Vienna Ringstrasse Tram & Walking Tour:
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Tour Location: Vienna City Center Ringtrasse
Cost: Free, 4-14€ for tram pass (optional prices below)
Start: Museum Quartier (Museumsquartier Metro stop)
Stop: Burggarten (Museumsquartier Metro stop)
Distance: Tram loop is 3.6 miles (additional walking is light)
Time: 24 Minutes for loop (4-5 Hours with stops)
Fun Scale
: 9
out of 10

Ringstrasse Tram Tour Overview:
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map
From museums to beer gardens and cathedrals to memorials, there is a ton a great stuff to see and do along the Ringtrasse Tram Line in Vienna. The tram line loop, also known as the Ringstraße, traces the path of former a Medieval city wall that surrounded Vienna until 1860. When the wall was tore down by Emperor Franz Joseph to modernize city, the new boulevard it made created a home for many of the wonderful sights you'll see on this tour.  Consider this a hop on, hop off walking tour that you get to do at your own pace.  You'll be compelled to walk between many of the stops but make sure to utilize the transportation options listed below at least a couple times for the spread out stops to save some wear and tear on your legs.

Tram Line Options:
1. Red #1 & #2 Trams: If you want the most flexibility we suggest doing a combination of the #1 (blue on our map) and #2 (red on our map) Tram Lines.  This is a nice option as it allows you to catch trams in both directions around the Ringstraße loop all day which come about every 5-10 minutes.  While the #1 and #2 lines overlap for part of the Ringstrasse you will have to switch lines halfway through to complete the full loop.  Each line goes a couple miles out of the way where they split from the loop so you have to pay attention when it's time to switch lines. The best thing about this option is that you can use the standard city tram pass good on all normal lines and do not need to buy a special pass like you would with the Yellow Line option.  Red Tram Hours: 4am-Midnight, every 5-10 minutes.  Tickets: Single ride tickets are 2.20€ and you’ll have to use one every time you get on. Unlimited City-wide Tram/Bus/Metro Pass is 7.60€ for 24 Hours, 13.30€ for 48 Hours, & 16.50€ for 72 hours.

2. Yellow Tourist Tram: The Yellow Tourist Tram is the only tram that continuously follows the Ringstraße loop without needing a line change. It runs clockwise starting at the Schwedenplatz Tram Stop and takes 24 minutes to circle the entire loop. This 31 seat tram is complete with LCD screens going over the highlights and has headphones for narration in 8 languages. Unfortunately this tram not longer lets you do a hop on hop off option but it is enjoyable is you want to take in all the sights quickly. Yellow Tram Hours: 10am-6pm, last Yellow Tram leaves the Schwedenplatz Tram Stop at 5:30pm. Yellow Tram Tickets: A special ticket is needed to ride this tram for a one-time 30 minute continuous loop ride which costs 8€ (4€ for children). More Info: Yellow Tram Website.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map

3. Underground Metro: While the road level tram lines are the best way to experience the Ringstrasse, you can also hit up most of the sights by using Vienna's extensive underground Subway lines (marked on our map as thin lines).  Printable Subway Map: Click Here

The Ringstrasse Tram Tour Sights:
*Stepping out of the metro you'll find the two huge twin buildings making up the...
1. Museum Quartier: In the mid-to-late 1800 Emperor Frans Joseph I tackled a number of huge projects to enhance Vienna and bring it into an a boom period.  Maybe the largest of all the Emperor's proposed projects was the Kaiserforum which was meant serve as an Imperial Forum celebrating the might of Austria.  As seen in this 1865 mockup mockup sketch, the Kaiserforum complex was set to be quite vast with tons of buildings and construction started in on the Museum Quartier section 1872.  While most of Emperor Franz Joseph's other projects went smooth, the Kaiserforum complex went really slow because of the over-the-top amount of detail they chose to use.  It ended up taking 19 years for the 1st two museums to open and other parts took even longer causing a lot of the complex to go unbuilt, but the parts they finished are amazing.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map
To the Eastside of the square is the highly rated Kunsthistorisches Museum which holds Vienna's greatest collection of paintings covering very fun loving art from over a 200 year span.  The museum to the Westside of the square is the Museum of Natural History (Naturhistorisches) which holds Austria's most famous work of art, the Venus of Willendorf, in its vast collection.  The only 4-inch-tall Venus statue is a chubby, naked female figure carved into limestone and is dated to be from between 24,000-22,000 BC.  Behind these two massive museums is a third one worth a stop for any modern art lover, the Leopold Modern Art Museum.  The museum itself is housed inside of the old Imperial Horse Stables.  Our favorite piece at the Modern Art Museum comes right away and is an upside down house home smashed into the side of the Museum called House Attack.  Make sure to check out the huge fountain statue of Empress Maria Theresa sitting in the Museum Quartier before moving to the next stop.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map
Kunsthistorisches Hours
:
Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm, open on Thursday until 9pm, closed Mondays.  Kunsthistorisches Cost: €14 for Adults, Children and teens are free, but a guided tour is €3 extra.  Combo ticket to include Neue Berg is €20 for both or for the Leopold is €22 for both.  Natural History Hours: Wednesday-Monday 9am-6:30pm, open on Wednesday until 9pm, closed Tuesdays.  Natural History Cost: €10 for Adults, Children and teens are free, but a guided tour is €3 extra.  The best deal also includes the nearby Neue Berg for just €20 for both. Leopold Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm, open on Thursday until 9pm, closed Mondays.  Leopold Cost: €12 for Adults, students €8.  Combo ticket to include Kunsthistorisches is €22 for both.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map

Sitting just across the Ringstrasse from Museum Quartier is..
2. Hero's Square (Heldenplatz): As you cross into Hero's Square, you'll immediately run into a large gateway over the road called Auberes Burgtor.  The columned gateway is all that remains from a wall built around the Palace in 1817 after the originally castle wall was damaged during the Napoleonic  Wars in 1809.  This new Palace wall didn't last long as it and the entire Medieval wall that surrounded all of Old Town Vienna were torn down in 1860 by Emperor Franz Joseph I to making way for the Ringstrasse loop.  This move helped the growing city expand and was part of a large series of enhancements the Emperor made to the City.
As you pass through the gateway it opens up into the large Heldenplatz (or Hero's Square) complete with a back drop of beautiful Neue Burg (or New Castle).  It can be easy to get distracted by the amazing curved building, but the square itself is worth investigating.  Heldenplatz and 2 other large gardens (Burggarten & Volksgarten) were laid out after parts of a Medieval castle wall that stood here were destroyed Napoleonic Wars. 
While the the other Gardens have remained green, most of Heldenplatz has been paved over during the decades but a couple of the original equestrian statues remain. Our favorite statue is Prince Eugene of Savoy and sits right by Neue Burg's main entrance.  Eugene left France for Austria after being denied entrance to their military for appearance and went on to become the greatest General in Austrian history.  He led military campaigns for 60 years over 3 different Holy Roman Emperors based out of Vienna and was very successful.  The gain fame with battles over the Ottomans later gaining heavy praise fro Napoleon all while getting super rich from his endeavors.  To this day Eugene serves as a point of Austrian pride and will power.  On your walk over to Volksgarden in 2 stops you'll also pass a great statue of Archduke Charles Heldenplatz (whom the square is named after) triumphantly holding a flag.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map

 *After exploring Heldenplatz it's time to check out the giant curved building staring down at you called...
3. Neue Burg of Hofburg Palace: While you've already visited the first parts of Emperor Franz Joseph's Kaiserforum at the Museum Quartier, the Neue Burg Wing (or New Castle) wing of Hofburg Place was probably the biggest part of the new complex.  This huge palace section was started in 1881, but its construction was drug out for over 30 year into the beginning of WW1 which Austria lost, further delaying the project.  Because of the huge delays most of the rest of the Kaiserforum complex was scrapped for the most part, but overall the completed buildings are really impressive. 
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map
Once inside Neue Burg it is easy to be in awe of the marble lined corridors, grand staircases, and our favorite are called the Hunting Plateau which is a common place for weddings.  The amazing details of the grand Neue Berg make it the perfect setting for the building many museum collections.  The 1st collection that was housed here came from Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1908 after he got back from an extensive trip around the World.  After the Afranz Ferdinand was assassinated in 1914, which sparked WW1, his entire collection was given to Neue Berg giving a starting to a series of wonderful museums. Today the building houses Collection of Ancient Musical Instruments, Collection of Arms and Armor, Papyros Museum, and Ephesos Museum.  Our favorite of these museums is the Ephesos which has a great collection of classical and even ancient statues.  The highlight of the Ephesos Museum is the Parthian Monument, part of an antique altar erected at Ephesos (modern day Turkey) during the Hellenistic Period.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map
While the Neue Burg section of the Hofburg Palace is run by the Kunsthistorisches Museum the main part of the Palace sits just to the North and also worth a visit.  Because of the location of the entrance the main Hofburg Palace is best seen on our Old Town Walking Tour.  Highlights of visiting this historic landmark include the Imperial Apartments, Sisi Museum, and the Imperial Silver Collection.  We suggest getting the Sisi ticket as you will also be able to see the Imperial Furniture collection and a free pass to tour Schönbrunn Palace.   Neue Burg Museum Hours: Wednesday-Sunday 10am-6pm.  If you only have time for one museum stop, consider the World class collection of museums at nearby Museum Quartier instead of Neue Berg.  Museum Cost: All of the Neue Berg museum collections are covered for €14 for Adults, Children and teens are free, but a guided tour is €3 extra.  The best deal also includes the nearby Kunsthistorisches Museum for just €20 for both. We've bought the combo ticket and they let us see the two museums on different days, but ask to make sure. 
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map

*Walk West all the way back through Heldenplatz to the inviting...
4. The People's Garden (Volksgarten): The People's Garden Park has an excellent free Rose Garden and is a treat to visit during the Summer months.  Probably the biggest sign of Roman influence on Vienna is the Park's replica of the Greek Temple Hephaestus (Theseion).  If you looking for the most peaceful spot in Vienna's city center, look no further than Volksgarten's white-washed Sisi statue and alter.    

*Sitting just across the Ringstrasse from Volkgarten is the...
5. Austrian Parliament: The Austrian Parliament is truly a powerful looking government building sitting above the Ringstrasse like a mighty Roman Temple.  Sitting in front of the beautiful building is a huge white fountain capped off with a statue of Athena, the goddess of wisdom, wearing golden armor is the main attraction.  This fountain is quite a statement piece and leads to some of the coolest photos in Vienna.  If you choose to join one of the free guided tours of the interior, you'll tour both chambers of the building, the National Council (Nationalrat) and the Federal Council (Bundesrat)Free Guided Tours: 55 minute guided tours are available at the top of the hour Monday-Saturday at 11am-4pm.  In the off season they only have the Noon and 1pm tour on Saturdays.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map

*Visible from blocks away you'll be drawn to the tall...
6. City Hall & Beer Garden (Rathaus): The City Halls is a really fun place to take a break during the tram tour.  As you step off the tram you're confronted with the huge Neo-Gothic towers of City Hall which overlook a vast beer garden, called Rathaus Platz.  The largest of the towers stands over 321 feet tall and is capped by a 17 foot tall Rathausmann who stands guard over City Hall.  The watchman might not look that big from the ground but he weighs over 1400 pounds and is so large that he takes a size 31 shoe!  When the City Hall was completed in 1883, the Emperor made sure that the tower was smaller than the 324 foot tall tower of neighboring Votive Church, although technically City Hall is 342 feet tall with the Rathausmann and flag pole added onto the top.  There are ongoing tours of the interior which are a little boring, but you are free to hike the 331 steps to the top of the tower for some great views.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map
Even if you don't make it all the way to the top of City Hall's towers, the structure still offers a great back drop for your photos from ground level.  In the Summer months a full-sized movie screen takes up the entire side of City Hall as it plays free outdoor movies over the park and Beer Garden.  The Rathus Platz Beer Garden has authentic food, great beer, and wine from all over the world with good prices and a ton of great outdoor seating.  Most of the Beer Garden workers are often in traditional Austrian dress which makes the whole experience that much more unique.  We recommend getting a tall glass and relaxing on the posh Carpe Diem patio near the road.  In the Winter there is a large outdoor ice staking rink set up in the park and the entire City Area turns into a Christmas Village.
Free Guided Tours:  If you want to get a closer, in-depth, look at City Hall's Senate Chamber, Coat of Arms Room, Festival Hall and more they have free tours.  The City offers free guided tours in German at 1pm on Monday, Wednesday, & Friday. To join a tour group, check their tours website ahead of time.  If you don't speak German, don't worry, they have a ton of multilingual audio guides available for checkout.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map

Directly across from Vienna's City Hall is the historic...
7. Austrian National Theater (Burgtheater): Built in 1881 the Austrian National Theater (Burgtheater) which dates back to the days of Empress Maria Theresa and is the 2nd oldest in Europe.  Through the centuries the Burgtheater has been considered the best theater in the German speaking world and has a permanent ensemble of more than 80 actors and actresses.  If you are looking to catch a great show, the theater still houses some of the best playwrights and performances in Austria even though new theaters have been built.  Right next to the Theater is the most well known cafe on the Ringstrasse called Cafe Landtman.  The Cafe, opened in 1873, have been visited by Sigmund Freud, the Dutch Queen Juliane, Hillary Clinton and Paul McCartney.  Guided Tours: Daily tours at 3pm in July & August.  Show Tickets: Show tickets can be bought online Here and range from 2.50 for standing room tickets up to about 51.00 for prime seats.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map

*Just North of Cafe Landtman is a real treat for any classical music lovers...
8. Beethoven's Pasqualati House: The Pasqualati House is where Beethoven lived and composed for 11 years from 1804 to1815.  While it is a very large house, Beethoven only rented out two large rooms he rented on the 4th floor which was still luxury for his time.  Today his residence is preserved as a museum complete with many of Beethoven's original possessions.  When he lived here Beethoven's rooms had excellent views onto what was then the Vienna Woods.  While living here, he composed a few of his most important including the Fourth, Fifth and Seventh Symphonies, Fourth Piano Concerto, Violin Concerto, and his only opera Fidelio.  By the time Beethoven moved out of the Pasqualati House in 1815 not only had his fame grew, but he had also gone almost completely deaf. 
After Beethoven died in 1827, the dark green door from the house he died in was moved to the Pasqualati House and is still used as the entrance. 
If you are a huge Beethoven fan you should consider visiting his grave site in the nearby Zentralfriedhof Cemetery which is stop #2 on our Additional Attractions Page.  If you not interested in touring the inside of his home, from outside of the building, his rooms can easily be seen straight above a large chuck of the old city wall on the forth floor.  Museum Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6pm with an hour break from 1-2pm; Closed Mondays.  Cost: Adults 4€, People under 19 are Free.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map

*If you ever feel lost you can always walk toward the huge twin towers of...
9. Votive Church (Votivkirche): Completed 4 years before City Hall in 1879, the massive Votive Church was built on the site of a failed 1853 assassination attempt of Emperor Franz Joesph by a Hungarian nationalist.  The church was commissioned by Franz's brother Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph, who later become emperor of Mexico, as a way of giving praise to God for sparing Emperor Franz Joesph's life.  As an added bit of religious symbolism, the floor plan of the Church itself is laid out in the shape of a cross Votive's two overpowering towers are awe-inspiring places to take pictures and even though it can be hard to fit all into one frame. 
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map

*One of Vienna's most iconic residents once lived and worked at the...
10. Sigmund Freud's Home: Sigmund Freud was one of the most influential thinkers of the 20st Century and is credited as the father of Psychoanalysis.  He was very innovative and believed that both libido and unconscious drives could explain a lot about a person's mental state as well as actions. When visiting Freud's home and office you get to sit in the same waiting room his patients would wait in to meet with the Doctor.  Hours: Daily 9am-5pm (6pm in Summer)  Cost: 7€ Adults, 4.50€ Students, 8€ with Tour  Tours: Guided tours open daily for groups of 5 or more must email here to make a reservation, tours are available daily from 10am-4pm

*One of our favorite buildings in Vienna is the mighty...
11. Rossauer Military Barracks (Roßauer Kaserne): The large castle like red-brick Barracks is one of 3 barracks the Emperor Franz Joseph had built in Vienna during the late1800's.  This one housed 4000 troops and almost 400 horses, but wasn't built to defend against outside forces; instead it was made to defend against the Austrian public's growing desire for Democracy.   The 1848 Revolution had been viewed as a large threat to the Empire and the Barracks was a good tool to remind the Public of the Emperor's might.  The Barracks is not open to the public, but the contrast of the building's red-brick exterior to its surroundings is a favorite among photographers.  If for some reason you are running short on time the Vienna Stock Exchange Building (or Borse) sits just inside the Ringstrasse and is a smaller version of the Barracks.  The Stock Exchange, often called the Temple of Money, seems to be made out of the same bricks as the Barracks.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map

After a short ride on the Tram you'll get off just a short walk from the emotionally moving...
12. Anti-Gestapo Memorial Site: The Vienna headquarters of the Nazi's evil Secret Police group, the Gestapo, was located at this very spot in the Hotel Metropol which was destroyed in WWII.  The Gestapo relied on terror to get what they wanted as prisoners were often tortured for weeks to obtain false confessions, and were even sometimes sent to prison camps or killed.  Today a memorial sits over the spot of the former headquarters to remind us of the suffering and murder of countless people.  Near the main Memorial there is a large relief on the facade the building across Salztorgasse which depicts the agony that thousands of prisoners had to endure. Footprints that lead into the building through what was the back entrance of the Gestapo headquarters and symbolically don't return out the other side.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map

Very near the Memorial is our hidden gem of Old Town Vienna...
13. St. Ruprecht's Church (Ruprechtskirche): St. Ruprecht's Church is Considered by many to be the oldest church in Vienna.  Evidence from other Vienna Church's have written record of St. Ruprecht's as far back as 1200 and some even date it back to the year 700 when it was believed to have been founded by 2 Monks from Salzburg.  The Church's medieval tower looks stunning in the summer and fall while covered with lush leafy vines. The trunks of the vines spider all the way up the wall of the Church and give photographers a treat as they beautifully frame statue of St Ruprecht.  Inside St. Ruprecht's Church you find the skeletal remains of martyr St. Vitalis elegantly dressed in a glass coffin which Empress Maria Theresa gave to the Church as a gift in 1765.
The area of Vienna surrounding the Church has very dull and cheap architecture because so much of the area was ruined by bombings during WWII, but it was actually once the location of an ancient Roman city.  Some remains of the Roman City can still be seen across the canal in the form of small run-down rock walls.  If you were thinking about visiting either the Mexican Church, Donautrum Tower, or Prater Park (all listed in our additional attractions section) this is a great spot to jump on the metro and do so. 
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map

If one hidden gem wasn't enough, then make sure to stop by...
14. Hermann Park Beach: Maybe the best hidden gem on the Ringstrasse is the huge Hermann Park Beach on the shore of the Danube River.  There are a couple other man-made beaches on the Danbue, like the nearby Danube Canal Beach, but the bar the the Strandbar at Herman Park makes it the best. The bar sits right in the middle of the beach and has tons of umbrella chair seating to help make the experience like no other.  We also love the back drop of beautiful buildings like the Urania Theater.  Bar Hours: Daily 10am-2am.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map

*As you round the Rinstrasse loop, it will be hard to miss the large and usually very green...
15. Viennese City Park (Stadtpark): The Viennese Park honors the musical of the musicians that made the Viennese Balls possible with a ton of statues of the famous historical composers and musicians from Vienna.  The gold colored concert hall on the south end of the park is called the Kursalon and was opened in 1867 by the Strauss brothers who were famous for their Waltzes.  A statue of one of the brothers, Johann Strauss, has him covered in gold playing the violin and is one of the most photographed statues in Vienna. If nothing else the Viennese Park serves as a great place to relax and people watch for a while.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map

*After relaxing in the park, jump back on the tram for one stop to...
16. Schwarzenbergplatz: Schwarzenberg Square is best known for having a couple of interesting statues.  The first statue is a green equestrian one of Prince Charles Schwarzenberg who fought against Napoleon, typically this statue is covered in pigeons and bird poop.  The second statute, at the end of the square, is in honor of the Soviets who died freeing Austria from the Nazis in WW2. Don't feel discouraged if you are under-whemled by this stop as it is the best place to hop off the Ringstrasse to visit either nearby Belvedre Palace or our next stop St Charles Church. Check out our additional attractions section for details on Belvedere Palace which is connected to Schwarzenberg Square by Tram Line D.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map

*One block to the west of Schwarzenberg Square is the towering...
17. St. Charles Church (Karlskirche): The giant white St. Charles Church dates back to the early 1700's and is a favorite of photographers with its large green dome and huge reflecting pool.  The Church was commissioned by the Emperor after Vienna's last bout of Plague as he felt that his prayers were the reason why the Plague stopped.  It train of thought is a common theme throughout Vienna's history as after each tragedy the ruling Emperor would use it as a reason to build an even bigger and more extravagant Church.  Cost: 4€  Hours: Daily 9am-7pm.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map

*Heading back toward the starting point of the tour, we will be on the tram for the last time on our way to the famous...
18. Vienna State Opera House (Staatsoper): In a city known for music, the 1,200 person State Opera House takes the cake.  The hall has housed some of Austria's best musicians over the years and still has 70 different works with over 300 performance a year.  The Opera House is also a great place to start our City Center Walking TourOpera House Tours: 6.50€ also includes the Opera Museum, 1-4 tours daily, varies by day but is updated monthly on their website, tour is great and brings you to a lot of backstage areas.  Performances: If you are not that into three hours of opera, they also sell 567 standing room only tickets per show, 160 of which can be right below the emperors box.  Standing room tickets are cheap, 2€ upstairs and 3.50€ downstairs, and allow you to easily leave when you've had your fill.  Standing room only tickets go on sale 60 minutes before each show at the front door and 80 minutes before the show inside the side door at the Stehplatze booth.
Vienna ringstrasse tram tour map

*After a exploring the Ringstrasse it can be awesome to relax in the refreshing...
19. Burggarten: Burggarten, or Castle Park, was revamped in the early 1800s and has been a favorite of visitors ever since.  The park has a awesome back drops from the enormous Neue Burg Wing of Hofburg Palace to a number of circle Mozart chairs perfect for taking very unique pictures. Through the large green space park are elegant statues and even a relaxing pond.  Our favorite place to reflect on the day is in the Northwest corner of Burggarten where there is a small open area with an excellent white-wash Mozart statue.
As part of the front end of a large makeover to the Hofburg Palace the Emperor had a gigantic green house over 22,000 square feet built, dubbed the Palmen House.  The green house was a huge luxury and housed a tons of tropical plants and palm trees.  The green house has since been turned into of our favorite restaurants in Vienna where you can eat under the palms no matter how cold it is outside. Consider stopping at the tropical Butterfly House which is attached to the Northside of the restaurant.

Other Sights Near The Ringstrasse:
20. Old Town Walking Tour: If you are looking to further explore the rest of the amazing sights in Old Town Vienna then the area around Burggarten is the perfect place to pick up our Free Old Town Vienna Walking Tour which starts from the Opera House.