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5 votes

Christmas in Vienna

created by fahad on 2017-02-20

Christmas in Vienna

Christmas, or Weihnachten, as it is known locally, is an absolutely magical time in Vienna. The beautiful streets and plazas are made all the more spectacular by the merrily adorned Christmas markets and street performances.

Bookings for accommodations must be made weeks in advance because Vienna Christmas holidays are very popular. If you’re planning to spend the holiday period in Vienna, be prepared for large crowds. However, quite unlike any other tourist rush, Christmas in Vienna will sweep you up in its buoyant sense of camaraderie and celebration along with all the other revelers.

No matter whether you’re traveling with family and friends, or with your beloved, there’s no better way to start out your Christmas holiday than to do a circuit of the Christmas markets all around the city. While every neighborhood boasts some festivities, there are a few on the must-visit list. A good place to begin is at the Rathaus (Vienna City Hall). The city center is abuzz with stands for sweet and savory goodies, Austrian handicrafts and knickknacks from around the globe.

Christmas in Vienna is as much about religion as it is about ‘Gluhwein’, or mulled wine. At the Rathaus, pick up a steaming mug of gluhwein stewed with spices and fruit, or a cup of hot cocoa and saunter onto the Freyung or Am Hof square, stop to sample a round of sausages or knodel along the way. To get into the mood, you may consider hiring a ‘Fiaker’ (open horse carriage) to ride around the inner city. The summer palace, Schonbrunn, famous for its imperial gardens, also hosts some of the grandest revelry in winter. Expect concerts and performances by Austrian bands and choirs, presents and entertainment for the children, festive food and drink, all in breathtaking surroundings. To wrap up the day, end up at the fairytale Spittelberg market.

If you’re looking for a typically Austrian meal, head to Figlmuller for the famous schnitzel or Plachutta for tafelspitz - but make bookings in advance! The Viennese State Opera (Staatsoper) hosts a rich program this time of year, as does the Musikverein. Book online in advance to catch a very traditional performance of the Nutcracker. Stop by at Hotel Sacher for the famous Sachertorte or at Demel, confectioners for the Hapsburgs.

On Christmas Eve you may want to stop by St. Stephen’s Cathedral to attend midnight mass. Christmas Day is largely a family affair, and you may find that many shops, restaurants and theaters are closed for the day. Frohe Weihnachten!
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    Rathaus in Vienna

    34 votes

    Sight

    Wiener Rathaus (also Neues Rathaus) is the city hall of Vienna, located on Rathausplatz in the In...

  • 2
    Schönbrunn Palace

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    Sight

    The summer residence of the Habsburgs -- often called "Austria's Versailles" -- is one of Vienna...

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    Julius Meinl

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    Shop

    Delicacies from truly all over the world. Meinl am Graben is a Vienna landmark. This is a gourmet ...

  • 5
    Demel

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    Shop

    The baroque interiors of this famous pastry shop and chocolaterie befits the imperial splendor as...

  • 6
    Figlmüller

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    Restaurant

    Figlmüller is an institution in Vienna. They claim having the biggest Schnitzel dish in the city,...

  • 7
    Plachutta

    68 votes

    Restaurant

    Plachutta in the Wollzeile is one of the top restaurants in the city. Its specialty is "Tafelspit...

  • 8
    Staatsoper

    58 votes

    Theater / Opera

    The Vienna State Opera (German: Wiener Staatsoper) is an Austria opera house and opera company ba...

  • 9
    Musikverein

    8 votes

    Theater / Opera

    The Wiener Musikverein (German pronunciation: [ˌviːnɐ muˌziːkfɛɐ̯ˈʔaɪ̯n]; Viennese Music Associat...

  • 10
    Café Sacher

    33 votes

    Café

    Very posh, but very sweet! That's the unofficial motto of this small café right behind the state ...

  • 11
    St. Stephen's Cathedral

    234 votes

    Sight

    Vienna's imposing landmark on Stephansplatz -- the Viennese simply call it "Steffl." The 350-foot...

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