Located on the Danube River in the east of the country is Austria’s capital Vienna. Known for Its artistic and intellectual legacy, carried by the city’s famous residents Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud, imperial palaces, including the renowned Schönbrunn and the Habsburgs’ summer residence, Baroque streetscapes, historic as well as modern-day buildings display works by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt and other remarkable artists which makes it an ideal European travel destination.
Wintertime in Vienna is a magical experience, especially just before Christmas, which makes the city an even popular spot for families, couples, and solo travelers who arrive in Austria from all around the world. Apart from winter activities, Christmas markets are another great attraction in Vienna. Tourists in flocks are seen in Christmas markets buying Christmas ornaments and enjoying seasonal food and beverage.
The weather in Vienna
I visited Bangkok last winter and spent a warm winter there, which made me wondered what a cold winter in a European city would be like.
Winters in the city, apart from all the festivals and celebrations, is itself enjoyable. December is the fun winter, not so cold and sometimes snowy. January and February are a bit colder than December, but that’s when you can ice skate. However, the cold in Vienna is not difficult to endure, with adequate warm clothes, you can hop on a horse-drawn carriage to a warm restaurant and enjoy a mug of hot chocolate. Sit near the window so you can watch the snow fall softly on the ground, indicating time for Christmas Markets, where you can buy local warm clothes, hats, gloves and waterproof shoes to keep you warm as well as gifts and souvenirs for your friends or family back home.
In time for Christmas in Vienna
In time for Christmas, the city’s streets are beautifully decorated with flowers and lights and the stores displaying the beautiful Christmas items, warm and cozy bars, cafes and coffee shops and horse-drawn carriages gives the Christmas spirit a big kick. Vienna’s splendid balls are famously decorated in winter, filled with music, magnificent gowns, and beautiful dance steps make it look like a winter of a fairy-tale.
Browsing the Christmas Markets
As mentioned above, Christmas Markets are one of the top reasons people travel to Vienna in winter. The tradition of Christmas Markets are centuries old and are even shown in movies set in those times.
Around late November, the city gets busy in organizing the markets, which are becoming modern and more popular among tourists, and carries on till New Year’s Eve.
Vienna’s Christmas markets are home to small cozy and romantic wooden huts, traditional handicrafts, modern souvenirs, colorful lights, dazzling decorations, and anything you want to gift your friends. Filled with Christmas music and delicious local cuisines, these markets are a treat for your senses.
Neujahrskonzert (New Year’s Concert)
The New Year’s Concert is another great reason to fall in love with Vienna. The yearly tradition is given by the famous Vienna Philharmonic on the New Year’s Day. People from all around the world come here to enjoy the mesmerizingly sublime classical music. The traditions have been carrying on since it was first held on 31 December 1939.
The program is presented by the Vienna Philharmonic and each year, a conductor is chosen to orchestrate the concert, which will be broadcasted on TV for its more than 50 million viewers.
Even though snowfall keeps on diminishes in Vienna, Viennese make the best of the little snow they get. Duh, ice skating and winter go hand-in-hand. It is the must-do things in winter. Vienna is probably the best place to skate through. The park and plaza in front of the city hall in turned into a massive ice skating ring by Ice Dream from early January to late Mid-March, hurling in thousands of locals and tourists. You will see plenty of couples dancing to the music of Strauss and other classical music. Families come in together on weekends to learn how to skate for free. If you are into ice skating, you will love it here. If you are a beginner, you can learn. Just rent some skating shoes and enjoy! After trying that, you can try some of the amazing booths nearby to restore that energy and warm your toes with beer.
The delicious local and international cuisines
During winter, Austrian cuisine grows wings and shoots arrows in bellies. The Viennese kitchen is known for its sweet and savory ingredients that will be a warm hug in your stomach on a cold winter night. Every Viennese winter dish is a must-try, from street food stalls of potato wedge, roasted chestnut, Austria’s national dish Apple Strudel, and Pumpkin soup, which will fill you with warmth, health and an insane aroma of garlic, onion, cinnamon, white wine, and a drizzle of rich brown pumpkin oil on top, all of which is a treat for that foodie person hiding inside you.