10 Things to do in Vienna

Planning a trip to Vienna? Here is my personal list of must-have experiences on any visit to the City of Dreams.

1. Put some zing in your bite – The Bitzinger stand

I stumbled upon this place while doing my research for the Vienna trip. And boy am I glad this was my first meal in Vienna!

Bitzinger, Vienna, WIen, Austria
Bitzinger

Do yourself a favor and go there on an empty stomach. Your body will thank you for this.

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Yes, I finished all that! It’s not as easy as it looks

And be warned, you will be tempted to return over and over and over again.

2. Eat a slice of sacher torte

Sacher torte is the quintessential Viennese pastry. And everyone says that you MUST have it from Cafe Sacher. In all honesty, I am not a big fan of this particular cake. To be doubly sure I had a second slice from their biggest rivals, Demel. You know, for research purposes. And my research confirms my worst fears – I definitely do not love this cake. You can read my detailed TripAdvisor review here.

Sacher torte, Hotel Sacher, Wien, Vienna, Austria
Sacher torte, Hotel Sacher

But if, like me, you shudder at the thought of missing out on this pure Viennese tradition, grab a slice to go from Demel, settle down on one of the benches in front of the Hofburg Palace and quietly enjoy your slice of Vienna as you watch the horse carriages trot by.

3. Do the Ringstrasse

The Ringstrasse or The Ring Road is a circular ring road surrounding the Innere Stadt district. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also known as the Lord of the Ring Roads.

Karlskirche, Ringstrasse, Vienna, Wien, Austria
It pays to explore a bit off the Ringstrasse too… Karlskirche

I chose to walk the route and made many stops along the way either for pictures of the magnificent buildings dotting the path or to rest in some of the beautiful parks and soak in the atmosphere.

Wien, Vienna, Austria
Stopping to smell the flowers… literally!

4. Spend a lazy afternoon in a beautiful garden

The Burggarten Vienna Garden was laid out in the year 1818 as a private garden of the emperor. It is a beautiful spot for a picnic lunch and to rest your feet after all that walking along the Ringstrasse.

The Volksgarten is another beautiful garden within the Inner Stadt. The garden is filled with luscious blooms and the sound of gently trickling water from the fountains.

Burggarten
Burggarten pond

5. Soak up some culture at the opera

Why not catch an opera at the Vienna State Opera? If the tickets are a bit too pricey for your taste, grab a seat outdoors in front of the large screen and watch the opera for free!

Vienna State Opera
Vienna State Opera

6. Eat some apfelstrudel at a palace

Okay okay so there is a lot of food in this list. But in my defense, the apfelstrudel is a Viennese favorite. I was given solemn instructions by everyone I asked for recommendations that leaving Vienna without sampling some would be a grave mistake. I grabbed a slice from the cafe at the entrance of the Schonbrunn Palace, found a quiet bench and had an indulgent breakfast with one heck of a view.

Schonbrunn Palace
Schonbrunn Palace

7. The Belvedere 

Two gorgeous palaces that now function as art museums. What fascinated me the most was the beautiful garden that sloped between the two palaces. Impeccably manicured lawns with fresh, fragrant blooms and neatly trimmed hedges left me wishing I could stay longer. The weather was a crisp, spring day perfect for strolling through the gardens and marveling at the flowers, fountains and sculptures.

Belvedere Palace and grounds
Belvedere Palace and grounds

8. The Vienna Boys’ Choir 

I was on a budget for this trip and could not afford to attend a full fledged concert by the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Yet I could not leave Vienna without this experience and so I found the next best thing.

I was fortunate enough to be in Vienna on a Sunday and so I decided to attend the Sunday service at the Hofburgkapelle which was built in 1449. For anywhere between 10 to 26 euros, you can get a taste of the choir during this Sunday service. You can even opt for standing room entry which is completely free!

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And let me tell you, it was absolutely worth the early start to my day. The chapel itself is beautifully intimate and the acoustics sent my spirit soaring every time the choir broke into song. Definitely one of my most cherished experiences in Vienna. In fact, I was so overcome that I simply had to pen down this post as I waited inside the chapel for the service to begin.

9. Hofburg Palace

You cannot miss this when in Vienna. I walked right past it my first day exploring knowing that I would be back later in my trip for a closer look. You cannot help but be awed by that striking white facade, those imposing columns and the detailed sculptures, all crowned by that striking green dome.

10. St. Stephen’s Cathedral

St. Stethen’s is a 12th century Gothic cathedral in the heart of Vienna. With its tall and blackened facade the structure seems almost daunting but a visit to this masterpiece is a must on any visit to Vienna.

In the evenings the area around Stephansdom is buzzing with life. I loved wandering through the square and the nearby streets stumbling upon hidden churches, watching the people partying, shopping or dining and occasionally getting lost in the maze of byways.

St. Stephen's Cathedral, Wien, Vienna, Austria
St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Have you ever been to Vienna? Are there any sights or activities that you would recommend?

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23 thoughts on “10 Things to do in Vienna

    1. Hi Iah and Ana! So glad you dropped by. Vienna is a gorgeous place and I’m sure you’ll have a blast. I can’t wait to see the beautiful pictures you guys come up with 🙂

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  1. It is so breathtakingly lovely there!
    When I was a girl, I fell in love with stories about Marie Antoinette, and learned about her early life as an Austrian princess. I saw a painting of a palace where she grew up and I wanted to see it so bad. Your pictures are awesome and give me a great sense of the view!

    And that strudel looks pretty tasty! 😀

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  2. What a wonderful post, Diya! I was in Vienna a couple of years ago, just for a day.. It was on the day of Vienna marathon so everything was closed. I and my friend just walked around the numerous historical buildings and palaces, but to be honest, it was a little too much for us! So much history and culture that we had researched very little about. People often tell me that they really liked Vienna, but for me it was a bit mundane, because maybe we had just been there from Prague. I absolutely do want to visit other famed Austrian cities though – Innsbruck, Salzburg, Hallstatt, and maybe Vienna too! I will refer to this post if I do decide to revisit it. 🙂

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    1. I completely understand what you mean hon. I felt exactly the same way when I first got there. I did my fair share of research on things to see and do but didn’t really read up on the history too much. The sheer history and culture there was a bit overwhelming 🙂

      But the town itself is beautiful and I picked up bits and pieces along the way. My subsequent trip to Prague was enriched further thanks to my time in Vienna. It was fascinating to see how much of their history overlapped and how the monarchs left their mark on both these countries.

      Those are some lovely cities on your Austrian wishlist. I could dedicate an entire post to Hallstatt and Salzburg alone! 🙂 And I do hope you give Vienna another chance 😉

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