Well, living in Prague is quite an amazing experience, as you can mingle nicely the working days of the week with a small weekend escape in the most beautiful nearby cities. No matter if you are seeking to book a family trip from Prague or simply to explore a nearby city, Prague Referral will bring you a bundle of suggestions to suit your needs. For instance, let’s take a look at the best day trip from Prague to Vienna, which you can easily transform into a weekend getaway if you want to. Further in this article you’ll find a detailed one-day itinerary for a short day trip from Prague to Vienna and some really good tips for an optional second day.
Why a day trip from Prague to Vienna is totally worth it?
Leaving the Vltava River behind and heading south, this day trip will take you on the picturesque Danube River. Vienna was the imperial and cultural centre of Europe and the seat of Habsburg Empire during the 18th century. The capital of Austria is an easy location to visit from Prague, as many people living in Prague regularly take short trips to discover and admire important landmarks in Vienna.
Arts and history in Vienna
For travelers who seek to discover the artistic side of Vienna, a visit to Museums Quartier district is a must do. Here regional artists such as Schiele or Klimt are on display, allowing its visitors to indulge in the uniqueness of their paintings. Moreover, the Museum of Fine Arts hosted in the Hofburg Palace has several top classical treasures from the most prolific European artists on display.
If you are interested to discover Vienna`s local history, you will certainly appreciate the Palace of Schonbrunn. Also, the Stephansdom or St. Stephen`s Cathedral represents a historical landmark of this city, being one of the most visited gothic churches in Europe. In addition, Vienna`s city centre, as part of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, will offer the best sightseeing experience in town due to the various townhouses, palaces or old restaurants spread on its premises.
Foodies will love Vienna too!
Foodies also have a great reason to take a day trip from Prague to Vienna. Many Austrian cuisine dishes, served here with a Viennese touch, can be really delicious. Moreover, the famous Sacher Torte entices the taste buds even of the choosiest travelers. So, our inside tip is to reserve some time to visit a coffee house in Vienna, as the coffeehouse culture here is listed as a UNESCO Immaterial Cultural Heritage. Having a cup of coffee in one of the old coffeehouses in the town will give you a taste of the authentic Viennese experience. Further in the article you’ll learn the name of the oldest coffee house in Vienna.
But the truth is, Vienna has a lot to offer and it’s hard to experience it in its full glory in one day. So, if you have any chance to stay in Vienna overnight and continue exploring it the next day, by all means – do it. Consider staying in a hotel nearby the city centre, just so you will be able to start your second day itinerary in Vienna as soon as you wake up – Wieden area offers some great hotels for that purpose.
So, with the overview behind us, let’s look into the details of your day trip from Prague to Vienna.
How to get from Prague to Vienna
Take a bus if it’s a budget-cautious day trip
Of course, Traveling from Prague to Vienna by bus is the most affordable option, if you book your ticket in advance. It is a ride that will last around four and a half hours. There are several bus companies that operate on this route, my personal favorite is RegioJet. I will never get tired of praising this bus operator, as no other transportation provider can match their level of service for the little money you pay.
These buses leave from UAN Florenc bus terminal, which is very conveniently located at Florenc metro station in Prague. RegioJet offers comfortable buses with AC and Wi-Fi on board, WC, free coffee and tea and very reasonably priced snacks. Despite the perks you get, the ride with them will cost you as low as 299 CZK (approx. 12 EUR) sometimes, depending on the season. However, the best thing about RegioJet is their Fun&Relax buses, which offer a touch-screen with various entertainment options placed in front of each passenger. So, Movies, games, news, quizzes – you choose! They also give you free headphones if you happen to forget to bring your own. 🙂
How to book RegioJet bus tickets from Prague to Vienna?
Check out their seasonal offer on RegioJet booking platform to see the most up to date prices and departure schedule. Note, you can change the language and the currency at the top of the webpage. If, for any reason, you want to pay in EUR, at least make sure to use Revolut to save on exchange rate (you can get your Revolut card for free with us).
Choose train for unmatched comfort for your day trip from Prague to Vienna
A train is the most comfortable and fastest way to travel from Prague to Vienna, with only 4 hours spent on the road. With zero traffic and plenty of leg room in front of your seat, there is simply no better option.
Of course, you can choose from various train operators, including the national ones – both Czech and Austrian national railroads have their own trains operating on this route. However, yet again, in my opinion the top offer comes from RegioJet. They operate between the main train station in Prague (Hlavni nadrazi) and the main station in Vienna (Hauptbahnhof), which is conveniently located close to the city center.
The new trains operated by RegioJet offer the most comfortable travel experience you can buy. To be precise, their train tickets come in 4 different categories based on your budget. The Low-Cost category is just slightly more expensive than comparable bus lines (only +2 EUR sometimes), but it offers the obvious comfort of traveling in a spacious train.
Book your train tickets from Prague to Vienna in advance!
I strongly recommend traveling with Relax category though. In my opinion it offers the highest return on the money you spend. Here you get all the perks listed above for RegioJet’s Fun&Relax buses, plus, you get to select your seat. That means not only flexibility in terms of leg room, but also that you can choose to sit alone. 🙂 It’s a great way to turn transportation to Vienna into a relaxing part of your trip. Well, just check the pictures of their Relax category on their website and you’ll see what I mean. Use the same webs
Is renting a car for a day trip from Prague to Vienna a good idea?
When traveling to Vienna by car, the cost depends on you, as you will oversee how many stops you take on the road and what car you use. However, consider the cost of parking, which can be pretty high in central Vienna.
On the other hand, renting a car doesn’t have to ruin your budget really, as competition raises among car rental companies, there are plenty of very affordable options. I recommend selecting one of the deals available on RentalCars.com. I always see the lowest rates here, and the website offers a wide range of cars to choose from. If you decide to drive from Prague to Vienna by car, keep in mind that there might be quite significant traffic on the highway, especially between Prague and Brno. This is very likely to slow you down if you are planning to leave Prague on Thursday or Friday evening, and come back on Sunday evening.
Potential chance to see a bit of Moravia on the way to Vienna
Traveling from Prague to Vienna by car provides a great opportunity to explore the east of Czech Republic. Although the shortest route takes you through Brno, you might want to take it the longer way and check out Kutna Hora and Olomouc. Those are very cute! Otherwise, consider a quick stop at Brno (after all it’s the second biggest city in Czech Republic) and afterwards head to Vienna.
Your itinerary for a day trip from Prague to Vienna
1. Mozart Monument
Start your city tour in Vienna by paying tribute to one of the most famous Austrians of all times – W. A. Mozart. You cannot visit Vienna and ignore the fact he lived and worked here. It’s just a monument, but it’s a symbolic step to complete. Besides, you can see Mozart as a child at the back-side of the monument. 🙂 The Mozart Monument is located in a small park called Burggarten at the edge of Vienna’s inner city.
2. Vienna State Opera
Just one block down south-east is where Vienna’s State Opera building can be found. This Neo-Renaissance style gem is another cultural must-see, so don’t miss it. It’s one of the most popular opera houses in the world and many people come to Vienna only to visit it. By the way, it was built by a Czech architect Josef Hlávka in mid-19th century. It employs over a thousand performers and musicians and has the capacity to accommodate over 2300 viewers. Besides, if you are visiting between April and June (which is the best time to take a short trip from Prague to Vienna), then you can enjoy the broadcast of the performances for free on a massive screen on the side of the building.
3. St. Stephen’s Cathedral
From here work your way up north, towards the Stephansplatz. Here you’ll find the most visited site in Vienna – St. Stephen’s Cathedral. It’s one of the most important, if not the most important, architectural gem that Vienna has to offer. It’s constructed and located in between the narrow streets of Vienna’s inner city with a goal in mind – to take your breath away as soon as you see it. And it’s very successful at it. It is certainly worth going inside and seeing the beauty of its interiors, even though the view from the outside is already impressive enough. If you want to challenge yourself, consider going up 300 stairs to the top of one of the towers of the cathedral – I recommend the southern tower as it offers a 360-degree view.
Tip!Consider visiting Cafe Frauenhuber – the oldest coffee house in Vienna, it’s only 400 meters away from St, Stephen’s Cathedral.
4. Hofburg Palace
Leaving the cathedral, head north-west through Graben street. Because it is full of luxury stores, it is very picturesque. And, even if you don’t typically shop in that price category, you can grab an ice-cream in one of the many local parlors and just enjoy the walk. Once you see Cartier shop on the corner, turn left and go down the street to reach the Hofburg palace.
Hofburg is a former baroque palace, which currently serves as a complex of museums and as the official residence of the President of Austria. Although there are multiple notable museums in this palace, many point out the Sisi Museum because it is dedicated to the Empress Elisabeth. Because there are way too many myths and unknowns surrounding her appearance and obsessions, she’s become one of the most intriguing figures of the Austrian royal history. As a consequence, that gave a major boost to her popularity in media of the time, as well as among historians of current days. So, if you are curious about personal royal stories, check the Sisi Museum out in Hofburg Palace.
If you left Prague early in the morning and therefore started your tour in Vienna some time after lunch, by now it’s already evening time. That means it’s time to relax and to enjoy some food and drinks. The perfect place for that is the MuseumsQuartier and its surrounding area. So, head south-west from Hofburg, crossing the old city gates and Maria Theresa square. In a little while you will enter an area that can be described as a mix of an inner court and a square. This area is full of different museums, but also restaurants and small eateries.
MuseumsQuartier in Vienna is very popular not only among tourists but particularly among locals, who come here to chill out and spend some time on big colourful seats placed on the square. These are not really benches, nor sofas. It’s hard to call them rocks, but they aren’t beds either – just something weird but very comfy. Grab an Aperol Spritz (or a good coffee, if you drive later) from any of the nearby restaurants and get on one of those beauties, feel free to lie down as many do, just enjoy your time and soak in the atmosphere.
6. Dinner time – the most beautiful closure of your day trip from Prague to Vienna
Now, for a proper dinner head south to Mariehilfer street. It’s Vienna’s main shopping area that is often busy till late in the evening and has a lot of decent restaurants offering local and international cuisine. Another great option is to walk for just 10 minutes and reach Naschmarkt, which is an old food market converted into a hip and vibrant area full of restaurants and local food shops. They really sell local produce, and the atmosphere here is very unique. I love Naschmarkt not only for dinners, but also for my Sunday brunches. Where else than in Vienna it’s appropriate to start your day with a glass of Mimosa or good quality Prosecco? 😊
At this point, I really hope you are not going to head back to Prague this late. Ideally, you should have a place booked for one night somewhere in Wieden area. I really recommend staying in this area because it offers great value for your money – it’s close to main attractions in the inner city and it has a lot of very nice eateries in the neighborhood. If you are looking for a great service for your money, then I can recommend you choosing Hotel Beethoven. The interior is tasteful, the staff are polite and friendly and the location is just excellent.
Now, if you indeed decided to stay in Vienna overnight, keep reading, because the itinerary for the second (optional) day is even more exciting. Otherwise, see you in Prague!
Tip!If you are staying overnight, and don’t feel completely exhausted in the evening, I recommend a short walk to Karlskirche. It’s a beautiful baroque church, and it looks majestic when they turn on the lights in the evening.
Day 2 (optional, if you extend your day trip from Prague to Vienna)
1. Morning treat in Naschmarkt or Oberlaa
On the second day in Vienna, you certainly want to start your morning right! So, apart from the Mimosa tip I wrote about above, consider this option – Oberlaa confectionery. Even though there is one Oberlaa pastry shop/cafe directly in Naschmarkt, I find the one in Mariehilfer street much more pleasing to the eye. It really has a unique Viennese spirit. Just 10 minutes walk from anywhere in Wieden, and you get great coffee and even better desserts.
2. Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens
Once you feel fully woken up, it’s time to visit the Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens. If you decide to follow that route, you should get up early, because Schonbrunn will take your entire morning due to its vastness and numerous places to discover. If you are staying in Wieden, U4 metro line can take you there in less than half an hour. Take U4 line, for example at Kettenbrückengasse station, and get out at Schonbrunn. Then just walk towards the palace. Be confident, there is no way you can get lost here if you just follow where the rest of the crowd goes. Most people leaving at Schonbrunn go to see the palace.
You can visit both the main buildings and the gardens with only one entrance ticket. This 18th century palace gives you a great idea of how lavish the royal parties were back in those days when royal family members were spending their summers here. While walking in the gardens of this spectacular residence, sit down at Café Gloriette and have a coffee here. The prices are above average, but the atmosphere is totally worth it. You can also have a lunch here, as they serve some delicious Viennese dishes like goulash and pancakes with minced meat. Since you made it all the way from Prague to Vienna, you might as well want to treat yourself. 🙂
You could probably spend the whole day walking in Schonbrunn gardens and won’t get enough of it, but unfortunately you need to get back to Vienna city center and continue your tour.
Now, find the Schloss Schönbrunn tram stop, it’s in front of the entrance to the palace, just across the bridge. Then take tram 10 and go to Westbahnhof, just enjoy a 10-minute tram ride observing the changing scenery behind the window. Once you reach Westbahnhof change to metro, take line U3 and go to Herrengasse where you’ll take off and walk to Votivkirche.
2B. Late breakfast is a great “lazy” alternative to visiting Schonbrunn
Here I’m going to take a little step aside and mention an alternative plan. Honestly, I believe that traveling from Prague to Vienna and not visiting Schonbrunn is a shame. However, on the other hand, I fully understand that taking a route that leads you that far from the city centre when your overal trip is so short, might feel overwhelming. So, if you decide to skip the Schonbrunn Palace all together, I won’t judge you.
What is the best place for late breakfast in Vienna?
Here is a great “lazy” (Sunday) morning alternative – go for a late breakfast at Vollpension. It’s a very unique concept, because they employ real Viennese grandmas who prepare all the food with genuine grandmother’s touch in an open kitchen setting, in front of your eyes. The atmosphere is very hip, because they position themselves as a cross-generational place. Food serves as a catalyst to build bridges between elderly and young here. However, don’t get mistaken, it’s not a charity – these grannies have some sass! 😊
They serve “breakfast” till 2PM on weekdays and for one extra hour during the weekend. The menu is available in English, by the way. Keep in mind though, Vollpension is super popular, so you might need to wait for a table a little bit. But since the food is absolutely delicious, it’s totally worth it!
How to get back to your main itinerary from here?
And if you decide to go for this alternative plan, before you continue with your itinerary, you need to get to Votivkirche from Vollpension somehow. The best way is by hopping on tram number 1, because it will take you from Resselgasse stop to Schottentor U in only 10 minutes. In the meantime you can enjoy the view of Vienna’s inner city as the tram takes you down the route that replaced the old city walls. Once you reach Schottentor U, Votivkirche is just 300 meters up north-west.
So, now you are in front of Votivkirche church. It is a beautiful neo-Gothic catholic church. It’s not that old, it has only been built in 19th century but its design is nonetheless impressive. In fact, it often confuses tourists as many tend to think it’s the St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which has similar but much older construction.
4. University of Vienna
From here, walk down south to see the building of Vienna University. It was founded in 14th century. As a result of being a very prestigious institution, currently it teaches over 100000 students from bachelors to doctoral students. Is’t definitely worth seeing, but if you decide to go in, consider time – it’s easy to get lost in there.
5. Rathaus (city hall)
The next stop is also an absolute must-see thing in your itinerary – it’s the Rathaus, or the city hall in English. It’s a massive, beautiful neo-Gothic building originally build as the city hall of Vienna. However, these days it doesn’t serve as an actual city hall. Now it hosts events of high importance, balls and congresses. It’s just grandiose in its scale and beauty!
6. Parliament building, finishing your short trip from Prague to Vienna
Moving further south you’ll reach the last stop in your itinerary – the Parliament building. The whole design of the building (including its interiors) has a very Greek feel to it, and it is intentional. The architect behind the Parliament building, Theophil Hansen, wanted to pay credit to Greece as the motherland of democracy. He also drafted the design of the sculpture of Athene Pallas, the Greek goddess of wisdom, that currently stands in front of the Parliament building. Interesting fact – Athene holds another tiny statue in its right hand, it’s Nike, the goddess of victory. Wisdom wins! The Parliament building has a very impressive construction when you look at its exteriors, but you can also peak inside and attend one of the guided tours they organize.
Tip!I personally don’t think a tour in the Parliament is worth it. If you have any time left and if you like contemporary art, I’d recommend you walk a couple of meters down south, back to the MuseumsQuartier and visit Mumok instead. It’s the best contemporary arts museum in Vienna.
Closing words and reminders before your short trip from Prague to Vienna starts
That’s it! The itinerary for the Day 2 of your short trip from Prague to Vienna is a bit more condensed, but that’s just because you have a journey ahead of you. So, I hope you find this breakdown of a day trip from Prague to Vienna useful. Also, I really believe Vienna deserves more than just one day, and I am hopeful that you would seriously consider staying overnight. That would allow you to get the maximum out of your trip by following the second day’s itinerary as well.
And at the end, a little reminder – book a place Wieden neighborhood. Since Wieden is the best area to stay in Vienna for such a short trip, staying here will save you time and money. And, of course, don’t forget your Revolut card, as in Austria you pay in Euros. 😉 Enjoy, and keep traveling!