From the Belvedere Palace to the St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the stunning National Austrian Library, there is no doubt that there is plenty of unique and eco-friendly things to do in Vienna, the fascinating capital of Austria. With its rich cultural heritage and unparalleled beauty, it is one of the most picturesque cities in Europe – and I understood why! Whether you are a solo traveller or looking for a weekend getaway with friends, Vienna should be one of your next holiday destinations.
With an abundance of places to explore and activities to do on a budget (and sustainably, too!), here are our top 10 picks for fun things to do in the Austrian capital. From outdoor adventures perfect for nature lovers to historical landmarks shrouded in culture for history buffs, get ready to create unforgettable memories on your city break in Vienna – without hurting our beautiful planet 🌍
My Vienna experience: Duration 3 days Dates visited Jan 16 - Jan 19 Season Winter
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- Overview: coolest eco-things to do in Vienna
- Best places to visit in Vienna – Map
- 10 fun & sustainable things to do in Vienna
- Travel Tips
- Travel Tips
- What to do in Vienna in winter
- Top day trip from Vienna
- Tips for reducing your eco-impact in Vienna
- Vienna travel planning guide
- Vienna, Austria – FAQ
Overview: coolest eco-things to do in Vienna
- Explore the beauty of Vienna by bike
- Visit the idyllic charms of Vienna’s parks & gardens
- Get lost in art at one of Vienna’s museums & galleries
- Marvel at the legendary artistry of Klimt’s “The Kiss”
- Savour local cuisine & delights
- Sample the rich flavours of Vienna’s local wines
- Discover the timeless charm of the iconic Café Central
- Uncover the world of eco-friendly fashion & design
- Explore Vienna’s iconic Ringstrasse on foot
- Experience the magic of live performance
Need more inspiration for your next city break? Check out this article: Prague Travel Guide: Perfect 3-Day Itinerary
Best places to visit in Vienna – Map
Click on the top left of the map to display the list of stops and locations.
10 fun & sustainable things to do in Vienna
From eco-friendly coffee shops to beautiful green parks and fascinating museums – the Austrian capital has an activity for every traveller.
Here are our 10 favourite ways to discover the capital any time of the year whilst reducing your environmental impact:
1- Explore the beauty of Vienna by bike
Exploring Vienna by bike is a delightful and rewarding eco-friendly experience. The city is known for its stunning architecture, grand boulevards, and beautiful parks, all easily accessible on two wheels.
As you cycle along the city streets, you will see grand palaces, including the iconic Schönbrunn Palace and historic landmarks like the Hofburg Imperial Palace and St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
You will also come across charming cafes, quaint neighbourhoods and bustling marketplaces. Do not hesitate to stop as much as you need and take the time to appreciate the scenery.
One of the best things about cycling in Vienna is the feeling of freedom and flexibility it offers. You can go and pause at your leisure, take in the sights and sounds of the city, and even discover non-touristy, hidden gems you might otherwise miss.
With its flat terrain and extensive network of bike lanes, Vienna is the perfect city to explore on two wheels, and an unforgettable experience awaits those who take up the challenge.
Vienna is also safe to explore by bike at night and is an unusual way to discover the city.
You can easily rent your bike from your hotel or the WienMobil Rad, a public bike rental service that allows everyone to move around on a budget. A 30-minute pass costs 0,60€, and you can return your bike to any station. And if you need a boost, rent an electric bike or scooter – especially great when going uphill!
You can also look at the Uber app if it is easier for you and already on your phone – it will allow you to find a scooter or bike around you and book them.
2- Visit the idyllic charms of parks & gardens
Vienna is a city full of green spaces, parks and gardens, making it the perfect destination for nature lovers – especially in summer, when the flowers pop out, and you can enjoy outdoor concerts.
One of the most stunning green spaces in the city is the Schönbrunn Palace Garden, which covers an area of 160 hectares and features impressive fountains, manicured lawns and flower beds.
Another must-see park is the Prater, a large recreational area home to an amusement park, the thrilling Ferris wheel and vast meadows ideal for picnicking and relaxing.
Other beautiful parks in Vienna include the Burggarten, the Stadtpark, and the Volksgarten, each offering a unique experience for visitors, especially families with children.
So, on your next city break to Vienna, take the time to explore its green spaces, escape the hustle and bustle of the city and connect with nature whilst reaping the many health benefits it offers. Plus, it is a free thing to do!
3- Get lost at one of Vienna’s museums & galleries
The museums in Vienna are a treat for the senses, with each one offering a unique (and relaxing) activity that is both educational and inspiring.
Whether you are interested in art, history, music or science, the Austrian capital has a museum or a gallery that will capture your imagination.
As you walk down the corridors of these magnificent institutions, you will be surrounded by a wealth of treasures, ranging from stunning paintings and sculptures to fascinating artefacts and interactive exhibits.
The atmosphere is filled with wonder as you are transported through time and space to experience the marvels of human creativity and ingenuity.
Here are some of the must-see museums in Vienna:
- The Belvedere Museum: best for Austrian art
- Albertina: best for modern art
- Kunsthistorisches Museum: best for masterpieces
- The Hofburg: best for imperial history
4- Admire the mystical painting “The Kiss”
The ultimate masterpiece of Gustav Klimt’s Golden Period, ‘The Kiss’, is the dazzling centrepiece of the Upper Belvedere Palace of Vienna.
This beautiful work of art depicts two lovers locked in a passionate embrace surrounded by a meadow of blossoming flowers. The ingenious use of gold leaf and gold, silver and platinum flakes as a background makes ‘The Kiss’ an outstanding and must-see piece of art.
Many believe the painting represents the artist and his lifelong partner, Emilie Flöge. So do not miss your chance to witness this masterpiece in person. And whilst you are here, take the opportunity to explore the other mesmerising exhibitions and stroll through the superb gardens of the Baroque Palace complex.
5- Savour local cuisine & delights
When travelling to Vienna, being conscious of what you eat is essential to leaving a smaller footprint and being a responsible explorer.
Ask the locals where they like to eat, buy your food at local markets and eat at local restaurants that use produce from the region and emphasise sustainability. You will contribute to the local economy and reduce your carbon footprint by supporting places where food does not come from long distances.
From farm-to-table establishments to zero-waste cafes, the dining scene in Vienna has something to offer for everyone looking to enjoy locally-sourced and ethically-produced food and drink.
So, on your next vacation in the Austrian capital, delight your tastebuds with some of its signature dishes:
- Wiener Schnitzel: this iconic dish is made with a thin breaded and pan-fried veal cutlet, traditionally served with a potato salad and cranberry sauce.
- Erdäpfelgulasch: a vegetarian variation of gulasch, made with potatoes, bell peppers and paprika, often served with bread or dumplings.
- Apfelstrudel: a classic Austrian dessert made with light layers of flaky pastry dough filled with cinnamon-spiced apples and raisins, topped with powdered sugar.
- Sachertorte: this famous chocolate cake is made with layers of moist chocolate cake and apricot jam coated in rich chocolate icing.
And if you are a food lover, why not join a guided food tour? You will learn more about the local cuisine and taste some delicious dishes. Check out this tour: Vienna’s Highlights: Food, Coffee and Market Walking Experience.
Do not forget to add the Naschmarkt to your Vienna itinerary, an eclectic market offering over 120 market stands and restaurants for a colourful culinary experience from Viennese to Indian and Italian. A place is worth the detour! However, I recommend checking the opening and closing times in advance, as they will change depending on the season.
6- Sample the rich flavours of local wines
Vienna boasts a unique wine reputation, with its vineyards producing enough to draw visitors to their doorstep. Austrian wines, renowned for their light, fresh and fruity notes, promise a delightful tasting experience.
Head up to the hills to savour tasty wine whilst marvelling at breathtaking panoramas. Check out this excellent full-day wine tour, a perfect activity for adventurous couples: Wachau Valley Wine Tasting Bike Tour from Vienna.
You can also hop on the 38A bus and embark on an unforgettable journey through the top wine-making districts in Vienna. Along the way, you will discover charming Heuriger taverns where you can taste wines and local cuisine.
But that is not all! During the summer, take a peaceful stroll down Wanderweg 1 and enjoy exquisite wines from local vineyards whilst admiring the scenery.
You guessed it – it is a fun activity to do to immerse yourself in the rich culture of the Austrian capital (and support local wine winemakers!) 🍷
7- Discover the timeless charm of Café Central
1876 saw the opening of what was to become the beloved Kaffeehaus, where Sigmund Freud, Leon Trotsky and Stefan Zweig enjoyed their coffee amid its tall domed ceilings and selection of mouth-watering pastries.
Today, it is a must-see tourist attraction and a unique place to visit in Vienna, still experiencing queues that would rival any London hotspot but remain a local favourite. So do miss out on its iconic charm when travelling to the Austrian capital. Take the time to admire its beautiful interior and stop for a well-deserved break.
And if you are a coffee lover, discover the following eco-friendly and vegan cafés in Vienna:
- La La Cafe: cute vegan coffee shop
- Balthasar: coffee bar offering a tasting experience
- Cafe Ansari: a blend of Mediterranean & Georgian cuisines
8- Uncover the world of eco-friendly fashion & design
The Viennese fashion and design scene is known for its stylish and unique creations and its commitment to sustainability.
Many local designers in the capital embrace ethical materials and production methods to create beautiful and responsible fashion.
Some of the top brands in Vienna include:
- KM/A: produces handcrafted bags and accessories from upcycled materials
- Mija T. Rosa: creates sustainable clothing from organic and recycled fabrics.
And if you are further interested in sustainable fashion and shopping ethically, you will find many stores and boutiques to explore.
One popular option is Green Ground, which offers a wide range of sustainable and fair-trade clothing and accessories for both men and women.
You can also check out Weltladen, a fair trade shop that sells a selection of durable and eco-friendly products, including clothing, accessories and home goods – a great way to take home a unique souvenir.
9- Explore Vienna’s iconic Ringstrasse on foot
The Ringstrasse Boulevard is more than just a road – it is a symbol of the past and present of Vienna.
The boulevard, known as the Ring, encircles the charming city centre. Its origins date back to the Habsburg era when the aim was to connect the outskirts of the capital to the imperial centre.
In 1857, the decree of Franz Joseph I initiated the creation of this magnificent boulevard, which still serves as a vital reference point for every visitor to Vienna.
Here are some of the top highlights on the Ringstrasse Boulevard:
- Vienna State Opera (Wiener Staatsoper)
- Austrian National Library
- Kunsthistorisches Museum
- Museum of Natural History (Naturhistorisches)
- Vienna City Hall (Wiener Rathaus)
- National Theater (Burgtheater)
So be sure to stroll along its great length. You will come across historical and architectural landmarks that make Vienna one of the most beloved cities in Europe.
10- Experience the magic of live performance
Immerse yourself in classical music with an evening performance at one of the concert halls or opera houses.
These iconic venues offer one of the coolest experiences for music enthusiasts, who can witness live performances by world-class orchestras, conductors and soloists (you might love this one: Vienna Classical Concert at St. Peter’s Church).
Attending a live performance in Vienna is an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of classical music and witness the heritage of the Austrian capital.
Plus, the stunning architecture of these buildings adds to the overall experience, making it a truly memorable evening and a perfect thing to do at night.
Want to learn more about sustainable travel? Check out this article: Sustainable Travel Guide to Prague, Czech Republic
What to do in Vienna in winter
Visiting Vienna in winter is a fun and unforgettable experience! Here are some extra eco-friendly things to do if you plan to visit the capital this season:
- Visit a Christmas market & shop for local souvenirs
- Drink Weihnachtspunsch (Christmas punch)
- Listen to an Advent concert
- Admire the festive lights
- Ice skate in the Rathausplatz square
Shop the printable travel itinerary
Plan your perfect city break & live a unique green experience.
Top day trip from Vienna
Are you looking for the perfect guided day trip from Vienna? Check out this tour: Hallstatt and Alps Day Trip from Vienna. Embark on a magical journey as your guide takes you to Seeschloss Ort Castle, Lake Hallstatt and its popular Skywalk, and the lakeside town of Traunkirchen.
Fancy a weeekend getaway in Copenhagen? Check out this article: 10 Eco-Friendly Things to Do in Copenhagen
Tips for reducing your eco-impact in Vienna
Sustainable travel means exploring the world whilst being aware of your surroundings and having a positive social, environmental and economic impact on the places you visit.
Being a responsible traveller in Vienna is possible! Here are some eco-friendly tips for reducing your carbon footprint:
- Book direct flights (which require less fuel than indirect flights) and offset your carbon footprint. But, do not use carbon offsetting as a complete solution. Combine it with other sustainable practices, like avoiding single-use plastic on the plane and mindfully packing your suitcase for your green holiday.
- Select an eco-friendly accommodation. It is not always easy to determine whether a hotel has eco-conscious practices, but try to look on their website for green credentials and ask questions. You can also use Bookdifferent or Ecobnb to help you decide.
- Walk or use public transport as much as possible. The transportation network of Vienna is easy and reliable, allowing you to move around quickly and access the main highlights and attractions with buses, trains or subways. So buy a day pass and take advantage of these services to reduce your impact! And if you like exercising, do not hesitate to rent a bike. It is a fun way to explore the capital.
- Always respect the local heritage. Treat people and their surroundings with respect. Sustainable travel is not only about the environment but also about the local communities. So, always be respectful, smile and learn a few German words 🙂
More inspiration for your green adventures:
- Best Travel Apps for Exploring Sustainably
- 15 Travel Books to Inspire Your Next Eco-Adventure
- Best Ecotourism Activities Around the World
Eco-friendly gear you might love:
- 10 Best Sustainable Backpacks for Travel & Hiking
- 10 Best Reusable & Eco-Friendly Travel Mugs
- 8 Best Filtered Water Bottles for Travel & Hiking
Check out this page for more inspiration on eco-friendly products & gear.
Vienna travel planning guide
Yes, buying insurance is always valuable when travelling abroad. Enjoy your city break to Vienna stress-free with one of my favourite providers, Nomad Insurance.
Yes, tap water is safe to drink all over Vienna. However, I also recommend travelling with the UltraPress Purifier Bottle, a lightweight filtered water bottle perfect for reducing plastic and staying hydrated.
Yes, renting a car in Vienna is easy and is a great way to explore the outside of the capital. I recommend booking yours with Rentalcars.com – they offer a variety of operators for all budgets.
The best way to book your accommodation in Vienna is with Booking.com – my favourite platform to compare and reserve places to stay each night, from affordable guesthouses to luxury hotels.
I recommend booking your plane with Skyscanner. It has been my favourite platform for years, as it allows me to book the cheapest flights whilst lowering my carbon emissions.
Vienna, Austria – FAQ
There are many things you should not miss in Vienna! Here are some top attractions and experiences to add to your bucket list: the Schönbrunn Palace, the Hofburg Palace, St Stephen’s Cathedral, the State Opera House and the Belvedere Museum (& more!).
Yes, it is possible to visit Vienna in 3 days! The capital is easily accessible on foot or public transport, and it will give you enough time to immerse yourself in the unique Austrian atmosphere and discover its main highlights. I recommend planning your Vienna itinerary in advance so you can explore without rushing.
Yes, Vienna is safe to explore at night. Although most shops will be closed, bars and restaurants will still be open, offering a lovely and lively atmosphere. I personally never felt afraid to walk in the capital after dark.
Yes, Vienna is quite expensive to visit, but I did not find it as bad as the Scandinavian countries or Iceland. Prepare your budget in advance and be ready to pay a little more sometimes, but I believe the capital remains affordable for all budgets.
And you, what is your favourite eco-friendly thing to do in Vienna?
Let me know in the comments below!