Hofburg Palace on a tour in Vienna with teens

Top 10 Things To Do in Vienna with Teens

Austria is simply awesome to explore whether you are riding bikes along the Danube, eating Demel’s chocolate mousse cake, or discovering the magic of Vienna with teens.

Vienna is home to world-class museums, magnificent cathedrals, a hopping cafe culture, the Opera, and architecture that is second to none.

Eating chocolate mousse cake while in Vienna with teens.

If you DO happen to be traveling in Vienna with teens, you may wish to buy two pieces of chocolate mousse cake!

Start with An Audio Tour to Discover the Top Things To Do in Vienna with Teens

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On our first afternoon in Vienna, Austria, our oldest daughter was sick and our middle daughter just needed some downtime. Sometimes travel is like that—travel with teenagers especially—and you just have to roll with the punches.

Chris and I set out to explore Vienna with our youngest daughter, Kristen, for the afternoon. We ventured out with the voice of Rick Steves in our ears.

Rick offers three FREE separate audio tours for Vienna:

  • Vienna City Walk
  • St. Stephen’s Cathedral Tour
  • Ringstrasse Tram Tour

We took the Ringstrasse Tram Tour and started our audio tour by hopping onto Tram #2 as it circled the city center.

The Ringstrasse, or the Ring, was designed in the Habsburg era with the intent to connect the outlying town with the imperial center.

You’ll need to switch to Tram #1 halfway through the tour, but it is a nice relaxing way to discover unique things to do in Vienna with teens. Especially if your travels and adventure are often go, go, go to see as much as possible. Some of the important sites that you will learn about are:

  • The Opera
  • Café Sacher and their famous dessert
  • Neuer Markt
  • Dorotheergasse
  • Plague Column
  • Kohlmarkt & Demel Bakery
  • Michaelerplatz
  • The Hofburg Palace and the Imperial Apartments, Spanish Riding School, Treasury

Out of all the things we saw and experienced while exploring Vienna that day (and on subsequent days with all three of our girls), these are the top 10 places to visit in Vienna that we would recommend to you (especially if you only have a few days to spend touring the city).

>> Related: How to Give a Travel Adventure to Your Family as a Surprise

10 Things to Do in Vienna with Teens

1. St. Stephen’s Cathedral

St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna with teens

St. Stephen’s Cathedral, often considered the symbol of Vienna, is a magnificent structure. The interior is lavishly decorated with columns, altars, and an impressive organ.

Entrance to the cathedral is free, though you can purchase tickets for a guided audio tour. Book your tickets online in advance for additional activities which include a visit to the catacombs, taking the elevator to the top of the north tower, climbing the 343 steps to the Steffl Tower (south tower)—the panoramic view from the south tower is worth the climb.

2. St. Peter’s Church

St Peter's Cathedral in Vienna

St. Peter’s sits in the heart of Vienna; if you are a fan of Baroque architecture and art, this beautiful church is a must-see while touring Vienna. St. Peter’s is a working church, however, it is free to visit and open daily. Be mindful of appropriate dress and behavior.

The church hosts a variety of concerts. Some are free (with donation) and others require a ticket. With the popularity of the concerts, you’ll certainly want to get your ticket in advance.

3. Michaelerplatz

Enter the Michaelerplatz, the history city-center of Vienna, and you’ll feel as though you have stepped back in time. On one end of the square you’ll find a wing of the Hofburg Palace Complex and to your right the Palais Herberstein. Continue circling around to see the Loos House, St. Michael’s Church, and Roman excavations.

As suggested by our Rick Steves Audio Tour, we saw St. Stephen’s church, ate ice cream, and then later enjoyed a chocolate mousse cake from Demel’s. Like us, you may wish to sit in the Michaelerplatz to enjoy the view and the cake.

4. Hofburg Palace

Horse drawn buggy in Vienna Austria

As you enter the Michaelerplatz and see the Hofburg Palace, you may think that this “wing” makes up the entirety of the palace. Au contraire. The palace is a series of lavish, interconnect buildings. It was the former residence of the Habsburg monarchy.

Explore the public areas of the complex for insights into the opulent Imperial life:

  • The Sisi Museum – learn more of Empress Elisabeth
  • The Imperial Apartments – a display of rooms used by Elisabeth and her husband, Emperor Franz Joseph
  • The Silver Collection – shows off the Imperial table decor, porcelain, cutlery and utensils, and crockery

You’ll no doubt see a fiaker or two—Viennese horse-drawn carriages—circling the drive.

Perhaps you have heard of the famous Lipizzaner stallions and the Spanish Riding School. Don’t miss the chance to see the horses in action. The entrance to the visitor center and arena is opposite the ticket counter for the Sisi Museum.

You could spend a day or two when visiting vienna with teens discovering all that the Palace and surrounding area has to offer.

5. Kunsthistorisches Museum

Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna with teens

If looking for royal treasure is more inline with your tastes, the Imperial Treasury is a short walk from the palace in a building separate from the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Natural History Museum. Marvel at the crown jewels, religious relics, and priceless collections of the Habsburgs:

  • Habsburg imperial crown
  • Holy Roman Emperor’s coronation robes and crown
  • A solid gold rosebush
  • Emperor Maximilian I’s 15th-century ceremonial sword

The main Kunsthistorisches Museum building on Maria-Theresien Platz houses treasures with an eclectic mix of art from the likes of Raffael, Bruegel, Holbein, Van Dyck, and Rembrandt. You’ll also find Egyptian antiquities, Roman and Greek treasures, and an extensive coin collection.

6. Ausseres Burgtor – Triumphal Arch

Under the Ausseres Burgtor - Triumphal Arch in Vienna with teens

If you happen to reach the Ausseres Burgtor when a musical group sets out to perform, you will be in for a treat. Take a seat on the steps and listen to an impromptu concert with outstanding acoustics. The arched passageway connects the Michaelerplatz and the Hofburg Palace with the Kunsthistorisches Museum group of buildings.

Won’t lie, it was kind of nice to sit and listen for awhile.

7. Schonbrunn Palace

While you are exploring Vienna with teens, I suggest you add a tour of the Schonbrunn Palace, the former home of Maria Theresia of the Habsburg nobility, to your itinerary.

Take the Grand Tour to see the lavish luxury of the rooms and private apartments of imperial royalty.

Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna with teens

8. Schonbrunn Gardens and Zoo

The grounds surrounding the palace are extensive and precise.

You’ll see rose bushes and rose arches, ponds, Roman ruins, and shady rows of trees in the extensive palace gardens. Venture into the maze section of the gardens and have fun trying to find your way out.

There are activities for both the old and young in the gardens, including the Schonbrunn Zoo. It just happens to be the world’s oldest zoo.

You can take tours of the zoo in the early morning hours where you will have the park virtually to yourself, themed tours, or behind-the-scene tours.

If you happen to appreciate a picnic lunch, the gardens are the perfect place to enjoy your repast. Bring along some fresh bread, cheeses, meats, fruit, cookies and drinks. Lunch will be simple in nature but will bring lasting memories.

>> Related: 10 SUPER EASY Ways to Save Money on Travel

9. Gloriette

Gloriette at the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna with teens

Continue on to the columned Gloriette in the gardens and sit to enjoy the view of the palace and rest for a bit. Built in 1775, apparently the Gloriette was built as eye candy to be viewed by the royalty from the Schonbrunn Palace. Today it houses a cafe, but was previously used by Franz Joseph I as a breakfast hall as well as a dining hall and festival hall.

Turns out it is just a nice place for you to relax, take some pictures, cool off in the shade, enjoy the afternoon, and do a little people-watching.

>> Related: Tips to Take Better Travel Photos (and Look Good in Them Too!)

10. Albertina Museum

Albertina Museum stairs in Vienna

Another magnificent museum in Vienna. The outside entrance stairs to the Albertina Museum are often decorated to draw in crowds.

“The Albertina is a museum in the Innere Stadt (First District) of Vienna, Austria. It houses one of the largest and most important print rooms in the world with approximately 65,000 drawings and approximately 1 million old master prints, as well as more modern graphic works, photographs and architectural drawings.

“Apart from the graphics collection the museum has recently acquired on permanent loan two significant collections of Impressionist and early 20th-century art, some of which will be on permanent display.” Wikipedia

Day Trips from Vienna with Teens

If you are interested in a little bit of traveling outside of Vienna, Melk, the Melk Abbey, the Danube River, and the Wachau Valley might be just what you are looking for.

It took a little bit of planning finesse on my husband’s part to get us to Melk, Austria.

You’ll want to take a bus, then a train, and then transfer to another train before getting THE train tickets for the day to the Wachau Valley of Austria.

At our last stop, a helpful station agent helped us coordinate tickets to Melk, and we didn’t even have to make a mad dash for the train.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. So many people around the world are willing to help. Many of them speak English as well if that is your native language.

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Melk Abbey

View of Melk Abbey from gardens below

We arrived in Melk, Austria around the same time as an English-speaking tour was starting at Melk Abbey. I would not recommend this if you aren’t in the best of shape, but we took off on an uphill hike that might have taken 30 minutes at a leisurely speed. At Kline-speed (and wanting to arrive in time for the tour), we reached the abbey in about 10 minutes.

Our girls were NOT pleased. Whew.

But we made it. Joining the English-speaking tour with Florian was our goal, and though it had already begun, AND we were a little breathless, we were still able to join.

The tour of Melk Abbey includes the royal wing, the great hall where lavish dinners were held, the library which housed over 100,000 books, the chapel, and then the gardens. It was all lovely.

Riding Bikes Along the Danube

Riding bikes along the Danube river in Austraia

When planning for this trip, Chris had discovered a bike ride from Melk to Krems, Austria.

So, after we finished the tour of the Abbey in Melk, Chris downloaded an app and then tried to get a code from a bike rental company. It took awhile for him to get things set up, but he finally got things squared away for an afternoon of bike riding along the south side of the Danube.

The Danube is not blue.

Just saying.

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Let’s just say I fell off my bike within ten minutes of starting the ride! Don’t do that.

I was bringing up the rear with my family and got held up when my youngest slowed down to go through a small entryway onto the bike path that was flanked on either side by columns. I didn’t have anywhere to go at the last second as she slowed but into a column and down I went.

Got my elbow and knee pretty good; I kept going to work out the kinks.

Now, let me just say that the blurb we read about this ride suggested that it was a nice, leisurely downhill coast. DOWNHILL. It was not, IN ANY WAY, leisurely or a downhill coast.

After a couple of hours and about 25 km, we finally stopped in a small town called Spitz, Austria. Our bike-riding muscles were worn out.

Though Chris was ready to ride a couple more hours until we reached Krems, his girls were not willing to go further by bike.

Again, my friends, be flexible. Especially when you are traveling with teenagers.

You can catch a bus to Krems.

By the time we arrived in Krems the town was pretty much shut down for the day. Boo.

After walking around for a short time, Chris found a train leaving from the Krems station back to Vienna. We only had a few minutes before it left and were all willing to run a little back to the train station to catch it. Sadly, we picked the slower train and it was two hours later when we finally rolled into the Vienna station.

Chris and I ate Built Bars protein bars on the train as our pseudo dinner. Not the best meal. Sometimes you have to make do in a pinch. Our girls weren’t having any of it. Luckily we finally reached the station in Vienna and found a small food court.

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Essential Travel Gear for Your Days in Vienna with Teens

Chris and I both do extensive advance research when we travel and find many amazing places to visit and activities to enjoy.

I often take pictures of him while on vacation where he is looking at his phone. People sometimes comment, “Chris is always on his phone. Is he bored?”

Using phone while traveling to get train schedules

Not so. He is checking train schedules, making sure apps are downloaded, and keeping up-to-date on excursions. The cell phone makes it so much simpler. If you aren’t traveling with a cell phone, I highly recommend it.

There are so many more items I use and recommend for travel. Be sure to visit My Favorite Travel Things and My Favorite Photography Things to add to your wanderlust!

>> Related: 14 Genius Gadgets for Travel

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Final Thoughts on 3 Memorable Days in Vienna With Teens

Visiting Austria is the perfect destination when you are traveling with family. If you are exploring Vienna with teens, there are plenty of sites, excursions, day trips, and tours to keep everyone happy. There’s just a little something for everyone.

Travel with teenagers does require some advance planning and research, especially if you are traveling on a budget. We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn Vienna South. It was a bit outside of Vienna, but allowed us to use Hilton Honors points with the two rooms that we needed. Plus, it included breakfast which can add up to a big savings when you travel with family.

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39 Comments
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Jessica
1 year ago

Traveling to Austria is on our bucket list! With a teen, a tween, and a Kindergartner, traveling overseas is a bit overwhelming to me. We had started planning a trip and then had to cancel due to covid. Hoping to plan something soon as things are opening up! I love how you kept it real and highlighted both the highs and lows of your vacation.

Amber
Amber
1 year ago

Austria is a place I’ve always wanted to visit! I’ve been to Germany but otherwise, I need to go on a European exploration one day.

alex
1 year ago

i’m definitely also someone who wants to do everything possible on a trip. seems like y’all had a great itinerary and we’re very flexible! sounds like a great trip!

Missy
1 year ago

Austria is so high on my bucket list. I’d love to spend a couple of days in Vienna exploring the city. It looks so dreamy. Great suggestions!

Elyse
1 year ago

So much good info! I can’t wait to go back to Europe

Nina Clapperton
Nina Clapperton
1 year ago

I’ve fallen off a bike immediately after starting a tour too!
Love this post. Will definitely be saving for when I get back to Austria again.

kmf
kmf
1 year ago

This looks like a perfect three days in Vienna with teens. I hope to visit.

Denise
Denise
1 year ago

Your teens are very lucky! Looks like an awesome family trip!

Kay
Kay
1 year ago

Looks like you had a ton of fun!!!! I loved Schonbruun Palace when I visited Vienna back in 2018 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!

Chelsea
1 year ago

I love bike rides to explore new places and this seems like an awesome option for all ages in Vienna. That chocolate mousse is calling my name too.

Megan
1 year ago

Must be nice to be royal and have the Gloriette be built just for something pretty to look at 😂 Really though, it’s very pretty and great eye candy for everybody!

Tastravelnow
1 year ago

My parents brought me to Vienna for the 14th birthday, I have so many good memories 😊

Linda (LD Holland)
1 year ago

I have to admit that I was really surprised when we got to Vienna with how much there was to see and do. I am glad your girls felt better and were able to see some of this interesting city. And of course some of that great food. We missed Melk so will add that the next time we are there. 

Denise
Denise
1 year ago

Looks like you had lots of fun during your 3 days in Vienna! Would love to return!

Emily
29 days ago

Schonbrunn palace is definitely a must when visiting Vienna. Lovely trip with your family, thanks for sharing!

Jill
29 days ago

The architecture shared here looks awesome! Would definitely want to rest by the Gloriette like you mentioned. My cousin studied abroad here, and now I really want to visit! Thanks for the tips 🙂

Karen
Karen
29 days ago

This sounds like a fabulous itinerary to spend three days in Vienna with teens. Or just me! 🤣

Sarah
29 days ago

Love Vienna, one of my favourite cities, not sure I could cope with teens though, lol. You’re very brave. Love the idea of bikes rides along the Danube – plan that for my next visit.

Yvonne
28 days ago

I have a teen. Definitely saving this post for later. Greay tips!

Sierra
28 days ago

Looks like you all had an awesome time in Vienna. I hope to visit on day!

Barbara
27 days ago

This looks amazing! What a great way to spend time with your favorite people! Nice job MOM! Vienna appears magical to explore!

Jenn Record
27 days ago

love the variety of indoor/outdoor historical/athletic activities

Alex
26 days ago

Vienna looks gorgeous! Love all the architecture!

Jeanine
26 days ago

We loved Austria, no teens but loved visiting the places you describe, our next trip will be to the outer areas so thank you for that information..

Stephanie
25 days ago

WOW! I had no idea there was so much fun activities and places to visit in Vienna! I love those stair leading up to the museum!

Erin
25 days ago

Austria looks amazing (and your husband reminds me of mine – looking at his phone too). Enjoyed this read, and excellent guide.

ANUKRATI DOSI
25 days ago

Wow! That sounds like such a perfect trip. Lucky you!Riding a bike along the Danube is something so exciting.

Maggie
25 days ago

I haven’t been to Austria yet but it’s high on the list! Vienna sounds amazing, and looks like you guys had quite the adventure! Melk Abbey looks amazing, but I will plan on not running up the hill…lol.

Alanna
25 days ago

Great ideas for things to do in Vienna and sounds like you guys had a great time! Schonbrunn Palace looks like a beautiful spot and a crowd pleaser!

Sara Essop
24 days ago

I was in Vienna for a day many years ago but there’s still so much I need to see. I also love using Rick Steve’s audio guides when exploring Europe.

Ashley
Ashley
24 days ago

Looks like some great places to go and see! Would love to get to Austria one day.

Jenn P.
Jenn P.
24 days ago

Looks like you had a great time in Vienna! I appreciate all the information and recommendations.

Michelle
Michelle
23 days ago

What a great experience to enjoy with your kids. I bet they loved all of the activities, especially biking on the Danube!

A Capone Connection
17 days ago

Vienna looks so beautiful. I love the gardens and all the incredible architecture. Thank you so much for sharing your adventure. Hopefully, I can see it for myself one day.