Vienna in 4 Days: everything you need to know

What can you do in a 4-day trip to Vienna? Well, a little bit of everything, especially if we take as an example the itinerary I share with you below.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

12 min read

Vienna in 4 Days: everything you need to know

Postcards from Vienna | ©Luca Sartoni

Vienna is a city with a lot to see and do; but if you have four full days to explore it, you will be able to do all the fun tourist activities and even visit interesting destinations beyond its borders. Here's everything you need to know to make the most of every second of your stay.

This itinerary covers four full days, not including arrival and departure from the city.

Day 1: Spend the day exploring the heart of Vienna

Vienna sightseeing bus stop| ©Anton
Vienna sightseeing bus stop| ©Anton

The oldest part of the city Vienna forms the heart of this beautiful capital, the vast majority of attractions are within minutes of each other and day one is for exploring the highlights.

Take the Vienna sightseeing bus

Vienna' s sightseeing bus service features two city routes that link the city's most important historical monuments. The trip includes an audio guide in your language with which it is possible to listen to information about the attractions. It is one of the best alternatives to move around the city and quickly see the destinations you will visit in the coming days.

  • Schedule: A new bus every hour.
  • Price: The day ticket is available from 30 € and you can get on and off as many times as you want at different stops. You can buy tickets for 48 or 72 hours.
  • Duration: Each circuit lasts about an hour and a half.

Book the Vienna sightseeing bus

Visit the Hofburg Palace

After your tour I recommend you to spend the rest of the morning visiting Vienna's most visited tourist attraction. The Hofburg Palace was for 600 years the official residence of the Habsburgs and inside is the Sissi Museum, a legacy of the life of Vienna's most famous empress.

  • Opening hours: Every day from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. from September to June and 6:00 p.m. from July to August.
  • Admission fee: From 15 €, this attraction is included in the Vienna Pass.
  • Duration of the visit: You should spend about 2 hours touring the museum.

Visit the Austrian National Library

Austrian National Library| ©Stemonitis
Austrian National Library| ©Stemonitis

A fabulous baroque style library whose interiors and decorations are more like a museum than a study space. It has a collection of more than 200,000 books and an art collection that includes frescoes, marble sculptures and paintings from the 15th century.

  • Hours: From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; on Thursdays extended hours until 9 p.m.
  • Admission fee: Approximately €8 for an adult ticket.
  • Duration of the visit: One hour is enough time to visit the rooms.
  • Transport or route: Leaving the Palace through the area of the Sissi Museum, the Library is right next door.

Book a tour of central Vienna

Take a lunch break

By this point in the tour you may already be hungry. After you leave the Library, I recommend taking a lunch break somewhere nearby. Fortunately, this area of the city is full of varied and interesting culinary options, some examples are:

Visit the Capuchin Crypt

Composed of a total of 150 sarcophagi this is the final resting place of Austrian royalty including the famous Emperor Franz Joseph. The coffins have a truly amazing level of detail and elaboration.

  • Hours: From 10:00 to 18:00; on Thursdays extended hours from 09:00.
  • Admission fee: 7,50€ and free if you buy the Vienna Pass.
  • Duration of the visit: It is a quick visit, 30 to 40 minutes are usually enough to complete the tour.
  • Transportation: From your location at the National Library, the Crypt is only a 5-minute walk through the beautiful streets of central Vienna.

Book the Vienna Pass

Explore Vienna Cathedral in depth

Vienna Cathedral| ©georgianakate
Vienna Cathedral| ©georgianakate

It's time to get to know the most important religious monument in Austria, inside the Cathedral you will find several architectural and historical highlights such as: its back roof composed of 250 thousand tiles, the Pummerin Bell in the north tower, the Pilgram pulpit, the Catacombs that hold the remains of about 10 thousand Viennese citizens, the Cathedral Museum with an impressive collection of religious paintings and finally the mythical image of the Crucified Christ.

  • Opening hours: From 06:00 am to 10:00 pm; on Sundays and holidays the opening hours are 07:00 am.
  • Entrance fee: About 6 € for the basic ticket; however my recommendation is to purchase the all-inclusive ticket which costs about 15 €.
  • Duration of the visit: You will need about 2 hours to do the whole tour.
  • Transport or Tour: Once your visit is over, go to Mozart's home in Vienna, located a few meters from the Cathedral.

Book a tour through the center of Vienna

Sunset at the Cathedral tower

The towers of St. Stephen's Cathedral offer one of the best panoramic views of the city. My recommendation? Save the towers for the end of the tour and wait to watch the sunset. It's the best way to say goodbye to your first day in Vienna, plus you can take pictures of the beautiful historic center.

Sleep early, on the second day you'll have to get up early!

Day 2: Explore beyond Vienna City Center

Naschmarkt Market| ©Anne and David
Naschmarkt Market| ©Anne and David

The second day is for exploring beyond Vienna Center to see stately palaces, huge gardens and traditional markets.

Sunrise at the Naschmarkt Market

Wake up at dawn on the morning of your second day to explore the city's best-known traditional market Naschmarkt has gained popularity among tourists for including among its various outlets, stalls of freshly baked bread, flowers, meats and all weather foods in conjunction with restaurants and arts and crafts venues.

  • Hours: From 6:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Saturdays until 2:00 p.m. and closed on Sundays.
  • Admission fee: Free for the general public.
  • Duration of the visit: At least one hour but you can stay as long as you want.
  • Transport or route: The nearest metro stop is Kettenbrückengasse.

Take a walk through Karlsplatz and the Borromean Church

Karlsplatz is a beautiful square linking Vienna's 4th and 1st districts; a stroll through this location will take you to Vienna's second most important religious temple: St. Charles Borromeo Church. Its façade is impressive, the most striking and interesting architectural element being its two gigantic exterior columns inspired by the Trajan of Rome.

  • Hours: From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays and holidays open at 12 noon.
  • Admission fee: 8€ for an adult ticket.
  • Duration of the visit: One hour will be enough.
  • Transport or route: Leaving Naschmarkt the square is just to the right. The Borromeo Church is located at the southeast end of the Karlsplatz.

Belvedere Palace Vienna

Belvedere Palace| ©Andreas
Belvedere Palace| ©Andreas

The complex consists of two spectacular palaces connected by a huge French-style garden, possibly the most beautiful garden in Vienna. The buildings that make up the set are: the Upper Belvedere with an impressive facade inside houses the collection of the Austrian Gallery and the Lower Belvedere which houses an exhibition of Austrian Baroque art.

  • Hours: Every day from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Admission fee: 22€ adult ticket, free admission if you purchase the Vienna Pass.
  • Duration of the visit: About two hours minimum if you want to visit the gardens and interiors.
  • Transport: A 10-minute walk along Prinz Eugen-Straße will take you to the entrance of the complex.

Book tickets for the Upper Belvedere

Take a lunch break

On your way out of your tour you will certainly feel like having something to eat. I recommend having lunch in one of the many restaurants located around the Palace; the variety of gastronomic offerings is guaranteed. Some recommendations are:

Visit the Imperial Carriage Museum

In the afternoon of the second day, head to the 13th district to visit the Carriage Museum and Schoenbrunn Palace. From your location in Belvedere you can reach this area of Vienna by several routes. The most direct way is to take the U4 Vienna subway line at Karlsplatz station and get off at Schönbrunn station, just 5 minutes from the Palace.

Take the opportunity to visit a unique exhibition of its kind. The Imperial Carriage Museum is considered one of the best museums in Vienna and houses the most complete collection of historic vehicles including the funeral carriage of Empress Sissi.

  • Opening hours: from March to November from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm; from November to December from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
  • Admission fee: From 12 € adult ticket, this attraction is included in the Vienna Pass.
  • Duration of visit: 1 hour is enough to see the exhibition.

Book the Vienna Pass

Visit Schönbrunn Palace Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace Vienna| ©Ji Goal
Schönbrunn Palace Vienna| ©Ji Goal

The Imperial Carriage Museum and the Palace are located on the same grounds, so as soon as you are finished with the museum I recommend a visit to Schönbrunn Palace which served as the summer residence of the imperial family. Its interiors decorated in the purest rococo style are beautifully preserved and the art collection is really impressive. On your way out of the palace take the time to walk through the extensive and beautiful gardens.

  • Opening hours: Open to the public from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, in summer in Vienna they work extended hours and in winter only until 5:00 pm.
  • Admission fee: From 20 € adult ticket. This attraction is included in the Vienna Pass.
  • Duration of the visit: Approximately one hour is usually enough to complete the tour of the interiors.

Book the Schonbrunn Palace Tour

Have a dinner and concert evening at Schoenbrunn Palace

You can stay in or around the Palace for an evening of dinner and classical music at Schoenbrunn Palace. Even if you are not particularly fond of this genre it is a really enjoyable experience due to the quality of the musicians presenting the show. For this type of activity tickets sell out quickly especially in the high tourist seasons in Vienna.

  • Hours: The dinner show is available from 16:30 or 17:00 depending on the time of year.
  • Ticket price: Available from €80 per traveler.
  • Duration of visit: You should reserve 4 hours for this experience.

Book the Schonbrunn Palace tour

Day 3: Explore Vienna further with an excursion to Salzburg

Salzburg| ©zhang xiaoyu
Salzburg| ©zhang xiaoyu

Vienna is a city with plenty to see and do but I recommend that you spend your third day exploring beyond the city limits. Visiting Salzburg, located south of Vienna, is one of the best excursions to do from the Austrian capital. Several companies offer this service, so it will be easy to find a provider.

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Salzburg is a destination famous for its beautiful historic center with its well-preserved medieval architecture, as well as being the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. When booking an excursion to Salzburg keep the following points in mind.

  • Price: Approximately 250 euros.
  • Duration of the tour: This is a one-day adventure, so you should reserve at least 12 hours of your itinerary. Excursions leave early in the morning usually between 7 and 8 am.

Day 4: Explore the monuments and museums around Ringstrasse

Vienna Parliament| ©Drew de F Fawkes
Vienna Parliament| ©Drew de F Fawkes

If you need to see a shorter itinerary read the 3-day Vienna travel plan. but if your stay is longer, I recommend you continue to the area where once stood the great wall that protected medieval Vienna and gave way to one of the most important boulevards in the center.

Spend the morning of your last day exploring the historic buildings, parks and museums located there.

Book your ticket for the Albertina Museum Vienna

Get to know the Vienna Parliament

The parliament is housed in an old neoclassical building that is one of the most beloved jewels for the Viennese. The Ringstrasse is another of the city's important icons and you can explore the museum and dome on a guided tour, but these are only available in English and German.

  • Hours: It changes depending on the season and the days I recommend consulting the official website a few weeks before the trip.
  • Entrance fee: From 5 € the adult ticket.
  • Duration of the visit: One hour is usually enough to complete the tour.
  • Transport or route: You can get there using the Vienna streetcar station Stadiongasse is located a few meters from the entrance.

Take a tour of the Museum of Art History

The Art History Museum is not only interesting in terms of content, but also the building itself is a magnificent work of art and architecture. It is a journey through the entire artistic history of mankind from Greek art, Romanesque, Egyptian, painters and sculptors of the fifteenth century, Velazquez and much, much more.

  • Hours: From 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Thursdays and extended hours until 9:00 pm.
  • Admission fee: To see the complete collection you will have to pay about 20€ approximately. This attraction is included in the Vienna Pass.
  • Duration of visit: The tour of the museum will take about 2 hours to complete.
  • Transport or route: Only 9 minutes away from the Ringstrasse taking the Dr. Karl Renner-Ring.

Book tickets for the Museum of Art History

Admire the exterior of the Vienna Opera House

Vienna State Opera| ©Pierre Blaché
Vienna State Opera| ©Pierre Blaché

At the end of your tour of the museum you can take the opportunity to see the facade of one of the architectural jewels of the city and home to what is considered the best opera house in the world. Designed in neo-Renaissance style, the façade of the Vienna State Opera istruly impressive.

  • Transportation or Tour: Taking a walk along the Kärntner Ring, the opera building is only 10 minutes from the museum.

Take a lunch break

and take a stroll through Stadtpark

After your visit to the Museum and Opera House follow the Kärntner Ring to Stadtpark; a beautiful English style park of 65,000 square meters. Open to the public since 1862, it is the main park of the city.

Besides admiring the nature and the tranquility of this lung, it is worth stopping to admire: the monument to Johann Strauss and the Kursalon building. Some good restaurants located within the park are: Biergart'l im Stadtpark, YOHAN and Meierei im Stadtpark.

Book tickets for the concert of Vivaldi's Four Seasons

Have a fun night out at the Prater

In the Prater| ©Thomas Feichtinger
In the Prater| ©Thomas Feichtinger

If you visit Vienna during good weather, consider spending part of the afternoon and your last night at the Prater, known for being the oldest amusement park in the world. Built in 1766, in the park you will find, in addition to many other amusements, a 60-meter Ferris wheel which has become a cultural symbol and a reference point for all the world's most famous amusement rides.

  • Hours: Open to the public daily from 10:00 am to 1:00 am.
  • Entrance fee: The entrance to the park is free, the rides cost between 1 € and 5 € depending on the attraction. The Ferris wheel and some of the main attractions are free if you purchase the Vienna Pass.
  • Duration of the visit: It depends on your taste for rides, but you can stay as long as you want.
  • Transportation: The easiest way to get there is to take streetcar line 1 from Hetzgasse station. You will arrive at Prater station located 5 minutes walk from the entrance.

Book your tickets for the Vienna Ferris wheel

In the afternoon explore Hundertwasserhaus

Leaving the park to the east you will find yourself in the Hundertwasserhaus area. After having toured the city's most exquisite museums and elegant palaces, this residential block is a breath of fresh air.

Characterized by architectural exuberance, it is a showcase of the creative talent of a more modern and evidently carefree architecture. It was built by Friedensreich Hundertwasserhaus, in an architectural style that reminds many of Gaudí's architecture in Barcelona, due to the use of color and organic forms.