Ignacio Nicolás Rodríguez
Santa Fe de la Vera Cruz
Oh I had the best NYE I can think of in Vienna. They run competitions between the neiberhoods to see who has the best fireworks, and they set up small kiosks so you can buy Punsch and a cup on the first one, then go along the street to find more of those kiosks to refill it.
The idea is to share the evening, everyone is on the street and you rarely realize it’s cold.
By the way, January the 1st is St. Stephan’s, and it’s the city’s day too, so the joy continues the next full day.
So many people avoid Europe around Christmas and New Years, however this is a perfect time to come. While I cannot promise too much snow, they know how to do christmas markets, glühwein (mulled wine) on the streets, and the most beautiful lights.
After Christmas the tourists aren’t around as much and it is so romantic. Honestly it’s one of my very favorite times and I am not much of a winter person.
As the previous poster stated St. Stephan’s is the cathedral in the heart of the city, however his day is the 26th of December. The first is called ’Sylvester’and there are many fireworks.
Things to not miss in Vienna (at least some of my favorites):
Schönbrunn -the yellow castle with immense grounds and a wonderful zoo (honestly the best I EVER visited). This peacock was there and it was spectacular.
A piece of Sacher Torte at the Sacher hotel (you can also get a tiny piece to go called a würfle or cube – that’s plenty).
We loved the Museums Quarter and glass works by Nemtoi that were on display while we were there.
If you have a decent budget check out the Levante Parliament hotel – it’s spectacular and has one of the best breakfasts ever. If you’d like to save check out the wombat’s hostels (they have private rooms) and are rated as one of the best in Europe (we also have them in Munich and they are highly recommended).
sorry, one more correction: “Silvester” is December 31st, January 1st is called “Neujahr” (new year).
A few tips about Vienna:
- You could spend Silvester on a ship: see e.g. http://www.ddsg-blue-danube.at/english/html/e_wiedez.asp
- You should visit the christmas markets at Spittelberg (7th district) or at the “former AKH” (Altes AKH, 9th district). There are loads of people, but it’s really nice. See http://www.spittelberg.at/ and http://www.weihnachtsdorf.at/
- You’ll find a map of Vienna here: http://www.wien.gv.at/stadtplan/
Please tell me what are you interested in so I can give you a few recommendations (I study in Vienna): Music, museums, shopping…?
WOW! Thank you!
I LOVE classical music. I would absolutely love to take in a concert of some sort in Vienna. I also love museums. I love wandering in and out of local shops, looking for unique things.
Will the Christmas Markets still be open after Christmas? I wouldn’t think so. I really loved the markets in Salzburg though.
Thanks so much for the links!
Thanks for the recommendations! Sacher Torte is a must! I really enjoyed the gluhwein in Salzburg, and I’m really looking forward to it in Wien!
Where is your picture from? It’s absolutely breath-taking!
Sorry to just respond now… it was from the Vienna Zoo at the Schönbrunn palace. The grounds are so immense and I recommend checking it out, but you will spend a lot of time there.
I’m not sure how long after Christmas you are going to be going, but if it is right after there is also the possibility that some of the markets will still be open.
If you want to go as a traveler, go in the winter. If you want to go as a tourist, wait until spring.
To me, the “must see” in Prague is to get out of the downtown attraction center and see how charming just the ordinary residential neighborhoods of this city are. I stayed at a very nice Holiday Inn near Vysehrad Castle, which was outside of downtown. Wonderful to see a castle grounds where people walk their dogs and push their baby strollers. Everything is accessible by subway.
Thanks for the hotel recommendation! I really enjoy getting off the beaten track and exploring cities. Did you find language to be a barrier?
Because of its location and popularity with tourists, most people I encountered in Prague speak a bit of English…as well as a bit of Spanish, French, German, Italian and Russian. They are very resourceful at communicating with foreigners. On the other hand, a little bit of Czech goes a long way, and will get you a smile. I used a CD called “In-Flight Czech”. The notion that you can learn some Czech during your flight over is farfetched, but listening to this CD for a month in the car gave me ten times as much Czech as I needed for survival, and enough to amuse people I met with my attempts to use their language. Some hints: Learn how to sound out words with their accent marks so you can ask for streets, etc; “Ano” means “yes”, which is confusing to Americans; “Fak jo” is not an insult; Ignore the complex Czech grammar and just learn words—people will understand what you mean. Have a great trip!
Thanks for the hints! I definitely want to pick up a little bit of the language before I go. I will check out your sugggestion!
I had a fantastic time in Wien [Vienna] in late November, it was cold but there was heaps to do. I would think that Christmas and New Year would be even more special, though if you go I would advise booking tickets early for anything special you wanted to go and see.
Im sure you will have a great time
What sort of clothes/coat do you advise bringing? I was in Salzburg one December, and I remember being SO cold!
It will be cold – I suggest wearing lots of layers and taking an umbrella too and some warm boots
Definitely don’t miss the Gerbeaud Restaurant in Budapest… the desserts there are amazing! (It’s even listed in that book about “1000 places to see before you die.”) Other things in Budapest not to miss: Castle Hill, St. Mathias Church, Heroes Square, and the beautiful Opera House. If you’re interested in music, both Budapest and Vienna have New Year’s Day concerts (my husband, who grew up in Budapest by the way, says these concert tickets in Vienna would be a lot more expensive because it’s very prestigious).
Have a wonderful trip!!!
Thanks for the recommendations! What is the best dessert at the Gerbeaud Restaurant? I’m definitely going to look into tickets for the concert — I love music!
A visit to Vienna around Christmas is a wonderful time to experience this beautiful city. I was there in early December several years ago and was captivated by the beautiful, festive atmosphere.
The two Kristkindlmarkts – seasonal outdoor markets at the Radthaus (City Hall) and Schoenbrun (palace) were fun to explore with plenty of kiosks selling craftwares to discover, and Punsch (a warm, spiked beverage) to keep us warm.
Galleries offered amazing art exhibits to explore and contemplate. I was fascinated by the Da Vinci’ notebook exhibit with working models to illustrate his scientific genius.
There were countless musical venue choices for every taste. I would recommend booking as early as possible though as music runs through Viennese veins and it was difficult to get tickets for some of the concerts I was interested in.
And the food! Being a child of of Viennese parents, and growing up with Austrian cuisine this is food heaven for my tastes.
Visit the inner city, especially in the evening when it gets dark. The architecture, history, shops, all adorned and lit for the season, creates a magical setting for adventure.
Hope you decide to go!
I went when it was really cold, but Prague was colder so by the time we got to Vienna we were acclimatised. The food is comforting and large, the people are patient with foreigners and incredibly friendly, the beer is great and there’s lost of it. The only downside is these places are full of smokers. Though the really nice restaurant our concierge suggested didn’t allow smoking indoors – that was the exception to the holiday, and I had recently quit smoking. I think a lot of the lunch places are full of smokers. But dinner is usually non-smoking. If you have a thermal and a decent puff jacket and scarf (and beanie if it’s windy) you’ll be fine, the mulled wine really helps you get used to the temperature drop.
Next time I plan on going in the summer, but I’m sure if you go there with a positive attitude you’ll have lots of fun. I would suggest dumping the luggage before walking around, though.
Answer this question