Budapest-Vienna Side Trip

Vienna, the romantic capital of Austria, makes an ideal side trip

Budapest-Vienna Side Trip
Hundertwasser building
The Belvedere

Why visit: old-world charm, architecture, history, arts, Viennese Cafés, Wiener Schnitzel, Sachertorte

Getting to Vienna from Budapest: There are many ways to travel to Vienna from Budapest. By car Vienna is about 150 miles from Budapest. It is a roughly two and a half hour drive on Highways M1 (in Hungary) and A4 (in Austria). There is no physical border between the two countries, as both Hungary and Austria are part of the Schengen Agreement. By air the flight takes less than one hour, and Austrian Airlines offers non-stop connection between Budapest International Airport and Wien Schwechadt International Airport. Trains run from Budapest's Keleti Station. Buses leave from the Népliget bus terminal.

A fun way to travel to Vienna from Budapest is by Hydrofoil. The ride takes about six and a half hours upstream and five and a half hours on the return. The hydrofoil service operates from May through September (Mondays and Wednesdays from Budapest to Vienna and Tuesdays and Thursdays from Vienna to Budapest). For more info go to

Another fun way to get to Vienna is with Taste Hungary. Their “Budapest to Vienna: Wine & Castles Along The Austro-Hungarian Border” tour lets travelers sample the wine and food, while visiting some castles, along the way.

Feeling adventurous? Check out this article...

Vienna Fast Facts

Vienna is the capital city and the largest city of the Republic of Austria.
Population: 1,7 million
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Language: German
Airport: Schwechat International Airport (VIE)
Country code: 43
Vienna area code: 01
Time Zone: same as Budapest, Central European Time (GMT+1, EST+6), Daylight Saving Time observed

Things to Do in Vienna

Before the Second World War, Vienna stood side by side with Paris and London in importance, beauty, and power, thanks to its status as a major transit point between Western and Eastern Europe. The rich and elite of Europe vacationed here, artists and composers sought inspiration, and revolutionaries ironed out their plans and theories.

Vienna, however, has not always been considered such a romantic destination. The city found itself just a few miles from the Iron Curtain during the Cold War. Hence, trade ceased with the East, and foreigners found little reason to visit a war-torn city. Nonetheless, with the sudden popularity and growth of the Eastern Jewels like Budapest and Prague, Vienna rediscovered its role as a gateway. Visitors quickly embraced the old-world charm of Vienna. The streets are lined with quaint shops, cafés and bakeries. Huge palaces appear on nearly every major street corner, and the sky is pierced with towering church steeples. The buildings along the Ringstrasse seem to offer a bit of every European architectural style, from the medieval Rathaus, Gothic Stephensdom, to the Greco-Roman parliament building.

Main attractions in Vienna:
Schloss Schönbrunn (Imperial Summer Palace) - The biggest attraction in the Western part of Vienna is the summer palace. Sometimes called the "Versailles of Vienna", this huge Baroque residence has more then 1400 rooms and grand formal gardens. Two tours that guide visitors through 100+ rooms are available. However, the palace itself is a minor attraction compared to the entire property. The palace grounds also include a terrific zoo, marvelous tree-covered paths, and Roman ruin Follies.

St. Stephen's Cathedral - St. Stephan's Gothic structure seems a little out of place among the modern glass and steel buildings lining the Stephansplatz. However, it's these things that make the cathedral stand out that make it such an attraction. For one, the 390-foot tower can be seen from all over the city. Try climbing to the top of the cathedral's spire to see its tiled roof.

Hofburg (Imperial Palace) - Many Austrian rulers have made their own input on the shape and style of this palace since Rudolf I took control of it in 1278. It now contains several museums.

Schloss Belvedere - Lukas von Hildebrandt built this palace for Prince Eugene of Savoy between 1714 and 1723. The structure is actually two baroque buildings separated by 500 meters of gardens. It now stands as a museum displaying the royal apartments, gardens and art galleries. Many people flock to these buildings, since Klimt, Schiele, and Kokoschka all had a room here.

Hundertwasserhaus - This building is by far Vienna's most unusual apartment building, and a popular tourist destination. Architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser built this childlike house, keeping in mind the notion that "the straight line is godless".

Freud's Apartment - Sigmund Freud moved to this apartment with his family in 1891, and lived here until 1938, when he felt to London. Freud took most of his possessions with him, but the building is still a major point of pilgrimage.

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