So you checked in at the hotel, cursed gently for forgetting the travel adapter, and debated the morality of packing up the free shampoo on the first day. What to do now?
- See also:
- Useful overview articles
- Experiences & tours
- Christmas, New Year, Easter
- Day trips
Useful overview articles
(Don’t visit Vienna without dropping into a traditional café)
- What events do you suggest? A list of recurring events and festivals by month, plus a few tips for what’s on right now.
- What exhibitions are on? List of current and future art, photography, design, architecture, history etc. exhibitions in Vienna.
- What should you experience? A list of authentic activities for those who wish to immerse themselves in Viennese life. May involve food, particularly cake. And coffee.
- What should you see? Big overview of the main sights and tourist attractions throughout the city, split by area, season and celebrity (if you want to follow in the footsteps of Beethoven, for example).
- What must you see? Collection of my Top 10 favourite sights, many of which also tick the boxes on some traditional Vienna landmarks.
- What can you do in a day? Three different one-day itineraries, depending on whether your main interest is art, history, or city life & architecture.
- What can you do on a budget? The many free activities, sights, and experiences on offer in the city.
- Where can I get the best city views? No explanation required.
- What can I do with the kids? We have children in Vienna, too, so the city offers more than just art and architecture. The particularly good news is we have a rather good zoo.
- How can I see a classical concert? You’re in the right city for a bit of Brahms or Beethoven. Or Mozart. Or Schoenberg. Or Mahler. Or Strauss. Or…you get the picture.
Enjoy your visit simply by wandering around and soaking up the historical atmosphere.
For more disciplined sightseers, see this detailed guide to the city, with maps, photos, insider tips, musician & artist trails, and more.
Afterwards, reward yourself with coffee and cake in one of the traditional cafés.
A capital city and top tourist destination can’t survive on nice buildings alone. Vienna provides no shortage of entertainment to keep locals and visitors alike in good spirits.
For a look at the more prominent festivals and other events for visitors in the annual Viennese calendar, browse this monthly event overview.
The event listings cover various food, music, film, and other festivals. But outside of those, Vienna has three major opera houses, numerous classical music venues, as well as several English-speaking theatres and cinemas.
(And, if you do run out of things to do, you can always just watch the football down the pub or in the stadium.)
Experiences & tours
There’s a lot to be said for simply indulging in a few authentic local experiences, such as coffee and cake, open-air markets, and sausages.
I’m slowly building out tour recommendations, including detailed suggestions for:
- Walking tours and themed walks
- Various VR, multimedia & immersive experiences
- Tours of historical buildings, such as concert halls and palaces
- Boat tours and river trips: we have the (not notably blue) Danube on our doorstep
Christmas, New Year, Easter
Vienna takes on a special ambience during Christmas (my favourite season) and New Year.
It all begins in late November with the appearance of the Christmas lights, best seen through the steam rising from a mulled wine or a bag of freshly-roasted chestnuts. Yeah, I’m a sucker for tradition.
Here’s an overview of advent activities, as well as detailed reviews of the famous Christmas markets. Then enjoy the New Year festivities and the New Year markets.
Talking of seasonal markets, they also feature heavily during the Viennese Easter.
Finally, if you’ve exhausted the entertainment potential of Vienna (or simply want a change of scene), various other cities, sights, and experiences are within an easy day trip by car, bus, train, or boat.
(That page of suggestions remains a work in progress as I slowly make the trips myself. Not an easy task, as I’m not used to travelling anywhere you can’t reach by tram.)