You are here

Top 7 Things to do in Vienna

Top 7 Things to do in Vienna main image

Vienna is one of a kind. It is a place of unexpectedly pleasant contrasts that caters for everyone’s needs. No wonder that it has managed again this year to rank first in Mercer’s Quality of Living Survey for the sixth time in a row, as well as coming high-up in the annual QS Best Student Cities index.

I am myself a strange combination of a city person – who at the same time hates the hustle and bustle capital cities are usually associated with – and someone who loves to spend time outdoors, in the middle of the nature, but who simultaneously gets bored easily when there’s not much going on around.

I had the chance to study in Vienna, and I must say it provided my perfect playground; a melting pot of calm and verve, old and new, urban life and nature. It was something I hadn’t experienced in any other place so far, and I guess that’s why everyone seemed to be mesmerized by what this city has to offer.

It would be a tough row to hoe if you asked me to pick my favorite among the many great things to do in Vienna, as there are so many and it would take centuries to make up my mind. Instead, I am going to give you seven suggestions of places to visit if you happen to be in the city, either as a student or just as a tourist, and you are looking for a starting point in your urban explorations.

1. Get sporty at the Danube Island (die Donauinsel)

Danube Island, Austria

This 21 kilometer-long artificial island is Vienna’s highlight and a real oasis in the urban jungle. Just a few subway stops away from the city center, the Danube Island is the paradise for any sport aficionado and the ideal place to spend a laid-back Sunday lying on the grass. If the weather is on your side, you have a bewildering variety of activities to choose from, ranging from running, cycling, swimming and different kinds of watersports to simply going for a picnic or just sitting around and taking a breath of fresh air.

2. Meet friends in the Museumsquartier (MQ)

Offering a range of different things to do in Vienna, the Museumsquartier is a highly versatile space. Quiet, cultural and touristy during the day, it turns into a meeting spot for young people in the evening. This is the ideal alternative for a night out with friends when you aren’t really the type who’s mad about the noisy music and the rowdiness you have to put up with in a club. Just grab a drink, find some nice company and enjoy chilling out outdoors. Background music included – courtesy of the handful of pubs in the area.

3. Relax in the University of Vienna’s inner courtyard

As soon as the sweater weather was gone, this place within the University of Vienna became one of my favorite spots in the warm May afternoons. Green and cozy, equipped with comfy deckchairs, the main university’s inner courtyard is always swarming with students, who either take a break in the sun between lectures, or are not in the mood to study indoors and choose to take their assignments outside.

4. Enjoy the view from Kahlenberg Hill

Easy to reach by bus, this 484 meter-high hill is a good place from which to view the city from above. Kahlenberg Hill lies in the Vienna Woods and is a popular destination for day trips for anyone who wants to get away from the city center.

5. Explore history in the Central Cemetery (Zentralfriedhof)

The Central Cemetery, or Zentralfriedhof, is another essential item on any itinerary of things to do in Vienna. If cemeteries usually give you the creeps, let me tell you that there is much more to this one. The number of interred is almost twice that of the current living population of Vienna, making it Europe’s biggest graveyard. It is almost like a city in itself, and there is even a bus service provided. Many graves are real architectural masterpieces and Zentralfriedhof also offers the chance to visit the graves of famous composers such as Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Strauss the Son and Salieri.

Tip: Don’t miss the Jewish part of the Zentralfriedhof. Although eerie, it’s one of those places that definitely makes a lasting impression on you.

6. Marvel at the Hundertwasser House (Hundertwasserhaus)

If you like quirky and alternative architecture, then the Hundertwasser House is the place for you! This jazzy apartment house is definitely one of Vienna’s outstanding buildings due to its unique look. Based on the vision Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and executed along with architect Joseph Krawina, this expressionist creation really steps out of the line of the usual Baroque/ Jugendstil constructions.

7. Visit the Vienna International Centre (UNO City)

The Vienna International Centre, home to the UN headquarters in Vienna, provides a good perspective on the more modern side of the city, definitely worth a visit after spending some time in the picturesque old-style center. Located on the bank of the Danube, this complex of newfangled buildings is the workplace of more than 5,000 employees working for various international organizations. The center is undoubtedly a major change of landscape for the average tourist, providing a fitting reminder that Vienna is not just a city of the past.

Of course, I could have gone on for several more thousand words, but let’s say that these are the cream of the crop from my point of view. Feel free to add your own favorite things to do in Vienna by leaving a comment below.

Related categories:

Keegan S, Oleksandra M & 4 others saved this
Laura Bridgestock's profile image
Written by Volina Serban
Volina is a student of translation from Bucharest, Romania, and a travel enthusiast. She previously studied in Austria and intends to return there for longer, and has participated in summer courses and projects in Germany, Slovakia, Serbia and Turkey. In her spare time she writes for various publications and on her personal blog (www.volina-serban.com) about inspiration and motivation in all their forms, tries different kinds of sports and cooks for her friends. 

Want to leave a comment?

Please login or register to post
comment above our articles

0 Comment