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Viennese Insights

The 10+ best sightseeing tours of Vienna – a local’s ultimate list

on
22 May 2021

We have been living in Vienna since 2008, writing about the city since 2017, and welcoming personalized itinerary travelers in Austria’s capital since 2018. This is our ultimate locals’ go-to list of the best sightseeing tours of Vienna. We have handpicked for you authentic and informative experiences you should not miss while visiting Austria’s capital to ensure your stay feels complete, unique, and personalized.

The following resources might be helpful to you while planning your trip to Vienna:

Our ultimate guide to where to stay in Vienna

Our 3-days in Vienna itinerary suggestion

Our list of best books set in/about Vienna

Shall you need help and support in organizing your trip, check out our personalized itinerary offers, the reviews we received from previous travelers, and contact us. We are happy to hear from you!

Please note that this article contains a few friendly affiliate links. Shall you make a purchase through them, we get a small commission at no extra cost for you. Thank you!

Best Sightseeing Tours of Vienna - Belvedere Palace
Best Sightseeing Tours of Vienna – as locals, we never tire of discovering our city and putting together the best itinerary for our visitors

Best sightseeing tours of Vienna – get to know Austria’s capital

I have grouped in this category the best sightseeing tours of Vienna we recommend to get an in-depth overview of the city’s main attractions in an original, entertaining settings that would make your stay very memorable. Shall you attempt to put together an itinerary for yourself, these tours can be used as puzzle pieces to assemble your unforgettable stay in Vienna.

!!!! Click on the subtitle to book the respective sightseeing tours of Vienna !!!!

Vienna Stephansplatz
The first sightseeing tours of Vienna should take you to the pietonal area in front of the Stephansdom right in the heart of the city

Vienna Old Town – Half-Day Walking Tour

This is the tour if you want to get to know Austria’s capital not only through its buildings and historical sights but also through quality, open conversation and personalized advice offered by highly qualified and friendly guides.

The guide usually picks you up at the hotel and takes you around the city’s main sights to help get you oriented, but he/she is able to also offer tips for enjoying your stay depending on your interests.

It’s a tour we especially recommend if you are a small group and can share the fee.

INSIDER’S TIP End the tour with a traditional Viennese coffee and cake, melange und kuchen, at Cafe Central, Vienna’s most famous and impressive historical coffee house.

Fiaker (horse-drawn carriage) ride in Vienna’s old town

Now that you have seen the city’s main sights, it’s time to switch perspective. A fiaker (horse-drawn carriage) ride in Vienna is as mandatory as a gondola ride in Venice, and an experience even we as locals enjoy. I particularly like to go on a ride and let the coachman delight and entertain me with stories of Vienna I’ve never heard before while discovering the city from a different perspective.

INSIDER’S TIP If you speak German, try having the conversation with the coachman in his native language to get a glimpse of the authentic and original Viennese dialect. Sure, you might miss a point or two…. or more…

Vienna’s Ringstrasse – 3 hours walking tour with a historian

The building of the Ringstrasse around 1900 was a defining moment in the city’s history, an answer to the Champs-Élysées and the urban remodeling being done in Paris at the time.

A knowing guide will not only discuss the individual architectural styles of the most important buildings on the Ringstrasse, but he/she will also paint vividly the social life of Vienna in the 1900s and how the Ringstrasse influenced the society around that time.

This tour is one of my favourites as it can also be taken by families with children, in which case the guide will focus on aspects of interest for the entire family, making sure to keep little guests entertained as well.

INSIDER’S TIP A stop at the Zanoni’s ice cream parlor at Burgring 3 will make sure this tour is a success for adults and little visitors alike.

Tour the Belvedere Palace guided by an art historian

The Belvedere Palace, located in Vienna’s third district, is a baroque masterpiece that nowadays houses a world-class art museum, including Gustav Klimt’s famous Kiss. Unfortunately, few visitors pay the Belvedere the tribute it deserves during their visit.

During this unique 2.5 hours tour, guided by an art historian, you will unravel Belvedere’s secrets in an enjoyable and highly educative experience.

INSIDER’S TIP To the right of the Belvedere Palace is the botanical garden, an oasis of peace and quiet that few locals are aware of. Enjoy!

Explore Imperial Vienna at the Schonbrunn Palace

I’ll let you in on a little secret – the Schonbrunn Palace is one of my favorite places to go in Vienna and I think an in-depth visit guided by a historian is one of the best sightseeing tours of Vienna you can do.

Sometimes, main touristic attractions like this one hold authentic experiences and valuable history lessons. Myself, I particularly enjoy walking and exploring the gardens, as well as the occasional visit to the Carriage Museum.

This half-day tour will take you through the palace’s main rooms and the gardens, bringing to life the opulence and splendor of the Habsburg court.

Best sightseeing tours of Vienna - Schonbrunn Palace
Best sightseeing tours of Vienna – take a history lesson at the Schonbrunn Palace

INSIDER’S TIP The Schonbrunn Palace has great entertainment options for little visitors, from the Children’s Museum to the Zoo. Adults should also consider spending an afternoon at Europe’s oldest zoo. Our toddler personally recommends the snacks and treats on offer…..and the animals too…

Best sightseeing tours of Vienna – themed tours and unique experiences

Depending on the interests of our personalized itineraries guests, we have spend a fair amount of time hand-picking the best sightseeing tours of Vienna in terms of themed tours. Below are our top choices. Shall you be interested in other themed tours, contact us, we are happy to assist you.

Walk the hills of Vienna in Beethoven’s footsteps

This tour will take you to Vienna’s wine-growing villages in the footsteps of Beethoven, who held three summer domiciles here, and go to a typical winegrower’s cottage.

You will enjoy panoramic views from atop Nussberg, such as the one in the picture below, as well as a traditional dinner at a Heurigen tavern.

Panoramic view autumn in Vienna from Kahlenberg.
Autumn in Vienna is a perfectly magical place to be (photo credit pixabay).

INSIDER’S TIP Weather allowing, opt for outside seating at the tavern and do not plan on leaving too soon. The local’s way to enjoy this is to opt for multiple, small servings of food to wash down with more and more wine while listening to the live music and general good cheer.

The secrets of the Viennese Prater – Madame Tussaud’s , a historic Giant Ferris Wheel, and loads of Chocolate

The Viennese Prater is a world-renowned amusement park, home to the historic Giant Ferris Wheel that everybody who visits the city needs to take a ride on. For those who prefer a walk in the open air, the Green Prater is one of the biggest city parks in Europe, offering walking paths and playgrounds to keep little visitors entertained.

As part of our best sightseeing tours of Vienna we had to include activities in this iconic location. Our top picks are:

Classical music concert and Baroque ambiance – Vivaldi in the Karlskirche

For those looking to attend a concert while in Vienna, we cannot recommend enough VIVALDI’S FOUR SEASONS IN THE KARLSKIRCHE!, a great opportunity to also visit the interior of this famous Baroque masterpiece

vienna sightseeing tours karlskirche
Vienna’s Karlskirche – Baroque masterpiece where some of the best sightseeing tours of Vienna start, our go-to reference place for meeting our visitors

Best sightseeing tours of Vienna – the best for last – themed Secret Vienna tours

When it comes to sightseeing tours of Vienna, we have kept the best for last. Secret Vienna themed walking tours offer the opportunity to explore a topic of interest in-depth, while being able to walk through the city at leisure and unravel its sights, on and off the beaten path.

For example, the  Secret Vienna tour “Elitist and Discreet Societies- the power behind the throne?” will allow you to traveled to the world of cathedral builders, their guilds, and secrets, their craftsmanship. During the two hours, you would, in turn, look at and understand the world through the eyes of the Teutonic Knights, the Knights of St John, the Freemasons, distinct members of the Habsburg dynasty, Mozart, and Haydn. Check out the photo gallery at the end of this article for a visual tour.

Whether you are for the first time in the city and are looking for unusual activity or a long-time resident, a history fan, dark tourism aficionado, or more of a hidden courtyards kind of person, there is definitely something for every taste.

They constantly expand the topics of their tours, so it never gets boring – the world of literature, music in Vienna, the dark side of Vienna, Hitler’s time here, the museum of military history, the central cemetery – you name it, they have it!  

INSIDER’S TIP If you want to join, the tours can be found on the Secret Vienna website or Facebook page, and also shared on our Dream, Book, and Travel Facebook page. Our customers get in addition a 20% discount on Secret Vienna Tours, all the more reason not to miss them when in Vienna.

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