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2 Days in Vienna: A First Timer’s Guide To Vienna, Austria

Vienna, the capital of Austria, has a rich artistic and intellectual history. No matter where you go in Vienna, you will notice its opulent and elegant buildings. The rich culture was influenced by notable residents including Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud. This city has enough to visit to keep you entertained for days, but in this guide we have selected our favorite things to do in Vienna in 2 days to help you plan your vacation.

Where to stay in Vienna? Find all the Hotels in Vienna

Many of the attractions are located in the historic old town in the 1st District, making it the city to be explored by foot. In this 2 day itinerary to Vienna we have included the main attractions in the city as well as some hidden gems you must visit in Vienna.

Is 2 Days in Vienna enough time?

Vienna is a city you can stay for a month and still not visit all the museums and many attractions the city has to offer. In 2 days in Vienna you can get an idea of what the city is famous for and enjoy some of its main landmarks. If you can stay a little longer in Vienna do it, even though in this guide I have included the unmissable things to do in Vienna in 2 days, having just 3 days in Vienna is so much better.

If you are traveling to Vienna with kids make sure to arrange your itinerary to fit their needs. Vienna is a city that has so much to offer to any type of traveler regarding their ages, interest or budget.

However, if you are short on time, do not miss any of the highlights with this one day guide to Vienna.

Where to stay in Vienna?

Where to sleep in vienna

The coolest and most unique boutique hotel in Vienna is 25hours Hotel. With only 2 days in Vienna, we recommend staying downtown near the MuseumsQuartier. As soon as you walk in the lobby, you will be transported to a new world!

Each cozy room has its own personality and was obviously designed with love. The hotel has a circus theme which is awesome and unique for a hotel. Each room’s decor is tied to this theme and a vintage vibe. Our favorite decor is the entrance to the hotel where you are walking into what looks like a red carpet with many vintage cameras that are flashing. You feel famous!

➳ Read more: Our experience staying at the 25hour hotel in Vienna

How to get from and to the airport of Vienna?

There are several transportation options that run from Vienna International Airport to the city center. The best ways to travel from and to the airport are:

  • Private Transfer: It is the easiest and most comfortable way to get to the city centre but it is also the most expensive option. If you are not on a budget then you can book your transfer online before your departure and a driver will be waiting for you at arrival. It takes 20 minutes depending on traffic and cost €45. Book your transfers in Vienna.
  • City Airport Train: The train from Vienna airport to the city centre takes 16 minutes. The train runs from the airport to the city centre every day from 6:09 AM to 11:39 PM every 30 minutes. From the city centre to the airport it runs from 5:37 AM to 11:07 PM every 30 minutes as well. The tickets cost €11 for a one way ticket and €19 for roundtrip. It is the fastest but most expensive way to get from and to the airport.
  • Express Train S7: This train takes about 37 minutes and it runs from the airport to the city centre every day from 5:18 AM to 0:18 AM and from the city centre to the airport from 4:36 AM to 11:36 PM. You will need two tickets and the total will be €4.10 each way. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket machine and must be stamped before entering the train.
  • Uber or Taxi: It cost anywhere between €30 to €40 and the journey can take up to 30 minutes.

How to get around in Vienna?

Vienna is a very walkable city and it has a well-connected public transit that includes: buses, trains, trams, and subways. The majority of attractions in this 2 day itinerary to Vienna are located in the city center. If you need to take the metro just head to the station and purchase  your ticket at the kiosk. You can use either cash or card to buy a single ticket. Make sure to validate your ticket at one of the machines before walking to the platform. Always keep your ticket with you in case of a random check.

If you are thinking about using public transportation a lot, it might be best to get a Vienna City Card. It allows you to use all forms of public transportation. You can choose from 24, 48 or 72-hour cards, which is a fantastic option for your 2 day trip to Vienna.

Where to eat in Vienna?

Cafe Central

Even though we do not normally recommend places to eat, you must visit the Cafe Central. Yes, it is pricey but the food is delicious and the building is super beautiful. It is worth going in and order a dessert. Make sure to go early in the morning as in the afternoon there is a long line to get in.

Other places to eat in Vienna are Cafe Demel, Hotel Sacher, and Figlmüller.

You should try the following food in each place:

  • Cafe Demel: Eat any of the delicious pastries and watch the chefs creating the delicious chocolatey treats.
  • Hotel Sacher: Make sure to eat the original Sacher-Torte. It is one of Vienna’s most popular desserts. Sacher-Torte is a delicious cake with dark chocolate and a slither of apricot in the middle.
  • Figlmüller: Try the schnitzel as it is known as the birthplace of one of Austria’s national dishes. The Wiener Schnitzel is a breaded pan-fried thinly cut piece of meat.

2 Days in Vienna Tourist Map:

In this Vienna tourist map we have added all the locations you must visit in Vienna. In this map you will find all the attractions you must visit in your 2 day Vienna itinerary. Make sure to plan your day accordingly.

What to see in Vienna in 2 days Travel Video:

Important information to plan your 2 day itinerary to Vienna:

  • Budget for 2 days/2 nights in a mid range hotel including activities and transportation would be around €350. The Vienna pass and the travel card cost €95 per person for two days. Accommodation can range from €60 to €300 depending on your preferences, season and location.
  • Currency: The currency used in Vienna and all of Austria is the Euro (€). Although Vienna is very credit card-friendly, you should always have a few euros on hand.
  • Language: German is the official language in all of Austria, but do not worry as pretty much everyone speaks English. For your two days in Vienna make sure to download the Google Translate app and download the German dictionary on the app, so you can translate words even if you are not connected to the internet.

Vienna Card vs Vienna Pass?

Nearly all the things to do in Vienna have an entry fee, so a good way to save money but still enjoy some of the best attractions in Vienna is by using a pass. There are 3 type of passes in Vienna that depending on your budget and preference are a better option for you.

The Vienna Pass includes access to over 60 different attractions and allows you to skip the line at the majority of the popular attractions in Vienna. The price for the Vienna Pass ranges from $77 USD for one day to $172 for 6 days. The Vienna Pass includes unlimited use of the Vienna tourist buses (Hop On Hop Off sightseeing tours). You can also add a TRAVELCARD that includes all the public transportation in the city. The TRAVELCARD cost €8 for 24 hours, €14 for 48 hours and €17 for 72 hours.

The Vienna Flexi Pass gives you access to 3, 4 or 5 tourist attractions out of more than 30 options. The pass also lets you skip the line at the some of the attractions. The Flexi Pass with 3 sights cost $50, with 4 sights $60 and with 5 sights $72.

The Vienna City Card which gives access to all public transportation such as trams, busses and subways along with discounts at many of the main attractions and restaurants. It costs €17 for 24 hours, €25 for 48 hours and €29 for 72 hours. On top of that you can add for an extra fee the following add ons: 24-hour Hop-On Hop-Off and transfer on all modes of transport to and from Vienna Airport.

Our advice is to add up the cost of each attraction you want to visit to figure out which pass is best for your three day visit to Vienna

How to spend 2 days in Vienna:

Vienna is one of the greatest and most beautiful cities in Europe. It is classy and elegant. I have visited Vienna three times and each time I find the city even more stunning. The weather though, is not always the best. Each of the times I have gone to Vienna it has been either snowing or raining. Vienna can get really cold during the winter and late fall, so make sure to bring enough clothes to keep you warm. On the other hand, during summer you should be fine as it is hot out.

Michaelerplatz

Michaelerplatz

Michaelerplatz square has is a great place to get many photos in one place. Around the square is the Hofburg Palace, the Sisi Museum, the Imperial Treasury and St. Michael’s Church, with its vast white Romanesque architecture.

It is also just next to the Spanish Riding School, where you can watch the morning exercises, take guided tours or watch the horses rest in their stables.

  • Hofburg Palace: The former imperial palace is now the home to the Austrian president. This stunning building is the place to go for an insight into the royal family’s life.
  • The Sisi Museum: It holds the collection of the Austrian empress’s belongings throughout her life until her early demise.
  • Imperial Treasury: In this museum you can see the jewels of the Habsburgs and some of the original jewelry of Empress Elisabeth.

Free with the Vienna Pass

Vienna State Opera House

You cannot visit Vienna and not visit the Vienna State Opera. The best way to visit this world famous Opera venue is by either taking a guided tour or/and attend any of their opera and ballet performances. Currently, the opera house is presenting different performances including over 60 different operas and ballets. Without a doubt the best thing to do in 2 days in Vienna is to attend to an opera concert.

Tip: Show up 90 minutes before each concert and score cheaper tickets if you do not mind standing.

Hundertwasserhaus

hundertwasser House, Vienna

Hundertwasserhaus Vienna is a bit out of the way from the other main attractions. The Hundertwasser House is actually an apartment house that  was conceptualized on the ideas of Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The Hundertwasser House and the arts village are worth the walk to get a photo of the brightly painted building and cute indoor village.

Free with the Vienna Pass

St Stephen’s Cathedral

St. Stephen’s Cathedral Vienna

St. Stephen’s Cathedral is one of the most iconic landmarks of the city and a must see in Vienna. This 12th century church has beautiful colored tile roof and impressive religious relics. The best thing to do is climb the 343 steps to the tower room, for a panoramic view across Vienna or take a tour down into the crypt.

Free with the Vienna Pass

St. Peter’s Church

Saint Peter's Church

Peterskirche is one of the most beautiful churches we have ever seen. Inside the church you will feel like you have entered a gallery. The church stands right in the middle of one of the busiest streets in Vienna.  

Tip: Get the best photo of this Baroque church from the Habsburgergasse.

Anker Clock

Anker Clock

The Anker Clock, completed in 1914 stands at the edge of the Hoher Markt. Throughout the day twelve historical figures move across the bridge of the clock. At noon the parade of the figures on the Ankeruhr clock happens, each accompanied by music from its own era.

Graben St

Graben St

Graben Street is now a beautiful pedestrian promenade with many places to shop. It also has a rich history still present to this day. At the start of the street is Stock Im Eisen, a “nail-tree” dating back to the Middle Ages. What makes this street super interesting is that there are several statues referring to the Great Plague of Vienna that occurred in the 17th century. One of this statues is the Pestsaule Monument, a surprisingly golden sculpture.

Belvedere Museums

Belvedere

The two Belvedere palaces are surrounded by a beautiful park complex in the south east of Vienna. The magnificent Baroque buildings and ornate state rooms now serve as public museums. Several of the buildings in the complex hold exhibits, so it can take a while to make it through them all.

The gardens are on the top of the best spots to visit in Vienna as they are in the middle of a beautiful place with sculpted hedges, beautiful sculptures, iron gates, graceful fountains, and cherubic statues, creating a real historical movie feeling.

Inside the palace there is the famous painting of Gustav Klimt called “The Kiss”. You will also find a number of artworks from Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Cezanne, and Max Beckmann.

Free with the Vienna Pass

MuseumsQuartier

The Museum Quarter, MuseumsQuartier Wien, is one of the largest art and culture complexes in the world, with over 70 cultural facilities to explore. There is a museum or exhibit hall for everyone, and something always going on, so make sure to check out their calendar.

Some of the most visited museums in the Museum Quarter are the Leopold Museum, the MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art), and the children’s museum. 

Free with the Vienna Pass

St. Francis of Assisi Church

St. Francis of Assisi Church Vienna, Austria

The St. Francis of Assisi Church is built in a Basilica-style. This large church complex makes for great photos, and if you have the opportunity watch the church glow bright gold in the sunset.

Maria Theresien Platz

Walking through the burgtor takes you to Maria Theresien Platz, which is a big large public square built in honor of the Habsburg Empress – Maria Theresa.

In the middle of the square you will find a big statue of the Empress, which is flanked by the Natural History Museum (Naturhistorisches Museum) and the Museum of Art History (Kunsthistorisches Museum). Both buildings are near identical and considered an UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.

Strudlhofstiege

Strudlhofstiege

The Strudlhofstiege is an outdoor staircase of architectural and literary significance, and makes for wonderful photo shoots. It is best to visit in the spring or summer while the plants are in bloom.

Liechtenstein Garden Palace

The recently renovated Lichtenstein Garden Palace also known as the City Palace of Vienna, provides a look into the glamorous high Baroque and Rococo age in Vienna. Guided tours must be ordered online in advance and do sell out well in advance!

Fun Fact: It is a living palace used by the princely family of Liechtenstein.

JudenPlatz

Juden Platz

JudenPlatz is the historic center to Jewish life in Vienna, before its destruction in the early 1400s. In the center of the square is now a solemn Shoah Memorial. At the square is also the Misrachi-Haus, a branch of the Jewish Museum Vienna, with the foundations of one of Europe’s biggest medieval synagogues.

Free with the Vienna Pass

Jewish Museum Vienna

With a Jewish long history dating way back to 1190, Vienna has a huge Jewish history to be acknowledged. The vast and informative Jewish Museum of Vienna covers Jewish history, life and religion in Austria. It encompasses many multimedia exhibits covering both history and contemporary Jewish life. Not only does it cover the history of Jews in Austria but information about Judaism as well.

Free with the Vienna Pass

Votive Church

Votive Church is the second-tallest church in Vienna. Its Neo-Gothic architecture is quite impressive to see.

Heldenplatz

Heldenplatz

On the other side of the Hofburg Palace is Heldenplatz, a large public square. On one side of the square is the Neue Burg Museum. Behind the museum is Palmenhaus Wien, a former greenhouse, turned cafe.

This square was set up as a Heroes Square and you will find many important monuments such as the statue of Archduke Charles of Austria, and one of Prince Eugene of Savoy.

Straight across from the palace is the Äußere Burgtor, a wide and shorter triumphal arch. Pass through the burgtor to continue exploring Vienna.

Fun Fact: Adolf Hitler’s ceremonial announcement of the Austrian Anschluss to Nazi Germany occurred here.

Volksgarten Park

Walking back north, you will reach the Volksgarten Park, a continuation of Heldenplatz. This park is famous for its beautiful rose gardens.

Austrian Parliament Building

Austrian Parliament Building

If you want to learn about the Austrian government look no further than their Parliament Building. The visitor center offers interactive displays about the Parliament, as well as guided tours of the building.

Even if you are not interested in taking a guided tour of the building make sure to check out the exterior of one of Vienna’s most visited attractions. It’s beauty is mind blowing.

Burgtheater

Burgtheater has one of the biggest theatre stages in the world an is an important German language theatre. If you are looking to enjoy fine German theatre, this is the place to see a show. The theatre is closed during July and August.

Vienna City Hall (Rathaus)

Vienna City Hall

Vienna City Hall is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. Some of the features of this Neo-Gothic buildings are the 5 towers, the arches, the stain glass windows and a big clock on the central tower. Today, Vienna City Hall houses the office of the Mayor of Vienna, the chambers of the city council and the Vienna Landtag diet. You are able to take a free guided tour of the building.

The Rathausplatz holds several events throughout the year; during summer there is an open air cinema which screens free movies and in the winter, my favorite, it host the Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market). In your 2 days to Vienna itinerary you must include a visit to Vienna City Hall.

Naschmarkt

In your 2 day itinerary to Vienna make sure to include the Naschmarkt. It is not only a landmark of Vienna, but it is also a great place to get food. There are over 100 stalls selling meats, cheeses, herbs, and spices.

Every Saturday there is a flea market which sells everything from records to  clothes.

City River Cruise

A unique way to explore Vienna in 2 days is with a river cruise. We always recommend to take a boat tour down the Danube after exploring the city on land. A river cruise will give you a different perspective and you can get truly unique photos of the different landmarks in Vienna from the water.

There are several companies that offer different tours of the City River Cruise. If you have the Vienna Pass you can enjoy the included 75 minute cruise or buy a cruise that includes dinner.

Free with the Vienna Pass

Danube Tower

The Danube Tower is a 252-meter high building with a 360-degree rotating restaurant with the best views in Vienna. You can go up the elevator or climb 775 steps to reach the viewing platform.

Fun Fact: It is the tallest building in Vienna and it is among the top 75 tallest buildings in the world.

Free with the Vienna Pass

If you have more time visit the following museums:

Vienna has several museums that are worth visiting. In this list I have selected the most visited museums in Vienna. Choose which of these museums is more interesting to you.

  • Wien Museum: At the Wien Museum you will learn more about the history of Vienna. The interesting thing about this museum is that there are several buildings spread out around the city. The most popular building is the Karlsplatz, where you will find neolithic finds, roman archaeological discoveries and artwork from Gustav Klimt.
  • Albertina: It is the most popular art museum in Vienna with a collection over of over a million master prints, 65,000 drawings, photography and old masters paintings including artwork from Monet, Cezanne, and Picasso. It also houses one o the largest and most important print rooms in the world. The Albertina Museum is open from 10AM to 6PM on Sunday, Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and until 9PM on Wednesdays and Fridays.
  • Natural History Museum: Considered to be one of the most important Natural History Museums in the world, the museum collection contains over 25 million items including dinosaur skeletons. The Natural History Museum is open from Thursday to Monday from 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM and on Wednesday from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
  • Sigmund Freud Museum: The interesting thing about this museum is that it is hosted in the former apartment and office of Freud himself. The museum is not big but it has many items that belonged to Freud. At the museum you can learn the history of psychoanalysis and its influence on art and society.
  • Kunsthistorisches Museum: It is the largest art museum in Austria and one of the most beautiful buildings as well. In the museum you will find paintings from the Habsburg era and Egyptian, Greek and Roman relics.
  • Leopold Museum: It is located in the Museumsquartier in Vienna and it host one of the largest collections of modern Austrian art, featuring artists such as Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and also features the world’s largest collection of Egon Schiele work.

I hope this guide helps you plan the best 2 days in Vienna and that you have a blast exploring this elegant city as much as we did!

More articles from Vienna that might interest you:

Read More: Four Day trips you must take from Vienna, Austria

Read More: A Complete Itinerary of What to Do in Vienna in 3 days

Read More: Hotel Review: 25hours Hotel at the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna, Austria

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First Timers Guide to visit Vienna What to see and do in Vienna Austria

48 Hours Vienna Highlights & Things To Do: Join me for a tour of Vienna's Highlights and make sure you don't miss out on your weekend break.

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