Everything you need for a great Christmas visit to the Austrian capital
Are you trying to find the perfect Christmas market break? Don’t rule out Vienna. The Austrian capital is often named one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Come and see what makes Christmas time here so special.
Hofburg Palace, St.Stephen’s Cathedral, Schönbrunn Gardens. Not a single thing in this glorious city is less than beautiful! Over the festive season though, the city does more for the visitors than meets the eye. Let me take you on a little journey to show you all the perks of a trip to the Vienna Christmas market! :)
Vienna Christmas Market – Christmas in the Austrian capital
We’re lucky here in the UK to have so many options for travelling to Vienna. There are several airports across the country that will offer direct flights from Vienna to the UK. Flights are available from London, Manchester, Bristol, Edinburgh, and Birmingham. If your closest airport is not on the list, you can also fly from here, but do be aware you will need to stop somewhere before you do. Depending on how far ahead you book, you can grab direct return flights to Vienna from the UK for as little as €20. How is that for a bargain?
Once you arrive in Vienna, the next task is getting from Vienna Airport to the city centre. Luckily, this is not too difficult a task. There are three options available for travelling from the airport:
Take a taxi A taxi ride will take you about 20 minutes and cost about €36. Of course, there are cheaper alternatives available, even if they do take a little more time. But, the biggest advantage of a taxi is that they are available 24/7.
Travel by bus You can also travel to the city centre by bus. The Vienna Airport Bus lines also run 24 hours a day, and you can catch a bus every 30 minutes. The journey will take about 22 minutes, and that’s even with the stops included. A regular ticket will set you back €8, and you can either buy them online or from the bus driver.
Take the train The stops for the CAT (City Airport Train) and the S7 tram are just five minutes away from the terminal building. A huge advantage of this choice is how cheap and fast it is. A ticket costs between €4 and €12, and you will be in the city centre within 25 minutes. However, these trains do not run 24 hours. The S7 runs from about 5.20 am to 00.20, and the CAT runs from 6.09am to 11.39pm daily.
Whatever option for getting into the city you choose, you’re in the centre of the city in no time and your visit to the Vienna Christmas market can begin!
When is the Vienna Christmas Market in 2018?
There are several options for a Vienna Christmas Market break, and luckily they will all start in November. The majority of them end just before Christmas, while some will carry on a little longer. The Christmas markets in Vienna are known as the Christkindlmarkt, named after the Christkindl, who is the Christmas present bringer in Austrian culture. When you come here for your break, be sure you bring your jackets, jumpers, scarves, gloves and hats. It is incredibly pretty in the city, but it can also get quite cold here. Below, I’ve made a very helpful list with some of the best Christmas markets to visit across Vienna. Apart from the Schönnbrunn Market and the Vegan Advent Market, they are all within walking distance of each other.
The Old AKH
Best markets around town
The traditions of the Vienna Christmas market goes back to as early as 1772. Since then many things have changed, but the markets have stayed some of the most impressive and most beautiful around Europe. With the finest craftsmanship, delicious punch, and lovely decorations, an afternoon strolling through the Vienna Christmas market will make your eyes shine like back in your early childhood days.
The Christkindl market at the old town hall welcomes you with its imperial charm and and a glorious archway made completely out of gigantic candles. It is the largest market located in the direct centre, with over 150 stalls to visit. In front of the Rathaus the Christkind, the traditional Christmas gift-bringer around Austria, Germany and Switzerland, will have its own little stage to welcome kids and families and tell famous Christmas tales. The Christ-child, dressed like an angel, sits right by the the large Christmas tree, overlooking the sea of lights that is the market square.
The stalls present finest goods from all over Europe. Gingerbread, mulled wine, and roasted almonds will make your mouth water in no time! For best gift ideas, you’re definitely sorted. Here you will be presented with best selections of fine arts and crafts. Merchants of the Christkindl market pay an average of up to €14,000 of stall rent to take part of the magic, so finest quality is guaranteed, I tell you ;)
Besides the magic of the lovely stalls, you will find a gigantic ice rink of 4,500 square metres! It is one of the largest in the whole city, so make sure to hit the ice for a little while or check out some curling! If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s about time, good fun guaranteed. :)
The Wintermarkt Prater Wien exhilarates with a mixture of old-school carousels and live concerts. Under the motto ‘the Prater rocks’ this destination is set to celebrate. Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday you can enjoy concerts of best bands and choirs to really get you into the festive moods. Visit Coca Cola’s Santa Claus or take a ride on the winter train! The large Ferris wheel, will allow you a stunning view over the whole rest of the city. For the young and for the old, this market will spoil you with the greatest time!
The Christmas season has its all-time favourite goodies like ginger bread, candy floss, and Christmas cookies, of course. In a great city like Vienna though, you need to make sure to not miss out on some of the traditional specialities! Check out some of the all-time favourite Viennese delicacies and make your way to one of the ancient Viennese coffee houses! :)
Check out the Cafe Prückel, one of the original Viennese cafes. Try some Wiener Melange while you warm up for the next round over the markets. Marble table-tops and Thonet chairs will make your stay a little historic adventure. The Viennese coffee house culture is an indispensable part of cultural heritage! Countless specialities and divine pastries are always on the menu here. Linger around and take in the atmosphere, it is a part of the Viennese lifestyle.
On 5th of December, you can join in the celebrations for National Sachertorte Day. Make your way to Cafe Sacher and try the original cake! Just yum! :) Invented for the Prince Wenzel von Metternich, the Sachertorte is a specific type of chocolate cake with layers of apricot jam, traditionally served with whipped jam. Do you think you can guess the secret ingredient? It has been kept in secrecy for ages!
With all these amounts of sugar, you should eventually treat your stomach to something a little bit more hearty. The Wiener Schnitzel might just do the trick! The thin, breaded tenderloin is a famous around the world. Don’t settle for less and head over to Figlmüller – the home of the Schnitzel. For over 100 years this restaurant has been the serving politicians, artists, and business people from around the globe. Figlmüller’s hospitality is formidable! With a total of three restaurants spread across the centre, you won’t have to travel long way. Settle in to the cosy atmosphere of the restaurant and read all about their fine art of frying, and and the work that is needed to make the meat nice and tender. It’s not just a Schnitzel – it is a culinary experience! ;)
To book yourself a great Christmas break in Vienna, or if you’d like to see the Vienna Christmas market for yourself, check my blog for the cheapest deals!