5 Beautiful Day Trips From Vienna

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by Hertz - 15 December 2021

There are many sights to absorb within Austria’s grand capital of Vienna, packed full of cultural charms, historical excursions and gastronomic delights – but it doesn’t stop there.

Vienna is overflowing with travel potential, both in and around the borders of Austria. One of the many beauties of Vienna is its proximity to other fantastic destinations, so we’ve gathered a selection of Vienna day trips for you to explore.

There’s no better way to explore a destination than from the comfort of your own vehicle. Hiring one is simple and Hertz has several locations around Vienna, including one at Vienna Airport, making it easier than ever to start your adventure. Begin planning your day trips from Vienna by car today.

Semmering, Austria

(2680 Semmering, Austria)

Found on the Great Alpine Pass on the Eastern Northern Alps, Semmering offers scenic views of nearby mountains as you drive to this traditional skiing town. Just a short journey from the cosmopolitan sights of Vienna, Semmering is part of the district of Lower Austria. It’s renowned for cosy skiing culture hidden away within the lush mountain landscape.

For a wintery day trip out of Vienna, visit the ski resort Zauberberg Semmering on the summit of Hirschenkogel to enjoy some of the finest slopes in Austria. Home to the World Cup slope, a toboggan run and a range of varying ski trails – anyone can have fun here in the Austrian Alps. There are plenty of light slopes, several medium levels, and a few harder routes for the more experienced. In the summer, Hirschenkogel offers family attractions, mountain biking and a tree-climbing adventure park for year-round activity.

For those who prefer leisurely sightseeing, the resort also offers a cable car with aerial views of the snow-topped hills.

How to get to Semmering

It takes approximately one hour and 10 minutes to drive the 60.6 miles (97.6 km) from Vienna to Semmering.

Make your way onto the S Autobahn/E59 from Vienna. Take the exit for the S6 toward Bruck an der Mur/Semmering/Neunkirchen. Look for the exit Maria Schutz/Semmering and continue onto the L4168 to Semmering.

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Wachau Valley, Austria

(Bahnzeile 16, 3500 Krems an der Donau, Austria)


Recognised as a World Cultural Heritage Region for its agricultural and architectural significance, the picturesque landscape of the Wachau Valley is another unmissable day trip out of Vienna. Dotted with ancient ruins, renowned apricot groves, and seemingly enchanted forests upon the Danube River, you might assume you’ve fallen head over heels into the middle of a fairytale.

There are several towns to stop by among the expansive green hills, so you’ll be spoilt for choice from the moment you arrive. Why not explore the 12th-century ruins of the medieval Aggstein Castle between the cities of Krems and Melk? Here, you can snap a bird’s-eye view of the winding Danube – which stretches from the Black Forest provinces of Germany to the Black Sea.

How to get to the Wachau Valley

It takes approximately one hour and 10 minutes to drive the 56.6 miles (91.2 km) from Vienna to the Wachau Valley.

Make your way onto the Austrian Autobahn A22 from Vienna and follow signs for the S5 toward Krems/St.Pölten/Tulln.

Alternatively, if you want to visit Melk, use the A1 for the quickest route.

You may even wish to drive the 40 minutes from Krems an der Donau to Melk for the complete experience on your journey through the Austrian country.

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Bratislava, Slovakia

(Hlavné námestie, 811 01 Staré Mesto, Slovakia)

The central hub and capital of Slovakia Bratislava is packed with history and culture.

As the signature attraction of Bratislava, outside of its romantic streets and sumptuous cuisine, Bratislava Castle takes centre stage. You won’t miss this remarkable building, its pristine white exterior contrasting beautifully against blue skies on a clear day. Offering fantastic views of Bratislava, you may even be able to catch a glimpse of Hungary and Austria in the distance. You can conveniently visit a division of the Slovak National Museum on the grounds of Bratislava Castle, documenting its medieval history.

While wandering the streets of the city centre, look out for charming statues sprinkled around the gothic old town. You can find many of these quirky characters near the Main Square, including, most famously, a statue known as Man at Work – a funny gentleman peeking out of a manhole.

How to get to Bratislava

It will take approximately one hour and 15 minutes to drive the 50 miles (80 km) from Vienna to Bratislava.

You can either take the A4 and then the A6, or alternatively, the A4 and the B9. Both routes will take you across the western border to Bratislava from Vienna.

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Budapest, Hungary

(Budapest, Szent István tér 1, 1051 Hungary)


Hungary’s capital city is best characterised by its historical sites and beautiful skyline, set upon the Danube River. Also known as the ‘City of Baths’, Budapest is the perfect city-break destination if you’re looking for a unique spa day. Boasting over 120 natural hot springs, the city is dotted with rejuvenating thermal baths, famous for their healing mineral properties.

For the quintessential thermal bath experience in Budapest, visit Széchenyi Baths. Over 100-years old with neo-Baroque detailing, this medicinal bath is the largest in Europe and just a 15-minute drive from the inner city. Visitors can indulge in a turquoise oasis of steamy bathing pools, saunas, and hot tubs – open all year round.

Checking off several sights in one, head to Budapest’s castle district where you can access Buda Castle from the iconic Chain Bridge – connecting Buda and Pest in 1849. You can either take the stairs to the top of Castle Hill or opt for a quick excursion via the funicular. Learn about the city’s fascinating past and how it came to be at the Budapest History Museum – found right within the grounds.

How to get to Budapest

It takes approximately two hours and 30 minutes to drive the 150 miles (243 km) from Vienna to Budapest.

The fastest route takes you via the A4 from Vienna, crossing the Hungarian boarder onto the M1. Continue the M1 onto Budaörsi út, following signs for Budapest.

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Graz, Austria

(Hauptpl. 1, 8010 Graz, Austria)

Graz, Austria

Discover Austria’s second largest city, after Vienna. Over 1000 years old, this timeless city takes on more of a Mediterranean influence as the capital of Styria, the mountainous state of southern Austria.

The historic centre of Graz is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in itself, along with Eggenberg Palace – just a 15-minute drive from central Graz – so there’s plenty to see and do. Witness a fusion of ancient heritage and modern delights with museums and art galleries, such as the Kunsthaus Graz with its bubbly shape.

Explore Graz’s landmark clock tower – the Uhrturm – on the rocks of Schlossberg hill. It’s just a 10-minute walk through the town centre from the Main Square of Graz, offering a stunning vantage point of the entire city.

Visitors can climb the cobbled stairs to the top of Schlossberg to find an idyllic public park, home to the fortress of Graz. Alternatively, feel free to take the funicular, or hop inside Schlossberg lift. For just a few euros, this glass lift will carry you to the peak of hill from the inside. Pretend you’ve found one of Austria’s best kept secrets and be greeted by miles of stunning landscape.

How to get to Graz

It will take approximately two hours and 15 minutes to drive the 124 miles (200 km) from Vienna to Graz.

From Vienna, you may take the A23 and head toward the S Autobahn/E59. Follow the S Autobahn to Liebenauer Tangente in Graz.

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Hire a car in Vienna and discover the exciting sights of Austria and beyond with Hertz.