Top Day Trips From Vienna
Top Day Trips From Vienna

Top Day & Side Trips From Vienna:

If you find yourself looking for something to do outside on Vienna it can be a little daunting, but we’re here to help.  We have come up with a great list of the best day trips to take from Vienna and more importantly how you actually get to each place.  You can easily see any of these and still get back to Vienna the same day or choose to fit these in as a side trip on the way to your next destination.


Train Tickets & Transportation Info:
To help with planning your transportation, the National Austrian Railway Website has all of the regional Train/Bus route and timetable information.  If you are traveling with a group, consider the Einfach-Raus Day Pass for your trains. It covers a group up to 5 people for unlimited train travel inside of Austria for the day just 35€.  On Monday-Friday you can’t start your travel with these special passes until 9am, but Saturday & Sunday you can start anytime.

The Best Side Trips From Vienna:

top day and best side trips from vienna, Liechtenstein Castle

1. Liechtenstein Castle (Mödling, Austria – 20 Minutes): If you’ve seen the hit 1993 movie The Three Musketeers, then you’ve seen the historic Burg Liechtenstein which was featured in the film. Liechtenstein was built way back int 1130 as a tribute to the Prince of Liechtenstein.  The Castle remained a Royal seat for over 200 years before switching hands and before switching hands numerous times and being expanded.  We find the Castle to be very impressive but in the 1500’s its care taker George Wiesing hated it so much that he refused to live in it and had a separate palace built to live in below the Castle which can still be seen today.  One of the more interesting changes happened in 1683 who Hartmut, also the inventor of the modern day pencil, re-fortified the Castle walls after an Ottoman invasion.  The Castle is in great shape today, one of the only privately owned castles in Austria, and is a pleasure to visit.

top day and best side trips from vienna, Liechtenstein Castle

Getting Here: From Vienna take the Underground Metro to Vienna’s Meidling Train Station on the South side of town and take a local train to Mödling.  Trains leave the station about 10 times an hour and the ride is only 15 minutes south of Vienna.  At the Mödling Train Station you take Bus 262 right to the entrance (Siedlungsstraße stop) which is a 6 minute walk to the Castle.  Visiting Hours: You can see the outside of the castle and take photos any time of day, but can only go inside as part of a group tour which have been run since the 1800s.  Guided Tour Hours: From March-October 50 minutes tours leave every hour from 10am-4pm and go until 5pm on Weekends.  Early November they run Daily 10am-3pm.  Late November-December they only run Friday-Sunday 1pm-3pm plus they also take advanced booking for additional tour times.  January-February they only do tours by booking in advance.  Tour Cost: 10€ for Adults; 6€ for kids; Families 25€.  Advanced Booking: To book in advance email them here  Special Tours: The Castle has a ton of private tour options ranging from 12-20€ and they are really cool.  They typically require that you pay for 5+ people but have tours that take you to the top of the tower for wine tastings, cool nights tours, and much more.  Facebook Page(HERE).  Castle Website: (HERE).

2. Seegrotte Hinterbrühl (Mödling, Austria – 20 Minutes):
While in the area you might as well take a boat ride on Europe’s largest underground lake, Seegrotte Hinterbrühl.  Starting in the late 1800’s Seegrotte was actually a large thriving gypsum mine which had grown into several levels with dozens of rooms.  One of our favorite rooms is the large Festival Ballroom in the upper chamber where all of the miners would gather every December 4th to celebrate the mine’s anniversary and their good luck.  That luck ran on during an unfortunate blasting operation in 1912 which let over 5 million gallons of water in flooding most of the mine.

top day and best side trips from vienna, Seegrotte Hinterbrühl underground lake

The water had come from 7 underground springs with no natural drain and basically ended all future mining at Hinterbrühl.  It wasn’t until WW2 that anyone starting pumping water out of the mine and it was totally drained by the Nazi’s.  For years after its draining over 2000 Nazis used it to manufacture airplanes as the underground location provided protection.  Shortly after the Nazis were lost WW2 the mine was opened as a tourist attraction with tours.  Because the underground springs had no drain the mine became to fill up again re-creating the lake on the mine’s lower level.  The caretakers were prepared and have been pumping out excess water daily to keep the water level even.  In some places the water gets up to over 30 feet deep but most of the upper level is kept completely dry.  Today over 250,000 people a year visit Seegrotte Hinterbrühl getting not only tours of the old mining and plane manufacturing operations but also boat rides on the crystal clear underground lake itself.  A visit really is a unique experience and it is no wonder that the lake old mine has been featured in numerous films including  hit movie The Three Musketeers in 1993.

top day and best side trips from vienna, Seegrotte Hinterbrühl underground lake

Getting Here From Lichtenstein Castle: Hinterbrühl is only a 1km (10 minute) walk from the entrance to Lichtenstein Castle making the two places easy to visit together.  There are a couple a authentic restaurants between the two places if you want to grab a bite to eat.  Getting Here From Vienna: From Vienna take the Underground Metro to Vienna’s Meidling Train Station on the Southside of town and take a local train right to Mödling.  Trains leave about 10 times an hour and the ride is only 15 minutes south of Vienna.  At the Mödling Train Station you take either Bus 364 or 365 right to the entrance.   Hours: April-October daily 9am-5pm; November-May Weekdays 9am-3pm plus Weekends 9am-330pm.  Guided Tours: Cost 10€; leaves every 20 minutes; lasts 45 minutes; Tour includes: the cavernous lake, rooms that the miners used as a chapel, wine cellar, and common room.  Photos: (Boat Tour).  Lake Website: (HERE).

top day and best side trips from vienna, Melk Abbey

3. Melk Abbey
(Melk, Austria – 50 Minutes): In the city of Melk lines one of Austria’s true gems, the Melk Abbey.  Completed in 1732 this towering red-roofed monastery is quite intimidating sitting on the bluff above Melk.  Although elegant looking with its gold paint, the monastery was not painted this color to look fancy.  The Abbey was actually painted this color for the same reason Schönbrunn Palace was, gold was just the cheapest paint available at the time.  The photo to the left is taken from the road below the abbey and is the best vantage point for photo outside of a helicopter.  Notice the opening at the front of the abbey, it is an awesome balcony from which you can over look the river and countryside.  The inside of the Abbey is just as impressive as the outside with its marble floors, golden accents, and lavishly painted ceilings.

Getting To Melk Abbey: From Vienna’s Westbahnhof Train Station take a local train directly to Melk.  Trains leave every 20-30 miles and though the distance is only 55 miles straight half the trains take 50 minutes and the other takes 90 so check the train schedule.  The walk up the hill from the Train Station takes 10-15 minutes.  Travel Note: If you are heading other attractions further West after visit Melk you ticket will require that you backtrack to either Amstetten or St.Pölten 20  minutes away to switch the nation rail line.  Although is seems weird since the National rail line goes right though town Melk doesn’t directly connect to the West.  Entrance Cost: Adults 10€; Students 5.50€; Family 20€.  Add 2€ for guided tours.  Gardens only are 4€.  Visiting Hours: May-October 9am-6pm; Rest of the year you may only enter as part of a tour.  Guided Tours: April-Oct 10am & 255pm in English; November-March 11am & 2pm in English; you can reserve ahead of time by emailing  Tours last 1 hour and the average visit is 2 hours.  Abbey Website: (HERE).

top day and best side trips from vienna, Kreuzenstein Castle

4. Kreuzenstein Castle (27-60 Minutes):
Their has been a a hilltop fort at the site of Kreuzenstein Castle since long before there was even a Vienna.  By the 1100s the fort had grown into a large castle called Grizanstein with views of the Danube River.  The famous Habsburg Royal Family even owned the castle for 250 years prior to it being overrun in 1645 by the Swiss Army during t he 30 Years War.  The Polish Noble family Wilczek took control of the castle ruins in 1702 but it took 172 years for the family to start rebuilding it.  The family had gotten really wealthy off of its Silesian coal mines and Count Johann Wilczek wanted the Castle rebuilt to served as the family vault.  Johann had a lot of influence as an explore and Chamberlain at the court of Emperor Franz Joseph I which gave him even more resources.
The Count had huge portions of Medieval buildings from other properties they family owned moved to the Castle which kept the new complex very authentic to Medieval times.  The huge castle complex held the a priceless library, amazing works of art, and with more than 100,000 objects, it also had Austria’s largest collection of weapons in private hands.  A fire in 1915 and shelling during WW2 has damaged some of the artifacts over time, but much of it is still well preserved.  With an amazing wall, courtyards, moat, secret tunnels, and a powerful central castle with a draw bridge, Kreuzenstein Castle sure is a treat to visit.  In 2012 the castle was featured in the TV series World Without End which was the schedule to hit Pillars of the Earth.

top day and best side trips from vienna, Kreuzenstein Castle

Getting Here From Vienna: From the Wien Floridsdorf Train Station it is a quick 20-28 minutes to Leobendorf Station, but then requires a 35 minute walk over to the castle which is well marked.  It is only 27 minutes from Vienna by car to the castle parking lot.  Visiting Hours: Daily April-October 10am-4pm; Sundays until 5pm; Closed November-March. 45 Minute guided tours at the top of every hour.  Cost: Adults 10€; Kids 5€.  Castle Website: (HERE).  Rating as a Day Trip From Vienna: 10 out of 10. If it was open year round it would easily be our top day trip from Vienna.

5. Salzburg, Austria (2.5 Hours):
Salzburg is the home of Mozart, the beautiful Mirabell Gardens & Palace, and the location for The Sound of Music.  Located in the heart of the Alps, Salzburg is a great spot for a day trip just a few miles from Berchtesgaden.  While it does make a great day trip, we recommend 2-3 full days in Salzburg to be able to see the old town sites, Sound of Music Sites, and surrounding towns of Hallstatt & Werfen.  The top things to do in Salzburg are the Old Town Walking Tour, Schobrunn Palace, and the Sound of Music Movie Locations Tour which cover dozens of must see attractions around this timeless city.

top day and best side trips from vienna, salzburg

Getting Here From Vienna: From Vienna’s Westbahnhof Train Station you can take the National rail line directly to Salzburg in 3 hours.  To make of your travel time consider a stop in Melk or a day in Hallstatt on the way to Salzburg from Vienna.  Rating as a Side Trip From Vienna: 9 out of 10. Salzburg is one of those European towns that you just have to get to. If you are able to spend 2-3 days in Salzburg you will love it even more.  Visit our Salzburg section for more details.

top day and best side trips from vienna, hallstatt

*Normally something 4 hours away wouldn’t count as a side trip but Hallstatt is an excellent stop on your way from Vienna to Salzburg. We love taking a full day to explore the the Village and the nearby Ice Caves. 

6. Hallstatt Village & Salt Mines (Hallstatt Austria – 4 Hours): Hallstatt is our favorite city in all of Austria and really is one you should fit in your schedule.  There was a Hallstatt before there was a Rome and it is just about as cute of an ancient alpine village as you’ll find anywhere.  Hallstatt is compact, full of history, and an absolutely beautiful lakeside village.  Just walking around the village streets can be amazing and we’ve put together a Free Hallstatt Walking Tour for you to follow to make sure you see all the top sights.  The main highlights include the colorful Market Square, the creepy painted skulls of the Bone Chapel, and a boat ride on the lake.  If you end up with extra time we also suggest visiting the World’s oldest Salt Mine sitting just above the city which over 7,000 years old.

top day and best side trips from vienna, hallstatt bone church

Getting To Hallstatt From Vienna: Take the OBB train line to Attnang-Puchheim (2 hours 10, minutes), switch trains and take the local REX to the Hallstadt Station (70 Minutes), and lastly take a short ferry across the lake (15 Minutes).  Please Note: The Salt Mine is closed in the Winter and re-opens each April.
Rating as a Side Trip From Vienna: 9 out of 10. If you are using Hallstatt as a stop on your way from Vienna to Salzburg it is easily a 10 out of 10. Visit our Hallstatt section for more details.

top day and best side trips from vienna, hallstatt Dachstein Ice Caves
Dachstein Ice Caves & 5 Fingers Lookout  (Hallstatt Austria – 4 Hours): Sitting high above Hallstatt on Dachstein Mountain are a couple real gems, the Dachstein Ice Caves & 5 Fingers Lookout.  A tour of the huge Ice Cave is absolutely awesome and it’s crazy they stay at or below freezing no matter how warm it is outside.  There are even a few different frozen waterfalls you have to see to believe.  Depending on how you are doing for time swing up one more level on the cable car lift and hike over to the 5 Fingers Lookout where a glass bottom walkway juts you out thousand of feet above the valley floor. The views and photos are awesome, plus it is really cool to be above the tree line and around snow even when it is 60-70 degrees outside.

Getting To Dachstein From Vienna: If you want to fit the Ice Caves and Hallstatt all into one day you need to go to the Ice Caves first.  Take the OBB train line to Attnang-Puchheim (2 hours 10, minutes), switch trains and take the local REX to the Obertraun Station just past Hallstadt Station (80 Minutes), and take the local Post Bus right to the Dachstein Visitor Center where you check the Cable Car up.  (15 Minutes).   Getting To Dachstein From Hallstatt: The same Post Bus that runs between Obertraun Station and the Dachstein Visitor Center loops back around to the main Hallstatt Bus Station (Hallstatt Lahn).  We suggest doing the Ice Caves first and taking the bus back to Hallstatt after.    Please Note: The Ice Caves & Lookout are closed in the Winter and re-open each May.  Rating as a Side Trip From Vienna: 9 out of 10.  If you get a full day in Hallstatt it would be a same not to get to Dachstein. Visit our Hallstatt section for more details.

top day and best side trips from vienna, hallstatt 5 fingers lookout

8. Mauthausen Concentration Camp (Mauthausen, Austria – 2.5 Hours):
Memorial site of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp (Gedenkstätte
Mauthausen) is a great taste of dark Nazi history for anyone traveling between Vienna and Salzburg who may not have the time to visit Dachau near Munich.  This site was selected due to it’s onsite granite quarry so the imprisoned people could service as slave labor.  The Stairs of Death are known as a spot of torture where prisoners were forced to carry stones heavier than their own body weight all the way up, only to be pushed off the adjacent cliff by SS Guards to their death.  They would also line prisoners up on the top of the quarry cliff and then force them to push each other off.

top day and best side trips from vienna, Mauthausen Concentration CampEven worse than the slave labor, cliffs antics, and even gas chambers, was the SS Guard who would cut off prisoners tattoos to use the skin as lamp shades.  During its time of operation, over 100,000 prisoners were killed at this death camp.  Not to far from Mauthausen under the beautiful Augustine Monastery is the creepy St. Florian Ossuary.  In the center of the room is the free standing tomb of Anton Bruckner, but around it is a orderly collection of the skulls/bones of 6,000 people.

Getting Here From Vienna: From Vienna’s Westbahnhof Train Station take a local train toward Mauthausen.  You’ll have transfer trains either at St. Valentin or Linz depending on your departure time, so check the train schedule.  Either way you’ll get right to Mauthausen train station, just make sure to take departure that has 2 hours in total travel time as certain departures have a long layover.  From the Mauthausen train station the Camp is either a long 5km walk or 3km cheap taxi.  Entrance Cost: Free, not recommended for kids under 14 years old.  Visiting Hours: May-June Daily from 9am-5:30pm. July-October Tuesday-Sunday 9am-5:30pm, Closed Mondays.  November-April  Tuesday-Sunday 9am-3:30pm, Closed Mondays.  Guided Tours: Guide tours are available but pricey at 40€ per person. Alternative you can get the 75 minute audio tour for Free after a refundable 40€ per headset deposit.  It is easy enough to share a headset between a couple people.  Mauthausen Website: (HERE).

top day and best side trips from vienna, Capuchin Monastery brno czech republic

9. Brno, Czech Republic (2 Hours):
Brno is of the Capuchin Monastery with its erie crypt of Monks.  The Capuchin Monks would put their deadin a coffin during each funeral precession, but afterward would lay thebodies in the crypt to be able to re-use the coffin and save money.  They did this from 1400 into the 1700’s until it was outlawed and the crypt was closed.  Although they didn’t mean for it to happen, the perfect air conditions in the crypt mummified the last 24 monks they buried here which have become quite a tourist attraction.  The Monks are neatly lined up in rows, their heads rest on original brick pillows, and are so well preserved you can still see their robes and the rosaries they are holding.

top day and best side trips from vienna, Capuchin Monastery monks, brno czech republic

Fairly close to the Capuchin Monastery is the second largest ossuary in Europe which sits beneath St. James Church. The bones of over 50,000 people were buried here before it was sealed up in the 1700’s in favor of cemetery burials.  The ossuary lay forgotten under the church until a local historian re-discovered it in 2000.  It took them a number of years to make it safe for visitors as due to bacteria that formed when they opened it, but today it is truly awesome to visit.  The only ossuary bigger are the catacombs in Paris, France.

Some of the other highlights are the Church Of St Peter & St Paul (Petroy), which looks has large Gothic towers just like the Church of Our Lady in front of Týn in Prague, and the modest Špilberk Castle which offers great views of the city.  A very popular side trip if staying in Brno is the Veveří_Castle  which has been owned by royals, nobles and even served as a hunting lodge.  Many tourists take the train half way there, hike the rest and take the steamboat along the river back to Prague.

Getting To Brno From Vienna: Brno is the second largest city in the Czech Republic and sits right on the main train route from Prague to both Budapest and Vienna.  The Trains go city center to city center and it takes about 3 hours to get to Brno from Prague.  Costs is roughly CZK 360 round trip.  Visiting The Capuchin Monastery: February 15th-December 14th Tuesday-Sunday 9am-Noon & 1-4:30pm; Only open on Mondays May-September; Closed all of  December 15th-February 14th.  The Monastery sits on Capuchin Square near the Cabbage Market.  Visiting The St. James Church:  Tuesday- Sunday 9:30am-6pm; Closed  Mondays.  Costs is CZK 140.

top day and best side trips from vienna, Heiligenbrunn

Heiligenbrunn, Austria (2.5 Hours): If you want the hidden gem of Austria, the village of Heiligenbrunn is it.  Prague may be known by tourists as the most Medieval town in Europe, but Heiligenbrunn gives it a run for the money.  The town itself only has 1,000 residents, 2 hotels, no castles or fortifications, but it has personality to-boot.  Historically the village is most well know for it’s cute, thatched-roofed, hobbit style houses, but don’t underestimate the wine.  The wine, made as early as 1225 AD, was once banned for being too strong, but today it’s perfect and you’ll find grape vines growing in all sorts of places.  The Basement or Kellerviertel is an awesome straw stellar which has been preserved as a living reminder of Heliligenbrunn’s wine culture.  We highly recommend stopping by Ulrich’s Chapel as its bubbling spring is said to have curing powers, especially for the eyes.

Getting To Heilgenbrunn: From Vienna’s Wien Secession Bus Station (Friedrichstraße) take Bus G1 directly to Heligenbrunn in 2 1/2 hours.  Make sure to check the schedule as some options require a transfer to bus 1862 that will bring your total travel time up to 3 1/2 hours. 
Rating as a Side Trip From Vienna
7 out of 10.  The more we think about it the cooler it is to visit a tiny village, in the middle of nowhere, stuck back in time, and off the the normal tourist track.  Staying overnight can be very relaxing.

top day and best side trips from vienna, Eggenburg Beinhaus

11. Eggenburg Beinhaus, Austria (2 Hours and 10 Minutes):
  Crypt containing the bones of 5,800 Austrians arranged in an artistic manner. It was written about as early as 1299 A.D. and a majority of the current crypt was built in 1405 A.D. Because the bones are so old you can only look at the crypt through a large glass wall and can no longer walk among them, but they are impressive still.  The only down fall is the window you look through to see it is small and often dirty but after dark you can flip a light on to see it better.

Getting Here From Vienna: 2 hour train right to Eggenburg and a 10 minute walk to the Beinhaus next to Pfarrkirche Church.  Can get here by car in just 50 minutes.  Rating as a Side Trip From Vienna: 6 out of 10.

top day and best side trips from vienna, Burg Hardegg castle

12. Burg Hardegg, Austria (1 Hour and 45 Minutes):
Cool riverside castle overlooking the Austrian-Czech boarder from a hilltop perch.  It was first built in the 1100s and has luckily stood the test of time.  it may not be as cool as the other castles around Vienna, but is still a good visit for castle lovers.  The grounds are open for the public to free roam most days but to see the private collection of arms you must arrange a tour ahead of time with requires 20 or more guests.

Getting Here From Vienna: 70 minute local train to Retz then Bus 1255 takes you right to the Castle in about 1 hour and 45 minutes total.  Make sure to check the schedule as a couple times a day there is a 45 minute lay over waiting for the bus. Only 90 minutes by car.  Rating as a Side Trip From Vienna: 6 out of 10.  It is pretty nice, but there are cooler castles near Vienna to see first.

top day and best side trips from vienna, budapest

13. Budapest, Hungary
(2 Hours 45 Minutes): Just a few hours by train, this mighty city on the Danube makes for a great 2 day getaway from Vienna. If needed you can cram the sights of the Pest Monuments and Castle Hill into one long day, but we highly recommend being here for 2-3 days so you can also spend time on the Jewish quarter and City Park. To see more on his city please check out our Budapest section.

Getting Here: Train connects these two capitols’ city centers directly.  Make sure to check the schedule and take the 2 hour and 45 minute Railjet train instead of the slow 4 hour REX one.  Rating as a Side Trip From Vienna: 6 out of 10.  You can only get a small taste of Budapest in a day and really need 3-4 full days to really see it all and fit in the nearby Danube Bend.

Bratislava, Solvakia (1 hour train ride):
It is interesting to note that Vienna and Bratislava are the closest major capitals to each other in the World at just 40 miles apart.  This is of course not counting the City State of the Vatican City being inside Rome or in Africa the shanty town of Brazzaville being across the river from Kinshasa.  Trains from Vienna to Bratislava depart from Wien Sudbanhof at frequent regular intervals, arriving in Bratislava Main Station or Bratislava Petrzalka. Both stations are close to the downtown, easily accessible by public transport or taxi. There is a cool Palace right in the middle of town but overall we find Bratislava to be pretty blah.  Rating as a Side Trip From Vienna: 3 out of 10.  It is cool that you can be not only in another country but another capitol so quickly but there just doesn’t seem like there is a ton to do in Bratislava.

Longer Side Trips From Vienna:

top day and best side trips from vienna, munich oktoberfest

Here are a few more side trips that are s little further away, but definitely worth your time.
15. Munich, Germany (4 Hours): This former capital of Bavaria, known for its beer halls and inviting residents can actually be seen in 1-2 days, but it has so many amazing surrounding sites you’ll want to stay longer.  Outside of its Oktoberfest feel, Munich’s surrounding sites include the Hofbräuhaus, English Garden, and further away Dachau & Mad King Ludwig’s Castles.  Make sure to check out our Free Munich City Center Walking Tour.

top day and best side trips from vienna, Prague, Czech Republic

16. Prague, Czech Republic
(4.5 Hours): The best thing about Prague is that it is the only Central European capital whose building escaped the bombings of WWII.  Highlights of a single day visit are Charles Bridge, National Theater, Old Town Square, and Wenceslas Square.  Prague is best seen in 2-3 days so you can better take it all in, especially its after dark Medieval charm.  Night trains into and out of Prague are extremely limited so leave early in the morning the maximize your visit.

top day and best side trips from vienna, Sedlec Ossuary Bone Church, Kutná Hora Czech Republic

17. Sedlec Ossuary Bone Church
(Kutná Hora, Czech Republic – 3.5 Hours): Sedlec Ossuary known as the Bone Church is decorated in a very creepy fashion with over 40,000 human skeletons.  Our favorite decorations are the large coat of arms made with pretty much every type of bone and the huge chandeliers with skull candle holders.  Nearby is the Muzeum Alchymie in basement of the Sankturinovsky House which feels like you are stepping into the lair of a mad scientist.  The house also has a pretty cool Gothic tower where alchymie experiments used to take place.

top day and best side trips from vienna, Berchtesgaden, kongisee

18. Berchtesgaden, Germany (3.5 Hours):
Berchtesgaden has been a retreat for kings, monks, and travelers since the early 1100’s at it still retains much of its old world charm.  Whether it is the Deer House (Hirschenhaus) on Marktplatz, the storybook Advent Christmas Town over the holidays, or a visit to a beer hall during Oktoberfest, you’ll fall in love with Berchtesgaden.  Sitting right next to Old Town is the Berchtesgarden Salt Mine (Salzbergwerk) which is a tourist favorite and has been in operation since 1517.  No visit to the region would be complete without visiting a salt mine as it is how many of the towns like Berchtesgaden and Salzburg got rich starting in the 1100s.

Perched above Berchtesgaden are the are a pair of reminders of the atrocities from WII, the Nazi Documentation Center and Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest.  During WII, Hitler built the mighty Eagle’s Nest as his 2nd seat of power after being inspired by the area’s beauty.  Today mini fortress serves as a restaurant sitting high enough above the valley floor to give visitors a 120 mile view on a clear day!  Combined with the Documentation Center you will be able to learn a lot of history as well as check out some old WW2 bunkers and even take a high speed elevator up the mountain.

top day and best side trips from vienna, berchtesgaden eagles nest

Before leaving your alpine elevation make sure to check out the views of Königsee from above at Jennerbahn Mountain.  The Mountain also has great skiing, but it is the lake below that interests us more.  If you have time, a ride out onto Königssee can put your trip over the top.  You’ll not only cruse between tower peaks and through an echo chamber, but also past the is the triple domed St. Bartholomä Chapel.  Either way you slice it, Berchtesgaden is one of the best hidden gems in all of Germany.  Rating as a Side Trip From Vienna: 7 out of 10.  While small, the best sights in Berchtesgaden are a little spread out so we suggest seeing it either right before or after spending the night in nearby Salzburg so you aren’t cutting your time short in this amazing city.  From Salzburg it is easily a 9 of 10 rating.

top day and best side trips from vienna, werfen ice cave

19. Werfen, Austria (3.5 Hours):
Our favorite attraction in Wefern is the Hohenwerfen Fortress which was featured in the movie Where Eagles Dare. than it’s Hollywood Von Trapp connection.  With a rise of 155 meters from the entrance you can see why this castle has stood the test of time.  Right next to the fortress you can also visit the largest Ice Caves in the world.  If you can’t fit the Ice Caves near Hallstatt into your schedule, Werfen offers a closer alternative.  Rating as a Side Trip From Vienna: 6 out of 10. The Fortress and Ice Caves in Werfen are awesome but if you can only pick one Ice Cave and Village combo to see from Vienna make sure to make it Hallstatt instead.  If you have already done Hallstatt
or are staying in Salzburg Wefern becomes a more attractions day trip.

top day and best side trips from vienna, innsbruck

20. Innsbruck, Austria
(4.5 Hours): Known as the  city of the Golden Roof, and the Tirolean capital, Innsbruck is the only major city located in the European Alps.  Innsbruck, which hosted the 1964 and 1976 Winter Olympic Games, is best known for its winter sports and skiing.  There are mainly other attractions year round such as a large number of beautiful lakes and the world’s largest crystal at Swarovski’s Crystal World, the gardens at Swarovski factory, and many others.

21. Graz, Austria (2.5 Hours):
Is a big college town and has a great mix of medieval roots mixed with a modern twist. Just over an hour away is Riegersburg Castle in Styria, Austria.

Accessible By Night Train From Vienna:

Rome (Italy); Venice (Italy); Amsterdam (Netherlands); Florence (Italy); Brussels (Belgium); Frankfurt (Germany); Warszawa (Poland); Bucureşti (Romania); Zürich (Switzerland)

  • kathy

    Hi – My daughter is studying in Vienna from now until early December, and I’m heading over to meet her Sept 18-27th. The info you have here is wonderful, and really helpful. I’m trying to plan a few fun things, both in the city and side trips. She’d like to go to Croatia for a few days, perhaps Monday to Wednesday or Thursday. We’d need to fly there, of course. Any suggestions?

    • Big Boy Travel

      Many of the day trips I have listed above are pretty easy to get to and will be very flexible schedule wise. You can use the Austrian National Train website to find you routes and pricing for the train

      With only 2 weeks to plan and the tail end of tourist season it may end up being a little experience to wing a trip to Croatia from Vienna. Rijeka is over 9 hours by train and Dubrovnik can be over 30 with connections from Vienna so you definitely won’t want to take the train. Flights over those days are looking around $300 based on I’d play with some searches last September we went to Santorini Greece fairly cheap from Vienna. RyanAir doesn’t have any budget connections from Vienna, EasyJet does ( but the only places you could go to affordablely with them for your dates are Geneva or Rome.

      Based on your dates have you guys considered taking the train to Munich for Oktoberfest? Opening weekend is right when you get into town and in the mornings on weekdays you can go tent to tent without reservations to find a fun place to post up before long lines start forming in the afternoon. With the short notice you’d probably want to try Hotel Munchner Kindl & Hotel Daheim in the city center. Sometimes Salzburg Festival is going on at the same time but this year it was a little earlier.

      • kathy

        Hmmm. We hadn’t considered Oktoberfest; I assumed it wouldn’t begin until after I’d gone. I was thinking more about Salzburg/Hallstatt, Croatia, Budapest, and, of course, Vienna. Tough choices for just a 10-day visit.

        • Big Boy Travel

          if you are really set on Croatia and are okay with the $300 a person plan ticket then I would consider it. If it was me and you haven’t explored Austria before I would stick more local especially because of the short window until your trip. Maybe use the $600 you would spend on Croatia tickets on train tickets and hotel in Salzburg instead. Possibly pack light to pop over to Salzburg for a couple days including 1 in Berchtesgaden ( then visit Hallstatt/Ice Caves on the way back to Vienna. Mix in a little time in Budapest, and afternoon at Kreuzenstein Castle, plus the Vienna sights and you’ll have a well rounded 10 where you’ll see a ton, but won’t get burnt out.

        • Big Boy Travel

          From September 23rd-27th this month, Salzburg has its really fun annual festival called Rupertikirtag. It’s like a mini Oktoberfest and has a ton of activities. I went to it 3 years ago and it was awesome, try to hit up Salzburg over those dates if you can.

  • Wilfred Demello

    Im there in Vienna for 3 days….Friday/Saturday & Sunday.Im flying out to INDIA Monday noon.Can you please suggest places around Vienna and also the mode of travel?

    • Big Boy Travel

      Little confused on your question and it doesn’t say when you are going to be in Vienna. With hotels you’ll want to check out sights like,, or and we suggest picking on spot within walking distance of Old Town. With mode of transportation I’m not sure what you mean. Once you get to Vienna you can just take public transportation of walk pretty much everywhere. On my sections covering Old Town, The Ring Tram, Palace, and Day Trips, I have included all the important public transportation routes right on each map.

      • Wilfred Demello

        im in Vienna on 12/13/14 of September 2015….i will be booking rooms at either Arcotel or Lemeridien…with just 2 days in Vienna i want to make the best use of the time….can you suggest the “should not miss spots” in or around Vienna…

        • Big Boy Travel

          with only 2 days and not much time left to plan before you get there, you’ll be happy to know you can still see a lot in Vienna in just 48 hours. I would direct you to our suggested itinerary page (, in short you’ll want to go to Schobrunn Palace then visit the stops in Old Town and along the Ring Tram. Yesterday I finished a new page highlighting the top ten things to do in Vienna which will help you prioritize what you want to see ( If you have questions on either just ask at the bottom of the page your question deals with and I’ll try to help you out. Thanks

  • Big Boy Travel

    7 days is a but more time than you need to see all of the main sights in Vienna, but that is a good thing as it will give you time to hit up some of the day trips above. As far as what to do in Vienna it may be helpful to check out our Top 10 Things To Do In Vienna page I just finished today ( or our Suggested Itinerary page

    There are year round boat tours year round if you are looking for a cool way to go to either Melk Abbey or Bratislava. Danube boat tours are a lot prettier from Budapest as it goes past popular monuments and the Danube Bend. Rides from Vienna are, in our opinion, a little more bland in comparison.

    Of our top suggested day trips from Vienna, Kreuzenstein Castle will be closed in December, and both the Liechtenstein Castle and Melk Abbey and more limited hours. The best thing I can tell you is to remember that it is December which means it is prime Holiday Market season. That being said you 100% should make sure to get to Salzburg. I would even try to find a cheap hotel for 1-2 nights even if you already have a room in Vienna and pack light to head to Salzburg for 1-2 days.

    If you are really looking to get out on the water Salzburg also has river tours and Berchtegaden Germany, which is only 12 miles away from Salzburg, has year round boat rides on its amazing Alpine lake. We have full sections on Salzburg and Bertesgaden.