During my ten-day trip to Austria, I only had 24 hours to explore the city of Vienna. This was a huge challenge as Vienna has so much to do, see and eat. If you're feeling overwhelmed about where to start and have a short amount of time to explore the city, I have condensed my time in Vienna into my top ten standout experiences. These are the absolute musts for anyone craving the best of Vienna but faced with a ticking clock.
Aïda Café is a world-famous Viennese chain restaurant known for its Viennese coffees. Start your morning by grabbing a pastry and coffee at this pink and retro cafe, you can't miss them around Vienna.
Get breakfast with about 120 culturally different market stands to choose from! I got a croissant sandwich from DerMann early in the morning when the market was quiet and the food was freshly made earlier that morning. If you happen to be in Vienna on a Saturday, there is a weekly flea market where you can buy produce from olives to cured meats and jams.
Burggarten Park You can also take your breakfast from Naschmarkt to-go and enjoy it in Burggarten Park which means "Castle Gardens". This is a lovely open space park surrounded by stunning Viennese architectural buildings. It also includes the Mozart Statue, making the park one of the most popular spots in Vienna.
Picnic in the middle of the space and enjoy the people walking by, children playing and people exercising. Right by the park there is also an Imperial Butterfly House, a greenhouse working as a butterfly conservatory.
National History Museum of Vienna
If you are visiting Vienna, the Natural History Museum is a must-do. It is one of the largest, oldest and most stunning museums in the world. I was fully impressed by the main entrance of the museum alone. The mosaic stone floors lead to the steps that draw your eye gaze up to a high-strung ceiling with a stunning fresco that will make your jaw drop.
If the architecture doesn't get you to visit, the museum also holds the most famous sculptural finds in the world, the Venus of Willendorf. She is one of the oldest human sculptures in the world. The limestone figure is almost 30,000 years old and was excavated in 1908 in Lower Austria. Still not convinced? This museum is also incredibly educational and a great place to strike up conversations with other visitors. I met some friendly and very insightful people during my visit!
Vienna State Hall National Library
This stunning library has over 200,000 historical books and is known to be one of the most beautiful and important libraries in the world. It is under serious conservation measures and for good reason. In the middle of the State Hall lies a statue of Emperor Charles VI who ordered the construction of the library. Above the statue is a dome with you guessed it - another stunning fresco! Be sure to make this place a stop during your 24 hours in Vienna.
When in Vienna, the most famous spot to try the wiener schnitzel is Figlmüller. However, it can be impossible to get a reservation in time and if you are on a time crunch, you don't want to be standing in a long line at the restaurant waiting to be seated. Lugeck is a sister restaurant to Figlmüller, that's less busy and has equally good schnitzels. It's a great alternative if you are looking to try the famous dish.
Spend your late afternoon walking through the square. Down a narrow street, you'll find The Truth Wollzeile, where they make delicious coffees and even more delicious cheesecakes. Grab a coffee and cake to-go and enjoy it while sitting in front of the Stephansdom watching as people pass by.
Escape the bustle of Vienna's city centre and make your way into the Hudertwasserhaus neighbourhood. Here you'll find unique architectural designs from Austrian artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. The buildings are funky, colourful and whacky with actual trees growing inside them. You can't go inside because residents occupy the property, but do come and admire the creations from the streets of Vienna.
Karlskirche, also known as St. Charles Church, is a baroque church located in Karslplatz. A former Roman emperor decided to build the church for St. Charles after the end of the plague in 1713 as he was known to be the healer of plague sufferers. The dome top is green from the oxidation of copper, just like the Statue of Liberty in New York!
End your day by catching an opera show at one of the leading and busiest opera houses in the world. The opera house hosts over 60 shows of opera and ballet every single day. World-class artists and a unique orchestra take the stage every night prepared to serenade you during your final hours in this city.
Visit all these places in Vienna and your 24 hours will be a day well worth spent! Which experience caught your eye the most?