Wonder where to stay in Vienna, Austria? Discover the best places, top hotels, memorable sights, and hidden gems in this historic, romantic, and beautiful city.
Expanding over centuries, the Austrian capital now encompasses 23 municipal districts of diverse delights.
Vienna’s best neighborhoods combine extraordinary ambience, elegant hotels, exclusive experiences, and exceptional sights, not only world-famous major attractions but also wonderful hidden gems.
So, let’s shine the spotlight on the best places to stay in Vienna, the World’s Most Livable City 2018, 2019, and 2022.
Ready? Let’s go!
Where to Stay in Vienna: Best Places
1st District: Innere Stadt
The enduring heart of ancient imperial might and modern Austrian administration is the First District, Innere Stadt.
The Inner City is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of “substantially authentic” Central Vienna. This Vienna district is often the best option for the first time visitor, with easy access to top tourist attractions.
Where once stout medieval walls protected the original city, now the 19th-century Ring Road delineates the 1st District. Even more, Ringstrasse defines it.
Given that, 1st District is the best area to: Explore historic landmarks in ample abundance. Experience aristocratic pomp and circumstance to the utmost. Be inspired by Baroque architecture at its most glorious.
The best luxury hotels and premier properties line these lovely streets, with the benefit of walking distance to breathtaking sightseeing.
Accordingly, none of these premier properties would win the “cheap hotels” award. “Posh” and “palatial” are the operative words in accommodations throughout city center.
During the festive season, the First District hosts several of Europe’s finest Christmas villages, such as the sublime Viennese Christmas Market on City Hall Square.
Afterward, from January to March, Rathausplatz transforms into an enchanting environment of outdoor skating rinks and trails. It’s one of the great things which make Vienna in winter so magical.
2nd District: Leopoldstadt
The Danube River and the Danube Canal surround Vienna’s Second District, Leopoldstadt.
This family-friendly residential area is a short walk or public transport to all the imperial awe.
Here in 1766, the imperial hunting grounds opened as a public park. The vast oasis of Prater Wien includes green meadows, woods, and the beloved Würstelprater amusement park.
Home to the formerly thriving and presently re-emerging Jewish community, Leopoldstadt counts the Jewish Museum Vienna among its several significant museums.
The Wien Praterstern Railway Station connects residents, commuters, and visitors with a bustling facility opened in 2007.
3rd District: Landstrasse
The Third District is another refined yet approachable Viennese residential neighborhood, Landstrasse.
Landstrasse features stately homes, essential institutions, and one markedly magnificent Baroque landmark: Belvedere Palace.
It’s also home to the vibrant environment of MuseumsQuartier (MQ). MQ brings a lively and dynamic energy to this delightful historic district.
7th District: Neubau
A great option for an artsy, hip, and happening vibe is the Seventh District, Neubau.
Cool cafés, lively restaurants, and popular shopping areas welcome locals as well as visitors who travel like locals. Art lovers, festival goers, and scene makers also flock to this exciting area.
Where to Stay in Vienna: Best Hotels
Grand Hotel Wien
Kaerntner Ring 9
Since 1870, the Grand Hotel Wien ranks among the foremost 5-star hotel properties of the 1st District.
The Grand Hotel presides over a perfect location on the Ringstrasse, mere steps from the Vienna State Opera. In 1894, Waltz King Johann Strauss the Younger specifically chose the hotel for his 50-year jubilee extravaganza.
Besides 200+ sumptuous guest room and suites, the Grand Hotel boasts the Grand Spa No. 605 with pampering services. Also, direct connection to the Ringstrassen Galerien shopping center. Plus, a highly acclaimed Japanese restaurant and a Michelin-starred French restaurant.
Check the current best rates at Grand Hotel Wien for your stay.
Hotel Sacher Wien
Sometimes the understudy steps onstage, and surprisingly becomes the star.
That’s what happened in 1832, when a Chef’s teenage apprentice stepped in to create a dessert for Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich.
Young Franz Sacher pleased the prince with his delectable invention, the Original Sacher-Torte. Et voilà! A star was born.
Franz’s legacy lives on today at the 5-star Hotel Sacher Wien and Sacher Café.
Join the public queue for the Sacher Café, richly designed in red velvet, marble tables, and crystal chandeliers. Once seated, relish a slice of Original Sacher-Torte with unsweetened whipped cream on the side, of course.
However, as a hotel guest in one of the superbly appointed spacious rooms and suites, you may certainly skip the line. Thanks to room service, savour your Original Sacher-Torte and Schlag amidst ornate comfort and complete privacy.
Check the current best rates at Hotel Sacher Wien for your stay.
Vienna’s many historic hotels are, of course, a source of pride. But only Hotel Stefanie Wien earns the official title of “Vienna’s Oldest Hotel.”
In fact, documents prove this exact address has hosted guests since 1600!
Its convenient location in Leopoldstadt affords proximity to everything in city centre. And also farther afield, with Schwedenplatz Underground Station nearby.
Antiques and classic décor highlight 100+ guest rooms, suites, and public spaces of this 4-star traditional hotel.
Quiet private rooms feature sound-proofing, air conditioning, and free WiFi. When free breakfast is included, Hotel Stefanie completes the good value checklist.
Since there’s no fitness center on-site, the front desk can arrange passes to a local gym.
Given that history and formality, still the staff are friendly to all ages. Young families will further appreciate small neighborhood parks and playgrounds, such as Manès Sperber Park only 306 yards (280 m) away.
Check the best rates at Hotel Stefanie for your stay.
Opened in 1964, the 5-star InterContinental Vienna gained renown both as Vienna’s first international hotel brand and its first skyscraper.
When he designed the property, Austrian architect Carl Appel sought to bridge “Gestern und Morgen / yesterday and tomorrow.”
Stadtpark and its charming Metro station are directly across the street, as well as tram stops close by.
Under the crystal chandeliers of the Intermezzo Bar, both locals and guests alike linger over coffee and pastries during the day, swank cocktails and light bites till late night.
Classic décor and polished woods accentuate the 450+ guest rooms, suites, numerous meeting / event spaces, and Grand Ballroom.
This hotel is among the top choices for meetings and conventions. As a result of group business demand, the price range obviously fluctuates. But the central location and the highly commendable service make the InterContinental Vienna a good option.
At this time, hotel management advises considerable changes are coming, with major renovations planned to begin in 2025.
Check the best rates at InterContinental Vienna for your stay.
Stylish and sustainable, the boutique Altstadt Vienna is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
Its contemporary art collections speak to MuseumQuartier’s creative mood. Artistic inspiration infuses the property.
Individually designed guest rooms and suites surprise and satisfy the senses. The style spectrum flows from Baroque to Mid-Century Modern rooms, interspersed with theatrical flourishes.
The hotel’s philosophy of sustainability is forward-looking: It’s the first Viennese hotel to earn the Austrian Ecolabel Green Hotel award.
Check the best rates at Altstadt Vienna for your stay.
What to See in Vienna: Main Attractions
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
The true heart of Vienna is unquestionably its sacred and geographic center: Domkirche St. Stephan.
Stephansdom’s stalwart stone walls enfold Austria’s epic sweep through the ages. Just as its North Tower and South Tower views unfold Vienna’s panoramic vistas over the centuries.
From Vienna’s earliest days, the Hofburg Wien formed the administrative center of government: Firstly, as the castle of the royal court and imperial palace since 1279; following that, for the Austrian President and federal government today.
For more than 6 centuries, the imperial family reigned and resided at the Hofburg. Starting in the 18th century, they wintered at the Hofburg and summered at Schönbrunn Palace. The Kaiserapparmentes and Sisi Museum are perennial favorite places to peek into the imperial lifestyle.
Vienna State Opera
Staatsoper, Opernring 2
The Wiener Staatsoper hosts the internationally acclaimed Vienna State Opera, State Opera for Children, and Vienna State Ballet.
Opened in 1869, the Vienna Opera House impresses with its massive size and majestic interior. Take a guided behind-the-scenes tour of this unrivalled operation. Better yet, take in one of the unparalleled repertory performances.
The Würstelprater amusement park is the year-round favorite of Vienna locals and visitors alike. Basically, it’s the ultimate destination for Fun with a capital “F.”
Since 1897, the Prater’s foremost icon is the Giant Ferris Wheel. The Riesenrad’s fully enclosed wagons show panoramic views on its circular rotation reaching a height of 212 feet (64.7 m).
Additionally, the Prater abounds 250 other attractions, restaurants, and shops. Rides range from high-tech thrills and chills to old-fashioned nostalgia.
The circa 1928 Prater Liliputbahn miniature railway loops roughly 2.5 miles (4 km) around the park perimeter.
Baroque architecture, terraced gardens, and outstanding art dazzle at Schloss Belvedere.
The princely estate includes two separate palaces – Upper Belvedere and Lower Belvedere – plus the Park, Orangery, and Palace Stables.
Discover 800 years of worthy art from Medieval to Viennese Modernism. Upper Belvedere holds the largest Gustav Klimt collection anywhere, including his magnus opus: The Kiss.
Then, it’s a short walk across the street to Arsenalstrasse 1. Belvedere 21 Museum of Contemporary Art displays contemporary works in a sleek Mid-Century Modernist cultural centre.
Schönbrunner Schloss-strasse 47
One of Vienna’s must-see splendors, Schloss Schönbrunn is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The remarkably preserved Rococo palace and Baroque gardens are open year-round. Schönbrunn furthermore hosts a festive Christmas market and a fabulous Easter Market.
Choose from numerous tour options of the State and Imperial Apartments, Privy and Orangery Gardens, Maze, Labyrinth, Desert Experience, Palm House, and Gloriette Viewing Platform.
Both young families and the young at heart will appreciate the Schönbrunn Zoo (the world’s oldest) and the Children’s Museum. The Children’s Museum invites visitors to play with toys, dress up in fancy clothes, and set the imperial table.
See the various ticket options. For utmost imperial awesomeness, bundle both the Schönbrunn and the Hofburg Imperial Apartments with the Sisi Museum in one ticket.
1030 and 1010 Wien
In a great location linking 3rd and 1st Districts, Stadtpark is the quintessential Viennese municipal park, playground, and urban haven since 1862.
Monuments, sculptures, floral plantings, and verdant green spaces fill its 23.7 acres (95,931 m2).
When in 1921 the city unveiled its monument to Johann Strauss the Younger, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performed “The Blue Danube” live on-site.
A century later, the gilded Waltz King and his gleaming violin, set against a marble Arte Nouveau arch, is the most photographed subject in all Vienna.
Find the Strauss monument at Stadtpark’s southern end, along the Wienfluss-Promenade.
What do you get when you envision the conversion of former imperial court stables into a contemporary cultural district?
Your vision subsequently becomes reality with the international cultural phenomenon of MuseumsQuartier Wien (MQ).
MQ makes art and artistry available and accessible to everyone of all ages. Whether you’re looking for important art museums or an interactive children’s museum, art galleries or artist studios, it’s surely in the Museum Quarter.
What to See in Vienna: Hidden Gems
Hoher Markt 10
In 1914, Viennese artist Franz von Matsch created Ankeruhr, a marvelous mosaic Arte Nouveau mechanical clock.
Every hour on the hour, a pair of historical figures moves into place. At 12 noon, all 12 historical figures parade across the clock face.
Music imparts an especially endearing element to the approximately 10-minute noontime spectacle.
The Leopoldstadt branch of Wien Museum includes several different exhibition spaces, such as the Pratermuseum.
The museum displays artifacts from the Prater’s centuries as a public playground. The current facility plans to close at the end of May 2023. Its new home is under construction to open in 2024.
Johann Strauss the Younger Home
The Johann Strauss Wohnung displays the personal furniture, artwork, instruments, and memorabilia of composer Johann Strauss the Younger.
In 1867, here in his private residence within this historic building, the Waltz King wrote his most famous composition, “The Blue Danube.”
Kleine Pfarrgasse 28
While the Prater is the big draw, Augarten is Leopoldstadt’s not so little gem of a landmark.
This large park, Vienna’s oldest Baroque garden, sprawls over 129 acres (522,000 m2) of manicured greens, shaded avenues, the Palais Augarten, and Europe’s 2nd oldest porcelain producer.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart himself directed morning concerts in Augarten Palace’s storied halls. Today Palais Augarten houses the Wiener Sängerknaben, better known as the Vienna Boys’ Choir.
Since 1718, the Vienna Augarten Porcelain Manufactory produces fine china, crafted with care and painted by hand. The Wiener Porzellanmanufaktur Augarten offers free weekday tours of its fascinating museum and intensive production process.
Two massive Defense Towers, circa 1944-1945, stand testament as an ugly yet necessary memorial against war.
Besides these historical buildings, Augarten encircles the MusiK und Theater (MuTh) concert hall, the TBA21 Art Contemporary, and an urban farm. Plus countless Viennese families running, playing, and enjoying respite.
Josefstädter Strasse 26
Vienna’s oldest continuously operating theater, Die Josefstadt was established in 1788.
Legendary maestros like Ludwig van Beethoven, Richard Wagner, and Johann Strauss the Elder conducted and performed here in earlier epochs.
In this era, Die Josefstadt’s playbill incorporates both classical and cutting-edge theatrical works.
Favoriten Water Tower and Playground
Built 1898 to 1899, the Wasserturm Favoriten rises 219.8 (67 m) high above the 10th District, Favoriten.
The handsome Water Tower is active only for exhibitions and special events.
The tower hosts one of the Viennese city government’s 4 webcams. Stadtwien’s other 3 webcams operate at City Hall, Burgtheater, and Johann Strauss the Younger Monument in Stadtpark.
Adjacent to the Water Tower, the Wasserspielplatz Wassersturm is a free water adventure park open on summer weekdays. Covering roughly 3.7 acres (15,000 m2), the Water Tower Playground is among Europe’s largest.
Open on summer weekdays, it’s a magnet for young families. Lawns, playgrounds, fountains, waterfalls, and volleyball court engage all ages. Little ones equally adore the mud zone, splash pond with a wooden rope ferry cover, and giant slide echoing the Water Tower.
Where to Shop in Vienna
Kaerntner Strasse Shopping Street
Stroll Vienna’s most upscale shopping street in the 1st District, Kaerntnerstrasse.
This pedestrian zone runs from St. Stephen’s Cathedral on Stephansplatz to the Vienna State Opera House on Karlsplatz along the Ringstrasse.
Goldenes Quartier, Graben, and Kohlmarkt chiefly comprise the luxury sections. In Goldenes Quartier, the flagships of leading luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada, Cartier, cluster together.
Though chic may reign supreme, the array of stores and cafés along Kaerntner Strasse and on side streets cater not only to high-end shoppers and fashion mavens, but also to souvenir seekers and people watchers.
Flea Market at Naschmarkt
Open Monday through Saturday, the Naschmarkt encloses over 100 stalls of food, fresh produce, flowers, meat, and numerous eateries. This landmark market is a timeless Viennese tradition since the 16th century.
But on Saturday, a good choice for a great place to be is the Flea Market, Flohmarkt am Naschmarkt. This outdoor market runs every Saturday, rain or shine.
Antiques, books, keepsakes, tchotkes, music, and miscellaneous treasures overflow the streets. Meanwhile, many market and food stalls sell ready-made delicacies and fresh produce.
Mariahilferstrasse Shopping Street
1060 to 1070 Vienna
Vienna’s longest shopping street, Mariahilfer Strasse runs approximately one mile (1.8 km). It connects the 6th District of Mariahilf and the 7th District Neubau.
Locals on the whole frequent the department stores, global clothing brands, and fast fashions flanking the car-free main shopping street. Go down side streets and alleys to discover original stores, boutiques, and eateries.
Where to Drink Coffee in Vienna
Since UNESCO deemed Viennese coffeehouse culture as part of its Intangible Cultural Heritage. A café is thus the ideal location “in which time and space are consumed, but only coffee is listed on the bill.”
Vienna’s traditional cafés, many grand and others cozy, set the scene for warmth and welcome. Settle into bentwood chairs for a good conversation or a good book, coupled with a freshly baked pastry and a palate pleasing melange.
Despite the prevalence of historic cafés, the artisanal craft of Third Wave Coffee is on the upswing. Vienna’s hip residential areas of 2nd and 7th Districts have several excellent 3rd Wave Coffee shops.
How to Get Around in Vienna
Vienna International Airport
The Flughafen Wien-Schwechat (VIE) is Austria’s largest and busiest airport. Four terminals serve national, European, and international flights.
Transportation between VIE and city centre includes chauffeured livery service, car rental, taxi, and motorcoach.
VIE also has its own railway station, with direct trains to Vienna Central Station and multiple rapid transit runs.
Vienna Main Train Station
Favoritenstrasse 51, Am Hauptbahnhof
Ultra modern and ultra busy, Wien Hauptbahnhof (Vienna Hbf) completed in 2015 in the 10th District, Favoriten.
Firstly, Vienna Hbf is the central station for the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB). Accordingly, it’s the hub for domestic, international, and ÖBB Nightjet trains.
Secondly, the Stadtbahn (S-Bahn) and Untergrundbahn (U-Bahn) rapid transit railways serve commuters throughout the metropolitan area.
Thirdly, the BahnhofCity Haputbahnhof Mall offers numerous shops, dining outlets, and supermarket.
Whether you choose to explore on foot or by public transport, Vienna is undeniably easy to get around. Its far-reaching network of trains, trolleys, and trams is easy and efficient to use.
Managed by Wiener Linien, the public transport system includes: Untergrundbahn (U-Bahn), the subway; Schnellbahn (S-Bahn), the local train; Stassenbahn, the tram; and Autobus, the bus.
Plan your journey via the mobile app (“WienMobil”), or the Wiener Linien website.
Customize your journey further with “fastest route,” “fewest changes” or “least walking” travel options.
ivie app and Vienna City Card
The ivie app and Vienna City Card make urban exploration easier, more efficient, and indeed less expensive.
Because the ivie app and Vienna City Card put the entire city, and discount savings, in your hands.
The ivie app is the Vienna Tourist Board’s free digital city guide. Packed with maps, essential info, tours, self-guided walks, and insider anecdotes, it’s certainly helpful and insightful.
The Vienna City Card is available as an add-on or stand-alone purchase. The card delivers unlimited free public transportation, discounts galore, and much more.
Download the free ivie app either via the App Store (“ivie – Vienna Guide”), or the Vienna Tourist Board website.
Purchase the award-winning Vienna City Card on the Vienna Tourist Board website.
Where to Stay in Vienna: In Conclusion
Where are the best places to stay in Vienna? What are the best neighborhoods in the World’s Most Livable City?
Each of Vienna’s districts conveys certain atmospheres, star attractions, and unique hidden gems. Likewise, each of Vienna’s neighborhoods tells its own individual story.
The closer you get to the heart of the city, then the closer you get to the history of Vienna.
On one hand, each district becomes significantly more desirable – and on the other hand, subsequently more expensive – the closer its proximity to Innere Stadt.
The best choice, in short, is the one that works well for you overall; for example, your travel goals, budget, and itinerary.
For instance, the royal ambience and regal hotels of 1st District may be the perfect place for first-time visitors.
Another time, the best district could be either the 2nd or the 3rd District, with relaxed rhythms yet swift access to Innere Stadt.
Or instead, the trendy and truly local vibe of 7th District would be an ideal place for your travel style.
In any case, regardless where you choose, either on your first visit or frequent trips, the capital city of Austria awaits you.
So, come explore, experience, be inspired by historic, romantic Vienna.
Because this time is the perfect time to visit Vienna now.
READ: Vienna in Winter: Best Things to Do During a Magical Season
READ: Europe’s Christmas Markets: Vienna Austria
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