Top 6 Weekend Trips from Vienna
Nestled on the banks of the Danube in the shadows of the Alps, Vienna is perfectly positioned to enjoy a weekend getaway. If you don’t want to travel far, you can stay within Austria and visit some beautiful nearby towns and villages in just a couple of hours by train. Or if you’re up for a bit of a journey, you can venture further and visit some incredible cities in neighbouring countries, such as Budapest in Hungary or Prague in Czechia.
To help you make your trip to Austria’s capital bigger and better than ever, here are the top six weekend trips you can take from Vienna.
Best places to visit from Vienna, Austria
1. Budapest, Hungary
Around 240km from Vienna, Budapest is fondly nicknamed the “Paris of the East” and is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Here you can stroll along the glistening Danube River, admiring grandiose UNESCO World Heritage Sites, breathtaking architecture from across the ages and beautiful cafes where you can pause and take it all in. Some of the city’s highlights include the 18th century Buda Castle on Castle Hill, the imposing Parliament building designed in the Gothic Revival style and Gellért Baths where you can indulge and pamper yourself.
Getting there:The Railjet high-speed train takes 2 hours 50 minutes and a regional train takes 4 hours 15 minutes. If you have a Eurail Pass, you can ride the regional train for free and pay just a small reservation fee for the high-speed train.
2. Salzburg, Austria
Almost as famous as Vienna for its amazing musical background, Salzburg is a gorgeous Viennese city bordering Germany where Mozart was born. Boasting unparalleled views of the Eastern Alps, a charming Old Town and Residenzplatz (a sprawling square home to a stunning marble fountain, amongst many other things) Salzburg is filled with Insta-worthy shots everywhere you look. After a day filled with sightseeing, take it easy and treat yourself to a Mozart dinner and concert evening, which includes a gourmet three-course dinner and performance by the world-famous Amadeus Consort Salzburg.
Getting there: You can catch an ÖBB train from Vienna Hbf Station to Salzburg Hauptbahnhof. This journey takes around 2 hours 25 minutes and only stops once at Linz. You can also take a Westbahn train from Vienna Hbf Station to Salzburg Hauptbahnhof, which follows a more scenic route.
3. Prague, Czechia
Yet another European capital loved for its Olde Worlde-feel and mesmerising architecture, Prague is around 290km away from Vienna and is truly bursting with things to do and places to visit. Here ancient cobbled-stone streets lined with quaint-looking taverns dishing up traditional local food blend with all kinds of modern sculptures and paintings scattered across the city, creating a real metropolis of contrasts. From the captivating Old Town Square brimming with tempting food kiosks to the regal Prague Castle home to the changing of the guard ceremony and the iconic Astronomical clock, you’ll have a seriously busy weekend in this capital city.
Getting there: The fastest way to get to Prague is to catch a direct train (or a train with one change in Breclav) from Vienna Hbf Station. This journey will take you 4 hours. Another option is to catch a bus from Erdbergstrasse, which will get you to the Florenc bus station in Prague in 4 hours 30 minutes.
4. Bratislava, Slovakia
Another incredible city where tradition and modernity rub shoulders, Bratislava is a bustling city surrounded by nature. The outskirts are framed by graceful vineyards, the rolling Little Carpathian mountains and never-ending hiking trails, while the inner city is brimming with winding streets, 18th-century buildings and contemporary restaurants. During your visit, take the time to explore the pedestrian-only Old Town and its quaint cafes, Bratislava Castle with its incredible views and the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum home to modern art displays and sculpture gardens.
Getting there:There are daily direct ÖBB trains leaving from Vienna Hbf Station which travel to Petrzalka or Hlavna Stanica train station in Bratislava. The journey takes just over 1 hour.
5. The Wachau Valley, Austria
Stretching 40km in between Melk and Krems, the Wachau Valley is a captivating World Heritage Site of incomparable beauty, colourful history and rich culture. The Danube River winds throughout the valley, flanking peaceful monasteries, imposing castles, delightful villages and verdant vineyards, creating a picture-perfect scene reminiscent of something from medieval times. One of the Wachau Valley’s must-visit spots is the Benedictine Melk Abbey. This magnificent piece of architecture is perched on top of a hill looking out over the river and features an octagonal domed entrance gate, splendid gardens and the Imperial Corridor, overflowing with priceless artwork.
Getting there:You can catch a train from Vienna Hbf Station to the Wachau Valley and arrive there in around 1 hour.
6. Vienna Woods, Austria
Popular with affluent Viennese, Vienna Woods is a colossal region dedicated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, a privileged title reserved for areas with a special cultural and natural value. Within this green lung you’ll find more than 2,000 species of plant, 150 species of birds and several endangered animals, including the green lizard. Other points of interest within the sprawling woods include vast network of walking and hiking paths, vineyards where you can indulge in delicious wines paired with local specialities and remarkable views unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Not only that, but during your visit, you’ll also come across the Baroque Kahlenberg Church, the Cistercian Abbey of Heiligenkreuz (the world’s oldest continuously occupied Cistercian monastery) and Mayerling (a former imperial hunting lodge).
Getting there: Vienna Woods is absolutely huge, which makes getting to the particular section you want to visit with public transport tricky. Because of this, it’s a good idea to sign up for a guided trip which stops by the area’s highlights.