Why Go? Elegant and refined, this historic crossroads of the world offers highbrow honeymooners a chance to hobnob with Habsburg ghosts, while the rest of us can do shots with our new fun-loving spouses.
Best Ideas: Steep yourself in the art of ages, restore your energy with a real Austrian grandmother’s dessert, then rest your tired feet in one of the city’s beautiful and sophisticated hotels.
Good to Know: It’s easy to get around in and to and from the city, whether you’re talking about home or day trips to ski slopes or vineyards. But the city is not cheap, and that sense of tradition that pervades much of Vienna also applies to its opening hours (i.e., don’t plan to do much on Sunday).
Despite being at the crossroads of history for millennia, Vienna doesn’t get quite the fanfare of other Western European capitals. This is a good thing. The imperial charm, while unmistakable, is subtle, and the vibe seems contagious. Tourists still come, but the elbows you’d catch jockeying for a photo of the Mona Lisa have no place here. The city is proud, approachable, composed, and refined. This is the mood you want for your honeymoon. A city that welcomes you with a smile, but isn’t pushy for your dollars.
In This Article
Traveling & Getting Around in Vienna
Before it was the capital of the Austria of today, Vienna housed the Habsburg monarchy. Before that, its strategic location on the Danube made it an influential post in Central Europe. Despite seeing its share of wars, occupations and revolutions, the architecture and imperial grounds are remarkably well restored and preserved, giving it the grace you find today.
Like much of Europe, Vienna is most alive in the summer, but the Christmas markets make a holiday honeymoon an attractive option. Vienna is also a good alternative for Oktoberfest with far less drunken tourists than you’d find in Munich.
Vienna has several direct flight options from the U.S. Austrian trains and buses run as clean and efficiently as you’d expect it to so you’re easily connected to any town you could want to visit. Renting a car isn’t necessary but could be useful if you want to explore the nearby towns and vineyards on your own schedule.
Compared to Europe’s other popular cities, Vienna is incredibly safe. While you should always be vigilant, petty crime is far less common than in Paris, Barcelona or Rome. Prices are on par with much of Western Europe and most American big cities. The currency is the euro, and the language is German. Don’t get confused when you see signs for “Wien” everywhere — that’s “Vienna” in German. Any time you see the word “wiener” — as in wiener sausage or wiener schnitzel — that implies it originated in Vienna.
Honeymooning in Vienna: Pros & Cons
- Safe and clean
- Efficient public transport
- Direct flights from the U.S.
- A plethora of palaces and museums
- Friendly, romantic charm permeates the city
- Easy day trips to vineyards and ski resorts
- Well-connected to other cities for a multistop honeymoon
- Attractions are spread out (not easily walkable from one to another)
- Not quite as scenic as further west in the Alps
- Much of city is closed on Sundays
- Long, cold winters
Vienna is divided into 23 districts with attractions spread out among the inner circle. These are the ones you’ll be most interested in.
First District (Innenstadt)Vienna, Austria
The prestigious center of the city, home to many of its elites and historical sites. (Photo by @_phphotos04)
Second District (Leopoldstadt)Leopoldstadt, 1020 Vienna, Austria
Home to a historically Jewish community and the Prater amusement park. (Photo by @lukas_pellmann)
Third District (Landstrasse)Landstraße, Vienna, Austria
Palaces and churches abound in this district. Also where you’ll find Stadtpark, which showcases much of Vienna’s architecture. (Photo by @vienna_images)
4th through 6th districts (Wieden, Margareten, Mariahilf)Mariahilf, 1060 Vienna, Austria
Cafés, shopping, and pedestrians keep these residential areas bustling with activity. (Photo by @wienzufussphotoblog)
Seventh District (Neubau)Neubau, 1070 Vienna, Austria
Home to the Museumsquartier, as well as premier shopping and dining options. (Photo by @barbiwantstoseetheworld)
Eighth District (Josefstadt)Josefstadt, 1080 Vienna, Austria
A tiny pocket of seclusion in the midst of all the attractions and museums. The intimate Josefstadt Theater exemplifies the district. (Photo by @daheimistlangweilig)
Ninth District (Alsergrund)Alsergrund, 1090 Vienna, Austria
The Academic Quarter contains the University of Vienna, several hospitals, and the home of Sigmund Freud (now a museum). Also, Liechtenstein Palace is one of the best palaces in Vienna. (Photo by @felixclam)
Best Attractions & Activities in Vienna
MuseumsquartierMuseumsplatz 1, 1070 Wien, Austria
A handful of museums surround a massive courtyard in the Museumsquartier complex that could keep art lovers busy for days. Each charges separate admission but combined tickets are available. The modern art collections at MUMOK and the Leopold Museum are worth your time and euros, and anyone with an interest in architecture should see the Architekturzentrum Wien. Even if all the art you need to see is in each other’s eyes, there are worse ways to spend an evening than by having a drink and a gander through the courtyard and checking out the free rotating outdoor exhibitions. (Photo by @mikihiro_kiriyama)
Schönbrunn PalaceSchönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, 1130 Wien, Austria
While a tour of the interior still puts anything you ever saw on “MTV Cribs” to shame, the real highlight of Schönbrunn Palace is its gardens. Nearly a full square mile of meticulously kept gardens makes for a perfect afternoon stroll for you and the wifey. (Photo by @schoenbrunnpalace)
Prater Amusement ParkPrater 102-103, 1020 Wien, Austria
This permanent amusement park is categorically in an unfamiliar middle ground between carnivals and amusement parks as we know them in the U.S. There is no entrance fee so you can wander through Prater (also called “Wurstelprater”) then pay individually for attractions that pique your fancy. The centerpiece of the park is Prater Tower, once the world’s highest swing carousel. Give your lady a reason to clutch you tightly (or vice versa) as you spin around in circles 383 feet above the park below. (Photo by @elen_alena)
St. Stephen’s CathedralStephansplatz 3, 1010 Wien, Austria
With portions built and destroyed over centuries, Stephensdom, or St. Stephen’s Cathedral, is an architectural hodgepodge that happens to be Vienna’s most impressive structure, inside and out. The iconic mosaic roof, which features a double-headed eagle crest on one side, could only be overshadowed by the massive Gothic south tower. Enter through the Giant’s Door decorated with dragons, demons, and monks to find an interior of towering columns carved with life-sized religious figures. The cathedral is filled with hidden treasures — take a tour or you’ll otherwise miss them. Then ascend the 343 stairs to the top of the south tower for panoramic views of the city. (Photo by @exploreforthoughtmy)
Fiaker RidesMichaelerplatz 4, 1010 Wien, Austria
Horse drawn carriage (or “Fiaker”) rides have a reputation for being touristy, but you are tourists, after all. Prices are set, so don’t try haggling, and at $90 for a 40-minute ride (longer and shorter options area also available), it’s not cheap, but these make for a romantic introduction to a new city. The drivers are friendly and informative, so have questions ready for customized recommendations. Just be sure to talk to your driver before committing so you are satisfied with their English skills. (Photo by @nurielmulcho)
Christmas MarketsRiesenradplatz, 1020 Wien, Austria
Vienna has one of the best collections of Christmas markets in a continent that prides itself on its yuletide festivities. No fewer than 20 official markets are spread out across the city from late November through late December. The Viennese Dream Christmas Market in front of the majestically lit City Hall is the most well-known, but the market at Schönbrunn Palace is the best for handicrafts. Spittenberg’s market has a more local feel, and the Wintermarket in Riesenradplatz eases a bit on the Christmas theme — it’s located in Prater, so think less tinsel and sleigh bells and more mulled wine and live music. It also lasts longer than the others, spilling into early January. (Photo by @thexicaras)
Wachau ValleyWachau, 3602, Austria
Austria may be known for beer, but Wachau Valley makes some fantastic wines. Take a day trip to this fairy tale region where the Danube snakes through the green rolling hills and patches of charming towns. You can visit several of them in a day. Don’t miss the impressive abbey in Melk and the views from Durnstein Castle, which are stunning if you’re up for a hike. End the day at Nikolaihof Vineyard. A boat to Wachau Valley seems like a tempting option, but the upstream trip can take over three hours — twice as long as the return. Get there by train and after you’ve been wined and dined, cruise the river back to Vienna. (Photo by Brian Biros)
Bratislava, SlovakiaBratislava, Slovakia
A quick hour by train will cross you into a new city, country, and perhaps even across the unofficial border into Eastern Europe. Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, and what you spend to get here you can make up quickly in drastically lower prices. Spend a day wandering around the old town of one of the few hidden gems left in Europe, and let the lady take advantage of the cheaper shopping. A bus to Bratislava is also an option, but for a more romantic (albeit more expensive) journey, take a boat down the Danube. If you’d like to add a few more “visited together” pins to your travel map, Hungary and the Czech Republic are also quick rides from Vienna, and all are within the Schengen Zone so you don’t have to worry about stops at border crossings. (Photo by @puxiin5)
Best Hotels, Resorts & Airbnbs in Vienna
Because Vienna is a vibrant city year-round, hotel rates don’t vary drastically between the seasons. Also, be warned: Clothing in Austrian spas is rarely worn and often forbidden, even in coed spas. Some Austrians even scoff at Americans’ objection to nudity or the automatic correlation between nudity and sexuality. The spas are strictly medicinal. If you are at all confused, get clarification from the facility.
SO/Vienna (Sofitel)Praterstraße 1, 1020 Wien, Austria
If spa treatments are part of the honeymoon, the SO/Vienna (Sofitel) may have the best in Vienna. Rooms have views of either Prater or St. Stephen’s Cathedral, or you can get the full panoramic view with floor-to-ceiling windows in the top-floor restaurant. The bright artistry on the restaurant and lobby ceilings can be spotted from the street below. Rooms start at under $200 per night. (Photo courtesy of SO/Vienna)
25hours Hotel ViennaLerchenfelder Str. 1/3, 1070 Wien, Austria
If you find traditional hotel decor dull, this quirky hotel with a vintage circus theme is for you. Centrally located just a few minutes’ walk from the Museumsquartier, the hotel also has a funky Mermaid’s Cave spa to unwind in after your day exploring the city. When you’re revived, head up to the rooftop bar for amazing views of the city and revive some of those wedding-night dance moves when the DJ starts spinning. As long as the clown murals won’t keep you up at night, at $100, this is the best value you’ll find in Vienna. The price even includes free bike and Mini car (!!!) loans during your stay. (Photo courtesy of 25hours Hotel Vienna)
Park Hyatt ViennaAm Hof 2, 1010 Wien, Austria
Given other options in the city, rooms here probably aren’t worth the price. But if you have a bank of credit card or hotel points, this is a great opportunity to use them. From 25,000 World of Hyatt points or Chase Ultimate Rewards points (which can be transferred to Hyatt), you can stay at one of the finest hotels in Vienna, where prices often start at more than $500 per night. Rooms are more spacious than other hotels in Vienna, and every detail here feels luxurious. The city’s best indoor hotel pool complements a spacious fitness room and lavish spa. A meal or at least a drink in the Bank Brasserie & Bar is also a must. (Photo courtesy of the Park Hyatt Vienna)
Le Méridien ViennaRobert-Stolz-Platz 1, 1010 Wien, Austria
Off-season rates at Vienna’s version of the upscale, design-hotel chain are surprisingly affordable from $150 per night (double in high season). Unwind after a day of exploring with free use of the spa’s indoor pool, Jacuzzi, steam bath, and sauna, then act like you belong here and get swanky at the Bar Champagne Gourmet with Moët and oysters. Even the most basic room is 323 square feet and includes a refreshment station, freestanding bathtub, and all the elegant touches the Le Méridien brand is known for. From here, the rooms only get better with terraces and stylish living areas. (Photo by @lemeridienvienna)
Fleming’s Selection Hotel Wien-CityJosefstädter Str. 10-12, 1080 Wien, Austria
Tucked away in quiet Josefstadt but within striking distance of all the action, Fleming’s Selection Hotel Wien-City will give you a peaceful night’s sleep in comfy beds with a hearty breakfast served from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. to get your day started right. Hot buffet options include eggs, bacon, sausage, and dumplings, while the cold buffet offers fruit, veggies, yogurt, cheese, cold cuts, smoked salmon, pastries, and cereal as well as juices, coffee, and tea. You may be set until dinner. From $100 a night in low season and $150 a night in high season — suites cost double and include private balconies. Be sure to mention it’s your honeymoon and you may be greeted with a bubbly surprise. Also, the showers are prominently located with clear glass panes in the center of the rooms, so you won’t miss a moment of honeymoon action. (Photo courtesy of Fleming’s Selection Hotel Wien-City)
Skyscraper Luxury IReichsbrücke, Wien, Austria
This modern, classy Airbnb studio is located in one of the city’s tallest skyscrapers. Watch the sunset over the Danube from the comfy king bed or treat the missus to a George-Costanza-inspired seductive photo shoot on the chaise lounge. Starting at $70 per night, the view alone is worth the price, but it books up well in advance. (Photo courtesy of Airbnb)
Hotel Fahrnberger (Hochkar)Hotel Fahrnberger
Two hours west of Vienna is the best ski resort available as a day trip from Vienna. Ski Resort Hochkar sees snow from December well into April and has a perfectly decent collection of runs for beginners and intermediates, although it admittedly doesn’t compare to resorts further west in the Alps. While you can make it back to Vienna in the same night, no one wants to jump in a car or bus for a two-to-three-hour ride after a day on the slopes. Instead, head to Hotel Fahrnberger (from $150 a night) and enjoy the sauna and steam bath in their spa — maybe even book a pair of massages — then retreat to your cozy, wooded room with views of the alpine mountain. You won’t want to get out of bed in the a.m., but the delicious included breakfast will make it worth it. (Photo courtesy of Hotel Fahrnberger)
Best Honeymoon Packages & Cruises in Vienna
Sans Souci WienBurggasse 2, 1070 Wien, Austria
The Sparkling Moments package is as dazzling as you’d expect, with two nights of accommodations, a Champagne-and-sweets welcome, full use of the incredible spa, Champagne breakfast, and a four-course dinner. And you’ll be staying in TripAdvisor’s No. 1 hotel in Vienna. The package starts at $835 but costs an extra $55 on weekends and $110 more for a junior suite. (Photo courtesy of Sans Souci Wien)
Vienna Vibe CruiseDanube River, 2401 Fischamend, Austria
This U by Uniworld eight-day cruise down the Danube (from $2,499) begins or ends in Vienna and runs spring through fall. You’ll pass through the Wachau Valley and “Sound of Music” countryside in western Austria. Next, enjoy highlights of Bavaria and wander the streets of Regensburg before ending with some history in Nuremberg, Germany. Don’t worry about the fanny-pack crowd you’d expect to see on big Caribbean cruises. U caters to a young crowd that wouldn’t normally do cruises. (Photo by @u_rivercruises)
Best Restaurants & Bars in Vienna
Food in Vienna is more than schnitzels and apple strudels, but don’t miss the schnitzels and apple strudels.
ef16Fleischmarkt 16, 1010 Wien, Austria
Make this your choice for your big date night out. Locally sourced Viennese cuisine is served in a cozy setting and it’s pricey, but not exorbitant. It’s among the best-looking and -tasting Viennese food in the city, so make sure you don’t skip dessert. (Photo courtesy of ef16)
Vollpension BakerySchleifmühlgasse 16, 1040 Wien, Austria
This is as authentic as it gets. Cakes at Vollpension are baked exclusively by grandmothers using their own recipes. And the worn but charming decor feels like an actual grandmother’s house. (Photo courtesy of Vollpension Bakery)
Café ResidenzSchloss Schönbrunn, Kavalierstrakt 52, 1130 Wien, Austria
The same recipe that has been used by imperial bakers for generations to serve apple strudel to royalty is now available to you and your queen at Schönbrunn Palace’s Café Residenz. You can even attend an Apple Strudel Show to see the masters at work and learn their secrets while the aroma gets your mouth watering for the tasting at the show’s conclusion. (Photo courtesy of Café Residenz)
FiglmüllerBäckerstraße 6, 1010 Wien, Austria
Where to go for the best Wiener schnitzel in Vienna is as hotly debated as where to go for the best pizza in New York City (correct answer: to the airport to catch a flight to Chicago). Figlmüller is a common favorite among locals and tourists, so get a reservation. The thin cut of perfectly breaded and fried veal will be bigger than your plate and, with a side of potato salad, is probably enough to share. (Photo courtesy of Figlmüller)
Strandbar HerrmannHerrmannpark, 1030 Wien, Austria
You may not be expecting a beach vacation when you come to Vienna, but a handful of bars will let you dip your toes in the sand. Strandbar Herrmann sets the tropical island vibe better than any other, so grab a couple of fruity cocktails and cuddle up under the sun in a hammock chair. (Photo by @strandbarherrmann)
Café GlorietteSchlosspark, 1130 Wien, Austria
Yet another reason to visit Schönbrunn Palace. Start your day here with coffee and a torte overlooking the palace grounds before descending the hill for a closer look. (Photo courtesy of Café Gloriette)
VeggiezzSalzgries 9, 1010 Wien, Austria
For all of its meats, Vienna still has options to satisfy vegans and vegetarians. Veggiezz is about as tasty a place as you’ll find, but plenty of other veggie spots are on par. Most are cafés, but if you’re looking for unique, meat-free fine dining, check out Tian. (Photo courtesy of Veggiezz)
Travel Shack ViennaMariahilfer Gürtel 21, 1150 Wien, Austria
If both of you are determined to not let marriage kill the party spirit of your single days, this is your chance to prove it. Mingle with the lively younger crowd that comes to Travel Shack Vienna for the original collection of pub games and borderline dangerous shot challenges. Maybe even throw back a creative shot or two, but be happy you’ve both outgrown the days where you’d let a bartender Taze you while doing it. (Photo by @travelshackvienna)
Nikolaihof WachauNikolaigasse 3, 3512 Mautern an der Donau, Austria
On your trip to Wachau valley, definitely stop at Nikolaihof Vineyard after meandering through the towns or hiking the hills. Enjoy a meal and some wine at the certified organic wine tavern of Austria’s oldest wine estate. The meats, cheeses, and veggies are locally sourced, the bread is baked on site, and everything is served to you in a courtyard under a linden tree that is older than any human. Be sure to tour the cellars and meet the wonderful, passionate family that makes Nikolaihof the gem that it is. (Photo by @nikolaihofwachau)
Vienna’s romance is genuine — it was here before you arrived and will remain long after you leave. You’re neither an observer nor the focal point. Instead, you’ll be among the Viennese as you celebrate your future life together. When you depart, everyone will carry on their merry way.