Are you going to have a one-day stop in Vienna? Do you have 12 hours in which you want to discover as much as possible? Here is our suggestion for a 12-hour program in Vienna.
You can discover large parts of Vienna in 12 hours if you have a well-planned program. You can jump on a hop-on hop-off bus, and within a few hours, you will have seen the most significant places. Do you want to discover Vienna on your own in 12 hours using nothing but your feet and public transportation? Here are some suggestions from us on how to discover Vienna in 12-hours.
Why 12-hours and not 24-hours? You will often meet articles on how to discover Vienna in one day or 24-hours. The reality is however that most people sleep quite a lot, meaning that you do not spend 24 hours discovering the city, but rather 12-hours. For that reason, our guide is on how to discover Vienna in 12-hours.
Vienna in 12-hours
Discover the city center at first
We will recommend starting the tour from the State Opera in Vienna. The building in itself is a real beauty, and from here, you can walk into the city center of Vienna. Start your walk in the Kärntner Strasse, and just keep walking. This part of the walk will show you the famous shopping street of Vienna, and after some minutes (depending on your speed), you will end up at the Stephansplatz. Here you can look at the Stephansdom (and maybe even visit it), and even eat a little piece of cake before you move on.
As you finish your business at the Stephansplatz, walk back to the end of Kärntner Strasse, and walk left. You will then walk in Graben, another beautiful street. Here you can marvel at the beautiful architecture, the big squares, and a beautiful inner city.
At the end of Graben turn left. You will then walk along the Kohlmarkt. At the end of the street, you will discover the entrance to Hofburg. We do however recommend a stop at the famous Confectionary Demel, located on your right-hand side as you walk towards the Hofburg entrance (in Graben). Be aware of the fact that Demel is often full, so you might have to spend quite some minutes waiting to order.
Walk across the Michaelerplatz and enter into the Hofburg complex. This is yet another architectural beauty. Here you can find the riding school, the Royal palace, fantastic outdoor areas, and so much more. Walk around, sip in of the air, and continue straight ahead until you leave the Hofburg area, and continue your walk on the big ring in Vienna.
Now is the time to visit a museum if you want to
As you leave Hofburg, you will look straight onto the Maria-Theresien Platz. Here you will find the two most famous museums in Vienna, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Natural History Museum. These are both fantastic museums, so if you want to visit a museum during your 12 active hours in Vienna, now is the time.
As you leave Hofburg and look towards the Maria-Theresien Platz, turn right. Walk along the Burgring, and as the ring starts turning right, you will soon discover the Austrian Parliament. Make a few photos, and then walk on, because you are just about to discover the magnificent City Hall (Rathaus). The Rathausplatz is the location of the most famous Christmas market in Vienna. As you keep on walking, you will see a university next to the City Hall, and after this, you get to the metro station named Schottentor.
Here we would jump on the metro and travel with the metro to Karlsplatz. There you change lines for the red line and travel to VIC (Vienna International Center). From there you either walk or travel by bus 20A to get to the Danube Tower. Travel to the restaurant floor where you grab yourself an something to eat while enjoying the view from the tower towards the city of Vienna.
You are not finished discovering Vienna
Time is flying, meaning that you do not have so many hours left in Vienna. But, before finishing the day, you need to get back to the metro. You are now going to visit the other Palace of the Austrian Emperor back in the days, Schonbrunn. Get back to the Karlsplatz metro station, and travel with the green line to the Schönbrunn stop. Leave the underground, and walk for a few minutes until you get to the Schönbrunn entrance.
When you get to Schönbrunn, there are several exciting programs available. If you travel with kids, they will for sure be happy to visit the zoo by now. If you want to visit the building itself, do a castle tour. If you want a nice overview of the area, jump on one of the sightseeing “trains” taking you around the entire area. You can of course just walk around on your own to see the area and the park as well!
Would you like to do some more shopping?
If you still have some energy left after Schönbrunn, head back to the metro and travel to the stop Langenfeldgasse. Change for the brown metro line and travel to Westbahnhof. Now you leave the metro system, and you are now at the end of the super-famous Mariahilferstrasse. This is a giant shopping street in Vienna. Walk down Mariahilferstrasse, and as you get to the end of the street, you will arrive at the Maria-Theresien Platz again, in the heart of the city of Vienna.
Did you enjoy your 12 hours in Vienna?
You might do all these activities in 6-7-8 hours, but most people will probably find 12 hours to be too little for all these activities. Try it, then come back and tell us what you think!
Are there any other places, attractions or activities you would add to this list? Use the comment field beneath and let us know.