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How to spend 48 hours in Vienna, Austria

July 10, 2021
8 min read
How to spend 48 hours in Vienna, Austria
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If you fancy a few days away in the Austrian capital and are feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the things to do and see, we have created this expert guide to make sure you don't miss the best bits. But remember, it's just a guide -- one of the most fun parts of exploring a new place is not knowing what might happen next.

(Image by Getty/Pintai Suchachaisri)

5 p.m. -- Arrive at Vienna International Airport

How to get from the airport to town:

  • Option 1: The CAT train is the quickest way to get into the center of Vienna and takes about 17 minutes. It costs $23 return or $13 for a single ticket.
  • Option 2: The S7 train, which is the local train. It takes 25 minutes to Praterstern station with a few stops and costs $5. You can buy tickets at the station inside the airport.
  • Option 3: Uber rides are capped to $36, and a ride and will take you about 20 or 30 minutes to get into the center of Vienna.

7 p.m. -- Explore your accommodations

As far as where to stay while you're in Vienna, these are TPG's top picks.

  • Option 1: 25Hours Hotel is perfect for a short stay or if you are traveling alone. It's very centrally located in the Museum Quarter with a really unique look. Rooms are mid-range at about $154 a night. "It's like a W Hotel but more low-key", said TPG U.K. Head of Video, Jean Arnas, who is our resident Vienna expert.
  • Option 2: Imperial Hotel Vienna -- the ideal place to feel like a Royal Austrian. The decor features high ceilings with lots of gold and crystal. In a nutshell, it's pretty magical. It's more for a honeymoon or a special occasion, as rooms start at about $415 a night. The Imperial is part of Marriott’s Luxury Collection as a Category 6 property and rooms start at 40,000 Marriott points a night off-peak and 60,000 during peak season. It is also part of the Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts Program.
  • Option 3: Airbnb is a good option, where the simplest house looks like a "little royal suite" and you can find places for as cheap as $110 a night with spacious rooms, high ceilings and a rooftop terrace. Rent isn't as expensive as London or New York, so Airbnb is a good way to take advantage of paying less for accommodation.
(Image courtesy of 25Hours)

8 p.m. -- Dinner

Whether it's fine dining you're after or a cheeky schnitzel, here are a few of the best spots.

  • Option 1: Fabios is flashy, fancy but not snobby and has excellent food without the gastronomical pretentiousness of a lot of other places in Vienna. It's a small gem in the 1st District, in between Prada, Alexander McQueen and the Louis Vuitton shop. It's not cheap, but it's a great place to spend some cash if you need to hit that sign-up bonus.
  • Option 2: Mochi features delicious Japanese food. It's away from the busy center, in a beautiful and cozy square at Praterstraße 15. Most tables are outside under big trees and surrounded by very grand local houses. It's definitely a must if you're by yourself or going to Vienna for the first time but want to find a place away from the touristy bits.

11 p.m -- Nightcap

Too early to go to call it a night? Visit one of these spots for some late-night mischief.

  • Option 1: Onyx Bar at the DO&CO hotel can be found on the sixth floor. It's in front of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the cozy lounge atmosphere will make you want to linger. Try the Missionary Swizzle cocktail.
    Option 2: Sofitel Vienna is the most beautiful rooftop bar in the city. Das Loft at the Sofitel is a little edgier than the Onyx.

Day 1

9 a.m. -- Breakfast

Joseph Brot, the bakery and bistro, says "a hard-working baker means a lazy dough", meaning its dough rests for 48 hours to create the perfect sourdough loaf. There are five branches all over Vienna, and its not-to-miss breakfast classics include Joseph's French omelet and the classic Viennese breakfast consisting of a Viennese roll, organic crumbly crescent roll, butter, homemade organic apricot marmalade and a soft-boiled organic egg. Prices range from about $7 to $15.

11 a.m. -- Some culture

Schönbrunn Palace is a huge, grand palace with vast fields to walk around. There is also a cafe on the top of a nearby hill where you can see the whole of Vienna from afar. It's free to walk around the palace and the fields, but you have to pay if you want to see inside the house and the royal rooms. Get the local Metro to Schloss Schonbrunn station, which will take about 25 mins from the city center and costs $3.

1 p.m. -- Lunch

Café & Restaurant Motto am Fluss is located in a big boat on the Danube. The Twin-City liner's restaurant was designed by BEHF Architects and created in the Venetian style of the Fifties. Prices are mid-range -- expect a meal for two with drinks to cost about $59. Plus, there are loads of other cool bars, man-made beaches, music and party people nearby, especially during the summer.

(Photo courtesy of Motto am Fluss)

3 p.m. -- A spot of shopping

Vienna's city center in the 1st District has some amazing shopping opportunities. "It's a totally underrated destination for retail therapy", said Jean. Around the Stephansplatz area is perfect for super high-end shops like Dior and Alexander McQueen. If you're after something a bit more quirky, head to the 9th District for a more flea-market vibe.

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7 p.m. -- Big night out

  • Option 1: Vienna State Opera if you really want to treat yourself. The building, a Renaissance revival venue, is absolutely stunning and right in the center of Vienna. It's not cheap, though, as tickets start at about $70. It seats 1,709 people, so it's quite a spectacle. Even if you can't get a ticket or opera isn't your thing, it's worth going to have a look.
  • Option 2: Viennese Ball season is at its peak in January and February and is one of the most unique, fun and historic events in the world. Each year, more than 450 balls take place. The fanciest are at the Imperial Palace and are traditionally hosted by various professional guilds, from weightlifters to confectioners. However, it is possible for tourists to buy tickets and attend. Remember the balls have a strict dress code and you might want to brush up on your waltz skills first. Tickets and more information can be found here.
Vienna State Opera, located in the centre of Vienna. (Photo courtesy of Getty/VitalyEdush)

Day 2

11 a.m. -- Explore Prater

Prater is a massive public park with a year-round amusement arcade. It's basically the Hyde Park in London or the Central Park in New York equivalent and is great for both kids and adults. There are rollercoasters, a 5D cinema, and it's good for couples, too, as there are loads of Winter Wonderland-style restaurants and bars. It's free to enter and the nearest Metro station is Wien-Praterstern.

3 p.m. -- Final coffee/snack

Before you go back to the airport, have a last Viennese experience by returning to the fully pedestrianized area of Stephansplatz for a coffee and sachertorte (Austrian chocolate cake) at Hotel Sacher Wien. We recommend the cafe inside the Hotel Sacher Wien, which is really fabulous and a great way to cap off the weekend.

(Photo courtesy of Hotel Sacher)

5 p.m. -- Head to the airport

From there, hail a taxi, book an Uber (20 minutes) or make your way to Karlsplatz station -- this journey will take about an hour with one line change. Tschuss!

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
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    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

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  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.