Vienna, the glorious capital of Austria and our final post in our Christmas markets series was really a treat for us as we not only enjoyed the sweet smell of mulled wine in the air, we also thoroughly enjoyed the sights and culture of this city.
St Stephen's Cathedral, instantly recognisable with the coloured tiles on the roof and just off Stephansplatz and the climb to the top of the tower is a quick (or slow) 343 steps up. As you walk around the tower you'll also notice the Vienna coat of arms on the tiling of the roof - pretty cool hey!
Not only are the tiles stunning & the views gorgeous from the top of this cathedral, you can also find a Christmas market at this square from mid November. If you've climbed up all the stairs to the top of the tower you've then definitely deserved a bratwurst (or 2) once getting back down to ground level!
Christmas is a great time to visit Vienna when all the streets are adorned with Christmas decorations and lighting and the atmosphere so joyful despite the cold crisp air that you'll be breathing in! Vienna is an extremely spread out city so be sure to plan out the journey for the days there!
Depending on when your visit to Vienna is, there are Christmas markets to be found at Karlsplatz (top left), however we were just a tiny bit too late for them and the vendors were seen packing their stalls up while we walked through. While we continued to wander around the city we passed the world famous Vienna Opera house and while here lots of people try & sell you classical concerts but beware these are massive tourist traps! The pictures are misleading and often the so called concerts are in tiny dingy halls rather than a grand, opulent venue typically imagined! If classical music concerts are your thing, look up what's playing at Musikverein or Konzerthaus instead!
Climbing up the cathedral and walking through the city we got a bit peckish so we decided to venture through naschmark & had the most delicious bouillabaisse (okay not typically Viennese) but a warm bowl of seafood & soup tasted so good while we were standing in the cold!
One of the tourist sights to see (& eat) while in Vienna is to have a world famous Sacher torte, a chocolate cake invented for one of Austria's Princes once upon a time. This is probably one of the most famous Viennese treats to indulge on, and where better to eat it than at Cafe Sacher Wein!
Christmas markets at Maria Theresien Platz, which is situated right between the Museum of Art History and Natural History. For those in Vienna closer to Christmas, this is one of the few markets that you can find open on Christmas day!
Within these gardens you'll find this magnificent gate & equestrian statue in Josefplatz within the Hofburg Palace. This is also home to the Austrian national library. If you don't get to get a peek inside (which we unfortunately didn't due to timings) the grounds and exterior is equally as magnificent I say!
Don't miss a wander through Volksgarten, right opposite austrian parliament, even though the trees may look a bare in the middle of winter there are definitely more than a few photo op's in this garden. Rathaus is also close by, and if anything this provides a nice reprieve from the crowds gathered at the Christmas markets.
Understandably the most popular and stunning Christmas market is at Rathausplatz. This particular Christmas gets quite busy regardless of the time of the day (except probably first thing when it opens) but it's definitely extremely festive & might even warm up the body squeezing through the crowds! I loved the decorated trees around the market; from snowmen, to musical instruments & love hearts - there was truly something to love for everyone!
After filling up on Christmas market treats & goodies (with so many to choose from!) the next food stop was dinner with traditional Vienna cuisine - boiled beef from Plachutta. We literally stumbled upon this place as it was a stones throw away from the apartment in the old town of Vienna and we were all pleasantly surprised at how tasty boiled beef actually is; tender and filled with more flavour than initially thought!
If you're after a typical Vienna style breakfast, hop into Cafe Central where the atmosphere is grand and the food tasty. If you prefer to wake later in the day, the desserts that are featured here are also delicious!
We decided to go out of the city centre the next day and decided to check out a Christmas market at Schonbrunn Palace; an easy u-bahn ride away to Schonbrunn. We personally loved all the space in the square and although it was a quieter day due to it being Christmas day (another one open on Christmas day!), and it was definitely great not having to push our way through crowds to enjoy our gluhwein & lightly fried potato crisps!
A Christmas market in the square of the palace grounds was so grand and gorgeous and we definitely thought market was a great one to end the weekend of Christmas markets with! A tiny bit of a contradiction though as this was Empress Sisi's former summer residence!
In between all the popping in and out of the Christmas markets we stopped by Hawelka, a classic cafe and admittedly we were quite confused with the ordering process but we eventually got there!
We Stayed: Go Vienna Luxury Apartments