Vienna is one of the great capitals in Europe. It’s a city with majestic architecture, plenty of things to do and see. It’s so full of interesting things that we suggest at very least 3 days to explore it before thinking of making day trips. Despite this, we also strongly suggest you take some time to have Vienna day trips to explore the other sides of Austria.
Vienna is also ideally located right in the center of Europe, making it possible also to visit a few destinations outside Austria. We will explore some of those and explain why some might not be such a great idea.
This post will explore long and short day trips from Vienna, international and internal tours, including historic cities, natural sites, and some magnificent buildings.
Best day trips from Austria
by Melissa of Parenthood and Passports
If you’re looking to escape from the city and relax in a delightful lakeside village, Mondsee is the perfect day trip from Vienna. About a 2 ½ hour drive from Vienna, the picturesque town is conveniently located right off the A1 highway that connects Vienna and Salzburg.
Situated by a scenic lake, this small town of 4,000 residents is the perfect place to unwind on a warm day. Enjoy lunch, a cup of coffee, or ice cream at one of the colorful cafes that line the pedestrian streets, many of which offer outdoor seating with incredible views of Basilica St. Michael. The famous cathedral and abbey are one of the primary tourists draw for the town. The yellow church, which is prominently situated in the heart of Mondsee, was a filming location in The Sound of Music.
Beyond enjoying the views and touring the ornate church, there are plenty of other things to do in Mondsee, Austria. The lake, known for its warm water, is a popular place to swim and sail. You can also sit on the shoreline and watch the swans and ducks gracefully glide across the lake. For those looking for something a bit more adventurous, there are also several hiking trails around the lake, ranging from easy to extreme.
by Kenny Chow of Knycx Journeying
Vienna is a wonderful travel destination filled with music, art, history, and culture. There are so many things to see, do, and experience in the city, but if you like wine, you will have to travel a little bit further to the outskirt. Located about 50 kilometers away from Vienna, Vienna Woods is filled with wine gardens, vineyards, walking trails, and picturesque villages.
Vienna Woods is connected to Vienna with several trains and bus routes, but it would be easier to organize a day trip with a rental car and explore the area at your own pace. Sign up for a wine tour and have a taste of some world-class wines; if you are looking for something more active, go on a scenic walk through the forest, which was originally a hunting ground of the Viennese royalty, or kayaking on the Danube. The region doesn’t lack on historic sites, including the Mayerling hunting lodge and Heiligenkreuz Abbey, one of the world’s oldest Cistercian monasteries.
It takes only about an hour to get to Vienna Woods, and whether you are a food and wine lover, activity seeker, a history buff, or a nature person, Vienna Woods has something special to offer.
By Monique Skidmore of tripanthropologist.com
Sopron is in Hungary, just across Austria’s southeastern border. It is an easy one-hour drive of only 75 kilometers along the autobahn (A3). Railways of the Slovak Republic run trains every hour from Vienna, and Austrian railways have trains departing every two hours. All trains take 1 hour and 14 minutes to arrive in Sopron, but there is a big price difference, with Slovakian fares being about US $5 and the Austrian Railways trips costing US$15-20.
This is a historic town that survived World War II and Soviet rule. Any Sopron travel guide begins with the Baroque square and radiates out from there. Cobbled streets, medieval houses, museums like Fabricius-ház, and churches like the Goat Church make Sopron a brilliant day trip from Vienna. You can’t help but see the enormous excavation site on one side of the main square. These are the remains of the ancient Roman town, Scarbantia, upon which Sopron was built. The other obvious place to visit in Sopron is the 58 meter-high, copped- domed Fire Tower (Tűztorony). It has become a symbol of Sopron and is the town’s most cherished building.
Hungarian restaurants and Croatian pubs can be found in the old main square and its surrounding streets and there is a wonderful Christmas market in December. A history of rich folklore traditions, there are festivals dedicated to elves and fairies held throughout the year.
By Martina & Jürgen from PlacesofJuma
One of the ultimate best places to visit on a Vienna day trip is the lovely city of Graz. This city is located in Styria and is about 2 hours away from the Austrian capital. The best way to reach Graz is by car, or even more comfortable by train that operates directly from Vienna.
There are plenty of things to do in Graz! During a visit, you will enjoy an impressive historic old town with many attractions, museums, and shopping possibilities. The absolute highlight is the Schlossberg with its clock tower, which is enthroned high above the city and the best city views. And do not to forget the countless interesting museums, such as the Zeughaus, the Joanneum Quarter, and the futuristic Kunsthaus (art house) at the Mur river.
For the excursion to Graz, you can plan with a budget of around 100 Euros for the day trip. That would include the train ticket, lunch & coffee, as well as the entrance to the main attractions. Our tip: Get yourself the Museum-Card, where you will have for only 12 Euros all the important museums included.
Wachau Valley, Austria
By Rhonda Krause from travelyesplease.com
A Wachau Valley trip is a must for those looking to experience historic landmarks in a beautiful natural setting.
Located approximately 87 km from Vienna, the Wachau Valley frames a portion of the Danube River between the towns of Melk and Krems. To get there, it’s about 1h10 driving or train ride.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Wachau Valley is home to several interesting historical sites. The main attraction is the beautiful Melk Abbey, a 900+ years old Benedictine abbey standing on a rocky outcrop above the town of Melk. During a Melk Abbey tour, you can see an impressive library with floor to ceiling books, decorative ceiling frescos, and some unique items on display in the abbey’s museum.
After visiting the abbey, a boat cruise or bike ride along the Danube River is a great way to experience the area’s natural beauty. It’s well worth stopping in at Dürnstein, a small, colorful riverside town. Here you can hike up to a ruined medieval castle and enjoy sweeping views of the Wachau Valley.
Brno, Czech Republic
By Adriana Plotzerová from czechtheworld.com
Brno is the second-largest city in the Czech Republic and the capital of the Moravia region. Brno presents a perfect combination of history and a modern city. You can find here remarkable places, delicious food, beer, and wine. It’s quite easy to get there. Brno is only 1,5 hours by train or 2 hours by bus from Vienna, making it a great destination for a day trip.
The dominant landmark of Brno is the Špilberk Castle, a massive baroque citadel with extensive casemates and the iconic Petrov Cathedral (St. Paul’s and Peter’s cathedral). Another interesting place that shouldn’t be missed is the St. James Ossuary (Kostnice u Svatého Jakuba), the second-largest ossuary in Europe! It’s not very far from the main square – Náměstí Svobody, which is often a place of markets and festivals. Most of the important landmarks are located in the city center within the walking distance. Here, you can also find other places and cool things to do in Brno.
The trip to Brno is quite cheap. One way ticket costs about 7 euros. And don’t forget to stop at a local pub for great and cheap Czech beer, which cost about 1,5 – 2 euro (for 0,5l of draft beer).
By Natasha from Mindful Feet
As mentioned earlier, Melk is situated in the Wachau Valley 1 h west of Vienna, best suited for history buffs and nature lovers. The roads to Melk lead pass rolling hills, medieval castle ruins, and vineyards as far as the eye can see. The Melk monastery was built on Roman fortress foundations; it was a spiritual, cultural, and agricultural hub for almost a thousand years and a peculiar mix of monastic poverty, royal glam, and battlegrounds. The monks still run the first school in what is Austria today. They have an extensive library collection, a museum, stately rooms, and regal gardens. The monks offer guided tours year-round, but there are no self-guided tours in the winter.
The village of Melk is perfect for a taste of Austrian cuisine (the area is known for much-beloved Austrian apricots and wine). If you have time, I definitely recommend a roundtrip river cruise from Melk to Krems, stopping at Durnstein, Spitz, and Weissenkirchen. The simplest way to get to Melk is by train, which is really well connected with Vienna but book at least 2 days ahead for the best price. Budget: Starting from 30 EUR per person (18 EUR return train tickets, 12 EUR entrance fee, cruises start at 16-18 EUR).
Extra tip: If you are interested in Austrian monastic life, but don’t have time to visit Melk, there is a small monastic shop in the center of Vienna, called Klosterladen im Schottenstift. They have local produce like liquors, food, and souvenirs made in the monasteries in Austria (the adjacent monastery is closed for visitors though)
By Alina from World of Lina
Rust is a lovely and rather small town directly located at Lake Neusiedl in the Austrian federal state Burgenland. As it’s less than an hour’s drive, it’s a perfect destination to take as a day trip from Vienna.
The best way to reach Rust is by car. It’s not only the fastest option but it also allows you to be more flexible. If you prefer public transport, go to the Vienna main train station and hop on a train to Eisenstadt. There, take the bus nr. 285 direction Rust. The entire journey takes a bit less than two hours.
Once in Rust, you’ll quickly understand why it’s such a beloved holiday destination for both Austrians and foreigners. The old town of Rust mainly consists of the main square with the church, many small shops, and of course, lots of wine taverns. You have to know that the Burgenland is one of the best wine regions in Austria! So, don’t miss the chance to try some of the famous wines there. Besides wine taverns, Rust is also known for something else: Storks. Every year, these lovely birds come and build their nests on the rooftops in Rust to raise their babies. Watching them is a wonderful and unique experience!
When the weather is nice, you can also go for a boat tour or rent a bike and do a bike tour around the lake.
By Linda from Travel Tyrol
Although it’s not the shortest day trip from Vienna, the village of Werfen will surprise you with three world-class attractions that make it worth the effort – the Werfen Ice Caves, Hohenwerfen Castle, and the famous meadow from The Sound of Music.
The Werfen Ice Caves are the biggest ice caves in the world. Two short hikes and a ride in Austria’s steepest cable car takes you to the mouth of the caves. Inside, an adventurous 2-kilometer hike awaits in almost pitch darkness at 0 °C.
In the Salzach Valley below the ice caves, the 900-year old Hohenwerfen Castle sits proudly on a 623-metre precipice. An extensive weapons collection and flight demonstrations by the historic Salzburg Falconry are some of the castle attractions to look forward to.
The perfect end to a day in Salzburg is to have a picnic or a drink in the meadow where Maria teaches the kids to sing Do Re Mi in The Sound of Music. You can walk there in about 40 minutes along a themed trail from the village center.
There are still cows grazing in the meadow, but a wooden railing blocks off the picnic area. The amazing views will make you want to throw your arms into the air and promptly start singing The Hills Are Alive.
Werfen is just over 300 km from Vienna. The train is the easiest way to get there by public transport, with the fastest connection taking just under 3,5 hours.
By Steve Rout from Austria Direct
The Waldviertel region of Lower Austria may not be as well-known as the wildly popular Wachau area just to the south along the Danube river. It also offers castles, vineyards, and plenty of other historical sights, along with one of Austria’s national parks.
This green and mostly forested region markets itself as a ‘refreshing’ alternative, and likely day trip destinations are within a 90-minute drive from Vienna.
Although it is possible to get to the main Waldviertel hubs by public transport from Vienna, driving is the most convenient way to find your way around the region on a day trip.
Visiting destinations such as the Thaya Valley National Park up on the Czech Republic border is much easier with your own four wheels. Home to rare wild cats and black storks, it can be explored from Hardegg, officially the smallest town in Austria.
Zwettl Abbey, further to the west, is one of the oldest Cistercian monasteries in the world. The many Waldviertel castles range from Renaissance jewels to fortresses built in the Middle Ages’ turbulence. The scenic Ottenstein reservoir is one of several lovely options for a day out on the water in the Kamp valley.
By Nadine Maffre from Le Long Weekend
Located in the Austrian Alps, not too far from Salzburg, Hallstatt is a must-see destination in Austria. This chocolate-box village hugs the lake and rises up the steep hill that cradles it.
Most famous as the inspiration behind Arendelle – the fantasy town in the Disney movie Frozen – it also holds many other fame claims. It has appeared in a South Koren TV show, and a Chinese mining tycoon built an exact replica of the village in his hometown. Needless to say, it’s popular with visitors from Asia, but its charms attract people from all over the world too.
To get there, it’s just over three hours from Vienna, or the train takes around an hour longer – there is a quick changeover on the way. The most popular option is usually to book a day trip bus tour from Vienna.
Visit in winter, when it’s a lot quieter, and if you’re lucky, it’ll be dusted in snow. January sees some of the attractions closed, but if you visit Hallstatt in February, you’ll find most things open and plenty of cozy cafes and boutiques to warm up in.
Be sure to take the Skywalk for the best views of the village (be warned that the funicular is closed mid-Jan to mid-Feb, and it’s an icy walk to the top), and take a tour of the legendary salt mines.
By Gizelle Marie from vienna.101facets
Laxenburg, about 20 km south of Vienna (a 15-minute drive away from the train station Hauptbahnhof), is known for its castles that were used by Austrian royalty in the summers. The little town can be toured easily, but the castle parks would take longer if toured by foot.
The most known castle in town is the Franzensburg; it’s a moated castle on an island in the middle of a lake, which can be reached by riding a cabled boat across. It costs only 2,40€ to get into the grounds, enjoy the English landscape gardens, have a picnic, rent a boat, or explore the castle museum.
The castle museum, which holds life-size paintings of known painters, marble sculptures, furniture used by the monarchy, wood ceiling installations, as well as weapons from the 12th to the 19th century. Although called the “little” treasure house of Austria, the museum is far from being little.
If you feel tired from all the walking, you can ride the Liliputbahn to tour the area at 4€ (discounts available for kids, seniors, and groups). Laxenburg is a little town, but it’s a good place to get away from the hurly-burly of city life and enjoy some time to enjoy nature, get fresh air, and peek a little into history.
By Anjali Chawla from travel melodies
Dürnstein is a charming historic village on the Danube River in the Wachau Valley, Austria. Just 89 km away, Dürnstein makes for a great day trip from Vienna.
The most convenient, fastest, and prettiest way to travel from Vienna to Dürnstein is by a car. A Danube River Cruise is another popular way to visit Dürnstein. The village is one of the many stops on the cruise.
The town is famous as a wine-growing region and, travelers come here to taste some of the most cherished varieties of Austrian wine. Domäne Wachau offers wine tours that include a sampling of local wine too.
The narrow cobbled streets of this tiny village lined with cute cafes, artsy boutiques, and local restaurants are a delight to stroll.
Dürnstein Abbey (Stift Dürnstein) and Dürnstein Castle (Burgruine Dürnstein or Kuenringerburg Castle) are two of the best places to visit in Dürnstein. You can spot the beautiful blue bell-tower of Dürnstein Abbey from far away. It’s, in fact, one of the well-known landmarks of Wachau.
Take out some time to climb the Dürnstein castle ruins for gorgeous views over the valley. And, we urge you to sample Wachauer Laberl and Apricot Strudel at Bäckerei-Konfiserie Schmidl before you leave Dürnstein.
By Amy Askin from AmyGuides.com
When you’re in Vienna, be sure to spend time in Bratislava, Slovakia. Merely 80 kilometers/49 miles by car/bus (approximately 60 minutes by car/bus), Bratislava is a bastion of cultural and aesthetic beauty. Yes, Vienna is one of the sublime jewels of Europe. However, you’ll find a distinct French influence in Bratislava which lends a unique flair you’ll love–particularly if you adore food. You may easily travel between Vienna and Bratislava via car, bus or train, all for very affordable rates.
What makes Bratislava special is its cross-section of cultures. You will find both Slovakian and French traditions in food, architecture and cultural events here. To expect anything else will disappoint. If you visit over the July 14th holiday (Bastille Day in France), you may well encounter a large festival in the City Center, replete with traditional French cuisine, artisanal goods, songs, cultural events and fireworks. It is delightful!
For all the entertainment on offer in this stunning city capital, you’ll find the costs very reasonable for a major European city. You may expect to pay approximately 20 euros per person for a 3-course meal in a mid-range restaurant, 2 euros for a draught beer, 3.5 euros for a glass of wine, and approximately 50-60 euros per night for a 4-star hotel with good amenities. Some of the best attractions include a tour of the Bratislava Castle, a walking tour of the Historic City Centre, the Slovak National Gallery, and St. Martin’s Cathedral.
Budapest and Prague
Budapest and Prague are two of Europe’s best destinations, and they are fairly close to Vienna. We will not explain all the cool things to do in Budapest and Vienna or why you should visit them. That’s pretty obvious.
The problem is that both Budapest and Prague and too important and too big to be explored only in a few hours. If you absolutely don’t have another opportunity to visit them, do yourself a favor and make the day trip. Half a day in Praga and Budapest is better than nothing! On the other hand, if you have time, instead of going on day trips, make it a holiday in Central Europe and include the 3 big capitals (plus Bratislava).
If you end up going on a day trip to Budapest or/and Prague, we strongly suggest taking the train. It’s easy and relatively affordable. Using a car is possible but not advisable; you’ll lose time on traffic and will need to worry and pay for parking.
We explored and compared the things to do, the attractions, the costs, and everything else in Budapest, Prague, and Vienna in the article below. Have a look!
Where to stay in Vienna?
Vienna is a city with great public transportation, which means that you can easily reach the center and other attractions using public transports. Yet, we still suggest you stay relatively close to the center to not lose too much time comuting from the hotel to the attractions. Check in the map below the best accomodation options in Vienna.
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