Where to Stay in Vienna for First Time Visitors in 2024

perspective of the ornate white stone Belvedere Palace in best area to stay in Vienna for families
Belvedere Palace in Vienna

If you’ve been desperately Googling where to stay in Vienna for first time visitors, then this is the guide for you! 

By the time you finish reading, you should have a firm grasp of the principal districts worth considering, as well as what each of the best areas to stay in Vienna has to offer for night owls, coffee junkies and young families.

It goes without saying that Vienna has some amazing old buildings and an impressive imperial history, but so much of what appeals about the city to me today is its creative vibrancy and sense of energetic urgency. Despite being a major capital for hundreds of years, it doesn’t feel like it’s stagnating in the slightest.

I’ve been to Vienna twice and stayed in both Wieden and Mariahilf areas. During that time, I’ve explored all of the neighbourhoods in this guide, from the historic old part of town (Innere Stadt – 1st district Vienna) to the district of Leopoldstadt with its extensive parkland.

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Of the 23 districts, the Austrian capital possesses, the following 7 neighbourhoods in Vienna are the only ones worth mentioning for their proximity to beautiful architecture, museums, parks, trendy cafes, historic cafes, selection of Viennese boutique hotels and everything else a visitor could wish to explore.

The best places to stay in Vienna are all well-connected by public transport, and most of the places I recommend are actually within walking distance of one another.

Obviously, where to stay in Vienna for first time visitors will be slightly different than for return explorers. If you’ve already ticked off much of the typical tourist trail, you will probably be looking to dig a little deeper into local living.

Where I Stayed in Vienna (and Loved!)

best hotels in Vienna to stay for tourists
Vienna hotel sidewalk cafe with white umbrellas in best area to stay in Vienna
Photo Credit: Booking.com

The Guesthouse Vienna

Rating: 9.2 / 10 | Reviews: 750+

The Guesthouse Vienna was such a perfect place to stay in Vienna because of its location in the heart of the historic centre, spacious suites and in-house restaurant and bakery.

This Vienna hotel is only a 2-minute walk to the state opera and Albertina Museum and 8 minutes from Vienna’s historic square and St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

Understanding Vienna’s Neighborhood Numbering System

Before I get into the best district to stay in Vienna, a brief note on the numbering system. The city is divided into 23 districts, with District 1 (Innere Stadt) right in the middle. Most of the historic attractions are located right in the center, though the various quarters surrounding the old town each have their own attractions.

Best Places to Stay in Vienna Map

coloured map of where to stay in Vienna for first timers

Where to Stay in Vienna for First Time Visitors

1. Innere Stadt: Best Area to Stay in Vienna for First Time Visitors

BEST FOR | First-Time Visitors, Sightseeing or Short Stays

facade of Hofburg palace in 1st District Vienna
Sisi Museum Hofburg in Vienna’s Historic Centre

At the very center of the city, the Innere Stadt is the best place to stay in Vienna if you want to be enveloped in history. This is the oldest part of the Austrian capital, filled with Medieval churches, famous bakeries and some of the most luxurious palaces the Hapsburg Dynasty ever produced.

Standing imperiously in the heart of the 1st District Vienna is St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which is a good place to orient yourself. That’s especially true if you can manage the arduous slog to the top of the South Tower – your labours will be rewarded with views out over the entire city

gothic interiors of the St. Stephens Cathedral in historic Vienna neighborhood
Ornate Interiors of St. Stephen’s Cathedral in 1st District Vienna

From here, several pedestrianized streets full of restaurants and cafes radiate outwards. The most famous of these is Kartner Strasse, a shopping mecca that runs all the way down to the Hotel Sacher with its signature Sacher torte (chocolate cake with apricot jam).

As you would expect from any European city’s old town, the area is flooded with people – many of them tourists – gazing about in awe at the mixture of Gothic and Baroque architecture. 

It’s not the most restful part of town to base yourself in, but it has a level of opulence which will make even the most jaded visitor feel like an emperor.

old-world dining room with shaded chandeliers, booths and wood panelled walls in best place to stay in Vienna
Dining room at Cafe Landtmann in 1st District Vienna

Cool Things to Do in Innere Stadt

  • Clamber up the vertiginous heights of St. Stephen’s South Tower
  • Stick a fork into a slice of Sacher torte at Hotel Sacher
  • Enjoy a Mozart concert at the Vienna Opera House
  • Parade through the imperial apartments of the Hofburg Palace
  • Peruse the glamorous shops along Kartner Strasse and Kohlmarkt
  • Follow in Andy Warhol’s footsteps by grabbing coffee at Cafe Hawelka
  • Indulge in apple strudel at Cafe Landtmann
  • Sip Champagne at Palmenhaus in Burggarten
  • Explore 20th-century art at Albertina Museum

Best Restaurants + Cafes in Innere Stadt

Innere Stadt at a Glance

  • Right in the middle of the action
  • High density of top attractions within walking distance
  • Great transportation links to other districts
  • Lots of historic cafes with storied pasts and delicious pastries
  • Most touristy part of Vienna
  • Very crowded streets
  • One of the most expensive parts of town to stay

Best Hotels in Vienna’s Innere Stadt

Photos Credit: Booking.com

The Guesthouse Vienna

Rating: 9.2 / 10 | Reviews: 750+

Designed by Sir Terence Conran, this 5 star hotel in Vienna is the height of sleek sophistication.

The Guesthouse is just a short walk from all the main attractions, it also has a brasserie and bakery on site, selling cakes, tarts and bread.

Luxury hotels in Vienna don’t come more pet friendly: dogs can stay with their owners for no additional charge.

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Singerstrasse Apartments

Rating: 9.1 / 10 | Reviews: 900+

Singerstrasse Apartments is located in the heart of Innere Stadt a short 5-minute walk from St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

One of the best accommodations in Vienna if you are looking for a self-contained apartment.

You can choose from a simple double hotel room to a classic apartment studio with a convenient kitchenette.

2. Wieden: Where to Stay in Vienna for Young Travellers

BEST FOR | Quirky Bars, Cafes + Hip Eateries

rainbow sidewalk and intersection with bicycles and cafe in Wieden Vienna
Young vibe in 4th District Vienna

Wieden may be the best area of Vienna to stay in if you’re hoping to infuse your holiday with a youthful vibe. The large student population has fostered a decent number of trendy bars and new-wave coffee houses in the district, especially around the University of Technology.

Most of the action takes place just off Karlsplatz, a square boasting a number of unique buildings, including the impressive Baroque-style Karlskirche (St. Charles Church). This open area plays host to numerous festivals and markets throughout the year, so make sure to check whether anything’s on before your visit. 

Another factor that arguably makes Wieden the best area to stay Vienna has to offer is the Naschmarkt, a large expanse of fresh produce stalls, specialty food sellers and al fresco dining

Here, you can purchase your local sausages and cheeses alongside imported papayas and dragon fruit, before taking a seat and tucking into an apple strudel. I especially loved the Wienerschnitzel at Zue Eisernen Zeit and the hummus at NENI.

If you like your booze with a chaser of art, the grungy cool of the establishments along Margaretenstrasse is just the tonic you need. Here, you’ll find restaurants-cum-galleries and bars-cum-movie theatres. Swing Kitchen and Matcha Komachi are a couple of my favourites.

Wander down one of the other streets coming off this road and you’ll find shops selling vintage second-hand apparel, organic foods and CBD oil. 

Cool Things to Do in Wieden

  • Catch a movie at boho theatre and dive bar Schikaneder
  • Shop for a new old look at Flo Vintage
  • Take the lift up to the top of the Karlskirche dome to examine the frescoes and see views of the city
  • Chill out with a cold brew from No Panic Coffee
  • Munch on all the local specialties at the Naschmarkt

Best Restaurants + Cafes in Wieden

Wieden at a Glance

  • Super chill area filled with laidback locals
  • Unpretentious nightlife with prices geared towards students
  • Within easy walking distance of Innere Stadt
  • Great place to purchase a more unique holiday memento
  • The numerous bars can make it a noisy base for your visit
  • Not best suited for families
  • Fewer accommodation options

Best Hotels in Vienna’s Wieden

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Hotel Indigo Vienna

Rating: 9.2 / 10 | Reviews: 775+

The rooms at this 4 star hotel in Vienna are situated around a plant-filled central courtyard, creating an immediate aura of calm as soon as you enter the building.

While it’s technically located in Margareten (5th District Vienna), this modern spot is just a short, 12-minute walk from the Naschmarkt.

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Easy Flat Sankt Elisabeth

Rating: 8.6 / 10 | Reviews: 375+

The Easy Flat real estate portfolio includes six flats for rent in the southern part of Wieden, just beside the Parish Church of St. Elizabeth.

These sizable, stylish studio apartments range from around 400 to 450 feet in size, with polished wooden floors, a kitchenette and double beds in each unit.

3. Mariahilf: Coolest Place to Stay in Vienna

BEST FOR | Young Crowd, Boho Flea Market, Stylish Eateries

eclectic bookstore with cafe seating in Wieden one of the best areas to stay in Vienna
Phil Cafe in 6th District Vienna

Not to be outdone by Wieden, the 6th District Vienna also has its quota of laidback cafes and artistic ambiance

In fact, it shares not just a penchant for vintage stores and art galleries with its southern neighbour, but also the Naschmarkt, which runs along the border between the two areas. Don’t forget to check out the Saturday flea market that pops up here if you’re about on the weekend.

Mariahilf is known for being a hub for international cuisine. It’s here you’ll find some of the best Asian eateries in Vienna – from Ra-mien’s Japanese ramen to modern Sichuan at China Kitchen – as well as the much-touted pizzeria Disco Volante

After all, you can’t spend more than 24 hours in Vienna dining on schnitzel, sausages and apple strudel… Can you?

Admittedly, Mariahilf’s long-standing status as the cool kid of Vienna seems to have made it slightly more disingenuous about its street cred. 

While urban art still springs out at you unexpectedly from the walls of buildings, there’s a bit of an air of polish that pervades a lot of the place now, as though the mainstream shopping street of Mariahilfer is steadily spreading south.

Mariahilf reminds me of the Letna neighbourhood, the coolest place to stay in Prague.

Cool Things to Do in Mariahilf

  • Take a self-guided street art tour
  • Eat your way along Gumpendorfstrasse until you get to the Innere Stadt
  • Check out Art Nouveau architect Otto Wagner’s Majolikahaus
  •  Ponder the metamorphosis of man into beetle over a tomato mozzarella pesto toastie at Cafe Kafka
  • Read a book and brunch at Phil

Best Restaurants + Cafes in Mariahilf

Mariahilf at a Glance

  • Fashionable part of town
  • Easy and quick access to the old town on the U-Bahn
  • A smorgasbord of international eating options
  • Hosts the most popular flea market in the city
  • Not budget friendly
  • Less up and coming and more already arrived
  • Not as much to experience as other parts of town

Best Hotels in Vienna’s Mariahilf

Photos Credit: Booking.com


Rating: 9.1 / 10 | Reviews: 1,200+

Forget understated, 4 star hotels in Vienna don’t come much more boldly decorated than Hotel MOTTO.

Each of the rooms features striking patterns on either the walls or the floors – or both.

Facilities include a modest sauna and gym area, a restaurant bar, and a rooftop terrace with beautiful views.

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Pension Wienderland

Rating: 9 / 10 | Reviews: 400+

Accommodations in Vienna are rarely as homely as they are at Pension Wienderland.

Each of the five rooms at this B&B is named for the accent wall behind the bedstead.

Typical of lodging from yesteryear, the bathrooms are communal, as are the lounge areas where guests can meet other visitors and share recommendations over the morning buffet breakfast.

4. Neubau: Where to Stay in Vienna for Nightlife

BEST FOR | Nightlife, Museums

side perspective of the white stone facade and domed roof of the natural museum of Vienna
Museum of Natural History of Vienna District 5

Hands down the best area in Vienna to stay if you like exhibitions, Neubau is home to the MuseumsQuartier. This 90,000-square-metre complex houses a whole bunch of cultural institutions, including spaces dedicated to contemporary art and the practice of architecture. 

Arguably the most impressive collections are found in the Leopold Museum (dedicated to Austria’s best and brightest artists, like Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele) and the MUMOK (containing works by international heavyweights like Max Ernst, Rene Magritte and Pablo Picasso).

Abutting the MuseumsQuartier (and technically part of the Innere Stadt) is Maria-Theresien-Platz. This square is framed by the more traditional institutions of the History Museum of Vienna and the Museum of Natural History of Vienna, which makes for an interesting contrast to the more modern edifices and arts next door.

MuseumQuartier with geometric orange benches one of the best places to stay in Vienna for nightlife
MuseumQuartier in 7th District Vienna

The 7th District Vienna isn’t all about museums, though. It’s also full of vegetarian and vegan eateries. These range from the Instagram-ready meal bowls at The LaLa and the milk-free ice cream of Veganista, to the Vietnamese veggie dishes at Vevi

Another reason to stay in Neubau is it combines two of my favourite things: artisanal coffee and local designer fashion. You can find both at Wolfgang Coffee/QWSTION, a cafe serving specialty coffee that is integrated with a clothing shop.   

Last but not least, Neubau is the place to stay in Vienna if you are looking for nightlife. Edgy (borderline grungy) bars and clubs are integrated into elegant Viennesian buildings for an unforgettable night on the town. Donau techno nightclub is one of these.

Neubau is reminiscent of the Jewish Quarter, the best area to stay in Budapest for nightlife.

Cool Things to Do in Neubau

  • Let loose your inner nerd in the MuseumsQuartier
  • Take your palate on a tour of all that meat-free meals have to offer
  • Pick up a funky new party outfit at one of the trendy fashion stores
  • Wear your funky new party outfit to Donau techno nightclub

Best Restaurants + Cafes in Neubau

Neubau at a Glance

  • Probably the highest concentration of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in any part of Vienna
  • Museums for all kinds of tastes and dispositions
  • Shopping heaven for both modern fashion and vintage items
  • Right on the cusp of Innere Stadt attractions like Hofburg Palace and Maria-Theresien-Platz
  • Not ideal for families

Best Hotels in Vienna’s Neubau

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Hotel Altstadt

Rating: 9.4 / 10 | Reviews: 725+

Hotel Altstadt is surrounded on all sides by the trendiest restaurants, cafes and bars that Neubau has to offer.

This Vienna boutique hotel may be the best location Vienna has to offer for those who like their holidays heavy on the food and beverage side of things.

That’s especially true because Hotel Altstadt provides not just a breakfast buffet, but also a complimentary afternoon tea with cake daily.

Photos Credit: Booking.com

The Weekend

Rating: 8.8 / 10 | Reviews: 5,250+

The Weekend is in the westernmost part of Neubau, further away from the more hectic parts of the district.

The clean, comfortable rooms keep things modern and, for the most part, minimalist.

There’s a tram line not too far away, and there’s also easy access to the Wiener Stadthalle if you’re in town for a concert.  

5. Leopoldstadt: Best Area to Stay in Vienna for Families

BEST FOR | Gentrified Residential Jewish Quarter with Creative Vibe

The giant ferris wheel in Prater 2nd district Vienna where to stay for families
Giant Ferris Wheel in Prater, 2nd District Vienna

Leopoldstadt is by far the largest of the inner districts in Vienna, though a significant portion of this space is taken up by the Prater. Formerly the private hunting grounds of the emperor, the Prater is now an expansive public park where you can have lovely warm weather picnics.

For families, this is one of the best places to stay Vienna has to offer. I say that not just because of the spacious parkland, but also because Leopoldstadt boasts its very own amusement park, complete with a giant Ferris wheel, carnival rides for all ages and a whole host of sugary snacks.

Not that this area is only for kids and their accompanying adults. There’s also a hugely vibrant bar scene along the Danube Canal, complemented by some of the city’s most extensive street art. 

Further up the river, the Karmelitermarkt food market is second only to the Naschmarkt in terms of popularity. It’s even arguably more scenic, as it’s situated in a pretty square of pastel houses.

All of this area was once the Jewish part of town before the German annexation saw the synagogues levelled and the inhabitants dispersed. Today, returning Jews have tried to reclaim their past here, leading to the rise of a number of kosher eateries.

Cool Things to Do in Leopoldstadt

  • Recreate Orson Welles’ scene from film classic The Third Man aboard the giant Ferris wheel
  • Chill out with a beer by the side of the beautiful blue Danube
  • Picnic in Prater Park with some goodies purchased from the Karmelitermarkt
  •  Indulge your inner child with candy floss and bumper cars at the Wurstelprater

Best Restaurants + Cafes in Leopoldstadt

Leopoldstadt at a Glance

  • Plenty of parklands to enjoy
  • Has one of the city’s best food markets
  • Beach bars pop up during the summer along the Danube
  • Just a short walk across a bridge to Innere Stadt
  • Quite far from all the other major areas aside from the 1st District

Best Hotels in Vienna’s Leopoldstadt

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Superbude Wien Prater

Rating: 9.1 / 10 | Reviews: 5,550+

Is this the best place to stay in Vienna for tourist amusements?

Quite possibly, and not just because it’s right next to the amusement park and a short walk from the old town.

Rooms don’t get much zanier than the ones at the Superbude, which seems to have taken some style notes from Andy Warhol on ecstasy.

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Hotel Babula Am Augarten

Rating: 9 / 10 | Reviews: 3,750+

Situated not far from the Baroque-style parkland of the Augarten, the Hotel Babula manages to be in a quieter part of Leopoldstadt while still within easy reach of the Karmelitermarkt, Wurstelprate and Innere Stadt.

The rooms are affordable with pared-back interiors – the designers certainly don’t believe in over-furnishing at this accommodation in Vienna. 

6. Landstrasse: Best Place to Stay in Vienna for Budget Travellers

BEST FOR | Well Connected + Budget Friendly

pathway to lower Belvedere Palace through white stone statues in Landstrasse Vienna
Pathway to Lower Belvedere Palace in 3rd District Vienna

Landstrasse is very much a residential neighbourhood, more so than any of the other districts I’ve mentioned here so far. In a sense, its purpose is to provide people with a place to live – and host a few embassies on the side – which is probably why it’s one of the more affordable places to locate lodging.

One of the other primary bonuses of staying in Landstrasse is that the City Airport Train (CAT) runs into Wien Mitte train station, located in this district. Put simply, it’s the place that’s most easy to reach from the airport other than Innere Stadt.

While attractions are scarce, there are a couple of things that are really worth visiting. 

colourful and eclectic Hundertwasserhaus facade in 3rd District Vienna best area to stay
Hundertwasserhaus Village in Vienna’s District 3

First is the Belvedere Palace, which is surrounded by parkland and houses Gustav Klimt’s most famous work, The Kiss, among other notable artworks. The second is Hundertwasserhaus, an utterly original expressionist-inspired apartment house that made me think of Anton Gaudi’s work in Barcelona.

A city stay Vienna style means visiting at least one upmarket modern Austrian eatery. If you have time after your visit to Hundertwasserhaus, simply make the 9-minute leisurely stroll down the street to Heunisch & Erben. Here you can find all the classic Austrian dishes spiced up for a modern palate.

Cool Things to Do in Landstrasse

  • Shed a tear over the beauty of Klimt’s The Kiss
  • Explore the Hundertwasserhaus from all its possible angles
  • Chow down on a Viennese wurst at the local sausage kiosk
  • Explore the exotic plant collection at the Botanical Garden of the University of Vienna
  • Visit the largest tram museum in the world

Best Restaurants + Cafes in Landstrasse

Landstrasse at a Glance

  • Primarily residential and so quieter than other areas in the capital
  • There are bargains to be had for the budget conscious
  • Good green spaces
  • Solid transport links into the centre
  • Not walkable into the center from most parts of the district
  • Lacks character of other hipper neighbourhoods
  • Fewer options in terms of restaurants and bars

Best Hotels in Vienna’s Landstrasse

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Magdas Hotel

Rating: 9.1 / 10 | Reviews: 400+

Reopened in October 2022 with a fresh lick of paint, Madgas Hotel’s decor is at least partly constituted of upcycled furniture.

The eclectic approach to furnishings makes each room a little unique.

Facilities include two conference rooms, a restaurant, a garden and the hotel’s very own chapel.

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Rioca Vienna Posto 2

Rating: 9 / 10 | Reviews: 3,400+

Available to rent for stays of a few days or stays of a few months, this ‘aparthotel’ aims to recreate the warmth of Brazil within Vienna.

This is done through colourful murals, tactfully deployed foliage and the enthusiasm of the Rioca Vienna Post 2 staff.

While it is located in an area with lots of new buildings shooting up, there are convenient transport links to the center of town.

7. Josefstadt

BEST FOR | Close to the Centre, Young Budget Travellers

greenery lined park with benches in Rathausplatz Vienna
Grounds of Rathausplatz on the border of 8th District Vienna

Josefstadt is Vienna’s smallest district. It lies just west of the Rathaus (Town Hall) of the 1st District, making it very walkable to a lot of the central sights

A densely populated area, it is nevertheless more affordable than Neubau to the south by virtue of being slightly less fashionable.

A predominantly residential area, there are a few nice coffee shops and restaurants aimed at the local Viennese, though these are generally less trendy than Wieden, Mariahilf or Neubau.

Perhaps the district’s primary claim to fame is that the oldest theatre in Vienna that is still running is located here. Theater in der Josefstadt was founded in 1788 and usually has an interesting production underway – as long as you can understand German, that is.

While admittedly there’s not much to do in Josefstadt itself other than enjoy a coffee in a stripped-back cafe, it’s worth throwing the district into the mix of what area to stay in Vienna just because of its proximity to lots of interesting things in other parts of the capital

I guess what I’m trying to say is, find a place to stay here, but don’t expect to spend a lot of time here.

Cool Things to Do in Josefstadt

  • Practice your German by taking in a show at the Theater in der Josefstadt
  • Enjoy the Baroque buildings of the district in peace and quiet
  • Try all manner of traditional boiled dumplings at Knödel Manufaktur
  • Pop your head round the door of the obscure Shoe Museum

Best Restaurants + Cafes in Josefstadt

Josefstadt at a Glance

  • Affordable accommodation
  • Not particularly touristy
  • Fairly close to everything in the Innere Stadt and in Neubau
  • Not as full of attractions as Innere Stadt
  • Not as trendy as Neubau
  • Nightlife options are limited (though you could always just wander into Neubau)

Best Hotels in Vienna’s Josefstadt

Photos Credit: Booking.com

ARTIST Boutique Hotel

Rating: 9.3 / 10 | Reviews: 600+

Decorated tastefully with little hints of flair slipped in amongst the modernist furnishings, the ARTIST Boutique Hotel is a cute little establishment in a great location for the Innere Stadt.

Amenities include a fitness room, breakfast salon, bar and a place for conferences. There is also a laundry service available on request.

Photos Credit: Booking.com

Hotel Columbia

Rating: 8.5 / 10 | Reviews: 950+

For 120 years, the Hotel Columbia has been renting out its cozy rooms to visitors in Vienna – though rest assured they’ve seen a few renovations over that time!

A family-run guesthouse, breakfast is individually prepared and consists of fresh pastry from a local bakery, fruit, various types of sausages and cheese, and traditional Viennese coffee.

Best Vienna Tours

Vienna is just chock full of interesting and deep history. One of the best ways to experience it is through an organized guided tour, especially if you are visiting for the first time. 

Immerse yourself in the culture of what makes Vienna, Vienna and learn from a knowledgeable local guide while doing so. Plus, everything is planned for you!

These are the most popular, highly-rated tours of Vienna:

Vienna City Card

If you do intend to traverse the entirety of the Austrian capital during your stay, exploring the various areas, it may be worth purchasing the Vienna City Card

This provides you with completely free travel for the duration, as well as discounts on most of the major attractions. For a long weekend, opt for a 3-day Vienna pass.

The benefits of purchasing a Vienna City Card:

  • Choose from 1, 2, 3 or 6 consecutive day pass durations
  • Complimentary admission to 70+ of Vienna’s top attractions
  • Unlimited hop-on hop-off bus rides
  • Fast track entry
  • Informational guide
  • Exclusive discounts with local Viennese businesses

Get your Vienna City Card

How to Get Around Vienna

Vienna Airport to City Centre

Getting into Vienna proper is fairly easy on the City Airport Train (CAT), which takes just 20 minutes to reach the Wien Mitte train station, right on the outskirts of the Innere Stadt.

Grab your Vienna Airport CAT Transfer

Public Transportation

Once you are downtown, there’s a robust network of trams, buses, U-Bahn (urban city rail network) and S-Bahn (commuter rail network) routes.

Some of the Viennese districts can be pretty spread out. 

For example, if you’re based in the northern part of Wieden, it’s not much of an effort to walk to the old town, but if you’re in the south, you’re more likely to want to take public transport.

You will also want to partake in Vienna public transportation to reach the famous Schonbrunn Palace which is located a 30-minute drive or metro from the historic city centre.

I recommend purchasing the popular Vienna Public Transport City Card for the duration of your visit. This gives you unfettered access to the city’s trams, buses and the underground metro. The pass comes in 24, 48 or 72 hours, the perfect amount of time to see all the sites.

double decker red and white bus with yellow lettering saying big bus Vienna
Hop-on hop-on bus in Vienna

Hop-on Hop-off Bus

While Vienna is very walkable, some districts and attractions worth seeing are at least a 15-30 minute walk away from the historic centre. Thus, you can opt to explore Vienna on the popular hop-on hop-off bus. 

You can book your pass in 24, 48 or 72 durations. Once you board the bus, you will be given audio commentary of the attractions you pass by.

A hop-on hop-off bus pass is a great way to see the city without all the walking or if your tootsies are sore.

Best Time to Visit Vienna

As with much of central Europe, the shoulder seasons of April to June and September to October is the best time to visit Vienna

During this time, you’ll enjoy temperate weather but also avoid the massive influx of people that accompanies July and August. Bear in mind, however, that June is usually the wettest month.

Vienna in Winter

An alternative is to visit during the winter when the city is blanketed with crisp white snow and Christmas markets pop up across the city. 

This can be a very beautiful time of year to arrive, especially if the idea of browsing festive stalls in the square outside the Rathaus sounds like your idea of holiday cheer.

intricately constructed greenhouses with domed roofs and colourful flowers and geometric hedges in Schonbrunn Palace Gardens
The Palm House in Schonbrunn Gardens in May

How Many Days in Vienna

If you’re wondering how long to stay in Vienna, three days is just right to see the highlights

A weekend in Vienna should just about mean you can cover the major attractions, like Schonbrunn Palace and the Sigmund Freud Museum, while also leaving some time to lounge about in both boho bars and old-world coffee houses.

A simple 3 day Vienna itinerary could look like this:

3 Day Vienna Itinerary – Day 1:

Start by getting your bearings downtown with the attractions around St. Stephen’s Cathedral, before making your way slowly southwest towards the Hofburg. Dine on classical apple strudel at Cafe Landtmann.

Sip a glass of champagne at Palmenhaus’s picturesque ‘greenhouse’ style digs while looking onward to the beautiful Burrgarten grounds.

Enjoy an evening concert at the ornate Karlskirche.

3 Day Vienna Itinerary – Day 2:

Spare at least a half day to travel into the suburbs to see one of Vienna’s crowning jewels, Schonbrunn, Then head to the hip Wieden district to check out Naschmarkt and then party with the college crowd in the evening in Neubau.

3 Day Vienna Itinerary – Day 3:

Finish up your trip by exploring the gardens and markets of Leopoldstadt. In summer, make sure to hang out at one of the trendy beach bars along the river. 

Stop off at the Belvedere to check out Klimt’s The Kiss. Then do a bit of vintage shopping in Mariahilf or do coffee and art in MuseumQuertier.

Alternatively, you can spend this day on a day trip from Vienna. The most popular and highly rated guided tour is to Hallstatt and the Alpine Peaks.

Where to Stay in Vienna Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the best area to stay in Vienna for first timers?

The best place to stay in Vienna for first time visitors is the historic centre of Vienna in District 1 – Inner Stadt. Here you will find a high concentration of tourist sites within a 10-minute walk. The Guesthouse Vienna is well-rated and has a great central location.

Alternatively, you can base yourself on the border of District 1 with Wieden, Mariahilf or Neubau neighbourhoods to the west to get a more local vibe with a mix of trendy restaurants, old-world coffeehouses and boutique shops.

What is the coolest neighbourhood in Vienna?

The coolest Vienna neighbourhood to stay in is Mariahilf in District 6. Here you will find close proximity to the sights in the historic centre yet have a larger variety of trendy international cuisine, new-wave coffee shops and some killer shopping, both vintage and modern. It also helps that you have easy access to Naschmarkt food market.

Of course, with anything, the coolest neighbourhood in Vienna is always a hot topic. Those looking for the best nightlife would say it’s Neubau, while those looking for a younger vibe would say Wieden. The choice is yours.

What is the best area to stay in Vienna for nightlife?

The best area to stay in Vienna for nightlife is Neubau District 7. You will find the highest concentration of trendy cocktail bars and edgy nightclubs here. One of the most popular nightclubs in Neubau is Donau techno nightclub. This disco is located in an out Viennese building and grunged up a bit for effect.

Where to stay in Vienna for couples?

For a romantic getaway to the imperial city of Vienna, couples should stay in the historic centre. Explore charming historic palaces, dine and sip champagne in picturesque parks and pursue impressive galleries and museums. 

If you are after a more vibrant, youthful experience, stay in Mariahilf, so trendy cafes and vintage shopping.

Where to stay in Vienna for families?

Families will enjoy Leopoldstadt, the best place to stay in Vienna for families. This district borders the historic centre but has a quieter more residential feel. Plus, you have a plentitude of green space for the kids to run around including the popular amusement park located in Prater. 

Take them on the Viennese giant Ferris wheel for views both you and the children won’t forget.

Where to stay in Vienna on a budget?

The best area to stay in Vienna for budget travellers is Landstrasse in district 3. While you won’t find a plethora of exciting attractions here, you can visit the city’s sights within a 20-minute walk or a short metro ride. With a more residential vibe, you still have a couple of top things to see in this neighbourhood. 

Don’t forget a visit to the famous Belvedere Palace to see Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’ masterpiece, and the expressionist village of Hundertwasserhaus.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a more youthful experience, the district of Josefstadt will give you better proximity to the nightlife of Neubau and the cool of Mariahilf.

What is the best area to stay in Vienna for Christmas Markets?

The best place to stay in Vienna for Christmas markets is the historic centre of district 1 bordering Josefstadt district 8. Here is where you will find the largest Christmas market in Vienna on the grounds of Rathausplatz in front of the Vienna city hall. The centrally located Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof is a great option for this.

Every year, this Christmas market features a large ice rink, a tall decorated Christmas tree and dozens of cozy winter stalls offering up spiced beverages and traditional Viennese fare and gifts.

Which district is best in Vienna?

Like many European cities, the best district to stay in Vienna is the city’s historic centre. If you are staying for only 2-3 days, book a hotel in Vienna’s district 1 a short walk away from St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Sip a Viennese coffee at an old-world coffee house and dig into some hearty Viennese fare.

It’s true, the historic centre is where you will find the majority of tourists here to see the main hotspots of the city. So, if that’s not your jam, opt for the cool Mariahilf district instead.

What are the areas to avoid in Vienna?

Vienna as a whole is not a very dangerous city to visit, so if you are using the usual traveller’s precautions you shouldn’t have any issues. That being said, if you are here for a short stay to see the highlights of the city, you shouldn’t stay anywhere except within districts 1-8 anyway. 

If you are staying outside of the historic centre, the closer to the border of district 1 you get, the better.

Are 3 days in Vienna enough?

Yes, 3 days is more than enough to see the highlights of Vienna. While the city is chock full of museums, galleries and old palaces to explore, you should pick and choose these to suit your preferences.

Make sure to put aside an afternoon just to sip a coffee in a Viennese coffee house or picnic in a scenic green space.

Where to Stay in Vienna for First Time Visitors Conclusion

Hopefully, you’ve now got some idea of where to stay in Vienna during your upcoming trip. Each of the neighbourhoods in Vienna has its own pros and cons, depending on whether you’re keener on being right amongst all the attractions or in the best places to stay in Vienna for trendy coffee houses.

Vienna Travel Planning Guide

What is the best way to book my Vienna accommodation?

I always use booking.com for all my accommodations worldwide, and Vienna is no exception. I stayed in some really epic places on my adventure around the islands.

For more cozy apartment-style accommodation try VRBO (better and safer than Airbnb).

What are the best day tours in Vienna?

Taking a day tour in Vienna is a great way to experience the top attractions and learn from a knowledgeable guide.

I highly recommend these Vienna tours:

Should I rent a car in Austria?

If you are flying in and out of Vienna and don’t plan to leave the city, I don’t recommend renting a car. You can easily get around Vienna by walking, taking public transportation or ride-share services like Uber.

If you plan to take day trips from Vienna around Austria I would highly recommend renting a car in Vienna. Trams and buses are a little slower in the rural part of the country, so to maximize your holiday time, definitely rent a car at the Vienna Airport.

What is the best site to buy flights to Vienna?

For finding cheap flights to Vienna, I recommend booking through Skyscanner.

Can you drink tap water in Vienna?

Yes! You can drink straight from the tap in Vienna.

If you plan to do a lot of walking in Vienna, I recommend bringing my favourite self-filtering water bottle with you, just in case.

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