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Help with 3 days in Austria

Mom and I will arrive in Vienna on Thursday afternoon and will have Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Austria before heading to Dublin. We have an Airbnb in Vienna. I’m having trouble planning activities. We enjoy visiting palaces, but it looks like there are several. Any palace recommendations?

We usually spend the first day of travel using the hop on hop off bus because this gives a good overview of a new city. So potentially, getting on and off the bus at various stops could take up all of Friday. We would like to take the train to Salzburg for a day trip either Saturday or Sunday. I am wondering if we should devote two days to Vienna or possibly take a day trip to Bratislava? Any suggestions for first timers to Austria?

We are possibly interested in the Natural History Museum but will skip the art museums this trip. We like outdoor markets and it looks like there are a few we can check out. Should we do a Danube River cruise? Any must see sights that we shouldn’t miss? I have the Rick Steves Vienna and Salzburg guidebook and the Eyewitness Travel Vienna book, but I am having trouble making a plan and would welcome any suggestions!

Posted by
1280 posts

Being for such a short time in Vienna don't waste your time with day trips, not for Salzburg and even less for Bratislava.
Three days give you only a faint glimpse of what this wonderful city has to offer. Make an individual plan for your visit, avoid time consuming activities, like a river cruise or using the hop on hop off bus instead of public transport.

This is a guide for a 72 hours stay:
https://www.wien.info/en/recommendations/vienna-in-three-days
It is a tough schedule, and I have doubts that somebody pulled this off ever.

Posted by
631 posts

You might rather take the Ring Tram than HOHO bus. The obvious palace is Schönbrunn, but there is also the Hofburg. You might also want to visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

Posted by
71 posts

I agree, forget side trips, 3 days is barely enough to scratch basic Vienna. Karntnerstrasse (from Opera to Stephansdom) Graben, Michaelerplatz, Hofburg, Heldenplatz, Take a walk along Ringstrasse or take a tram. You can rest in Stadtpark. Kunsthistorisches museum (just across Natural history Museum) is a must, but since you have just 3 days maybe some other time. Schonbrunn Palace and gardens; Belvedere. Also you may visit Nashmarkt (market) and feel the city pulse. If you like shopping-Mariahilferstrasse. See film below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlesrbocbBQ

Posted by
4654 posts

Bus tours in Vienna are a waste of time as most of the area inside the Ring is pedestrianised and buses have problems getting close to the sights.