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Vienna Tourism: Best of Vienna
With its Baroque palaces and manicured gardens, Vienna is all elegance and charm. What’s more: They’ve got a huge opera scene—with three houses including the Vienna State Opera—and a deep connection to classical music (Mozart, Beethoven, and Haydn all lived here). But it’s not all history at its (literal) finest. To see a modern side, check out MuseumsQuartier, a creative district packed with exhibits, shops, and restaurants. Coffee culture’s a real thing, and there are tons of cosy cafés where you can grab an espresso and a slice of sachertorte, and hang out for the day. Want to trade your coffee for something stronger? Head to a vineyard (there’s around 400 of them) or wine tavern for drinks and schnitzel. That’s just the start—we’ve got more recs, below.
"[Schönbrunn Palace is] kind of a must-see/do on any first visit to Vienna. With a palace, a maze, a café, a labyrinth, gardens...If you do the classic pass, prepare to spend 3-4 hours in all. Take your time in the palace--there's a lot to see—and definitely get the (included) audio guide."
"Great day at the Belvedere [Museum]! Art, gardens, lunch and a gorgeous palace. A couple of tips: View the gardens in the morning before it gets hot. Have a light lunch at the Upper Palace to rest before you tackle the Lower Palace.[And] if you love flowers and gardens be sure to visit the Alpine Garden. It's four Euros extra but well worth it especially is June. Everything was blooming. It's a small garden that packs a big [punch]!"
What to do
Iconic places and can’t-miss experiences that define the citySee all
Where to stay
Top spots to rest up—charming to classic to modernSee all
Where to stay
The tried-and-trues, plus local faves and hidden gemsSee all
Vienna’s coffee shop culture
Coffee Shops are an integral part of life in Vienna. Throughout the city’s history, they have been political hotspots, literary centres of philosophical debate, and—for people in cramped apartments—extended living rooms where locals can linger over coffee and sweet treats. There is no rush to turn tables, and in fact, many travellers find the waiters gruff—but it’s all part of the charm.
carlyhulls, Vienna, Austria
- Cafe Sperl1,381Whatever you do, do not simply order “a coffee” in a Viennese coffee shop. The Viennese melange is the ideal mix—an espresso shot topped with warm milk and a small amount of foam. Order yours at the richly decorated Cafe Sperl. Chandeliers twinkle overhead, red velvet settees invite you to stay awhile, and if you are lucky, a musician might just appear to perform on the grand piano.
- Café Jelinek213The rustic Cafe Jelenik is home to students and couches that can comfortably swallow you whole. Leaning more toward the bohemian than the imperial side of Vienna, Jelenik reliably serves traditional Sacher Torte cakes, gulasch soups, and apfelstrudel alongside many coffee varieties. You won’t find waiters in bow ties here, but you will find a cosy spot to get lost in a book or newspaper for hours on end, without interruption.
- Kleines Cafe317This picture-perfect cafe can be found on a cobblestoned courtyard in Vienna’s historic city centre. With tiny wooden tables and mismatched chairs, it lives up to its name (“kleines” means “small”), though it feels larger than life, thanks to cleverly positioned mirrors.
- Cafe Dommayer418Hidden away in a leafy green corner near Schonbrunn Palace, Cafe Dommayer has a coffee menu with endless pages (try the Maria Theresia kaffee with orange liqueur-infused espresso); waiters stand at the ready to bring you plates of pastries and cakes heaving with whipped cream. Grab a marble interior table lit by a chandelier and enjoy the real treat: watching the aristocratic locals, bedecked in furs and pearls, sip their coffee in companionable silence.
- Balthasar Kaffee Bar192If all these traditional coffee houses overwhelm with their gruff waiters and opulence, allow me to introduce a more modern alternative, if you just want a really good flat white or filter coffee. Balthasar Kaffee Bar takes its beans and brewing seriously and will give you a caffeine jolt with a smile—ushering in the next generation of Viennese coffee traditions.
Explore Vienna by interest
Holidays in Vienna
See what makes the city so magical this time of year
Vienna on a dime
Eats and activities that won’t break the bank
If you’re feeling fancy-ish
Go-all-out experiences worth every euro
For the history buff
Must-see museums, royal palaces, and more
Vienna, after dark
There’s lots to do when the sun goes down
Get your caffeine fix
Coffee houses and can’t-miss cafés
The city’s a stage
World-class opera, live concerts, and more
Chill out in nature
Gorgeous green spaces to unplug and recharge
Where to waltz
See it live or learn a few moves
If you’ve got a sweet tooth
Snack on sachertorte, strudel, and more