Type : City Break
Best Date : April-May, September- October, December
Expense : Medium
Things to do : Sightseeing, Christmas Markets
Points of Interest: Schonbrunn Palace, Prater, St Stephens Cathedral, Hofburg, Belvedere, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Rathaus ect
Vienna is Austria’s capital and largest city with a population of about 1.8 million. Vienna is a widely German speaking city and is known for its rich imperial buildings, the orchestra and Viennese events. Most notable names that graced this city is Beethoven, Mozart and Franz Schubert.
So why did I choose to go Vienna?
Yearly I have made it a tradition to go to a country which is known for their Christmas Markets. In the year 2016 after previously going to the Berlin Christmas Markets, I planned to go somewhere other than Germany, It was a choice of either Brussels, Vienna, Prague or Budapest. I somehow resulted in choosing Vienna from many research and many colleagues having only good opinions towards it. My own personal opinion have also been positive.
Firstly I’d like to state that all Christmas markets are placed upon many of Vienna’s attractions (points of interests) such as Schonbrunn Palace, Maria-Theresien Platz, Belvedere Palace and the city hall at Rathuasplatz, so visiting a Christmas market would mean also visiting a Viennese attraction. The Christmas markets in Vienna usually starts on the second week of November till around Christmas eve or boxing day, some also open till the new year.
Belvedere Palace is a world heritage site now used as an art gallery. Its gardens and stables are a sight to see with its main appeal being the pond at the front of the palace. It is free to enter the gardens and exterior of the palace, however a fee is required to visit inside.
Large public square Maria-Theresien Platz is another attraction to visit. Central to many of Vienna’s museums such as the ‘Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien’ or their ‘natural history museum’. Theatres and parks are also very present in this area of the city.
One of the most important building in the country is ‘Schonbrunn Palace’ a hunting lodge gifted to Emperor Joseph I from his father Emperor Leopold I. Through the years the building has grown and improved, with many different notable residents. With over 1441 rooms in this baroque palace (a former imperial residence) and a spectacular garden with exceptional scenery this is one of the top places to visit in Vienna.
Spittelberg Quarter is a good place to visit for fine foods and its Christmas market.
Rathuasplatz which in my opinion the largest and main Christmas market in Vienna. Situated right in front of the beautiful lit up City Hall. The Christmas market usually opens early November and right through till early January. It has plenty of different stalls, from glassware, leathered goods, wooden products and many more. There is also many food stalls and an iconic ice ring (open till early March) centring the market.
Prater is a theme park in the heart of Vienna, it is a place for families and younger tourists. The theme park is one of the oldest in the world, and consist of cafes restaurants, bowling alley, cinemas and other attractions like Madame Tussauds . It is free entrance and you only pay for the rides you wish to ride, the main attraction is the Wiener Riesenrad (Viennese Giant Wheel) built in 1897.
Overall Vienna was a pleasure to visit, every area had an delightful festive atmosphere. Although when I visited (late November) it was a bit warmer than I thought or would have liked it to be, the city still sets the desirable winter trip. I do advise that if you are visiting Vienna, you visit on a weekday rather than a weekend, as the city seems to be close all day on weekdays (no shops and restaurants) so this will not be desirable for visitors.
(As of 2018)
Depending on your point origin, there are various ways to get to Vienna. From London Heathrow there are 3 carriers which offer direct flights, a trip from LHR to Vienna is around 2hours and a half flight time. Austrian A which is on average the cheaper out of the three carriers from Heathrow. British airways which is more frequent to travel to Vienna, meaning more choices of travel times and lastly Air Berlin which somehow has a single journey daily from Heathrow to Vienna however proving to cost more than the other carriers.
Easy Jet are the only carrier from Gatwick, and they do 2 journeys a day.
Lastly Eurowings journeys from Stanstead once a day and could be the cheapest carrier flying from London.
Please go to page ‘Travelling in Vienna’