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The Best Day Trips from Vienna

Vienna, Austria. Cityscape image of Vienna, Austria during sunrise.

Meandering around the Austrian capital can be truly magical; exploring inside-out remarkable museums, admiring the Imperial Palace or the Viennese Belvedere, stopping for coffee breaks at beautiful, atmospheric cafés… Maybe even adding a Viennese opera experience to your trip!

The city of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Egon Schiele and Sigmund Freud may be difficult to leave even for one day, but there are loads of hidden gems and amazing places that you can explore outside of the Austrian capital too. This guide will list for you some of the best day trips from Vienna.

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Day trip from Vienna to Budapest

Less than 250 kilometres from Vienna, the Hungarian capital is a tempting destination for many visitors. If you are looking for ideas for weekend trips from Vienna, Budapest is a great option for sure. The city is filled with architectural wonders, historic sites and contemporary culture venues, so one day might not be enough for a thorough exploration.

Budapest has its name from the two parts of the city: Buda on the western bank of the Danube River (the part of town with a calmer, more residential feel) and Pest on the opposite side of the river (said to wake up when Buda goes to sleep). The two areas developed separately, and hence the atmosphere now can be so different in the two parts. Some of the most magical Budapest moments are hence the long walks around the two neighbourhoods, crossing the Danube River via one of the many beautiful bridges, like the popular Chain Bridge (the first permanent bridge built across the Danube in Hungary).

Make sure to include the Buda Castle onto your Itinerary – it will make your Vienna to Budapest day trip an unforgettable experience. The castle is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and a blend of various building styles. The construction began as early as the 13th century, and today the castle is also home to the Hungarian National Gallery of Art showcasing both traditional and modern art from local artists.

Another historical site in Budapest that should not be missed is the Vajdahunyad Castle. It is home to the Hungarian Museum of Agriculture (the biggest agricultural museum in Europe), but the building itself has an incredible story. It was originally designed by Ignác Alpár who wanted to merge different building styles from all around the Hungarian Kingdom. It was first built from cardboard and wood, but in the early 20th century, it was rebuilt from brick and stone.

Day trips from Vienna to Budapest are popular, so plan your journey in advance. If you book your ticket on the day of departure, it may cost you around 40 € (approx. 45 USD), whereas with advance booking the fee can go as low as 13 € (less than 15 USD). The journey with the train will take less than 3 hours. Travelling time with the bus is similar, yet with lower fares, down to 9 € (10,5 USD).

Day trip from Vienna to Budapest

Famous European touristic travel location. Amazing cityscape panorama with spectacular Chain bridge and Parliament building at colorful sunset, Budapest, Hungary, Europe

Day trip from Vienna to Salzburg

Vienna to Salzburg day trip is a great option for your getaway from the Austrian capital. True beer connoisseurs who also want to learn more about the brewing culture and tradition will be happy to learn that the Stiegl Brewery is located in Salzburg. The brewery is partially a “museum”, containing various exhibitions, and of course, offering a generous beer-tasting session at the end of the tour.

Longing to visit a museum in a more traditional sense? DomQuartier Museum is the place to go, as it is a combination of five smaller museums in one! The architecture of the site is a curiosity in itself, so make sure you take the time to simply walk around and study the buildings and the whole complex including the Residenz Palace and a Cathedral.

Day trips from Vienna to Salzburg are very easy to plan: jump on a direct train from Vienna Central Station, and less than 2 hours 30 minutes later, you will arrive in Salzburg. The fees for the FlixTrain start around 32 USD per person for a single trip.

Day trip from Vienna to Salzburg

Beautiful view of Salzburg skyline with Festung Hohensalzburg and Salzach river in summer Salzburg Salzburger Land Austria

Day trip from Vienna to Mauthausen Concentration Camp

Emotionally hard, and definitely not for everyone, a tour to Mauthausen Concentration Camp is worth including into your Austrian itinerary. Now serving as a memorial, it tries to ensure public awareness of the history of the political persecution that took place in Europe during the Second World War. From 1938 to 1945 the camp served as a centre for many smaller subcamps and was a site of national, racial and political oppression on the Austrian grounds. The current estimate is that around 190,000 people were imprisoned in Mauthausen, and at least 90,000 were murdered at the site.

Mauthausen Memorial is now a place of open discussion and educated dialogue, telling the true, brutal story of the prisoners and victims of the camp. At the same time, it is highlighted that many companies who used labour from concentration camp prisoners, still enjoy success in the postwar era, pointing out how important it is to keep the collective memories alive and spread the collective historical awareness.

Mauthausen Concentration Camp is around 150 kilometres from Vienna, close to Linz. The easiest way to get to the site is to travel from Vienna to Linz (around 1-hour train ride by either FlixTrain or regional Train towards Salzburg), and then onboard bus no. 360 to Mauthausen OÖ Linzer Straße (the bus stop is about 1,5 kilometres away from the Memorial itself, so prepare for a little walk).

Day trip from Vienna to Mauthausen Concentration Camp

Yad Vashem memorial of Holocaust with names of concentration camps written on the floor of the Hall of Remembrance. JERUSALEM, ISRAEL.

Day trip from Vienna to Wachau Valley

Wachau is the name for the most famous part of Austria’s Danube Valley. It is a scenic landscape shaped by the meanders of the Danube River, nowadays especially well known for its exquisite wines. In between admiring the breathtaking views and taking relaxed strolls in nature, make sure to add a wine tasting to your itinerary! The establishment of the vineyards and the agricultural changes in the area led to various shifts in the landscape, and since December 2000 the “Wachau Cultural Landscape” has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Throughout the valley, you will find many charming towns. In the south, there is the town of Melk, mostly known for its Benedictine abbey that contains the remains of several members of the first ruling dynasty of the country. The history of Melk Abbey goes as far as the 11th century, and since its early days, the abbey has been known for its remarkable library and scriptorium (medieval room devoted to writing and copying of manuscripts).

Another remarkable spot that you can add to your Danube Valley day trip from Vienna is Krems – a picturesque Medieval town with an architecturally stunning city centre.

Getting to the Wachau Valley needs slight preparation because there are no direct train or bus connections. Many tourists choose to go to Melk (train tickets starting around 18 €, approx. 20 USD, and the trip takes around 1 hour) first and then take the bus to a chosen location within the valley. For this trip, you may also consider booking a tour directly from Vienna. Day trips from Vienna to Danube Valley are easy to arrange, and you will be sure not to miss any of the most scenic spots, have time for pictures and Austrian white wine tasting!

Day trip from Vienna to Wachau Valley

Classic aerial view of historic Aggstein castle ruin with famous Danube river in the background in beautiful golden evening light at sunset in summer Wachau valley Lower Austria region Austria

Day trip from Vienna to Prague

Get ready for long walks across the Charles Bridge, get ready to admire beautiful architecture, visit cultural institutions and end your day with a taste of locally brewed Pilsner! Day trips from Vienna to Czech Republic are quite popular tourist attractions, and the Czech capital, Prague, is definitely on top of the list.

In Prague, we recommend you to step off the beaten tourist path and explore sites like the Old Jewish Cemetery (the largest Jewish Cemetery in Europe). The cemetery was established as early as the 15th century and has been used up until the late 18th century. It might sound unusual, but the site is a beautiful spot for walks, it is like a vast, yet very serene park – perfect place to tuck away from the otherwise busy streets of the Czech capital.

When in Prague, do not forget to go to the Old Town Square to see the Prague Astronomical Clock, mounted to the southern wall of the Old Town Hall. The clock itself is a masterpiece and a remarkable manifestation of skill and hard labour. It shows positions of various astral elements: the planets, the sun and the moon, and every full hour, above the clock the so-called “Walk of the Apostles” takes place. It is like a miniature parade of biblical figures spinning above the dial.

The Czech and Austrian capital are more than 4 hours drive apart, which makes Prague an interesting option if you are looking for weekend trips from Vienna. Getting there with FlixBus is easy and convenient, at fares start around 18 USD per person one way. The journey will take 4 hours 15 minutes, only 20 minutes longer than the train ride can easily cost around 70 USD, which makes the bus a much more affordable, and still very convenient option.

Day trip from Vienna to Prague

Prague Old Town Square and Church of Mother of God before Tyn in Prague Czech Republic. Architecture and landmark of Prague postcard of Prague

A day trip exploring castles in Vienna

Not in the mood for long-distance side trips from Vienna? You can curate an amazing day tour within the Austrian capital too! We recommend exploring Vienna’s amazing castles! You can start with Schloss Schönbrunn, originally intended as a hunting lodge. It is Austria’s biggest castle, listed as UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996!

Make sure to visit Hofburg Castle as well. It serves as a political centre and the official presidential seat. In the Neue Burg Wing of the Hofburg, you will find The Austrian National Library – the largest in Austria storing over 12 million items in its collections!

Make sure not to miss Hermesvilla! Called the “Palace of Dreams” by Empress Elisabeth whose husband, Emperor Franz Joseph gifted the palace to her hoping to keep her away from leaving Vienna. The palace is situated in a former hunting area, now a natural reserve called Lainzer Tiergarten.

Last, but not least, you must find time to see the Viennese Belvedere! Its astonishing architecture and the beautiful art collection inside will take your breath away. The complex consists of two buildings: “Oberes Belvedere” (meant for official matters, located on the top of the hill) and the smaller “Unteres Belvedere” down the hill. The Belvedere houses seminal art pieces from the national collection of Austrian art as well as traditional and contemporary works by international artists.

A day trip exploring castles in Vienna

VIENNA/ AUSTRIA - Palace Hermesvilla (built in 1882 - 1886) in the Lainzer Tiergarten, in Vienna, Austria. Today it is a museum housing memorabilia of the empress Elisabeth.

Danube River cruise

Another nice addition to your Vienna stay would be a half day cruise on the Danube River. There are multiple options, from short cruises around Vienna to longer sailing journeys through Austria or even further on to other European capitals on the Donau bank. Note that a picturesque Danube River cruise can also be booked when you are in Wachau Valley – good way to merge a sailing experience with sightseeing of the beautiful Wachau.

If you are looking for a cruise experience without leaving the Austrian capital, we recommend the Street Art River Cruise. It is a great way to explore the underground Viennese art scene (Vienna has the longest open-air street art gallery in Europe) while sightseeing from a different, fun perspective.

It is also possible to book a lunch or dinner cruise – a great opportunity to enjoy a typical Austrian meal in remarkable surroundings.

Danube River cruise

Spring time in Wachau, Spitz village with boat on Danube river, Austria

Recommended Best Day Trips from Vienna

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The Best Day Trips from Vienna

The Best Day Trips from Vienna

The Best Day Trips from Vienna

Article written by:

Hi, my name is Samantha, Finance Managing Guru by day, Travel Blogging Enthusiast by... well... day too! Haha! Travelling King is the destination hotspot for the wannabe traveller! Showcasing affordable, luxurious getaways for the budget conscious! With the combination of my financial knowledge and travelling experiences I aim to show you, with a little planning, the right budget and a realistic goal you can fulfil your travel fantasies and explore the world whatever your budget or desires may be!