This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.
So, what are you waiting for? Get reading and planning your next trip to Austria!
The stunning Bojnice Castle in Slovakia is definitely one of the most underrated day trips from Vienna. Being one of the best places to see in Slovakia, this castle is a 2 hour and 50-minute drive from Vienna (258 km) and is considered the most beautiful castle in Central Europe. Once you’re there, it’s not hard to see why. The architecture and surroundings give off total fairytale vibes, and the scenery is incredibly photogenic.
Bojnice Castle costs €13 to enter. This entry ticket includes the castle gallery as well, and you can easily spend a good hour or two wandering inside the castle premises and admiring the interior design. Once you’re finished touring the interior, be sure to take a nice stroll in the castle gardens outside. There’s a gorgeous view from every corner, and you can even enjoy a relaxing picnic in the park.
If you’re visiting with family, you can also head over to the Bojnice Zoo after seeing the castle. This is one of the most visited zoos in Slovakia and it’s the perfect place to spot African elephants, orangutans, kangaroos, and even Fiji iguanas!
You can also easily pair a trip to Bojnice Castle with a short visit to Čičmany, a traditional folklore village that’s only 45 minutes away by car. This village is famous for its many iconic houses decorated with stunning geometric designs. You can learn a lot about the culture and traditions of the Slovak countryside by wandering the narrow streets there!
Recommended by Jiayi of The Diary of a Nomad
Want to turn it into a weekend trip? Book a night at Hotel Pod zamkom.
Just an hour by train or 2 hours by ferry via the Danube, Slovakia’s capital city, Bratislava, is the perfect size and location for a day trip from Vienna. The two cities lie just 79 kilometers (49 miles) apart. Although they share a lot in common, Bratislava is different enough to offer a nice contrast.
Bratislava served as the legislative center for the Kingdom of Hungary for two centuries between 1536 and 1783, and the Hungarian legacy – along with Bulgarian, Czech, German and Serbian influences – still permeates the city today.
Bratislavský hrad (Bratislava Castle) is the north star and is a great place to start your day trip with a view of the entire city, the river, and the colorful Petrzalka neighborhood beyond. From the castle yard, you can look directly onto St. Martin’s, the Gothic-Romanesque cathedral where no fewer than 19 Hungarian kings and queens were crowned.
Pass through the 14th-century Michael’s Gate to access Bratislava Old Town, a compact yet charming maze of old city walls, squares, palaces, and modern art sculptures.
Eat lunch at Bratislava Flagship, a brewpub restaurant where you can taste many Slovak specialties including the national dish, Bryndzové halušky – a tasty plate of potato dumplings smothered with sheep’s cheese and topped with crispy bacon.
If you want to pack all the highlights into one day and get a feel for Slovakia’s complex history at the same time, consider signing up for a walking tour that leads you through the Old Town and culminates with the castle.
Recommended by Emily from Wander-Lush
If you want to stay longer, spend the night at ibis Bratislava Centrum.
Just an hour and a half north of Vienna, Austria, and directly across the border, the town of Brno, Czech Republic is worth visiting. An easy day trip from Vienna, there are a lot of great things to do in Brno whether it is a nature experience or city-life that you seek.
Located in the region of Moravia, in southeastern Czechia, Brno is the second-largest city in the country and is easily accessible by both train or car. Start your visit at the beautiful Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul which towers over the city. Climb the church tower for an even more breathtaking view overlooking Brno.
Afterward, head to the Brno Ossuary, the second-largest ossuary in Europe behind the Paris Catacombs. Although it can be a bit grim, touring the ossuary is a must when in Brno. You’ll walk through tunnels of walls made of bones. This underground chamber beneath the Church of St. Jacob is believed to contain the remains of at least 50,000 people.
After touring the ossuary, roam the charming cobblestone streets of Old Town, for a refreshing and lively experience. Duck into restaurants or shops or wander through the daily vegetable market to enjoy the atmosphere of local life in Brno.
If it is nature you seek, head just outside of Brno to see the beautiful Moravian fields. This largely agricultural area boasts rolling fields of green and yellow that span as far as the eye can see.
Recommended by Melissa from Parenthood and Passports
Make it a longer trip if you’d like by spending the night at Barcelo Brno Palace.
If you’re looking for a fun day trip from Vienna, Budapest is definitely the perfect option for you. Getting there is super easy because it’s just a three-hour train ride away from the Wien Hauptbahnhof Station, in Vienna, to Keleti Train Station in Budapest.
Although many people like to say that Vienna and Budapest are quite similar, both cities should be on your bucket list, regardless of their similarities, and, most importantly, crossed out from it!
Budapest is a unique and vibrant city full of history and life, beautiful locations, and a vast amount of fun things to do. When you plan a visit to Budapest, you have to make sure to include the most important landmarks of the city, such as the amazing Parliament House, the enchanting Buda Castle, and the majestic Matthias Church, at the very least.
Among the incredible things Budapest has to offer, you can’t go wrong with trying some of the traditional cuisines of the city. Some of my favorite dishes are the chicken paprikash and the goulash, from the main dish section. But if you have a sweet tooth, then you won’t want to miss any of the delicious desserts you can find in Budapest, so you should definitely have a taste of kürtőskalács and kremes cake!
If you want to know more about the city and are looking for a complete Budapest bucket list, including all the places you should visit, experiences you should have, and exquisite food and drinks you should try, check out this link here and you’ll find everything you need to get started on planning your visit.
Recommended by Nat from Boletworldwide
Want to stay longer? Make it a weekend trip and spend the night at Prestige Hotel Budapest.
Cesky Krumlov has to be one of the cutest towns in Europe. A small medieval town of roughly 13,000 people, Cesky Krumlov is located in the South Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic.
One of the best things to do in Cesky Krumlov is to just wander the street and absorb the atmosphere of the town. You won’t be able to walk more than a few feet without stopping to snap a picture. It truly feels as though you are walking in a fairytale.
Cesky Krumlov is set on a winding river and below a huge medieval Castle. The view over the red terracotta rooftops is beautiful and some of the best in Cesky Krumlov.
If you are looking for a day trip from Vienna then Cesky Krumlov definitely needs to be on your list. There are a couple of ways to get to Cesky Krumlov from Vienna, if you have your own car or you have hired a car it will take approximately two hours and 45 minutes or you can take an organized group tour.
These tours are a full day and allow you to spend time exploring the town, whilst also taking some guided tours around Cesky Krumlov.
Recommended by Fiona from Travelling Thirties
Make it a longer trip by spending the night at Hotel Ruze!
A really recommended place for an unforgettable day trip from Vienna is the charming town of Eisenstadt. It’s the political and cultural center of Burgenland and is located in the area of Lake Neusiedlersee. On a visit, you will love the mix of a long history and tradition, cultural events, and the modern outlook.
In fact, there is a lot of romantic things to see in the city center like the pedestrian zone, the palace park, and the parliament building. The whole inner city is stuffed with lovely details and many highlights for taking pictures1
The main attraction in Eisenstadt and a must-see on any day trip from Vienna is the Esterházy Palace. It dates to a fortified 13th-century Gothic castle.
For more than 40 years, the composer Joseph Haydn was inspired by Esterházy Palace’s special atmosphere to create exceptional music to accompany historic events. The Haydn Room, named after the composer, is still one of the world’s best – acoustically – and loveliest concert halls.
The beautiful palace grounds are also lovely. On a walk, you will enjoy the lovely botanic garden, a small lake, and even a public pool area. In any case, don`t miss the Gloriette (the Esterházys’ former hunting lodge), Haydn’s House, and Haydn’s church, which contains Haydn’s mausoleum and the Stations of the Cross are all worth visiting too.
For getting from Eisenstadt to Vienna you can either take the car, the bus or the train. This will take you only 45 minutes to 1 hour!
Recommended by Martina from PlacesofJuma
Want to stay longer? Book a night at Hotel-Restaurant OHR.
If you are a lover of beautiful architecture, enjoy getting lost in the labyrinth of Old Town, soaking in the hip culture of a charming university town, then Graz is the place you must visit from Vienna. The second-largest city and capital of the Styria province, Graz offers an incredible mix of historical sites, vibrant café and restaurant scene, and charming cultural city center to explore.
The City of Graz Historic Centre, including the famous Schloss Eggenberg, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its beautiful blend of different architectural styles through the ages. The fusion of Renaissance, Gothic and Baroque architecture gave Graz the coveted title of “the best-preserved city center of Central Europe”! The entire city is filled with such beautiful details all around that walking around Graz feels like meandering through a museum.
The best way to reach Graz from Vienna is either by bus or train. The journey takes 2.5-3 hours with frequent services throughout the day. Once in Graz, most of the places of interest are walkable and hence makes exploration very easy. One can also take tram rides that connect the city very well. T
he best place to start sightseeing is from Hauptplatz (Main Square) which is located in the heart of the Old town. Next to it, Herrengasse is the shopping street which sets the mood vibrant and lively.
No visit to Graz is complete without walking around the Schlossberg and up to its Clock Tower.
Climb the Clock Tower around sunset to witness the mesmerizing panoramic views of Graz against the setting sun. There are a plethora of good restaurants and it’s heavenly even for vegan foodies. However you wish to spend the time, this youthful and lively Graz is bound to impress you with its magical charm.
Recommended by Sunetra from Globetrotting SU
Want to stay longer? Spend the night at Grand Hotel Wiesler.
Hallstatt is a hidden gem in Austria and reminds you of a fairytale perfectly situated in front of a lake with swans swimming peacefully within. It is a great day trip from Vienna and a must-see destination. It was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997 and you will understand why when you visit and see the picturesque village.
You only need a few hours to explore the town – most visitors do just that and spend the night in either Vienna or Salzburg. Be sure to take the funicular to the SkyWalk and witness the village from atop. Market Square is the center of the town and you will find unique architecture, restaurants, cafes, hotels, and souvenir shops.
Nearby, you can stop for cream strudel at Cafe Derbl – this is a typical dish of the area. Next, go to the picture-postcard spot is located at Gosaumühlstraße 67. This is where you will find the swans on the lake and it will make you fall in love with visiting this fairytale town.
If time allows, visit the Hallstatt Salt Mine, an important location for mining in the region as well as Museum Hallstatt which showcases the special archaeological finds of Hallstatt.
To get to Hallstatt, you can either drive or take public transport. If you drive there, it takes 3 hours (179 miles or 288 km). Alternatively, you may take the Austrian Railway which also takes a little over 3 hours to complete the journey.
Recommended by Jackie Rezk from Jou Jou Travels
Stay longer by booking a night at Heritage Hotel Hallstatt.
Krems an der Donau
Krems an der Donau is the perfect destination for a day trip from Vienna for anyone looking to experience Austrian history and scenery without spending hours traveling.
There is a direct and convenient local train connection from Wien Spittelau to Krems, which takes about an hour. During the ride, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the beautiful scenery as the train winds along the Danube river.
Krems an der Donau, nicknamed “Krems”, is a town in the Wachau region of in Lower-Austria. It is over 1000 years old with a Medieval town center and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site
You enter the Medieval part of Krems through the Steiner Tor. Walking through the 15th-century gate feels like stepping back in time. You are immediately welcomed by a cozy main street. The side streets hide a wealth of picturesque corners and squares, as well as monuments like the St. Veit Church and Gozzoburg.
The Stein neighborhood is also particularly beautiful and charming. Art lovers should check out the brand new Landesgalerie Niederösterreich.
Krems lies in the most important wine region of Austria. So be sure to try a few local wines at a tavern or visit one of the many wineries around the city. The local cuisine is rustic and seasonal, perfect for foodies that would like to dive into Austrian cuisine.
If you cannot get enough of Medieval towns, there are plenty of additional pretty towns along the Danube Valley to explore. I recommend adding Dürnstein to your day trip to Krems an der Donau.
Recommended by Sophie from Just Heading Out
Spend the night at Gasthof Klinglhuber if you want to make the trip longer!
Lake Balaton is the biggest lake in central Europe. It’s one of the most visited places in Hungary and it’s known more as the summer vacation hotspot for local Hungarians and close-by nations.
Around Balaton Lake are a variety of things to do. Firstly there are countless lakeshore resorts for sunbaths and leisure. Also, there are several hiking trails on the volcanic Bakony Mountains, vineyards for wine tasting, and many festivals throughout the summer.
For a day trip from Vienna, it’s recommended to explore Lake Balaton’s east shore. Firstly, set sights on the Tihany peninsula. It’s the most beautiful area in Balaton. From there you can explore the charming town of Tihany with a beautiful castle, cottage houses, and many authentic local shops. From Tihany Castle’s viewpoint, you can also admire Lake Balaton’s views.
Another remarkable place on the east shore of Lake Balaton is Badacsony. There you have a variety of options to spend a day. Visitors can hike on volcanic Badacsony hill, where you have the best views over Lake Balaton and the surrounding Bakony Mountains. Also, there are different vineyards with farms to taste local wine production. Small restaurants to taste local street food langos. For history enthusiasts, close-by is also well-maintained Szigliget Castle.
Lake Balaton is from Vienna about 210 km away. The best way to get there is by car and it takes about 2 hours and 45 minutes. Unfortunately, there aren’t any direct public transportation options and it takes a bit longer to reach there than by car. If still going there by public transport, then look for connections with a layover in Györ.
Recommended by Erki from Genem Travels
Want to stay longer? Spend the night at Mala Garden Design Hotel.
Moravian Karst Complex
The Moravian complex is the largest karst area in Central Europe. In order to get there from Vienna, one has to head to the north, cross the border with Czechia and get to Brno. From Brno, there is only around 30km left to the complex.
The total distance is around 180 km and can be done in under 2 hours and a half each way. Public transport is available but much slower. At the entrance, there’s a large parking area and a tourist information center.
Most of the tourists that get to the Moravian karst complex want to visit Punkva Cave, because the underground tour is partially done by boat. This being said, keep in mind that tickets sell out quickly and it’s advisable to book your tour online in advance.
The cavern is not interesting only due to the river and the beautiful karst formations inside, but also because it reaches the base of the Macocha Abyss. The guide knows many stories linked to it. After that, the visitors are loaded on boats. They are taken through spacious halls and narrow tunnels until the stream finally finds its way out of the cave.
There are more than 1000 caverns in the complex. However, only 4 more are open to the public (Sloupsko-Šošůvské, Kateřinská, Balcarka and Výpustek). Kateřinská Caves is the largest subterranean space in the complex and is often used as a concert venue due to its great acoustics.
However, all of them are much less crowded than Punkva and each is interesting in its own way.
Recommended by Raluca from Travel With A Spin
Make it a longer trip by spending the night at Hotel Kras!
Thayatal National Park
The Nationalpark Thayatal is a great day trip out into the countryside from Vienna to explore the peaceful woodland along the border with the Czech Republic.
The Thaya Valley National Park is around a 90-minute drive from the capital city in the Waldviertel region of Lower Austria just outside the town of Hardegg.
Hardegg, the smallest town in Austria, offers a visit to the imposing castle above the settlement as well as being the starting point for hikes along the Thaya river and into the National Park. It is also the location for the pedestrian border crossing into the Czech National Park Podyjí, which covers the northern side of the river. (There is an interesting museum about the opening of the border and the fall of the Iron Curtain in the building just over the bridge.)
The National Park headquarters on the Austrian side is located on the road just before the descent to Hardegg. Visitors can also view the two European wildcats Frieda and Carlo in their living quarters nearby and set off on the six kilometers of the ‘Wildcat Trail’ from the building.
The European wildcat was once thought to be extinct in Austria, but the shy nocturnal mammals were reintroduced to the National Park 20 years ago. The shaded river is also a favorite breeding spot for black storks, who can sometimes be spotted fishing in the waters in the early morning.
There are a variety of hiking trails along the banks and up to scenic viewpoints over the forested course of the meandering river.
The car journey to the National Park is quite straightforward with the road through Stockerau and Hollabrunn. Those wanting to use public transport are best advised to take the train to Retz and then the public bus to the National Park headquarters or Hardegg.
Recommended by Steve from Austria Direct
Make it a longer trip by staying in the area at Hotel Althof Retz.
With so many wonderful things to see and do in Vienna, it would probably take at least a week to experience all the music, art, history, and culture of the Capital city of Austria. Having said that, take a chance to explore something else a little bit further to the city’s outskirts, like Vienna Woods. Located just about 50 kilometers away from Vienna’s city center, Vienna Woods is a place known for its wine gardens, vineyards, walking trails, and picturesque villages.
There are a number of trains and bus routes that take travelers to Vienna Woods within an hour; To make a full day out of the city, I suggest renting a car so you can get around town and explore the area at your own pace.
Start your day with a wine tour in a vineyard and have a sip of some world-class liquor, and if you want to do something more active, go kayaking on the Danube or take a scenic walk through the magnificent historic forest, which was a hunting ground of Viennese royalty.
Take it slow and have a walk in the town center after lunch. Vienna Woods has no lack of historic sites including the Mayerling hunting lodge and Heiligenkreuz Abbey, which is one of the oldest Cistercian monasteries in the world.
Recommended by Knycx Journeying
Just an hour out of the city by train, visiting the Wachau Valley is a great option for a day trip from Vienna. Framed by hills and situated on the banks of the Danube, the Wachau Valley is a UNESCO world heritage, famous for its wine, castles, and charming towns.
Once you’ve arrived in either Melk or Krems (there are direct trains from Vienna), spend the day exploring the valley, either by bike, car, or bus. With all of the wineries in the region, cycling is an easy option, with some day tours available from Vienna.
If you like wine, spend the day visiting the terraced vineyards, renowned for their dry white wines made from Riesling and Grüner Veltliner grapes. Between the wineries, marvel at the wonderful scenery, and pick your favorite winery for lunch.
If you’re more interested in the history and culture of the area (or spending the entire day tasting wine isn’t that appealing), visit some of the towns on the banks of the Danube.
Melk and Dürnstein are probably the prettiest, with charming town centers, Baroque architecture, and a fortress and abbey respectively, both of which are well worth exploring. The castle in Dürnstein was once the prison of King Richard, the Lionheart, of England so is a must for those interested in history – or those who want to see the beautiful views from the fortress up on the hill.
If you’re traveling by bus or car, you may choose to stop in some of the smaller medieval towns (Spitz is also charming with vineyards close by) or wineries. And, if you want to see the valley from a different perspective, take the ferry between Krems and Melk – a much more affordable option than a river cruise, with lovely views.
Recommended by Roxanne from Faraway Worlds
Check out our Vienna vlog!
Travel to Austria
Are you planning a trip to Austria? You’re in luck! We have more great Austria travel posts to help ease your stress. Check them out below!