Austria’s capital city is a magical place to visit during the winter months. Not only is the city home to some of the best Christmas markets in Europe, there are special seasonal concerts and events to enjoy. Plus, the grand architecture looks particularly magical when covered in snow, if you’re lucky enough to get a helping of the white stuff.
Here are the top things to do in Vienna over winter…
Browse the Christmas markets
Austria’s capital city lines up some of the best Christmas markets in Europe. In fact, the city centre is pretty much just one big market over the festive season. The most popular is the aptly-named Christmas World, which is right in front of City Hall. The huge fairy-tale wonderland lines up craft and homemade decoration stalls, a Christmas workshop for kids and a Santa’s grotto. You can also have your fill of mulled wine, hot chestnuts and Viennese treats like sachertorte.
Red Route, Stop: Rathaus / City Hall
There’s also a Christmas market at the Schönbrunn Palace which has a huge Christmas tree right in the middle and over 60 stalls to browse. Local bands and musicians provide the entertainment while you shop to get you in the festive mood. Check out our guide on Things To Do At Vienna Christmas Markets.
Blue Route, Stop: Schönbrunn Palace
Chow down on comfort food
Vienna’s best eats were made for winter. Think fried schnitzel, apple strudel, goulash, caramelised doughnuts, and Viennese sausage. You’ll find these famous dishes in most restaurants, cafes and markets across the city. Try Figlmüller or Grünspan restaurants for a classic wiener Schnitzel, and take your pick from chicken, pork or veal. And head to Café Mozart for a traditional sugar coated apple strudel, which is just about the perfect winter treat.
Hop on the Wiener Reisenrad
Vienna’s Wurstelprater amusement park is packed full of rollercoasters and traditional fairground-style rides like ghost trains. In winter, it’s also home to one of the city’s top Christmas markets. The market is open from mid-November to the first week of January, and as well as lining up loads of gifts and crafts to buy, there are live music performances to enjoy while you shop. Sing or rap along to hip-hop, gospel, soul and pop performances as you stock up on souvenirs. And, take a spin on the giant 65-metre Ferris wheel, the Wiener Reisenrad, for gorgeous views over the city.
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Red Route, Stop: Prater
Wiener Riesenrad Giant Ferris Wheel Tickets
Experience Vienna’s music scene
Vienna is a top destination for classical music lovers, being the former home of both Mozart and Beethoven. And while you’re in this music-centric city, you can’t miss the chance to go to the opera or attend a concert. Book tickets for a Christmas performance at the Royal Opera House or the Advent Concert in the gorgeous setting of St Stephen’s Cathedral on selected dates throughout December.
Red Route, Stop: Stadtpark
On New Year’s Day every year there’s a special New Year’s Concert at Musikverein concert hall, and it’s one of the biggest classical music events in Vienna. The Vienna Philharmonic play a mix of contemporary and traditional classical songs and are led by a celebrated conductor. The event is broadcast to over 90 countries and watched by around 50 million TV viewers – so you know it’s one not to miss.
Warm up in the museums
Vienna’s Museumsquartier is the place to be if you want to get your culture fix in Austria. It’s one of the largest art districts in the world with loads of historic and contemporary pieces from world-famous artists like Picasso and Andy Warhol. Throughout the year there are several pop-up events, concerts and interactive art installations to entertain visitors. There’s also an annual ‘Winter Im MQ’ with free outdoor concerts and Avant Garde exhibitions.
Red Route, Stop: Museumsquartier / Mariahilfer Straße
Head to this magical European city for a festive escape. You’ll get the chance to browse some of the best Christmas markets in the world, feast on all that delicious Viennese food and enjoy the city’s classical music scene. One of the best ways to fit in a visit to the most iconic landmarks and tourist attractions is to hop on one of our bus tours giving you a front row seat to some of the best sights. For more idea's of where to visit next, check out our guide to the Best European Cities to Visit in Winter.