Best of Beautiful Vienna 2 Day Itinerary
Vienna, Austria was one of our main city stops during our honeymoon tour of central Europe. We allocated just 2 days to explore this beautiful city, and immediately knew we’d want more!
We stayed just outside the old city at Hotel Roomz. It’s an amazing budget hotel conveniently located on the U-Bahn subway line. You’ll be in the middle of the action in no time!
Our Vienna 2 Day Itinerary was loosely based on a tram tour we found in Rick Steve’s Austria. As always, Rick knows how to get the most out of your time here. By design, we arrived late in the evening for our first night in Vienna to maximize all we had planned over the next 2 days.
Strap on your walking shoes, and see why Vienna was another magical city we can’t wait to return to…
We began our first morning in Vienna by visiting the 28 acre Stadtpark. First opened in 1862, it’s a beautifully manicured park perfect for a lazy afternoon picnic. As we wondered through the park we performed a bit of a scavenger-hunt to find the statues of famous Viennese artists, writers and composers including Johann Strauss and Ludwig van Beethoven.
Before leaving, we found a group of people dressed in period clothing selling tickets for that evening’s Strauss concert. We jumped at the chance (more on that later)!
Vienna State Opera
The Vienna State Opera opened in 1869 with Mozart’s DON JUAN in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth. It was devastated during a WWII bombing in 1945 and reconstructed over the following 10 years. It’s re-opening in 1955 was an event with national significance as it signified a new beginning for a country that had just regained it’s independence.
Today, this opera house is considered one of the most important in the world.
One of the most famous names connected with Vienna is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and you’ll see reference to him everywhere! Unveiled in 1896 and restored in 1953, this beautiful monument is located next to the Imperial Palace Hofburg in the Burrgarten (Imperial Palace Gardens).
This former imperial palace was built in the 13th century, and continually expanded in the centuries that followed. It has housed some of the most powerful people in European history, including Habsburg Dynasty monarchs and Austro-Hungarian Empire rulers.
This complex now includes various residences, the Imperial Chapel, the Naturhistorisches Museum and Kunsthistorisches Museum, the Austrian National Library, the Imperial Treasury, the Burgtheater, the Spanish Riding School, the Imperial Horse Stables, and the Hofburg Congress Center.
Hofburg Palace is now the official residence and workplace of the President of Austria.
The Imperial Treasury is a stunning collection of treasures spanning over 1000 years of European history. Compiled by the Imperial House of Habsburg, this 21 room collection includes such amazing pieces as the Imperial Crown, Orb, and Sceptre of Austria, and the Imperial Regalia of the Emperors and Kings of the Holy Roman Empire, including the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire.
Roman Ruins at Michaelerplatz
Uncovered during an excavation project in 1990-91, Michaelerplatz now contains exposed remains of a Roman house dating back to the 2nd-4th century, as well as some medieval foundations and remains of the former Burgtheater.
Volksgarten (People’s Garden), designed in 1821, is part of the Hofburg Palace. The park was built over the city fortifications that were destroyed by Napoleon in 1809.
Volksgarten was opened to the public in 1823, and today is best known for it’s amazing rose garden.
Parlament and Rathaus
2 important government buildings line Ringstraße boulevard: Parlament (Parliament) and Rathaus (City Hall).
Parlament is where the two houses of the Austrian Parliament conduct their sessions. The foundation stone was laid in 1874 and the building was completed in 1883.
Rathaus houses the office of the Mayor of Vienna as well as the chambers of the city council. It was constructed from 1872 to 1883 in a Neo-Gothic style. You’ll definitely want to visit during the Christmas season when the entire building is transformed into a larger-than-life advent calendar!
Ludwig van Beethoven worked in Vienna for thirty-five years, 8 of which (1804-1815) were spent on the 4th floor of this apartment. It was here that he worked on his 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th symphonies, as well as his opera FIDELIO.
Today this building houses a museum containing numerous documents and personal items illustrating the life and work of Beethoven.
Johann Strauss Concert in Stadtpark
Our first day in Vienna ended where it began … in Stadtpark!
We returned for the Johann Strauss concert we had purchased tickets to that morning. The concert took place at the beautiful Kursalon, built in 1867. This was the very place where Johann Strauss directed his orchestra from the position of first violin.
If there’s 1 thing I can deem as “can’t miss” during your next visit, it’s got to be Schönbrunn Palace!
This incredible place was where we spent the bulk of the second day of our Vienna 2 Day Itinerary, and we’d gladly do it again. Originally commissioned as a hunting lodge by Emperor Leopold I in 1642, it quickly became a stately residence and annual summer home for the imperial family starting in 1645.
We bought out tour tickets and realized we has 2 hours to kill before our designated time. What are we going to do for 2 hours, we wondered … Then we found the incredible Palace Gardens! The park at Schönbrunn Palace extends 1.2 km from east to west and approximately 1 km from north to south. It was opened to the public around 1779.
Schönbrunn Irrgarten Maze
One of the great features of the Schönbrunn Gardens is the Irrgarten Maze. Originally laid out in 1720, it became neglected and finally cleared in 1892. The new maze opened in 1999, reconstructed according to the historical model on 1,715 m².
Also located in this section of the garden is the Labyrinth. Extending over an area of 2,700 m², it’s a playful place for visitors of all ages to relax and enjoy an afternoon. Hop your way across bouncing boards, see yourself through a kaleidoscope, climb a ‘chiming climbing pole’, or even solve mathematical riddles.
St. Stephan’s Cathedral
St. Stephan’s Cathedral is one of Vienna’s most recognizable symbols, and its most important religious building.
Initially built between 1339-1365, it’s the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vienna and seat of the Archbishop of Vienna. St. Stephan’s largely managed to escape WWII unscathed until a neighbouring fire caused the roof to collapse. It was replaced by the multi-coloured tile version you see today.
It’s my hope that joining me on my Vienna 2 Day Itinerary has inspired you to visit this beautiful city. I know I can’t wait to return for a longer stay!
Have you been to Vienna and visited any sights you’d consider to be “can’t miss”? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
Here is a list of the resources mentioned in this post:
Rick Steve’s Austria – Rick Steve’s in the defacto expert on all things Europe. He’s got an amazing ability to take you into the real-life experiences often overlooked by other tour guides.
Traveller’s Handbook – All of my best tips, checklists, and travel rules conveniently located in 1 easy download.