What to see in Vienna in winter?
Vienna is an amazing city at any time of year. In winter, you should go there for the coziness of Christmas fairs, new experiences in the sparsely populated museums and walks on the snow-covered slopes of the Vienna Woods.
Winter weather in Vienna
The main disadvantages of the winter season:
- High humidity of 80-100%, rains occur. Because of this it seems much colder than in reality;
- Strong wind. Some gusts reach 10-14 meters per second;
- Few sunny days. In three months, the sun appears on average eight times;
- December: +1 °C by day, +1 °C to -5 °C…-7 °C at night;
- January: -4°C during the day, -5°C to -10°C at night;
- February: +3 °C during the day, +1 °C at night.
You are strongly advised to take warm, windproof and waterproof clothes. Then no nature whims will stop you from enjoying your trip.
What tours to choose?
The Austrian capital is full of sights. How do you know how to find your way around them and see as many as you can? Experienced guides, experts in Austrian history and culture will help you.
Explore Vienna’s dazzling palaces: the Hofburg, Schönbrunn, and Belvedere, get a bird’s eye view of the city in the Prater Park, hear about legends while strolling through picturesque streets and squares, climb the mountains of the Vienna Woods, and fall in love with the city.
The capital’s museums
In the Austrian capital – a huge number of museums, some of them very special. For example the museum of criminology with naturalistic photos of victims or the museum of funeral accessories with coffins, urns and other reminders of mortality. But there are museums that everyone will love, and are a must on any cultural program in Vienna.
This unprecedented venue opened at the beginning of the third millennium. On an area of 60,000 square meters, the following museums are located :
- Kunsthalle. Exhibitions of young artists are held in the exhibition halls, and music and film festivals take place in the cinema halls;
- Leopold Museum. All fans of modernism should go here. The museum has an impressive collection of works by Egon Schiele and exhibits some key works by Gustav Klimt;
- Museum of Modern Art or MUMOK. Six floors with provocative paintings, installations and sculptures: pop art and photorealism, masterpieces by Warhol, Picasso, Klee – over 9,000 exhibits in total;
- ZOOM Children’s Museum. The museum introduces children to science and art in an entertaining and playful way. Children are taught to build houses, sew clothes, make cartoons – useful skills that will undoubtedly come in handy in the future.
Open around the clock Where to go: Museumsplatz, 1 Tickets: 3 to 49,90 euros
A veritable treasure trove of paintings, drawings and photographs in the largest Habsburg residence in Vienna. Graphics are represented by 60,000 drawings. The collection includes works by Dürer, Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Cézanne, Chagall, Malevich and many others.
Next door is the Austrian Film Museum. Over 25,000 films: pioneers of the genre at the end of the 20th century, Soviet films of 1918-1945. – All the rarest and most unusual things from the world of cinema. Open: Albertinaplatz, 1 How to go: Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets: 16 € for adults, free for children under 19.
Austrian Museum of Applied Arts
For around three centuries, this museum has had the richest collection of arts and crafts in the world. A wide variety of periods and styles are represented: neo-Rococo fixtures and furniture, skilful embroideries of European artisans, the famous Viennese chairs, oriental carpets, Japanese miniatures, Chinese porcelain – the list could go on and on. Where you can find it: Stubenring, 5 How it works: Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday is the day off. Tickets: 12 Euro, every Tuesday from 18.00 – 22.00 – 5 Euro.
Austrian Gallery Belvedere
A must-visit if only for the painting “The Kiss” by Gustav Klimt. There are other paintings by the genius as well as paintings by his contemporaries Schiele and Kokoschka. Open: Upper Belvedere, Prinz Eugen-Straße, 27 How to use: Every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets: 7 to 22 €. Free for children up to 18 years.
Sisi Museum in the Hofburg
The exhibition includes personal items that once belonged to Empress Elisabeth of Bavaria, revered by the Austrians, as well as copies of the originals. You’ll see her magnificent dresses – authentic and recreated, cosmetic items, and the paints and brushes with which she painted. The museum also has a collection of imperial silver, and it’s worth visiting the chambers of Austria’s rulers and marveling at the magnificence of the interiors. Every day from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tickets range from €6.50 to €62.90.
In winter, it is a pleasure to warm up in Vienna’s cafes with their rich history, extraordinary cakes and pies, and traditionally delicious coffee. Here are some of the most famous establishments in the capital.
While strolling through the center of Vienna, go to the famous Café Sacher. There you should try the Sachertorte (it has been made for around 200 years and the recipe is never made public) or the Viennese strudel. Where to go: Philharmonikerstrasse,11 How to go: Every day from 8:00 to 00:00
All the creative couples of the capital once gathered here. Artists of the Vienna Secession: Gustav Klimt, Koloman Moser, Max Kurzweil, musicians – Imre Kalman and Franz Lehar. The first men of the state also visited it: Archduke Joseph Ferdinand and Karl Ferdinand.
No wonder the place is so popular. Here are the coffees that made Vienna famous all over the world: Einspänner, Kapuziner, Viennese Iced Coffee. And then there’s Cake Sperl, orange strudel, hot chocolate and much more. Where you can find it: Gumpendorferstrasse, 11 How it works: Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday. On public holidays from 10.00 to 20.00.
In the past it was a center of attraction for extraordinary personalities: Friedensreich Hundertwasser and Heito von Doderer, Udo Jürgens and Andy Warhol.
Be sure to try the buns with jam – büttel – and the coffee, which is roasted in-house. Where to go: Dorotheergasse, 6 How to go: Monday to Thursday from 12:00 to 18:00 and on Friday from 10:00 to 16:00
At this famous cafe you can taste a popular variant of “Zacher” cake, invented by Franz Zacher’s son Edward. There are also gingerbread men, chocolate-covered marzipan and even candied petals of violets, which used to be delivered to the Kaiser’s court. There is a pastry shop on the first floor, so take a slice of happiness with you. Here you can find it: Kohlmarkt, 14 How it is open: every day from 08.00 to 19.00
Another place famous for its visitors: Sigmund Freud, Peter Altenberg, Adolf Loos and Hugo von Hoffmannsthal all came here. During his visit to Vienna, Leon Trotsky regularly visited the place.
The food here is still good. Tasty strudels, Kaiserschmarrn and “royal schmarren” – pieces of baked dough dipped in plum jam are waiting for you.
And the number of coffees to choose from is a dizzying delight. You can also order a traditional Viennese breakfast or breakfast of Sisi, the beloved Austrian empress, a well-known health-promoter. Where: Herrengasse, 14 How it works: Monday through Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
From mid-November to late December (or early January), Vienna celebrates Christmas and New Year’s Eve with gusto. There are countless souvenir stands and fairs all around the city, warming one up with mulled wine and punch, to make the most of the holiday spirit.
Fair on Town Hall Square
The most famous Christmas market in Vienna. A huge selection of ornaments for the furry beauty, souvenirs, gingerbread. Working merry-go-round, workshops for children to make Christmas gifts. Well, the sausages with hotpot and spicy drinks will warm you up in the cold.
In winter, the Vienna Ice Dream, the best ice rink in the city, opens on Town Hall Square. How it works: From mid-November to Catholic Christmas Where is it located: Rathausplatz
Artistic Advent on Karlsplatz
Large-scale arts and crafts fair. Here you can find a variety of handmade products: clothes, cosmetics, ceramics, glass, wood and other materials. Children make jewelry and paint candles – there is something for everyone. How it works: From the end of November to the Catholic Christmas Day Where to go: Karlsplatz
Spittelberg Christmas Market
This event has been taking place in the beautiful old quarter of Spittelberg for more than 25 years. Fine jewelry, cozy knitwear, warm shoes and hundreds of other products await their future owners. Christmas cookies are baked right on the spot and punch is made – a real fairy tale. How it works: From mid-November to catholic Christmas Where to go: 20/1 Spittelberggasse
Christmas market in front of Schönbrunn Palace
The large Christmas tree in front of the Imperial Palace shimmers with lights and a festive atmosphere reigns supreme. In the numerous stalls one can find lovely Christmas decorations, filigree dishes, articles with New Year symbols, and all kinds of sweets. Every day there are performances of popular Austrian musicians. How it works: From the end of November to early January Location: Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47
Old Vienna Christmas Market of the Infant Christ
For more than 30 years, the history of the fair on Freyung Square. Craftsmen present their unique works: candles, wicker products, toys, clothes. And, of course, there’s no shortage of homemade cookies, liqueurs, honey and hot chocolate! Each day of the fair is marked by theatrical performances for children and concerts of Christmas music. How it works: Mid November to Christmas Where to go: Freyung
Vienna – sights in winter
Sitting at home under a blanket and waiting for spring to arrive, or going to a winter fairy tale filled with adventures is everyone’s own business, but anyone who has once walked the snowy streets of the Austrian capital is convinced that a winter vacation in Vienna is not without charms. The willowy Vienna opens to the tourist – the temperature in winter is variable, now -10°C, now +15°C, now snow, now rain, now calm, then a blistering wind, however, this time of year is quite suitable to spend interesting winter vacations in Vienna.
If you’re new to the capital and don’t know what to see in Vienna in winter, hit the most popular spots. For example, visit the tourist-favorite Schönbrunn Palace. Of course, in the cold season, the residence of the Austrian emperors is not surrounded by blooming gardens, but this does not prevent to enjoy the Baroque architecture and interiors of halls and rooms. No less attracts tourists to Schönbrunn in winter the local zoo, which is one of the oldest in the world.
Also beautiful in winter is another palace complex – Belvedere. Built by Prince Eugene of Savoy, the castle is now one of Europe’s most important art galleries. Apart from the interior you can admire the snow-covered statues and the park in the grounds of the majestic Belvedere.
If you find yourself in Vienna in November and December, you can’t deny yourself the pleasure of exploring the inner courtyard of the Museum Quarter. The fairytale that unfolds there on Christmas Eve leaves no one indifferent. Punch is served in the ice pavilions, fans of the competition play Ice Shock or drive remote controlled cars, light projections create a festive mood, and the sound of music beckons one to dance.
A special attraction in Vienna in winter are the street fairs. On Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve fairs unfold both in central squares and small side streets and feature an abundance of souvenirs and tasty food. Here you can taste Viennese sausages, gingerbread, glazed apples, and buy a variety of gifts with a national flavor for friends.
Other popular winter attractions in Vienna are the world-famous coffee shops. In them you can, firstly, get warm, secondly, enjoy fragrant Viennese coffee and sweets, and thirdly, plunge into the history. For example, the oldest coffee house “Mozart”, which is more than 200 years, has seen at its tables a lot of celebrities, and coffee house “Zacher” attracts locals and tourists with the same name cake.
City skating rink
An ice rink is a must-see in Vienna in winter. From January to March you can glide at your pleasure in front of the City Hall, another attraction. There are 1,200 pairs of skates for rent, so everyone can take part in the action. For the most magical of skating rinks, illuminate the Town Hall with an array of colorful spotlights, making it look like a fairy tale castle.
In addition to walks and outdoor activities, every art lover will find something to do in Vienna in winter. Visiting the interactive Music Museum, you can discover a collection of sounds from around the world, become a conductor for a while, remember what it is like to be a baby in the womb and measure the power of your voice.
The Stephansdom is an attraction in Vienna that tourists don’t pass up, neither in winter nor in summer. In addition to frescoes, stained-glass windows and sculptures, the observation deck in the South Tower, at a height of 136 meters, draws visitors to the now-active cathedral. From here you have an extraordinary view of Vienna.
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