Vienna packs a powerful punch of world-class museums, opera houses, and restaurants.
But did you know you can also find a Museum of Contraception and Abortion in the Austrian capital?
Or that it houses the largest psychoanalysis library in Europe?
Or even more peculiar – that you can explore the city’s sewer system?
These are just three of the 33 unusual things to do in Vienna that you’ll find in this article.
Ready to fill your itinerary with cool spots?
Let’s dive in!
Discover Vienna’s Unusual Structures
Quirky buildings and strange-looking churches add to Vienna’s incredible charm. Find the best unusual structures to add to your itinerary in this section.
Tip: Check our Vienna travel tips guide to learn how to save on entrance fees and best navigate the Austrian capital.
- Explore the Hundertwasser Buildings. The famous eccentric architect, Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser, worked his magic across Europe, New Zealand, and Japan. The Hundertwasserhaus is his most famous work. You will find the extraordinary residential building at Kegelgasse 36-38. We also recommend a visit to the Hundertwasser Museum across the street, KunstHausWien. The architect’s unique creations also include the Müllverbrennungsanlage Spittelau. The incineration plant’s tower dominates the city skyline and you’ll see it from afar.
- Marvel at the State Hall of the Austrian National Library. This staggering baroque library hall was built in the 18th century. Its size is impressive – the hall is approximately 260 ft. (80 m) long and 65 ft. (20 m) wide. As part of the former Court Library, the museum houses more than 200,000 books. It is also home to the magnificent marble statues sculpted by the Strudel brothers. You’ll be astounded to see the four Venetian globes, each measuring more than 3 ft. (1 m) in diameter. They are a key feature of the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek’s (Austrian National Library) amazing hall.
- Wonder at the peculiar Wotruba Church. The Church of the Most Holy Trinity, or Kirche Zur Heiligsten Dreifaltigkeit, is a cubist building erected on top of Grassy Hill. The concrete slabs create a unique pattern that looks like anything but a church. The edifice was constructed using 152 individual blocks following the vision of Fritz Wotruba. The windows take the space between some of the blocks. Don’t miss the chance to take a selfie in front of one of the most unique places in Vienna.
- View the Narrenturm (The Fools Tower). Once an insane asylum, the tower now houses one of the biggest pathology and anatomy collections in the world. Locals call Narrenturm “The Poundcake” because of its shape. As one of the strangest things to do in Vienna, the place offers a glimpse at some gruesome stuff. You can see taxidermy specimens, jars with disfigured fetuses, and syphilitic skulls. Note: Definitely not for the faint-hearted.
- Explore Kirche am Steinhof. This unusual church sits on top of a hill within a complex known as Spital Otto Wagner – a psychiatric institute built under Art Nouveau influence. Follow the paths until you reach the golden dome. Admiring the structure from the outside would take you an hour, as there are hundreds of incredible details to discover.
- Tour the Stephansdom Crypt. This extraordinary place is part of the impressive Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral) located in the heart of Vienna. The remains of approximately 11,000 people lie inside multiple catacombs and smaller crypts. Every guided tour includes a glimpse of dozens of jars full of imperial intestines, such as Empress Maria Theresia’s stomach, for example. The fact that Stephansdom Crypt is still an active burial location earns it a spot on the list of strange things do to in Vienna.
- Explore the Republic of Kugelmugel. Discover the so-called “spherical hill” in the Prater Wien. Created by Edwin Lipburger and his son in 1971, the sphere measures 25 ft. (7.62 m) in diameter. When authorities in the family’s hometown forced them to move the giant sphere, the creators decided to fight back and declared it a sovereign territory. The Lipburger family then created a micronation, hoping to protect their structure. Sadly, it never worked as planned, despite the fact the newly-established nation attracted around 600 citizens.
- Amuse yourself at Supersense. What would a combination of a café and a hipster cabinet look like? This curious location holds the answer. Supersense is a part of a neo-Gothic mansion boasting Art Nouveau style, and you’d never guess that there’s a cult of analog technology inside. Marvel at curious exhibits like an old-school recording studio and a functioning letterpress. Some of the other items include a 7,000-unit scent collection and a pinball machine, which takes your picture if you reach a high score. If you’re a photography fan, don’t miss the photo section dedicated to the wonders of analog photography.
- Visit Hofjagd und Rüstkammer. There’s hardly a more imposing collection of weaponry and armory in Europe. The impressive building welcomes you with gigantic halls full of different means of warfare dating back to the Middle Ages. You can see genuine armor that belonged to the Habsburg imperial family, making Hofjagd and Rüstkammer one of the most unique places in Vienna.
- Feel like an emperor at Hofpavillon Hietzing (Imperial Court Pavilion). This is your chance to see an extraordinary subway entrance designed for none other than the emperor. The Hietzing Station Pavilion is close to the Schönbrunn Palace. Emperor Franz Joseph used the impressive station only a couple of times. The design created by Otto Wagner features a mix of modernist elements and traditional baroque style. The rich ornaments in Art Nouveau style complement the lines of the structure. You can also admire some of the original designs used to erect the structure.
- See Vienna from above at Donauturm (The Danube Tower). Behold, the highest landmark in Austria. The 827-ft-high structure opened its doors to visitors in 1964 as part of the Danube Park. The classic Viennese coffee house feeling you’ll get in the Tower Café is a good enough reason to visit this attraction, not to mention the unprecedented view of the entire city. The highest point of the tower is the rotating restaurant, which offers traditional Austrian meals. Do try the wine there. You won’t regret it.
Explore the Unexpected Museums of Vienna
You’ll find weird collections everywhere in the world, but Vienna is home to some unique museums you won’t be able to explore elsewhere.
- Entertain yourself in Fälschermuseum Wien (The Museum of Art Fakes). Have you ever visited a forgery museum before? If not, this is your chance. The private collection features artwork by art forgers such as Tom Keating, Edgar Mrugalla, Konrad Kujau, Eric Hebborn, and other famous masters of this craft. The stories The Museum of Art Fakes shares are even more captivating than the paintings themselves. You will learn how one counterfeiter installed time bombs in his fake artworks and other curious details like forging techniques.
- Feel Worldly at the Globe Museum. The world’s only globe museum is part of Vienna’s top attractions. Located in the Palais Mollard-Clary, the establishment is a couple of minutes away from Hofburg. Once inside, you will admire more than 250 globes, some of which date back to the 16th century. The exhibits offer a chance to see more than five centuries of cosmographic and cartographic knowledge.
- Upgrade your psychoanalysis knowledge in the Sigmund Freud Museum. You can visit this curious museum at Berggasse 19. That’s where Freud lived and worked for almost five years until 1938. The museum was recently rebuilt and expanded, allowing more visitors to enjoy it. Today, you can access the former private rooms of the Freud family. You can also step into Freud’s office and admire the largest psychoanalysis library in Europe. Tip: You can find another museum dedicated to the works of Freud in his last residence in London.
- Meet your fears in the Torture Museum (Foltermuseum). Museums don’t get more shocking than this one! The vivid exhibit displayed in one of the Augarten Flak Towers – former WWII bunkers – illustrate long-forgotten torture methods and devices. Apart from the medieval means in this collection, there are also modern ones such as waterboarding. All props are convincing enough to give you the chills.
- Get lost in Haus des Meers (House of the Sea). The impressive public aquarium is another attraction situated in one of the WWII Flak Towers. More than 10,000 marine animals live within an area of 43,000 sq. ft. The attraction is also known as Aqua Terra Zoo. It features a mind-blowing two-story shark tank and a tropical park with crocodiles. If that’s not enough to impress you, there’s always the Ocean Sky Restaurant and Bar that offers a jaw-dropping 360-degree view of the city.
- Butterfly fan? Visit Das Schmetterlinghaus (The Butterfly House). The Imperial Butterfly House is a magical place situated in the very heart of Vienna. As the name suggests, it offers an exotic environment dominated by more than 400 butterflies. The plants, the waterfalls, and the Art Nouveau style of the building are just a few of the reasons why you should add Das Schmetterlinghaus to your itinerary.
- Educate yourself at the Museum of Contraception and Abortion. This quite unusual place documents and displays the past of contraception as we know it. The founder, Dr. Christian Fiala, wanted to show the sometimes-unpleasant truth behind abortion and avoiding pregnancy in a country with very high abortion rates. He collected weird or plain absurd means of birth control, such as plugs, soaps, sponges, and washes. Some of these had a fairly negative impact on people, to say the least. You’ll also have the unique chance to see condoms made from sheepskin.
- Pump up the degrees at Brennpunkt° (Burning Point). Originally known as the Heating Museum of Vienna, this weird place presents the known means of utilizing heat. You’ll learn about the Heizkultur (heating customs) and the ways heat changed human lives. The “hot” collection exhibits boiler and cooling systems, large facilities cooking and heating systems, as well as artistic ovens and historic, everyday kitchen appliances. The interactive section will let you create energy-efficient projects. Before you step inside the gift shop, make sure you see the part of the museum that’s dedicated to the ways people used to make fire across the globe.
Join a Wacky Tour of Vienna’s Heritage
Great examples of tolerance and a unique twist to traditional art forms are just a few of the things you’ll find if you join one of the peculiar tours and parks of Vienna.
- Join Hitler’s Vienna walking tour. Vienna had a great influence over Adolph Hitler. That’s why there’s a guided tour of the city explaining what happened there around and during WWII. The tour starts at the Albertina Museum. In approximately 2.5 hours, you’ll see the Holocaust memorial and the only synagogue that survived the war, and you’ll learn all about Hitler’s ideology.
- Explore the Vienna sewer system. Did you know that you can find subterranean rivers and tunnels below the streets of Vienna? What’s more, this amazing underworld was even featured in The Third Man – a 1950s movie starring Orson Welles. You can now enter parts of the historic sewer system which is the most complex of its kind in Europe. The tour starts at Karlsplatz-Girardipark.
- Have fun in Wurstelprater – the oldest amusement park in the world. Known as Prater Wien, the park is one of Vienna’s symbols, and it’s open 24/7. There is plenty to see here apart from the famous Giant Wheel called Riesenrad. You should ride the Liliputbahn – a narrow railway line that stretches for 2.5 mi (4 km) across the park. Make sure you visit the fascinating and modern Planetarium Prater as well. And the best part? The park is free to enter.
- Find the unique traffic lights (Ampelpärchen). The Vienna City Council decided to surprise everyone with the Ampelpärchen in 2015, when the city hosted the Eurovision Song Contest. The traffic light couples became a symbol of mutual respect and tolerance. They are among the most unique experiences in Vienna. Discover this awesome attraction at Schwedenplatz, near Karlsplatz, and around the Erzherzog Rainer hotel.
- Learn to waltz. One of the coolest facts about Vienna is that the city hosts 450+ balls per year! If you admire the elegance of the waltz, there’s no better place to master the dance than Vienna. You can learn the basics of Viennese waltz even if you’re on a tight schedule. The blitz waltz lessons offered by the Rueff Dance School are a great opportunity. Sometimes, a single practice is enough to feel the magic. You can try and master dizzying polka there, too. You’ll find the school next to the Rathaus (the City Hall).
- Relax in Setagaya Park. The enchanting Japanese garden was designed and created in 1992 by Ken Nakajima. Located within a short walking distance from the Heiligenstadt U-Bahn, the garden features cherry blossom trees, maples, ponds, and even a stream. The place brings peace and relaxation, and it’s a nice way to diversify your Vienna itinerary.
- Satisfy your opera cravings at Volksoper (People’s Opera). Vienna is one of the cradles of opera, so it’s no surprise that the city has several venues offering different kinds of performances. People’s Opera takes an alternative approach to the art. They present unusual pieces and try to be as innovative as possible. The result is 100% worth seeing, as the crew is always up for new experiments, adding a twist to opera as we know it.
- Visit the Kurpark Oberlaa. Next to Therme Wien and near the Oberlaa subway station is the Kurkonditorei Oberlaa – a magical place with a rich tradition in making scrumptious Viennese pastries. The park around it is enchanting, too. Built in 1974 for the Vienna International Garden Show, it offers an endless variety of flower arrangements and themed gardens. It is also a great place to burn the calories from the pastries you’ve just sampled.
Treat Yourself to Mouthwatering Viennese Temptations
We hope you love food because in this section, you’ll discover the most unique places in Vienna to satiate your gourmet palate.
- Satiate your sweet cravings in the Chocolate Museum. You don’t necessarily need to have a sweet tooth to visit this attraction. Diving into the world of chocolate includes learning about the harvesting and processing of cacao. You’ll also get an overview of all the types of chocolate in existence today. And the most delicious part? You’ll taste a variety of specialty chocolates. Did we mention the giant chocolate-made statues?
- Have a drink at Justizcafe. The name gives away the location. This rooftop restaurant takes up the last floor of the Palace of Justice. Once up, be prepared for a heart-stopping 360-degree view of the city center. Justizcafe’s terrace is the best place to admire landmarks such as the Austrian Parliament, the Hofburg Palace, and the historic Ring Road.
- Eat your heart out at Das Loft. Gourmet lover? Go to the 18th floor of the Sofitel Hotel where you’ll find Das Loft. The restaurant offers an immaculate interior with top-to-bottom panoramic windows and jaw-dropping views of Vienna. Tease your palate with a traditional Viennese breakfast or a contemporary evening menu, both prepared by award-winning chefs.
- Go on a food tour. The options for joining a food tour in Vienna are many and exciting. You can either choose the beaten path and explore traditional Austrian cuisine or opt for a fancier experience and pick a tour around some of the luxury places the city has to offer. There are wine and craft beer tours available, too. Another curious option to consider is a culinary journey around Naschmarkt (The Tasting Market). It is a two-hour journey through different cuisines and cultures, and it includes numerous specialty samples as well.
- Find the best Sachertorte. Missing the chance to enjoy a slice of Sacher cake while in Vienna is something you will surely and dearly regret. 16-year-old Frank Sacher created the decadent desert in 1832. Peculiarly enough, the recipe remains unchanged to this day. Café Sacher is the absolute best place to enjoy a slice of this heavenly confection.
- Enjoy a traditional schnitzel. The classic Golden Schnitzel, also known as Vienna cutlet or Viennese schnitzel, is a must-try dish when you’re visiting the Austrian capital. What most parts of the world refer to as schnitzel is nothing compared to the mouthwatering, crispy delight you’ll find in Vienna. One of the best places for your guaranteed foodgasm? The Figmuller restaurant. Their 110-years-old Viennese schnitzel recipe is to die for.
33 Unusual Things to Do in Vienna – Quirky Museums, ‘Mouthwatering’ Restaurants, and World-Class Parks
Vienna is chock-full of unique experiences.
From getting lost in the sewers below its streets to visiting a Torture Museum, and from marveling at sheepskin condoms to joining an Adolf Hitler tour…
There’s one thing for sure – you won’t be bored for a second in the Austrian capital.
Now, we’re curious, how many of these 33 unusual things to do in Vienna will you include in your itinerary?
Let us know in the comments below.