Best things to do in Vienna in the winter, Austria

Best Things to do in Vienna in Winter

Best Things to do in Vienna in Winter

Vienna in the winter is a wonderful idea! Yes, Vienna in the winter months can be cold, but it is still a gorgeous place to visit and explore because it is a magical place, and Vienna is a magical city and a must-see in Austria.

I have spent some time in the summer in Vienna, but also got to experience Vienna in the cold winter months, and I must say that both seasons (actually, all four seasons) have their charms and so I do suggest visiting one of the most romantic cities in Europe in winter.

So, here is my Vienna winter guide – find out about the best winter activities in Vienna, plus more travel tips so you can enjoy a beautiful winter trip to Vienna.

While many places in Austria in the winter are the perfect getaways for winter sport activities, Vienna is a city that offers a lot for those who do not want to do winter sports (at least not all the time).

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VIENNA THINGS TO DO IN WINTER 

Christmas Markets

I like Christmas Markets but don’t stroll them for hours and hours.

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However, the Christmas Markets in Vienna are well known and a must-see in winter for those who love Christmas markets.

From the middle of November until Christmas, you’ll find the Christmas Markets open and visiting them in the evening is more fun than visiting them during the day.

Indulge in mulled wine and plenty of food when strolling and exploring the illuminated Christmas Markets, which also have some rides for the smaller ones at Children’s World.

Here are some of the Christmas markets to visit in Vienna.

Christmas market in Vienna most beautiful place in winter
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The most famous market is probably the Wiener Christkindlmarkt am Rathausplatz. It is centrally located near many other attractions, with many stalls to buy gifts and snacks and, of course, drinks like mulled wine. With around 150 stalls, this is a pretty big Christmas Market.

Vienna in winter
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Christmas Village on Maria-Theresien-Platz, between the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna and the Naturhistorisches Museum Vienna, is another popular Christmas Market that has more than 70 stalls where you can indulge, but you’ll also find Gospel choirs and music groups here.

Also visit the Christkindl Markt am Karlsplatz or the one at the Spittelberg. You have quite a number of markets to choose from – so if you are into Christmas Markets, then Vienna is the place to go.

Naschmarkt 

Since Christmas in Vienna is a lot about food, also visit the Naschmarkt, which is a great place to visit in winter.

Eat your weight in all kinds of specialities (I am not a fan of Austrian cuisine, but I loooove Austrian desserts) and shop for the ones, at home as it is also a good place to do some grocery and gift shopping (if you buy sweets and specialities).

Celebrate New Year´s Eve

I have never spent New Year’s Eve in Vienna, but I am pretty sure NYE in Vienna would be fun. If you visit Vienna in December – January then you could welcome the New Year here.

If you fancy an elegant ball, you can visit the New Year’s Eve Ball, held annually at the Imperial Palace (Hofburg)  to welcome the New Year. Or just do as most people do – celebrate it outdoors, and after the fireworks, go to one of the bars, restaurants, or clubs to celebrate the new year.

Coffeehouse and Sacher Cake

On my first trip to Vienna, I made sure to try out one of the most famous cakes in Europe – Sacher cake.  You can visit Hotel Sacher and have the original cake at the hotel restaurant. I know, that is what many people love – I am not the biggest fan of it, but when in Vienna…

Hotel Sacher in Vienna, famous Sacher cake._
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Vienna has a strong and good coffee culture, so make sure to warm up with a nice coffee in one of the cafes after taking a stroll.

Stephansdom Cathedral 

The Stephansdom Cathedral is one of the most important Gothic structures in Austria and one of the best places to visit in Vienna – whether you visit in December, January or February.

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Since it is centrally located, it is easy to see and also easy to visit – make sure that while visiting in the winter months, you climb the towers (south and north tower).

 Admire the view of the city. And if Vienna is covered in snow, it is probably even better – I have not gotten to experience that, but I imagine that view must be a million-dollar view. 

Each tower charges you a fee. You can also visit the catacombs and do a guided tour (kids under 6 are free). The tours take place several times a day and last about 30 minutes.

Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, is one of the best places to visit in the winter. 

Vienna, Austria Schonbrunn Palace (Schloss Schönbrunn) in winter
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The palace was built in the 18th century, but it is still a beauty. You can do a tour and see the interior – even on bank holidays.

Ticket prices: Free with the Vienna Pass, and discounted with the Vienna City Card.

In the weeks before Christmas, you will find a beautiful Christmas Market here, which makes this place even prettier.

Schloss Belvedere

Schloss Belvedere, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, is another place to add to your winter itinerary.

Belvedere Palace in vienna during christmas time
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It is in the southeastern part of the city and consists of two Baroque palaces and is home to an extensive art collection.

Even for non-art lovers (aka me), it is a fun place to visit in Vienna – just look at the pretty gardens which – with some luck – are covered in snow.

And you probably have an idea what you will find here before Christmas… Yes, you are right, there is also a Christmas Market.

Ice Skating

From the middle of January to the beginning of March, hop on the ice and do some rounds.

Ice skating rink in front Town Hall Vienna in winter
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Okay, while Vienna is not a paradise for winter sport lovers, you can do some winter sports here. So, head to the ice rink and skate in the beautiful surroundings of the City Hall.

There are also some more ice rinks if you visit before January, so make sure to check out different ice skating opportunities.

Tobogganing

Okay, here is a bit more winter sport activities in Vienna. If it snows, then you can also do some tobogganing in Vienna’s parks.

However, even if it does not snow, you can still visit the Jesuitenwiese meadow (in the Prater) or the Kaffeehausberg in Danube Park, which has snow-making equipment, so you can do some tobogganing.

If it is cold enough, some artificial snow will make these places a little heaven for sledding fans.

Museums Quartier

Whether you visit Vienna in December or at another time, the Museums Quartier is a good place to spend some time.

Before Christmas (almost throughout the entire months of November and December), there are some events taking place here – like live concerts – and illuminated artistic projections.

But of course, you can also visit one of the numerous museums here – okay, it is also good to warm up and take a break from the cold when needed, but did you know that there are more than 60 cultural institutions to visit? 

Day Trips From Vienna in the Winter

Hallstatt

Hallstatt is one of the most beautiful places in Austria – and while I have not visited in the winter, I have seen pictures of Hallstatt in winter.

Hallstatt in winter as a day trip from Vienna
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And I must say, Hallstatt in the winter seems like a perfect day trip from Vienna. Yes, it takes a while to get there, but if you have a spare day, then I recommend investing the time to see this small village in the winter.

Salzburg

Salzburg is one of my favorite cities – I think it is even prettier than lovely Vienna.

Salzburg , Austria in winter is a fun day trip from winter
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However, like Hallstatt, I have only visited in summer/fall and not in the winter, but I am 1000% certain that Salzburg is another great place and a good winter day trip from Vienna.

VIENNA WINTER TRAVEL TIPS

How to get from the airport to the city center: Getting to and from the Vienna airport is super easy.

There are buses, trains, or taxis getting to and from the airport. I suggest using the buses or trains (the bus is a bit slower, but it takes 40 minutes max and costs less than $3 one way; the train just takes around 15 minutes, but is much more expensive).

How to get around: Vienna is very walkable, but the public transportation is also extremely good (a 24-hour ticket is less than 7€), and there are also Hop On and Hop Off buses in Vienna, which are super convenient.

But most attractions are located in the city center and only a few attractions are further away, so you might need public transport/taxis sometimes.

Where to Stay in Vienna

HOTEL SACHER: Find luxury at its best at Hotel Sacher near Hofburg. The hotel is rated the best in the city – its central location makes it a perfect hotel for your Vienna trip. Find out more about the rates for staying in this hotel here.

MERCURE VIENNA FIRST: One good medium priced accommodation to stay in Vienna is Mercure Vienna First – it was the place, I stayed when I visited Vienna on my last trip. Find out more about that particular hotel by clicking here.

Or check out my full accommodation guide on Vienna – just click here to find your perfect hotel in Vienna.

Security: Vienna is quite safe, though pickpocketing is very common. It is good to be aware of your belongings and be attentive. Particularly when you visit the Christmas Markets, make sure to watch your belongings super carefully.

Weather in Vienna in the winter: Vienna can get cold – no, not Siberia cold, but make sure to pack warm as it can be around 0ºC and colder.

What to pack for Vienna in the winter
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Wishing you a wonderful trip – and hope you’ll get lucky and experience some snow in Vienna! Check out my detailed 2-day Vienna itinerary. 

Safe Travels, Arzo
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