[Updated February 2021]
Its proximity to Eastern Europe makes Vienna the perfect base for day trips to great European capitals such as Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, and Ljubljana. But if it’s more of Austria you want to see without switching hotels, some of the best day trips from Vienna are to beautiful Austrian destinations like Salzburg, Hallstatt, and the Wachau Valley.
Since there are seemingly endless options for day trips from Vienna, I asked fellow travel bloggers who really took the trip to write about their experience. This way, you can be certain it’s doable. In addition, I researched all the possible transport options to help you with your planning.
Day Trips from Bratislava to Vienna
|Distance from Vienna
|What to See
|Bratislava Castle, St Martin’s Cathedral, Primate’s Palace
|Train, boat, car, bus, tours
By Alex Waltner from Swedish Nomad
Bratislava, the Slovakian capital, is just one hour away by train from the Austrian capital. This is a great day trip if you’re staying a couple of days extra in Vienna and want to see something different.
You can easily see the best of Bratislava in 12 hours. Some of the top spots include the Bratislava castle, Michael’s Gate, St. Martin’s Cathedral, old town, UFO bridge (for a city view), the presidential palace, street art, and the blue church.
Make sure to stop at one of the cozy cafes and restaurants in the old town and try some local food. From the train station, it’s easy to get to the central parts of Bratislava. Most of the sightseeing spots are located within walking distance.
There is no need to buy or reserve train tickets in advance for your day trip from Vienna to Bratislava unless you travel during the high season. Trains rarely get full as there are frequent ones daily.
To make the most out of the day, make sure to take one of the earliest trains available. Usually, you can hop on a Vienna to Bratislava train after 6 or 8 o’clock in the morning. Then you have the whole day to explore the Slovakian capital. It truly is one of the best day trips from Vienna.
How to Get From Vienna to Bratislava
Day Trips from Vienna to Hallstatt
|Distance from Vienna
|What to See
|Picturesque village on Lake Hallstatt
|Train, car, tours
By Cazzy Magennis from Dream Big, Travel Far
Hallstatt is one of the most iconic and picturesque places in all Austria, and it makes for one of the best day trips from Vienna. Most things to do in Hallstatt can be completed in one day, so that’s why lots of people prefer a day trip there.
There are lots of great ways to get from Vienna to Hallstatt. You can opt to rent a car as there are plenty of parking lots in Hallstatt. It would take you around 3 hours to get there.
Or, you can get the train which would take around 4 hours as you must switch trains. Or finally, you could join a guided Hallstatt tour from Vienna. On my trip, we opted to drive to Hallstatt as the roads in Austria are excellent and the views are wonderful.
Hallstatt is a beautiful place to visit in every season, but we visited in winter and enjoyed walking around the town, shopping for souvenirs, taking pictures by the lake, drinking hot chocolate in one of the cafes overlooking the lake, and much more.
The area around Hallstatt offers great hikes, unique viewing platforms and the chance to explore amazing ice caves. Arrive as early as possible to ensure you get to do as much as possible on your Hallstatt day trip from Vienna!
How to Get From Vienna to Hallstatt
Day Trip to Salzburg From Vienna
|Distance from Vienna
|What to See
|UNESCO World Heritage historic centre, The Sound of Music filming locations, HohenSalzburg Fortress, Mozart’s birthplace
|Train, bus, car, tours
By James from Where You’re Between
Despite the distance between the two cities, a Vienna to Salzburg day trip by train can easily be done. The journey from Vienna to Salzburg takes about 2,5 hours. That means you’ll need an early start and a fairly late return train to make the most of the day in Salzburg.
If you catch one of the first trains of the morning from Vienna, you can be in Salzburg in time for a spot of breakfast. A late evening return train will have you back in Vienna by around 10.30pm. This will give you almost a whole day to explore the centre of Salzburg. Then there’s also the added bonus of passing through the spectacular Austrian countryside between Vienna and Salzburg.
Recognised as a World Heritage Site, the historic centre of Salzburg is easily one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It possesses a breath-taking blend of ornate cathedrals and churches and majestic baroque architecture.
The vast Hohensalzburg Fortress dominates Salzburg’s beautiful skyline and offers jaw-dropping views of the city, as well as of the Alps, the edge of which is just a few miles away.
At the heart of the city is the magnificent Salzburg Cathedral, where the city’s most famous son, Mozart, was baptised. Mozart’s former home is now a museum dedicated to the life of the musical prodigy.
24 hours may not be enough to see all that Salzburg has to offer but it makes for one of the best day trips from Vienna.
How To Get From Vienna to Salzburg
Day Trips From Vienna to Budapest
|Distance from Vienna
|What to See
|Buda Castle & Castle Hill, Hungarian Parliament Building, Trinity Square, Danube Promenade
|Train, bus, car, tour
By Ann Marie of Eco Conscious Traveller
Budapest is simply one of my favourite cities ever and what’s great about it is that it only takes a few hours to get there from Vienna. It actually blew my mind when I took the early Vienna to Budapest bus to learn that two such awesome cities were so close together.
On my 6:00 bus I met a few Hungarian girls who had just spent the night in Vienna partying, had got the bus the night before and had stayed up all night to take the bus back early the next morning – hardcore! If those girls can take the bus for just one night’s party, then it’s more than feasible to have a more chilled day trip to Budapest.
Budapest is such an incredible city. Everything about it feels so magical as you take in the sights of the river and the architectural masterpiece that is the Hungarian Parliament.
Of course, you could spend a few days here if you really want to see it all. But if time is limited a Vienna to Budapest day trip is definitely possible. However, you should plan in advance what you want to do.
You could head to one of Budapest’s famous baths, such as Szechenyi or Gellert, or visit the beautiful Buda Castle. Hungarian food is delicious. Goulash – a Hungarian stew – is a must-try! I was also pleasantly surprised by the many vegan restaurants in Budapest.
The bus takes approximately 3 hours, meaning you’ll have to take the earliest option there and take the latest back to make the most of your day trip from Vienna. All in all, it’s well worth visiting this magical city with day tours from Vienna.
How To Get From Vienna to Budapest
Day Trip From Vienna to Graz
By Corinne Vail of Reflections Enroute
Travellers looking for interesting day trips from Vienna should consider taking the 2.5-hour train ride to Graz, a UNESCO World Heritage City of Design.
Graz is a small city focused on interweaving the past and the future in art and design. This surprisingly gorgeous city boasts two World Heritage sites. One of these, the historic centre, is a fairytale destination of stunningly decorated medieval and baroque-style buildings.
Schloss Eggenberg, the other World Heritage site in Graz, is a little further from the centre but also a must-see for lovers of Baroque architecture and art.
Among the things to do in Graz, is the river walk. Basically, it’s an outdoor gallery of street art, and if you’re lucky you might spot an urban surfer catching a wave in the middle of the Mur River.
Just across the street is the futuristic Kunsthaus, which seems to have been plopped down into the middle of its neighborhood by some alien race. Yet, it somehow manages to blend in as a natural part of the city.
Back on the river walk, you can walk across a bridge to a café on the Murinsel (Mur Island) built right in the middle of the river. It’s a destination in its own right. The island was built by American artist, Vitto Acconci, and is a perfect spot to sip a cappuccino as the river tumbles along merrily around you.
Whatever you get up to, you’re practically guaranteed to enjoy your time in the vibrant, youthful city of Graz on a one-day trip from Vienna.
Read more: 6 free things to do in Graz if you’re on a tight budget.
How to Get From Vienna to Graz
Vienna to Brno Day Trip
By Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan
Since Brno is not in Austria, you might not immediately think of it as a day trip destination from Vienna. But it’s only 1.5 hours away by train, and, as the second largest city in the Czech Republic, Brno offers lots of things to do.
The most popular sites include Špilberk Castle, which sits high on a hill overlooking the city, and the Cabbage Market (Zelný Trh), which has been operating as a fruit and vegetable market since the 13th-century.
Brno also has several unusual, and even macabre, attractions. One of these is the ossuary underneath St. James’ Church. It’s the second largest ossuary in Europe and contains the mortal remains of more than 50,000 people. The skulls and bones are arranged in decorative patterns, and it’s a haunting, thought-provoking place of reflection.
Other unusual sites in Brno include the 10-Z Fallout Shelter, which is a nuclear bunker built during the Communist era. It could house up to 600 people and was intended to protect political elites in the event of a nuclear attack.
Brno is a compact city and is easily explored on foot. You’ll be able to get a good feel for the city and see many of its main sights on a one-day trip from Vienna. It sees far fewer visitors than Prague and offers a more authentic Czech experience.
The journey from Vienna to Brno is 130 km long and takes about an hour and a half each way by train. Trains leave once per hour from Vienna’s Hauptbahnhof throughout the day. Traveling by bus is not advised, as it takes much longer and is only slightly cheaper.
How to Get From Vienna to Brno
Day Trip From Vienna to Mikulov
By Liz of Little Holidays
An hour’s drive north of Vienna is the Czech Republic’s luscious wine region, South Moravia. In the middle of the rolling fields and vineyards, we headed to Mikulov, a castle town that’s an excellent base for hiking adventures and lots of great wine.
Mikulov has the distinctive beauty of a Czech castle town: rows of red terracotta roofs, meandering cobblestoned streets, and an impressive 13th-century castle set against the gorgeous backdrop of rolling hills and the outline of a distant mountain range. It’s a normally sleepy town and one of the more relaxing day trips from Vienna.
You can spend the day walking around the small town, hiking up the Holy Hill, and exploring the castle. If you want to be more active on this trip, you can also bring along a bike. Mikulov has plenty of bike trails that run through vineyards and rows of wine cellars, and hiking trails that bring you through castle ruins, old chapels, and stunning viewpoints.
From Mikulov, the Lednice-Valtice cultural landscape is a short 15-minute drive away. Both towns have well-preserved chateaux and gardens, as well as plenty of restaurants serving traditional Czech and Moravian dishes.
From Vienna, it’s best to visit Mikulov and its neighboring towns by driving. However, you can also reach Mikulov by train – the international train from Vienna to Breclav takes 1 hour, while the local train from Breclav to Mikulov takes less than half an hour.
Mikulov is beautiful year-round, but to fully appreciate the town, plan to go when it’s warm enough to walk around comfortably. September is a great time to visit if you love wine and festivals as this is when the towns celebrate the harvest. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, venture out into the vineyards and forest trails, and bring home a bottle of wine!
How to Get From Vienna to Mikulov
Vienna to Eckartsau on the Danube
By Pashmina from The Gone Goat
In the summer of 2018, I cycled from Vienna to Budapest along the Danube river. The trip took me to Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest alongside castles and wooded parks and the majestic Danube bend.
The highlights include visiting the lovely castle in a green village called Eckartsau, nestled in the middle of the Danube wetlands. It’s only 43 km from Vienna and can be easily visited on a day trip.
Eckartsau Castle has an enchanting park featuring locally grown veggies and delicacies. It will whet your appetite to just walk through the forests on your cycling break, allowing you to understand the history of this landscape circling back to the 19th century. At the same time, you’ll get some insight into the lives of the people living in the town.
Eckartsau Castle gives you a peek into the miniature masterpieces of Viennese baroque. The magnificent garden of the Palais provides ample cover to savour decadent cupcakes and Viennese food.
The bicycle ride from Vienna may take you a couple of hours. The alternative if you don’t have a car is to take the bus from Vienna to Eckartsau.
How to Get from Vienna to Eckartsau
Vienna to Ljubljana day trip
By Leo from Safarinomad
When planning day trips from Vienna do not forget to include the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana.
Ljubljana, a city you can easily see in one day, has a population of about 280,000. At the same time it is a lively city and big enough to offer everything you expect large capitals to have. It is also called European green city as it boasts nature in the heart of the city centre and other urban green areas.
The city center is marked by the work of the world-renowned architect Jože Plečnik. Visit some of his famous works, such as the Triple Bridge in the city center, the National and University Library building and the Ljubljanica river embankments and bridges.
The Central Market, which is also the art of Plečnik, is not only worth a visit but also good for shopping as the food here is fresh from local farmers.
Prešeren square is the heart of the historic city centre and also where locals usually meet. There is a monument to the poet France Prešeren and the Franciscan church.
Additionally, do not miss the Dragon Bridge – a symbol of Ljubljana, Metelkova alternative culture center, the Ljubljana castle, and Tivoli park – a popular and relaxing spot among locals.
Along the Ljubljanica river, there are numerous charming coffee bars and restaurants where you can take a rest and enjoy some traditional local dishes.
The fastest and easiest way to travel from Vienna to Ljubljana is by road. The driving distance is about 390 km and it will take you around 4 hours.
How to Get From Vienna to Ljubljana
All these day trips from Vienna can easily be done with kids. Just take things along to keep them busy on the trains or buses. And if you’re back, here is a great list of things to do with kids in Vienna. Also, returning from a long day trip may mean you’ll arrive back in Vienna very hungry. This is where you’ll find the best schnitzel in Vienna to take care of the hunger.
Having fun in Austria, and then writing about it is hard work 😆 . That’s why some links in this article are affiliate links. I may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you use any of them to make a purchase. It’s totally cool if you don’t. I love to help anyway. If you do, it will help us discover another part of Austria to write about.