Winter in Vienna -11 family vacation things you must do!

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Winter in Vienna is a magical time with snow on the ground, magical Christmas markets in full swing, the smell of roasted chestnuts in the air, and more.

Vienna in winter is a popular time to visit the city for families who can see the magnificent architecture that Central Europe is famous for as well as get a Christmas market fix. After all, Vienna in December leading up to Christmas Eve is the season to be jolly.

To be honest, a winter Vienna experience is best done with older kids who can experience and appreciate more of the culture and history of the city.

Looking past the Christmas season and into January and February, you will still find plenty to do in Vienna in the winter. When visiting Vienna in any season, there is Stephen’s Cathedral with its south tower lookout, the Vienna Opera House, coffee houses, and imperial palaces to be seen.

Schönbrunn Palace

A visit to Schönbrunn Palace in the winter will see fewer crowds than in other seasons. Typically, European cities are less crowded as a whole. Schönbrunn Palace was the home of one of Europe’s great dynasties.

Snow-covered Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna during winter
The Glorietta at Schönbrunn Palace Park in winter during snowfall against a cloudy sky

The Habsburgs lived in this imperial palace from the mid-1700s onward. Today you can take a day trip to the palace, where you will find a guided tour of the opulent rooms and can visit the Vienna Zoo.

In December, you will find a Christmas market at the palace. I doubt there is a better setting anywhere in the world. This amazing site is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Get the Vienna Pass

Looking for a hassle-free way to explore Vienna? Look no further than the Vienna Pass! With this pass, you’ll have free access to over 70 top attractions and experiences in the city, including Schönbrunn Palace, Schönbrunn Zoo, the Giant Ferris Wheel, Madame Tussauds, and many others.

Not only does the Go City Pass save you time by allowing you to skip the lines at popular attractions, but it also saves you money, with free and discounted entries. So why wait? Book your Vienna Pass for 1,2,3or 6 days and discover the best of Stockholm with ease and convenience.

Visit Vienna Christmas Markets in the city centre

As the snow begins to fall, Vienna’s historic Christmas markets come alive. Located in the city centre, these festive markets filled with Christmas spirit are a must-see for any visitor this holiday season. The Christmas markets in Vienna usually open around the 20th of November.

Festive Vienna Christmas Market scene
Traditional Christmas market in the Austrian capital.

The oldest Christmas market in Vienna dates back to 1296, and today it boasts an abundance of handmade crafts, traditional Austrian treats, and mulled wine. You won’t be disappointed when you visit these magnificent Christmastime markets.

The stalls at the Christmas markets host a wide array of handmade goods, ranging from wooden toys to painted ornaments and delicate jewellery—perfect for finding unique gifts and souvenirs.

In addition to the handcrafted items, visitors can also find classic Viennese foods such as pretzels, sausages, and roasted chestnuts that will keep their bellies full at all the best Christmas markets. You can even take a guided tour of the Christmas markets.

If your first-ever Christmas market is in Vienna, you will not be disappointed. You will hear Christmas classics being played, people will be drinking Mulled Wine, and the Christmas holiday spirit will be everywhere. You will have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year’s Eve in Vienna.

All the Christmas markets in Vienna are usually open until the 26th of December. Christmas Eve in Austria is when Christmas is celebrated. Family gather, bringing food and gifts from Christmas markets, to celebrate. You can even go on a Vienna Christmas market Segway tour.

The Prater

The Prater amusement park in Vienna, Austria, is especially magical during the winter months. Every year, thousands of visitors from all over the world come to Vienna in the winter.

The Ferris Wheel at the Prater in Vienna
Snowy and Cold Vienna as seen from the Ferris Wheel at the Prater

Make sure kids come in their warm clothes to a Prater in the winter to experience the dazzling holiday displays and festivities. The park is illuminated with Christmas lights and has a festive atmosphere that envelops all who visit.

Vienna in the winter at the Prater provides a unique opportunity for families and friends to come together and enjoy some traditional Austrian Christmas cheer in a winter wonderland.

Visitors can marvel at the stunning ice sculptures that adorn much of the park, sample delicious treats from local vendors or take a spin on one of their many iconic rides such as the Giant Ferris Wheel.

There are plenty of activities for both children and adults alike, so everyone can find something fun to do while they take in this beautiful setting.

Ice skating in Vienna

Vienna, the grand imperial city of Austria, is a winter wonderland in the colder months. Ice skating has long been a popular activity in Vienna during the winter.

There are numerous outdoor and indoor ice rinks around the city to enjoy skating with family and friends.

Kids ice skating in the winter in the Austrian capital of Vienna
Outdoor fun in Vienna in Winter

The most famous ice rink for skating in Vienna is located at Rathausplatz (city hall), where locals come together to skate beneath the magnificent Vienna City Hall building.

The ice skating rink is open from mid-November to early March each year, offering skaters stunning views of Vienna’s landmarks as they glide across the ice.

The atmosphere is full of both excitement and relaxation, making it perfect for an afternoon of ice skating.

Aside from Rathausplatz (city hall), there are many other smaller rinks around Vienna that offer great cost savings and are less crowded than the city hall square ice rink.

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Coffee and Cake in Vienna

Vienna is a city with a strong coffee culture—you could even say a pioneering coffee shop culture. A coffee house in the Austrian capital will serve up to 13 different types of typical Viennese coffee.

A teenage girl sipping coffee during winter in Vienna
Winter in Vienna is a time for Coffee and Cake

Cosy coffee shops are known for inventing unique coffee drinks. The famous coffee shops are included on many walking tours when visiting Vienna.

The Vienna coffee goes well with a serving of Apple Strudel. Sampling the Viennese coffee culture is a must when you visit Vienna.

If you want to learn more about the coffee culture, the best way is to take a guided tour with a local who will show you the café’s central locations.

Go to a concert at the Vienna Opera House

Classical music may not be to everyone’s taste, but Vienna is known for its classical music. The tradition of classical music stretches back to the imperial and royal courts of the Habsburgs.

The city produces renowned classical music composers such as Mozart and Strauss. Whose music is perfectly performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Winter Sports

Visiting Vienna in the winter lends itself to winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, cross-country skiing, and more. Some of these activities can be done close to the cold Vienna city centre, while others can be done in the Austrian Alps.

People love visiting Europe for snow sports. Just over an hour away from the Vienna airport is Zauberberg Semmering, Puchberg am Schneeberg and the family-friendly ski resort of St. Corona.

A trip to any of these places makes a great day trip when you visit Vienna. Our best travel tips include bringing warm clothes.

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Go to a Museum

Vienna is a city full of culture, art, and museums. In the city centre, within walking distance of the Vienna Opera House, are the Natural History Museum and the Kunsthistorisches Museum.

The Kunsthistorisches Museum is the most prominent art museum in the Austrian capital, featuring works by Dürer, Raphael, Titian, and Velázquez. The History Museum showcases minerals, dinosaurs, prehistory, animals, and much more.

A museum visit in the winter months is a great way to escape the cold weather. If you visit in December, check out the nearby Hofburg Christmas market at the Imperial Palace.

Let’s get spooky in Vienna

Ghost story tours are a popular tourist attraction in many parts of the world. They are usually conducted by a guide who tells stories about the ghosts and legends of the area.

The tour guides often dress up in period costumes to add to the atmosphere. Vienna in winter is quite the setting, with dark and cold nights adding to the ambience of the adventure. Book a ghost-guided tour today.

Indoor things to do in Winter in Vienna

Families visiting during winter in Vienna can get out of the cold and visit Madame Tussauds, or experience time travel to Vienna where you will be whisked back in history.

The Museum of Illusions is always fun, while the hop on hop off bus will show the sights with the heater on. There are a number of virtual reality experiences and even guided tours of locations such as Stephen’s Cathedral.

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Day trips from Vienna

During Winter in Vienna, you can easily visit cities such as Bratislava, Budapest, Salzburg, Prague, and even Munich on a day trip. Vienna is connected to these cities by efficient train services and highways.

Why not visit the Christmas markets in different cities?  The Munich Christmas Markets are very popular and well-known.

While Christmas markets dominate the scene leading up to Christmas Eve and you may feel you cannot get away from the Christmas markets, we hope we have provided some alternative things to do in Vienna in winter.

Where to stay in Vienna for families

Vienna is not only a city rich in history, culture, and art, but it also offers a plethora of family-oriented accommodations that cater to your every need.

Whether you are travelling with young children or teenagers, these carefully selected hotels provide family rooms, indoor swimming pools, laundry facilities, gyms, and much more to ensure an unforgettable and comfortable stay for you and your loved ones.

Hotel Name Hotel Facilities Review Rating
Hotel Admiral family rooms, 24 hour front desk, close to restaurants, private parking, bike rental, free wi-fi 7.6
JUFA Hotel Wien Free WiFi, Family rooms, restaurant, disability friendly, terrace, games room 9.5
voco Vienna Prater, an IHG Hotel Family Rooms, disability friendly, tour desk, airport shuttle, breakfast and bar 8.6
Vienna Suites apartments, kitchens, terrace, wi-fi, coffee machine, desk 8.7
Rafael Kaiser Premium Apartments apartment, kitchen, laundry, city view, sun terrace, airport shuttle 8.9
Courtyard by Marriot Vienna Prater family rooms, tour desk, laundry, sauna, spa, steam room, restaurant 8.8

Don’t hesitate to grab some amazing food or a coffee in one of the many café central locations, go shopping in department stores, or just explore the city on foot.

Travelling with young adults, teens, and tweens has just as many issues as travelling with young children. Choosing the best teenage vacation destinations, what bags and suitcases to take, travel essentials, and more can be so time-consuming. Planning family travel with kids, teenagers and tweens can be stressful, and finding the best tips for travel is essential 

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Author bio:

Father, husband, traveller, and chief destination manager here at Wyld Family Travel. When Mark is not discussing travel or planning travel, you will find him working in disability support. Mark is a family travel advocate, having travelled to over 45 countries with his kids from 10 months to their teenage years. You will find his work here and on other popular websites.

Having a beer in Pilsen Czech
Mark Wyld

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