Vienna truly is a fairytale European capital city that is bursting at the seams with intriguing history whilst remaining impossibly beautiful and well preserved at the same time.
The historical depth of the area means there are a variety of enviable day trips you can embark on from town, from exploring the breathtaking nature of Austria’s alpine foothills, to exploring ancient sites and magnificent castles.
The always reliable European rail lines grant easy access to a number of daytime destinations and the beautiful countryside adds to the overall experience.
Here are the 15 best and most sought-after day trips to take from the city of Vienna.
Just under 300 km away from Vienna is the fairytale city of Prague, full of evocative architecture, towers and spires reaching up to the sky and a fascinating amount to see and do if you’re willing to undertake the journey.
One of the unmissable highlights is the famous old town, known for the level of its preservation and a great place to embark on a walking tour from.
Amongst the many magnificent castles and basilicas to visit, make sure you get to see the Old Royal Palace and the St Vitus Basilica.
Both are traveller favourites and incredibly worth the time.
To squeeze in the most you can with your few hours in Prague on a day trip from Vienna, it’s a good idea to think about booking a city tour that’ll give you the chance to see the highlights in the space of a day.
Another border that is well worth crossing is the Austrian-Slovakian one.
When you do, you’ll have the chance to experience the intriguing and perfectly picturesque city of Bratislava, a conveniently close 60 minutes away from Vienna.
Make sure you don’t pass up the opportunity to visit Bratislava’s Old Town where the neo-Renaissance style houses, mansions and palaces paint an attractive picture of the Slovakian capital.
If you want a taste of some authentic Slovakian cuisine and drink, St. Michael’s Street is full of restaurants and cafes that will satisfy your hunger.
A Vienna to Bratislava day trip is an ideal way to spend the day away from the city and introduce you to another and the possibility of a whole other trip one day in the future.
For those who aren’t fazed by the idea of spending a few hours each way journeying, the opportunity to visit the incredibly beautiful city of Budapest should not be passed up if you find yourself with time on your hands in Vienna.
You can arrive by train or car, both stunningly scenic ways to get there and allowing you enough to time to explore.
Known as the “Paris of the East”, Budapest is a veritable wealth of UNESCO World Heritage sites like Matthias Church and Vajdahunyad Castle to name but a few.
Other highlights include the City Woodland Park and the various Parliament buildings; though if you want a concise introduction to the city’s many attractions then join a day trip tour that’ll show you the best bits in a few hours.
4. Lainzer Wildlife Park
Nestled into a small area of the Vienna Woods, Lainzer Wildlife Park is famed for its abundance of deer and boar and its reputation for being an enchanting haven of incredibly old beech and oak trees.
Not only an important area of conservation, it’s also a beautiful place to lose yourself for a day and stroll along one of the numerous footpaths where Emperors and Empresses once walked and hunted.
For unrestricted views, head up to the Hubertuswarte observation tower on the Kaltbründlberg which stands at 14 metres high and offers breathtaking panoramas of the natural reserve.
5. Melk Abbey
Owning the enviable accolade of the “Best Historical Destination in the World”, Melk Abbey is one of those attractions that you really do have to visit if you happen to be in Vienna.
Built atop a rocky mountainside with views across the whole of the breathtaking Danube Valley, the abbey is a majestic Baroque style building that is overflowing with priceless art and contains impeccable gardens and is filled to the brim with enough history to excite history buffs to no end.
6. Klosterneuburg Abbey
Upon arriving, you’ll find a huge network of magnificent buildings, each more majestic than the last and all full to the brim of Austrian history that is sure to fascinate each and every traveller.
Just north of Vienna and dating back to the 12th Century, Klosterneuburg Abbey contains attractions like the Verduner Altar, the Leopold Chapel and courtyard and The Marble Hall to name a few.
Full of domes, copper, frescoes and staircases, the complex of buildings is truly a sight to behold and worth a visit to the Vienna Woods where its located.
7. Danube Valley
Considering its only an hour away from Vienna, the Danube Valley is a world away from city life and is considered to be so attractive that it’s been officially named as a World Heritage Site on account of its aesthetic beauty.
The best part is between the towns of Krems and Melk that has unfettered views of the Alpine valley in all its natural glory.
8. The Roman Town of Carnuntum
Its most recent discovery being made in 2011, the Roman Town of Carnuntum is still uncovering intriguing artefacts that continue to grow its fame as a fascinating day trip from Vienna.
Surrounded by the vast expanses of the fields of the March-Donauland region, Carnuntum was fought over numerous times by Roman.
Today its known as the Archaeological Park Carnuntum, featuring some incredibly impressive reconstructed Roman buildings and containing museums, re-enactments and original ruins.
9. Laxenburg Castle
Originally built as a market town, Laxenburg Castle is alluring and breathtaking at the same time.
Only 40 minutes from Vienna, it’s the ideal location for a brief but fascinating day trip.
Wander through postcard perfect gardens and wild forests or find tranquillity in floating along in the boats available at the lake.
When you get hungry, make the most of the various restaurants peppered around the grounds or pack your own lunch and eat in one of the many peaceful, sunlit spots.
Home to some of the largest castles in Europe, surrounded by the Alps and its forests, Salzburg is undoubtedly one of the prettiest destinations in Europe and easily one of the most sought after day trips in Vienna.
With a journey that takes less than 3 hours, there are endless attractions for the historically inclined traveller.
Wander the banks of the River Salzach, lose yourself in the streets of the World Heritage-listed Old Town and visit the positively huge Hohensalzburg Castle.
It’s also worth noting that Salzburg is the birth home of the world renowned composer Mozart and anyone with an interest should visit the aptly named, Mozart’s Birthplace museum, one of the most famous in the world.
11. The Vienna Woods
Loved by the Viennese people just as much as visiting travellers, the Vienna Woods offer a perfect getaway a mere stone’s throw from the center of the capital.
Here you’ll find a number of historic sites, one of the most famous of which is a beautiful monastery – the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz.
If its stunning scenery you’re after, then make the journey up Vienna’s very own miniature mountain, the Kahleberg, which can also be found in the Vienna Woods.
Finally, take some time to visit the largest underground lake in Europe and learn about the fascinating way the former mine turned into the attraction it is today.
12. Baden Bei Wien
Formerly an ancient Roman town named Aquae, the settlement known as Baden Bei Wien is now a spa-town that is the perfect way to relax on a day trip from Vienna that is incredibly easy to get to.
The town is famous for its curative and therapeutic waters and has been for a staggering 2000 years, meaning its a popular spot for visitors and locals looking to soak up their benefits.
The charming little village of Grinzing lies less than 20km to the northeast of Vienna and the allure of its location surrounded by forests draws in many travellers to explore its winding streets.
Peppered with gardens and no small amount of history of its survival of the war, Grinzing is an interesting place to explore whilst feeling suitably removed from big city life.
Containing an impressive number of Austrian restaurants, the village is also ideal for sampling truly authentic, not to mention delicious Austrian cuisine.
If you want to walk off all that food, then head up one of the hiking trails in the nearby Kahlenberg and Leopoldsberg hills.
14. Laa an der Thaya
A perfect and fascinating insight into the medieval era experienced in the area, Laa an der Thaya is a settlement just over 60km away from Vienna on the Czech frontier.
Filled with wonderfully preserved snippets of history, not to mention beautiful Gothic architecture, the town is an excellent day trip for history enthusiasts.
Highlights include the huge Laa Castle, full of towers and still-standing original battlements.
For more medieval attractions, head to the outer walls of the town and walk the ramparts that once protected its people.
Finally, as with many Viennese towns and villages, you can’t pass up a trip to the beautiful Old Town.
15. Kreuzenstein Castle
Looking impossibly reminiscent to Hogwarts, Kreuzenstein Castle was built in medieval times and with all its turrets, towers and spires is about as fairytale in its appearance as it’s possible for a castle to be.
Only a few kilometres north of Vienna, the castle is well elevated and overlooks the village of Leobendorf.
Its location snugly nestled between the Vienna Woods and the Danube River makes for some truly beautiful panoramic views when looking out from one of the many vantage points.
As far as castles go, Kreuzenstein is probably one of the most impressive in Vienna.