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How To Spend A Weekend In Vienna


With Winter comes a total festive takeover. The desire to be cosy and snuggled up with a glass of mulled wine increases tenfold, and you long to be somewhere that matches your festive vibe. If you’re reading this and nodding your head, we're guessing you’re ready to acquaint yourself with Vienna: filled with historic coffee houses frequented by Sigmund Freud himself, apple strudels, vintage shopping, cosy wine bars and history. Not to mention, the Christmas markets...

Rich in culture and home to some of the world’s prettiest buildings, Vienna is the perfect place to spend a festive weekend. Keep reading for your guide on how to spend a weekend in Vienna.

Vienna views

Vienna views

Where To Stay

Vienna is ideal for exploring on foot, so position yourself in the heart of the city in Stephansplatz where you’ll have easy access to the city’s public transport. Stephansplatz is super central so you’ll be close to galleries, gardens, the best eats and shopping - all without having to navigate public transport or taxis!

The architecture in Vienna is insanely beautiful, so treat yourself and stay in a hotel designed in the classical style from the Austro-Hungarian empire. Somewhere like the Park Hyatt Vienna would be ideal.

If you’re after something more upmarket, I can’t recommend the Hotel Imperial enough. Don’t just take my word for it though, this is the spot Queen Elizabeth stays in when she visits Vienna. So do the Clintons and the Emperor and Empress of Japan. As well as being an incredibly luxe, marble-drenched beauty, the hotel is also home to some of Vienna’s best food. Grab a traditional breakfast and Cafe Imperial or do dinner at the Michelin starred OPUS restaurant.

Hotel Imperial Vienna

Hotel Imperial Vienna

What to Do

Visit A Butterfly House

Ever wanted to visit a butterfly house in one of the world’s most iconic art nouveau buildings in the former gardens of an Imperial Palace? You simply must make a beeline for the Butterfly House in Burggarten (located just behind the Albertina, and an easy walk from Stephansplatz and your hotel). Here you’ll find a former baroque sunroom filled with tropical plants, waterfalls, and hundreds upon hundreds of butterflies fluttering around. Now open them, and you’re pretty much here. If you visit in Winter, the temperature indoors is 27 degrees, so it’s kind of like brief tropical vacation.

Located right next door is the Palm House, where you’ll find one of Vienna’s best coffee houses inside a steel and glass Art Nouveau building. Fun fact: this place was used by the Emperor as his hideaway when he needed to relax.

Vienna Butterfly House

Vienna Butterfly House

Check Out the Stunning Palaces and Museums

Schonbrunn Palace needs to be on your Vienna to-do list. This is the former summer residence of the Hapsburgs and the perfect setting for a stroll in the perfectly manicured gardens, immersing yourself in the Baroque architecture. The palace has been around since 1569 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so allow plenty of time here to soak it all in. The palace is also located quite centrally, so it’s easily discovered on foot.

The Belvedere is one of the most beautiful palaces I’ve ever been to. You’ll want to leave a whole day aside to explore it though, as it’s home to two palaces (upper and lower), as well as the Belvedere Museum and gardens designed by the same person responsible for Versailles’ iconic gardens. The gallery houses original works by Klimt, Monet, van Gogh and more.

The Albertina Museum is easily accessible on foot from the heart of the city (and your hotel) and is a revolving door of some of the world’s best exhibitions. Expect Monet and other classics. Being Vienna, the Albertina building of course has a regal history. The gallery is housed in the largest of the Habsburg residential palaces.

The Belvedere Palace, Vienna

The Belvedere Palace, Vienna

Hundertwasser House

This architectural delight has earned its fame from its beautiful, vibrantly coloured exterior. The iconic facade is thanks to its architect and resident, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. People actually live here, so make sure you stop by to take some photographs, but make sure you leave some time to explore the neighbouring Hundertwasser Village - a village designed in the same style and home to a bar and a collection of boutiques.

Hundertwasser House, Vienna

Hundertwasser House, Vienna

Where To Eat & Drink

Cafe Central

Coffee and Viennese pastries are a must when in town, but if you want to do it right, you’ll want to make a booking at Cafe Central to enjoy it where Trotsky and Freud had their coffee way back when. Trust me when I say to make a reservation. Come breakfast time you’ll find a line of eager coffee drinkers spilling out onto the street. If you want to skip the queue but forgot to make a booking, just dine here off-peak. It’s totally worth it.

Joseph Brot

Joeseph Brot does Vienna’s best bread and pastries, so you really can’t leave Vienna without sampling the baked goods here. You’ll find Joseph Brot right by the Albertina, so stop by for a for a meal when hunger strikes mid-exploring.

Apple Strudel

Apple Strudel


For open-air deliciousness, prepare your tastebuds for Vienna’s Naschmarkt. Locals frequent the Naschmarkt for its fresh produce and some of the city’s best multicultural eats. Tewa is the hook up for fresh, organic nibbles. Order the falafel here and thank us later. As well as being ethnic food heaven, the market is home to a swathe of tiny but epic wine bars. Urbanek is a deli-meets-wine bar that also sells cheese so good you’ll want to ship it home. Anthony Bourdain even fell in love with Urbanek. Krawall is another locals-only spot the other tourists won’t find. Plus, there’s free wifi here. Winning.


Schnitzelwirt holds the crown for the best in Vienna, so phone ahead to book if you want to beat the crowd. This an inexpensive, no frills, family run spot. So come hungry, and don’t expect anything but seriously good Schnitzel.

Kleines Cafe

Kleines Cafe is tucked away behind St Stephans Cathedral and just a short walk from Mozart's house (classic Vienna). For a truly Viennese experience, order an apple strudel and a glass of wine to warm up in the winter. Kleine means ‘small’ in German, so expect a teeny tiny, cosy bar with friendly service and a roster of locals in attendance. You’ll most likely be the only tourist here.

Naschmarkt, Vienna

Naschmarkt, Vienna

The Christmas Markets

Okay, I have saved the best for last. For the best things to do, eat and drink when in Vienna during the festive season, you’ll want to head to the Christmas markets. You’ll find them scattered across the city from November, but here’s the insider scoop for our favourite picks.

Schonbrunn Palace

The most iconic Christmas markets in Vienna are found in front of Schonbrunn palace. Picture a gorgeous, regal backdrop (thanks to the palace) and bustling stalls selling everything from homemade decorations to mulled wine.


The Art Advent markets on Karlsplatz are your go-to if you’re looking for souvenirs handmade by locals to buy as well as delicious organic fare.

St. Stephansplatz

Is the most traditional and busiest of the Christmas markets. You’ll find this market right in front of the cathedral and you’ll be able to purchase Austrian goods here to support the locals.

The Opera House

If you’re looking for a Christmas market a foodie could only dream of, The Advent Pleasure Market at the Opera house is the one for you. Home to the gingerbread of your dreams, you’ll also find other local deliciousness like cheese.

Vienna Christmas Market

Vienna Christmas Market

Phew! You’re in for a busy weekend in Vienna. Speak to one of our experts now to book your perfect Christmas trip.

Written by Rachel Lay

An Aussie with an insatiable thirst for travel, I attempt to soothe my ever-burgeoning wanderlust by peddling my recommendations for the very best things to do in my favourite places on earth. Often found scouting out the best street food, chasing waterfalls or lazing around a secret swimming spot I’m at my happiest when in a place I’ve never been before with nothing but a day of exploring ahead of me. 

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