Vienna is classy yet trendy, melancholic yet glamorous. The capital of Austria is a city whose arts made it unique and endowed it with an unrivalled charm. But the city of Freud and Mozart has plenty more to offer than it's well-known fancy cafés, great musicals and operas, and rich architecture with a wide variety of styles and periods.
The challenge is to decide where to stay in Vienna. In this article we will try to shed some light into the matter. Keep on reading...
Vienna's International Airport, located in the outskirts of the city, is one of the busiest airports in Central Eastern Europe, with both excellent infrastructure and connections to around 195 destinations worldwide.
Vienna can also be reached by train (Wien Hauptbahnhof), bus (Vienna International Busterminal), ferry (with routes from Hungary, Slovakia and Germany across the Danube River) and car.
Vienna is well served in terms of public transportation which ranges from the underground (U-Bahn), trams (Straßenbahn), buses (Autobus), and the regional trains (S-Bahn). Services run frequently with Wiener Linien and the network spreads across the whole city.
Where to stay in Vienna
You're finally about to find the key-areas that will turn your stay in Vienna into a memorable experience. We've broken it down into the top 5 districts to help you decide where to book your Vienna hotel.
Innere Stadt (1st District)
The Innere Stadt is the historical centre of the city and home to some of its most legendary places making it a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. No wonder it can be a bit touristy and crowded but wandering down its cobbled streets and secrets alleyways will surely give you a sense of the glamour of this former imperial city.
There's a lot to choose from when it comes to exploring the First District (or Erste Bezirk) from fantastic cafés and restaurants, shops, museums and some of Vienna's major attractions. Here are some of our suggestions to take the most out of this beloved Viennese area:
- Start your historical tour from Stephansplatz where you'll find Stephansdom (a breath-taking gothic cathedral), and make sure you add the Opera, the Burgtheater, the Hofburg Palace, the City Hall, the Parliament, the Albertina Museum and the Kunsthistorisches and Naturhistorisches Museum to your list. For some great views over the Dome, check in at the stylish and elegant Do&Co Hotel Vienna or the more discrete Hotel am Stephanplatz;
- If you're into glamorous shopping begin your day in Kärtner Strasse (located in the Golden U area or Goldenes Quartier) where you'll be wowed by glittering high-end jewellery and find top international luxury brands;
- If you're a sweet tooth make sure you don't miss the Manner shop in Stephanplatz where you can buy its best-selling product, the Manner Wafers (locals love it and so do we!). For the perfect Viennese pastry experience try Hotel Sacher's secret recipe of the mouth-watering Original chocolate Sachertorte - it goes deliciously well with a hot Melange.
Leopold (2nd District)
The Second District (Leopoldstrasse), sits on the Northern side of the Donau Kanal and is a gateway to Vienna's natural side with Prater Public Park, Vienna's largest public park, and Donauinsel, a 42-km nature reserve lying in the middle of the Danube river where one can simply go for a dive on a hot summer day.
There's also a more amusing side to Leopold in the world's oldest amusement park, "Wurstelprater" or "Prater", where one of Vienna's famous landmarks - the Riesenrad or Ferris wheel - awaits fun-goers 24/7.
Landstrasse (3rd District)
The Third District is Vienna's cultural hub with some unusual creations that deserve paying a visit such as the Kunsthaus Wien and the original Hunderwasserhaus.
A bit more historical is the Baroque magnificence of the Belvedere Palace complex with its French-style gardens and Austrian important art collections - among them is “The Kiss”, Klimt’s most famed masterpiece.
Mariahilf (6th District)
If shopping is your thing than the Sixth District should be your pick. From Mariahilferstrasse - the city most famous shopping street - to Naschmarkt - Vienna’s largest marketplace filled with both delicious traditional and exotic food stalls – here is where you’ll get whatever you need.
Neubau (7th District)
Independent boutiques and edgy art make Neubau, Vienna's Seventh District, the most hipster of all districts. Centrally located, students and intellectuals hang out and relax in the inner courtyard of Museumsquartier, Vienna’s living room, where one can easily grab a bite or a cold drink in its many coffee places, restaurants and bars available year-round. Here is also where innumerable cultural initiatives and must-see museums are to be found. Just a couple of minutes away you will find the 25Hours Hotel Beim Museumsquartier, a somehow different, amusing hotel, where locals often go to chill out at the rooftop bar and enjoy the panoramic views over the city (a great place to stay in Vienna if you ask us).
Danube, a place to relax
- Tel Aviv Beach Bar (2nd district) and Strandbar Herrmann (3rd district) along the Danube Kanal, are the perfect places to chill back, get sandy and have a fresh spritzer just in the middle of the city.
- Summertime and you’re dying for some Caribbean vibes? Vienna’s got the perfect summer night spots for you: Copa Cagrana and the Sunken City at the waterfront area of the New Danube is filled with beach bars, discos and delicious restaurants. Just around Reichsbrück, these places come to life from May to September, 11 p.m. – 4 a.m.
- Rent a boat or a kayak and enjoy the waters of Alte Donau, a side arm of the main river. This popular recreational spot in Florisdorf (21st district) is where many locals go to stroll around, bathe, bike and even go windsurfing. Let us add that this is also one of the best places to watch the sun go down in the city. And if you wish to enjoy the riverside for a bit longer, consider staying in the nature-surrounded Strandhotel Alte Donau.
Overwhelmed with too much information? Well, Vienna and its exciting options are the ones to blame. Some more must-dos to add to your list:
Schönbrunn Palace (13th District)
This former imperial summer residence of the Habsburg is a Baroque palace with numerous gardens. It offers one of the greatest views over the city once you walk up the hill behind the Palace. The oldest zoo in the world, the Tiergarten, is also found on the grounds of the complex.
Karlskirche (4th District)
An opulent Baroque cathedral located in Karlsplatz which stands out from the city’s skyline with its oval-shaped dome.
Schmitterlinghaus (10th District)
Mingle with 400 free butterflies flying around a colourful palm house.
Kahlenberg (19th District)
This 484-metre high hill located in the Vienna Woods is often neglected by tourists but it’s one of the residents’ favourite places to unwind. (reachable by bus line 38A) From the hilltop, you can enjoy a stunning view over the whole city and even spot the Carpathian Mountains.
Grinzing (19th District)
A lovely Viennese wine village just a tram away from Vienna (tram 38). This lovely suburb is a world away and the perfect place to walk around, try some delicious local food and drink some Schnapps or a nice glass of wine!
Before you go...
Avoid the Gürtel, the red light zone in Vienna (6th district) - it doesn’t have the best reputation around and it’s not such a pretty area.