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Austria’s capital city Vienna is the jewel in the crown of this beautiful Alpine country. The city’s coffee house culture, artistic and musical heritage, and grand imperial architecture make it possible to stay here for a very long time.
However, any city can become tiresome after a while and you may feel like you need a chance of scenery. Especially in a country like Austria, which boasts Alpine lakes, a plethora of outdoor activities, and a smattering of Central-Eastern European capitals nearby.
But how do you choose where to go from Vienna? That’s where we come in. Our expert travel team have trawled through the best day trips from Vienna and put together this awesome list. These day trips take into account a wide range of budgets, travel styles, and interests.
So, let’s check out the best day trips from Vienna!
Table of Contents
In a capital city, it’s always hard picking a place to stay. That’s no different in Vienna! It can be quite expensive to stay in the city centre, so you might end up looking at hostels or checking out the outskirts. Although it should be noted, there’s something in Vienna for all budgets and travel styles! Let’s check out three of the best places to stay in Vienna.
Pension Lehrerhaus shares its building with a supermarket and there are a number of restaurants and cafes in its immediate surroundings. So, you’ll never have to be hungry! Although you’re right in the city centre, this is a quiet place to stay, with clean and comfy rooms that look out onto a courtyard.
Not on a budget but can’t quite stretch to a five star? Boutique Hotel Das Tigra should put a smile on your face then. It’s got a little bit of history too – in 1773 Mozart and his father stayed here! It’s in a great location – just a hop, skip, and a jump from several of Vienna’s top attractions. For getting further afield, there’s an underground station just 3 minutes away too.
This five star offering is the best luxury hotel in Vienna. The only problem is you might not want to leave and enjoy the city or any nearby day trips! The on-site spa boasts an indoor swimming pool, a sauna, and a steam bath. So, after a long day of sightseeing, you can refresh and recuperate in the best way possible!
Best Day Trip from Vienna – Salzburg
Best Day Trip from Vienna by Train – Budapest
Best Romantic Day Trip from Vienna for Couples – Wachau and Danube Valleys Tour from Vienna
Best Day Trip from Vienna with Kids – Lainzer Wildlife Park
One of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Salzburg is just 2 ½ hours from Vienna by train. It’s the fourth largest city in Austria, but boasts art, history, and culture fitting of a city ten times bigger!
The UNESCO listed Old Town is packed with Baroque architecture and historical sites. One must visit (especially if you love music) is Mozart’s Birthplace, one of the most popular museums in the world! If you have time, take the funicular up to Hohensalzburg Castle for fantastic views.
You can also take a leisurely stroll through Mirabell Palace and Gardens. They might seem familiar if you’ve seen the Sound of Music! If you have the chance to stay in Salzburg for more than just the day, head out into the hills and discover where the Sound of Music was filmed!
The Austrian capital’s location and the well-connected European rail network means that the best day trip from Vienna by train will see you cross into neighbouring Hungary. There, you’ll visit its stunning capital, Budapest!
It’s a 3 hour journey, so it’ll be an early start and a late finish, but you won’t want to miss this off your itinerary. Budapest is known as the Paris of the East and it’s littered with UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Sites you shouldn’t miss are the Neo-Gothic architecture of the 3rd largest parliament buildings in the world. They’re kind of hard to miss! Also, Castle Hill for the 18th century Buda Castle and views of the Danube and Old Town from the Fisherman’s Bastion. If you’re struggling on deciding what exactly to do, a tour is your best bet!
Haven’t found what you’re looking for? Try our hotel guide for Vienna!
Another of the best day trips from Vienna by train is to another European capital! Bratislava is just over an hour away, making it closer than many of the day trips you can do in Austria!
This compact and charming capital is a mix of 18th century buildings in its Old Town, and Soviet architecture a little further out.
Explore the Old Town’s car-free streets, stopping off at the Town Hall and some great restaurants and cafes. While you’re working around, keep a lookout for the ‘Man at Work’ statue. The unusual sculpture is one of the symbols of Bratislava, and one of the most photographed spots in the city!
One thing you’ll notice is that Bratislava is much cheaper than the Austrian capital, making it the perfect budget day trip from Vienna.
It’s incredible that Vienna is so close to so many other capital cities, and Prague is just another great day trip from Vienna by train that you can take advantage of. A little bit further away than Budapest and Bratislava, it’ll take you 4 hours to get there and back. But you can always sleep on the journey!
There’s plenty to keep you entertained for the day. Start off in the Old Town and wander through Wenceslas Square. There, you’ll find the Astronomical Clock. Spot it by the crowd gathered on the hour, every hour!
Then, cross over the iconic Charles Bridge to the other side of the river. It’s here that you’ll find the largest castle complex in the world. Views of the city from here are fantastic!
If you ask any Wiener (that’s a person from Vienna, by the way), their favourite escape from the city, it’s likely they’ll tell you Vienna Woods. So, see the city like a local and follow their advice!
To get a view of the whole area, ascend the highest ‘mountain’ in the area, Kahlenberg. It’s only 484m, so it’s more of a large hill. However, you’ll get panoramic views of the city, the Danube, all the way to the Little Carpathian Mountains.
There are a number of noteworthy buildings here, including the Kahlenberg Church with its Baroque architecture. Don’t miss the oldest occupied Cistercian monastery in the world either – Heiligenkreuz dates back to the 12th century.
In fact, there are so many attractions in Vienna Woods that some have got their own place further down our list!
Klosterneuberg Abbey is on the edge of Vienna Woods, (see, we told you there was more to come), but it definitely deserves its own spot on our list. It’s a network of fantastically preserved buildings which span the passage of time, starting off in the 12th century.
One of the oldest and most impressive attractions in the complex is the Verduner Altar. It dates back to 1181 and you can find it in the Leopold Chapel.
The newer stuff is also worth a look – Baroque and Romanesque additions to the building are very impressive! Two copper domes, a marble home, and the main Baroque staircase will astound you. You’ll get some pretty great pictures too!
Austria is ranked as the 3rd safest country in the world, so that’s a good start when you’re travelling to Vienna. Most travellers don’t report and inconveniences or disturbances when they travel, but it’s always best to be vigilant. Use big-city awareness and common sense to avoid things that can happen to travellers anywhere – such as petty theft and pickpocketing!
Travelling to Vienna on your honeymoon? Perhaps it’s just a getaway with your other half. Whatever it is, the Wachau Valley is the most romantic day trip from Vienna for couples! At just an hour away, it’s one of the easiest (not to mention prettiest) day trips you can do.
The landscapes are cut in half by the Danube River, which winds through the bottom of the valley. You’ll see castles, monasteries, and quaint villages which will really take you back in time!
The undoubted highlight of the Wachau Valley is Melk Abbey. The Benedictine Abbey is perched high on a hill and offers one of the best views of the valley. You can easily spend a couple of hours exploring here, as there’s a museum, gardens, and one of the finest Baroque churches in all Austria!
If you follow any travel blogs on Instagram, you’ll have seen Hallstatt at some point. The quintessential image of an Alpine village, with its white church and 16th century houses alongside a still and serene lake.
Well, this is your chance to visit this beautiful place! As well as getting the classic shot for yourself, set aside some time to wander through the village. It’s packed with quaint cafes and shops which line the narrow cobblestone streets.
If you’ve got a whole day, you might want something a little more exciting than just shops and cafes. How about taking the funicular up to the Skywalk Hallstatt Viewing Platform?
Just a short trip away from the capital, you’ll find one of the more unusual day trips from Vienna. It’s hard to say that this is a natural attraction, as it was created by accident when a blasting operation went wrong in 1912.
However, the result was Europe’s largest subterranean lake. Man-made or not, it’s an impressive sight, and the year-round guided boat tours are well worth a few hours of your time.
Don’t miss this cool and mysterious attraction!
The Castle that you see nowadays was not actually the first one on this site. In fact, Kreuzenstein Castle dates all the way back to the Early Medieval times. However, that was destroyed in the 30 years war and what you can see now is the fairy tale-like Kreuzenstein Castle.
To find out more about the place’s fascinating history, you can take a guided tour between April and November.
It’s on a hill over 250m above sea level, so you can just imagine how great the views of the surrounding landscape are! The area around Kreuzenstein Castle is also a great place for outdoor enthusiasts. There are plenty of hiking trails nearby that will get you deep into the beautiful Austrian countryside!
Another attraction that’s part of the Vienna woods, Lainzer Wildlife Park is the best day trip from Vienna with kids! The whole family will be enchanted by this wildlife park, which was the former hunting ground for Hapsburg Emperors and Empresses.
Thankfully, the deer are left to run around at their own free will now. The kids are sure to love it if they can get up close and personal with these tame and tranquil beasts!
If you want to get an all-encompassing view of the nature reserve, then climb up to the Hubertuswarte Observation Tower on the Kaltbründlberg. It’s 14 metres above ground, so you’ll almost get a bird’s eye view of the area! If you get really tired out when walking around the park, then our next option might be the perfect combined day trip for you…
Less than an hour south of Vienna, the spa town of Baden Bei Wien dates all the way back to Roman times. It was here that they tired centurions and soldiers would relax in the therapeutic waters of the town formerly known as Aquae, and now you can too!
Every day, the sulphuric springs of the town emit 6.5 million litres of water a day. That’s a lot of curative waters! A favourite haunt of both locals and tourists, a trip to Baden Bei Wien is a great way to spend a day, especially if you’ve packed your holiday with sightseeing in Vienna and hiking in the Alpine hills and mountains!
You don’t really associate Ancient Roman ruins with Austria, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Carnutum! However, the history of this place isn’t exclusively Roman. Centuries later, there were battles here which involved Hungarians, Turks, and even Napoleon!
The 1st century Roman town wasn’t just about fighting though. The fortified town held more than 50,000 people, and you can see the mansions and houses of former residents. Also, the reconstructed bathhouses and gladiator school arena should not be missed!
There are regularly cool and fun events including battle re-enactments, so this is a fabulous family day out. In fact, it’s up there with Lainzer Wildlife Park as one of the best day trips from Vienna with kids!
The winding streets of Grinzing are one of the easiest day trips from Vienna. At just 20km northeast of the city, it’ll take you no time at all to get here either on public transport or with your own car.
Although its history dates back to the 12th century, it has seen many wars (and not always pulled through), so many of the buildings are from the 19th century. If you want to try some traditional Austrian foods, this is a great place to do so.
The village is full of traditional taverns, called heurigers, which you can tell if they’re open or not by the spruce branches placed above the entrances!
Austrian food can be quite meat-heavy, so you might want to walk off your meal afterwards. Luckily, the wooded area surrounding Grinzing has some excellent hiking. Most notably in the Kahlenberg and Leopoldsberg hills!
At the top of our list, we had a lot of nearby European capitals, so it seems only fair to end on that note too! And with this one, you also get one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe thrown in too.
Ljubljana is a 4 hour journey by car from Vienna, and while this may seem ambitious for a day trip, you certainly won’t regret it afterwards. Get to know this pretty city on the banks of the Ljubljanica River and check out its famous cafes. Also, admire the historic bridges and castle in town.
You should also check out Lake Bled, easily the most scenic location in Slovenia. Its calm waters provide the escape from the hustle and bustle of the city that you’ve been looking for!
So, that’s all from our list of the best day trips from Vienna. You’ll see that whether you head north, east, south, or west from the Austrian capital, you’ll not have any trouble in finding something fun and exciting!
As the Austrian capital, Vienna is brilliantly connected. In fact, it’s a popular interrailing stop as it’s so close to Bratislava, Budapest, and Prague. Not that you need to leave Austria to find a great day trip though!
No matter if you’re travelling alone, as a couple, or with the kids, you’ll easily find a great day trip from Vienna. Natural wonders, ornate towns and cities, and fairy tale castles are all just within a stone’s throw of the Austrian capital.
If there’s anything we’ve missed out, please do let us know in the comments. We hope you have a fantastic vacation!
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Gin lover. Coffee addict. Nicola has traveled the world for 7 years and is a staff writer for Hotel Jules. Born in London, Nicola first got the taste of travel studying abroad in Barcelona. Since then she's been hooked - traveling the world non-stop. Passionate about green travel and vegan lifestyle, Nicola spends more of her free time staring at maps wondering where she will head to next!