You can feel the cultural and architectural richness of Vienna in every corner of the city. But it's also the perfect departure point for incredible day trips to different nearby places. Here are the best ones:
1. Guided tour of Vienna
Do you know all the secrets of Vienna? You may have toured the capital of Austria several times and visited many of its museums and monuments, but this does not necessarily imply that you know all the information the city holds.
With this guided tour of Vienna in electric cars, you can learn the secrets of the city that you may have missed on a self-guided tour. The price for this experience is about $ 20 and you can book it online in advance.
I recommend this tour mainly because I find it a great introduction to the city, especially if it's your first time. This way, you can do a "touch-and-go" tour before going deeper into the areas that catch your attention.
The best thing about this tour: the environmental friendliness of these vehicles and the comfort when touring Vienna's highlights.
2. Guided tour of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp
It should not be forgotten that Austria and the surrounding countries were part of an unpleasant historical period characterized by the international rise of the Nazi movement. Austrian Jews, along with many others, were interned in different concentration camps scattered throughout Europe and one of them is Mauthausen, located two and a half hours from Vienna.
The visit to the Mauthausen concentration camp is a way to remember the history of the Jewish people and all those who were affected by the Holocaust. The bus will depart from a meeting point in the center of Vienna and you will be accompanied by an English-speaking guide throughout the day.
The $ 504 price includes transportation, the services of the guide, the ticket to the concentration camp, and the use of a multilingual audio guide to take you through Mauthausen at your own pace.
The best of this excursion: the historical value of the visit and the delicacy with which the guide will explain this historical period and the experiences of the guests of this camp.
3. Excursion to Salzburg from Vienna
Mozart's hometown has beautiful castles and palaces set amidst natural surroundings, but it also has the famous Mirabell Palace gardens which you will visit during this Salzburg excursion from Vienna. Add to this a stop at Lake Mondsee and a view of the Austrian Alps and you will have little doubt about why this tour is worth a visit.
This Salzburg tour is available in English and includes pick-up from your hotel in central Vienna, plus transportation to Salzburg and the services of a local guide for the entire day. The price is $ 143 and the tour lasts about 3 hours, during which time you can enjoy the scenery from a fully equipped bus.
If you are a fan of the movie The Sound of Music you will like to discover some of the places where it was filmed during your visit to Salzburg.
The best thing about this tour: although Salzburg has a lot to offer the traveler, the tour offered during this excursion is quite comprehensive and is therefore ideal to get an overall picture of the city without getting that feeling of having seen it too quickly.
4. Excursion to Melk Abbey and Danube Valley from Vienna
One of the best feelings when traveling is discovering wonderful places you didn't expect even closer than you thought. With the excursion to the Wachau Valley something similar will happen to you. Little importance is given to this World Heritage Site located two and a half hours from Vienna. There you will encounter a typical Austrian countryside landscape whose beauty will leave you blinking.
This tour to Melk Abbey and the Danube Valley in particular is also one of the most complete round-trip tours you can do in one day from Vienna. It has a price of $ 102 and is available in English.
If you take this tour during the winter months, the boat ride will be replaced by an Austrian lunch at a local restaurant. If you have the choice, spring will be the time to enjoy the splendor of the landscape to the fullest.
- Transportation from Vienna city center to the Danube Valley.
- Local guide throughout the tour
- Visit to the ruins of the medieval castle of Burgruine Dürnstein
- Boat trip through the town of Splitz
- Visit to the Benedictine Abbey of Melk and its library of medieval manuscripts.
The best thing about this tour: the contrast of the rural landscape with the streets of Vienna and the chance to see a different shade of Austria during your visit.
Ana's Traveller Tip
The bus rides for some of these tours can be long: take comfortable clothes and something warm for the journey.
5. Organized tour of the Vienna Christmas market
Winter is a tough time to visit the Austrian capital because of the cold temperatures, but it is also a unique opportunity to see the snow fall and to get a different perspective of the city, empty of tourists. If you decide to visit Austria in winter, you can't miss this tour of Vienna's Christmas markets.
Christmas lovers will especially enjoy this visit to Vienna's Christmas market where you can have punch and sweet snacks while enjoying the tour with an expert guide who will tell you stories of both the city and its Christmas tradition.
What you will see
- Mariahilfer Church
- Spittelberg Christmas Market
- MuseumsQuartier Wien
- Maria Theresia Denkmal
Highlights of this tour: the authenticity of the tour and the variety of styles of the markets it covers.
6. Excursion to Budapest from Vienna
If you have already visited places like Schönbrunn Palace or the Hofburg Palace in Vienna you will most definitely be familiar with the life of Empress Sissi. Elisabeth was also Queen of Hungary and felt that her homeland was as much her own as Austria, so she loved to take a trip to this country whenever she could. After this tour to Budapest from Vienna you will find out why.
You can take this Budapest tour in English. The cost is $ 143 and the travel time to the Hungarian capital is less than three hours. A fully equipped bus will pick you up at your hotel in Vienna and, accompanied by a local guide, will take you to Budapest.
In addition to the guided tour of these places, you will also have free time in Budapest to explore the city at your leisure; take advantage of it to taste the typical Hungarian food or to take as many photos as you want.
What you will see
- The Buda district
- The Pest district
- The Hungarian parliament
- The fishermen's bastion
- Heroes' Square
- Vajdahunyad Castle
- The Budapest Opera House
The best thing about this tour: the opportunity to get to know in one day a city so different from Vienna in many ways and so similar in others.
7. Excursion to Prague from Vienna
To be honest, Prague is a city that deserves an exclusive trip and a thorough visit. The city of the hundred towers is one of the most appreciated jewels of Europe and its cultural and historical richness enchants all kinds of travelers. This excursion to Prague from Vienna is a taste of what the capital of the Czech Republic has to offer.
This tour is priced at $ 140, is available in English and the bus ride from Vienna takes about four hours. The price includes pick-up from your hotel in Vienna and the services of an expert guide for a two-and-a-half-hour guided tour of the center of Prague. Afterward, you will have free time before returning to Vienna to explore the city at your leisure.
What you will see
- The Old Town Square
- The National Theater
- Charles Bridge
- Wenceslas Square
- The Golden Alley
- Prague City Hall
- The Jewish Cemetery
- The Old Town
Highlights of this tour: includes a stop to see the Moravian countryside and the guided tour through the center of Prague is one of the most comprehensive.
8. Sightseeing bus tour of Vienna
If what you are looking for during your trip is not to miss any detail of the main monuments and buildings in Vienna, this option fits your needs. The Vienna sightseeing bus tour allows you to not only save time and effort by moving between separate points of interest in the city, but also provides you with audio commentary about these places and panoramic views along the way. The price is $ 26.
If you have never used a tourist bus, you should know what the concept of "free stops" means: you buy a single or multi-day pass that entitles you to use the services of the tourist bus during that time without time limit or restrictions. This means that you can use the tourist bus both to complete the different routes and to move between the different points of the Austrian capital that you will want to see during your trip.
The best thing about this tour: the comfort and practicality of using a tourist bus in a big city like this. You have more information in this article on how to tour Vienna from the tourist bus.
9. What you need to know to book a day trip from Vienna
First of all, I want to be honest: if you have enough time during your trip, my recommendation will always be to take several days to get to know each of the cities you want to visit.
However, I am aware that this is not always possible and that an express visit is better than being left with the thorn of not having visited a place. In any case, the good thing about organized tours is that they have expert guides who show you the destination and that makes the visit much more worthwhile.
Advantages of organized tours
Most of the options you will find for an excursion from Vienna have departures almost daily: you can book your place online and you will receive an email with all the information you need to plan your tour.
Once you have done this you will not have to worry about anything, as both the excursions to the surroundings and the guided tours in Vienna are designed for the traveler to avoid planning and just enjoy the visit to the fullest.
Finally, you should also know that you can rent a car and do any of these excursions on your own, but the cost would be the same or higher and would not compensate you for time (not having the organization and guidance of an expert guide would take longer both to arrive and to tour the place in question) unless you spend the night outside Vienna.
Ana's Traveller Tip
Many of the day tours don't have lunch included. You can eat at a local restaurant or take a picnic for the trip.
10. Other excursions around Vienna that you can do in one day
Making a list of everything you have at your disposal near the Austrian capital is a very difficult task. The country itself has hundreds of charming corners and any getaway to them can be a discovery.
However, if you have to make a list, you have to focus on some criteria and mine is the most popular visits. If you still have some time left over after the above experiences, here's a final note of other excursions you can do around Vienna during your visit.
Only half an hour away from the capital of Austria, the landscape is completely transformed to give way to a succession of forests, rivers, and lakes. If you want to enjoy nature and take the time to do so, I recommend a trip to the Vienna Woods. Look for references to visit such as the Mayerling convent, the Seegrotte caves, or the Baden spas; all of these enclaves are worth a visit.
If you are looking for a contrast to the city and want to visit the more rural Austria, a very good choice is this small village located on the shore of a lake next to the Austrian Alps. It can be reached by train from Vienna; it's a 4-hour trip, but the destination is worth it.
The city of Bratislava may go unnoticed compared to other cities like Budapest or Prague, but that does not mean that it is not worthwhile. Because of its size, Bratislava is an ideal city to see in one day. Walking through its cobblestone streets watching its roofs and colorful facades is like immersing yourself in a fairy tale.
11. If you are interested in taking a trip to Vienna's surroundings, you will also be interested in...
You don't have to stray far from the center of Vienna to enjoy a visit with a difference. If you are interested in the surroundings of the city, you can't miss the Schoenbrunn Palace, located a short distance from the city center. This 17th-century complex is known for being the place of residence of Maria Theresa, Emperor Franz Joseph I, or his wife Elisabeth, better known as Sissi.
You can tour the interior of the Palace and its beautiful gardens in one morning, and I assure you that it is something you cannot miss during your trip. If you want more information about this option, I recommend this article about Schonbrunn Palace Tickets and Tours.
Frequently asked questions
What are the highlights of Vienna?
Main landmarks of the city include the baroque icons Schönbrunn Palace, The Hofburg and Belvedere Palace, St. Stephen's Cathedral, Ptater park and its Ferris Wheel, and the Schönbrunn Zoo.
What is the best way to get around the city?
A combination of tram, bus and subway lines should get you around Vienna easy and efficiently.
How much time will it get me to visit all of Vienna?
Between 2 and 3 days in Vienna is the amount of time most travellers recommend. Add in a couple days if you want to take any day trips. However, most walking tours last around 3 hours and show you the top attractions of the city, so no matter how long you are planning to stay in the city you will get to see its highlights easily.