Are you planning on spending 2 days in Vienna, Austria and want to know everything you need to do in this magical city? Well, look no further because I have put together a complete 2-day guide that will show you all the best and brightest places in Vienna.
Vienna is the stunning capital city of Austria that is unlike any other city in Europe. It is a city characterized by its opulence, elegance, and deep-rooted history. What makes it even more interesting is that it is located almost in Eastern Europe and has a very unique mix of Western Europe and Eastern Europe in one place.
This guide includes things to do, accommodation, and travel tips and everything you need to know for a perfect 2 days in Vienna.
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2 Days in Vienna: A Full Itinerary
Day 1 in Vienna
Admire St. Stephans Cathedral
St. Stephans cathedral is a prominent building in Vienna and an unmissable sight to see while exploring the city. The building towers in the center of the city and its ornate detailing and colored tiles are truly something to gawk at. This has been a religious site for almost 1,000 years, however, this cathedral was built throughout the 1500s.
The church itself is free to enter but visitors are only permitted to walk around a small section of the church. It gets quite busy during the day so heading here first thing in the morning is best for seeing it with fewer people. For a more in-depth tour, you can get tickets fort he catacombs, a close-up loo at the altars and a climb to the tower for just 15 euros.
If you aren’t looking for as much of a detailed adventure you can also pay 5 euros to climb up the south tower and see the stunning panoramic views of Vienna from above. The south tower offers the best views but is only accessible by walking up 343 steps, the North tower is accessible by lift.
Eat at Cafe Central
The best place to get a bite to eat in Vienna is Cafe Central. This is a traditional Viennese cafe that serves all the best and most famous foods from the city throughout history. It was opened in 1876 and has been known to be frequented by leading figures in art, science, and literature like Sigmund Freud.
This is a popular place for both locals and tourists all eager to try fresh pastries, coffee specialties, and delicious Viennese cuisine. Just be sure to make a reservation or arrive prepared to wait in line.
See the Stunning Hofburg Palace
Vienna is famous for a lot of reasons, and one of the main ones is the number of opulent palaces scattered around the city. Some of the best palaces in Europe can be found in Austria and one of them is the Hofburg Palace which also know as the Imperial Palace.
This has been a place for kings, presidents and even emperors since its construction and is a place of power and royalty for Austria since the 13th century. Hofburg palace is located in the center of the city and in recent times it has been the official residence of the president of Austria. Several additions have been added to the palace such as the National Library, the imperial treasury, and other museums. It is a great place to learn about the rich history and traditions of the imperial court throughout history.
The whole palace is large and there is so much to see you could easily spend half a day exploring. With just 2 days in Vienna, you don’t have enough time to explore it fully but you can surely walk around the palace grounds and admire the ornate buildings, detailed statues, and blooming gardens.
Fall in love with literature at the National Library
One of the most beautiful and stunning buildings to enter in Vienna is the State Hall of the National Library which just so happens to also be a part of Hofburg. For only 8 euros (6 if you have a student card) you are permitted to enter the stunning state hall and view the 20 meter high columns of books and other decor elements like globes. More so, the library’s ceiling is dome-shaped and intricately decorated in stunning frescos.
The best thing about the library is that it is also quite educational and showcases different exhibits of famous Austrians to learn about. During my visit, it was a Beethoven exhibit and his old music books and writings were displayed in glass cases. This is a baroque gem that should not be missed.
Go to a museum in Museumsquartier
Vienna is architecturally breathtaking, there’s no question about it. If walking around the city and viewing the sites hasn’t wowed you already, a visit to Museumsquartier will do the trick. In this area of Vienna, you will find various museums like the Natural History Museum and the Contemporary Art Museum. The buildings themselves are stunning and the whole area feels like you are walking around your own palace grounds.
The Natural History Museum is one of the world’s largest museums and if you have an interest in natural science this is a great museum to check out. However, you do not have that much time with only 2 days in Vienna and spending too much of your day at a museum is not suggested. If you do go, it is best to stay for only one or two hours.
Go to the Butterfly Dome
Within Museumsquartier you will also find the Schmetterlinghaus or the Butterfly House. This is an indoor tropical rainforest that is home to hundreds of butterflies. This enchanted garden is more popular in the winter months because it offers a nice escape from the cold. If time permits, heading in here for some time to take some photos and enjoy the atmosphere is a great idea.
Walk around Maria Theresian Platz
Maria Theresian Platz is a large square in Vienna located right beside Musuemsquatier and is home to the Contemporary Art Museum and the Museum of Natural History. There is also an impressive monument in the middle of the square with heroes from the past displayed. In this square, you are surrounded by stunning architecture, bold gardens, and stunning sights.
There is nothing better about traveling than trying the local dishes and one of the local dishes in Vienna just so happens to be a decadent chocolate cake called Sachertorte! This chocolate cake dates back to 1832 and is one of the most famous Viennese specialties that is sold in almost every cafe and restaurant in the city.
A great place to find this delicious treat is at Aida cafe in Vienna. You will find this pink and brightly colored cafe in various places around the city and it will most likely be full of people, so you can’t miss it.
Go shopping on Graben
The Graben is one of the most famous streets in Vienna and walking down it is a must while visiting the city. The whole street and surrounding side streets are packed with luxury boutiques, retail stores, cafes, and restaurants. If you are looking to do some shopping in Vienna, this is the place for it. You will find all the classic stores like Zara and H&M plus some interesting others.
If you are not much of a shopper this is also a great place to walk around and enjoy the fairytale-like surroundings. The buildings here are magnificent and the baroque statues are something to be admired. A walk up and down this street will leave you enchanted by the beauty it possesses.
Get lost in the streets
When visiting Vienna it can be easy to get caught up in beelining to all the main attractions and running around the city to see everything in time. But with the mindset of heading to the main spots and attractions, you easily miss out on some of the other beautiful yet lesser-known spots in the city. It is important to take some time to just walk around freely and get lost down the little side streets of Vienna as well.
When I was walking around I found so many hidden, secret gems that I loved. There were churches tucked between buildings that were free to enter and explore, little streets with charming cafes and shops with local goodies!
Enjoy an evening at a Rooftop bar
Going to rooftop bars in new cities is one of my favorite things to do. I am always on the hunt for a new rooftop bar to visit, and the most popular rooftop bar in Vienna did not disappoint. In fact, Das Loft has to be one of the most beautiful and breathtaking bars I’ve been too. Das Loft offers panoramic 360-degree views of Vienna that are stunning both during the day and at night.
Not only are the views amazing but the atmosphere is cool and relaxed and they have an extensive cocktail menu. The drinks were super unique and great to enjoy with the view. Das Loft does get quite busy so making a reservation is suggested, especially if you want to be there for sunset! When I went I didn’t make a reservation but arrived at around 4:00 pm and waited for 20 minutes to get brought up and stayed until the sunset. This is the perfect way to end day one during your perfect 2 days in Vienna.
Day 2 in Vienna
Eat a Fresh Pasty for Breakfast
Vienna is home to some great bakeries that are full of delicious fresh treats. The second day of this 2-day itinerary is quite packed because the attractions and things to do are more spaced out and exploring them can take longer than the previous day. As a result, a quick breakfast from one of the bakeries is a must for starting the day off right with a nice, quick, treat.
Visit Schönbrunn Palace
Schönbrunn Palace is one of the most stunning Baroque complexes in the world and the most popular tourist attraction in Vienna. This 18th-century summer palace was the summer home to the Habsburg rulers. In the palace, you will find 1,441 rooms, historic monuments, stunning gardens, and beautiful buildings. The rooms are still in their original decor and setting to show how imperial living was truly like.
A tour inside the palace is well worth your time and your money. You will probably spend around 4 hours in total from arriving at the palace and exploring. In order to reduce waiting times and make the most of your 2 days in Vienna, book your tours beforehand.
Explore The Belvedere
Since palaces are the main attraction of Vienna, why not explore a second one after the first? After exploring Schönbrunn Palace you can head to The Belevedere to see the two Baroque palaces and baroque park landscape. The palaces and grounds are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
The Belevedere is home to the largest Austrian art collection that dates back to the middle ages. It is home to artists such as Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet. Luckily, these palaces are closer to the city center and once you explore them you are already in the city again! If you are short on time, heading to these palaces may be more time manageable than Schönbrunn Palace.
Admire the Stunning Karlskirche
Karlskirche is a stunning Baroque church located in Vienna. This has to be one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in the whole city. The detailing is intricate and ornate and the design is beyond aesthetically pleasing. If you are a photography lover this attraction will surely be a hit for you!
Visit the Vienna State Opera House
The Vienna State Opera House is a stunning Renaissance Revival venue that was built in the 1800s. It is an internally renowned venue that hosts over 300 events a year. If you are a fan of shows and performances buy your tickets beforehand and enjoy an evening of music and opulence.
Where to stay in Vienna
Vienna is quite a big city and finding the best place to stay can be difficult. Especially with two days in Vienna, you want to ensure you are close enough to the city and the main attractions that you won’t lose valuable time on transportation. However, the closer you are to the city center the more expensive the accommodation.
Some great recommendations within a good distance from the main attractions are:
When to visit Vienna
Vienna is a great destination year-round with different offerings at every time of the year. Here is the down-low on each season in Vienna.
- Spring – March-May – During the spring season the city of Vienna starts coming alive. The lush gardens turn vibrant green, the flowers bloom and the leaves come back on the trees. There are no major events in Spring, apart from Easter, and the season has much fewer tourists than the summer.
- Summer – June – August – In the summer months the street life and culture of the city come to life. There are various outdoor patios, rooftop bars that have their own gardens and terraces for this reason. More so, there are various festivals in the summer and a street food market takes up the whole square in front of the Rathaus. The one downside is that there are a lot of tourists all eager to see the city.
- Fall – September – November – The fall is much like the spring with fewer tourists, however, instead of the city coming alive the flowers and trees are getting ready for winter. This isn’t a bad thing as it makes the city quite cozy and romantic.
- Winter – December – February – In the winter Vienna is very much like a fairytale city. Near Christmas, you will find a ton of Christmas street markets and mulled wine. Plus during this season there are lights all around the city making everything sparkle.
How to get around Vienna
As I have mentioned, Vienna is a pretty big city and knowing how to navigate around it is essential. Thankfully, there are quite a few ways to get around, they are as follow:
- Walking – this is a great way to get around the city for free. You can’t walk everywhere but you can get pretty far with your own two feet.
- Scooter – the city is full of electric scooters that are available for use. All you need to do is download the app and top up with some money and you are on your way.
- Tram – there are streetcars all around the city that can take you to areas outside the main city center.
- Metro – The metro is the quickest way to get around to different areas in Vienna.
- Bus – The bus is an underrated mode of transportation and is the best way to get to the airport.
Tours in Vienna
If you are feeling overwhelmed by all there is to do in Vienna you can also opt for a tour to help guide you more seamlessly. Some great tours are below:
Additional Tips for visiting Vienna
- The currency used here is Euro (€)
- The official language is German but almost everyone speaks English
- It is quite an expensive city so be prepared to spend some money.
As you can see there is quite a bit to do and see in 2 days in Vienna. It is quite a packed itinerary with excitement and beauty around every corner. After these 2 days in Vienna, you will surely be enchanted by the cities charm.
Where to go after visiting Vienna
- Prague, Czech Republic – head here to see more stunning buildings, interesting gothic architecture, and tasty beer.
- Budapest, Hungary – head here for culture, history, and beauty beyond compare.
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