Are you dreaming of a European holiday? Vienna, Austria’s capital, is beaming with historic landmarks, fascinating culture, and culinary delights. So, these best places in Vienna will highlight the city’s charming personality.
Vienna is a city made of dreams, with its winding cobblestone streets, ethereal castles, Baroque cathedrals, insightful museums, and more. It is Austria’s largest city, and there are plenty of magnificent things to see. But if you’re on a time crunch, you won’t want to miss the very best that Vienna has to offer.
Quick Tip: Find out about the best time to visit Vienna to enjoy all the attractions to their fullest.
5 Must-See Places in Vienna
There are plenty of things to see in Vienna, but it can be a tad overwhelming to decide where to go.
There are hardly any inferior locations, but this list will guide you to the cream of the crop. From spectacular castles to scenic boulevards, these best places to visit in Vienna will create lifelong memories.
Schönbrunn Palace | Vienna’s Crown Jewel
You can’t go to Vienna without wandering through Schönbrunn Palace. The exquisite palace, paired with its elaborate gardens, is a UNESCO World Heritage site you won’t want to leave once you step inside.
It was initially a hunting lodge for Emperor Leopold I in 1696. Later, it transformed into a royal residence for Empress Maria Theresa in the 18th century. The palace then continued as a home for the Habsburg royal family until the 20th century.
Today, the divine, well-preserved building and splendid gardens are a marvel to behold. Schönbrunn Palace features striking yellow walls and ornate Baroque architecture. The gardens are decorated with fountains, statues, and carefully maintained flowerbeds. You can also visit the Gloriette, a hilltop structure that offers panoramic views of the palace and the city.
Other Palaces in Vienna
Schönbrunn Palace isn’t the only royal building in Vienna. If you seek more castle adventures during your stay, you can visit Hofburg Palace, another signature residence during the Habsburg reign.
The Baroque Belvedere Palace is also a must-see, thanks to its gorgeous complex of houses and impressive art collection. The collection includes the famous painting The Kiss by Gustav Klimt.
The elegant Liechtenstein Palace is another place with impressive artworks from renowned artists like Rembrandt. Palais Schwarzenberg, Augarten, Daun-Kinsky, and Pallavicini are also spectacular options to add to the list.
Stephansdom | Vienna’s Most Prominent Cathedral
If you’re interested in history, Stephansdom has plenty. This cathedral started as a Romanesque church in 1147 and was gradually replaced by a larger and more elaborate Gothic cathedral in the 14th century. Church services are still held in Stephansdom to this day.
The cathedral boasts a multi-colored tile roof, signature stained glass windows, and a slender 446-foot (136-meter) spire called Steffl. You can climb the south tower to see sweeping views of Vienna. The interior of St. Stephen’s Cathedral is equally majestic, with various chapels, altars, and religious artworks — it also has eerie catacombs for you to wander.
Top Tip: If you visit at the right time, you can even enjoy a classical concert at St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
Other Cathedrals in Vienna
Another exceptional Baroque church in Vienna is the Karlskirche, also known as St. Charles Church.
This wondrous building has stood the test of time since its completion in 1739. It was built during the last great plague for the Holy Emporer Charles VI. Karlskirche features a distinctive green dome and columns inspired by ancient Roman architecture.
The oldest church in the capital is St. Rupert’s Church, which is believed to have been built between 796 and 829 AD. Vienna also has the Maria am Gestade, the city’s second-oldest church that’s been around since 1414.
Feel free to explore more impressive holy buildings like the Minoritenkirche, Votive Church, St. Augustine’s Church, and Schottenkirche.
Kunsthistorisches Museum | An Art Gold Mine
The Kunsthistorisches Museum, nestled on Vienna Ring Road, opened in 1891. It was made to house the extensive art collections of the Habsburg dynasty, particularly those of Emperor Franz Joseph and Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The building itself is architecturally gorgeous, designed by architects Gottfried Semper and Carl von Hasenauer.
The museum holds centuries of art, including paintings, sculptures, and more. There are Old Master paintings by artists such as the famous Raphael. You can also explore ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman history, viewing the art and artifacts, including mummies, sculptures, and detailed vases.
Top Tip: Get a skip-the-line Kunsthistorisches Museum entry ticket to save yourself time.
Other Museums in Vienna
Some of Vienna’s best places are the various intriguing museums. Naturhistorisches Museum, next door to Kunsthistorisches, features a formidable array of historical artifacts, such as fossils and minerals. You also don’t want to miss seeing the 25,000 to 30,000-year-old human figurine called Venus of Willendorf.
Haus der Musik explores the world of sound and music. There are a variety of interactive exhibits, and you can even conduct a virtual orchestra. Finally, check out the Sigmund Freud Museum, which was home to the father of psychoanalysis and showcases his life and contributions to psychology.
Naschmarkt | A Vibrant Culinary Market
If you’re on the lookout for European food destinations, the Naschmarkt is a worthwhile pitstop. Surprisingly, The Naschmarkt has a history going as far back as the 16th century when milk bottles were sold. Then, farmers and traders started to sell fruits and vegetables. The name “Naschmarkt” comes from the German word “naschen,” which means to snack on sweets.
Naschmarkt is centrally located in the Mariahilf district of Vienna, between Linke Wienzeile and Rechte Wienzeile Street. This lively mile-long market opens Monday to Saturday, with stalls selling produce, spices, herbs, and street food. You can satisfy any food mood with cuisines like Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Viennese.
Parts of the market also sell antiques, clothing, jewelry, and kitchenware. Whether you’re hungry, looking for souvenirs, or like to people-watch, the Naschmarkt is the place to be.
Other Markets in Vienna
If markets make your heart happy, you can check some more off the list. Brunnenmarkt, in the Ottakring district, is similar to the Naschmarkt in terms of its atmosphere and types of stalls.
In comparison, Karmelitermarkt in Leopoldstadt is a smaller yet charming option. There are numerous other bustling markets scattered around the city, but the best remains the Naschmarkt.
Vienna’s Ringstrasse | A Grand Boulevard
Once upon a time, in the 19th century, Emperor Franz Joseph I wanted to create a modern urban space and expand the city. He ordered that the inner city walls be demolished so that the outer suburbs could connect to the imperial center.
It then took 50 years to build the 3.3-mile-long (5.2km) Ringstrasse, and today you can enjoy its glorious craftsmanship. This historical testament leads to iconic landmarks like the Parliament Building, the University of Vienna, and the picturesque park Burggarten.
The Ringstrasse is not only an architectural treasure but is symbolic of Vienna’s heritage. It often hosts events and parades throughout the year, including the annual Vienna City Marathon.
Ringtrasse Nearby Attractions
Since the Ringtrasse expands for quite a stretch, you can easily walk along its historic path and stumble upon some superb places.
One of the prominent nearby attractions is the Vienna State Opera. It is one of the world’s most famous opera houses with stunning Neo-Renaissance architecture — and is the perfect place to watch a show. Other notable places to immerse in performing arts are the nearby Kärntnertor Theater and Burgtheater.
The Albertina Art Museum, Augustinerkirche, Capuchin Church, Votivkirche, and numerous other exciting locations also fall along the Ringtrasse path.
FAQs About the Best Places to Visit in Vienna
Now that you know the absolute gems of the places to be in this city, you may have a few more burning questions. These FAQs will quickly set you on your Vienna adventure, fully clued up on the best locations.
What Is the Number One Attraction in Vienna?
Vienna, Austria, has countless wonders, making the choice of the very best a challenging feat.
The resounding answer on most people’s minds is that Schönbrunn Palace is the place to be. It’s easy to understand why, though. One glance at this castle will quickly leave you breathless in awe due to its intricate historical detail.
Is Vienna a Walkable City?
Vienna is the perfect place to go for a walk. The city is generally flat and simple to navigate. Some areas are even pedestrian-only, and traffic will be of no worry. Adventures are often best on foot, allowing you to discover quaint and beautiful places beyond a predetermined location by car.
Which Is the Best Tourist District in Vienna?
The Innere Stadt, 1st District in the city center, has many of Vienna’s top attractions. If you’d love to get the most bang for your buck, the district homes St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Hofburg Palace, the Vienna State Opera, and the Albertina.
Final Thought on the Best Places to Visit in Vienna
You may have heard of these destinations before, but there’s a reason. The best places in Vienna are those with rich history, marvelous beauty, and opportunities to learn about the culture. These five main attractions will fill your travels with exciting adventures and leave you with cherished memories.
Next read: If you’d love to travel to more parts of Austria, here are some interesting things to do in Graz.