Choosing where to stay in Vienna is often a decision imposed by the holiday budget. As far as hotel prices are concerned, in fact, Vienna seems to want to proudly reaffirm its glorious imperial past: it is one of the few capitals where finding mid to low-end accommodation in the city centre is really difficult.
Districts one and two, the most central, are the prerogative of four and five star hotels, often housed in magnificent historical palaces with luxury worthy of an emperor, perfect for a fairy-tale holiday, celebrating a special occasion or indulging in a romantic getaway.
If your budget isn’t for an imperial palace, we have good news for you: thanks to Vienna’s highly efficient means of transport, you can choose a hotel in the areas outside the centre, which are much cheaper, and reach the attractions of the Innere Stadt comfortably and quickly.
Here is a guide to the best areas in Vienna where to stay: for each area we recommend a couple of hotels of different categories.
In the centre or outside?
It’s easy enough to work out whether a hotel in Vienna is close to the centre or not. Vienna’s districts are marked by a number: 1 is the Innere Stadt, i.e. the historic centre, so the higher the district number, the further you are from the centre.
Innere Stadt is the historic city centre and the heart of imperial Vienna, where you can still breathe in the romantic atmosphere of bygone days. It is the most popular area for tourists, who want to experience the magic of 19th-century Vienna around the clock, when instead of trams they used carriages to get around, Mozart’s operas were the hits of the day and couples danced romantic waltzes.
The main advantage of staying in the Innere Stadt is its proximity to famous sights, such as the Hofburg, the sumptuous imperial palace, the magnificent St Stephen’s Cathedral and the Mozarthaus. In addition, the area is full of bars, restaurants, shops and services, so you will have everything you need at your fingertips.
The splendour of the imperial courts seems to be echoed in the accommodation offer: in the Innere Stadt there are very few one- to two-star guesthouses and almost no hostels. With little choice of cheap guesthouses and hostels, one solution for sleeping in the centre without spending a fortune is to book a flat. The price is generally similar to or less than that of a three-star hotel, but having a kitchen available can save you a lot of money on meals.
As is the case in many cities, prices in the centre of Vienna are higher than in other areas and hotels tend to fill up earlier, so if you want to sleep in this area, it is highly recommended to book well in advance.
Among the best areas to stay in the centre of Vienna are Stephanplatz and its surroundings, Karlsplatz, Graben; also check out the hotels in the characteristic Jewish quarter.
This 3-star hotel is housed in an elegant Art Nouveau building, recently renovated. It is the best choice to enjoy elegant period furnishings in the city centre without draining your wallet. Pets are allowed.
The Ringstrasse is a long, tree-lined boulevard that runs along the perimeter of the Innere Standt, enclosing within it the historic centre of Vienna.
Choosing a hotel along the Ringstrasse is not exactly staying in the centre… but just a step further and you don’t even have to move to visit some of Vienna’s famous attractions such as the Rathausplatz and the Kunsthisthorisches Museum.
The proximity to the city centre and the prestige of the area, lined with elegant historical buildings, means that it is still considered top in terms of accommodation: just as in the centre, luxury hotels prevail and indeed some of the city’s most prestigious 4- and 5-star hotels can be found here.
The ultimate in luxury, this 5-star hotel looks like the set of a Sissi film. The décor has little to envy the imperial palaces and the service is first-rate. The price is… how should I put it… of noble extraction.
Small 4-star boutique hotel recommended for art lovers. It is located in the Spittelberg area, just a 5-minute walk from the Museumquarter. The rooms are originally furnished with modern and more classical elements. The owner has a private art collection that hotel guests can admire.
One of the few mid-range accommodations in the area, this good-value 3-star hotel is only a 5-minute walk from the Ringstrasse and the Rathaus, Vienna’s city hall. Also recommended for those travelling by car due to the availability of paid parking nearby. Pets are allowed.
The Gürtel comprises Vienna’s districts 3 to 9. We are already outside the centre, but these are still districts from which you can quickly reach the Innere Stadt. Many tourists, especially weekend tourists, do not venture into these districts except to visit Belvedere Castle.
Sleeping in the Gürtel is the right compromise between price and comfort: the area certainly does not have the regal charm of historic Vienna, but it is quiet and well connected by public transport. The choice of mid-range accommodation is much greater and prices are on average lower than in hotels in the centre.
A good option for low-cost travellers, this clean hostel 5 minutes’ walk from the metro station has dormitories with shared bathrooms and private rooms with bathrooms. Ideal for young people and budget-conscious families. Plenty of bars in the area.
A very special family-run 3-star hotel with period furniture from the 1950s to the 1980s. It is perfect for those seeking comfort and relaxation at a good price but who want a warmer, more intimate atmosphere than international chain hotels. Very nice is the small inner courtyard where you can have a drink or enjoy an ethnic Filipino dinner.
A four-star hotel tastefully decorated in a modern style with an affordable price, recommended for those who want to indulge in a bit of luxury but cannot shell out the exorbitant sums demanded by downtown hotels. The convenience and numerous services available also make it suitable for business travellers. There is a bar with an outdoor terrace.
Donaustadt is Vienna’s largest district: its area exceeds that of the Innere Stadt and Grüel combined; it is divided into the Alte Donau and Neue Donau.
The atmosphere here is completely different from that in the centre: it is mostly a residential area of apartment blocks, without any famous tourist attractions, but the wide open spaces, with the Danube playing a major role, are fascinating in their own way.
The small beaches along the river are great for relaxing after a day of visiting museums and monuments, while in winter the frozen river is a particularly impressive sight.
Booking a hotel in Donaustadt is recommended for those who want to sleep in a quiet area, for those who are looking for good value for money accommodation and for those who plan to include long walks or cycling tours in their holiday programme.
Prices in the area are significantly lower than in the centre, which is, however, easily reached by metro.
Stylishly decorated in shades of blue, this 3-star hotel offers clean rooms, comfortable beds and a hearty breakfast at an attractive price. The Alte Donau station is only a few minutes’ walk away, allowing you to reach the centre in no time.
Comfortable and inexpensive rooms and flats with a view of the inner garden. This motel is ideal for those arriving in Vienna by car (free parking on site) and for families who want to sleep in a quiet area and have a green area for children to play.
Brand new trendy hotel, opened in 2017, equipped with all modern amenities. It is located opposite the metro station and for those arriving by car there is a private pay car park.
The remaining 11 districts make up Vienna’s suburbs, which include both popular and exclusive, expensive areas. The tourist attractions in these outlying districts are nil, apart from Schönbrunn Palace and a few other exceptions.
The advantages of sleeping in Vienna’s peripheral areas are essentially threefold: the prices, which are much cheaper; the convenience of arriving by car and setting off on day trips; and the ample green spaces, perfect for those who, after visits to museums and monuments, need some relaxation in the park or along the river.
This 4-star hotel a stone’s throw from Schönbrunn Palace was originally the private pension of Emperor Franz Joseph. The rooms are spacious and bright; the elegant restaurant serves traditional Austrian dishes.
This family-run 3-star eco-hotel has a charming garden and the rooms are tastefully furnished. The breakfast buffet is prepared with local organic products. Ideal for those who like to travel by bike: the centre can be reached via a cycle path and in the evening you can leave your bikes in the free bike garage. If you don’t want to cycle, the metro station is just a few minutes’ walk away.
Suitable accommodation for families on a tight budget, groups of friends and solo travellers is this colourful hostel with double, twin, triple, quadruple and dorm rooms with dark parquet floors. There is a life-size chessboard in the inner courtyard.