Vienna From Above — Where to Find the Best Bird's Eye View of the City
Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, brimming with stunning architecture as far as the eye can see. And while the views at street level are certainly something to be admired, the city becomes even more spectacular when you get up high and see it from above. If you want to gaze at the city like the birds that freely soar above it, take a look at these top Vienna sightseeing spots.
Top 4 Vienna sightseeing spots for bird's eye views
1. Stephansdom South Tower
Unlike most places in Vienna that offer the best rooftop views, the South Tower of St Stephen’s Cathedral is located in the heart of the city, rewarding visitors who climb its stairs with unbeatable vistas which begin in the city center and stretch out for miles. The narrow, spiral staircase climbs 67m into the sky and challenges even the fittest of visitors with 343 stairs to reach the peak. But don’t worry — there are benches at the top where you can catch you breath before heading back down.
From the top of the chamber you’ll see the spectacular Rathaus, Votivkirche, Hofburg and St Peter’s Church to the west. To the east there’s Belvedere Palace, to the north there’s the Prater, Danube Tower and United Nations and to the south there’s Karlsplatz. Thanks to its prestigious location in the city center, you can also sneak a peek into ivy-clad courtyards and clandestine rooftop gardens you can’t see from anywhere else. Not to mention the dazzling glazed tiles that give St. Stephen’s Cathedral its iconic look at the tiny gargoyles you can hardly see from the ground.
Visiting Stephansdom South Tower: Entry is €5 per adult, €3 for children aged 15-18, €2 for children aged 6-14 and there’s no charge for children under six. The south tower is open throughout the year, 9am-11.30am and 1pm-4.30pm Monday-Saturday and 1pm-4.30pm on Sundays and public holidays.
2. 25 Hours Hotel Bar
One of the best places in the city to unwind with a drink, the rooftop bar at the 25 Hours hotel used to be part of an old student hostel before it was transformed into the hip designer bar we know it as today. With its welcoming relaxed atmosphere, comfy lounge-encouraging seating and multicolored quirky decorations, this bar is guaranteed to bring a smile onto the face of everyone who walks through its doors.
If you can tear yourself away from the bright red rocking chairs or antique-inspired armchairs and wander over to the edge, you’ll be rewarded with a fantastic urban panorama that spans the Rathaus, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and palaces within the Ringstrasse. The bar’s atmosphere and the views change dramatically depending on which time of day you visit. So swing by in the afternoon for photos of a sun-kissed city then come back after sunset to admire Vienna lit up with cosmopolitan lights and buzzing locals heading off for a night on the town.
Visiting the 25 Hours Hotel Bar: Entry is free, although you’re expected to buy a drink if you hang around. The bar is open every day all year between 2pm and 1am.
3. Giant Ferris Wheel in the Prater
Combine your hunt for the best Vienna views with one of the city’s bucket list activities by riding the Giant Ferris Wheel in the Prater. Standing at almost 65m tall, the wheel has offered unbeatable views of the city since it was first built in 1897. Between 1920 and 1985, it was the tallest extant Ferris wheel in the world and while it might not hold the title today, it’s still definitely one of the best places to get a bird’s eye view of the city.
As the Giant Ferris Wheel turns, you’ll get to see Vienna from a plethora of different angles and heights. The Vienna Woods, the Danube River, the Marchfeld and the Pannonian Basin are just a handful of beautiful attractions you’ll catch a glimpse of during your ride. If you time your visit for around sunset, you’ll get a chance to see Vienna bathed in a blanket of golden-red hues before being plunged into darkness and awaking with the urban street lighting.
Visiting the Giant Ferris Wheel: If you buy a Vienna Pass, you can ride the Giant Ferris Wheel for free and enjoy more than 60 other attractions in the city without having to pay the entrance fees. Without a Vienna Pass, a ride on the Giant Ferris Wheel costs €12 per adult and €5 per child. Opening hours vary widely throughout the year, but the Giant Ferris Wheel is pretty much always open 10am-7.45pm.
4. Gloriette at Schönbrunn Palace Park
Not only is Schönbrunn Palace one of city’s most popular attractions, but it’s also home to one of the best Vienna view spots. Opposite the palace and through the gardens is the Gloriette, a remarkable structure designed to act as the crowning glory to the palatial Baroque ensemble. From this vantage point, the views stretch across the manicured gardens to Schönbrunn Palace and beyond, reaching all the way to Kahlenberg north of the city. This is definitely one of Vienna’s most romantic views and taking a trip there should be on your itinerary if you’re visiting the city with that special someone.
Visiting the Gloriette at Schönbrunn Palace Park: You can sign up for one of our sightseeing packages which includes free entry into Schönbrunn Palace, a three-course gourmet meal at the onsite restaurant and a classical music concert performed by one of the best orchestras in the world. Alternatively, you can visit the Gloriette at Schönbrunn Palace Park on your own. Tickets are €4.50 for adults, €3.20 for children aged 6-18 and free for children aged under six. The Gloriette is open to the public between April 1st and November 3rd. Opening hours change throughout the year, but the Gloriette is always open between 9am and 4pm.