Vienna: what to do to have the best possible time?



What to do in Vienna.

What will you particularly enjoy doing in Vienna, because it is special to this place? Definitely watching baroque white horses perform 400-year-old horse training traditions, talking to a local in the style of Viennese coffeehouse debates, having a ride in the Giant Ferris Wheel, visiting an operetta, and waltzing at a lavish ball.


Some independent first-time travellers do visit much the same sites as I do when back in my homecity. Other than Heurigen (wineries), I re-visit places like Schönbrunn Palace, Augarten, and certain rooftop cafés in the city centre. And I always look for a reason to get into a tramway along Ringstrasse.


I sometimes visit classical concerts and operas in other European cities. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not quite the same. Good concerts in Vienna are performed by top orchestras such as the Wiener Symphoniker or Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, or exquisite chamber music ensembles. They take place in glamorous Old World locations, from baroque churches to traditional concert venues.

Opera House

A night at the opera is a classic in my home city. Visit Wiener Staatsoper and you’ll meet everyone, from elegant international travellers on their first time visit to local subscription holders of standing tickets bringing along their dinner sandwich. At the Vienna State Opera, performances sell out on average 98 percent. Quite a few people think that the best tickets are the most expensive. They get on ticket waiting lists. And don’t know that the other three opera houses provide great plan B’s.  As a native, I’ve been to the various opera houses many times.


Shopping in Vienna has become a selective art since I visit my hometown only a couple of times per year. I want gifts, something typical that is authentic, traditional fashion and Austrian jewelry, and sometimes international luxury brands. The shops need to be fairly central yet original. Over the years, I have collected my personal ‘best of shopping’ list. It even includes an insider shopping tour.

What To Do In Vienna And Around: Boat Trips

There is an air of excitement whenever I change asphalt for water during a city break. In Vienna and surroundings you can take several boat trips between April and September. You can even visit other European capitals, such as Bratislava and Budapest. Each of these boat trips have a different flair, depending on the surroundings.


Good or bad is not a question of expensive and cheap. You will know that from your own native restaurant scene. The same applies to Vienna restaurants, taverns, snack bars and our popular Vienna sausage stands. In Restaurants in Vienna, you will find various tips and restaurant reviews. I have also included my favourite private dining places.

Coffee Houses

Never miss out on visiting an old coffeehouse when in Vienna. It’s the same as not having pizza in Italy.

Our coffeehouse culture is listed as a UNESCO Immaterial Cultural Heritage – though that only partly explains why we love to hang out in cafes over Melange and Torte. The other part is easily explained, with a couple of examples of my favourite Vienna coffeehouses.

Cake shops

While many cafés offer a good choice of cakes, it is the cake shops that provide the icing on your vacation. Konditoreien are as popular as Kaffeehäuser. The difference: People go there to indulge in cakes and chats, less to read the papers or to surf on their smartphones. Unlike coffeehouses, cake shops do not serve lunch or savoury snacks.