(This guide is always up to date, the last updated September 2023.)
But, first things first:
Question: Where should you stay in Vienna as a first time visitor?
Answer: Stay Central!
What does this mean?
The great thing about the capital of Vienna is that it is not very big, and public transport is really efficient. You can get pretty much anywhere in a relatively short period of time.
Also, on the weekends the U-Bahn runs all night, so even in the early hours of the morning, you are never too far from home.
The very city center includes these popular districts:
Innere Stadt (1st District)
Mariahilf (6th District)
Neubau (7th District)
Leopoldstadt (2nd District)
We know it is hard to understand the district name when you have never been there. So we created several maps to help you.
Here’s a full map for you to understand the different areas.
Please note: Those are not the absolute borders of each district. I just tried to simplify the information.
So Why do I recommend these areas?
Not only are these areas the popular districts in Vienna but as well as they are the most convenient areas to stay. They have direct access to the airport, public transport and many of the major sights nearby.
The very first thing to consider when traveling with the family is that the kids and adults have different priorities while traveling (also in life). Thus, is great to get a commitment.
While the parents would like to experience the food and culture and go around sightseeing, the kids will always love to play (especially the younger ones).
That is why, for families, I recommend to stay in the following districts:
Innere Stadt (1st District)
This map shows you the areas recommended for families:
Handpicked accommodations for families
Let us have a closer look on the best places to stay in Vienna for families. Location plays a big role in a family that is traveling.
Accommodations are best when it is flexible enough for all the members of the family. That is why I highly suggest that the best option is to stay in the city center and be readily accessible to all.
Also, it is better to find an apartment and feel more at home during your vacation. Prepare your own food as you do at your home.
Find Parkview Residences just right across the street from Stadtpark which is perfect for the kids to play.
This charming apartment features state-of-the-art types of furniture and extremely comfortable beds you will surely love.
Moreover, the property puts you in a very convenient location. Just 5-minutes’ walk from Vienna’s most important landmark, the St. Stephan’s Cathedral while you can reach the Underground station just across the street.
Insider Tip: The hop-on-hop-off bus (which is included in the must-buy Vienna pass rel='nofollow') has a station less than 5 minutes walk from the property.
Get a room with a marvelous view of either the St. Stephens Cathedral or the Vienna Ferris Wheel in SO Vienna.
Aside from the breathtaking view, the hotel offers a very convenient location in Leopoldstad district where the public transport is within your reach and the major tourist destinations are within walking distance.
In particular, you can also get to St. Stephen’s Cathedral in just 10-minutes walk from the property.
Moreover, have a more intimate dinner over its entirely glass-walled Restaurant and Bar Das LOFT with an overlooking view of Vienna that begins to shine when the sunsets from the 18th floor.
Besides, there is also a spa center you can use for free so go ahead and pamper yourself through your stay in the city.
Place yourself close to the Danube River, Sigmund Freud Museum and the Augarten Park just 10-minutes’ walk from Palais Hansen Kempinski.
One of the coolest boutique hotels in Vienna City, you should expect your rooms to be decorated with high-quality fabrics and carpets. The rooms offer either a unique view of its surrounding historic buildings or the inner courtyard.
Personally, I preferred the historical buildings.
Also, you can choose between their two restaurants which serve the cuisines of Vienna and other parts of the world. Plus, watch your food get prepared through their show kitchen.
Palais Hansen Kempinski also offers a pool and fitness center that can add a more intimate bonding experience for couples.
Just like the other cities in Europe, Vienna has everything you’ll ever need for a luxury trip. There is many great luxury hotels in Vienna.
From Michelin-Star restaurants with the best cooks in the world, luxury shops, culture, sightseeing, you got yourself a handful in Vienna.
For luxury travelers, I would recommend staying in the following areas:
This map shows you the areas recommended for the luxury traveler:
Handpicked accommodations for the luxury traveler
Vienna is famous for its architecture and history, being the capital of the old Austria-Hungarian Empire and center for classical music.
So, for the true classical Austrian experience, stay at some of the most famous hotels in Vienna listed below.
Hotel Sacher Wien
Steeped in history and oozing luxury, you can’t get any more Viennese than Hotel Sacher Wien.
Particularly, you can find valuable antiques, elegant furniture, and a famous collection of paintings around the property.
Located in the heart of the City Centre, directly opposite the City Opera Theatre and right next to the Kärntner Straße, it is as central as it gets. The Sacher was opened in the 1870s and yet it is still filled with all its royal grace. For us, this is the best luxury hotel in Vienna Center!
Moreover, it is also home to the famous ‘Sacher-Torte’, which you can have in the luxurious café on-site partnered with a traditional Viennese Coffee.
Even more, just a 2-minutes walk from the hotel is Karlsplatz Transportation Hub which connects you to all parts of Viena. Putting you in great access to travel around the city.
Enjoy luxurious rooms and suites. And all with a minibar and a Geneva sound system with an iPod docking station.
Moreover, get to enjoy the hotel’s The Atmosphere Rooftop Bar. More than a place to grab your drinks, it certainly does offer one of the best panoramic views of Vienna.
Furthermore, the hotel also offers The Ritz-Carlton Spa. Indulge yourself at the largest indoor pool in the center of Vienna with underwater music. Plus a fitness room, separate saunas and steam baths for men and women, and six spa suites for unforgettable spa treatments.
The Ritz-Carlton also offers a Club Lounge with private check-in and an exclusive concierge service.
Undeniably one of Europe’s most inviting and underrated capitals, Vienna has something to offer visitors of all types – even those who love art and design.
And to better give a more appreciating stay, here are the best neighborhoods if you’re into the design:
Visit and stay at the seventh district (Neubau) which is often referred to by locals as ‘hipster’ or ‘bohemian’. You’ll witness the streets filled with indie boutiques, alternative art shops, and concept cafe’s in this area.
Here is a map with the following districts and hotels for design lovers:
Handpicked accommodations for design lovers
More than just design hotels, these accommodations will give you an excellent quality of stay that offers amazing amenities and services.
Check out these properties, located in the very artistic and design-filled neighborhoods, that can give your stay a highlight of the Vienna-art feel.
It is relatively new (renovated in 2013), and every room is unique, with its own design combined with circus elements.
Furthermore, some rooms and suites come with a fully equipped kitchenette, a microwave, and a tea/coffee maker.
Aside from its unique circus designs, the hotel boasts a rooftop bar that offers a breathtaking view of the city. Sober up with a cocktail and meet new friends from all over the world. Also, enjoy live music evenings that are organized weekly.
In particular, staying at 25Hours Hotel means being close to all the public transport including the trams, buses and underground lines. And if you’re into shopping, reach Mariahilfer Straße Shopping Street in 15-minutes by foot.
You will surely appreciate the entire hotel designed with wine in mind.
Even the rooms are named after famous Austrian winemakers while double-rooms offer a minibar that is stocked with famous Austrian wines. A perfect time to chill and relax after a long tiring city tour.
Moreover, the hotel also has a gorgeous rooftop terrace as well as a quaint downstairs patio where you can take photos of.
Located in the 8th District, just behind the grand Rathaus (Town Hall), this hotel is a different, but fantastic base to get acquainted with Vienna.
One of my favorite kinds of traveler – groups of friends, families…
Although it is “the more, the merrier” concept, traveling in groups can be very complicated. Especially each and one of you has different desires during the trip.
For this reason, I highly suggest that you stay in the city center to keep you in access to all that you might need and might be visiting. In that way, everyone is in touch with all their reasons for visiting.
Best for groups, the best locations include these districts:
This map shows you the areas recommended for groups:
Handpicked accommodations for groups
Considering each and one of the members of your group, here are hostel and apartment options for you to stay. Both of these accommodations will give you a better space and commitment to deal with everybody in the group.
From the common area to the shared kitchen and bedrooms, you got yourself a great place to stay.
The apartments have everything a group could possibly need, including a kitchen where you can prepare your food for a better homely feel.
And the best part of this property is the panoramic view of Vienna and some of its tourist destinations from the rooftop terrace.
You can also find numerous bars, cafés, and restaurants along with the apartment that is great for your group to explore.
As for the location, you can reach the remarkable Votivkirche church just a few steps just behind the apartment. While the other tourist destinations can be reached in 10-15 minutes by foot like the City Hall and the elegant shopping streets of Graben.
You can find this property readily accessible to the city center and all of Vienna’s other main attractions. If have been wondering where to stay in Vienna innere stadt? Hotspot Apartments near Westbahnhof is a good option!
Moreover, the apartment is situated in a semi-residential area which puts you close to many options for shopping and food. There are also supermarkets nearby so you won’t worry about going hungry. Buy your food and use the fully equipped kitchen in the apartment if ever you don’t feel like eating out.
There is also a washing machine, a microwave, an oven and a fridge that makes it feel more like your home.
Offering a garden and a terrace, Hostel Ruthensteiner is one of the best hostel ideals for exploring Vienna.
Located just walking distance to Palace Schoenbrunn and the city center. Even more, it is the perfect fit for a family, groups and even solo travelers. Making it a great avenue to winning new friends from all over the world.
They also have a guitar, piano, and drums in the music area. Moreover, you can freely use and boast to play an instrument.
Plus, the hostel also features a bar that will surely spice up your nights in Vienna.
This map shows you the areas recommended for the solo traveler:
Handpicked accommodations for solo traveler
If you’re looking for Airbnb options and wants to meet a local and get more insider tips of Vienna, here is my personal AirBnB recommendation.
Just a tip: Do check out the comments on the property and the person so you could imagine what it’s going to be when you’re there. Send them a personalized message for better communication on your trip.
On the other hand, are you more the hostel type of person? You got plenty of hostels to choose from, however, you can check out these 3 best hostels in Vienna.
Wombat’s City Hostel
Fantastically located, Wombat’s City Hostel rel='nofollow' is nearby to all the major sightseeing sites in the city. Thus, this is by far the best location hostel Vienna has to offer.
Moreover, this is one of the most famous hostels in town.
This cool hostel in Vienna is run by travellers, for travellers. You know you’re in good hands when the staff has backpacked the world.
Besides, it has a great bar (complete with pool table), which is perfect for meeting other people or having a quiet drink before heading out.
It also has super friendly staff and has all the amenities you would expect of a modern-day hostel.
Just near the Westbahnhof Train Station (which has connections to Salzburg and beyond) is Hostel Ruthensteiner.
A very homely place to relax and feel comfortable in a new city.
In particular, it is close to a great strip of bars which you can visit after you’ve chilled in the hostel bar or in their secret garden. Moreover, the staff are great and quick to give you local tips of the area, so check them out!
You can also find many cafes, bars, and restaurants around the area which makes it ideal to go out exploring.
The hostel is clean and has great staff you will surely appreciate. The hostel offers as well as a huge common area and a bar, so there is great opportunity to meet other like-minded travellers.
One great thing I love about this hostel is that in the immediate vicinity is the Old Jewish Quarter. Now home to lots of trendy cafes and plenty of green space. Thus, a great change of pace if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of tourist-life!
Boost your day with an amazing buffet breakfast offered at the hostel. On the other hand, you can choose from many bohemian coffee shops and electro clubs around the accommodation if you’re into more of tasting Vienna.
Moreover, the hostel offers many list of freebies that you will be given during stay. To name a few, you will be welcomed by a welcome drink and be given free bed linens and a city map.
The hostel also offers free walking tour for you to know Vienna better.
Being Austria’s #1 attraction, you wouldn’t want to spend all your time waiting in long lines.
So save your time and energy. Therefore, pre-book a ticket to one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites.
Summon your inner prince or princess and journey back in time on a guided tour through the impressive Schönbrunn Palace. 1,441 stunning staterooms (yes 1,441 majestic rooms), where Vienna’s former imperials gathered during summer, awaits you.
Insider Tip: You can also just show up with no ticket. However, the queue can be around 1 hour.
3. Neighborhood guide (to understand the difference)
You’re still here! Perfect!
We’ll now discuss the neighborhoods in Vienna to give you a more understanding about its districts.
Basically, I will share with you a short description of the area and give you a few insider tips. So at the end of this guide, you’ll be knowledgeable enough and be travel-smart once you go to Vienna.
3.1 Innere Stadt (1st District) – Old Town
This is basically the Old Town of Vienna.
Surround yourself with cobbled streets, old buildings and general class and glamour as you walk the streets of the Innere District.
In particular, there are less residents and more tourists and shops in this district. So I warn you to be prepared for many, many people on the streets.
Staying in the city center will be easier for you to go to the famous buildings like:
the City Opera Theater,
Burgtheater, Hofburg Palace,
Insider Tip: Walk not more than 20 minutes go get from a place to another unless you get caught up with the crowd.
Generally speaking, the 1st District contains the higher-end hotels, and also contains the majority of cultural attractions and legendary places like Café Sacher, Hofreitschule and Café Central.
So if you’re looking for a budget-friendly accommodation, this district is not for you.
Photo by Alisa Anton
3.2 Mariahilf (6th District)
If you’re into shopping and food, this is the perfect district to visit.
Particularly, with Naschmarkt being the largest market in Vienna, and Mariahilferstrasse being the main shopping street, you’ll surely never run out of things to try in this area.
There are also plenty of trendy café’s and bars here.
Insider Tip: For a tasty coffee, my personal favorite is Akrap, while Café Phil is my go-to place for a drink in a cozy atmosphere (it is decorated with antique couches and doubles as a library).
On the other hand, you can find the Haus des Meeres (Aqua Terra Zoo) in Mariahilf. So if you want to visit a cool aquarium, it is right on your doorstep!
3.3 Neubau (7th District)
The trendy and arty district popular with students and artists is Neubau.
This is the part of Vienna that is less touristy, and has more of a local feel. A great place to stay if you want to feel more authenticity in your stay in the City of Music.
However, it is best to stay at the eastern end of the Neubau (closer to Innere Stadt), as there is more to do, and more café’s, restaurants and bars to frequent.
Insider Tip: I recommend Ulrich for good coffee and great brunch, or Das Käuzchen for a traditional Austrian bar experience!
You can also visit the beautiful small neighborhood of Spittelberg which is very picturesque with its small houses and narrow cobble stone streets.
Pro Tip: Just cross the Ring Street from Spittelberg and you’ll be in the Inner City in no time.
3.4 Leopoldstadt (2nd District)
The 2nd District or Leopoldstadt is located just across the Danube Canal from the 1st District, and is actually an island (the main channel of the Danube River is located on its eastern boundary).
It is the old Jewish Quarter of Vienna so it has plenty of history in this sense. Although, you will now see plenty of Kosher food stores and restaurants here today.
Besides, there are less tourist attractions in this district. A good thing! Which means that it has a residential, quiet feel, but is still super close to everything else in the city.
Insider’s Note: The 2nd District is very large and includes the large Prater park. It is best to stay in the north-eastern corner, closest to the 1st District so you can still be in easy access to the center.
4. Safest area to stay in Vienna
Now that we covered the best places to stay in Vienna and areas, let’s talk safety.
Overall, Vienna is relatively safe for travelers. Including solo and female travelers.
Though violent crimes and muggings are rare here, pick-pocketing and bag snatching are common in Vienna. Hence, the same as many European big cities.
As a result, just take the normal precautions against pickpockets and you’ll easily avoid getting robbed or scammed.
However, I cannot give a specific area that has no chances of pick-pocketing. Anywhere can be a perfect place for a thief to make his moves.
Therefore, I do recommend to be careful.
Furthermore, I’ll leave you these basic tips to avoid being pick-pocketed:
Do not trust anyone with your belongings.
Always keep an eye of your things.
Keep your bag in front or keep it locked most especially in very crowded places.
Avoid putting things in your back pocket.
Beware of “bumping”. This is sometimes a pickpocket tactic to divert your attention.
Last but not least, the golden rule: Let nobody touch you!
They can only steal from you once they get near you or once they get in touch with you especially in very crowded places which they take advantage of.
Be attentive and have precautions and you’ll do just fine. There is no need to get paranoid. But follow my suggestions above and you will be fine.
Many many friends visited me here and stayed at all those places I recommended them. I obviously gave them my safety tips. And… not a single one got robbed!
Nobody will harm you physically, this is very very rare!
Usually all the pickpockets want is your money or phone. Personally, I’ve never heard of any physical harm or damage done by a pickpocket.
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