Vienna in December
One of my all time favourite things to do around the holidays is to visit the Christmas markets in a new city. Europe does Christmas markets on a whole different level, and I try to get away to experience a new one every year. Last year, Boyfriend & I jetted off to the beautiful city of Vienna for four days of festive fun in the freezing temperatures of Austria’s capital. It was the first time the two of us had ever visited Vienna, and we were entirely smitten by the time we left. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, effortlessly chic, and let’s face it: classy AF.
And yes, this post has been sitting in my drafts for an entire year now. Better late than never, right?
Below we’ve compiled a short list of all our favourite places in the city, and we hope you find it helpful – happy travelling!
WHERE TO STAY in vienna
Motel One // after enjoying our stay at the Motel One in Bremen so much, we had to try out the one in Vienna. Turns out that the hotel is brilliant no matter what city you’re in! We are now Motel One converts. We’ve been spreading the word about how comfortable their beds are to literally everyone we know. The location was amazing and the staff were super helpful!
WHAT TO SEE in vienna
Belvedere Museum // it only dawned on me the night before our flight that Klimt’s iconic painting ‘The Kiss’ was probably in Vienna someplace. Turns out, it is! Early one morning we wrapped ourselves up in our thermals & headed across the city to the Belvedere, where we bought tickets into the art gallery. The building alone is gorgeous, but we came to a complete standstill when we came across The Kiss. Without question, it is the most beautiful pieces of art I’ve ever had the pleasure to stand in front of.
Christmas Markets // I mean, why else would you visit Vienna in the depths of December? The ‘Art Advent am Karlsplatz’ market was super close to our hotel & was probably my favourite. The main one at the Rathaus and many smaller ones sell mostly the same stuff, but the Art Advent market focuses on handmade goods. Pro tip: always always always buy a cup of gluhwein to sip on while you walk around. Not only is it delicious, but it keeps your fingies warm! Added bonus: the Christmas markets are filled with loads of traditional food huts! We tried some spiced nuts, a fried potato dish, something that I think was called a langos (a thin crispy fried dough slathered in butter and garlic), and some amazing pizza variations.
WHERE TO EAT in vienna
Figlmuller // when investigating places to eat during our visit, I came across Figlmuller on Molly Yeh’s Vienna travel guide. Her description is brief & to the point: “where schnitzel dreams come true.” Friends, never before has a truer statement been made. When our food arrived at the table our eyes nearly fell out of their sockets – the schnitzel were so big that they were literally hanging off the plates! I mean, everyone should get to eat a schnitzel bigger than their head at least once, right?
Santos // grumpy & starving, we stumbled across Santos while trying to find our hotel on our first day. It was exactly what we needed right when we needed it. A couple of Negra Modelo beers, a few tacos & some nachos later, we were refueled & back on our way! We enjoyed it so much that we went back a few nights later to sit at the bar & enjoy some cheap margaritas at happy hour, obviously with a side of totopos.
Christmas Markets // the markets were a wealth of amazing food choices. Boyfriend & I only ate one proper meal out in a restaurant and would do the same again! Pizza, fondue, chips, wursts + roasts, breads and pretzels, you name it. For more information, see above.
TEA ROOMS in vienna
Gerstner // on the hunt for the world’s best apple strudel, we wandered into Gerstner. Inside, an inviting spiral staircase beckoned us upstairs to the tearoom. There, the two of us stood gawping in amazement at what lay before our eyes: a quirky room filled to the brim with cozy mismatching armchairs. At first, we were kinda sorta devastated when a busy waitress told us there was no more room & sent us up to the next level. Our devastation turned to joy the moment we reached the top of the stairs – the third floor was even better! Boyfriend describes the room as opulent: chandeliers, mirror tabletops to help you see the art on the ceiling, etc. We got so lucky. Added bonus: the apple strudel truly was the best in the whole world.
Cafe Sacher // the place that everyone says is a must visit in Vienna. Honestly? The famed ‘Sacher Torte’ that everyone raves about was more than a little dry – I genuinely could have made it better myself. I’m glad we visited because overall the whole experience of going to such a traditional and fancy tearoom was all very exciting, but it was just so damn expensive & underwhelming that I know we definitely wouldn’t go back.
WHERE TO DRINK in vienna
Bier & Bierli // we fell for Bier & Bierli as soon as we walked in the door. It’s casual & laid back, there’s a TV in the corner showing winter sports, and the entire place is decorated with thousands of beer mats glued to every free centimeter. We went back an almost embarrassing number of times to try out some different beers we’d never heard of before. They also did a killer ‘grostl’ – a fried potato, meat + fried egg dish – that really hit the spot.
Hofbrau // we just love Hofbrau, okay? It’s one of our favourite beers. We walked for 33 minutes in the bitter cold to get to the other side of the city for these beers, & damn they were worth it. We’d do it all again tomorrow if we could.
If Dogs Run Free // a very cool, very trendy spot. Boyfriend & I didn’t exactly blend in with our fellow hipster drinkers, but we tried. We opted for a margarita & an old fashioned – you just can’t beat the classics.