Planning a trip to 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.
Here are my picks for the 6 Best Things To Do In Vienna At Christmas
Check out these best activities 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.
#1. 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.
#2. Christmas Markets
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’re the life of the season and they pop up all over the city.
Here are the favorites:
~ Naschmarkt on Wienzeile street
~ Weihnachtsmarkt am Spittelberg
~ Adventmarkt at Karlsplatz
~ Christkindlmarkt Rathausplatz
~ Weihnachtsdorf Belvedere
~ Stephansplatz Christmas market
#3. The Vienna State Opera
Your holiday 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.
#4. Visit the 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.
#5. See the Strudel Show at the Palace
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.
Getting to the Palace Pro Tip
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.
#6. Dine at Café Central
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.
Where is the best place to stay in Vienna?
→ Best Luxury Hotel – Hotel Bristol Vienna
This is a 5 star old world elegant hotel directly across from the Opera House.
→ Best Mid Range Hotel – Austria Classic Hotel Wien
This is a 200 year old hotel with modern upgrades, centrally located and filled with charm.
→ Most Historic Hotel – Das Tigre Hotel
This is one of the homes where Mozart lived in 1762. Lots of history and located in the City Center.
Vienna has 23 districts, but as a first time visitor, I recommend Vienna’s city center, Innere Stadt.
The Innere Stadt is the area known as the first district and is where most of the main tourist attractions are.
You’ll be able to walk to the sites and will be in the heart of one of Europe’s most revered cultural cities.
Is Vienna worth visiting at Christmas?
Vienna is gorgeous all year long, but the holidays can’t be beat!
Visit Vienna at Christmas to relish in the Christmas markets, feel the cold air on your face, and see the festive lights lining the streets.
~ Traditional Austrian holiday dishes like roasted chestnuts, gingerbread cookies, and mulled wine (Gluhwein) at the Christmas markets or in cozy cafes.
~ Pop Up Ice Skating Rinks across Vienna are set up during the holiday season for some winter fun.
~ Vienna’s stunning architecture, takes on an extra layer of charm when decorated with lights.
~ Special Christmas Eve Traditions occur at the churches, concert halls, and restaurants.
~ The Holiday Spirit is allive and well in Vienna, with its warm and welcoming locals making it a perfect destination for celebrating the holiday season.
Overall, Vienna’s blend of tradition, culture, and holiday spirit makes it a truly enchanting destination to visit during the holiday season.
What is the best way to get around Vienna?
Your Christmas visit to Vienna will include a lot of walking, so be prepared with some warm and waterproof winter shoes.
The Vienna Hop On and Hop Off sightseeing bus tours are a great way to get around and 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. (It’s actually a pay-what-you-can tour). There are over 100 guided walking tours offered in Vienna! Some have themes and others are more basic. I chose the Vienna City Classic Walk.
Travel Tips for visiting Austria
~ 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 Austria is German. Many people speak English, and other European languages, however.
~ Cafes, coffee, pastries, cafes, coffee, pastries.
Vienna Fun Facts
~ 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.
~ 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.
Now you’re ready for your trip to Vienna at Christmas!
In a nutshell…
Vienna at Christmas offers the best blend of beautiful markets, dazzling decorations, musical delights, and culinary treats. It’s charm, traditions, and festive atmosphere make it a top destination for a European holiday.
Enjoy Vienna in December and bring in the New Year in one of the most beautiful winter wonderlands in Europe