At the end of December, we took a long 12 day trip and visited 5 different countries. Our first stop was Vienna, Austria.
The Christmas season starts about the second week of November and ends the day after Christmas in Vienna.
So what is there to do in Vienna during the Christmas season? Isn’t it cold, rainy and windy? While the weather wasn’t always perfect, Vienna definitely was.
Here are 7 things you must do in Vienna during Christmas.
1. Drink hot chocolate from Cafe Mozart –
Albertinaplatz 2, 1010 Wien, Austria
You can go into almost any restaurant, cafe or bar in Vienna and get an incredibly delicious hot chocolate.
But we found the hot chocolate at cafe Mozart to be exceptional! Honestly one of the best hot chocolates I have ever had, the Viennese chocolate taste is something to be desired. Pairing it with warm milk when the weather is freezing cold was a real treat.
Don’t leave Vienna without having a hot chocolate!
2. Climb to the rooftop on top of Cathedral Stephansdom –
Stephansplatz 3, 1010 Wien, Austria
Prepare for a climb!
You all know I love my city views and I will climb to the top of any building to get them, but this one was intense with little payoff.
There are 343 steps, making it about 220 feet to get to the top. The staircase is narrow and windy. Plus its pitch black, making it very difficult to see where the steps are. People are going up and coming down the same way as well, forcing you to press your back against the stone wall while others squeeze past you.
It was a little chaotic and I was sweating by the time I got to the top only to be in a room with tiny windows with bars over them. No unobstructed views, just people trying their best to see out of the tiny windows.
These pictures were taken with my camera pushed through the little bars on the windows so that I could get photographic proof of my climb. Was it worth it? I guess I got a great work out in that day!
If you want to climb to the top, it’s about €6.50 pp and it is open M-F 9a-6p and weekends from 9:30a-6p.
You can buy tickets for a full tour here or simply purchase them in person at the entrance.
3. See the colorful Hundertwasser House –
Kegelgasse 36-38, 1030 Wien, Austria
The designer of the House, Hundertwasser designed this creative building based on a belief of individuality.
He wanted to make a building different from any other brick and mortar styled building and here he gave us Hundertwasser House. The house has ‘dancing windows’ rather than rows of stacked windows like hospitals, banks and schools do. This is because “windows in a row are sad.”
He believed that the owner of these windows should be able to paint their walls bright colors to show the individuality of the inhabitant even from the street.
More than anything, this house represents diversity and celebrates the differences that it brings to Vienna and worldwide.
4. Spend a rainy afternoon in the Natural History Museum –
Burgring 7, 1010 Wien, Austria
Admittedly, we initially entered this museum to escape the cold. One of the main Christmas Markets is located directly in front of the museum and after walking around for awhile, we were frozen!
So we decided to buy some tickets for €10 and check out the Natural History Museum – we were not disappointed!
The museum itself is massive! There are so many different exhibits and things to look at to keep you entertained for hours. We particularly enjoyed the interactive space and dinosaur exhibits.
There is also a large cafe inside where you can grab lunch or a coffee and snack to keep you fueled for the long haul here.
Even if you visit during the warmer seasons, I would still recommend this museum. It was one of the largest I had ever been inside of with such a variety of exhibits!
5. Eat the food at the Karlsplatz Christmas Market –
Karlsplatz 13, 1040 Wien, Austria
When deciding which market to visit, keep in mind they are all a little different but at the same time, pretty similar. Let me explain…
The Karlsplatz market is located in front of the Natural History Museum. There are many hand-crafted souvenir shops at this market but what stood out the most about this market was the food!
If you’re looking for a warm soup, warm wine or something sweet – this market had it all!
It’s not the largest market so it’s always pretty busy. We went during lunch time on a weekday and it was packed but manageable. I imagine the evening is much busier!
6. Shop at the Maria Theresa Square Christmas Market –
Burgring 5, 1010 Wien, Austria
Pretty magical right? I couldn’t believe my eyes when we first walked in this market in the evening. It is beautifully decorated and the church square is filled with many different vendors.
Of course this market offers traditional Viennese food but there were not as many food vendors. Plus it was so busy! All of the people at the market were in lines for food.
If you head to this market in the evening, plan to take in the scenery or shop for some Viennese gifts.
7. Go ice skating at Weiner Weihnachtstraum Christmas Market –
Rathauspl., 1010 Wien, Austria
This market was the largest and busiest we visited while in Vienna. There were so many different vendors offering warm wine, traditional Viennese foods and also shops to purchase gifts.
The most enticing part of this market is the ice skating rink! If you’re looking to do some skating while in Vienna, this is the spot!
Although Vienna was pretty cold, windy and rainy we managed to have an amazing time and visit quit a few Christmas Markets.
One thing to note if you’re visiting during the holiday season, check the hours of anything you’re interested in doing. I really wanted to see the Vienna Library but they were closed every single day we were there. The only down side of traveling during Christmastime!
Have you ever visited Vienna?
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