Things To Do In Vienna At Christmas
What Are The Best Things To Do In Vienna At Christmas?
Discover some of the best things to do in Vienna at Christmas. Vienna is Austria’s gem of a capital, and is magical any time of the year, but being there during the holiday season is like stepping into a romantic novel. As one of Europe’s most significant cultural centers, Vienna offers something for the whole family at Christmas time. Explore the winding streets, the glittering lights. Music is everywhere, and the food! The Food! From the Christmas Markets to the cozy cafes, you’ll never want to leave.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Purchasing through these links earns me a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Many thanks for using these links!
Check out these best things to do in Vienna at Christmas and you’ll have a fairytale vacation. Bundle up and experience the snow falls, the christmas markets, and the Baroque cityscapes. You’ll fall in love with everything Vienna.
To help you take a walk along the Graben and Kartner Strasse to see the holiday display of twinkling lights and festive shops download this great City Walks map.
Lights and Concerts at St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Stephansplatz, or St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the city center’s most important place in Vienna. Built in 1147, it’s one of the tallest churches in the world and is famous for its catacomb burial sites, church treasures, and Gothic architecture. Feel free to climb 343 steps to the top of the Steffl, or the highest point of the church tower for views of the city all lit up. Advent concerts are offered during the Christmas season and check out the great Christmas Market in front of the church on the plaza.
Vienna is famous for its many Christmas Markets for a reason! Picture roasting chestnuts, sizzling sausages, hand made holiday gifts, and the famous Viennese Christmas punch, Weihnachtspunsch. Look for them from mid November through Christmas. They are the life of the season and they pop up all over the city. Here are the favorites:
The Vienna State Opera
Your Christmas in Vienna is not complete without seeing the world famous Vienna State Opera. Dress up and enjoy the show. Check the program schedule and buy tix early. We saw Hansel and Gretel by Engelbert Humperdinck and it was a perfect holiday treat! Ticket prices range from €15 – €215.
Vienna Fun Facts
Vienna is nicknamed the City of Dreams because Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis lived there.
The oldest zoo is in Vienna, built in 1752, at the Schönbrunn Palace.
The original Vienna snow globe was invented in 1905 by Erwin Perzy.
Sachertorte, the famous chocolate and apricot cake, was invented in Vienna in 1832 by Franz Sacher for Prince Wenzel von Metternich.
Know before you go
When To Go
Visit in December to relish in the Christmas markets, the cold air on your face, and the festive lights lining the streets. Vienna is gorgeous all year long, but the holidays can’t be beat!
- The Euro is the official currency of Austria.
- Plug types are types C and F. Type C is the one with two round pins and Type F is the plug with two round pins and two earth clips on the side.
- The language of Vienna is German. Many people speak English, and other European languages, however.
- Cafes, coffee, pastries, cafes, coffee, pastries.
How To Get Around
Your Christmas visit to Vienna will include a lot of walking. The Vienna Hop On and Hop Off sightseeing bus tours are also a great way to see the city. The Vienna City Card gives you free public transportation for the day, and offers discounts to some attractions.
Take a Free Walking Tour. (Actually, a pay-what-you-can tour). There are over 100 guided walking tours offered in Vienna! Some with themes and others are more basic. I chose the Vienna City Classic Walk.
Schloss Schönbrunn Palace
Schloss Schönbrunn Palace was the summer home for the royal Habsburg family, and Empress Sisi, just outside of the city. The Baroque palace was built in the 1600’s and has 1441 rooms! For €36 p/adult and €23 p/child you can have a grand tour.
The palace is a 15-20 minute ride outside the city center. You can take a taxi, rideshare app, or the subway. For a family of 4 it’s cheaper, quicker, and much more convenient to call an Uber.
The Empress Elisabeth, AKA Sisi was a beloved sportswoman, fashion icon, traveler, poet, and tragic heroine who was obsessed with her weight, restricted her diet, and exercised obsessively. She was assassinated by an Italian anarchist at age 60 while walking with her lady in waiting.
The Strudel Show
Don’t go to Schönbrunn without seeing the Strudel Show! Watch and learn how to make the traditional apple strudel, Vienna’s most famous desert. A professional strudel chef bakes an apple strudel for the small audience in the palace. For only €11.50 p/person you can watch a delightful show, eat a delicious piece of fresh apple strudel, and sip coffee or hot cocoa! It’s a legendary hoot! More fun than you can imagine.
Café Central is inside the Palais Ferstel, a Venetian mansion which is beautifully decorated for the holidays. Trotsky and Freud would gather there for coffee, strudel, and conversation. There are many wonderful cafes in Vienna, but this is the most famous and the most beautiful. Well worth standing in the cold to wait to be seated. Go for a full meal, or just coffee and desert, just go!