Weekend Travel Guide to Vienna, Austria

downtown vienna austria shopping
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Vienna is one of the most picturesque cities I’ve ever visited. Like many other European capitals, it’s home to cozy cobblestone streets lined with stunning historical architecture, and several glorious palaces to boot. What sets Vienna apart, however, is its public gardens and green spaces.

All the main streets are lined with carefully sculpted shrubbery, and every few blocks you’ll stumble upon a park filled with fountains and flowers. Personally, I could have spent the bulk of my time there sitting on a park bench with a good book and simply enjoying the surroundings. But there was too much else to explore!

Below are some of my favorite recommendations for a perfect weekend trip to Vienna.

#1 Browse The Stalls At Naschmarkt For Picnic Supplies and Tasty Bites

Whenever I visit a new city, the first thing I do is find the local markets. Lucky for me, and anyone else visiting, Vienna is home to a permanent outdoor market that extends for nearly a mile. Naschmarkt is a collection of food stalls, mini restaurants, bars, and shops that attracts tourists and locals alike on a continual basis.

Open every day of the week except Monday, Naschmarkt is the perfect place to pick up a snack or light meal. I ended up buying a few artisanal kinds of cheese, gourmet olives, and a bottle of wine for a picnic. I also love the samosas from the Ayurvedic grocery store and Russian dumplings and pierogis from a family-owned Russian cafe Zarewna.

russian pierogi mushroom cheese from zarewna
Mushroom and Cheese Pierogi from Zarewna

One of my favorite afternoons in Vienna was spent sipping a glass of rosé at a pop-up bar and soaking up the bustling atmosphere of Naschmarkt. You really can’t leave the city without at least taking a lap through this astonishing public space.

#2 Head Outside The City Limits For A Vineyard Tour

Vienna is situated just outside of Austrian wine country, making vineyard tours a popular tourist attraction there. Some of them are a little bit pricey – mainly because you need a private car to get out of the city – but in my opinion, they’re completely worth it. Most of the tour offerings (including the one I tried) take you to a few different wineries, where you get to see where the wine is made and taste some of the best products.

The wine itself is enjoyable, but I personally also loved this tour because I got to meet some local business owners, which can be hard to do in a big city. We even ate at a small, family-owned restaurant at the end of the tour, and our authentic Austrian meal was hand-made by the family grandmother! And if you think the gardens in the city are stunning, just wait until you drive about 30 minutes into the countryside; the landscapes there can be even more magical.

wine tasting tour near vienna austria

#3 Marvel In Design of Vienna’s Grand Buildings

Everywhere you turn in Vienna, there are buildings that are grand.

Even if gaming isn’t your vacation activity of choice, you should still peek inside Casino Wien. Its exterior fits right in with the other historic buildings of Vienna, but inside it reveals itself to be a modernized yet warm take on the traditional Viennese style.

One of its most interesting rooms in fact isn’t related to gaming at all: the Red and Gray Salon is its major restaurant and is lined with red walls and ceilings in a way that is sophisticated without being overwhelming.

Many international travel destinations are going digital with their casinos: Canada has put forth wonderful online platforms despite the presence of some massive physical casinos around the country, and the UK has launched sites as well, possibly to the detriment of its brick-and-mortar establishments.

So far though, Vienna has escaped this trend, and Casino Wien is a better attraction because of it. In addition to just being a pretty place to explore, it offers all the gaming you could possibly want to try.

downtown vienna austria streets and sidewalks

#4 Take A Minute To Relax And Enjoy A Coffeehouse

Aside from its pure beauty, one of the things I loved most about Vienna was its coffeehouse scene. As an avid coffee drinker, I made it my mission to check out at least two each day.

Each café in Vienna has a unique vibe, with some being more attractive to foreigners and others being complete hole-in-the-wall shops. Among the former group, Café Central is a cant-miss.

In addition to a great atmosphere and delicious menu, this spot is also known for its famous clientele: Sigmund Freud, for instance, is one of several early-1900s thinkers who were regulars at Café Central.

Meanwhile, a quieter spot I’d recommend if you want to read or get some work done was called Phil. It’s also a vintage bookstore, so you can imagine the charming ambiance. This spot felt less touristy (but thankfully still has a copy of its menu printed in English!).

Sachertorte from L Heiner in Vienna Austria
Sachertorte from L Heiner

Certainly, there are endless ways to spend your time in Vienna. This short weekend travel guide to Vienna just highlights some of my favorite things to do while there.

If you have time, we highly recommend visiting Salzburg, a cozy little town that looks breathtaking the wintertime.

I hope will make you all the more excited to book and enjoy your time in Vienna!