We will have two full days in Vienna, arriving late December 25th and leaving mid day on December 28th. We have read through RS book on Vienna, reviewed opening hours and days for all the sights and have a pretty good sense of what to expect at that time of year including Christmas markets still operating and News Years villages. There is so much to see and we clearly don't have enough time to see and do it all plus I expect the weather will be encouraging us to stay indoors for a large portion of the day. I am trying to put the itinerary together for those two days and would love some help. What do the two best winter touring days in Vienna look like? What are your best recommendations, the must sees, must eats and schedules that others have followed on previous visits? Thanks!
A music lover should do something different from a shopaholic, who should do something different from a history lover, who should do something different from someone who just wants to mellow at cafes. So... what do you like to do?
Most Christmas markets terminate on December 24th, so don't expect too much.
Dave hit the nail on the head . Many great art museums in Vienna , which always consume a great deal of my time when I am there , but unless you are an art lover - well , George Bernard Shaw once said ( figuratively speaking ) , " A picture gallery is a dull place for a blind man " .
I'm sure that you have figured out that Dec. 26th is also a public holiday (as is Dec. 25th), so shops, etc will be closed and Vienna will be very quiet on those days.
I would suggest combining a Christmas Market each day with an indoor activity, such as a museum. The markets are much better after dark. The Rathaus Market remains open after Christmas and includes an ice skating rink. While this is my least favorite of all the markets (crafts from China, full of tourists), it does have a wow factor with the lights, etc. After seeing this market, you could easily walk a couple of blocks over to the Maria Theresien Platz Christmas Village, which is more appealing with decent crafts. As the Kunsthistoriches Museum is just there, you could have an earlier visit to that museum. I would also highly recommend the Christmas Market at the Belvedere which has its last day on Dec. 26th (get there early). The setting is stunning at dusk and you could make an earlier visit inside the museum to see the Kiss. The Christmas Market at Schonbrunn is the other market open after Christmas that is worth the time. It is definitely in my top three and has the best food options. Combine that visit with a visit to the interior of the palace.
Don't waste your time at the markets at Stephansplatz, Prater or elsewhere as these are not really great, in my opinion.
As for food, you must have schnitzel, sausage, and plenty of time in cafes.
Thanks Emily. That is really helpful. Any specific cafes that you would recommend?
Overall, we have done the research and are aware of what is open and what is closed on the days we are visiting. There is so much to see and do! I am just seeking insight about how past travelers would describe the best two winter touring days in Vienna. We can filter out any activities that don't sound interesting to us. So, what did you love? What did you do that you wished maybe you had skipped? Where did you eat that was unforgettable? What did you wish you had more time for? That type of thing. We know we can't do everything so we are looking for a balance of sightseeing and time to just be in the city and enjoy. We are in our late 40's and will be traveling there with our 23 year old son who lives in Munich. Arriving in Munich on the 15th, Salzburg on the 23rd, Vienna on the 25th and then back to Munich on the 28th and flying home on the 30th. Thanks!
So, I can speak as someone who has lived here for 10 years. Sorry I can't give you the random traveler opinions.
Honestly, you are coming at such a strange time of year when nothing really normal is happening, so it is hard to recreate experiences for you from another other timeframe. Best to focus on the markets.
Cafes - Sperl, Hawelka, Central, Diglas, Demel and Gerstner are all great. Vollpension is my favorite.
Schnitzel - Figlmuller or Huth or Anzengruber.
Sausage - the stand at Schwedenplatz or Hoher Markt.
We recently enjoyed our visit to the Neue Museum. One of the best displays of armor we have ever seen; we intended to just walk through that section of the museum quickly but were fascinated by the various displays. And then you enter the part of the museum with old musical instruments. Have you ever seen a long wooden wind/reed/horn shaped like a serpent? I have. The various types of instruments were amazing. And the building itself is stunning. To top it off, we had the place almost to ourselves -- a great way we spent about 2 hours on a very rainy September day.
We spent a full week in. Ienna in September and visited 1-3 museums a day. Among our favorites that might go unnoticed were the globe museum (small and approachable), the old musical instruments, the Secessionist museum, Hunderwasser Museum, and the Third Man museum. If you go to see the musical instruments, don’t neglect the palace rooms as well. There is a very famous Dutch (?) artwork there, , hanging with no fanfare.
We did not dine out much, but when we did, we loved Meierei in Stadtpark.