Just the mention of “Vienna” will evoke images and sounds in your mind, maybe you’ll hear some distant strings of a classical composition, or an image of regal and majestic palaces and buildings, manicured gardens, or perhaps you picture cosy wine taverns or a plate of fresh Apfelstrudel with a mountain of cream on top. Whatever you imagine we can bring to life in our luxury travel guide to Vienna.
We will indulge all your senses and show you around this classical metropolis, where many famous musicians such as Schubert, Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart have all walked through its very streets. These musicians also graced the many balls that are held in Vienna, in fact 450 balls take place annually in this Austrian Capital. You can even be the belle of the ball during the season that runs from New Year’s Eve until just before Easter!
Vienna is the perfect destination for a romantic weekends, or for lovers of music, culture and the arts. There is also plenty of nature to enjoy and for active travellers, you will find walks, hikes and cycle routes that will keep you occupied in this green Austrian city. For everything you need to know, here is our ultimate luxury guide to Vienna.
This guide is perfect for those who are travelling to Vienna on a luxury. We will show you what to do in Vienna, where to stay, what to eat and how to get around, whether it’s a weekend in Vienna or a long term stay.
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The best time to visit Vienna
Vienna is beautiful in the springtime, the best months to visit are between April and. May where you can enjoy mild weather and fewer crowds, also the gardens burst into bloom and you can enjoy the splendid greenery in squares and parks. The warmest months are June to August but along with the sunshine come crowds of visitors and skyrocketing prices for accommodation and attractions.
The autumn is also ideal for visiting, as September and October are warm and pleasant, you can also enjoy the colours of autumnal leaves which provide a pensive and beautiful backdrop to the Austrian Capital. All that is required is several layers to prepare for cooler evenings.
How to get around Vienna
Vienna is a city which can be explored on foot, especially in the Innere Stadt or “city centre”. A good pair of walking shoes is definitely necessary.
There are also several options for those who prefer to travel in style and avoid the public transportation. Taxis are an excellent option as they are metered and reasonable in price in comparison to other cities around Europe, you can hire a taxi to take you around the sights or rent them by the hour. Uber is also widely used in Vienna.
Renting a car is not advisable in Vienna as parking is incredibly difficult to find and expensive.
Bicycle rental is a great option for the more active traveller, and is one of the preferred methods of transportation by locals. There is an app for bike rentals called Donkey Bike where you can pick up and drop off the bike around various points of the city. Bike rental is also an excellent way to get out of the city and explore the surrounding nature, or even visit one of the local wineries on the outskirts of the city.
The most stylish mode of transportation is a private driver, which you can rent from Blacklane, a platform for private chauffeur rental by the day.
What to expect in Vienna
Vienna is a bustling capital city and the main language spoken is German, though most people do speak English, it is helpful to learn some basic. words of German. The local currency is the Euro and ATMs are widely available, card payments are common and there is no need to carry large amounts of cash.
The Austrians have a bad reputation of being impatient on the road, but they are friendly people in general. The Viennese tend to dress conservatively so make sure that you don’t dress too casually.
Restaurant bills already include a service charge, however its customary to round up the bill or leave an additional 5% tip. If eating out with others, the host will insist on paying and people take it in turns to get the bill. If someone raises their glass to you and says “prost” it’s incredibly rude not to make eye contact.
Many of the bars and clubs in Austria allow smoking indoors, so be prepared that your clothes and hair will end up smelling like an ashtray.
Vienna is rated as one of Europe’s safest city but as always, it’s advisable to be on your guard for pickpockets, especially in tourist areas.
Luxury things to do in Vienna
Indulge in coffee and cake
Vienna is all about coffee culture, it is more an art form than a method of refuelling. In fact, some coffee houses have UNESCO status! For the best coffee and cake in Vienna, head to the historic Café Central which dates back to 1876 and is one of the most iconic and majestic coffee houses in the city, many local celebrities have sipped upon a coffee here including Sigmund Freud, Lenin and Trotsky.
A night at the opera
Your visit would be incomplete without a visit to the Vienna State Opera House. The grandeur of the place with its chandeliers and regal interior will take your breath away! The world-renowned philharmonic orchestra perform concerts regularly and will bring music of its most notable residents, Beethoven, Mozart, and Haydn to life.
Ride the Ferris wheel
Vienna is postcard perfect from above, from the heights of the Ferris wheel that appeared in the film., “The Third Man”, you can enjoy the views over the vineyards, rolling hills, majestic architecture and the Danube river. The ferris wheel is located in Prater Amusement Park and only costs €10 but the view is priceless!
Be the belle of the ball
Attend one of the many balls held in Vienna to experience stepping back into another time where age-old customs are re-enacted in the splendid regal settings of a music hall. Ballgowns and tuxedoes can be rented from specialist shops so you can feel as if you’ve been transported into a fairy-tale where you can be your very own prince or princess!
The very best balls are held between January and March and a ticket costs roughly €100 per person, with tables costing an additional fee. If you want to go all out, you can live the fairy-tale with an experience that includes a dinner followed by a ride in a horse drawn carriage to the ball venue.
Visit the vineyards
Vienna is actually home to over 700 hectares of vineyards within the city itself, so enjoying and savouring the local wine is a must! In fact many of the vineyards are recognised by UNESCO as part of their cultural heritage. The wines produced in Vienna include many white wines, including Rieslings and some blends, there are also some delicious reds as well such as Zweigelt which are worth trying.
In Autumn, during the many vineyards will host wine-tasting events on their grounds accompanied with simple rustic food to go with the wine.
If you want to sample wines in an indoor setting you can visit the vaults of Palais Coburg, this cellar boasts over 60,000 bottles of wine in its collection including one dating back to 1727! This famous cellar organises daily tours and wine tasting sessions as well as a “wine stroll” where you can try some of the rarer wines in their collection.
Have a spa day
After all that exploring you’ll want to relax in one of Vienna’s best spas, including the Aux Gazelles spa which offers a Turkish Hammam in the heart of Vienna. Here you can relax in Turkish baths, sauna, steam room and a massage and exfoliation treatment in the style of an authentic Turkish hammam. They even have delicious oriental cuisine if you feel hungry after all that pampering! You will emerge feeling like a new person!
Places to visit in Vienna
One of Vienna’s iconic palaces was built in the 1600s and has seen the birth and death of emperors of Austria within its walls. The palace has a Baroque style and is decorated with numerous statues on the roof. For the full-on luxury experience you can spend one night in one of the suites of the palace. A stroll around the palace grounds and its majestic gardens is an ideal way to spend a few hours as there are over a kilometre of palace gardens, including Neptune’s fountain, a maze and an artificial Roman Ruin.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Located in Stephensplatz, this Romanesque and Gothic church has played an important role in Austrian history. The building is domineering and it remains one of the tallest churches in Austria. There are a staggering 18 alters within the opulent interior of the church as well as catacombs below.
Hofburg Imperial Palace
Another of Vienna’s important Baroque palaces is the impressive complex of the Hofburg Palace which once was used as the winter palace for Emperors of the Austrian empire for centuries. Today, it is the home of the Austrian president. A visit to the Hofburg Palace is unmissable during your stay in Vienna.
In the 1600s, this palace was built as a summer residence for Austrian princes and was later converted into a museum where you can wander around the majestic staterooms and the beautifully landscaped gardens. Pre-order your ticket to skip the queues.
Spanish Riding School
One of the most well-renowned schools for the art of dressage in the world, the Spanish Riding School is open to the public and there are daily demonstrations. For those who love horses and have a passion for horse-riding this is a must-visit.
Hipster District on 7th
If you want to delve into something other than palaces and majestic buildings, there is a vibrant hipster scene in Vienna located in the 7th District. Here you will find the thriving music scene in bars as well as unique and quirky shops.
Visit the City of Dreams
You can set foot in Sigmund Freud’s home which has now been converted into a museum, where you can learn about why Vienna is known as the City of Dreams. There are numerous artifacts and an audio guide will give you a better understanding of one of Vienna’s prodigal sons.
Where to stay in Vienna – Luxury Hotels
Hotel Imperial – This historic hotel has a long history and was built in 1863 just a few minutes walking from the Hofburg Palace and is a journey down memory lane. Here you will find beautiful chandeliers, rooms decorated with classical design and antiques and five-star service which includes butlers. Rooms are equipped with whirlpool hot tubs and the hotel has excellent facilities such as a restaurant, piano bar with live music and an onsite gym and spa on the rooftop of the hotel. Prices start at €384 for a room.
Park Hyatt – Built on the site of a bank from 20th century and is centrally located just a short walk from St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Hofburg Palace. The rooms are gorgeous, a fusion of contemporary and traditional décor from Vienna and suits provide a living room. The hotel houses a renowned restaurant, bar and whisky and cigar lounge as well as a sophisticated tea room. There is also a spa with a fitness centre and a heated pool. Prices start at €452 for a room.
Hotel Sacher Wien – In the heart of Vienna, just a few minutes from the Vienna State Opera House stands the Hotel Sacher Wien. Rooms are decorated in Art Nouveau style with ornate chandeliers and lush furnishings such as silk wallpaper, with grand marble bathrooms with heated floors and large bathtubs make this an opulent and indulgent experience. The hotel also houses two restaurants and live music events which can be enjoyed on the terrace with views of the opera house. Facilities include a fitness centre and spa. Prices start at €521 per night.
Schönbrunn palace – The largest palace in Vienna is not only one of the most popular destination but for a fee you can experience a night in the Grand Suite. The enormous 1,790 square foot bedroom can be rented for €1,340 per night, but really who can really put a price to an experience such as staying in the regal home of Emperor Franz Joseph himself?
Luxury eats in Vienna
Join a food tour
Every foodie will love a gourmet food tour around the city of Vienna. On this tour you will savour the flavours of the city including restaurants such as Gault & Millau, Kipferlhaus and other restaurants which feature the finest of authentic Viennese wines and traditional dishes. You will be able to try local cold cuts, chocolates, truffles and champagne on this four-hour tour to give you a taste of the local cuisine.
Silvio Nickol – This Michelin star restaurant is headed by the chef Silvio Nickol is an incredible culinary experience. The restaurant is situated at Palais Coburg and is perfect for gourmands searching for new flavours and combinations in a contemporary manner with a fantastic selection of wines in their cellar.
Le Loft – As well as stunning food, this restaurant provides an incredible view 75 metres above the city on the 18th floor of the Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom hotel. The restaurant serves up seasonal fare which combines Austrian flavours with contemporary ingredients and techniques creating an exciting fusion which comes across as modern and innovative.
Dommayer – Indulge in the chocolatey goodness of a sumptuous sachertorte in one of Vienna’s most famous cafes and is an established coffee house in the city. It’s situated near the Schonbrunn Palace making this the perfect place to refuel after wandering the imperial palace grounds.
Opus – Another fantastic restaurant can be found in one of Vienna’s historic hotels under the helm of its head chef, Stefan Speiser. This Michelin starred restaurant can be found in the Hotel Imperial, serving up beautiful dishes with local, seasonal ingredients.
Luxury tours to do in Vienna
If you always dreamed of having your own fairy-tale come to life, this is the perfect experience for you. A horse drawn carriage tour complete with butler and coachman will take you on a tour through the sights of Vienna followed by a dinner.
Enjoy a gourmet three-course dinner at a Restaurant Bristol, situated in a hotel which was once graced by the presence of President Roosevelt, the dinner is followed by a concert at the Musikverein Concert Hall where you can enjoy a concert from Vienna’s famous Mozart Orchestra.
For instagram, Vienna has plenty of spectacular images to offer and there is no better way than to experience the city with a private guide and expert. Be the star of your own photoshoot around the beautiful backdrop of Austrian architecture.
Enjoy a gentle private cruise down the Danube River to explore the Wachau Valley on this half-day tour. You can take in the scenery at a leisurely pace and also explore the UNESCO heritage town of Dürnstein.
Recommend luxury tours in Vienna
- Private Tour: Wachau Valley Tour, Melk Abbey Visit, and Wine Tastings from Vienna
- Hidden Gems in Vienna Inner City Private Walking Tour
- Private Tour: Vienna Inner City Highlights
- Private full day tour to Salzburg from Vienna with a local guide
- Salzburg and Lake Region Small-Group Day-Trip from Vienna
- Romantic Vienna Combo: Vienna Card, Horse and Carriage Tour, Belvedere Palace and Candlelight Dinner
- Wines, Vines & Good Times – Private vineyard hike & wine tastings from Vienna
- Private kayaking excursion of Vienna
- Small-Group Day Trip from Vienna to Hallstatt
- New Year’s Eve Gala in Vienna City Hall’s Grand Ballroom
- Private Full Day Tour to Prague with Luxury car and Local guide