7 of the best day trips from Vienna

January 31, 2018 (Last Updated: September 21, 2023)
by Carolyn
Charles Bridge Prague

Is Vienna worth visiting? Absolutely. Whilst there are plenty of Vienna tourist attractions to fill your time in this beautiful city, it’s also a great base from which you can explore a number of other popular European destinations.

I’m a big advocate of staying longer in each destination rather than moving locations (and hotels) each day. This doesn’t mean you have to miss out on seeing other places, though. When you visit Vienna it is easy to include cities like Bratislava, Budapest and Prague on a day excursion.

If you prefer to spend your days enjoying the breathtaking Vienna scenery as well as visiting the Vienna countryside, no problem. Excursions to the Danube Valley and Hallstatt are two of the most popular Vienna day trips. 

View of Prague Prague is famous for its many bridges spanning the Vlatava River.

Below you’ll find details about some of the best day trips from Vienna, Austria for both independent travellers and those who prefer to take an organized tour.

[This post may contain compensated links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.]

Where to stay in Vienna: For a comfortable base for your stay in Vienna I highly recommend the BW Premier Kaiserhof Hotel. I have stayed at the hotel on two occasions and loved it. Click here for current prices and availability

TIP: You don’t have to stay in Austria on your one day trip from Vienna as there are several other countries near Vienna. By train, car or bus, it’s easy to reach destinations including Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Germany – but you do need to carry your passport with you.

Summary of Day Tours from Viena

ToursDurationBook Now
Vienna to Bratislava6 hours> Check prices and information
Vienna to Budapest1 day> Check prices and information
Vienna to Prague1 day> Check prices and information
Vienna to Salzburg1 day> Check prices and information
Vienna to Danube Valley8.5 hours> Check prices and information
Vienna to Hallstatt1 day> Check prices and information
Vienna to Ljubljana1 day> Check prices and information

Day Tours from Vienna

Vienna to Bratislava day trip

The capital of Slovakia is a fascinating city with a rich history and with the two cities being so close together travel from Vienna to Bratislava is easy. An excursion to Bratislava is one of the best day tours from Vienna, not only because of the proximity of the two cities but also because of the variety of travel options available.

Bratislava’s Old Town is packed with attractive pastel coloured buildings, interesting statues, cobbled streets and sidewalk cafes. The city may not be as elegant as Vienna but it definitely has its own charm.

Sitting atop a hill overlooking the Danube, Bratislava Castle makes an impressive sight. It’s well worth the walk from the historical centre of town for the views over Bratislava.

With its location right on the Danube River, Bratislava is a popular stop for European river cruises but there are also regular catamaran services that transport passengers from Vienna to Bratislava and vice versa.

Bratislava Old Town Slovakia Being only an hour away, Bratislava is a popular destination for day trips from Vienna.

How to get from Vienna to Bratislava

Train – Train trips from Vienna, Austria to Bratislava take 1 hour, making it one of the easiest day trips from Vienna by train.  Start your day trip from Vienna to Bratislava by train at Vienna’s Hauptbahnhof (main railway station). Trains depart twice per hour.

Car – If you have your own wheels, road trips from Vienna to Bratislava (80 km) will take you just under an hour.

Catamaran – A fun way to travel between Vienna and Bratislava (or vice versa) is aboard the Twin City Liner catamaran. The 75-minute journey along the Danube gives you a real appreciation of the importance of river transport. Five services operate in each direction daily.

Organised tour/excursion – There are numerous options for travellers who prefer to take an organized day trip from Vienna to Bratislava:

Further reading: A day tour to Bratislava from Vienna

Vienna to Budapest day trip

Another of the most popular day trips out of Vienna is an excursion to Budapest. Famous for its Turkish baths and impressive Parliament building (the largest in Europe), Budapest is a mixture of its Germanic, Jewish, Habsburg and Balkan heritage.

Most day visitors to Budapest will head straight for popular sights like Castle Hill, Chain Bridge, Fisherman’s Square and the Opera House.

If you prefer to just immerse yourself in the city’s culture for a day, you can easily while away the hours soaking in a thermal bath or sipping coffee at one of the many Viennese coffee houses.

Budapest Hungary One of Budapest’s major landmarks is the Parliament building, the largest in Europe.

How to get from Vienna to Budapest

Train – Train trips from Vienna, Austria to Budapest take about 2.5 hours. Trains depart at least times per day from Vienna Hauptbahnhof (main station).

Car – Allow around 2.5 hours to travel the 243 kilometres from Vienna to Budapest by car.

Organised tour/excursion – A popular way to reach Budapest from Vienna is on a full day tour by bus to Gyor and Budapest. Click here to check prices

Day excursions from Vienna to Prague

It will take a little longer to reach Prague but the city makes a fascinating one day trip from Vienna.

Visitors have flocked to Prague for centuries and today it remains as popular as ever. With just one day (or part of a day) to spend in Prague, you’ll want to see Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, Wenceslas Square and the Astronomical Clock.

Allow time to wander around the Old Town, admire the architecture and sit at an outdoor cafe for a drink whilst you watch the world go by. 

Charles Bridge Prague Visitors flock to Charles Bridge in Prague.

Transport options from Vienna to Prague

Train – Train trips from Vienna to Prague take around 4 hours and depart at least ten times per day from Vienna Hauptbahnhof (main station).

Car – Driving the 328 kilometres from Vienna to Prague should take around 3.5 hours.

Organised tour/excursion – Another option is to join a guided Prague day trip from Vienna by bus. Click here for current prices

Further reading: How to spend 48 hours in Prague

Day trips from Vienna to Salzburg

One of the prettiest small cities in Europe, in my opinion, it’s well worth allowing time in your itinerary for a Vienna to Salzburg day trip.

For a small city, there’s so much to see including the beautiful Mirabell Palace and gardens, the medieval Hohensalzburg fortress and Mozart’s birthplace and residence.

Spend your time wandering the car-free Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage site), browse the shops on Getreidegasse with their ornate signs, or enjoy a horse and carriage ride.

If you plan to visit Austria in December, Salzburg makes one of the best day trips from Vienna in winter.  The Christmas markets will be in full swing and with the streets dusted with snow, the city of Salzburg is even prettier than usual.

Salzburg Austria Salzburg offers many attractions including Mirabell Palace and Hohensalzburg fortress.

Transport options for a day trip from Vienna to Salzburg

Train – Vienna to Salzburg trains run at least three times per hour with the journey taking just 2.5 hours. Trains depart from Vienna Hauptbahnhof (main station).

Car – The road trip from Vienna to Salzburg will take you around three hours (it’s a distance of 300 km) if you don’t stop en-route.

Organised tour/excursion – There are numerous organized Vienna to Salzburg tours to choose from including:

Further reading: 24 hours in Salzburg

Day trips from Vienna to Danube Valley

Regarded as the prettiest stretch of the Danube River in Austria, the area from Krems to Melk is known as the Danube Valley or Wachau Valley and is a popular day trip from Vienna.

Krems and Durnstein are pretty riverside towns but most folks head straight for the town of Melk with its imposing but stunning abbey perched above the Danube.

Allow at least a couple of hours to visit Stift Abbey and the gardens, and then wander down into the town for a bite to eat or a drink at one of the numerous cafes and restaurants. You get magnificent views of the Abbey from below, too.

Regardless of how you travel to the Danube Valley from Vienna, you’ll see plenty of stunning scenery. This is a popular wine-growing region and terraced vines dot the countryside as do ruined castles.

Stift Abbey Melk Austria The impressive Stift Abbey sits on a hill overlooking the town of Melk and the Danube River.

How to get from Vienna to Melk

Train – Vienna train trips to Melk take around 1 hour. Trains depart twice each hour from either Vienna Hauptbahnhof and hourly from Vienna Westbahnhof.

Car – With Melk located just 89 kilometres from the Austrian capital, the drive should take you around an hour, making this one of the best daytrips from Vienna.

Cruise – Why not travel part of the way to Melk on a Danube cruise? Trains from Vienna to Krems run multiple times per day (journey time 1 hour) where you can then join a river cruise from Krems to Melk. Two services operate per day from April to October (cruise duration 2 hours 50 minutes.

Organised day tour/excursion – When it comes to choosing day trips from Vienna to Danube Valley there are some great options with multiple transport options:

Further reading: Magnificent Melk Abbey

Vienna to Hallstatt day trip

You’ve probably seen photos of the fairytale-like village of Hallstatt on social media or in travel brochures and marveled at its beauty. Well let me tell you – it’s just as gorgeous in real life!

For a perfect change up from a city visit, a Hallstatt day trip from Vienna is the answer.

Situated in the Salzkammergut lakes region of Austria, the scenery in this part of the world is breathtaking, and Hallstatt is no exception.

Although there aren’t many ‘big’ attractions in Hallstatt, that’s part of the appeal. It’s just a picturesque village built on the shores of a crystal clear lake with a huge mountain behind it.

Stunning scenery and fresh air are the attractions in Hallstatt.  Including a one day trip from Vienna to Hallstatt on your itinerary, in my opinion, is a must.

Hallstatt Austria Hallstatt is a gorgeous lakeside village which can be easily reached on a day trip from Vienna.

Transport options for a day trip from Vienna to Hallstatt

Train – The fastest train service from Vienna to Hallstatt takes just under 3 hours 20 minutes and departs every two hours from Vienna Hauptbahnhof (main station).

Car – If you have your own car, it’s an easy day trip to Hallstatt from Vienna with the 290 kilometre drive taking just over two hours

Organised tour/excursion – Two popular day trips from Vienna to Hallstatt are:

Further reading: Visiting Hallstatt, Austria: Things to See and Do

Vienna to Ljubljana day trip

When considering which Vienna to Slovenia day trip to include in your itinerary, Ljubljana is probably not a destination that initially comes to mind. It is, however, one well worth including. 

The Slovenian capital has a population of less than 300,000 and is compact enough to see in one day.

Must-see sights include Ljubljana Castle, Triple Bridge and the Franciscan Church of the Annunciation but do allow time to stroll around the streets and squares of the Old Town.

The café and bar scene is big in Ljubljana and there are plenty of inviting places to sit and enjoy some refreshments whilst you take in the friendly, casual atmosphere.

Ljubljana The Slovenian capital Ljubljana is compact enough to explore in one day.

How to get from Vienna to Ljubljana

Train – There are no direct train services from Vienna to Ljubljana so the journey takes around 7 hours and includes two changes en-route.

Car – This fastest way to travel from Vienna to Ljubljana is by road, although the journey will still take you around 3 hours 40 minutes. (It’s around 380 kilometres.)

Organised tour/excursion – For a hassle-free day out, why not enjoy an organized excursion to both Ljubljana and Lake Bled? You’ll get the benefit of visiting two of Slovenia’s most beautiful destinations while someone else does the driving.  Click here for prices

Further reading: Ljubljana, the small city that’s big on charm 

I hope this list of Vienna day trip options has helped you to choose the one that’s right for you.  Which one do you think is the best day trip from Vienna?

Planning to spend more time in Austria? Read all my Austria travel articles here and check out my 3-week self-drive tour of Austria on this link.


Day trips from Vienna 350