6 easy must-do weekend trips from Vienna

Published by: BouncePosted
Weekend trips from Vienna

Vienna is a true world-class city, and yet it's often underrated by travelers who rush to Paris and London and ignore the Austrian capital. That's a shame because Vienna is just as beautiful and historically important as any other European city, and it's well worth spending some time visiting one of the most important cities in central Europe.

However, Vienna's geographical location combined with a really excellent public transportation system means this lovely city also makes the ideal base for a weekend getaway. A relatively short drive or train ride from Vienna can bring you to incredible cities like Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest, and some of these are even reachable on day trips from Vienna. Vienna Train Station can be the departure point for an incredible weekend getaway or memorable day trips in central Europe.

As tempting as it is to travel along the Danube River to see Budapest or head north to the imposing complex of Prague Castle, you don't need to leave Austria to enjoy some great day trips from Vienna. And weekend trips will give you even more time to explore what the country has to offer. Leave your bags behind at a luggage storage in Vienna and explore more of what this fascinating country so special. You'll be glad you did.

Weekend trips from Vienna to the Wachau Valley

Wachau Valley

Located to the north of Vienna, the Wachau Valley is the place to come if you want to experience a day trip or longer weekend trip in the Austrian countryside without traveling too far. The Wachau Valley offers a range of attractions from historical sites to art museums to hiking trails, so there's something for everyone on one of the most popular weekend trips from Vienna.

Distance from Vienna:

You can reach the Wachau Valley by train or by car from Vienna. Either way, expect that journey to take you around an hour. However, the attractions of the valley itself are quite spread out, so a car might be a better option for exploring within the valley itself.

Our activity recommendations:

  • Durnstein: This beautiful riverside town is famous for its iconic blue church and the medieval castle ruins of Burgruine Durnstein. The castle is free to visit, and it offers incredible views over the entire valley while transporting visitors back to the Middle Ages.
  • Krems: The largest town in the Wachau Valley, Krems is best known for its 15th-century gate. However, the old town Square is packed with restaurants and quaint stores, and you'll also find some interesting art galleries in this popular tourist town.
  • Melk: Melk Abbey is an undisputed highlight of the valley. This absolutely gorgeous Abbey is open to visitors on a guided tour, where you'll learn more about the intriguing history of this popular structure.

Best season to visit:

You can visit the Wachau Valley at any time of year, but wandering through the pretty villages of this part of Austria is at its best in the warmer months of spring or summer.

Vienna weekend trips to Lake Neusiedl

Lake Neusiedl - Seewinkel National Park

If you want to get out of the city and into the wilderness on your weekend getaway, the large lake of Neusiedl and the National Park on its shores is probably the best option within easy reach of Vienna. Although the park is close to Vienna, it feels a long way away.

Distance from Vienna:

It's only an hour's drive from central Vienna to the National Park. In this undeveloped area, you'll definitely want to have a car with you to make the most of what the park has to offer.

Our activity recommendations:

  • Biking: The landscape of this park that straddles the border between Austria and Hungary is very flat, which makes it an ideal place for covering a lot of miles on two wheels. Try the Buschenschank route for a tour through the wetlands on the shores of the lake.
  • Boating: Thanks to the presence of the large lake, there are lots of opportunities for boating on the calm waters here. Head out on a fishing boat to see what you can catch or simply enjoy a mini cruise for a relaxing break that makes this one of the best day trips from Vienna as well as a great weekend getaway.
  • Hiking: the flat landscape of the park also makes it a great option for hiking, especially for those looking for relatively easy trails. Take a walk through the forest along the shores of the lake and keep an eye out for wildlife, including the many species of birds that call the park home.

Best season to visit:

As an outdoor destination, summer is probably the best time to visit this national park, although spring and fall can also bring some good warm weather without the crowds.

Laa an der Thaya weekend trip from Vienna

Laa an der Thaya

This hidden gem on the border with Czechia provides excellent weekend and day trips from Vienna for anyone who wants to see a quieter side of Austria.

Distance from Vienna:

You can reach Laa an der Thaya in just over an hour by car. It's also possible to reach this town via train ride from Vienna on the REX 2 train, which will take a little under two hours.

Our activity recommendations:

  • Old Town Hall: This magnificent structure is one of the most iconic in town and is the perfect place to capture photographs of your weekend trip.
  • Laa Castle: Located just outside the Old Town, Laa Castle remains an imposing fortress that is a testament to the importance of this town during the Middle Ages.
  • Kutschenmuseum: This carriage museum explores the history of transportation from the very earliest days of Laa up to the heyday of carriages in the 19th century, right before their eventual replacement by motor vehicles. It's a surprisingly fascinating place to spend some time and look back at the technology of the past.

Best season to visit:

Laa is a great place to go at any time of year. The Old Town Hall, the castle, and the carriage museum ensure that you have something to do even in bad weather.

Hallstatt weekend trips from Vienna

Hallstatt

This beautiful town has to be seen to be believed. Perched on the edge of Lake Hallstatt with the dramatic background of the Austrian Alps behind it, it's no wonder this fairytale village has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Distance from Vienna:

It's pretty much exactly 300 km from Vienna to Hallstatt, making this a little too far for day trips from Vienna but perfect for a weekend getaway. You can reach Hallstatt by car in around 3 1/2 hours. It's also possible to reach by public transport from Vienna by taking a train to Vocklabruck, then a bus to Hallstatt. However, that will take four hours at least.

Our activity recommendations:

  • Explore the town: The ancient town of Hallstatt is practically a work of art in itself. Explore the Old Town Square with its narrow streets and historic buildings, and you'll feel like you've taken a trip back in time to an earlier era of Austrian history.
  • Enjoy the lake: The cool, clear waters of the Hallstattersee are the perfect place for swimming, boating, and fishing in the summer. No motorboats are allowed, so the mirror-like surface of the lake remains calm and perfect for exploring by rowboat, kayak, pedal boat, or electric-powered fishing boat.
  • Hallstatt Salt Mine: Hallstatt owes its existence to the production of salt, which has been going on in this mountain region for thousands of years. The Hallstatt Salt Mine is around 7,000 years old, and you can explore the underground tunnels and learn more about what life was like for miners during the various periods of activity in this important mine. The mine is also home to Europe's longest wooden slide, which is completely underground and offers a unique thing to enjoy in this incredible town.

Best season to visit:

Hallstatt is especially beautiful in summer when the beaches along the lake make great places to cool off. However, the town is also absolutely gorgeous when snow falls in the winter, and the lake is too big to freeze except in exceptionally cold conditions. This can also be a fantastic time to visit this UNESCO World Heritage site.

Weekend trip to Carnuntum from Vienna

Carnuntum

If you want to step back into the distant past, the ancient Roman city of Carnuntum lies just a short distance from modern Vienna and was once far more important than Vienna itself.

Distance from Vienna:

It's only around 40 km along the Danube River to Carnuntum from Vienna. That's a journey that can be made by car in around half an hour or by train in just over an hour.

Our activity recommendations:

  • Explore the ruins: The town's amphitheater is a highlight of the ruins here, but you'll also see the ancient gate that used to welcome travelers to the city and the remains of important municipal buildings.
  • Take a time travel tour: Guided by a slave named Phila, this tour will take you back in time to Carnuntum's Roman heyday. This immersive tour is the best way to understand the history of this town and what life was like for ordinary people living in what would later become Austria when it was a part of the Roman Empire.
  • Visit the Carnuntinum Museum: The on-site museum houses many of the most important finds from the archaeological excavations that have been conducted here. You'll also be able to see scale replicas of the town, which will give you a better sense of how it would've looked 2,000 years ago.

Best season to visit:

Carnuntum closes in the winter, so plan to visit in spring, summer, or fall.

Weekend trips from Vienna to Salzburg

Salzburg

Famous as the former home of legendary composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salzburg is a city packed with historic charm that makes it an excellent destination for weekend trips from Vienna.

Distance from Vienna:

Salzburg is around 300 km from Vienna, requiring a three-hour drive to visit. This is one of those cases where the train is actually faster, with the train ride taking a little over two hours to connect the two cities.

Our activity recommendations:

  • Salzburg Fortress: This thousand-year-old fortress rises above the city and is the perfect place to learn more about the history of the town - as well as admire the view.
  • Mozart's House: Carefully reconstructed after extensive damage during World War II, the modest house where Mozart grew up is now a museum dedicated to the short but brilliant life of this still-popular composer. See displays that tell the story of the life and work of Salzburg's most famous son as you explore the house he once lived in.
  • Hangar 7: A great contrast to the historic charm that's so abundant in Salzburg, this futuristic building contains not just a display of historic airplanes but also several bars and cafes and even a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Best season to visit:

Salzburg is a year-round destination. There's really no bad time to visit here.

Conclusion

Vienna has so much to do that you don't need to leave the city to have a great time. And if you only have a short time in the Austrian capital, for instance, three days to spend in Vienna, it's better to stay in the city and enjoy everything it has to offer.

However, if you've visited Vienna before or you have longer to spend in Austria, consider taking one or more of these fascinating trips to see more of Austria. Whether you're looking for the best day trips from Vienna or weekend trips that will let you enjoy everything Austria has to offer, you'll find plenty of great options here.

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