klimt collection, including his most famous work, “The Kiss”. Plus works by Schiele, Funke, Messerschmidt and van Gogh.  

The Lower Belvedere 

The Lower Belvedere Palace, Vienna 
Prince Eugene’s palace

The Lower Belvedere and stables show special exhibitions and art from all periods. The palace is overall smaller and less grand, but still nice. It’s where Prince Eugene used to live, so it’s not ordinary in the slightest.  

Belvedere 21 

If you’re more into contemporary art or think palaces are boring, visit the Belvedere 21 instead. It belongs under the Belveder umbrella, but it’s a “vibrant urban hub” just a bit further south from the Upper Palace. It is included in the 3-in-1 Belveder ticket.  

The gardens 

Visiting Belvedere gardens in Vienn

The gardens between the palaces are perfectly manicured as you would expect in Austria. Everything is symmetrical, with fountains, statues, and flowers that know exactly how to stand and bushes that look like they were cloned. Don’t forget to visit the lake in front of the Upper Belvedere! You might miss it if you’re coming from the city center.  

The main garden is free to enter, as is the botanical garden. The Privy Garden is free if you have the palace ticket. Then there’s Europe’s oldest Alpine garden with over 100 bonsais and the main attraction—rhododendrons that blossom starting in April. You pay EUR 4 to see those (this garden is only open from the end of March to the beginning of August).  

I love rhododendrons, as I’ve mentioned in some other articles (like this one about Scotland’s best castles—see Dunvegan Castle), so I’d certainly try to see the Alpine Garden if you’re visiting in the time when you can see the flowers in full bloom, it’s just spectacular.  

Getting there 

You can enter the Belvedere from the main gate in the south if you want to get to the Upper Belvedere asap, or through another gate in the north which is where you’ll be coming from (by the Lower Belvedere).  

You can walk to the northern gate from Café Sacher in about 15 minutes or to the main gate in about half an hour (it’s 2.2 km/1.3 miles). You can also take tram D from Oper, Karlsplatz to Quartier Belvedere to save yourself the effort if that seems too far.  

  • Belvedere 
  • Google Maps link  
  • Open daily 10 am–6 pm 
  • Tickets available online, EUR 15.90 for just the Upper Belvedere, EUR 22.90 for Upper and Lower Belvedere. See website for other combinations.  

Day 1, stop 5: Karlskirche 

Karlskirche in Vienna, Austria
St. Charles Church

Distance from last stop: 800 m (0.5 miles)/10 minutes from Belvedere northern gate 
Time spent here: 20 minutes 

Just a 10-minut walk back towards Vienna’s historic center is the Karlskirche, aka St. Charles Church. It’s considered the best Baroque church in Vienna, but is actually a mix of styles: Byzantine, Renaissance, and Baroque with Greek and Roman elements. You’ll see what I mean when you see the two huge columns in the front.  

Construction of the church, dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo, began in 1716 as sort of a “thank god it’s over” token after the last great plague epidemic.  

There’s a slightly out-of-place metal elevator in the middle of the church that takes you up to the dome so you can stare at the ceiling frescos from way up close. Not sure if that’s desirable, I’m pretty sure they were meant to be viewed from the ground. It does seem to bother some folks from what I read, but to each their own. Nobody is forcing you up there.  

You can also go outside on the terrace for a nice view of the city and the fountain and park in front.   

If your heart and ears desire it, you can go to a classical music concert at Karlskirche as well.  

Use the reviews on Google Maps for the most up-to-date visitor information. The church’s website has no information whatsoever unless you’re looking for mass times or are planning a wedding and speak German.  

  • Open Monday to Saturday 9 am–6 pm, Sundays 12 pm–7 pm 
  • Tickets cost EUR 8 

Day 1, stop 6 (optional): Mariahilfer Straße 

Mariahilfer Straße in Vienna, Austria 
Mariahilfer Street in full motion

Distance from last stop: 1 km (0.6 miles)/12 minutes  
Time spent here: 0 to infinity 

Mariahilfer Straße is Vienna’s longest shopping street (at about 1.8 km/1.1 miles) with endless fashion brand and other stores, cafes and restaurants, and plenty of hotels.  

It’s located close to Karlskirche in the general direction you need to be going, so it’s easy to take a look if you wanted to. It’s right behind the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, which you’ll be checking out on day 3 of this itinerary.  

You don’t need to go there (it’s not like you can’t shop at home), but if you wanted to skip some other stuff on this itinerary and ended up with extra time on your hands, you can easily waste it on Mariahilfer Straße.  

The street is largely pedestrianized, though local traffic and buses are allowed in, so you aren’t always the king of the road, but mostly you are.

Boutiquehotel Das Tyrol, best place to stay in Vienna, Austria
Design elements galore @ Boutiquehotel Das Tyrol

Hotel tip #1: The 4-star Boutiquehotel Das Tyrol is full of art—pieces from Vienna’s best designers decorate the interior. It’s located on Mariahilfer Straße shopping street, just a short walk from a metro station.  

The beds in this hotel are uber-comfortable, the staff goes above and beyond and Prosseco is served with breakfast.  

Prices start from EUR 180 per night with breakfast.  

Day 1, stop 7: Rathausplatz and Town Hall 

Townhall in Rathausplatz in Vienna, Austria 
Rathausplatz Townhall

Distance from last stop: 2 km (1.2 miles)/5-minute tram ride/25-minute walk 
Time spent here: 20 minutes 

Now we’ll be skipping over some places that you’ll be visiting on the other two days of this Vienna itinerary, so I suggest hopping on a tram on Oper, Karlsplatz and getting off 4 stops later at Rathausplatz. If you took a detour to Mariahilfer Straße, you can hop on at Burgring instead.  

You’ll pass by the Vienna Operahouse, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Hofburg Palace and Heldenplatz and the Austrian Parliament. Enjoy them from the tram window.  

Rathausplatz is the square and park that’s always bustling with people and, especially in the summer and winter, plenty of events. The Christkindlmarkt is Vienna’s largest Christmas market, complete with a huge ice-skating rink that includes ice paths through the park. It’s pretty magical even if you ask a tough guy like me!  

Rathausplatz is in front of the massive city hall, or Rathaus.  The town hall’s façade is apparently modeled after Brussels’ Town Hall, which is the most eye-catching building on the already fabulous Grand Place in Belgium’s capital. Read more about Brussels' highlights (including the Town Hall).  

You can visit the Rathaus interiors (or some of the representative halls at least) on a guided tour, but it is mostly offices full of officials that are going about their daily business. I prefer just seeing it from the outside.  

If there’s nothing special going on when you’re visiting, you’ll only need a few minutes to take a look around.  

Day 1, stop 8+9: Hundertwasser House and Kunst Haus Wien 

The colorful façade of the Hundertwasser House in Vienna, Austria
Hundertwasser House

Distance from last stop: 3 km (2 miles)/15 minutes by tram/40-minute walk 
Time spent here: 10 minutes  

It’s time for some quirky buildings! Once you’ve had enough of the Rathausplatz, hop back on the tram (no. 1 takes you there directly) and go to Hertzgasse.  

Hundertwasser House looks like you let kindergarten kids paint the façade, but in fact, it’s an architectural highlight, built in 1983–1985. It’s an apartment buildingdesigned by Friedensreich Hundertwasser, a famed Austrian painter. He was given complete free reign in the design of the house, and his style is loud and clear. You will see bold colors, swirling designs, and grass and trees everywhere.   

The building is still used as a residence, so you can only look at it from the outside.  

After you are done trying to figure out where those trees are growing from, head over to the next stop to check out the Hundertwasser House Museum to learn more about this weird place. It’s just 3 blocks down the road.  

Tip: The Fälschermuseum, or Museum of Art Fakes, is directly across from the Hundertwasser House. This “criminal” art museum is unique in Europe and probably worldwide. It is filled with faked paintings and mystery stories. Get details in my article on Unusual Things to Do in Vienna.   

  • Hundertwasser House is on  Kegelgasse 37–39  (Google Maps link
  • Opening hours of the Hundertwasser museum: 10am-6pm 
  • Tickets cost around 9,5 EUR and are available here 


Kunst Haus Wien exterior, museums in Vienna
Kunst Haus Wien

Distance from last stop: 450 m (0.3 miles)/5 minutes from Hundertwasser House 
Time spent here: 1 hour 

For a deeper dive into Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s psyche, visit the awesome and similarly quirky Kunst Haus Wien. This building was also designed by the famed Austrian artist and has a colorful, irregular, this time tiled façade. And again with the trees.  

Inside, you can not only admire some top international exhibitions with a focus on photography. It also serves as the Hundertwasser Museum which houses a comprehensive permanent exhibition of the artist’s works.  

But don’t forget to look at the building itself, you can see touches of Hunderwasser’s ideas on ecology, nature and sustainability everywhere. The interior is just as strange as the exterior!  

Stick around at the café downstairs for more artsy vibes. You can also buy some souvenirs at the gift shop.  

Tip: If you like weird, organic architecture, take a trip to Barcelona and see Gaudí’s best work!   


Top hotel in Vienna, Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof 
Classy vibes @ Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof

Hotel tip #2: Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof is a 5-star hotel smack in the middle of Vienna’s center. It has probably the best price/quality/location ratio out of all of Vienna’s hotels.  

The rooms in this historical building are pleasantly modern (with AC), with 21st century interpretations of various styles. Two whole floors of the hotel are dedicated to a spa and fitness center.  

The breakfast and basically all meals are amazing here.  

Prices start from EUR 250 per night with breakfast. 

Day 2 of Vienna itinerary 

Map of day 2 of Vienna itinerary 
You can see the route with all the stops of the day on Google Maps.

Main sites visited on day 2: Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens, Palm House, Schönbrunn Zoo, Haus des Meeres, Imperial Treasury
Restaurant tips: KLYO | Superfood Deli | Dogenhof | Taeko Ramen
Hotel recommendations: Boutiquehotel Das Tyrol | Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof
Further reading: Austria itinerary | Unusual Places in Vienna | 7 Top Tourist Cities in Austria 

Day 2, stop 1: Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens 

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria
Schönbrunn Palace—the Austrian Versailles

Time spent here: 2 hours minimum, but you can spend all day here 

Schönbrunn Palace is an imperial summer residence in Baroque style, kind of like the Austrian version of Versailles.  

It’s located a bit of a ways away from the city center, but you can easily get there by tram, bus or metro (Schloss Schönbrunn is the stop you’re looking for), and obviously by taxi too. If you have your own car, there is a parking lot ready to babysit your vehicle for EUR 4 per hour.  

Right away I have to warn you that the gardens are so vast that if you wanted to visit everything there, you’d have trouble to see it all in a day. So come here ready to just get a taste of Schönbrunn.  

The next two stops on this itinerary are on the palace grounds too, so for this one, you’ll focus on seeing a bit of the palace and gardens.  

The palace offers a good variety of tours, so you can choose based on your interests and time limitations. The Imperial Tour takes you through 22 rooms with an audio guide and takes just about 30 minutes. It’s a good palace starter, though at least half of the rooms you’ll see aren’t super interesting and by the time you get to the interesting stuff, the tour is over.  

If you are into palaces and elaborately decorated rooms, take the Grand Tour. That way you get to see 40 rooms. It is also self-guided and you’ll need at least an hour for it.  

There are other options available as well, so take a look at the website before visiting, and most definitely book tickets in advance. Especially in the summer months, there can be crowds trying to get in. Since there is a limit on how many humans can be walking around inside at any given time, you could end up waiting for even 3 hours to get in.

Gloriette Schloss in Schönbrunn Palace
Gloriette Schloss—the best place to photograph the Schönbrunn Palace

A visit to Schönbrunn is easily worth it even if you decide against visiting the palace interiors. The gardens are huge and are worth visiting in their own right. There are fountains, lakes, statues, ruins, a rose garden, and many beautiful avenues to walk through.  

Entrance to the Schönbrunn gardens is free.  

I recommend that you stop at Gloriette Viewing Terrace (Gloriette Schloss). Not only is it pretty on its own, especially when viewed from over the lake, but the entrance is free and you can get the perfect photos of Schönbrunn Palace from there. You’ll get the palace gardens in front and the city in the background, it’s pretty cool.  

Then, it’s not time to leave yet! There’s way more to see at Schönbrunn. See next items.  

  • Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens website 
  • Google Maps link
  • Open daily 8:30 am–5:30 pm most of the year for the palace, 6:30 am–8 pm for the gardens (shorter opening times in the winter, check website for details) 
  • Entrance to the gardens is free. Tickets to the palace vary depending on which tour you choose. For example, the Imperial Tour costs EUR 22 including audio guide.  

Day 2, stop 2: Palm House Schönbrunn 

 Palm House Schönbrunn, Vienna
Palm House Schönbrunn

Distance from last stop: 0 
Time spent here: 30 minutes 

The Palm House is one of the many buildings/areas in the Schönbrunn gardens. It’s a big greenhouse that consists of three buildings: the warm house, the temperate house and the cold house, each home to a special set of flora.  

The imperial family, headed by Franz Joseph, wanted it built to showcase the “green treasures” of the empire. It was almost destroyed during the world wars and has had lots of work done over the past century and a half.  

When the Palm House opened in 1882, it was the biggest greenhouse in the world. These days, it still belongs to the biggest buildings of this type in Europe.  

You can go and enjoy the atmosphere. It’s not a long stop, maybe worth 30 minutes or so, but a nice addition to your Schönbrunn morning. There are benches in the Palm House where you can sit and relax if you’re starting to feel your legs.  

Day 2, stop 3: Schönbrunn Zoo 

Animals in Schönbrunn Zoo

Distance from last stop: 0 
Time spent here: 2 hours 

Note: I included the zoo and the aquarium on this itinerary, which might be a bit much unless you are really into animals or have kids in tow. So I recommend choosing one or the other. You’ll still have a very full itinerary for the day.  

Compared to other European Zoos, Schönbrunn Zoo is rather small, but on the other hand, there are giant pandas. What more one could ask for?  

Apart from these cute fluffy bears that like to fall over themselves, there are the obligatory elephants, giraffes, tigers, polar bears, and 500 other animal species waiting to be stared at.    

The Zoo is located within the Schönbrunn Palace gardens.  

There are paths in the zoo that are easy to follow thanks to the signage in both German and English. You’ll find plenty of places to sit and eat, though during lunchtime in the summer it looks like there it could be made into a “hungry humans in the wild” exposition. Good luck finding a table! 

My personal favorite are obviously the giant pandas, who are just the goofiest animals on the planet. If you’re lucky, you’ll see them rolling around on their backs, holding their own feet, without a care in the world.  

Day 2, stop 4: Haus des Meeres 

Haus des Meeres, Austria
Visit the cool building of Haus des Meeres

Distance from last stop: 7 km/4.4 miles 
Time spent here: 1.5 hours 

It’s time to head back into the city. About ¾ of the way—close to our recommended Boutiquehotel Das Tyrol—are some animals you wouldn’t have met at Schönbrunn Zoo. Stop by at Haus des Meeres (“house of the sea”) to see 10,000 creatures, mostly of the sea type, but also several monkey species, lizards, snakes, and insects. Does anybody ever really want to see the bugs?!  

The museum is located in a former anti-aircraft tower from World War II. What used to be a tall concrete slab is now a multi-story piece of modern architecture with plenty of windows. It’s also unique to visit an aquarium where the inhabitants live on multiple above-ground floors. The hammerhead won top spot and is located on the 10th floor. I wonder if they even enjoy the views.  

You’ll want to stop by 360° OCEANSKY Restaurant Bar for some views of your own, all while digging into some surprisingly good food, perhaps even with a cocktail. The rooftop restaurant and terrace is way cooler than anything you’d expect as part of a zoo.  

Tip: The sharks are the highlight of this place, and if you want to see them move quicker than their usual steady pace, make sure to stop by when they’re being fed. Their public feeding schedule is 3x a week. If you miss that, you can always settle for a piranha feeding, though that’s just once a week. I guess they’re on diet.  

  • Haus des Meeres 
  • Google Maps link 
  • Open daily 9 am–8 pm 
  • Tickets cost EUR 21.90 for adults, EUR 9.80 for children over 6, EUR 6.50 for children over 3 

Day 2, stop 5: Imperial Treasury Vienna (Kaiserliche Schatzkammer) 

Imperial Treasury VIenna jewels 
Kaiserliche Schatzkammer

Distance from last stop: 1.6 km (1 mile)/20 minute walk 
Time spent here: 1 hour 

To end the day on a more classically Viennese note than staring at some very out-of-place sharks, visit the jewels of the Roman Empire, including the Imperial Crown, at the Imperial Treasury.  

Located in Vienna’s city center, the Imperial Treasury is part of Hofburg Palace, which you’ll see a little bit more of tomorrow. 

You’ll get a real feel for the Habsburgs wealth when you’re staring at all the incredibly intricate and over-the-top fancy treasures! Though I honestly wouldn’t want to be the baby in that creepy looking crib!  

Aside from all the real-world treasures in the Secural Treasury, you can also visit the Ecclesiastical Treasury for some religious artifacts and art.  

You can either go in on your own with just your own eyeballs and knowledge, in which case I recommend reading a little about Vienna’s history, or get an audio guide that’ll assist your eyeballs in knowing what they’re seeing without your brain having to do much at all.  

Plan on spending about an hour here.  

  • Tickets cost EUR 14 for adults 

Day 3 of Vienna itinerary 

Map of day 3 of Vienna itinerary 
You can see the route with all the stops of the day on Google Maps.

Main sites visited on day 3: Museum Quartier, mumok - Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna (Museum of Art History), Hofburg Palace and Heldenplatz, Albertina, Prater Giant Ferris Wheel
Restaurant tips: KLYO | Superfood Deli | Dogenhof | Taeko Ramen
Hotel recommendations: Boutiquehotel Das Tyrol | Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof
Further reading: Austria itinerary | Unusual Places in Vienna | 7 Top Tourist Cities in Austria  

Day 3, stop 1: Museum Quartier 

Museum Quartier, Vienna 
Museum Quartier

Distance from last stop:  
Time spent here: 30 minutes (without a coffee stop and without visiting the museums) 

The first stop of the day will take you to Museum Quartier, a museum neighborhood that’s a pleasant combination of historical buildings and modern architecture and (sometimes strange) art. It always has a fun atmosphere with lots of seating and artsy things happening. There are free events, installations, and even minigolf in the summers.  

You can stroll around Museum Quartier, looking at the outdoor art and popping in for a coffee if you feel like it. There are several restaurants/ cafes right in the main courtyard, and most museums have their own coffee offering as well.  

Tip: If you are a book nerd, stop by the Buchhandlung Walther König. It’s a cool little book shop with tons or art books.  

Most of the museums here are art galleries focusing on modern art. We’ll look at one of them in the next stop on this Vienna itinerary.  

Day 3, stop 2: mumok - Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien 

Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien
Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien

Distance from last stop: 0 
Time spent here: 1.5 hours 

The mumok is one of the museums in Museum Quartier. You can’t miss it—it’s the big, grey, windowless one that screams “I’m a contemporary art museum”.  

As such, the offering inside is... not boring. But as far as modern art goes, it has some of the wackiest pieces I’ve ever seen. Just remember: if in doubt, don’t sit on it or throw any garbage into it thinking it’s a garbage can. Or how about a large, blue, stuffed spider? 

Tip: If you like big spiders as part of a gallery exhibit, try planning a trip to Spain’s Bilbao. The Guggenheim is on another level entirely. Not that the mumok is bad, the Guggenheim is just so good.   

The interior of the mumok is simple and white in the exhibition rooms and grey and industrial in between. 

Exhibits change periodically, so check the website before you visit to see what to expect.  

There’s a gift shop and café on site, too.  

Alternatives: The mumok isn’t for everyone. If you know you’d hate it, skip it and try the Austrian Architecture Museum, the Leopold Museum (Austrian modern art), international contemporary art at the Kunsthalle, or the interactive children’s museum called ZOOM. It’s best if you actually have kids to go there, but to each their own.  

  • Open daily except for Mondays 10 am–6 pm  
  • Tickets cost EUR 15 for adults 

Day 3, stop 3: Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna 

Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna 
Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna

Distance from last stop: 200 m (0.1 miles)/2-minute walk 
Time spent here: 2–4 hours 

To balance out all the newness of the Museum Quartier’s exhibits (or if your eyes still hurt from the mumok), let’s take a step back in time in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, aka Vienna’s Art History Museum.  

It’s just a short hop over from the Museum Quartier, but it’s an entirely different world. The world of the Habsburgs (and more)!

The exquisite interiors of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna Austria 
The interiors of the Kunsthistorisches Museum are incredible

I’ve got to say that the interiors of the museum are worth a visit even if you don’t care for old art. It’s very ornate, but not tacky ornate like some palaces. High-level ornate! Don’t forget to look up at the dome in the entrance hall!  

Once you browse the collections of each of the Austrian Kaisers, you can step further into history and admire some Egyptian and Greek antiquities on the other floors.  

Seeing everything could easily take an art lover 4 hours, so budget your time depending on your interests. If you think you’ll want to soak up all of the Kunsthistorisches Museum’s art, you will need to skip one of the other museums that are planned for today.  

You can save some time by seeing a part of the exhibitions on a virtual tour.  

Get an audio guide so you know what you are looking at, because, as the museum’s website so smartly says, “You can only see what you know”. There are also audio guides for kids and guided tours available.  

If you get your ticket online, you’ll get a time slot during which you must enter.  

Day 3, stop 4: Hofburg Palace and Heldenplatz 

Vienna’s Hofburg Imperial Palace, Heldenplatz 
Hofburg Imperial Palace

Distance from last stop: 200 m (0.1 miles)/2-minute walk 
Time spent here: 1–2 hours for just the exteriors   

Moving steadily along in today’s compact sightseeing area—the next spot you’ll want to visit is one of the biggest palace complexes in the world: Hofburg Palace. It might sound surprising since it’s in the middle of Vienna, but the place is vast!  

Having said that, visiting all the interiors in the Hofburg complex would take you all day, so for this visit, I recommend just spending time outside. There’s still a lot to see, and you get to use your day wisely and fit in more than just one palace complex. 

Hofburg is where the Habsburg Empire was ruled from for centuries. The kings moved out in 1918, but Austria’s president still takes care of all his boss duties from there to this day.  

Aside from being a place to manage an empire (or country) from, Hofburg serves as a place of many museums. There’s also the Imperial Chapel, Austrian National Library, the Imperial Treasury and even the Spanish Riding School. See an overview of all of the complexes buildings on this website.  

Tip: I’ve included the Spanish Riding School in my article about unusual places to visit in Vienna. It’s home to the Lipizzaner stallions and is the oldest classical horse-riding school in the world.  Check times on their website if you are interested in visiting the public morning exercises when the horses practice their moves to classical music.  

If you do visit the interiors of Hofburg Palace, you’ll be able to see the private apartments and representative rooms of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth and get a feel for what it was like to be part of the imperial family.  

The square in front of the Imperial Palace is called Heldenplatz. You get the best views of the palace from there, along with some statues of important men on horses.  

Walking away from the palace, the square turns into the Volksgarten, a large, regal public park which includes fountains, manicured flower gardens, a rose garden, and even a replica of a Greek temple.  

Behind the palace is another park that you will walk through to get to your next stop, the Albertina, which is also officially part of the Hofburg Palace complex.   

  • Hofburg Palace website 
  • Google Maps link 
  • Opening times vary from building to building, but in general, 10 am–6 pm daily should get you into most places.  
  • Tickets to the apartments, the Sisi Museum and the Silver Collection cost EUR 16. Other ticket options are available. Just walking around the complex and gardens is free.  

Day 3, stop 5: Albertina 

Albertina, Vienna’s best museums
Albertina Museum

Distance from last stop: 700 m (0.5 miles)/8-minute walk 
Time spent here: 2 hours 

The Albertina is famous for housing one of the largest print rooms on Earth with 65,000 drawings and over a million old master prints. That’s a lot of prints!  

They aren’t all always on display because the light would destroy them, so you’ll need to check out the current special exhibitions list to see what you’ll be able to feast your eyes on. You could be lucky and see some Michelangelo!  

You can also see more contemporary graphic works, photographs and architectural drawings. The Albertina’s website is cool (once you figure out your way around), and you can look at some of the art in each exhibition from the comfort of your own device (and couch).  

Right now, there’s a permanent Modernist permanent exhibition called "From Monet to Picasso” and a couple of temporary exhibitions, like the colorful paintings from Ruth Baumgarte’s visits to Africa and the slightly freaky pieces from New Yorker Jean-Michel Basquiat.  

Overall, a very interesting mix of art of different genres and time periods, which should guarantee that it’ll satisfy the taste of a larger majority of visitors. If you do lean towards everything modern and couldn’t care less for history, check out the nearby Albertina Modern instead.   

Plan on spending about 2 hours in Albertina. The main entrance is on the bastion of the former Vienna city wall. There’s an escalator or an elevator that’ll help you up there.  

Time for more sacher? Hotel Sacher Wien and its Café Sacher (the one you visited on your 1st day of this itinerary) are just down the block from Albertina in case you are craving some more chocolate delight!  

Day 3, stop 6: Prater’s Giant Ferris Wheel 

Prater in Vienna, Austria, Ferris Wheel
Who has never heard of the famous Prater Amusement Park?

Distance from last stop: 3 km (1.8 miles)  
Time spent here: however long you wish (in  

The day is almost at it’s end, so it’s time for some fun! Hop in a taxi and head out to one of Vienna’s most prominent symbols, the Ferris Wheel (“Wiener Riesenrad”).  

Located in Prater Amusement Park to the north of Vienna’s city center, The Giant Ferris Wheel. It’s been adorning Vienna’s skyline for over 100 years.  

You can either just take a ride in one of the wooden cabins—that takes about 15 minutes—, or, turn it into an extra special experience:  

For a kick of adrenaline, hop on Platform 9. You’ll get a harness and then you’ll be strapped onto a simple steel construction with a glass floor! Up you go! Tickets cost EUR 89.  

For a culinary experience, buy tickets (in advance) to one of the gourmet wagons and go round and round while you eat! It won’t come cheap though—a dinner for 2 starts at EUR 260.  

Before or after your ride, visit the Panorama at the foot of the Ferris Wheel to learn about the history of the Wheel through audio-visual installations in eight Ferris Wheel cabins.  

Of course, the rest of Prater is right there, so if you’re up for it, continue your evening on some fun rides! Each ride is paid for separately, so you can even just wander around and enjoy the atmosphere without paying any kind of entrance fee.  

  • Open (almost) daily year-round, mostly morning until midnight. Check opening hours here.  
  • Tickets cost EUR 13.50 for adults.  

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission if you make bookings through my links, at no additional cost to you. This helps keep this blog free, thank you!    


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About me

About me

Hi! I’m Jan. I live in Prague, Czech Republic. I try to experience the best the world has to offer, and I don’t cease to be impressed. But if I’m not, I’m sure going to tell you! You can count on my full honesty and real opinions here. No bullcrap. I own and run several companies, which gives me great (but not unlimited) freedom to roam the world.  

I was first inspired to start this blog by my own experience of researching for upcoming trips—I often struggle with a lack of good information, accuracy, and authenticity of resources. You wouldn’t believe how many “travel bloggers” don’t even visit the destinations they write about! 

My goal with this blog is to provide you with complex and practical information so that you can plan your own vacation, complete with insights you’d only get if you visited the place. I also put together itineraries that are fully planned out trip guides.

Another aspect that drives this platform is my curiosity about the history, geography, politics, and economy of each country I visit, so I try to include this information in my articles, too. It’s always great to get the bigger picture, right? 

And just to be clear, I am not trying to compete with backpacking blogs or provide hacks for an economical and affordable experience. My vacations follow the standard pattern of traveling by plane, staying in good hotels, and renting a car on the spot to get around. I’m also always up for a fantastic meal, though I don’t shy away from local delicacies and street food, either.  

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