Vienna is the elegant capital city of Austria. Known in German as Wien and in Austro-Bavarian as Wean, it’s also the country’s biggest city. Once home to the Habsburg Court, the former imperial heart of Vienna city center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Vienna tourism often revolves around the splendid buildings from the times of the Habsburg Empire, the city’s rich cultural treasures, the wealth of fascinating museums, and the opera scene. Vienna is also well-known for its coffee culture, with numerous coffee houses spread across the city. Indeed, Vienna’s coffee culture is listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
There are 23 Vienna districts, each with a different vibe and flavor. The 1st District, or Innere Stadt, is the very heart of the city. The 2nd to 9th Districts are those that immediately surround the center, while the 10th to 23rd Districts are the outer city areas.
It’s easy to travel around the city, thanks to the great public transportation network. There’s an extensive rail system, which includes the underground, rail, and commuter rail. Additionally, trams and buses connect various areas of Vienna. The inner center can be explored on foot. Grab a Vienna district map to help you navigate the city with ease.
If you’re planning a trip, you’re probably considering where to stay in Vienna, Austria. We’ll answer some top questions and give handy recommendations, including some top picks for Vienna hotels.
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Without further delay, Let’s dive in to Vienna!
Is it Expensive in Vienna?
Vienna has a high quality of life; with that, often comes higher prices. Vienna can be an expensive place to visit, but there are also plenty of ways to cut costs and enjoy Vienna travel on a relatively modest budget. Accommodations and hotels in Vienna range from reasonably priced cozy guesthouses and cheap beds in hostel dorms to large and lavish hotels with hefty price tags. Booking in advance often helps you find the best deals on Vienna accommodation.
The Vienna Pass is a terrific way to save money on your transportation costs. Several rail and underground lines serve the airport, meaning that you don’t have to shell out for a costly taxi transfer.
When it comes to eating, look for places that cater to locals, rather than those geared up for tourists. Not only will you probably save a bit on your bill, but the food will likely be more authentic and tastier too. Pick up budget-friendly ready-to-eat meals from the markets and food stalls and grab picnic supplies from the supermarkets.
For sightseeing in Vienna, check out free attractions like St. Stephan’s Cathedral and Vienna City Hall, and wander around the city to admire its splendid architectural beauty. Want to experience the opera without the high price tag? Booking standing tickets for the State Opera can be cheap! Various passes can help you to save money if you plan on visiting many famous sights, including the Vienna Pass and several museum passes.
And now, onto the neighborhoods to stay in Vienna, Austria …
Are There Bad Neighborhoods in Vienna?
In general, Vienna is a very safe place. Both men and women can usually walk around alone at night with no problem. Of course, that’s not to say that you should throw all of your cautions to the wind and let your guard down completely, but a trip to Vienna will more likely than not be trouble-free. Use common sense and avoid dimly lit areas, parks at nighttime, quiet streets, and boisterous areas with lots of bars.
As with most cities, crime still occurs in Vienna. This is typical of the petty theft/pickpocketing variety, particularly in crowded tourist hotspots and on public transportation.
The overall standard of living in Vienna is pretty high. This means that the “worst” areas really aren’t that bad in the global scheme of things.
That said, the working-class Favoriten (10th District) sees the largest number of calls to the police, largely relating to break-ins and car thefts. Other Vienna neighborhoods that have a bad reputation include Brigittenau (20th District), Funfhaus (15th District), Leopoldstadt (2nd District), and Floridsdorf (21st District). Areas around Karlsplatz, Stephansplatz, Praterstern, Prater, and Resselpark can be rowdy at night.
Where is the First District in Vienna?
Vienna’s 1st District is called Innere Stadt. It’s located at the very heart of the city center and is the old historic core of Vienna. It is surrounded by the Ringstrasse, which traces the course of the old city walls. In times gone by, before the city grew, the 1st District was essentially the city of Vienna. The 1st District is home to many attractions, such as the Vienna State Opera, Albertina, Hofburg Imperial Palace, St. Stephan’s Cathedral, several museums, and more.
Where is the Best Area to Stay in Vienna?
While there are plenty of terrific places to stay in Vienna, these are four of the coolest neighborhoods to suit different types of travelers and different interests:
1st District: Innere Stadt
As previously mentioned, Vienna’s 1st District is the historic center of the city, with numerous popular attractions. It’s a top choice for anyone asking “where should a first-time tourist stay in Vienna?”. The district is easy to get around by foot, with a wealth of things to see and do within proximity of each other. You’ll also find plenty of places to eat and drink, as well as a good choice of top-quality Vienna hotels and accommodations. The location and facilities also make this an excellent area for anyone wondering where to stay in Vienna for three nights.
CH Hostel has budget beds in the heart of the city, with female-only, male-only, and mixed dorm rooms. Guests can chill in the shared lounge. The hostel has free Wi-Fi and you can enjoy a buffet breakfast for an extra fee. Pension Riedl offers a bit more privacy. The economy rooms share bathrooms, or there are also en suite rooms for two. For home comforts and self-catering facilities, there are a number of private apartments to rent through the district too.
For a bit more money, Pension Sacher has cozy apartments close to St. Stephan’s Cathedral. Apartments have full cooking facilities, Wi-Fi, a TV, a washing machine, and ample storage space. Piano Nobile Boutique Hotel and Hotel Pension Lumes are other good mid-range accommodation options in Vienna city center.
For a bit more luxury, there are two Mercure hotels in Innere Stadt—Mercure Wien Zentrum and Mercure Vienna First. Ruby Lissi Hotel Vienna is another beautiful Vienna hotel, with gorgeous guest rooms and excellent facilities in a historic building.
7th District: Neubau
Neubau, or Vienna’s 7th District, borders Innere Stadt to the west. Within easy reach of many of Vienna’s well-known sights, Neubau is also home to MuseumsQuartier. Covering a huge area, the MuseumsQuartier is a major tourist destination, home to a number of large art museums and smaller exhibition areas.
You’ll find, among others, the Leopold Museum, the Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation Vienna, and a branch of the Kunsthalle Wien. There’s also the child-friendly ZOOM Kindermuseum. The MuseumsQuartier is also a great spot for nightlife, with many bars and eateries found throughout the area.
Elsewhere in Neubau, shopaholics can enjoy some prime retail therapy along Mariahilferstrasse, one of the city’s main shopping streets. Explore the hip and fashionable neighborhood of Spittelberg, visit the former monastery of Skiftskaserne, soak up the serenity in Altlerchenfelder Church, and watch a show at the enormous Burgtheater.
Neubau is another great option if you’re wondering where to stay in Vienna as a tourist or where to stay in Vienna for first-time visitors.
Vienna Boutique Hostel has dormitory rooms with bunk beds. All beds have a curtain for greater privacy. Rooms come with a bathroom, fridge, kettle, and Wi-Fi. Pension Reimer and Urban Boutique Hotel both offer private rooms with shared bathrooms.
Apollo Hotel Vienna has stylish en suite rooms with a TV, kettle, hairdryer, Wi-Fi, and a desk. Hotel Apartment Rothensteiner has a choice of spacious private rooms and apartments, each with a private bathroom and a sense of timeless charm. The economy rooms at Hotel Admiral are also terrific if you’re looking for mid-range accommodation in Neubau.
Boutique Hotel Kugel Wien boasts light and airy rooms with crisp white linens and pale furnishings. It’s just a short walk from the MuseumsQuartier. Other great choices include Hotel Schani Salon, Hotel Pension Museum, and Ruby Marie Hotel Vienna.
5th District: Margareten
Vienna’s 5th District, called Margareten, is a good destination for anyone thinking about where to stay in Vienna on a budget. The district is filled with attractive Art Nouveau buildings and has an edgy, boho vibe. A multicultural area, Margareten has many options when it comes to dining, with places selling global cuisine to suit different tastes.
Local highlights include the gorgeous 1880s Margaretenhof, Wientalterrasse, and Volkstheater. From quiet coffee shops and intimate cafes to green spaces and thrift stores, there’s plenty to keep you busy in this part of the city.
Stretch your travel funds further when you stay at Xinwo Home. The double rooms share bathrooms, and there’s a communal workspace with free Wi-Fi. Guests can also prepare basic snacks with the microwave and store perishables in the fridge. If you’re looking for a budget sleep before traveling onwards, snug down in a comfy capsule at Space Home Hostel, located at Vienna’s Central Station.
The homey Pension am Wienfluss has en suite rooms with a wardrobe, desk, and TV. Rooms at Ibis Wien City also have a private bathroom. The hotel has a bar and terrace and breakfast is available for a supplement. Austria Trend Hotel Ananas Wien features big en suite rooms with handsome rococo decorative touches. You can unwind in the elegant café and savor traditional Austrian dishes.
Tuck into a free breakfast each morning when you stay at Safestay Vienna. You can also unwind after a hectic day of sightseeing over a nightcap in the bar. Rooms have fresh and elegant décor with custom-made furnishings. You’ll find lots of apartments to rent in Margareten too, ideal for a home-from-home feeling with conveniences like kitchens and living rooms. Apartments can be a great way for friends to split the costs for a comfortable and affordable stay in Vienna.
4th District: Wieden
To the south of Vienna’s 1st District, Vienna’s 4th District of Wieden is a cool and trendy place to stay. It has a relaxed, youthful, and family-friendly ambiance, though you’ll still find a laid-back night scene and funky cafes.
Wander along the leafy Wiedner Haupstrasse, admire the pretty Karlskirche in the green Resselpark, check out the cool cafes and bars along Schleifmuhlgasse, and visit the beautiful Belvedere Palace. Don’t miss the large Naschmarkt, with its tempting array of meals and snacks. On Saturdays, the stalls are filled with second-hand treasures.
Wieden is recommended if you’re researching where to stay in Vienna for Christmas markets, particularly the area close to Karlsplatz. Well worth a visit at all times of the year, in the summer the area has a great selection of outdoor events, while in the winter it hosts one of the best festive markets in Vienna.
Some of the cheapest places to stay in Wieden include Do Step Inn Central (a friendly hostel with double, twin, triple, and dorm rooms) and Hotel Attaché (with single, double, and quadruple rooms). The affordable Novum Hotel Congress Wien am Hauptbahnhof enjoys a great location right opposite the main train station, and is also just steps away from an underground station. It’s a great place to stay if you are looking for where to stay in Vienna not too far from the train station.
Wombat's The City Hostel Vienna Naschmarkt has a selection of private rooms with private bathrooms and shared dormitories to suit various budgets. The hostel provides free Wi-Fi and reception is staffed around the clock. Other comfortable mid-range accommodations include Austria Trend Hotel and Novum Hotel Prinz Eugen.
Named after the famous composer, Hotel Johann Strauss offers little luxuries in a lovely Art Nouveau building. Pakat Suites Hotel is an elegant accommodation close to several embassies and former palaces. It features a large garden, bar, and fitness center. Das Triest is another classy Vienna hotel, with a bar, fitness center, and beautiful rooms. The hotel is housed in a historic building that was once a major stagecoach station.
If you’re still wondering where is the best area to stay in Vienna, other top places to consider include Mariahilf (6th District), Landstrasse (3rd District), and Ottakring (16th District).
Organizing Your Trip to Vienna with Pilot
Now that you’ve got a better idea of where to stay in Vienna, it’s time to start planning your Austrian getaway! Be sure to also check out our amazing list of things to do in Vienna as well if you're still looking for more ideas!
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