7 Beautiful Day Trips From Vienna (Within Austria)

Should you be planning a multi-day visit to Vienna, there are a multitude of reasons to extend your journey beyond the city’s borders.

First reason: proximity. Given that the capital cities of neighboring countries are just a train ride (or a relaxing cruise) away from Vienna, it’s not at all far-fetched to think about taking a day trip from Vienna to visit them. Look east of Vienna—there’s Bratislava and Budapest—two other great cities in Central Europe.

But before you completely explore eastward, it’s also a good idea to look nearby and west of Viennato other destinations in Austria. Their unique character, cultural significance, and movie-like charm make them worthy of a day trip from Vienna.

I’ve discovered seven fantastic day trip destinations from Vienna, spread across three states: Lower Austria, Upper Austria, and Salzburg. Let me guide you through them, so you can get a broader perspective on what your visit to Austria could entail. 

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Geography is a compelling reason to venture west of Vienna. Nestled closer to the awe-inspiring Alps, some of the destinations I’m about to share could provide that special experience you’re seeking, making your Austrian trip even more unforgettable.

If you happen to choose to visit the day trip destinations in Austria that I’m about to suggest, I kindly recommend ensuring that you’ve already thought about including Vienna’s must-see attractions into your itinerary listed below. 

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Let’s get started.

Day Trips from Vienna Within Austria

To sum it up, there are four great spots to check out on a day trip from Vienna in Lower Austria, the state that encircles Vienna. There’s also one in Upper Austria and a couple in the State of Salzburg.

If you’re driving or part of a group day tour, you can hit three or four attractions in a single day. However, if you’re using public transportation, you’ll likely only get to two.

In my view, these day trips are a must for fans of Romanticism, history, and nature. Below, you’ll find them listed from nearest to farthest from Vienna.

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Kreuzenstein Castle, Salzburg, Melk Abbey, and Hallstatt — Beautiful Day Trips from Vienna within Austria
Kreuzenstein Castle, Salzburg, Melk Abbey, and Hallstatt — Beautiful Day Trips from Vienna within Austria
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Most famous day trip from Vienna: Hallstatt & Alpine Peaks Day Trip with Skywalk Lift

#1 Laxenburg Castle Park (Laxenburg, Lower Austria)

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Laxenburg Castle Park, the easiest day trip from Vienna, Austria
Laxenburg Castle Park, the easiest day trip from Vienna
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Laxenburg Castle Park is the most convenient day trip you can take from Vienna. You can get to Laxenburg Castle Park from the main train station in a quick bus ride of just 30 to 40 minutes.

In my opinion, Laxenburg Castle Park is definitely worth checking out for two reasons. It’s the largest landscaped garden in the entire country and is home to some fascinating garden features and castles.

One of these is the 19th-century Franzensburg, a beautiful castle located in the middle of a small lake in the park. Despite being built only a couple of centuries ago, it epitomizes a romantic, medieval-style castle.

Laxenburg Castle Park holds historical significance as the spring residence of Habsburg family members, including Empress Sisi and her husband, Franz Joseph. During your visit, you have the option to take a tour inside Franzensburg or enjoy a leisurely boat ride on the lake surrounding the castle.

Compared to other day trip options from Vienna, I believe Laxenburg Castle Park is a superior choice if you’re looking for a relaxing retreat in nature. Feel free to check out my guide for a day trip to Laxenburg Castle Park if you’re interested in visiting.

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#2 Liechtenstein Castle (Maria Enzersdorf, Lower Austria)

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Liechtenstein Castle, the medieval-themed day trip from Vienna, Austria
Liechtenstein Castle, the medieval-themed day trip from Vienna
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Another day trip from Vienna that’s worth considering is Liechtenstein Castle.

It’s conveniently located within Austria and is less than an hour away from the city. If you’re using public transportation, you’ll need to make a transfer in Mödling to reach Liechtenstein Castle.

In contrast to the Franzensburg Castle in Laxenburg that we talked about earlier, Liechtenstein Castle has a more genuine medieval background. Its history dates back to the early 12th century!

However, due to the ravages of wars that swept across Europe, like the Ottoman onslaught and World War II, it’s no longer the same as it was back then. Despite these changes, the castle still retains a distinct medieval charm, evident in its imposing tower and overall exterior.

In fact, Liechtenstein Castle’s authentic feel led to it being chosen as the filming location for the 1993 film, The Three Musketeers.

Liechtenstein Castle is still privately owned today, but it opens its doors to visitors who wish to explore its artifact-filled interiors that reveal a unique side of Vienna’s history. It’s not centered around the Habsburgs, but rather, the people who bear the same name as the castle.

With a Vienna Pass, you can visit Liechtenstein Castle, without the worry of an entry fee for the castle’s interiors. For more pictures and to see if it’s the ideal place for you to visit, read my post, ‘Is Liechtenstein Castle Worth Visiting?

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#3 Kreuzenstein Castle (Leobendorf, Lower Austria)

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Kreuzenstein Castle, a fairytale and mini adventure day trip from Vienna, Austria
Kreuzenstein Castle, a fairytale and mini adventure day trip from Vienna
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Located to the north of Vienna in the town of Leobendorf is the magnificent Kreuzenstein Castle.

This day trip from Vienna is a mix of enchanting fairytale and a touch of adventure, particularly if you’re using public transportation. The reason? There’s a brief hike through a forested hill to reach the castle, which sits majestically at the top.

This castle’s hilltop location is why I view it as a fairytale destination for a day trip from Vienna. Its look leaves no room for question—it’s a unique mix of German castle and Gothic architectural styles.

Just wait until you step into its courtyard—you’ll be awestruck and find yourself snapping photos non-stop!

The timber framing of some of its exteriors, the pointed roof, and the intricate flower-like Gothic ornamentation (tracery) of Kreuzenstein Castle will make you feel like you’ve stepped into a movie set. In fact, Kreuzenstein Castle isn’t just a fairytale location—it’s actually been featured in a movie! It served as the filming location for the 2011 film, ‘The Season of The Witch.’

Visitors are welcome to explore the castle’s interiors, but a guided tour is necessary. In my opinion, the highlight of the tour is the armory, which is considered by many to be one of Austria’s most historically significant collections of weaponry.

For additional details, you can refer to my guide for a day tour to Kreuzenstein Castle from Vienna.

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#4 Melk Abbey (Wachau Valley, Lower Austria)

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Melk Abbey, a significant historical and architectural landmark day trip destination from Vienna, Austria
Melk Abbey, a significant historical and architectural landmark day trip destination from Vienna
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Just an hour’s journey from Vienna will take you to Wachau Valley, a UNESCO heritage site that’s home to one of Austria’s architectural gems: Melk Abbey.

If you’re a Catholic with a passion for architecture like me, this place will leave you in awe. But it’s not just for us! It’s undeniably one of the most breathtaking historical sites outside of Vienna.

From its impressive library to its marble hall, the Imperial staircase, and the abbey church, Melk Abbey promises a series of awe-inspiring moments. And let’s not overlook the Abbey’s location—it overlooks the Wachau Valley, offering a truly romantic view and experience from its stunning baroque balcony.

Apart from its enduring elegance, I view it as an honor to explore Melk Abbey. It’s a place steeped in nearly a thousand years of history.

Participating in a guided tour reveals a wealth of knowledge, encompassing the abbey’s political and religious significance, its various functions, its construction, its architectural style, and so much more.

Melk Abbey also features a museum, which houses fascinating artifacts, including a reusable casket—quite intriguing, don’t you think?

Another factor that makes a day trip to Melk Abbey from Vienna a worthwhile experience is its location in the scenic Wachau Valley. After your exploration of the Abbey, you can take in the nearby quaint towns in the valley, ascend to the ruins of castles perched on hilltops, and indulge your love for Romanticism.

There’s so much more to share about Melk Abbey, and I encourage you to check out my article where I share why I believe a day trip to Melk Abbey from Vienna is a fantastic idea.

Popular day tours from Vienna with Melk Abbey: 

  1. Wachau, Melk Abbey, & Danube Valley (with romantic boat)
  2. Melk Abbey, Dürnstein, and more in Wachau Valley (with Wine Tasting)
  3. Melk, Hallstatt & Salzburg (Grand Austria Tour)
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#5 Hallstatt (Salzkammergut, Upper Austria)

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Hallstatt, the most popular and most beautiful day trip from Vienna, Austria
Hallstatt, the most popular and most beautiful day trip from Vienna
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When you think of attractions in the Austrian countryside, Hallstatt stands unrivaled. Hallstatt is one of the ultimate destinations in the country; a top day trip from Vienna

Just one look from its viewpoint, where you can take in the sight of its iconic church nestled against the backdrop of mountains and a peaceful lake, and it’s clear why it’s a top spot in Austria. And here’s a fun fact: Hallstatt was the inspiration for the Disney blockbuster, Frozen. Amazing, isn’t it?

In terms of direct distance from Vienna, Hallstatt is the next closest destination after Melk Abbey, which is why it’s fifth on my list.

However, situated in the mountainous, lake-dotted region of Salzkammergut in Upper Austria, it requires more than 4 hours of travel time via public transportation with 2 to 3 transfers, or 3.5 hours by car.

Honestly, a day trip to Hallstatt from Vienna might not be as appealing as you’d think. While it’s doable to visit Hallstatt in a day from Vienna, I wouldn’t always recommend it.

You should find a day trip to Hallstatt from Vienna more pleasant during the low season, when it’s not as crowded with tourists.

Hallstatt has been experiencing the strain of overtourism recently. If you’re coming from Vienna for a day trip, expect to encounter crowds during midday, which can diminish the overall experience.

It’s typically recommended to spend a couple of days and a night in Hallstatt to truly appreciate its charm, often best observed from late afternoon, overnight, and into the early morning.

One instance that you should go for a day trip to Hallstatt from Vienna is when you don’t foresee another trip to Austria in the near future.

Why, you ask? Well, visiting Hallstatt can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Since you’re already in Austria, seize the opportunity to witness this slice of paradise on earth.

Should you decide to visit Hallstatt, the official website can be found in the resources section of this post, providing a helpful tool for planning your activities.

If planning isn’t your thing or you’re pressed for time, there’s a day tour from Vienna to Hallstatt that will whisk you away to this magnificent destination with no effort required. Below are your options:

  1. Hallstatt & Alpine Peaks Day Trip with Skywalk Lift (Top pick by thousands of travelers)
  2. Melk, Hallstatt & Salzburg (Grand Austria Tour)
  3. Hallstatt and more destinations in Salzkammergut (Best seller)
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#6 St. Gilgen (Salzkammergut, Salzburg)

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St. Gilgen, a lowkey charming day trip from Vienna, Austria
St. Gilgen, a lowkey charming day trip from Vienna
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Looking for a day trip option to Hallstatt that feels like it’s right out of a movie scene? You’ll want to check out St. Gilgen. Actually, St. Gilgen is a village that you might recognize from a movie: The Sound of Music.

It’s featured right in the opening scenes. There, you’ll unmistakably see St. Gilgen, cozily nestled beside Wolfgangsee and surrounded by the Austrian Alps. It’s a truly picturesque location.

St. Gilgen becomes even more enchanting as you begin to explore the village. The homes here are charming, adorned with murals that grace their facades. It’s a genuine alpine village, reminiscent of those you’d find in Bavaria and Tyrol.

Just wait until you find yourself in Mozartplatz, the village’s heart. You’ll absolutely delight in wandering around!

The fun never stops in St. Gilgen though. If you find yourself with some spare time during your day trip from Vienna to St. Gilgen, consider taking a cable car ride up a mountain. It offers a panoramic view of the stunning alpine landscape.

Remarkably, St. Gilgen also boasts a hidden gem: The Musical Instruments Museum.

During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to view an extensive collection of some of the rarest musical instruments and hear the inspiring story of the owner, who personally guides visitors through his museum.

Considering a trip to St. Gilgen? Nestled near Salzburg, St. Gilgen is frequently paired with this Austrian city, another stunning destination for a day trip from Vienna. They’re just 36 kilometers or 22 miles apart—a 30-minute car ride or an hour by bus.

Discover: Alpine Lakes Day Tour with Salzburg

Traveling directly from Vienna, you can anticipate a 3.5-hour journey to St. Gilgen, whether you’re driving or using public transportation. Discover more about the attractions in St. Gilgen and explore its beauty in this separate article.

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#7 Salzburg

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Salzburg, the best city to visit on a day trip from Vienna, Austria
Salzburg, the best city to visit on a day trip from Vienna
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If there’s one city in Austria that should be your top choice for a day trip from Vienna, it’s undoubtedly Salzburg.

Nestled near or within the Alps, this town is renowned for its stunning landscape, its connection to The Sound of Music, and the enduring legacy of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Salzburg boasts a unique mix of natural beauty (like the Kapuzinerberg and Monchsberg mountains), historical landmarks, a rich musical legacy (including Mozart’s birthplace and concerts), and cultural experiences (such as The Sound of Music) that make the city an absolute must-visit.

From the commanding Hohensalzburg fortress perched on a hilltop to the concerts held within the grand interiors of Salzburg Cathedral, and the scenic gardens of Mirabell Palace, I’m thoroughly enchanted by the beauty of Salzburg, and I’m confident you will be too!

And we mustn’t overlook the unique attractions and activities that Salzburg offers. No matter what kind of traveler you are, a day spent here is sure to be unforgettable.

In terms of direct distance from Vienna, Salzburg is the most distant among the day trip destinations I’ve discussed.

However, reaching it from Vienna is as simple as a single train ride, albeit around 2.5 hours in duration. If you choose to drive from Vienna to Salzburg, it might take a bit longer, but it affords you the opportunity to visit other day trip spots in Austria en route.

If you’re planning a day trip to Salzburg, I have an article that can guide you. It highlights the must-see landmarks and attractions in Salzburg. Plus, it includes a sample itinerary to help you maximize your visit.

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Combo Day Trips From Vienna (Within Austria)

As you may have gathered from earlier, it’s entirely possible to visit two or three Austrian destinations on a day trip from Vienna. If you’re pressed for time but eager to experience more of Austria, this could be your best option.

Hiring a private car or joining a tour can ensure a smooth travel experience, particularly if you’re keen to explore Salzburg, Melk Abbey, and the Salzkammergut Regionsome of Austria’s most stunning locations.

Some even refer to this as the ‘Grand Tour of Austria From Vienna.’ Be sure to check the list below for day tour options to experience these beautiful Austrian sites from Vienna.

Considering the castles I brought up earlier? In my opinion, if you’re an all-around traveler, they offer a nice day trip if you’re looking for less-traveled destinations or want to try something not yet on everyone’s radar. It might be a way to make your Vienna trip stand out from the typical.

For those who love to wander and are drawn to romantic destinations, always seeking a castle on their itineraries, I lean towards Kreuzenstein Castle for its mix of German and Gothic architectural styles. It seems more magical than the rest.

On the other hand, if castles are your thing and you want to dedicate a whole day to castle sightseeing, the pairing of Liechtenstein Castle and Laxenburg Castle Park is an easier option since they’re both located south of Vienna.

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Resources: Visiting Vienna & Day Trips

So, that concludes my list of seven stunning day trips from Vienna. I hope I’ve been able to inspire you with some fantastic ideas for other places to visit in Austria from Vienna. As promised, here are the resources that can assist you further in planning your trips.

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