3 Days in Vienna: BEST Vienna Itinerary You Need

Vienna was our second stop in our 30 days around Europe trip, following an impressive visit to nearby Budapest.

We only spent three days in Austria’s capital, which are not enough to cover all the attractions in the city, but good enough to allow us to tick the most important ones.

Today, I am sharing my 3 days in Vienna itinerary, making sure that if you also have a limited amount of time to spend here, you won’t miss any of the most important attractions in Austria’s capital.

This is perfect for families traveling with kids (we always travel like this), so it’s a bit more slow-paced than others. This means that you actually get to enjoy these attractions and not cruise from one to another in a constant blur.

Let’s get this perfect Vienna itinerary started!

How to Get to Vienna

Our son was entertained for the duration of the (short) train ride from Budapest to Vienna

We love traveling by train in Europe (you can read about Eurail passes here) and that’s how we got to Vienna: we took the train from Budapest and in just a couple of hours we were on Austrian soil.

The ticket for two was 64 Euros which isn’t cheap – but we bought it on the spot before leaving and I’m sure it’s cheaper if you purchase it in advance.

Also, if you plan to buy the ticket from the Budapest train station, before departure, like we did, make sure to arrive early.

The International ticket booths are usually packed, so you can end up waiting up to 30 minutes before being able to get your ticket.

This is why I recommend getting it in advance, either online or from the train station itself.

Where we stayed in Vienna

We chose AirBnb for our accommodation. Back when we traveled to Vienna, it was still bringing a lot more value for your money and you actually got to live in a another, real house.

Nowadays, we book most our stays through Booking instead, usually finding cheaper prices and also apartments – not just hotels.

I do miss the times when this type of rental was not a booming business and you got to live in somebody’s house, not in an apartment that was bought with the sole purpose of being rented out (and therefore, generally lacking any spirit).

Rant over.

Let’s get back to our actual accommodation, which was a one-bedroom apartment that looked a bit dated, but was really nice and comfy and had an amazing outdoors area (as you will see below).

Kitchen / Living area

Although we usually choose centrally located apartments, for Vienna we went for a different route and chose one located close to Prater since we were sure we’d spend a lot of time there (which didn’t really happen, in the end).

Interesting art in the apartment’s bathroom

The area itself was not very nice – it was very industrial and grey – but we were really close to a metro station which always helps and the apartment itself was comfortable, warm and cosy.

Our host is an artist, so we had a fair share of interesting art on display, plus an amazing inner garden with a perfect table for eating outside – we used it on a couple of occasions too, even though the weather wasn’t perfect during our stay.

Loved this small area outside!

3 days in Vienna: What to do and see

One of the stranger things on my bucket list is to visit all the Madame Tussaud’s in the world.

So you can imagine that the one in Vienna was high on the list of my priorities. Plus, I thought it would be very fun for my son too.

He didn’t like it as much as we did, though, since none of the celebrities were Minnie Mouse or Mickey or the Paw Patrol puppies or anybody he knew… but I am sure that older children would really enjoy it.

Our son wasn’t really impressed with Madame Tussaud’s

Well, lesson learned. But still had fun and that was, for me, one of our highlights in Vienna. We had a lot of fun there as you can see in some of the photos we took:

You definitely have to visit Madame Tussaud’s – which is conveniently situated in a park you will most likely visit if you’re an adrenaline junkie: the Prater amusement park.

Our timing for Prater wasn’t ideal. Far from it, as we arrived early in the morning when most of the attractions were closed and apart from us, there wasn’t anybody in the area except for a few workers.

So we didn’t get the chance to experience any of the famous rides in the park – but fortunately I had visited it in the past and did that, so it wasn’t a big loss.

Plus, my son was too young to be allowed to try them out, so it was better this way.

But for most of the travelers, Prater is a real joy and it offers some of the best possible thrills you can get.

The best part is that you don’t have to pay anything to enter, but you do pay for each of the attractions you want to try. Which is fair game as they are not too expensive.


This beautiful project was on our way to Prater and I am really happy that I got the chance to see it.

It’s an innovative building imagined by artist Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser (yeah, I had to write his entire name and I challenge you to read it aloud!)

The name of the apartment building itself translates as “Hundertwasser’s House”.

As you can see, it looks spectacular and like nothing I’ve ever seen so far. It has some eco-friendly concepts, too: trees and gardens planted on the roof as well as the “window right” of every tenant to embellish the facade around their windows. An interesting concept and great eye candy for sure!


You can’t really visit Vienna – for whatever amount of time – without going to the Schonbrunn Palace.

It is absolutely impressive and beautiful, but make sure you put aside at least half a day for visiting it, although you’ll most likely spend an entire day there (especially if you visit the nearby Zoo too, which we did!)

The Schonbrunn Palace is a former imperial summer residence with beautiful gardens and one of Vienna’s top tourist attractions.

It’s also an important part of Austria’s culture – you can read more about it when you’re done with this article.

We decided against waiting in line to visit the palace itself since our son would’ve gotten bored quickly (and I also had visited it with a prior occasion).

But just looking at it on the outside and exploring the surroundings is totally worth it too.

What I liked even more about this Palace and the nearby park was that everybody was welcome to visit and there was no fee involved.

There were locals jogging, people walking around… just imagine how cool it is to wake up every morning and jog in the imperial gardens! Pretty cool, right?

Pin it for later!

The Zoo

This was one of the top attractions for our son and something that we all really, really enjoyed.

Vienna’s zoo is absolutely impressive and a bit better than the one in Budapest in my opinion.

One of the main attractions in all zoos.

If you want to visit everything there, you should set aside at least a few hours – it’s huge, impressive and time flies when you’re there. But it will be incredibly fun, so we’ll always take that!

Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral)

This Roman catholic cathedral is also one of the top touristic attractions in Vienna. This means that the area is packed with tourists and horse carriages and, well… a lot of horse poop smells.

Really, I couldn’t completely enjoy the walk because of the smell. Maybe it was a bad day for me because my wife didn’t seem to mind it as much as I did, nor did the other tourists seem to care – but for me, that was a really bad surprise.

Yes, the horses are beautiful and I understand that some tourists are ready to pay a lot of money for a trip in the carriage, but I just couldn’t take the smell.

One thing to add, though: there was no horse poop lying around and the entire area was spotless clean, so don’t ignore this amazing attraction just because I (probably) had a bad day and a way too sensitive nose.

Final thoughts

All in all, Vienna was a bit too dark and gritty for my liking. We stayed in the Landstrasse district, near the Rochusgasse metro station which is a bit more of industrial Vienna than tourists would like it to be.

There was a lot of construction work in the area too which didn’t help with the views and overall impression.

It was soggy and cloudy for most of our stay (except for the time spent in Schonbrunn and the zoo, fortunately) and we didn’t get to experience all the parks and central beauty of the city.

I love Asian food and this thing was amazing – 6 Euros, close to home, perfect for me!

It was a bit of a disappointment, but I also realized how important the places you visit and the time of the year you get there are.

I had visited Vienna in the past and absolutely loved it. It was during late spring though and I stayed in a central location and everything was different. Much better, I’d say.

So always do your research and make sure you stay in the right district and you visit at the right time! Otherwise a beautiful city like Vienna will seem a little bit “meh” like it did in my case.

Still impressed and I’d still visit again without spending more than 1 second thinking about it.

And I would definitely spend more than 3 days there because you can’t even scratch the surface in terms of attractions visited, especially if you’re traveling at a slower pace with younger kids.

What about you? Have you visited Vienna in Austria so far? What were your impressions?

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7 thoughts on “3 Days in Vienna: BEST Vienna Itinerary You Need”

    • I am sure that it feels really nice to be able to explore the city by bike. Although I am ashamed to admit it, I am unable to ride a bike – something that I always said I’ll learn how to do, but with me growing older and with more and more things keeping me busy, I am afraid I’ll be one of the few people out there who can’t ride a bike :))

  1. Great itinerary! I love Eric’s picture up there… Haha! I’m like him, I wouldn’t have been impressed either. We might go to Vienna for a night or two close to summer so l will definitely keep this in mind. The palace looks stunning.


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