Getting to know Vienna from a local perspective means adopting the great Viennese tradition of taking your time to enjoy the finer things in life. Linger over coffee and pastries at a Viennese coffeehouse, spend an evening tasting local wines and food specialties at a heuriger (wine tavern) or browse the stalls of fresh produce and local delicacies at the farmers markets, sampling a bite here and there as you go.
One of the best ways to explore Vienna is on foot. Most of the attractions inside the magnificent Ringstrasse Boulevard are within walking distance of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, in the heart of the city. It is also one of the greenest metropolises in Europe, with its numerous parks, vast stretches of vineyards and even parts of the Danube-Auen National Park. A guided walking tour with Vienna Walks and Talks takes you off the beaten path and onto the one locals use.
Most historic sights are located in the 1st district, including the Imperial Palace, the Spanish Riding School and the Mozart Haus. The Ringstrasse Boulevard circles the inner city and was built on the site of the former city wall. The Ringstrassen Tram offers a convenient way to see all the magnificent buildings that line this famous boulevard, from the Vienna State Opera to the Parliament to the Kunsthistorisches Museum.
Further afield you’ll find Belvedere Palace, now a celebrated art museum, as well as the beautiful parks, galleries and historic porcelain manufactory of the Augarten. And of course don’t miss Schoenbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the imperial family.
The most authentic Viennese food can be found at a typical beisl, a kind of inn serving local specialties. Many of these bistros are terrific, but one of our favorites is the Gasthaus Poeschl, a homey place tucked away on a quiet street off the Kaerntner Strasse.
Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof
A piece of Viennese history transformed into cozy living.
Do & Co Hotel Vienna
A swanky design hotel with the best address in town.
A car is great for day trips to the Burgenland and other destinations further afield – otherwise you won’t need one in Vienna. The city center was designed for pedestrians, and parking can be a hassle. Instead, rely on the excellent public transportation system to get around.
This itinerary is compliments of the Austrian Tourist Office.