7 Magical Things To Do in Vienna in Winter
The Best Vienna Things to Do in Winter
Winter is one of the most marvellous times to visit Vienna, when the city is brimming with seasonal spirit, festive atmosphere and a true sense of wonder. At this time of year, Austria’s capital shines bright and attracts people from all over the world with traditional Christmas markets, captivating classical concerts and delicious eats that will make you want to come back for seconds.
If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind experiences to make your festive trip to the city one to remember, here are 7 magical things to do in Vienna in winter.
1. Explore the Vienna Christmas markets
A winter trip to Vienna isn’t complete without a visit to one of the city's magical Christmas markets. Running from mid-November until late December, these magical markets will help you get into the festive spirit with perfectly spiced mulled wine, sweet roasted chestnuts and beautiful unique gifts you’ll want to share with all your friends and family back home.
As well as the charming wooden hut stalls, a lot of Christmas markets in Vienna also treat visitors to plenty of wonderful extras, like ice skating rinks, classical concerts, funfair rides and even petting zoos.
2. Drink Weihnachtspunsch
Winter in Vienna can certainly get a bit chilly, but there’s an easy way to keep warm — drink a cup of weihnachtspunsch! A festive, soul-warming drink that’s available from all Christmas markets, weihnachtspunsch comes in many forms. Two of the most common variations include one that’s very similar to mulled wine (hot red wine flavoured with winter spices) and another type that’s made with a blend of tea, sugar, spices and rum or brandy. There’s even a version of weihnachtspunsch called ‘kinderpunsch’ which is alcohol-free so everyone can join in.
A lot of Christmas markets serve weihnachtspunsch in beautiful collectable mugs that change each year. If you take back your mug after you’ve finished your drink, the stall owner will return your deposit. But if you want to keep your mug as a momento, you’re totally allowed to do so!
3. Take in a Christmas concert
Music concerts are one of the best things to do in Vienna all-year-round, but they’re even more special during the festive season. In winter, some of the world's best classical musicians perform Mozart's, Bach's, Händl's and Strauss' compositions in dazzling locations, making for a truly spectacular evening you’ll never forget.
The Christmas concerts at St. Stephen`s Cathedral and the Christmas trumpet concerts at Maltese Church are perfect if you’re new to classical music or have young kids, since the tickets are very affordable and the performances are only 60 minutes long. But if you really want to push the boat out, consider getting tickets for the Christmas gala in Kursalon Vienna, which includes a gourmet four-course dinner and an incredible conce
4. Go ice skating
Whether you’re visiting as a couple on a romantic escape, a family on a fun-filled holiday or a group on a city getaway, ice skating is one of the best Vienna things to do in winter. At this time of year, ice rinks are set up all across the city, but there are a couple that stand out above the rest.
The Engelmann ice rink was the world’s very first artificial ice rink when it was established over 100 years ago. Covering a whopping 6,000m2, this spectacular rink treats visitors to figure skating lessons, basic skating lessons for children, an ice disco, ladies’ night and romantic couples’ night.
The Eislaufverein ice rink is another great place for fun on the ice. This smooth-as-glass rink is wonderful for ice skating and the charming waltz music that drifts in from the speakers creates a magical ambiance.
5. Attend a New Year's Eve gala
Celebrate New Year’s Eve in style by attending an extravagant gala this December 31st. The New Year's Eve gala in Vienna City Hall is set inside one of the city’s most beautiful buildings and includes an epicurean four-course meal, a spectacular performance by the Wiener Hofball Orchestra and an incredible fireworks display.
For the ultimate New Year’s Eve experience in the city, consider the New Year's Eve gala in Kursalon Vienna. This one-of-a-kind evening features an exquisite gala dinner at a superb restaurant, brilliant concert performed by Salonorchester Alt Wien and a magnificent fireworks show to round off the night.
6. Experience Winter im MQ
Things heat up in the MuseumsQuartier during Winter in MQ — even in the middle of winter! During the festive season, this part of Vienna really bursts into life, with live music concerts, DJ sets, winter races, curling competitions, design markets and innovative sports such as micro-extreme bowling.
It’s not just the activities that make Winter at MQ so fantastic — it’s the atmosphere and decorations, too. The whole area is adorned with LED cubes which illuminate the otherwise chilly, dark nights. Combined with the glittering fairy lights wrapped around trees and the artistic light shows projected onto building façades and you’ve got one of the most festive things to do in Vienna in winter.
7. Indulge in the world’s most famous chocolate cake
Ducking into a coffee shop for a delicious Viennese coffee and a sweet treat is always a good idea, especially during winter. And what better treat to indulge in than the one our city is best known for — Sachertorte? A decadent chocolate cake made from layers of chocolate sponge and apricot jam, all coated in dark chocolate icing, a slice of this heavenly dessert is all you need to keep you warm on the inside and smiling on the outside.
These magical things to do in Vienna are guaranteed to make your winter trip to Austria’s capital one you’ll never forget. But don’t be afraid to wander off the beaten track and explore on your own!
What are your favourite Vienna things to do in winter? Leave them in the comments section below to inspire others planning a trip to the city!
- Nina Maglic