Oh, Vienna! The charming capital of Austria is also the classical music capital of the world, with a glorious history of legendary composers making their indelible mark on the city. Mozart, Beethoven, Hadyn, and many other famous musicians all lived in Vienna for a period of time. Surrounded by lilting melodies from the street musicians, fragrant notes of coffee from the Viennese coffee houses, and beautiful opulent palaces, one might find it hard to leave Vienna. However, if you have some time on your hands, it is worth venturing out of Vienna to discover equally charming neighboring towns and attractions, all hidden gems in their own right.
Worth visiting, the whole experience of taking a walk inside the mine and witnessing part of the history where Nazi's manufactured air crafts in addition to the 10 mins boat trip in one of the largest underground lakes is all awesome. An easy 1 hour trip from Vienna u can do it by yourself, take S1 train heading to Mödling station then take bus 364 or 365 right to the entrance of the lake. Entrance fees is 10 euros be ready for 9 degrees temperature. Ayman_Garhy
A short 30-minute drive away in the town of Hinterbrühl, beneath an old gypsum (type of mineral) mine, is Europe’s largest subterranean lake. A blasting operation that went awry in 1912 flooded the mine with gallons of water from underground springs, rendering the mine unusable but creating the mysterious underground lake in its place. The mine also has an interesting history; its dry upper levels were used by the German military forces during World War II for shelter and also as an aircraft factory.
Guided tours, which include a boat ride on the lake, are available. As sunlight does not reach the grotto, the temperature inside can get quite low so it is best to wear thick clothing. Also note that if you are claustrophobic, this might not be a suitable activity.
Address: Grutschgasse 2a, 2371 Hinterbrühl, Austria
Entrance Fee: 10 EUR (11.20 USD)
Opening Hours: Apr to Oct 9 am - 5 pm; Nov to Mar 9 am - 3 pm
Tour Duration: Around 45 minutes
Contact: +43 2236 26364
Website: Seegrotte Hinterbrühl
Vienna Woods and Mayerling Half Day Trip (Includes Seegrotte)
Departure Point: Hotel pick-up or meet at the corner of Laxenburger Strasse / Wiedner Gurtel (about 300 meters / 984 feet from Sudtirolerplatz.)
Price: From 60.92 USD
Departure Time: 9.45 am
Duration: Around 4 hours
2. Baden bei Wien
Baden bei Wien (Baden near Vienna) was a favorite relaxing getaway destination among Vienna’s nobility back in the 19th century. Baden is German for baths, and so, just by its name, you can easily deduce that Baden bei Wien is, of course, a spa town. A 40-minute drive southwest from Vienna, the sulfurous mineral springs in Baden bei Wien are known for their curative properties, which were first enjoyed by the Romans, then Viennese royalty, and also allegedly attracted Beethoven who was searching for a cure for his deafness.
Apart from the baths, Baden bei Wien is also home to beautiful gardens, parks, and historic buildings. Beethoven-lovers can also follow in the footsteps of the composer, who lived in the town for a while, by visiting Beethoven Haus, his former residence now turned into a museum. This residence is also where his famous 9th Symphony was born. On weekends and holidays, guided tours of the museum are available at 5 pm for 2.50 EUR (2.80 USD). In the northern part of the city, the beautiful Kurpark hides the Beethoven Temple at its top. A monument to the famous composer, it also offers stunning views of the landscapes.
Surrounded by the lush Vienna woods and the rolling Alpine hills, the picturesque Baden bei Wien is the ideal place to pamper and invigorate yourself.
If you are not planning to drive, the Wiener Lokalbahnen (local train) is an affordable option with direct services from Vienna’s city center to Baden bei Wien. A single ticket costs 5.50 EUR (6.15 USD) and a day ticket, which allows stops and switches, costs 12.10 EUR (13.50 USD).
Address: Rathausgasse 10, Baden 2500, Austria
Price: 6 EUR (6.70 USD)
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday and on holidays: 10 am to 6 pm
Contact: +43 2252 86800 - 630
Website: Beethoven Haus
Address: Brusattiplatz 4, Baden 2500, Austria
Price: From 13.40 EUR (15 USD) (Adults)
Opening Hours: 9 am - 10 pm daily
Duration: Minimum of 3 hours required
Contact: +43 2252 45030
A visit in Esterhazy Palace is an historical trip, back in time into the classical heritage of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The huge palace introduces the variuos treasures of Esterhazy family. Not to miss the wine cellar, the jewels exhibition, the cultivated garden, and mainly, the Haydn hall, the primary attraction in the palace in the birth town of the great compositor. David1947_63
The capital of Burgenland Province in Austria, Eisenstadt is a small city with a big history. A 40-minute drive southwest of Vienna, Eisenstadt was the seat of the Esterhazy noble family during the Hapsburg monarchy, and also where one of the most celebrated classical composers in Europe spent a good part of his life. Joseph Haydn was employed in the court of Esterhazy as the music director for 40 years and left an enduring impression on Eisenstadt. There is an annual Haydn Festival from early to mid September where fans of his music come from all over the world to enjoy performances of his pieces, many of which were created in this very city.
Many top attractions in Eisenstadt revolve around Haydn. The house in which Haydn lived for 12 years was preserved and converted to a museum (The Haydn House). The marble tomb of Haydn lies in the Bergkirche, an 18th-century church in Eisenstadt built by Prince Paul Esterhazy. The grand Schloss Esterhazy (Esterhazy Palace) is one of the most fascinating baroque palaces in Austria and perhaps the most significant attraction in Eisenstadt. Within the palace, the elaborately frescoed Haydn Hall is a must-see. This was where Haydn conducted the orchestra almost every night during his employment at Esterházy court from 1761 to 1790. The acoustics of the hall are renowned and it is still used as a concert hall today. It is said that Haydn’s compositions sound the best in this concert hall because they were composed for its acoustics. Check out the concert programming on the official website and treat your ears to an evening of musical appreciation.
You can purchase a Haydn Ticket that entitles you access to two exhibitions ; one provides an insight into Haydn’s life as a composer and the other presents the highlights of Esterhazy Palace. If your interest lies in exploring the palace, you can opt for the Palace Tour, which gives you access to the grand apartment of the Esterhazy wives.The guided tour in English starts at 1.30 pm. Both tours cost 11 EUR (12.30 USD).
Address: Esterházyplatz 5, 7000 Eisenstadt
Price: 11 EUR (12.30 USD)
Opening Hours: May to Sep 10 am - 6 pm daily (Other months - 5 pm)
Contact: +43 2682 63004 – 7600
Website: Schloss Esterhazy
Address: Haydn-Haus Eisenstadt, Joseph Haydn-Gasse 19 & 21, 7000 Eisenstadt
Price: 5 EUR (5.60 USD)
Opening Hours: 1 Jun to 13 Nov: Mon to Sat 9 am - 5 pm, Sun & holidays 10 am - 5 pm
Website: Haydn House
Esterhazy Exhibition Tour (German but with English language booklet)
Departure Point: Albertinaplatz in front of Café Mozart, Vienna
Price: 49 EUR (54.80 USD) - Includes bus, admission to exhibitions, and tours
Opening Hours: 9 am
Duration: Around 7 hours
Contact: +43 2682 63004-407
Website: Esterhazy Exhibition Tour
This HAS to be on your list for things to do in Austria. Not far from Vienna in the Wachau valley, this is one of the most beautiful and welcoming experiences you will find on your trip. Benedictine monks are committed to education and they have done everything possible to make it an enjoyable and exhilarating experience for visitors. Go on a Sunday morning and enjoy the Monks and locals at mass. John S
On the banks of the lazy Danube River, near the scenic Wachau Valley, is the sleepy town of Melk. Looming proud and stately above the town is Melk’s most famous attraction, the magnificent red-roofed Melk Abbey. More than 900 years old, the Benedictine abbey was built in a high baroque style and it is an architectural gem famous for its colorful frescoes, ornate decor, and extensive library with a huge collection of ancient books. More than just a historical monument, the monastic school and church are still functional today. Take your time to breathe in the smell of old books and absorb the sight of towering bookcases packed with books, manuscripts, and incunabula (books printed before the year 1501) that hold the weight of history. Perched high above the town on a rocky outcrop, expect panoramic views of the river and the town. Before you look out however, don’t forget to look up when you’re inside the abbey; the detailed ceiling frescoes are a sight to behold.
From March to November, you can visit the abbey with or without a guide. In March, guided tours are at 11 am and 2 pm, while daily guided tours in English are held at 10.55 am and 2.55 pm from April to October. (Do note that from November to March, visits are only possible with a guided tour.)
While the abbey may be absolutely marvelous, don’t neglect the quaint old town of Melk. On a lazy summer’s day, stroll down the winding car-free streets of the city center, check out the Town Hall, and enjoy the intimate atmosphere of the city over a cup of coffee or a cold beer.
Address: Stift Melk, Abt-Berthold-Dietmayr-Str. 1, A 3390 Melk
Price: From 11 EUR (12.30 USD)
Opening Hours: 9 am - 5.30 pm
Website: Melk Abbey
Melk Abbey and Danube Valley Day Trip from Vienna
Departure Point: Central Vienna or selected Vienna hotels
Price: From 84 USD
Departure Time: 9.45 am
Duration: Around 8 hours
An easy 1-hour drive away from Vienna lies another capital city: the beautiful Bratislava. It is the capital and largest city of Slovakia. Also connected by the meandering Danube River, Bratislava and Vienna are two of the closest capital cities in Europe.
Blessed is Bratislava, a harmonious blend of old-world charm and picturesque nature. The pedestrian-only 18th-century old town (Staré Mesto in Slovak) is a joy to explore, with its immaculately preserved medieval center, inexpensive cafes and restaurants, and colorful buildings lining the cobbled streets. Spot the quaint little red tourist train, the only vehicle allowed within the old town, as it navigates the narrow streets. Overlooking the town from its lofty hill-top post is the iconic Bratislava Castle. The view is not only stunning, but also unique in that you can see Slovakia, Austria, and Hungary from the castle top.
If you are looking to take a break from the city and seek a breath (or many breaths) of fresh air, the Carpathian mountain range provides an easy and convenient hiking opportunity. Roughly an hour of walking from the main train station in Bratislava will transport you to the magical forested hills of the Small Carpathians, or Malé Karpaty. The incline is pretty gentle at lower elevations and nature-lovers will find it a rejuvenating experience to explore the hills surrounded by nothing but nature’s symphony.
Tip: Bratislava really comes alive during December when the spirit of Christmas fills the air. The Bratislava Christmas Market (held in the main square) is a truly magical experience and a popular event among both locals and tourists.
Address: 811 06 Bratislava, Slovakia
Price: External grounds are free to enter, museum admission: 6 EUR (6.70 USD)
Opening Hours: 9 am - 9.30 pm (summer season)
Website: Bratislava Castle
Bratislava Day Trip From Vienna
Departure Address: Central Vienna Hotels
Price: From 51.09 USD
Departure Time: 8.30 am
Duration: Around 7.5 hours
It really is no wonder that a great many musical masterpieces were born, or lived, in Austria. Inspiration can be found in every corner, at every turn, as sure as the flow of the river. A mysterious underground lake, resplendent palaces, musical geniuses, relaxing thermal spas … a wealth of treasure awaits! Vienna really is a jewel in its own right, and also the perfect place from which to discover other lesser-known but equally charming places in nearby parts of Austria.