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Vienna, Austria’s capital, lies in the country’s east on the Danube River. Its artistic and intellectual legacy was shaped by residents including Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud. The city is also known for its Imperial palaces, including Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ summer residence. In the MuseumsQuartier district, historic and contemporary buildings display works by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and other artists.


There’s no wrong time to visit Vienna! The summer months (June-August) offer the best weather. However, this is the peak season for tourists so things will be busy. During July and August, many local residents leave the city for what they call Sommerpause (Summer break) meaning many small local businesses close.

Winter is from December to March. It gets cold, with temperatures dropping as low as -15 °C (5 °F). That said, November and December are considered to be the most magical months in the city because of the Christmas markets. The city looks gorgeous covered in snow!

Things to do in Vienna

1. See St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Stephansdom is a 12th-century Romanesque and Gothic cathedral in Vienna, noted for its colorful roof. The cathedral has been destroyed and rebuilt over the years, with the current version of the cathedral largely initiated by Duke Rudolf IV (1339–1365). Its most recent reconstruction took place just after WWII. You can take a tour of the cathedral, the catacombs, and climb the north and south towers (which offer excellent views of the city). Admission is for 14.50 EUR.

2. Go to the Naschmarkt

This is Vienna’s largest open-air food market. It’s been operating for hundreds of years and has a variety of international restaurants, street stalls, and grocers. It’s a little touristy (don’t go food shopping here) but it has a cool vibe and, on a warm sunny day, it’s nice to sit out with a meal and a glass of wine. Despite its fame, you’ll still find a lot of locals here. Be sure to hit up Umarfisch for seafood and wine.

3. See the art in the Museumsquartier

Once the imperial stables, the Museumsquartier is home to all kinds of art and cultural institutions and events. Three museums worth checking out in the MQ are the Leopold Museum for Art Noveau and Expressionism; Kunsthalle Wien, an exhibition center with rotating exhibitions; and the Museum of Modern Art, which has the largest collection of modern art in central Europe. A pass to all three museums is 22.90 EUR. The Museumsquartier is also home to a number of festivals throughout the year (including open-air concerts and a fashion week).

4. Visit the House of Music

This is a small but fascinating museum that features four floors of exhibits on some of the world’s most well-known Austrian composers — Mozart, Schubert, Strauss, and Schoenberg. You can view manuscripts and artifacts, and there’s also a virtual stage where you can conduct your own symphony. It’s both fun, interactive, and educational. Admission is 14 EUR.

5. See a classical performance

Austria has contributed its fair share of composers to the world, so it’s no surprise that you’ll find plenty of opportunities to indulge in the classics here. If you’ve ever considered taking in an opera, symphony, or ballet (the Vienna State Ballet is one of the best in the world), this is the place to do it. Prices will vary depending on the performance but expect to pay at least 20 EUR for standard tickets.

6. Visit the Museum of Art History

This is the largest art museum in the country, with works from ancient Egypt and Greece through to the 18th century. There are over 700,000 items in the collections so it’s worth taking the time to explore (especially if you’re a history buff like me). Opened in 1891, the primary collection originally belonged to the Hapsburgs, which includes tons of portraits and armor. Admission is 16 EUR.

7. Hang out in the Jewish Square

For centuries, Vienna was home to a sizable Jewish population. Then the Nazis came. This area of town features two important museums: the Vienna Jewish Museum, which details the role Viennese Jews played in the development of city life; and the Medieval Synagogue (Misrachi-Haus), which highlights the history of Jewish life in Vienna. Admission is 12 EUR and includes entry to both sites. There is also the nearby sober Holocaust memorial designed by British artist Rachel Whiteread.

8. Walk the Ring Road

This historic loop is brimming with beautiful architecture. It’s here where you’ll find the Parliament building, City Hall, both the Museum of Fine Art and the National History Museum, as well as the State Opera. It’s a relaxing (and free) way to spend some time soaking up the city and admiring its history.

9. See an opera

Vienna is synonymous with opera. The Vienna State Opera is one of the largest and most famous in the world; it’s a major focal point of Viennese life. For 9 EUR, you can take a 40-minute behind-the-scenes tour of the facility. To see a show, I recommend buying last-minute standing room tickets for around 10 EUR the day of a show, usually around 60-80 minutes before it starts (you can line up earlier than that, but they don’t start selling until right before the show). It’s first come, first served and you can only buy one ticket per person but it’s the cheapest way to see a performance!


Public transport in Vienna is cheap, fast, clean, and efficient. There are four main forms of public transport: bus (Autobus), local train (S-Bahn), tram (Straßenbahn), and subway (U-Bahn). Public transportation in Vienna works on an honor system. This can be confusing at first as there are no formal ticket checks or barriers at stations making it appear that public transport is free. Public transport is not free. You will need to buy a ticket at the machines within the stations. If you get caught by one of the undercover ticket inspectors you will pay a hefty fine.

Taxis – Taxis should be avoided if you’re on a budget as they can add up fast. Fares start at 4 EUR and go up by 1.50 EUR per kilometer. Uber is also available here and is cheaper than the taxi so use it instead if you need a private ride.

Car Rental – You don’t need to rent a car to get around Vienna. most areas are walkable and public transportation is efficient. However, if you want to rent a car to get out of the city, expect to pay at least 25 EUR per day. Make sure to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) — you’ll need one for any car rental.

Bike rental – If you want to explore the city by bike you can find rentals for under 10 EUR per day via ListnRide. It will match you with a local renting their bike for cheap.


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