If you’re looking for any last-minute ideas for a magical and wonderful vacation spot, look no further because I’m sure I have the answer that you’re looking for: Vienna, Austria!
I know you’re probably thinking that you’d rather go somewhere warm. Somewhere with a beach where you can laze around in your red and white bathing suit with a fancy, frilly egg-noggy drink. Personally, I hate egg nogg and much prefer mulled wine (or anything else, for that matter), but if that’s your jam, that’s cool! Vienna might not be warm or beachy, but it has a lot of Christmas spirit, which makes it a really nice winter destination, if I do say so myself.
So, here’s how I think you could make the most of your trip to Vienna should it fall in the month of December!
Go to at least one Christmas Market (but don’t be alarmed if you want to go to all of them).
You all know how much I LOVE Christmas markets. Like I’m talking to the point of obsession, here.
Well my love of these markets grew three sizes while we were in Vienna. The city seems to have them on every corner (not true) so whenever you’re walking you just happen to stumble upon one (kind of true). During our few days in Vienna, we went to five different Christmas markets, so that totally makes me an expert on them. I’m joking, or course! You really only need to go to one to be an expert!
If you don’t have time to find as many markets as you can, my favorite was Rathausplatz Christkindlmarkt. It had the most stalls, as well as a skating rink and a giant snowglobe! If you haven’t checked out my last post about why you should go to all the Christmas markets you can, check it out, and then head out into Vienna to find some for yourself!
Warm up by visiting a museum or two.
There are so many amazing museums in Vienna! We didn’t have enough time to get to as many as we would have liked so we had to be choosy. After weighing some pros and cons (and discussing what museums were coming up in the following weeks in our travels) we went with spending a morning at the Haus der Musik which is a museum dedicated to, you guessed it, music!
When I think of Vienna, I associate it with classical music as I’m sure most people do. While this museum has an entire level dedicated to the life of composers such as Haydn, Beethoven, Mozart, and Schubert, it also has a lot of really fun and interactive exhibits. On the fourth floor you can even try your hand at creating and directing your own opera. I would definitely leave a solid morning or afternoon to really explore and experience this museum.
I really wanted to go to the Leopold Museum, the The Kunsthistorisches Museum (art history museum) and the Naturhistorisches Museum Vienna (Natural History Museum). The Kunst Haus was also high on our list, but time just flew by! So please, go to Vienna and visit all of these museums and let me know how they are. In my daydreams I’m planning a week of just museum hopping in Vienna for a holiday.
Check out this website for more information on even more museums in Vienna!
Adult tickets €13.00.
Haus der Musik: Seilerstätte 30, A-1010 Wien
Bundle up and head out on an architecture walking tour around Vienna.
Once you’ve warmed up by hanging out in a museum, go and get lost in Vienna’s old town. This city has some of the prettiest architecture in the softest, most eye-pleasing colors you’ll see. I’m a big fan of Austrian architecture in general, so I already knew I’d fall in love with the city before we got there.
I don’t have any specific places you HAVE to go and see. When we set out on our “crawl” we did so without a planned route. My one piece of advice is to have fun getting lost. One of my favorite things to do is see a pretty building, look it up on Google maps and then see if we can find it’s significance using Wikipedia or other online resources. We learned a lot by making our own little walking tour, plus we didn’t have to pay anyone to tell us about the city!
Brave any weather for a visit to Viennese Prater (or Wurstelprater).
Personally, I think no trip to Vienna would be complete without a visit to Prater Amusement Park. This park is so retro and cool, with a lot of fun little details. It’s easy to spend an entire day here!
The amusement park is open and free seven days a week. The rides cost money to ride, anywhere up to €5, but you can pick and choose what you want to ride, which is nice. There are a couple of restaurants in the park, should you get hungry. BUT if you go during Christmas market season there is one there, so that’s also an option, wahoo!
I really loved spending the morning at Prater, and I think you would too. It’s one of the oldest amusement parks in the world
1020 Vienna, Austria
Enjoy Schönbrunn Palace and Zoo, two can’t miss places in Vienna.
The land that Schönbrunn Palace was built on was bought in 1569 by Emperor Maximilian II and used as royal hunting grounds. A palace was built on the grounds between 1638 to 1643; the palace that you can visit today was built and remodeled by Maria Theresa in the 1740-50’s. The palace has a total of 1,441 rooms, and while you can’t see all of them on a tour you still see plenty. Included in the price of a ticket is an audio tour, which is both informative and easily understood. Make sure after you tour the palace you take time to walk through the gardens.
And before you head to the Vienna Zoo, have a wee wander around the Christmas market, since you’re visiting in December!
Another “oldest blank in the world” title that Vienna can claim to their name is the Vienna Zoo. Constructed in 1752 by Adrian van Stekhoven, the zoo houses over 8,500 animals today! It was built by Emperor Franz I for his wife Maria Theresa to serve as imperial menagerie; it was originally just for the royal family, but it was opened to the public in 1765. Even on a cold and rainy afternoon there were plenty of animals out and about to see, so don’t let December weather scare you off!
Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, 1130 Wien, Austria
Combination ticket (both palace and zoo): €27.50
Check out the Naschtmarkt in Vienna and grab a few pints after!
One of my favorite afternoons was spent walking around the Naschtmarkt and then grabbing some beer at 1516 Brewing Company.
The Naschtmarkt is a can’t-miss in the city. It’s a bustling, exciting food and goods market full of little treasures and yummy bites. We shared a few different foods while walking around! The stalls are open from about 6am to 7:30pm (weekdays) and 6am to 5pm (Saturdays). They’re closed on Sundays. Restaurants located in the Naschtmarkt are open later, so check specific restaurants for their opening times. I wish I had some pictures to show you, but my hands were full of food and there was too much to look at.
1516 Brewing Company is located near enough to the Naschtmarkt that it makes for a nice walk, and they have some really delicious beers on hand to try. I had a shandy (amazing) and a spiced winter beer (even more amazing). I would probably not go back to eat there, as the simple food we had could have been prepared a little better, but the beer makes the trip worth it!
Naschtmarkt is located: 1060 Vienna, Austria
1516 Brewing is located: Schwarzenbergstraße 2, 1010 Wien, Austria
Marvel at the State Hall at the Austrian National Library.
There is nothing I can possibly say about the State Hall in the Vienna National Library that could possibly do it justice. Literally nothing.
This grand room, home to 200,000 valuable books published between 1501 and 1850 is a highlight of any trip to Vienna. Take a break from the December cold and pay a visit and see all this majesty for yourself!
Adult ticket prices €7.00
Josefsplatz 1, 1015 Wien, Austria
So, tell me, have you been to Vienna? What were your favorite spots? Would you ever consider going in December? Have you already gone in December? The lights, the spirit, the chill in the air, I just think it’s a great place to get yourself in the holiday mood.
I hope you’re having a holly, jolly December so far! Who’s ready for Christmas? I have to tell you, I’ve never been more in the Christmas spirit than I am this year! Even though we’ll be a world away from our loved ones this year, I think it’ll be a good year!