Things to enjoy while visiting Vienna in December
Vienna is truly a beautiful city to visit during the festive season. I remember the crunch of the snow under my feet and exquisite Christmas light displays lighting up the streets all too well. Vienna is the capital of Austria and lies in the country’s east on the Danube River and offers a wealth of things to enjoy over the Christmas and New Year season.
Here is a line-up of my favourite things to enjoy while visiting Vienna in December.
The Spanish Riding School of Vienna
This is an experience everyone should make time for while visiting Vienna. The world-famous Spanish Riding School, which has been in practice for nearly 450 years, is in the grounds of Hofburg palace and is the traditional riding school of the famous white Lipizzan Stallions. Trained in classical dressage, the handlers and stunning white Stallions show off their dressage skills to audiences in a spectacular performance in the riding school arena. I was lucky enough to have ground level, front row seats and this is an experience I will never forget. This is one of the most beautiful pieces of art I have ever seen, with horse and human working in perfect harmony as they dance across the arena in time to music. The skill and dedication of the handlers and the amazing bond between the riders and their stallions is breath-taking.
The Christmas Markets
During the months of November and December Vienna’s most charming squares transform into stunning Christmas Markets which have the most amazing atmosphere. You can enjoy roasted chestnuts and a cup of mulled wine while visiting endless stalls with Christmas gifts, seasonal delicacies, Christmas decorations, and beautiful trinkets and ornaments. My personal favourite during my visit was a stall filled with ginger bread creations of houses, animals and all sorts of amazing things I would have never thought you could make with ginger bread!
If you have a sweet tooth Vienna is the place to go! The city streets have confectionary shops and cafes around every corner with amazing window displays of sweet treats for you to enjoy. The hardest part isn’t just choosing which café to visit, it is choosing which cake you want to try! My favourite was Demel on Kohlmarkt 14, while you wait for a table you can watch the bakers making the desserts. I was lucky enough to see Apple Strudle being made which was fantastic to see. Two skilled bakers worked effortlessly together to produce this traditional Viennese dessert, which is of course divine!
New Years Eve
Be prepared for lots of fireworks, champagne and waltzing in the street if you are going to spend New Year’s Eve in Vienna! With hundreds of stalls, pop up music stages lining the streets and food and drink galore, you are sure to have an amazing time. There is so much happening in the city it is hard to decide where to go. I saw in the New Year at the City Hall Square which had an amazing firework display, the atmosphere was wonderful and the people are incredibly friendly, singing and dancing until the early hours of the morning.
- There is a wealth of other things to do in the city aside from those I have mentioned. Here are a few more ideas to help with your planning
- Go on a Horse and Cart ride around the city to see the sights and enjoy the Christmas lights.
- Go to a classical concert and see a traditional Viennese Orchestra.
- Visit Mozarthaus Vienna, Mozart’s residence in Vienna from 1784 – 1787
- Visit the Belvedere Museum and the Museam of Natural History
- Visit Schonbrunn Palace, Hofburg Imperial Palace and all the other iconic buildings, there is so much to explore.
- Schonbrunn Zoo is a lovely Zoo (I was most excited about the wild red squirrel I spotted!)
- Go to the ballet. I enjoyed the Nutcracker during my stay, it was exceptional
When visiting Vienna, you are sure to be spoilt for choice! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
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