Vienna, Austria has always been on my bucket list. So naturally, I had to find a way to squeeze it into our Europe trip this summer. Our trip also included Germany, Poland and Czech Republic. It was a whirlwind trip driving across Europe that included numerous cities. We only had a short amount of time to explore Vienna. Although we stayed two days, I decided to lay out the perfect itinerary for one day in Vienna.

With such a short amount of time you will not be able to see everything, but you can see a good amount if you plan your day right.
First, choose a hotel that is conveniently located. We stayed at the Hotel Beethoven Wien, which in my opinion has the perfect location, and a really cool vibe.
Secondly, start your day early… really early. This is a lesson I learned from my toddler, but if you do it, you will miss all of the long lines and fit much more into your schedule.

One day in Vienna

Naschmarkt

Parenthood and Passports -One Day in Vienna itineraryStart with breakfast at the market. If you took my advice and stayed at Hotel Beethoven, you can enjoy the wonderful buffet at the hotel, so save the market for dinner or a late night snack. The market is literally one block from the hotel, so it is a 5 minute walk, max. In the morning, you can watch the market workers lay out their fresh produce, fish, and other items. By evening, this is a bustling area with tourists and locals alike coming to enjoy dinner, a glass of wine, a light snack, or dessert.

State Opera House

Parenthood and Passports -One Day in Vienna itineraryIf you start your day early, chances are you won’t get to go inside the State Opera House. Since it is one of the most famous opera houses in the world, visiting it requires you to book a tour. However, guided tours do not start until 9 a.m. so unfortunately, we missed out on seeing the inside. Kind of a bummer… but the next experience made up for it.

Stephenplatz

From the opera house, we walked down Karntner Stasse, which is a bustling shopping district when everything is open and made our way to Stephensplatz. Parenthood and Passports -One Day in Vienna itineraryThis area is usually SWARMING with tourists. But we were some of the first people there. Parenthood and Passports -One Day in Vienna itineraryWe arrived at St. Stephens Cathedral right as it opened and got a rare glimpse of this magnificent church while it was empty. You can climb the spiral staircase to the top — a total of 343 steps — but this was another thing we had to skip. This time because we had a toddler with us. But I would recommend doing so, especially if you arrive early and can enjoy the view with a bit of serenity and a few less people pushing their way in for a selfie.Parenthood and passports -Travel lessons learned from my toddler

Mozart’s House

After you climb the tower at St. Stephen’s Cathedral head around the corner to Mozart’s House. This is where the esteemed composer lived and produced some of his most famous masterpieces.Parenthood and Passports -One Day in Vienna itinerary You could easily walk right by Mozart’s House without realizing what it is since the outside is somewhat nondescript. But it’s worth a quick tour, even if you have only one day in Vienna. It will be especially interesting if you are a lover of music, the arts, or history. They also have special audio guides for kids to keep them more entertained.

Graben and Kohlmakt (Plague Pillar)

Parenthood and Passports -One Day in Vienna itineraryAfter visiting Mozart’s House, head toward Hofburg Palace. It is in walking distance, as is everything else I’ve mentioned thus far. On the way, pause and appreciate the Plague Pillar. In the late 1600’s, Emperor Leopold I vowed to build a pillar of gratitude to God if He would spare Vienna and end the plague that was killing so many people. The pillar, is interesting and intricate and has a neat backstory. But take your time to really study this sculpture. There is so much detail and it really does tell a story.

St. Peter’s Catholic ChurchParenthood and Passports -One Day in Vienna itinerary

Also stop off in St. Peter’s Catholic church… especially if you like visiting churches in different cities (which I do). It is beautiful on the inside, and small enough that it doesn’t take much time to visit.

Hofburg Imperial Palace

Parenthood and Passports -One Day in Vienna itineraryHofburg Imperial Palace is huge. You could spend hours touring the palace, reading about the history, and exploring the gardens and grounds. There is a large courtyard with a small cafe if you need a coffee. (Coffee in Vienna is fantastic, and if you took my advice and woke up early, you will need a coffee right about now.) We spent several hours at the palace. Parenthood and Passports -One Day in Vienna itinerary Our daughter enjoyed running around the courtyard and the gardens. I enjoyed learning about Empress Elizabeth who I completely related too. She loved to travel, just like I do, and was murdered during one of her many trips she took alone. The self-guided tour of the Imperial Apartments gives you a glimpse into the lives of royalty more than 600 years.Parenthood and Passports -One Day in Vienna itinerary

Volksgarten

A leisurely stroll through the Volksgarten is a great late morning break from all of the sightseeing packed into this itinerary. If you’re traveling with kids, Volksgarten gives them plenty of green space to run around and burn some energy. The Volksgarten was the first public park in Vienna and houses the famous rose garden, which contains more than 3000 rose bushes of hundreds of different varieties.Parenthood and Passports -One Day in Vienna itinerary

Rathuesplatz

Parenthood and Passports -One Day in Vienna itineraryBy this point in the day, you are probably getting hungry. Rathuesplatz is just a short walk from the Imperial Palace. On a nice day, it’s great to sit outside the beautiful neo-Gothic city hall and have lunch in the plaza.There are numerous vendors selling crepes, bratwursts, and various types of cuisines. While you’re there, have a radler, a refreshing drink that is half wheat beer/half lemonade.Parenthood and Passports -One Day in Vienna itinerary

Museum Quarter

Parenthood and Passports - One Day in ViennaThe funny thing about traveling with a toddler is not only do you wake up early, you also need to make sure they get a good nap or else you will deal with the wrath of a two year old later in the day. After our lunch we started our walk back to the hotel. The museum quarter is on the way, so if you aren’t dealing with a fussy toddler, you could spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying the museums. A good one for kids is the Natural History Museum.

Prater

Parenthood and Passports -One Day in Vienna itineraryAfter our daughter’s nap (and ours… remember the cardinal rule of parenthood: sleep when your baby sleeps), we headed to the Prater. From our hotel, we needed to take the subway to get there, but it was only about a 10 minute ride and a $2 charge. The main attraction at the amusement park is the Giant Ferris Wheel, which is one of Vienna’s most famous symbols. A word of advice: skip it! (gasp!) If you’ve ever been to the London Eye, this Ferris Wheel will seem neither giant nor impressive. The park pales in comparison to theme parks in the United States, too. But if you have kids who are a little older (5-10 years old) who are tired of sightseeing, I guess the Prater would suffice and keep them entertained for the afternoon.

Afterward, we took a stroll along the river, before heading back toward the hotel for dinner and our toddler’s bedtime.Parenthood and Passports -One Day in Vienna itinerary

What to do instead of the Prater if you only have one day in Vienna (or on day two or three)

Personally, if I had my one day in Vienna to do over again, I would have headed to Schloss Schonbrunn Palace instead of the Prater and visited the children’s museum, the maze and labyrinth playground. Kids can play, climb and even challenge their mind with puzzles and other mental challenges. Even adults will enjoy the labyrinth playground. If you have another day or two to spend in Vienna, definitely fit this into day two or three.

Parenthood and Passports - One Day in Vienna
Day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia

If you have more than one day in Vienna, spend some time in the museums and visit Belvederepalace on day two. Although if you’re traveling with kids, they will not find this palace as entertaining. From Vienna, you could easily take a day trip to Bratislava, Slovakia, as well, which is only an hour’s drive. Bratislava’s Old Town is absolutely charming. Kids will enjoy finding and posing next to all of the fun statues around Old Town, and the food is definitely worth trying.

Have you been to Vienna? What would you recommend to include in an itinerary for one day in Vienna?

Parenthood and Passports - One Day in Vienna

 

20 thoughts on “One Day in Vienna: The Perfect Itinerary”

  1. Great info!! I have Vienna on my list for 2017 so this is perfect timing. That crepe looks to die for – I think I need ten of them 🙂 Bratislava’s Old Town looks amazing too, assuming the pic above the piece about it is of that. I love any place with a lot of color! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Yes, that is a pic of Bratislava’s Old Town (maybe I should caption it?) .. eventually, I will get around to writing a post about it. But it is definitely worth the day trip to Slovakia from Vienna. It’s awesome.

      1. I hate when that happens!! Happened to me in Bangkok. I was so focused on the Hello Kitty cafe that I didn’t research the others and they had a unicorn cafe!! My daughter would have been in heaven.

  2. WOW! Thats a lot to do in one day and to have a toddler with you at the same time too! I would love to go and climb the 343 steps to St. Stephens Cathedral! Getting up early is probably the best thing to do if you want to skip the masses and get great photos. This is the one thing I always curse myself for not doing haha!

    1. I would have loved to climb to the top! But the toddler stage doesn’t last forever, and then we will be back to doing those things. For now, we are enjoying afternoon naps and stopping at every ice cream shop along the tourist routes. 🙂

  3. I don’t have a kid yet but I have traveled with my sister’s family. She has a 3-year old son. You are right that they should definitely take a nap or else they will be loud and feel miserable.
    I love crepes. Is that Nutella crepe? I want it to be really crispy.
    You look like that you enjoyed your trip to Vienna. I would also love to visit it someday.

  4. I love exploring European cities. So much intricate work is taken on these buildings. I’m now tempted to go to the Plague Pilar!

  5. I’ve never been to Vienna, but this is a good guide to tour around Vienna for a day especially with a kid. I can see some sausage around the table, hmm hungry! I heard they good at hotdog?

  6. I’ve always thought that I would love Vienna! I’m definitely going to save this itinerary in hopes that I can use it one day 🙂 Your pictures make the city seem gorgeous.

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