– This post was written by Lauren Voges –
Vienna, the birthplace of sachertorte, snow globes, and Christoph Waltz. What’s not to love? The charming capital of Austria is filled with things to do and places to see. Even better than that, it’s relatively close to a host of bucket-list-worthy places to visit. From Mozart’s hometown of Salzburg to the Hungarian capital, Budapest, you’ll be spoilt for choice when considering which day trips from Vienna to add to your itinerary. So take some time out from sampling sachertorte and discovering more about Mozart’s history, and go on a few of these day trips from Vienna.
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Vienna to Salzburg day trip
Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start: Salzburg.
What to do on your Vienna to Salzburg day trip
Salzburg for fans oThe Sound of Music
The Sound of Music lovers the world over will appreciate a visit to the setting of the famous 1960’s musical film. See the facade of the Von Trapp family home, which is actually the Schloss Leopoldskron and the former residence of the Prince-archbishop. Take a wander through the Mirabell Palace gardens – you’ll recognize the garden’s Pegasus fountain as one of the backdrops seen in Maria and the children’s rendition of “Do Re Mi”. You can even visit the awe-inspiring church where Maria and the Baron got married, Mondsee Abbey.
Salzburg for fans of Mozart
Not a fan of bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens, or the sound of Julie Andrews’ famous soprano voice? There’s more to Salzburg than the story of a captain with seven children and the nun who looked after them. The city is also the birthplace of Mozart. If the history of arguably the world’s greatest composer is of interest to you, you can take a tour of the city that includes the home where Mozart was born, the cathedral where he was baptized, the impressive Hellbrunn Palace, and of course the Mozart Residence and Mozart Museum.
What to eat in Salzburg
Top off your day of musical meanderings with some Austrian cuisine classics. Think impossibly rich and creamy Viennese hot chocolate; the humble, yet crowd-pleasing, wiener schnitzel, and the devilishly delicious sachertorte, a chocolate sponge cake made with apricot jam and topped with dark chocolate icing. These tasty treats are worth at least one try – and no one would blame you for going back for a second or third serving of each throughout this day trip from Vienna.
How to get from Vienna to Salzburg
By car: Trip time is 2 hours 40 minutes.
By train: Trip time is 2 hours 30 minutes.
By bus: Trip time is 3 hours 10 minutes.
Vienna to Eisenstadt day trip
It may be lesser known than its neighbor the capital of Austria, but Eisenstadt is equally charming and well worth a day trip from Vienna. Like Vienna, Eisenstadt is home to some truly magnificent architecture and the birthplace to a famed composer.
What to do on your Vienna to Eisenstadt day trip
Eisenstadt for fans of castles
Kick-off your day trip from Vienna to Eisenstadt with a visit to the famous Schloss Esterházy, an imposing slice of architectural eye-candy that dates back to the 13th century. In the centuries thereafter, the palace received several makeovers, including a baroque one in the 17th century and a neoclassical one in the early 19th century. The palace is also home to an extensive exhibition about the Austrian composer Joseph Haydn, making the Schloss a perfect outing for both music and architecture lovers in the family.
Worried about booking in advance and having to cancel the day before? Don’t be! When you book with Tiqets, you can cancel your tickets and get a refund right up until 24 hours before your visit.
Got any wine lovers in your travel company? They’ll be especially pleased to find out that the palace is also home to a wine museum. And not just any wine museum, but the biggest and oldest wine museum in Austria. Take a stroll through the 330-year-old cellars of the palace and inspect up to 700 wine-related artifacts.
Eisenstadt for fans of classical music
When you’ve finally found your way out of the palace of wine and classical music, you may find yourself curious about the famous composer of the palace’s exhibition. You can learn more about Joseph Haydn at Haydn House, a residence that Haydn actually lived in back in the 18th century.
Eisenstadt for fans of wine
And if your visit has left you with an insatiable thirst for wine instead of music (we totally get it!), you’re in luck. Eisenstadt is a great base from which to explore Austria’s vineyards and sample some vino. Stay within the city and try out a few cellars, or escape to the hills of Burgenland, the province in which Eisenstadt is located, for a true Austrian vineyard experience.
What to eat in Eisenstadt
Before you tackle Haydn’s house or the nearby vineyards, you may want to stop for lunch on your day trip from Vienna to Eisenstadt. Like much of Austria, the focus in Eisenstadt is on hearty, homely dishes. Think crushed potatoes with onions, polenta with beans, or noodles with sauerkraut. But because the city lies closer to the border with Hungary, the food has some Hungarian influence, meaning generally it’s a little spicier. You’ll also find a few Hungarian sweets on offer, like palatschinken (crepes that are filled with fruit, nuts, and chocolate).
How to get to Eisenstadt from Vienna
By car: Trip time is 40 mins.
By train: Trip time is 1 hour 10 mins.
By bus: Trip time is 1 hour 20 mins.
Vienna to Bratislava day trip
Thanks to its proximity to the borders of Prague, Slovakia, and Hungary, Vienna is a terrific base for a few sneaky day trips outside of Austria. So if you’re keen to explore a bit of Central Europe on your Austrian adventure, you’ve come to the right place. First up on the list of border-hopping day trips from Vienna: Bratislava.
What to do on your Vienna to Bratislava day trip
Like many European cities, Bratislava features a charming old town. Unlike many European cities with old towns, Bratislava is not so crowded that you have to trip over your fellow tourists to get a good photo of yourself in picturesque, centuries-old surroundings.
Bratislava for fans of old towns
Apart from being a prime location for quiet wanderings (and photo backdrops without the usual clutter of other tourists), Bratislava’s old town has an especially unique charm thanks to the eclectic statues that dot the streets. As you wander through Old Town, look out for quirky figures like that of the soldier leaning on a bench (located in the main square), a hard-hat-clad construction worker halfway out of a manhole (located on the corner of Panska and Rybarska brana) and one of famed Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen (Hviezdoslav Square).
Bratislava for fans of castles
Castle lovers will be pleased to find out that Bratislava Castle is located on the hillside just next to Old Town and is open to visitors. This imposing rectangular building looks over Old Town and the Danube river. It’s worth visiting not just because of the impressive interiors, but also for the stunning views of the city that it affords.
More castles, you say? The Primatial Palace in all its pastel pink glory can be found around the corner from the Old Town and, despite the palace being the office of the mayor, it is open to visitors.
What to eat in Bratislava
Once you’ve walked around Old Town and visited a royal residence or two, you’ll likely be ready for something to eat. The Old Town boasts several cafés and eateries to satisfy lunchtime cravings. And when it comes to the question of what to eat in Bratislava, the name of the game is comfort food. Traditional menus in Bratislava feature treats like garlic soup served in a hollowed-out bread roll, potato dumplings with sour cream and bacon bits, or poppy seed dumplings for dessert, and, of course, strudel.
If any one of these meals strikes your fancy, you’ll want to head to a Slovak pub for a good ol’ dose of comfort food and a local tipple.
How to get to Bratislava from Vienna
By car: Trip time is 50 minutes.
By train: Trip time is 1 hour 5 minutes.
By bus: Trip time is 1 hour 15 minutes.
Vienna to Budapest day trip
Another day trip from Vienna that involves crossing the Austrian border is a trip over to the Hungarian capital of Budapest.
What to do on your Vienna to Budapest day trip
First of all, turn your day trip into at least a two-day trip (and while you’re there, why not three days in Budapest?) because a) there is a lot to do in this spectacular city, b) it is a bit further away from Vienna than the others on this list, and c) you’ll want to spend as much time in the Hungarian bathhouses as you can. However, if a day is all you’ve got then here’s what should be at the top of your list.
Budapest for fans of a good spa day
If your idea of a good day trip is one that centers around relaxation, this style of a day trip from Vienna to Budapest is for you. Known to some as the City of Spas, Budapest is a literal hot spot for bathing thanks to the natural warm springs underneath the city. Some of the bathhouses in Budapest are 200 years old and their Art Nouveau architecture makes for a pretty view while you’re floating around in wonderfully warm waters. Whether you choose to spend your day within the pastel yellow walls of the Szechenyi Baths or hanging out in the Art Nouveau Gellert Baths, a relaxing day trip is assured.
Budapest for fans of sumptuous architecture
If you’re an architecture lover and you’d prefer to spend your day zipping around the city and cramming in as many sights as you can, you’ve come to the right place. Budapest is home to some truly magnificent architecture.
Start your day trip in Budapest on the Pest side of the Danube River and book a visit to the Hungarian parliament. Featuring gilded staircases, a majestic domed hall, and luxurious decor throughout, this jewel of a building is a Budapest must.
Now that your eyes are warmed up, head on over to St. Stephen’s Basilica and… get climbing! The view of Budapest from the top of the cathedral is a spectacular one and once you get back down you can reward yourself for your efforts with a rose-shaped ice-cream from Gelarto Rosa.
Time’s a wastin’, so move on to the Buda side of the Danube River and get in on some Baroque castle action. The Buda Castle can be found on top of a hill overlooking the city of Budapest and the Danube River. The castle complex includes several museums including the National Gallery and the Budapest History Museum. You can also simply walk around the grounds of the castle and take in the splendor of the building, which has been rebuilt several times since its first completion in the 13th century.
What to eat in Budapest
A visit to the Hungarian capital would not be complete without a serving of goulash. But there are plenty of other treats to try while you’re in Budapest. Pastries are worthy of a top spot on your must-eat list. Try Hungarian strudel, which in addition to the usual apple filling also comes with a poppy seed filling or cherry filling. Another delectable Hungarian specialty to add to your list is lángos. These moreish discs of fried dough are coated with an array of toppings, from savory to sweet.
How to get from Vienna to Budapest
By car: Trip time is 2 hours 20 minutes.
By train: Trip time is 2 hours 20 minutes.
By bus: Trip time is 2 hours 45 minutes.