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Know Before You Go: Visiting Vienna in Winter
Know Before You Go: Visiting Vienna in Winter

Ways to Celebrate Christmas and New Year's Eve in Vienna


Ways to Celebrate Christmas and New Year's Eve in Vienna

Vienna comes alive in the holiday season, with its historic squares and baroque palaces adorned in festive illuminations, and the heady scent of mulled wine on the air. If you’re lucky enough to be in the Austrian capital for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, here’s how to celebrate—Vienna style.


See the city illuminated

The city comes to life at night over the Christmas period. Photo: MarinaD_37 / Shutterstock

Vienna comes to twinkle-lit life for the holidays.

During the holiday season, Vienna’s top attractions such as the Austrian Parliament Building, Rathaus (City Hall), the Hofburg Imperial Palace, Schönbrunn Palace, and St. Charles’ Church (Karlskirche) twinkle under festive illuminations. When darkness falls over Vienna and the lights flicker on, the city transforms into a winter wonderland of shimmering color. Photography tours are a great way to explore the city streets and squares, with a guide on hand to help you capture the brilliant scenes on camera.

Shop at the Christmas markets

Vienna is home to a number of excellent Christmas markets. Photo: S.Borisov / Shutterstock

These historic markets are a must.

Browse Vienna’s legendary Christmas markets for seasonal souvenirs including handcrafted tree decorations and wooden toys, and perhaps sample local Austrian specialities such as spicy smoked sausages and freshly baked strudels along the way. The bustling Christmas market at Belvedere Palace is the city’s largest and most popular, but the Town Hall Square and Karlsplatz markets are also very atmospheric.

Attend a holiday concert

St. Peter's Church hosts a famed Christmas concert for the holidays. Photo: aliaksei kruhlenia / Shutterstock

Vienna's not called the City of Music for nothing.

Austria boasts a world-renowned classical music scene, and the festive holidays bring out the best in Vienna’s various concert halls. There’s a diverse program of concerts, performances, and recitals in famous venues including the Schönbrunn Palace's Orangery, St. Anne's Church, and St. Peter’s Church. Celebrate Christmas Eve or ring in the New Year at a Strauss recital, and make the evening extra special with a delicious dinner.

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Know Before You Go: Visiting Vienna in Winter
Know Before You Go: Visiting Vienna in Winter