Every year, thousands of people flock to Vienna during the festive season, making the most of their many Christmas markets and mulled wine stalls. If you’re thinking of heading over to Austria’s famous capital to indulge in some classic Viennese traditions and customs this season, here are just a handful of events that should be high up on your list of places to go.
- Winter in Museumsquartier
The Museumsquartier is one of Vienna’s biggest attractions, packed with traditional and contemporary galleries that showcase some of the best artists from around the world. During the winter months though, it’s transformed into a venue for outdoor activities that celebrate all things festive. This year, you can expect ‘Winter im MQ’ to include everything from breath-taking ice pavilions, innovative light displays and the chance to try your hand at curling, to delightful eateries serving up traditional Viennese cuisine.
- An evening at Schönbrunn
Throughout the rest of the year, people visit Schönbrunn Palace for its huge grounds, perfectly manicured gardens, and the chance to live history walking through its halls, all designed during the opulent era of Imperial rule. During December though, it plays host to a variety of concerts and dinners instead. You don’t have to wait until you’re there to book your tickets either; these seats sell out fast, so head over to www.viennaoperatickets.com if you want to make sure you don’t miss out.
- Christmas markets
What winter trip would be complete without a tour of the local Christmas markets? Start off at the beautiful baroque Belvedere Palace, which is the backdrop for the newest of all the markets in the city. It runs right up until Christmas Eve, offering you the chance to buy a variety of traditional, handmade gifts, from toy soldiers and wooden carvings to glittering tree decorations. You’ll still be able to find roasted chestnuts too, but why not try some Viennese Christmas snacks while you’re here? Then, make your way to Freyung for a far more genteel affair. It’s much less commercial than the other markets across Vienna, as well as the oldest, originating in 1772. If you have children, they’ll love this place in particular, with regular Punch-and-Judy puppet shows, as well as music performed each afternoon. This is also the place to be if you’re a foodie, on the hunt for smoked meats, exotic cheeses and new recipes.
- Ice skate outside the Konzerthaus
Finish off your trip to Vienna with a favourite local pastime; the Viennese love ice skating, so you’ll find several set up across the city during winter. You could opt for the gardens of Wilhelminenberg Palace, or the one located in front of the Rathaus, but if you’d prefer to be where the action is, head for the Vienna Konzerthaus. The 6,000 square meter ice rink set up just outside is the most popular in the city, and you’ll even be able to take proper lessons.
Are you heading to Vienna this winter?