Vienna Vistas

Scenic Views in and around Vienna

Near Vienna the mighty Alps end rater unspectacular in a number of hills and hillocks. Some of them are part of the Vienna Woods like Kahlenberg, Leopoldsberg and north of the Danube Bisamberg. Others are part of the city itself like Wienerberg, Nussberg, Gloriette or Belvedere Hill.

A number of vantage points are manmade atop of buildings like “Haus des Meeres”, Sky Bar, Hotel Lameé, Palace of Justice, Museum of Natural History . . . and more.

This article lists easily accessible and sometimes cost-free lookouts of both kinds.

Belvedere Hill - 1030 Vienna

Part of every first time visit to Vienna is the Upper Belvedere palace with its formal baroque gardens and a view that already fascinated Canalletto some two hundred fifty years ago. See his painting in the Kunsthistorische Museum.

Get there by trams “D”, “O”, “18” or S-Bahn – Stop “Quartier Belvedere”. When arriving by train it’s just a 5 Min. walk from “Hauptbahnhof” (Hbf.).

For best views be there before or around noon.

Gloriette Schönbrunn - 1130 Vienna, Schoenbrunner Schlossstrasse 47

The Early Classicistic colonnaded Gloriette was built on the crest of the hill intended as the crowning touch to the palatial Baroque ensemble. The glazed central section, today houses Café Gloriette. A narrow winding staircase leads up to the viewing terrace on top of the building (admission).

There are different ways to climb the hill. Most visitors take the open zigzag route just above the Neptune Fountain. Make sure you have enough time – it’s farther than it first looks.

Although there is no full view of the city it’s a nice panorama of the suburban hillsides and a great view of the palace and parts of the park.

Get to Schoenbrunn by tube line “U4” stops “Schoenbrunn” or “Hietzing” or by bus “10A”.

Kahlenberg - 1190 Vienna, Am Kahlenberg 2-3

Still part of the city but high above is Kahlenberg easily reached by bus “38A” which starts at “U4” terminus “Heiligenstadt”. Your regular ticket is also good for this suburban excursion.

Like on the palm of your hand you see it all – the Danube and modern developments north of the Danube, Ferris Wheel and the Cathedral, the colorful Hunderwasser waste incinerator and just on the little hill to the east is Belvedere palace.

There is a little church commemorating the fight against the Ottomans in 1683. There also is a terrace café with some live music at some warm summer evenings.

A special treat is the Urban Hike starting here and leading you via Nussberg and Beethovengang into Heiligenstadt and Nussdorf where you find “Heurigen” (Vintner Taverns) less touristy than in Grinzing.

Best views in the afternoon!

Leopoldsberg - 1190 Vienna

The northernmost end of the Wienerwald is Leopoldsberg. This dominant promontory already held a castle some eight hundred years ago. Although at the moment a bit dilapidates there is hope that there will be a restaurant soon again. Church and information boards again refer to 1683. On a clear day you see some ridges in the east – which mark already the borders of Slovakia and Hungary.

Again it would be the bus “38A” from “U4” Heiligenstadt to bring you up here with your normal ticket. Not all busses go to Leopoldsberg – ask the driver and/or settle for Kahlenberg.

Again an Urban Hike awaits the true explorers. Take the steep, paved trail down the “Nase” (nose) to the little vintners’ village of Kahlenbergerdorf with some simple places for wine and food,

Than either take the bus “239” to Heiligenstadt “U4” or “S40” into town.

Best views in the afternoon.

“Haus des Meeres” - 1060 Vienna, Fritz-Grünbaum-Platz 1

This leftover from WWII is one of Vienna’s 6 FLAK-Towers (antiaircraft towers) now used as an aquarium. Visitors can climb up to the view platform. There is an outside staircase that takes you 192 steps up to the same platform. Tickets for both in the shop.

Find the “Haus des Meeres” in the 6. District just off Mariahilferstrasse – walking distance from Naschmarkt or the “Schnitzelwirt” in Neubaugasse.

Best views in the afternoon!

Leiner - 1070 Vienna, Mariahilfer Strasse 18

This is a furniture shop which happens to provide an amazing view of the inner city from its rooftop café.

You could have a low priced breakfast or lunch here with a priceless view. – Not open Sundays!

Just at your feet you find Mariatheresiaplatz with the two monumental museums. To left the spires of Votivkirche and Rathaus (city hall) in front of you the Hofburg and the green dome of Michaelertor and the tower of St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

This is just steps away from the Biedermeier “Spittelberg” quarter and from the chilly MQ (Museums Quarter) best reached by “U2”, stop “Museumsquartier”

Justizcafe - 1016 Vienna, Schmerlingplatz 10

Austria’s „Palace of Justice“ is the seat of the country’s Supreme Court in an Neo-Renaissance building just behind Parliament. Hard to believe that the rooftop canteen is open to the public. You enter the building by security checks similar to an airport then turn left and take the elevator to the top floor.

It’s a canteen, so don’t expect fancy design or cooking – but the view is unbelievable. Open 7:30-4:30.

To be reached by “U2” & “U3” stop “Volkstheater” and the ring trams “1”, “2”, “D”, “71”. A few other bus and tram lines and at nearby “Bellaria”

Naturhistorisches Museum - 1010 Vienna, Maria-Theresien-Platz

Twice a week they do a short introductory tour (German) that ends atop of the building in a breathtaking evening-walk around the rooftop Balustrade at the Museum of Natural History. The fantastic view does not come for free. Ask at the ticket office. Tour starts Tuesday at 18:30 and Sunday at 16:00

To be reached by “U2” & “U3” stop “Volkstheater” and the ring trams “1”, “2”, “D”, “71”. A few other bus and tram lines end at nearby “Bellaria”

Hotel  Lamée - 1010 Vienna, Rotenturmstrasse 15

This small boutique hotel offers a breath-taking view of St. Stephens cathedral from its rooftop terrace.

This open air bar needs good weather and is closed on windy days. Ask the friendly front desk about the opening. It’s worth a stop at any time.

Half way between “U4” stop “Schwedenplatz” and “U1” stop “Stephansplatz”.

Sky Bar - 1010 Vienna, Kärntner Strasse 19

Rooftop restaurant and bar atop of the Steffel department store. – Looks like the restaurant misses the expectations recently. The view from the bar is dominated by the colorful roof of St. Stephens Cathedral – the rest of the view is just roofs.

To get there walk up or down Kärnterstrasse from Stephnasplatz “U1” & “U3” or from Oper/Karlsplatz “U1”, “U2” and “U4”

Dress code: Smart Casual

The Loft at Hotel Sofitel - 1020 Vienna, Praterstrasse 1

Le LOFT Restaurant & Bar is set on the 18th floor of “Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom”. Sweeping glass windows offer an unbelievable view of Vienna and St Stephen's Cathedral.

A colorful, illuminated ceiling by multimedia artist Pipilotti Rist offers a bright contrast to the pure and simple interior design.

Dress code: Smart Casual

Get there best by “U1” or “U4” stop “Schwedenplatz” – this is also a hub the tram lines “1” & “2”

Ferris Wheel - 1020 Vienna, Riesenradplatz 1

The Wiener Riesenrad is 65m/212ft tall and was built in 1897. It is one of Vienna's most popular tourist attractions and the landmark of the admission free amusement park “Prater”. – A Nostalgic Classic!

A ride takes ca. 12 min. plus queuing sometimes. The views are nice on a clear day and around sunset, just when the sun went down and the lights in the city go on. For security reasons here are stark neon lights in the gondolas which make it less romantic

To get there take tube lines “U1” or “U2” or tram “O” to stop at “Praterstern”

Praterturm - 1020 Vienna, Wiener Prater 59

The Praterturm is THE new landmark of the Prater and of Vienna. Build in 2010 its height of 117m/318ft made it then the highest flying swing in the world. A must-do for everyone who loves height and speed!

The view must be great, although I didn’t do it!

To get there take tube lines “U1” or “U2” or tram “O” to stop at “Praterstern”  

Donauturm (Danube Tower) - 1220 Vienna, Donauturmstrasse 4

Opened in April 1964, is the tallest structure in Austria, at 252m/827f).

Two revolving restaurants (at a height of 161.2 and 169.4m/529 and 556ft offer a varied view over the Austrian capital and the Danube River below. It takes the platform either 26, 39 or 52 minutes to complete a full revolution. The restaurants were originally largely identical; however, now the top is an "upscale" restaurant (named "Donauwalzer") and the lower restaurant is a café (named "Panorama"). Even so, the menu and prices continue to differ little.

The observation deck also bears a bungee-jumping site, with a platform projecting from the area. It is used at times during the summer months.

To get there take tube “U1” to stop at “Alte Donau” and the walk 10-15 min.