For nine consecutive years now, Vienna has been crowned the world’s best city to live in.
Surely, you would think, that endorsement would have been enough to draw the tourist crowds in? But surprisingly, Vienna remains one of Europe’s underrated tourist destinations. While it does enjoy the constant stream of culture- and art-lovers finding their way to the historic capital’s cobbled streets and famed opera houses, there’s much, much more to Vienna that largely remains under the radar.
Vienna’s era of greatness did not end with the Habsburgs. While indeed, Vienna’s main museum housing the Habsburgs’ royal collection, the Kunsthistoriches, has one of the greatest art collections in Europe, and indeed, Vienna enjoys its reputation as the home of Mozart, Strauss, and Beethoven, the city is not simply the setting of a grand and glorious past. It continues to be a vibrant, creative city, bringing art and culture into new heights.
In this travel guide to Vienna’s best districts and hotels, you’ll discover all the old and new things the city’s been cooking up. I definitely recommend appreciating Vienna’s historic past, but urge you to go beyond and find the city’s thriving indie culture, contemporary art, and the pervasive high art of coffee and society. And of course, we’ll find you the perfect place to stay in Vienna so you can enjoy the city’s offers to the fullest.
Where to stay in Vienna – best areas and hotels
Quick tips – choosing the best place to stay in Vienna
- If you want to enjoy Vienna’s rich history and traditions, stay in Innerstadt. You’ll be right in the heart of Vienna’s picturesque, cobblestoned old city center and UNESCO World Heritage Site, within quick walking distance of the city’s historical and architectural gems.
- If you want to have a relaxed city break, stay in Landstrasse. You’ll still be within walking distance of the historic center and get to enjoy the sleepy, homey feeling of a truly lived-in neighborhood.
- If you want to discover Vienna’s indie, edgy side, stay in Wieden. With an array of contemporary art galleries, multicultural restaurants, and specialty shops, you’ll get to eat, drink, and shop like the city’s trendy locals.
- If you want to get in touch with your inner bohemian (or millennial), stay in Neubau. Vienna’s university town is a dream come true for all you coffee-drinking, healthy-living, vintage-loving folks.
- If you’re looking for a serene atmosphere close to nature, stay in Döbling. Enjoy the good life amidst idyllic tree-lined streets, secret gardens, wine taverns, sprawling vineyards, and the Vienna woods just outside your door.
Once you’re set on the perfect Viennese district for you, make sure to choose a hotel that’s near a metro station or a tram stop. Public transportation within the city is one of the most efficient and convenient in Europe, so you’ll want to take advantage of it. Our recommended hotels here are all within comfortable walking distance to a metro station / tram stop. You can also check out the specific locations on the map below.
Map – Landmarks and best hotels in Vienna, Austria
Use this map to visit Vienna’s top landmarks and choose the best hotel for your itinerary. You can also find a comprehensive travel guide to Vienna here.
Vienna’s Innerstadt, or old town, houses the city’s most impressive structures – a quick peek into the Habsburg Empire’s opulent lifestyle and a crash course in Vienna’s traditional arts and culture. Upscale shops and cafes abound, giving visitors plenty to experience and admire.
Where to stay in Vienna’s Innerstadt (District 1)
★Traveler’s Pick: Hotel Sacher Wien is still the unbeatable luxury hotel in Vienna. The hotel’s old-world charm and opulence have been perfectly preserved, while its style and amenities have been updated to serve today’s cosmopolitan travelers. A stay in the iconic hotel is a full-on Viennese holiday in itself, with its fine dining restaurants, the famous Café Sacher, and all of the city’s landmarks just a short walk away. This is one of the few privately owned and run five-star luxury hotels left in the world so expect excellent hospitality and a personal touch to your stay.
For a mid-range option, Hotel Am Parkring is a beautiful boutique hotel offering amazing views, spacious rooms, and an in-house gourmet restaurant.
For families and bigger groups, the Senator Suite at Stephansplatz offers a spacious, fully-furnished, three-bedroom apartment that can house up to 10 persons.
While there aren’t much budget options within the city center, Dan In’n Out is a pretty reasonable place with an excellent location, comfortable rooms, and basic amenities.
Best things to do in Vienna’s Old Town
Wake up in Vienna’s historic city center and go for a stroll along the romantic cobblestoned streets. Start your day with a cup of mélange and a hearty breakfast at Café Mozart, a traditional Viennese coffee house serving classic Viennese cuisine since 1794. If you want something with less frills and more views, head to Justizcafe instead. This is the Justice Ministry’s canteen, where you can enjoy great views of the city center and cheap, delicious food.
Begin your loop of the historic center to see the glory of the Habsburg Empire. Both the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Albertina house massive art collections, including Rembrandts, Caravaggios, and Vermeers. Continue your walk to the Hofburg Palace and peek into the Spanish Riding School. Take pictures of the inner city’s striking churches, the most popular of which are the Romanesque and Gothic Stephansdom and the baroque Karlskirche.
Find your next meal in Naschmarkt, a sprawling outdoor market where you can pick an assortment of breads, cheese, and cooked meats for a picnic at the Volksgarten. Or, regain your calories with a Wiener schnitzel served with creamy Viennese potato salad at the lively Gasthaus Pöschl.
End the day on a high note with a Strauss and Mozart concert to complete the traditional Viennese experience.
The Innerstadt’s more relaxed neighbor, Landstrasse is a great base for those who want to be near the action, but not necessarily in it. You’ll get to enjoy the historic center’s cultural attractions, but go home to a quieter neighborhood with plenty of green spaces and shopping options. Hotels in Landstrasse also tend to offer better value than those in the Innerstadt, so if you don’t mind the walk (or the short train ride), stay in this district instead.
Where to stay in Vienna’s Landstrasse (District 3)
★Traveler’s Pick: Hotel Spiess & Spiess best exemplifies the Landstrasse district’s spirit – light and fresh ambience with a tasteful design. The hotel is on a quiet but convenient location, 100 meters from the nearest metro stop, easily connecting you to the rest of the city. To complete the experience, they also serve a lovely, healthy Austrian breakfast.
For families and bigger groups, stay at the Kunsthaus Apartments. They boast great views of the Donaukanal, spacious and fully-equipped apartments, and easy access to bus stops and the tram line.
For a budget option that doesn’t really feel like budget, stay at the comfortable and convenient Hahn Boardinghouse.
Best things to do in Landstrasse
For breakfast, follow your nose to any of the artisan bakeries that flank the Landstrasser Hauptstrasse – Joseph Brot and Ströck Feierabend are two favorites. You can do some window shopping along this road – the busiest in the district – and treat yourself to ice cream at the Eissalon Bortolotti.
From the Landstrasser Hauptstrasse, you can either make your way south to the star of the Landstrasse district, the Belvedere, a magnificent baroque palace home to Klimt’s famous masterpiece, “The Kiss,” or head north to visit the Hundertwasserhaus and the Kunst Haus, both designed by the artist who hates straight lines, Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
There are also several prospects for the evening. You can choose to chill at the Strandbar Herrmann by the canal, enjoy a bottle of wine at the Arrigo Bar in the Rochusmarkt, or have a lively night at Café Satchmo, an old-fashioned jazz bar serving Turkish tea and cheap eats. If you’re traveling with kids, take them to the Prater for a fun night at the park.
At first glance, Vienna seems to be all about the classical arts, furs and pearls, and fine cuisine – but Wieden, Vienna’s “hipster” district, is happy to show you a younger and edgier side of the imperial capital. While still conveniently near the historic center, Wieden has a whole different life of its own. This is where you can eat, drink, and shop like locals – young, trendy locals, that is.
Where to stay in Vienna’s Wieden (District 4)
★Traveler’s Pick: Hotel Kaiserhof is our favorite place to stay in Wieden. Its fantastic location in the middle of Vienna’s historic and hipster districts gives you the best of both worlds. You’ll fall for their gorgeous and comfortable rooms, wonderful breakfast, and über-modern amenities.
If you’re in Wieden to connect with fellow travelers, stay at Wombat’s Hostel. They have a range of accommodations on offer, from private doubles to dormitory beds, and plenty of common spaces to start friendships and enjoy Vienna’s vibrant hostel culture. It’s also near the Naschmarkt and a great base for exploring the city.
Another budget option worth checking out is the Do Step Inn Central – it’s everything you’d want in a hostel: automated check-ins and outs, clean rooms and common spaces, a great location, and a fantastic price.
For families and bigger groups, Apartment Belvedere offers a residential, spacious, fully-furnished apartment.
Best things to do in Wieden, Vienna
Start the day with brunch. Even if you’re not a breakfast person, Wieden’s amazing breakfast places are destinations in themselves. Go to Café Goldegg for a filling Austrian breakfast or to Mr and Mrs Feelgood for a fresh and healthy fare.
Afterwards, make your way to Schleifmühlgasse and you’ll discover this pretty good rule of thumb: the harder it is to pronounce a place’s name, the more hip it tends to be. Schleifmühlgasse is where you’ll find contemporary art galleries, specialty stores, trendy bars, vegan supermarkets, and excellent multicultural restaurants. You can learn the art of coffee roasting at Kaffeerösterei Alt Wien or join a cooking class at Babette’s. Appreciate art at Georg Kargl or look for fashion pieces at Pregenzer. This one street has enough curiosities to keep you entertained for days, but don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers at Blumenkraft. End the day with a delicious meal at Zweitbester.
The thing about “hipster” districts, once too many people discover it, it becomes mainstream. While Wieden hasn’t quite lost its hipster cred, a new district in recent years has been vying for the title.
Meet Neubau – a younger, more budget-friendly version of Wieden. While the Innerstadt is Vienna’s historic heart, Neubau is the city’s beating heart. This is where new art and designs are continuously being created, keeping the city’s culture fresh and vibrant.
Where to stay in Vienna’s Neubau (District 7)
★Traveler’s Pick: Hotel Sans Souci Wien is one of Vienna’s most glamourous boutique hotels and definitely one of our top picks in the city! It enjoys the Museum Quarter’s fresh vibe as well as comfortable proximity to the historic old town. With spacious rooms and elegant interiors, exceptionally great service, delicious in-house dining options, and thoughtful amenities, staying in this hotel will truly make your stay in Vienna a lot smoother and much more memorable.
For families and bigger groups, check out Hotspot Apartments. They have comfortable, fully-furnished 2-bedroom apartments that can accommodate up to 8 persons, in a nice, residential location.
For a budget option in Neubau, check out the cozy Hotel am Brillantengrund, a nice family-run hotel with vintage 50s décor and a relaxing Mediterranean-style courtyard.
Best things to do in Neubau
Neubau’s heart is Spittelberg, a village catering mainly to university students, spurring the development of budget multicultural restaurants, a vibrant café culture, dynamic art scene, and sensational nightlife that only university towns can bring.
There’s no shortage of cafés in Neubau, and urban concept coffee houses like Kaffemik and Das Möbel continue Vienna’s grand tradition of enjoying coffee with friends and acquaintances. Start your morning with coffee and conversation, then go to Erich or Sapa for a healthy lunch. Afterwards, spend a day or two going around the district for unique shopping finds. Neubau bursts with quirky specialty shops selling anything from vintage fashion and furniture to old records and exotic foodstuffs. If you’re into art, make your way to Hubert Winter, a gallery presenting contemporary art from a mix of Austrian and international artists.
If you always find yourself looking for patches of peaceful green spaces whenever you’re in a busy city, you’d want to stay in Döbling, Vienna’s relaxing, almost rural, residential community.
It’s the city’s gateway to the hiking and biking trails of the Vienna woods, as well as home to plenty of secret gardens and wine taverns. In a nutshell: it’s where you go for a taste of the good life, Vienna-style.
Where to stay in Vienna’s Döbling district
★Traveler’s Pick: To fully enjoy Döbling’s ambience, stay at Hotel Landhaus Fuhrgassl-Huber, a stylish, cozy hotel surrounded by wine taverns, vineyards, and idyllic green spaces. You can fully relax in your comfortable room, sample wines in the property’s wine-growing estate, or step out and wander into the Vienna woods. Or, you can just as easily ride a bus to Vienna’s downtown districts. If you’re in the mood for peace and relaxation, this hotel definitely fits the bill.
Of all the districts in Vienna, Döbling is the one that’s especially family-friendly. Families and other big groups can stay in Hotel Park Villa, a charming hotel in an original Art Noveau building with modern amenities and surrounded by the district’s relaxing atmosphere. They have spacious rooms that could accommodate up to 4 persons.
Best things to do in Döbling, Vienna
You don’t need an itinerary to enjoy Döbling. This is where you go to simply revel in nature, wine, good food, and heaps of pampering and self-love.
A walk around the green and residential communities will clear your mind. If you’re looking for some action, head to the Döblinger Hauptstrasse – a tree-lined high street where you can find indie bookstores, bakeries, and boutiques, all contributing to the district’s charming, small-town feel.
Past the shops, you can look for Döbling’s secret gardens and just sit and enjoy the dreamy, rural atmosphere. One of the most beautiful is the Japanese garden Setagayapark, where you can find your zen amidst the waterfalls, ponds, and flower arrangements.
For a dose of active relaxation, head to the Vienna woods where you can enjoy plenty of hiking and biking trails. If you’re not one to trek, bring a blanket and a bottle of wine instead, and enjoy one of Vienna’s favorite forest pastimes.
The icing on Döbling’s living-the-good-life cake, though, is the heuriger – wine taverns serving their own young wine along with a simple spread of breads, sausages, and pate, a sure hit for gastronomes and wine enthusiasts. One such place you can visit is Das Schreiberhaus, a 200-year-old homely country house amidst vineyards, but you’ll find plenty around the area.
Who knows? Döbling’s atmosphere may even inspire you to produce some of your best work, like it did for Beethoven all those centuries ago. At the very least, you’re sure to get a heaping dose of gemütlichkeit – that warm, wonderful feeling of well-being and belonging.
Tell us: Where will you be staying on your holiday in Vienna?
Top tips – traveling to Vienna
Vienna is a must-visit for every first-time traveler to Austria. You’ll learn a lot about the country’s history, traditions, and arts even with a short visit to its capital. Vienna is also a great base for road trips and day trips to other landmarks in Central Europe. Plus, it has its own international airport that connects Central Europe to the rest of the world. Here’s a comprehensive travel guide to Vienna.
Getting there – You’ll find plenty of flights to Vienna’s international airport, making it a convenient gateway to Central Europe. If you’re coming from other European countries, you can also take the train or bus.
Getting around – It’s easy to go around using Vienna’s public transportation. They have tourist-friendly rates and you can enjoy unlimited access to the city’s public transportation. You can get transportation cards from station kiosks, or online in advance.
Renting a car in Vienna – Austria is great for a road trip holiday. There are plenty of charming villages and magnificent natural landscapes, and it’s pretty much like being on the set of the Sound of Music. I don’t recommend driving in Vienna (it’s costly and difficult to find a parking space; plus the public transportation is really nice and convenient), but to get out of the city, driving is really the best way to go.
Make sure to reserve your rental car in advance to get good rates. Take note that Europe mainly drives manual; if you need an automatic transmission car, it’s recommended to reserve at least 3 months in advance. The major car companies all have convenient downtown pick-up locations. If you need to return the car to another city (like Salzburg or even Prague), you can compare all major rental car companies here to see which ones will allow you to do that.
Book your tickets to attractions online – You wouldn’t want to spend a chunk of your holiday waiting in line for entry tickets, so if you have a good idea of things you want to do, it’s best to book your tickets online in advance. You’ll get to walk past the long line (with a smug look on your face) and go right up the turnstile. Here’s where to book the major sights:
- Vienna Pass – This all-in-one pass gives you access to Vienna’s top attractions, including the Imperial Palace, Schönbrunn Zoo, and the Natural History Museum. You’ll also get unlimited rides on the hop-on hop-off bus which will bring you to all the popular destinations in Vienna. If you like museums and/or are traveling with kids, this pass gives you the best value.
- Bus pass + walking tour + boat ride – If museums are not your thing and you’d rather experience beautiful outdoor scenery, this pass may be best for you. You can still reach most of Vienna’s landmarks on the hop-on hop-off bus, plus enjoy a boat ride on the Danube.
- Kursalon Strauss and Mozart concert – When in Vienna, you have to experience Strauss and Mozart. Spend a night enjoying Austria’s grand traditions as you revel in classical music, traditional cuisine, and the city’s magnificent atmosphere.
Tours in Vienna – Want an expert guide to show you around Vienna? Here are wonderful tours in and around the city.
- Food, coffee, and market tour – The yummiest way to experience Vienna! If you’ve ever wondered why Vienna is constantly ranked as the world’s most livable city, this tour will let you in on the secret. (Hint: Take one sip of the local coffee and you’ll love living and breathing in this city.)
- Vienna at night – The days are glorious in Vienna, but the fun continues at night! Join this walking tour to Vienna’s most beautiful evening sights, night markets, and trendiest bars.
- Danube valley day trip – Fancy a day trip to the countryside? If you need to take a quick break from Vienna’s dazzling city sights, join this day trip to the Wachau Valley. You’ll be treated to UNESCO World Heritage sites, rolling hills, and a romantic cruise along the Danube.
Read next – holidays in and around Vienna
Now that you’ve chosen your home in Vienna, it’s time to plan your holiday! Read these guides for my best recommendations in and around Vienna.
Plan your trip easily with these top recommendations for your holiday in Vienna! This comprehensive travel guide includes a 3-day itinerary that takes you to the best historical landmarks, exciting neighborhoods, and calming green spaces. It’s the perfect mix of sightseeing must-sees and local spots.
This road trip itinerary covers the best of Austria’s majestic cities and charming countryside. If you’re planning to visit Vienna and Salzburg on this trip, check out the beautiful stopovers you can visit.
While it may be difficult to tear yourself from Vienna’s grandeur, this charming little town lying snugly between a mountain and a lake is well worth the visit. If you’re short on time, you can visit Hallstatt on a day trip!
Hop over to Austria’s neighbor, the Czech Republic! Just an hour’s drive from Vienna, you’ll find Czech Republic’s rolling green hills, a medieval castle town, and vineyards as far as the eyes can see. South Moravia is the Czech Republic’s wine region, and a must-visit if you love historical sites, the countryside, and lots and lots of wine.
Perhaps you’re heading to Prague to complete the Central European experience? Here’s the best road trip itinerary to see the best of the Czech Republic’s gorgeous southern region.
Lastly, here’s a great itinerary if you want to stick to the must-see essentials in the Czech Republic. It’s got a comprehensive Prague itinerary, of course, plus a couple of hidden gems.
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I hope this helps you plan your trip to Vienna! No matter how long you choose to stay, you’ll never run out of things to do in Vienna. Don’t forget to check out the other guides for Central Europe – you’re in for an amazing holiday.
Happy travels to Austria!