Want to know where to stay in Vienna and not too sure where to start? Here is a comprehensive neighbourhood guide with pros and cons to help you pick the best accommodation for your needs. We will explore why certain areas are better than others and how they fit your requirements as a traveller. Whether you like to visit a new destination on a budget, are a luxury traveller or interested in food and culture, our where to stay in Vienna guide will tell you what to pick and why.
We visited Vienna in September to celebrate our one year anniversary. During our time spent in Vienna, we fell in love with the place and decided to move to this beautiful city. We spent months finding out where to stay in Vienna to ensure we are close to amenities, have fun travelling and fits our budget. So, here is how to pick where to stay in Vienna using this guide to the city's key locations and districts.
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Where to stay in Vienna [2020 guide for first time visitors] - Contents
Innere Stadt (District 1)
For first time visitors, finding a hotel in Innere Stadt is a great choice. This is the very centre of Vienna with few residents but numerous historical sites. Back in the days, before 1850, Innere Stadt was the actual equivalent of the city of Vienna. Essentially, The Innere Stadt is the Old Town of Vienna, and this is where you are going to spend most of your time finding great things to do in Vienna.
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Why stay in Innere Stadt
Being in the very city centre means you don't have to commute or take public transport to see all the major attractions. The city centre is full of shops, museums and fantastic restaurants. You are literally right in the heart of the Austrian capital. Innere Stadt is the best place to stay in Vienna if the price tag is not an issue.
Why avoid Innere Stadt
Vienna is a fantastic destination but this usually comes with a price. This city is not cheap and it's difficult to find budget accommodation in the whole of Vienna, let alone its very core. So if you are a budget traveller looking for cheaper options, the Innere Stadt might not be the place for you. Being in the middle of it all, also means it can get quite agitating sometimes. So pick your hotel carefully, or otherwise, you might not be able to get the rest you deserve during your holiday.
Where to stay in Innere Stadt
Leopoldstadt (District 2)
During our first visit to Vienna, we actually stayed in Leopoldstadt. This is the island between the Danube and the Danube Canal. It's a large residential area, home to Prater Park and the iconic Ferry Wheel featured in several movies. We picked this location because it was very quiet, with great access to the subway and fantastic connections to the rest of the city. The prices were much friendlier than in the city centre and overall it was well worth it.
Why stay in Leopoldstadt
Prices here sure play an important role and if you want a location which is quiet at night, with various supermarkets around, then this is the place for you. We were surprised by the number of restaurants and pubs within walking distance from our accommodation. However, to access the city and to enjoy Vienna, you do need to travel by subway. Overall, we very much loved the location and we will pick it again for our next stay in Vienna and for when we move to the city.
Why avoid Leopoldstadt
There aren't many accommodation options unless you decide to rent a private apartment. There are a few hotels which cost less than right in the city centre, but overall you might struggle to find the perfect place. We were lucky, I'd say, but we didn't visit during the season. Another downside is the distance. It will take you 15-20 minutes to walk and take the subway on a daily basis, to get to the city centre. If this doesn't bother you, then Leopoldstadt is definitely a great place which we strongly recommend.
Where to stay in Leopoldstadt
Landstraße (District 3)
West of Innerstadt, Landstrasse is Vienna's cultural district and home to Viennese artist Hundertwasser's. Here you will find some of the most unusual creations: the KunstHaus Wien and the Hunderwasserhaus. It's also here, in District 3 that you will find the gorgeous Belvedere and its beautiful gardens.
Why stay in Landstraße
This district is very close to the city centre and it has a high proportion of greenery. You will find plenty of things to do and it's excellent for those interested in cultural activities and sightseeing. There are trams going to the city centre.
Why avoid Landstraße
We didn't find great subway connections in this neighbourhood. Of course, you have other methods of transportation, just as good and efficient, but perhaps this is a con for our own personal preference. We very much like the idea of taking the subway and making use of its extensive network.
Where to stay in Landstraße
Wieden (District 4)
Wieden is Vienna's district 4 and it is located in the south of the centre. After WWII, Wieden was part of the Soviet sector for 10 years. This is a great district for anyone wishing to visit Vienna. It has great connections to the centre and plenty to do and see around. It's also ideal for those interested in taking advantage of Vienna's magnificent music scene, as Wieden is home to St. Charle's Church which is known to host some incredible classical music concerts.
Why stay in Wieden
Staying in Wieden means cheaper prices than right in the city centre but with great options and infrastructure around. It's a cool area with Art Noveau townhouses and it's home to Naschmarkt, a great market full of fresh produce. It's actually excellent for breakfast options as well. We very much loved the vibe in this neighbourhood and enjoyed the cafes here.
Why avoid Wieden
It can get a little busy with the flea market and the food market, especially during the weekend. Although there are plenty of interesting restaurants, cafes and great attractions, you will need to commute to the very centre for the main things Vienna has to offer. However, given the prices and the key location, Wieden is a great place for travellers.
Where to stay in Wieden
Margareten (District 5)
Margareten is a heavily populated area with many workers and residential homes. Margareten is located in the Southwest of Vienna. This district is very close to the centre and has excellent connections. Best to avoid the Gürtel belt as it does not have the best reputation.
Why stay in Margareten
If you position yourself as close as possible to the 1st district, then this is a great location for first-time travellers who seek to be in the heart of Vienna but don't wish to pay premium prices. Just make sure to check the map properly and ensure you avoid Gürtel.
Why avoid Margareten
Gürtel which belongs to this district, unfortunately, has a bad reputation. You will find some dodgy individuals, prostitutes and various shady characters. It's not a bad or unsafe place, it's mainly not appealing, especially not to a tourist looking to explore the more beautiful sides of the city.
Where to stay Margareten
Mariahilf (District 6)
District 6 is super heavily populated with over 30,000 residents over an area less than 1.5 square km. It is near the city centre which makes it very desirable. It has Vienna's most important and popular shopping street, Mariahilfer Straße. Same as district 4, it touches the Gürtel belt, so make sure you try and avoid the area.
Why stay in Mariahilf
Mariahilf is fantastic for those interested in shopping! There are plenty of restaurants around and also this district is very well connected with the very city centre.
Why avoid Mariahilf
The hotels in the area are not much cheaper than the ones located right in the city centre. Apart from shopping, you will still have to commute to the main attractions in Vienna.
Where to stay in Mariahilf
Neubau (District 7)
Neubau is one of the most sought-after districts in Vienna. It's a magnet for students, creatives and intellectuals and is home to the Museum Quartier where you will find various museums and art galleries as well as laid-back cafes.
Why stay in Neubau
If you like art and want to mingle with the locals this is the place for you. You will find plenty to do and it's always lovely to be located in a place full of like-minded individuals.
Why avoid Neubau
The downside of upcoming hipster neighbourhoods are the prices. Being so popular and cool, prices are quite high, and despite being a honeypot for students, you will find that it's not that suitable for a budget traveller.
Where to stay in Neubau
Josefstadt (District 8)
Located north of the centre, Josefstadt is yet another great district in Vienna. Josefstadt has a mixture of student and locals and there is a cool vibe to the district. There is something really Viennese about the place, as it is lined with all sort of classy and hipster cafes, theatres and markets.
Why stay in Josefstadt
If you want to experience Vienna like a local, this is definitely a great place to start. You will still need to commute to the centre, but if you just want a laid back experience in the cultural city of Vienna, this district will make you feel at home.
Why avoid Josefstadt
It's quite difficult to find any faults with this district apart from some of its prices. It's the smallest district in Vienna, and in my opinion, one of the loveliest and most authentic.
Where to stay in Josefstadt
Alsergrund (District 9)
District 9 is associated with many notable names of Viennese art and science. Many departments of the university are located in Alsergrund, as well as several government-built houses. In this district, you will find the Sigmund Freud Museum.
Why stay in Alsergrund
Being so close to the city centre, there are so many reasons why you should stay in District 9. There are great links to the very core the centre and in general, you will find a quiet spot, but also a cultural neighbourhood with shops, restaurants and great bars.
Where to stay in Alsergrund
Favoriten (District 10)
This is what locals would probably call a rough district and is characterised by its cheaper housing options. It's a multicultural district and it is known for its working class. You might find a bit shady at night in certain areas and as a visitor in Vienna, you will definitely have better options than District 10. Although it's affordable, and a great place for budget travellers who might want to stay in Vienna for a while, I would probably find better options on where to stay in Vienna.
Simmering (District 11)
Another interesting multicultural place is Simmering. This is a bit interesting as I purposely avoided it during my stay in Vienna. I asked one of my friends who has lived in Vienna for over a decade and she told us to kindly NOT visit. She said it's dodgy, shady and nothing good comes of it. On the other hand, I read on so many other forums that people think this is perfectly safe and nice. As I can't guide you for sure, I'd say always be on the safe side, and better skip it. I mean, who doesn't want to be in District 7 with all the cool kids, right?
Meidling (District 12)
Meidling is a normal district with nothing that truly stands out. It's full of character and it's mainly known for its working class but since it doesn't really have that many great attractions, it's difficult to justify going here as a first time tourist. Living here, however, it's a great suburb with good connections.
Hietzing (District 13)
Where do I begin? I loved Hietzing as it contains large areas of the Vienna Woods, along with Schönbrunn Palace. Who doesn't like the outdoors as well as the glorious Schönbrunn Palace? Ok, this is a relatively rich neighbourhood with beautiful villas. You will find many shops and restaurants for everyone's liking but you might also be surprised to see quite a few gourmet options for the rich.
Why stay in Hietzing
Because it's right next to the woods, and you can find some excellent peace and quiet. You will be surrounded by the upper class and you might enjoy an exquisite cup of coffee. You will see an excellent side of Vienna.
Why avoid Hietzing
Well, you have the woods and Schönbrunn Palace. But that's kinda it. I mean you will need to take the subway and commute to the city centre to actually enjoy what Vienna has to offer. This is great for a recreational time off in the city, but definitely not the place for any traveller interested in experiencing cultural Vienna.
Penzing (District 14)
This one is a tricky district. It's great for outdoors enthusiasts but not for... Vienna enthusiasts. What do I mean by this? Well if you want time away from the city, close to the forest and trail opportunities, then this is the place for your needs. It's quiet, relaxing and frankly quite incredible. However, it's far the city centre and there is nothing here to do...apart from walking and hiking. You won't find any attractions Vienna is known for and you don't have that many foods and coffee options. So essentially, this is your out of the city vacation, whilst inside the city. I would say no to it for a first-time traveller looking for options on where to stay in Vienna.
Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus (District 15)
This is an unfordable upcoming district with plenty of multicultural markets. There are several cafes and restaurants in the area but in order to actually enjoy Vienna, you will have to commute to the centre. However, there are great transport links which will take you right to the city centre.
Ottakring (District 16)
District 16 is a little far from the city centre, so you will need to rely on public transportation. The area is relatively charming with various markets and a diverse population. Prices used to be relatively affordable here due to the large Turkish and Balkan residents, but in recent times, young families and hipsters alike have been moving here which have been bringing the prices back up. It's a multicultural district with plenty of shops, restaurants and cafes. It has a unique feel to it and you will find lots of fresh fruits and vegetables here.
If you don't mind commuting to the centre, I would definitely consider this district for your visit to Vienna.
Districts 17 - 23
Well since you are here to visit Vienna, I would say that it would make sense to avoid these districts. No, not because there is a problem, but they are on the outskirts and you surely want something which is more accessible with plenty of transport links to the centre. These are great places for families with kids who wish to get a house and live in Vienna, but not visit. And just so you know, just because you want to rent something on the outskirts, it doesn't always mean you will pay less. Some of these districts are actually very expensive.
Where to stay in Vienna
Although we picked District 2 the first time we stayed in Vienna, we would very likely go for district 6 this time. We would love something a little more upbeat and a little bit more hipster. We would love to know which district did you pick and why? Please let us know in the comments section below.