Unascertained by any guide, unapprehended by the locals, hiding in plain sight, there actually is an ideal day in the week to spend one day in Vienna – the Sunday. In autumn, the city offers a wide palette of things to do for those who search for them. No matter how gloomy the sky, or how inviting a day indoors might sound, Sundays are perfect to get to know Vienna’s first district one-on-one. Below you find our suggestions for how to spend one day in Vienna on an autumn Sunday.
First-time visitors can use this one day in Vienna itinerary to familiarize themselves with the city and its atmosphere – an authentic experience as their first encounter with the city. The connoisseurs can benefit from a laid-back Sunday in Vienna and we advise them to take this opportunity to look at the city as if seen for the first time.
2020 Update: As we live amidst a global pandemic, we advise to only travel in strict accordance and adherence to local, national, and international travel advice and security guidelines. To this end, we have added extra suggestions to enjoy this one day in Vienna itinerary while obeying social distancing rules and limiting the amount of time spent indoors!
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Check out our complete neighborhood guide on WHERE TO STAY IN VIENNA to feel like a local during your stay with easy access to the city center!
One day in Vienna itinerary – morning
Wake up early and reward yourself with a traditional Viennese breakfast at Cafe Oberlaa-Stadthaus (Neuer Markt 16, A-1010) or Cafe Museum (Operngasse 7, A-1010) or the atmospheric Cafe Schwarzenberg (Kärntner Ring 17, 1010) to start your one day in Vienna like locals. Both suggested locations are in close proximity to your next destination.
The locals not spending a lazy Sunday at home are either in church or at a matinée so that’s where you should be too. The top choices for you are the Sunday Mass in the Wiener Hofmusikkapelle featuring the famous Vienna Boys Choir or for those less religious, the Wiener Musikverein (photo), the famous location of the Viennese New Year’s concert. Another location worth checking out is the Wiener Konzerthaus.
One day in Vienna itinerary – 2020 morning variant
If you are like us and prefer to spend some more time outdoors these days (read the 2020 pandemic), we recommend grabbing a coffee and a pastry to go from Joseph Brot Albertinaplatz and aiming to spend the morning at a museum nearby. Both the newly opened Albertina Modern and the Albertina have amazing collections this fall that you can admire at your own pace while keeping a safety distance that makes you comfortable.
Alternatively, stick with exploring outdoors and book a walking tour in the city. From hidden gems and legends to Hitler’s Vienna, there are plenty of amazing tours on offer, many of them from our collaborators at Secret Vienna Tours.
One day in Vienna itinerary – afternoon in the city
As you plan your afternoon, including lunch and dinner plans, do factor in the following possibilities:
- either lunch or dinner at a typical Austrian restaurant, our best recommendation is the Zwölf-Apostelkeller (Sonnenfelsgasse 3), good options being also Gastwirtschaft Pürstner (Riemergasse 10) and Reinthaler’s Beisl (Dorotheergasse 2-4). It’s autumn – so it’s kurbis (pumpkin) and sturm time in Vienna. Sturm is the new wine, marking the beginning of the autumn harvest, and having a lower alcohol concentration (about 4%). If you are looking for freshly squeezed grape juice you have to ask for Traubenmost.
- a stop for coffee and cake (Melange und Kuchen) or a small snack at a famous location such as the Cafe Central (Herrengasse 14), HOFZUCKERBÄCKER CH. DEMEL’ S SÖHNE (Kohlmarkt 14), or my personal favorite Hofzuckerbäcker L. Heiner (Kärntner Straße 21-23 or Wollzeile 9). Autumn pastry specialties contain either Maroni (chestnuts) or Zwetschgen (plums) and are absolutely delicious.
- In 2020, to stay outdoors, a stroll through one of the city’s parks and gardens to admire autumn colors – the Prater (famous amusement park, featuring the nostalgic century-old Giant Ferris Wheel, as well as quiet walking alleys), the Burggarten (former Emperor’s garden), the Volksgarten (my personal favorite), or the Stadtpark (home to the famous Kursalon and gilded bronze monument of Johann Strauss II) are all within reach from the city center.
- plenty of time to watch people and read a good book set in Vienna, in order to get to know the inhabitants, the city, and their history a bit better – and why not, to really feel like a local, seeing as this is one of the favorite past times of the Viennese. My personal book recommendations for you can be found in our article about the best books set in/about Vienna.
- ending the day with a cocktail at Das Loft, the high-end bar on top of the Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom Hotel (Praterstrasse 1), featuring a panoramic view of the city in all directions.
One day in Vienna – afternoon itinerary in the vineyards
Even if you only have one day in Vienna, a trip to the wine-producing neighborhood of Grinzing is a great idea. Only a tram ride away from the city center, Grinzing is a village within the city where most places offer outside seating, ideal for spending a nice autumn evening tasting the new wine and avoiding crowded indoor restaurants. To build up an appetite while enjoying breathtaking views over Vienna, consider hiking to the top of Kahlenberg and back from Grinzing before dinner. Read more details about the Viennese wine-producing taverns in our autumn in Vienna post.
At the end of the day, you have hopefully established a connection to the city and its pace. As you walk along Vienna’s rainy paths you will not be a stranger, but a friend. And if you ever get lonely or run out of ideas, you can always drop us a line and we will set you back on track in no time. Could we maybe interest you in a 3 days in Vienna itinerary? Just let us know!