2-Day Vienna Itinerary: Visiting the Highlights & Viewpoints

Blog Design Upper Separator

For me, I always make sure to include viewpoints in my travel plans. I consider myself a wanderer; a romantic. Panoramic views simply satisfy my desires for beauty and for that sense of awe. 

In Vienna, no view is quite as picturesque as Salzburg’s or as breathtaking as Innsbruck’s. However, the city boasts viewpoints offering scenery that tells countless tales—history etched into the domes, spires, and landmarks that forms the city’s skyline. 

On this 2-day Vienna itinerary, we aim to visit those viewpoints along with the most iconic places in the city. And the best part? I’ve crafted this itinerary to guide you through some of Vienna’s architectural marvels, which are home to breathtaking artworks. If you’re a wanderer too, I bet you’ll like this trip for sure!

Not a wanderer? Don’t worry! The special experiences in Vienna — that once-in-a-lifetime classical concert and the famous coffee house culture — are, of course, included, too! We can’t just overlook them. They’re a must, especially if you’re staying in the city for more than a day. 

Where to stay

You’re visiting Vienna for a couple of days, and thus, will need somewhere to stay. Booking a hotel outside the Old Town area or the Ringstrasse perimeter can save you money. Don’t worry about the transportation—the hotels there are still easy to get to because of Vienna’s convenient public transport.

I don’t know what kind of hotels you like, so I won’t suggest any. But check out this hotel finder I love—it’s got awesome deals and a map to help you pick a spot that’s both budget-friendly and easily accessible.

Blog Design Lower Separator
Vienna Pass — a money saver — worth it?

If you’ve been looking into your Vienna trip plans for a while now, you’ve probably found out about the Vienna Pass.

It’s a special card that lets you get into about 90 places in and around the city for freesome are included in this itinerary. It’s a common choice for travelers who want to save money while they visit Vienna.

But it doesn’t always mean you’ll save money. How much you save really depends on what you plan to do. The pass is really worth it if you try to visit as many places as you can, including museums, palaces, and special attractions.

Now, the question is, is the Vienna Pass a good idea for this 2-day trip?

If you want to save a little money and skip the lines at places, then yes. But I won’t say you must get it. The amount you save isn’t that big. The price of a Vienna Pass for 2 days is about the same as what you would pay if you bought tickets for each place one by one.

The last time I checked, the pass was about 130 to 135 EUR. The total price for tickets to all the places we’re talking about is 141.8 EUR. If you’re planning to go to all the places listed in this itinerary (see the picture below), you’ll save at least 6 EUR.

Admission fees for each tourist attraction in this 2 day Vienna itinerary
Admission fees for each tourist attraction in this 2-day Vienna itinerary

To find the latest price for the Vienna Pass, just click this link. Once you’ve picked your date, make sure to choose the option for 2 days. 

Blog Design Lower Separator

Note: Keep in mind that Vienna’s museums are typically closed on Mondays. Should you choose to visit on this day, be aware that certain parts of this itinerary may not be accessible. However, there’s no need to worry—if you’re looking for more ways to fill your two days in Vienna, I’ve got plenty of extra recommendations right after the itinerary. You’ll find all the necessary links for further planning at the conclusion of this article.

Day 1 — Ringstrasse & the Attractions Outside the Old Town

For your first day in Vienna, you’ll be introduced to the city’s rich history, incredible artworks, beautiful architecture, and important personalities. Here’s a quick summary:

  • First, you’ll be in for a beautiful first impression of Vienna, starting with the majestic Belvedere Palace.
  • Then, dive into the Habsburgs’ rich legacy at the Imperial Palace, a beautiful cultural hub.
  • Next, discover Vienna’s historical treasures and its most celebrated art pieces at the Kunsthistorisches Museum.
  • Cap off the day with a breathtaking sunset at MQ Libelle or the Danube Tower.
  • And if the weather doesn’t cooperate, no problem! We’ll wrap up with an extraordinary musical performance at Karlskirche!

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll explore and experience on the first day of your two-day journey in Vienna.



Yes, your first day in Vienna begins with a visit to one of its most magnificent palaces – the Belvedere Palace. This palace is the closest to the main train station and was once the residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy.

Without a doubt, the Belvedere Palace is one of the most beautiful spots in all of Vienna. Just in its Baroque garden, located between the Upper and Lower Belvedere Palaces, you might feel inspired to take many photos!

The main attraction of the Belvedere Palace visit is the artwork of Gustav Klimt in the Upper Belvedere. His well-known paintings, “The Kiss” and “Judith,” along with other fascinating artworks like the Character Heads and Napoleon Crossing the Alps, are displayed here. The Lower Belvedere Palace, on the other hand, showcases medieval artworks and temporary exhibits.

Both parts of the Belvedere Palace have stunning architecture. You’ll surely be amazed by the Hall of Grotesques and Marble Hall in the Lower Belvedere, as well as the Carlone Hall and the Marble Hall in the Upper Belvedere.

There is a separate entry fee for the Upper and Lower Belvedere Palace. If you’re on a budget, it might not be feasible to visit both. However, it would be a great idea to see the art exhibition and the interiors of the Upper Belvedere Palace.

I have some photos of the exhibits in the Upper Belvedere Palace in my guide to Belvedere Palace. Take a look at it to learn more about the history of Belvedere Palace.

Let’s say you start your trip at Belvedere Palace around 9 or 10. By the time you finish exploring, it’ll probably be lunchtime. Good to know: that there are cafés and restaurants in the palace. But if you need more options, consider downloading the ivie app.

It’s a complete digital guide for Vienna and can help you find places to eat. The app has details on over 400 eateries, all shown on the app’s map. So finding restaurants near Belvedere Palace or Hofburg (your next stop) won’t be hard. The app also offers insider tips and suggestions for dining throughout the city.

Here is my tip: always carry cash. Not all restaurants in Vienna accept credit cards yet.

To get to Hofburg from Belvedere Palace, you only need to take one tram ride. Start by waiting at the tram stop near Lower Belvedere. Get off the tram when you reach the Burgring stop. You’ll see Mozart’s Monument right there — it’s a popular place for taking souvenir photos in Vienna. From this spot, Hofburg is very close by.

Also known as the Imperial Palace, the Hofburg was the winter residence of the Habsburg Family during their rule of the Austrian Empire. It is a complex that includes a couple of parks, several monuments, and a few beautiful buildings in the city, all of which now serve different purposes.

In addition to being the residence of the Austrian president, the Hofburg houses incredible museums and traditional institutions. These include the Weltmuseum Wien, Sisi Museum, Spanish Riding School, Imperial Treasury, Austrian National Library, and more.

During your visit, you can explore any of these attractions and also get a glimpse of the Imperial Apartments in the palace. Check out my guide to the Hofburg to learn more about the unique experiences each museum or institution has to offer.

For your visit to Hofburg, I’d recommend including the Sisi Museum and the Austrian National Library in your Vienna itinerary.

You can learn about Sisi at various attractions in Vienna, such as Laxenburg Castle Park or Schonbrunn, but the most comprehensive exhibits about her are found in the Hofburg. By the way, Sisi was one of the most intriguing empresses of the Habsburg Family, and she was truly beautiful!

The Austrian National Library, on the other hand, is the most stunning library in all of Austria and is definitely a must-see. A close rival to its beauty is the library of Melk Abbey, a UNESCO heritage site and a fantastic day trip from Vienna.

Once you reach Hofburg, you’ll find yourself just a short walk away from many of Vienna’s most significant landmarks.

The Burgtheater, the Austrian Parliament building, Rathaus, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Naturhistorisches Museum, and more are all there. However, I can’t emphasize enough how unmissable the Kunsthistorisches Museum is. Just across Ringstrasse, a mere street crossing away from Hofburg, lies this art and history museum. It is one of the many amazing attractions in Vienna to surely leave you a lasting impression.

Visiting the museum is like taking a virtual journey back in time, thanks to the masterpieces and artifacts on display. These exhibits span from the Renaissance in Western Europe to ancient times in Rome, Greece, and Egypt.

Here’s something exciting: even before you enter the exhibition chambers, expect to be wowed by the overall architecture and the sculpture of Theseus and the Centaur located on the museum’s grand staircase. It feels more like walking into a palace than a museum

The Kunsthistorisches Museum consists of five areas, but the highlights are undoubtedly found in the Picture Gallery and Kunstkammer Wien. Exhibits such as the ‘Tower of Babel,’ ‘Archduke Leopold Wilhelm,’ and various automatons particularly caught my eye. I believe I also spotted the famous portrait of Saint Michael the Archangel’s triumph in the Picture Gallery.

However, the other parts of the museum should not be underestimated. The colorful sarcophagi and the detailed Roman and Greek sculptures were equally impressive.

Just so you know, if you’re ever in the mood for some snacks, the Kunsthistorisches Museum boasts a splendid café-restaurant. As you enjoy your meal, I bet you’ll find yourself at a delightful visual crossroads: deciding whether to admire the graceful columns, pediments, and dome, or to savor your scrumptious Traditional Viennese sausages.

Don’t forget to check out my guide to the Kunsthistorisches Museum to make the most of your visit.

After your tour of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, you might catch the sun getting ready to dip below the skyline — the golden hour!

There are more than a dozen viewpoints in the city, but since you’re coming from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, try MQ Libelle. It’s the nearest viewpoint, a rooftop, offering panoramic views of the city featuring unobstructed views of the domes of the Kunsthistoriches Museum, Naturehistorisches Museum, Hofburg, and the spire of Stephansdom. The best part? There’s no admission fee!

To get there, you simply cross the street to Museumsquartier, also known as MQ, which is further away from Hofburg. Once you get to MQ, find the Leopold Museum. On its east side, you can find two elevators. They should bring you up to MQ Libelle where you can take in the view.

If you want, you can buy refreshments at the Kiosk ‘Zur Libelle’ on the rooftop to further enjoy the moment. However, please note that the rooftop is closed in case of bad weather.

For the evening of your first day in Vienna, there are two experiences I can suggest:

  1. a fancy dinner with a view in the Danube Tower and
  2. a deeply immersive musical experience in Karlskirche.

Karlskirche is located just outside the Old Town near Belvedere Palace. The Danube Tower is situated in Danube Park, in the 22nd district of the city near the Danube River. Personally, I’d choose the latter.

Concerts in Karlskirche, as mentioned in the introduction, are once in a lifetime. They’re performed by Orchestra 1756, which was described by the press as “one of the best baroque orchestras of the last 30 years.”

They perform timeless pieces such as Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” which is one of the earliest and most detailed examples of program music. It’s like telling a story and evoking an idea. The music you’ll hear is said to paint scenes in your imagination, from singing birds and flowing creeks to a barking dog and a stormy summer’s day!

What makes it even more special is the venue. The interiors of Karlskirche are spectacular! Undoubtedly, it’s among Vienna’s most beautiful baroque churches. I was struck with awe when I saw its high altar depicting the apotheosis of Saint Charles Borromeo under the radiance of a Tetragrammaton.

There are more interesting things to see in Karlskirche, for instance, its columns that were inspired by the Trajan Column in Rome. Check out my guide to Karlskirche for a preview…

If you’re a traveling couple or you’re with your family when you visit Vienna, a dinner in the Danube Tower could be a great idea. This tower is not only the highest viewpoint in all of Vienna, but it’s also a cafe and revolving restaurant. As you eat, the view changes minute by minute, letting you take in the view of the city from all angles. Imagine that romantic couple with your 

Here’s my guide to the Danube Tower, giving you ideas on what else to expect when you visit.

Day 2 — Within the Old Town & Schonbrunn Palace

For your second day in Vienna, you will uncover the imperial glory of the city by exploring the Old Town and visiting Schönbrunn Palace, the grandest of all palaces in the city.

  1. You’ll be sightseeing along the picturesque Graben, visiting the magnificent Peterskirche, and the spectacular Stephansdom in the morning.
  2. After watching the Ankeruhr at noon, you’ll proceed to Schönbrunn Palace and then wander in its vast gardens.
  3. Of course, we’ll conclude the day with another panoramic view of the city from the largest of all the Gloriettes!

But before you start, you’re going to first experience Vienna’s coffee house culture for which the city is known for.


Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll explore and experience on the second day of your two-day journey in Vienna.



Waking up in Vienna on day two allows you to begin your city adventure bright and early — the perfect time for a traditional Viennese coffee!

Did you know that Vienna’s coffee culture is currently recognized as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage? It’s said to date back to the early 17th century! To me, there are three things that distinguish the coffee house experience in Vienna from those around the rest of the world, especially outside Europe. 

First is the atmosphere. The coffee houses in Vienna are absolutely elegant, at least the traditional ones. From the vaulted ceilings to the marble-topped tables, it’s no wonder why artists and musicians have loved Vienna. Who wouldn’t feel creative in such an inspiring place to work?

Second, the service tradition. There’s an absence of pressure to order more coffee or leave after you’ve emptied your cup. Interestingly, some coffee houses even encourage patrons to stay longer by offering newspapers and access to billiard tables. Oh, if only I could bring that service tradition back home!

Third, the long list of coffee varieties. When you see the menu, you’ll notice there’s a plethora of coffees to try. However, it might be a tough choice since the coffee names are listed in their traditional terms. But don’t worry, it’s perfectly fine to ask the waiter for recommendations, the best sellers, etc.

When it comes to coffee house recommendations, you should try Café Central. It’s among the most famous in the city, and I bet you’ll also appreciate its elegant interiors and, of course, its highly praised coffee.

Many opt for the Melange (Viennese version of a cappuccino), Maria Theresa, and Turkish Coffee. For more ideas on where to enjoy coffee, check out the list I’ve linked in the resources section of this post. Try the coffee houses within the Old Town so you can quickly move on to your next destinations after enjoying your coffee.

Energized with a hearty breakfast and invigorated by the rich, aromatic Viennese coffee, you’re now ready to wander through the Old Town. So, where to begin? Check out my map of Old Town Vienna for the exact locations of the little gems I discovered.

Depending on where your coffeehouse is, you can start at any of the attractions I’ve listed. However, I recommend prioritizing three places: Graben (street), Peterskirche (church), and Stephansdom (cathedral)—they are quite literally the heart of the Old Town.

For an insightful visit, consider hiring a flexible tour guide who can accompany you anywhere in the Old Town for as long as you prefer.

Graben is one of Vienna’s oldest streets, dating back to Roman times when Vienna was known as Vindobona. Today, it’s a vibrant urban center with upscale shops, stunning buildings, and a few unique historical landmarks. Two, in particular, I think you’ll enjoy.

First is the Plague Column, an ornate marble and gold column in the middle of Graben. This Baroque monument commemorates the devastating plague that once ravaged Vienna, leading Emperor Leopold I to vow to erect a mercy column upon the city’s deliverance.

Approach the column, and you’ll see layers of sculptures and reliefs depicting biblical scenes, nine choirs of angels, scenes from the plague, and more. The column is crowned with statues of the Holy Trinity, symbolizing divine protection for all below.

Another must-see on Graben is the Stock-im-Eisen (Staff in Iron), a medieval relic that’s a section of a tree trunk densely studded with nails. It’s believed that blacksmith apprentices would hammer a nail into this tree for good luck as they departed the city to travel and learn their craft. This wooden artifact is encased in glass at the corner of the Palais Equitable, at the intersection of Graben and Kärntnerstraße.

As you stroll down Graben, you’ll come across a short street ending with a church. That church is Peterskirche, and I highly recommend admiring its interior. It’s one of Vienna’s oldest and most exquisite Baroque churches, rumored to have been founded by Charlemagne. The opulent interior, especially the frescoes, left a lasting impression on me, and I’m sure it will on you too!

Both free and paid concerts are held in Peterskirche. If you missed the concert at Karlskirche, Peterskirche offers a wonderful alternative. For more insights and a peek at its stunning interior, check out my guide to Peterskirche.

One end of Graben leads to Stephansplatz, where you’ll find Stephansdom, or Saint Stephen’s Cathedral.

This awe-inspiring Gothic church is the city’s most significant religious building, architecturally distinguished by its spectacular, colorful tile roof. Dating back to the 12th century, it has witnessed various historical events, such as the wedding of Ferdinand I and Anne of Bohemia and the funeral of Antonio Vivaldi.

During your visit, there are three activities to consider: wander behind the church to view the roof adorned with the Habsburg empire’s symbol, explore the interior, and ascend one of the two towers. Here’s a tip: both towers offer panoramic city views, but if you prefer to avoid stairs, choose the north tower, which has an elevator.

For the best experience, refer to my guide to Stephansdom.

For your lunch, the Old Town offers a plethora of choices. You can use the ivie smartphone app to find a restaurant that suits your dietary needs and budget. However, before you make a reservation or head to your chosen eatery on the day of your trip, consider setting aside a few minutes around noon to witness the spectacle at Ankeruhr.

This iconic Art Nouveau clock, located at Hohermarkt and created by Franz Matsch in 1914, was originally commissioned by the Anker Insurance Company for their building. But this clock is more than a mere timekeeper; it serves as a poignant reminder of life’s transient moments and the lasting legacies we leave behind.

As the clock strikes noon, a captivating scene unfolds: for twelve enchanting minutes, a procession of twelve historical figures parades across the clock’s face. Each figure embodies a distinct chapter of Austria’s storied past, all accompanied by a musical score reflective of their era.

From the harmonies of Haydn to the dignified aura of Empress Maria Theresa, this daily procession through history has become an endearing tradition cherished by both locals and tourists.

Ensure you have a hearty meal because Schönbrunn Palace, the largest palace in the city and your next destination, is packed with fascinating discoveries. To me, it’s a must-visit in Vienna for several grand reasons.

Did you know this UNESCO World Heritage Site served as the Habsburg family’s summer residence? There’s so much to learn about Empress Maria Theresa, Emperor Franz Joseph, and Sisi as you explore the imperial apartments, which are both architectural marvels and works of art. 

The best part of visiting Schönbrunn Palace? It offers a variety of experiences, from concerts and virtual reality to museums and leisurely strolls in its picturesque park. When visiting Schönbrunn Palace, you’re presented with numerous options for the type of experience you desire. Here’s everything you need to know before you visit Schönbrunn Palace.

To maximize your visit, I suggest securing a Classic Pass, which grants access not just to the main palace but also to other parts of the estate: the Privy Garden, Orangery, Maze, and Gloriette.

This pass should keep you engaged for three to four hours, ideal for an entire afternoon at the palace. Audio guides included with the Classic Pass will enrich your visit if you’re keen in learning the palace’s history.

Here’s an important tip: booking a pass online for Schönbrunn in advance is important, as entry to the palace is scheduled at fixed times. If you’re traveling solo and less interested in the gardens and maze included in the Classic Pass, the Grand Tour or the State Apartment Tour might suffice.

It’s good to know that most parts of the palace gardens are open to the public at no charge—you can enjoy some of the scenic spots in the garden as an alternative to the paid areas covered by the Classic Pass.

We’ll wrap up your visit to Schonbrunn Palace at one of the most beautiful spots in the garden—the Gloriette. This is the largest Gloriette in the world, and from here, you can enjoy two things: delightful Viennese cuisine from its elegant cafe-restaurant and a panoramic view from its rooftop deck.

Actually, if you’re a photography enthusiast, make that three. The Gloriette, like the rest of Schonbrunn Palace, is incredibly photogenic with its classicist architecture and hilltop location. If you’re equipped with a high-quality camera, you can position yourself in the middle of Schonbrunn Palace’s grand parterre and capture the Gloriette directly above Neptune’s fountain.

Here’s a tip: if you opt for other passes to Schonbrunn Palace that don’t include the Gloriette, remember to purchase entry tickets to the Gloriette’s rooftop when you pass by the ticketing desk in the palace. Alternatively, you can book your tickets online in advance. Links can be found in the resources section of this post.

What could be a more fitting conclusion to your Vienna journey than a delightful time spent on the very river where the grand Austrian civilization took root — the Danube River?

Imagine this — you’re cruising along the beautifully lit shores of Vienna on the MS Kaiserin Elisabeth. As the sun sets, you’re treated to a mouth-watering barbecue dinner right on the boat. The live music in the background sets a relaxing mood, making the meal even more enjoyable.

You’ll see the Danube River in a whole new light, along with famous sights like the Donauplatte, the Danube Tower, and the Millennium Tower. And just when you think it can’t get any better, the sky lights up with a dazzling fireworks display.

You can check price of the evening cruise on the Danube River here.  

Alternatives & Other Attractions

That concludes this two-day journey through Vienna! Before setting off, remember that some of the attractions on this itinerary are outdoors. If the weather isn’t on your side, it’s crucial to have a backup plan.

My top pick would be the Museum of Military History. Much like the Kunsthistorisches Museum, this one boasts stunning architecture and captivating exhibits. Take a peek at my guide to the Museum of Military History to get a sense of what awaits you. My personal highlight of the museum is the Hall of Fame, adorned with awe-inspiring frescoes that depict historic battles from Austrian history. The museum’s most renowned exhibit is the Sarajevo Car, the very vehicle in which Archduke Franz Ferdinand met his tragic end.

While my personal interests lean more towards architecture, artworks from the old world, and historical objects, it would be remiss of me not to recommend other remarkable museums in Vienna.

  • For instance, the Leopold Museum, which showcases modern artworks such as Art Nouveau and expressionism, among others.
  • The Albertina Museum, located in the Hofburg complex, is also noteworthy for its exhibition of modern artwork, including masterpieces by Monet, Picasso, Chagall, and more.

If you’re considering replacing the outdoor activities or attractions in this itinerary with these museums, I would now recommend obtaining the Vienna Pass, which we’ve discussed earlier. This will enhance your museum experience in Vienna.

For budget-friendly alternatives, check out my list of beautiful places in Vienna that are free to visit. This list includes awe-inspiring small churches in the city, lesser-known palaces, and lovely gardens adorned with iconic monuments dedicated to musicians, poets, heroes, and more.

If you’re interested in sightseeing, admiring beautiful landmarks and picturesque streets, and saving money, consider my walking tour in the Old Town. Alternatively, you might want to explore my free walking tour of the Ringstrasse, which highlights the most important and imposing landmarks in the city. 


For a smoother travel experience in Vienna, take a look at the resources I’ve included below.

Blog Design Related Posts

One way to savor the beauty of Austria in a short span of two days is by basing yourself in Vienna. Dedicate one day to immerse yourself in the city’s rich culture and history. On the other day, venture out on a day trip to some of the country’s most remarkable sites

If this plan resonates with you, I have five great recommendations. For those who have a penchant for UNESCO Heritage Sites, consider a visit to Salzburg or the Melk Abbey. Salzburg offers a unique experience of Austria, distinct from the Habsburg legacy, while the Melk Abbey promises awe-inspiring moments within its magnificent library and church.

If a leisurely day trip is more your style, explore the captivating castles of Lower Austria.

  • For a blend of natural beauty and romantic ambiance, Laxenburg Castle Park is a must-visit.
  • If the story of a noble family’s castle in Vienna piques your interest, make your way to Liechtenstein Castle.
  • Finally, for a touch of adventure and a journey into a fairy-tale, Kreuzenstein Castle is my top pick. Its blend of Gothic and timber-frame German architecture is sure to provide a visual feast.
Blog Design Save to Pinterest
Blog Design Curly Divider

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *