Only Have 3 Days In Vienna? Here Are 22 Unmissable Things To Do

Only Have 3 Days In Vienna? Here Are 22 Unmissable Things To Do

Is a weekend in Vienna calling your name? If you’re adding this European city break to your trip plans and wondering how to make the most of 3 days in Vienna, you’ve come to the right place.

This is a budget-friendly, action-packed itinerary but with some room for splurges and rest. If you want to know the best things to do for your Vienna itinerary, then keep reading!

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How many days do you need to visit Vienna?

First things first – is 3 days in Vienna enough?

For me, yes. Three days was the perfect amount of time to see Vienna. I got to visit the main palaces, adequately explore the entire city center, and even have time to wander off into some outer neighborhoods.

If you plan to visit the majority of the museums and palaces, you may need an extra day or two. I visited one or two palaces or museums once per day, which allowed me to see the rest of the city well.

The Best Things to Do with 3 Days in Vienna

There are so many things to do in Vienna that trying to fit it all in just three days would be overwhelming. I’m sharing the highlights – the ones I thought were worth the money entering or must-sees, even just from the outside!

1. Catch Klimt’s The Kiss at the Upper Belvedere

Vienna is home to several art museums, but the one you can’t miss is the Upper Belvedere Gallery.

You’ll embark on a path to discovering some of the best impressionist and art nouveau styles, from Monet to Klimt, and the quirkiness of sculpture, like the famous “Character Heads” by F. X. Messerschmidt.

You can also walk the gardens and visit the Lower Belvedere.

The iconic ‘Kiss’ by Gustav Klimt at the Upper Belvedere.

2. Ogle at the Vienna Opera House

I didn’t go into the Vienna Opera House, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a stop on your itinerary. Even if you only marvel at the outside, you understand why Vienna is the European capital of music.

If you are a music lover, consider taking a Vienna walking tour that includes a visit to the State Opera.

3. Have a Royal Visit to Schönbrunn Palace

When researching my trip to Vienna, I was really trying to understand what was most worth a visit, especially among the various palaces. I came to the conclusion I would only see the Baroque palace, Schönbrunn, and the Upper Belvedere, skipping Hofburg Imperial Palace. If you have the funds and the time to do all three, then go for it!

Schönbrunn Palace was entirely worth the visit. I took the Imperial Tour, and the included audio guide really enriched the entire experience. I walked from room to room and heard exactly what happened there.

Don’t even get me started on the gardens. I have never seen gardens so big, seemingly infinite. The gardens are free to visit and do not require a ticket.

4. Try Unique Eats at Naschmarkt

One of my first stops in Vienna was Naschmarkt because I always love meeting a destination in the place where the locals go.

Naschmarkt is a rough and ready outdoor market, a mix of vibrant ingredient counters and laidback restaurants featuring all kinds of cuisine. It’s also a popular place with locals to get a drink and have aperitif.

5. Chill in the Park By St. Charles Church

St. Charles Church is a must-see in Vienna, even just from the outside. What I loved most about ogling over this beautiful cathedral was the surrounding Karlsplatz park.

Along with the locals, I sat at the mirror pond to enjoy this calmer corner of the city.

6. Eat Viennese Sausage from a Traditional Sausage Stand

You can’t go to Vienna without trying Viennese sausage from a traditional sausage stand! I opted for the Grillwurst from Bitzringer, a simple, quick, and delicious lunch.

The funny story is that the wind was so strong in the city that a sausage went flying as we were trying to eat by the stand. Lesson learned: Get the sausage in a bun and hold on to it!

7. Hofburg Palace & the Gardens

Even if I didn’t enter Hofburg Palace, the structure and surrounding Ringstrasse were a must-see.

What really impressed me about Vienna was the wide spaces. The city felt so open and breathable, very different from Italian cities, for example.

Around the Hofburg Palace, you have the beautiful open space of the Volksgarten, and on the other side, you have the smaller and quieter Burggarten, both beautiful green parks lightening up the concrete jungle.

Also, don’t miss the beautiful Palmenhouse in the Burggarten. If you like the menu, you can have a snazzy lunch here.

The Hofburg Palace complex includes the Sisi Museum and the Spanish Riding School. Walking down, you can see some of the famous Lipizzaner stallions for free.

If you particularly love horses, you can get a glimpse at horse training with a ticket.

Book your skip-the-line ticket to the Sisi Museum and Imperial Apartments with a guided tour.

8. Austrian National Library

Also part of the Hofburg Palace complex is the Austrian National Library, which I did have the fortune to visit! Entrance tickets cost €10 to walk around this ornate, beautiful library.

Although the visit is short because the library isn’t that big, I personally found it worth it. It is breathtaking and has some interactive elements, and specific literature works on display as part of an exhibition.

9. MuseumQuarter, Parliament Building & Palace of Justice

Follow the Ringstrasse to pass and visit several Vienna landmarks. The MuseumsQuartier is lovely even if you don’t go to the Kunsthistorisches Museum or the Natural History Museum.

I wanted to enter the Palace of Justice (Justizpalast), which is free, but, unfortunately, it was closed on the day I was there (Easter Monday.)

You will also pass by the impressive Parliament building along the Ringstrasse.

10. Rathausplatz

From the Parliament building, walk a few minutes to reach Rathausplatz, one of Vienna’s most important squares.

Near the Volkstheater and surrounded by a large park, it is home to Vienna City Hall.

11. Votivkirche

Votivkirche is a striking cathedral in an open park/square near the Ringstrasse. It only takes a quick visit here – you can walk around the church for free or visit the small onsite museum for an entrance fee.

On a busy Vienna weekend itinerary, this is the perfect stop to sit and relax before moving to the next site.

12. Freyung & Am Hof Markets

I was lucky to visit Vienna during Easter and experience the famous Easter markets of Freyung, Am Hof, and Schönbrunn. These are also locations of Vienna’s famous Christmas markets.

We also find some antique stands in the area, so you may run into a local flea market on your trip even outside the festive holiday period.

The adorable painted eggs of the Vienna Easter market.

13. Stephensplatz & St. Stephen’s Cathedral

Stephensplatz is the heart of Vienna and upholds the elegance and vibrance that European city squares are known for.

Besides just looking at the impressive Gothic cathedral, St. Stephen’s, don’t miss the surrounding buildings, which all have unique and quirky architectural elements.

14. Column of Pest & Graben Square

Just off Stephensplatz is Graben Square, one of Vienna’s main shopping streets. Here, you’ll also find the gilded gold Column of Pest.

Also called ‘The Plague Column’, the Baroque monument dates back to 1679, erected after the Great Plague epidemic, and is now one of the best-known pieces of art in the city.

15. Explore Vintage Neubau & Mariahilf

With 3 days in Vienna, you’ll have time to explore other neighborhoods besides the city center—so I suggest you do it! After having an amazing breakfast at Ulrich, we explored the hip and trendy Neubau and Mariahilf neighborhoods.

The neighborhoods have a more vintage vibe than the elegant city center. You’ll find lots of thrift stores, dive bars, and local mom-and-pop shops!

The above-mentioned amazing breakfast at Ulrich.

16. Bike Through Prater Park

Prater Park is one of the more unique places I visited in Vienna. First of all, it feels like the biggest park I’ve ever seen! It’s actually twice as large as New York’s Central Park.

And there’s an entire theme park within this area, including a Ferris Wheel dating back to the late 1800s – I’ve never seen anything like it!

We wanted to ride a surrey bike around the park for a bit, but once we found the bike rental station, we discovered it was cash only, which brings me to a travel tip.

Pro Tip: Bring cash to Vienna. You would think that being a major European city, you could pay for everything with a card, but I was surprised to see so many places cash only – even at the airport! The currency in Austria is the euro.

17. Walk Along the Danube River

I expected the Danube River to be more of a main attraction in Vienna, but because it is a bit further out from the city center, it was nearly empty as we walked around. You can take the metro to reach it and enjoy a quieter break away from the city bustle to walk along the riverwalk. 

Here you will also see all the river cruise ships coming into port.

18. Relax at Gleisgarten Food Hall

One of my favorite places to go when I visit a new city is a food hall. You get a whole mix of cuisines and cultures in one place!

Gleisgarten was really worth the longer metro ride towards the outskirts of the city. The atmosphere was unique, and you could tell it was a place only the locals go, likely due to its position further outside the city center. Nonetheless, I highly recommend it.

19. See Mozart’s House

Vienna is the home or adopted home of many musical aficionados. And you can actually visit where they lived and made their music!

I only got to see Mozart House from outside, and there is also Beethoven’s Museum in Vienna. Music lovers will enjoy a full tour of these places.

20. Eat Schnitzel at Café Landtmann

I’m going to keep saying it for every food topic—you can’t go to Vienna without eating schnitzel! I took the schnitzel research very seriously to select a restaurant that would live up to my expectations.

From the atmosphere to the food, Café Landtmann did not disappoint.

Right across from the beautiful Volkstheater, Café Landtmann is a buzzing, traditional café joint where you can just feel the history in the room as you dine. And the schnitzel was perfect!

21. Enjoy a Sweet Breakfast at Cro

If I could go back in time to eat something again from my trip to Vienna, it would be this croissant.

Cro is a small, chic pastry shop specializing in huge, buttery, flavorful croissants.

My review? The pistachio-raspberry is to die for. I also tried the vanilla croissant with the meringue on top—very sweet and delicious. And I couldn’t just stop there, so yes, I also got the cinnamon roll.

Totally worth it.

22. Eat Sacher Torte at Demel

You can’t visit Vienna without savoring its most famous dessert. Although it’s a bit of a splurge, it is a Vienna rite of passage to eat a piece of Sacher cake at one of the traditional cafes—Demel or Hotel Sacher.

I went with Demel, and it did not disappoint.

Even better, I discovered a dessert I loved even more than the Sacher Torte —the traditional Kaiserschmarrn. These pancakes are like a cozy, warm blanket on your palate, similar to the taste of sweet bread pudding, served with a rich plum sauce.

You don’t have to sit in the café to eat them – they serve them on the spot in a street window for you to take on the go.

Good to know: I got lucky with discovering some amazing sweets in Vienna, so here are two of my other favorites. IchBinSüß was a lucky find around the Belvedere Palace – the gooiest, tastiest cookies to ever meet your mouth. And if you’re in the mood for cheesecake, you can’t miss the San Sebastian cheesecake at Vita Vien

Where to Stay in Vienna

I really enjoyed my stay during my 3 days in Vienna, so I had to highlight it!

The Social Hub was a unique and fun accommodation in a convenient location for accessing Vienna’s public transportation. The proximity to the red U1 metro line was perfect for quickly getting to the city center, like Stephensplatz.

From ping pong to foosball to billiards, the place also had so many fun things to do within it for a relaxing break during a busy day!

Some Vienna Travel Tips

  • Take advantage of public transportation. Vienna is a huge city. Even if it looks close on a map, it can be very far walking. The €17 3-day public transport pass is worth its value and essential to seeing Vienna in 3 days. You also have the Vienna City Card as an option, but for me, the discounts were not big enough to justify the price.
  • Be prepared to walk. That being said, you are still going to be doing tons of walking. The metro and tram can get you to the various neighborhoods, but even those neighborhoods are just so big that you will feel the wear on your feet!
  • Tipping is customary for good service. Different from other areas of Europe, tipping is customary at restaurants. It is usually rounding up the bill or anywhere from 5-10%.

The SGTD Take

Can you see Vienna in just 3 days? If you’ve made it to the end of this article, then I’m sure you know now that the answer is a yes!

There are so many things to do in Vienna, but thanks to the excellent public transportation system connecting even further neighborhoods, you can really see it all with just a weekend.

Do you have any questions about 3 days in Vienna? Ask in the comments!

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I hope you find tons of inspiration here for planning your perfect 3 days in Vienna!

Safe travels,



Michela is a travel writer and photographer living in northern Italy. She is passionate about helping people make the most of their travels by sharing advice gained from her personal experiences, off-the-beaten-path destinations and time-saving quick itineraries. Browse her top articles or have her help you plan your itinerary to your dream destination!

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