Planning a two-day itinerary for Vienna is no easy task. As the cultural capital of Europe, it's home to so many incredible tourist attractions that squeezing them all into 48 hours simply can't be done! We’ve put together a realistic Vienna weekend itinerary including some of the most unmissable sights like Schonbrunn Palace and the Hofburg, as well as fun activities like Prater amusement park, which is just a stone’s throw away from the city centre. Plus, you can’t visit Vienna for two days without experiencing at least one traditional coffee house for a Wiener Melange and a slice of the famous sachertorte cake, nor can you miss out on eating Vienna’s local cuisine like homemade schnitzel and goulash.
Wondering how many days spent in Vienna is the perfect amount of time? We recommend three days if you can, but if you only have 48 hours, read on to discover the best things to do and the best places to eat during your time in the Austrian capital.
Check out these 15 Great things to do in Vienna
Where to stay in Vienna
St Christopher’s Inn Vienna
The newest addition to our hostel group is St Christopher’s Inn in, you guessed it, Vienna. Located in the Favoriten district, you’ll reach the city centre attractions in 10-minutes from our hostel by taking the U-Bahn from Keplerplatz just a minute or two’s walk from our front door. If you’re arriving into Vienna Main Station (Wien Hauptbahnhof), the walk to St Christopher’s takes just 10 minutes.
We have private rooms as well as a selection of different sized dorm rooms to cater to all budget travel styles, and every room comes with its own ensuite. Plus, like every St Christopher’s Inn, we have Belushi’s Bar right downstairs where guests get exclusive deals and discounts on food and drinks, as well as a welcome drink upon check-in.
How to get from Vienna airport to the city centre
Getting into Vienna city centre from the airport by train is definitely the easiest and most convenient route using the ÖBB Railjet.
Once you’ve picked up your bags, make your way to Vienna airport station - Bahnhof Flughafen Wien - and buy your ticket from one of the machines to Vienna Main Station (Wien Hauptbahnhof). Trains leave from the airport every half an hour and take just 15 minutes.
If you’re staying at our hostel, the walk from Vienna Main Station is just 10 minutes. Download the Citymapper app for easy directions for this particular journey as well as the rest of your Wien adventure.
Vienna weekend itinerary
Day One: Breakfast
With two days in Vienna, at least one of your coffee breaks should be spent at a - so why not kick off the trip at one of the best?
Cafe Central is a Viennese institution, having been running in the heart of the city since 1876. Back in the day, this beautiful, opulent coffee house was frequented by Vienna’s most famous writers, philosophers and poets who are part of the reason why it’s now one of the most popular cafes in the city. Be seated by the waiting staff and order the classic local coffee order - Wiener melange - with a continental breakfast including pastries made on-site.
Take the U-Bahn to the Schloss Belvedere station and explore one of the most beautiful palaces in Europe. It’s actually made up of two palaces - Upper and Lower Belvedere - and a spectacular garden, all stunning examples of the city’s Baroque architecture from the 18th century. In Upper Belvedere you’ll find the world’s largest collection of work by Gustav Klimt, including “The Kiss”, which could be Austria’s most famous painting ever. Each room has its own theme like the Middle Ages, Baroque, Classicism and the history of Belvedere.
Lower Belvedere was the residential home of the family who had this summer residence built, whereas now it’s where the museum houses its special exhibitions. Don’t forget to leave some time to explore the magnificent palace grounds - one of the most beautiful gardens in Europe for its outstanding Baroque landscaping.
Lunch at Bitzinger Würstelstand
Either take a 25-minute stroll or hop on the ‘D’ tram from Belvedere Palace to Oper, Karlsplatz U for a lunchtime pitstop that's right around the corner from the next attraction. This Wien sausage stand is always busy, popular for its delicious grilled wurst either chopped up with sauce or in a hot dog - plus it’s incredibly cheap and filling. Don’t be surprised to find a queue when it gets to lunch, with locals stopping for some quick, affordable street food that hits the spot, before getting on with the rest of their day. Just please note that they only accept cash!
Just around the corner from the wurst stand is another major attraction for your Vienna itinerary. The Hofburg is one of the world’s largest palace complexes with parts dating way back to the 13th century. Until 1918, the imperial palace was inhabited by Austria’s longest-reigning family, the Habsburgs, who created the enormous complex made up of 18 wings, 2,600 rooms and 19 courtyards. Now, it’s the official workplace of Austria’s president.
Buy your ticket in advance for the Imperial Apartments, Sisi Museum and Silver Collection to explore three of Vienna’s imperial highlights in one place - this combi-ticket costs just €15 for adults. The iconic white exterior and the green statues and rooftops are a sight in themselves, but we highly recommend getting the full experience and spending a few hours getting to know the history inside its many walls.
St Stephen’s Cathedral
As the symbol of Vienna, there are a number of reasons why St Stephen’s Cathedral should be on your Vienna itinerary. The beautiful gothic cathedral was originally built in the 12th century, but it’s changed drastically over the years as styles evolve over time. The colourful roof tiles give the cathedral a uniqueness that’s simply breathtaking, and of course, this is free to see without a ticket, as is the front of the nave and some of the northern interior. If you’re interested to see the rest of St Stephen’s including the catacombs, the incredible view from the tower and the altar up close, you can buy a ticket in advance.
Dinner at Soya Noodles
After a tour-packed day of bucket list attractions, you’ll probably be ready for dinner by now. Take the orange U3 line from Stephansplatz down to Neubaugasse for some of the best Asian food in Vienna. Soya Noodles serves up dim sum, ramen, noodles, stir-fries and more in their cosy, casual restaurant in Mariahilf, and everything tastes beautifully fresh and delicious. It’s only a 20-minute bus from our Vienna hostel, so if you’d rather pop back to freshen up before dinner then you can do so without any problem at all.
Drinks at Belushi’s
Belushi’s is the hostel bar on the ground floor of St Christopher’s Vienna. Once you’ve eaten, head back to Favoriten to make the most of hostel guest drinks deals, dance to good music and meet a ton of new friends from around the world. Think cocktails, an amazing selection of beer on tap and a whole lot of spirits behind the bar.
Kick off your day with a continental breakfast provided by St Christopher’s for free when you book direct. On each morning of your stay, you can make the most of the buffet and eat as much as you want to fuel up for another busy day of sightseeing.
The magnificent Schonbrunn Palace is one of Vienna’s most important highlights. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site which was built in 1696 for the Habsburg dynasty, boasting an enormous 1,500 rooms all so intricately designed and decorated. The palace is located just west of Vienna’s city centre, but it’s still only a 25-minute metro ride from the hostel in Favoriten (or 10 minutes if you’re travelling from the centre). Setting aside the morning to explore the ins and outs of this incredible site gives you plenty of time to take in its extravagant details and learn about its imperial history. Buy your ticket in advance to walk through Schonbrunn Palace’s 40 first-floor rooms, decorated in neo-Rococo and Biedermeier style.
Schonbrunn Palace first made its name around the world when, in 1752, it opened its doors to the world’s very first zoo, located right there in the palace grounds. It’s still operating to this day, so if you want, you can get tickets to say hello to the 700 species of animals it takes care of.
Lunch at Figlmüller, Bäckerstraße
Once you’ve finished exploring the beautiful Schonbrunn, take the U-Bahn from Hietzing to Schwedenplatz for a traditional Austrian lunch. Figlmuller’s speciality is the classic Wien schnitzel which is bigger than the plate it comes on. There's a reason it's one of the most highly rated places in Vienna to try schnitzel - the food is delicious, the atmosphere is charming and it won't break the bank like other tourist traps might do. Order your schnitzel with a side of salad and enjoy the traditional decor on your lunch stop. Just bear in mind that it often gets really busy, so book your table a day or so in advance to make sure you get a table.
Cafe Sacher is one of the most popular of Vienna’s opulent, old-school cafes, being the home of the national dessert, sachertorte. Sachertorte is a chocolate sponge with apricot jam and chocolate ganache, created for royalty in 1832. Order your slice with a Wien melange (frothy coffee) and admire the deep red carpet and walls, the round marble tables, the extravagant chandeliers and suited waiters - this spot is everything you’d want from stopping at a Viennese cafe.
From Cafe Sacher, take the 25-minute stroll towards the north of Vienna to Hundertwasserhaus - an apartment building with a very unique style. It was designed by the Austrian painter and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, the many bright colours, wobbly lines and mismatched windows reflecting his usual flair. You can’t go inside, but if you’re a fan of art and design then it’s worth the trip anyway. Plus, it’s en route to your next stop of the trip…
Prater Amusement Park
Cross the river into Prater Amusement Park, home to one of the most famous symbols of Vienna: the Giant Ferris Wheel. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or not, Prater is a must-visit attraction to fit into your 48-hour Vienna itinerary. You could be riding rollercoasters, enjoying the nature walks and trails, tasting all the different treats on offer or taking in fabulous Viennese views from the top of the wheel. Entry is free, you just pay for the food and activities.
Dinner at Omnom Burger
Head back to the hostel for a refresh before going out for an easy and affordable bite to eat at Omnom Burger. It’s just a 15-minute walk from St Christopher’s and the burgers are to die for. Expect juicy beef and vegan patties packed with a range of delicious toppings - all ingredients are fresh and sourced locally. Got a specific craving in mind? Build your own burger from scratch. They also have a very generous selection of fully-loaded fries to choose from. Delicious.
We hope this guide on how to spend 48 hours in Vienna comes in handy for your trip to the majestic Austrian city. Now check out these to add to your bucket list.