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Travel tips

8 must-visit hidden gems of Vienna

Feb 09, 2021 by Cayleigh Heitsmith

Vienna. You may know the Austrian capital for its renowned musical composers, world-famous Weiner schnitzel, and gleaming royal palaces. But, there’s more to The City of Dreams than meets the eye. Here's the inside scoop on the most unique things to do in Vienna, so you’ll know exactly how to spend your free time on your Vienna tour.

bright green hedges lined in a decorative pattern surrounded by bright leafy green trees

1. The Lost Garden at Schloss Schönbrunn

This opulent palace, originally constructed in the 16th century, is one of the can’t-miss places to visit in Vienna. The Habsburg monarchs summered here, and today it's recognized as a key architectural and historic monument in the city.

Nestled just beyond the palace, you'll find The Lost Garden—one of the best kept secrets in Vienna. This challenging maze is tucked right beside the main gardens. See if you can make it to the end of the labyrinth while on our tours of Vienna.

bald man in a puffer jacket selecting a bushel of grapes amongst a pile of them, amongst other fruit, in a grocery store

2. Karmelitermarkt and Brunnenmarkt

There’s nothing like a European outdoor market, especially when you can sample local specialties while browsing dreamy food and craft stalls. It's one of the most unique things to do in the city and one of our favorite ways to spend free time in Vienna. We recommend checking out two of our favorites: Karmelitermarkt and Brunnenmarkt. We like to think of them as the best hidden restaurants in Vienna.

Karmelitermarkt is just across the canal from the city center. You'll find plenty of locals bustling about on Saturdays, as they shop the freshest veggies around. If you’re looking for a market with even more variety, Brunnenmarkt may be worth the trip. This 170-stall market is the largest in Vienna and sits in one of the city's trendiest neighborhoods. Make sure to stop by one of the Turkish food stalls for some delicious cuisine.

a cobble stone path, lined with trees and grass, with grass poking through between the stones, leading to rows of a vineyard

3. Grinzing

Calling all wine lovers! 1700 acres of vineyards dot Vienna's landscape, which means you're in for a very lively wine scene. We recommend dabbling in the Viennese “Heuriger” (wine tavern) tradition in Grinzing. You can travel to this village on our tours to Vienna and enjoy an evening full of traditional food, music, and entertainment. While this experience is always a must-do while in Austria, your Tour Director won’t bring you to just any of the wine taverns—they’ll bring you to the best-hidden restaurants in Austria.

When you dip into a Hueriger, expect delicious local eats (be sure to try Weiner schnitzel!) paired with wines made right under their roof. The Heuriger experience is not to be missed, as it’s sure to give you a taste of local culture and tradition.

3 people holding drinks in a circle- 2 coffees topped with milk art in black mugs, and one iced dark brown drink  in a a clear glass

4. Jonas Reindl

Vienna is known for its coffee house culture, so there’s no shortage of cozy shops to get your daily drip. If you’re a java snob, we recommend checking out one of the hidden gems in Vienna, a coffee shop called Jonas Reindl. Local students love this artisanal coffee house, so you know it's worth going.

two male musicians - one playing the trumpet, the other playing the saxophone - with spotlights shining on them and plants hanging in the background

5. Porgy & Bess

When it comes to Vienna’s musical history, Mozart and Beethoven probably come to mind. But did you know the city is home to some acclaimed jazz clubs, as well? If you love a good trumpet riff, you won’t want to miss a night at Porgy & Bess. Austrian and international jazz greats grace the stage daily, so you're guaranteed to hear an unforgettable set.

The off-white grand façade of the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, decorated with sculptural imagery of roman mythology, many decorative columns, and an oxidize copper colored dome with gold details.

6. Hofburg Imperial Palace

This 2,600 room palace was originally constructed during the Middle Ages and remains one of the largest palace complexes in the world. The Habsburg monarchs chose it as their seat of power. Today, the palace serves as the official residence and workplace of the Austrian president, as well as a home for multiple museums. Hofburg is a gleaming symbol of the capital’s political history and is one of the unique places to visit in Vienna.

a row of leafy green trees lining a path covered with red, brown, and orange leaves, next to rows of pavement with people walking and biking

7. Prater Hauptallee

If you've seen a photo of Vienna, you've probably spotted the iconic Ferris wheel spinning on the skyline. It's a major attraction at Prater, one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. Most visitors head to Prater for the ride, but the park also features one of the hidden gems in Vienna — Prater Hauptallee. This 2.5-mile long, tree-lined street provides an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Cars are prohibited, so local joggers and inline skaters flock to the boulevard for their daily endorphin rush.

yellow-leafed weeping willows leaning towards a green pond with tall brown grass growing in it and a paved trail cutting through a grass field in the background, under blue skies

8. Kurpark Oberlaa

Speaking of relaxing environments, we highly recommend a meander near Oberlaa metro station. There, you'll find Kurpark Oberlaa—a truly idyllic park, and one of the unique things to do in Vienna. Originally built for the Vienna International Garden Show, the grounds overflow with blooms to stop and sniff. Once you've had your flower fix, wander on to see the thermal baths and eat a delicious Austrian Sachertorte at Kurkonditorei Oberlaa.

Which Vienna secret spots would you add to the list? Share your favorite unique experiences in Vienna on our Facebook page!

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About the author | Cayleigh Heitsmith
Cayleigh knew she was hooked on travel after studying abroad in France during college. She went on to graduate and move to southern France (and afterward, Berlin, Germany) for the following three years. When she’s not traveling or working as a Travel Support Specialist for Go Ahead, she enjoys road biking, discovering new restaurants and cuisines, and spending time with her family in Vermont.

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