What to do in Vienna on an autumn Sunday – your perfect one-day itinerary
Unascertained by any guide, unapprehended by the locals, hiding in plain sight, there actually is a day in the week when Vienna belongs to the tourist almost entirely – the Sunday. In autumn, the city offers a wide palette of things to do for those who search for them. No matter how gloomy the sky, or how inviting a day indoors might sound, Sundays are perfect to get to know Vienna’s first district one-on-one. Below you find our suggestions for what to do in Vienna on an autumn Sunday. They were written for first-time visitors and are meant to familiarize you with the city and its atmosphere such that you can have an authentic experience as your first encounter with Vienna. However, the connoisseurs can also benefit from a laid-back Sunday in Vienna and we advise them to take this opportunity to look at the city as if seen for the first time.
Wake up early and reward yourself with a traditional Viennese breakfast (unless provided by the hotel) at Cafe Oberlaa-Stadthaus (Neuer Markt 16, A-1010) or Cafe Museum (Operngasse 7, A-1010), both in close proximity to your next destination. The locals not spending a lazy Sunday at home are either in church or at a matinée so that’s where you should be too. The top choices for you are the Sunday Mass in the Wiener Hofmusikkapelle featuring the famous Vienna Boys Choir or for those less religious, the Wiener Musikverein (photo), famous location of the Viennese New Year’s concert. Another location worth checking out is the Wiener Konzerthaus. Alternatively, you can contact us at Dream, Book, and Travel and we will find the best concert in town for you.
As you plan your afternoon, including lunch and dinner plans, do factor in the following possibilities:
- either lunch or dinner at a typical Austrian restaurant, our best recommendation is the Zwölf-Apostelkeller (Sonnenfelsgasse 3), good options being also Gastwirtschaft Pürstner (Riemergasse 10) and Reinthaler’s Beisl (Dorotheergasse 2-4). It’s autumn – so it’s kurbis (pumpkin) and sturm time in Vienna. Sturm is the new wine, marking the beginning of the autumn harvest, and having a lower alcohol concentration (about 4%). If you are looking for freshly squeezed grape juice you have to ask for Traubenmost.
- a stop for coffee and cake (Melange und Kuchen) or a small snack at a famous location such as the Cafe Central (Herrengasse 14), HOFZUCKERBÄCKER CH. DEMEL’ S SÖHNE (Kohlmarkt 14), or my personal favorite Hofzuckerbäcker L. Heiner (Kärntner Straße 21-23 or Wollzeile 9). Autumn pastry specialties contain either Maroni (chestnuts) or Zwetschgen (plums) and are absolutely delicious.
- a stroll through one of the city’s parks and gardens to admire autumn colors – the Prater(famous amusement park, featuring the nostalgic century-old Giant Ferris Wheel, as well as quiet walking alleys), the Burggarten (former Emperor’s garden), the Volksgarten (my personal favorite), or the Stadtpark (home to the famous Kursalon and gilded bronze monument of Johann Strauss II) are all within reach from the city center.
- plenty of time to watch people and read a good book set in Vienna, in order to get to know the inhabitants, the city, and their history a bit better – and why not, to really feel like a local, seeing as this is one of the favorite past times of the Viennese. My personal book recommendations for you can be found in our article about the best books set in/about Vienna.
- ending the day with a cocktail at Das Loft, the high-end bar on top of the Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom Hotel (Praterstrasse 1), featuring a panoramic view of the city in all directions.
At the end of the day, you have hopefully established a connection to the city and its pace. You are now allowed to take out your check-list of things to see in Vienna and start approaching the city as a tourist destination. I guarantee you will see all those sights with different eyes, and you will remember them more fondly as you are now an insider. As you walk along Vienna’s rainy paths you will not be a stranger, but a friend. And if you ever get lonely or run out of ideas, you can always drop us a line and we will set you back on track in no time. Enjoy!