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Day Trips from Vienna

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Vienna is one of Europe’s most beautiful and elegant cities, with a rich cultural and historical legacy. With nearly 200 palaces, castles and churches, and being a center for music, art and great cuisine, the capital of Austria has plenty of options to try. It also serves a great base from which you can explore a number of other popular European destinations. Here are some amazing day trips you can take from Vienna:

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Bratislava

bratislava
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The best thing while travelling in Europe is how easily you can travel from one country to another. From the capital of Austria to that of Slovakia, that too as a day trip. Interesting isn’t it? Just an hour’s drive from Vienna, Bratislava is an intriguing and perfectly picturesque city famous for its alluring pastel shaded structures, intriguing statues and walkway bistros.

Explore the cobblestone streets of Bratislava’s Old Town, where you can visit a number of attractions including the famous Bratislava Castle and its Baroque gardens, the well-preserved fourteenth-century Michael’s Gate, which houses the Museum of Arms, and Old Town Hall, home to the Bratislava City Museum. Art lovers will enjoy the Nedbalka Gallery, showcasing artworks from the nineteenth century onwards.

You should also visit the art nouveau Blue Church at Alžbety, Bezručova which is, unsurprisingly, blue! This fairytale-like building is in the east of the city. In the west of the city, you can visit St Martin’s Cathedral. From the UFO observation deck over the SNP Bridge, you can take in amazing views of the city, enjoy a romantic dinner, and see a spectacular sunset.

Distance from Vienna: 80 km

How to get there: Take the train from Vienna’s Wien Hauptbahnhof station to Bratislava Central Station. You can also take a catamaran along the Danube between the two cities, which will take around one hour and fifteen minutes.

Wachau Valley and Melk Abbey

wacahu valley
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The Wachau Valley is one of the most scenic areas to travel as a day trip from Vienna. Recognised as a World Heritage Site, the valley stretches over 40 km along the Danube River between Krems and Melk, and is lined with picturesque villages, ancient castles and some of the country’s best vineyards. A wine tasting tour anyone?

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. The wealth of Austria during the 18th century is on full display at the magnificent Benedictine monastery at Melk in the Wachau Valley region. With its 20-story-high dome, ornate towers and opulent interiors, the abbey is a gorgeous example of High Baroque architecture. The original structure was built in the 11th century as a castle on a rocky outcrop overlooking the valley, but most of the current buildings were constructed between 1702 and 1736. Standout attractions include the abbey church of St. Peter and St. Paul, the baroque ceiling frescoes by Austrian artist Paul Troger and a library that houses more than 100,000 books and manuscripts. The inside of the Abbey is just as impressive as the outside with its marble floors, golden accents, and lavishly painted ceilings.  Owning the enviable accolade of the “Best Historical Destination in the World”, Melk Abbey is one of those attractions that you really do have to visit if you happen to be in Vienna.

Distance from Vienna: 77 km to Krems

How to get there: Rent a car to explore the valley at your own pace. You can also take the bus or train from Vienna to Krems and join a river cruise from there. It will take you around 1 hour by bus or train.

Graz

graz
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Austria’s second largest city, Graz makes for an exciting day trip from Vienna. The beautiful city is known for its art, design and architecture, delicious Styrian cuisine, and its mixture of traditional and modern influences. Like Vienna, Graz has beautiful architecture and cobbled stone streets but it is less touristy than the capital.

In the center of the city, the Schlossberg Hill is home to the ruins of an ancient fortress and one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, the Uhrturm (Clock Tower), which offers splendid views of the city. In the city center, the fifteenth century Gothic Graz Cathedral, filled with religious art and historical relics, is well worth a visit. Graz is also a great city for art lovers, who will enjoy the Kunsthaus Graz (or Graz Art Museum), and the seashell-shaped Murinsel, a floating structure in the center of the River Mur. Be sure to stop at a local restaurant or farmers’ market to try traditional Styrian cuisine.

Distance from Vienna: 200 km

How to get there: Take an early train from Vienna’s Wien Hauptbahnhof station and reach Graz in 2.5 hours.

The Vienna Woods

the vienna woods
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Those who want to escape from the bustle of Vienna’s city centre can retreat to the tranquil Vienna Woods, which stretch for miles from the city limits to the foothills of the Alps. Bordered by four rivers, the Vienna Woods is the best known of the five districts that comprise Lower Austria. The area was once designated as a hunting ground for Austrian royalty, and today is the perfect getaway from the center of the capital.

The woods and its many trails are the best place for nature lovers, hikers, and bikers to explore. Climb up the nineteenth-century Stefaniewarte viewing tower and visit the historic St. Joseph Church. Visit the Abbey of Heiligenkreuz, the oldest operating Cistercian monastery in the world. . Take a boat ride on Europe’s largest underground lake, Seegrotte, a flooded gypsum mine or walk to the top of Kahlenberg, Vienna’s 484m-high miniature “mountain”, for sensational views over the city, the river, and the start of the Carpathian Mountains. Getting lost in the woods is always adventurous. In Vienna, it can be beautiful too.

Distance from Vienna: 50 km

How to get there: Renting the car is the best option to explore the many sites in the Woods. The drive to the Woods will take around 50 minutes.

The Roman Town of Carnuntum

carnuntum
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All the history buffs in the house, make some noise! We are going to visit some impressive Roman ruins. Today, Carnuntum it is characterised by rolling meadows, pretty woodlands, and age-old vines of the March-Donauland region, but this land to the east of Vienna was the site of battles against invaders for millennia – from Romans and Hungarians to Napoleon and the Ottomans.

An important strategic location, the Romans decided it was worth building a fortified town here, one big enough to accommodate 50,000 people. Carnuntum was established in 6 A.D. as a Roman military fortress, and evolved into one of the empire’s most important cities. Start your visit at the Carnuntum, where you can walk through fully functional reconstructed homes and public baths to get a sense of what daily life was like in ancient times. Then, visit the Bad Deutsch-Altenburg (Military City) amphitheater where gladiators fought to their deaths, and explore the Bad Deutsch-Altenburg Museum to learn about Vienna’s Roman heritage and life at Carnuntum.

Distance from Vienna: 45 km

How to get there: Take the train from Vienna’s Wien Hauptbahnhof station to Petronell-Carnuntum. Time taken is 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Read about Day Trips from Amsterdam in detail here!

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