Skip to Content

Things to do in Vienna in Winter

It’s no wonder Vienna is considered one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Austria’s historic capital is known for its Imperial architecture, clean streets, cosy cafes, and rich legacy of art and intellectualism.

While it’s true the winter months in Austria can drop well below zero, there are plenty of exciting activities and events – a visit to Vienna in winter is as magical as the city itself.

These are Some of the Best Things to do in Vienna in Winter.

Visit Vienna’s Christmas Markets

Christmas markets are an age-old tradition in Austria, which makes Vienna in December a great European destination. On winter evenings, wooden stalls offer handcrafted goods, roasted chestnuts, and of course, traditional Glühwein (mulled red wine mixed with cinnamon).

There are also nativity displays, carol performances, and traditional Viennese folk concerts.

Classic locations include Freyung Market, the Christmas market at Spittelberg, Belvedere Palace Christmas Market, Karlsplatz Christmas Market, and of course, the famous Viennese Christmas Market in front of City Hall.

People wandering around Vienna's Christmas markets on a cold day in front of a historical palace.

Go Ice Skating

The Viennese are known for their love of ice skating. There are quite a few ice rinks set up across the city during the winter months. Some of the best are in the gardens of the Wilhelminenberg Palace as well as the picturesque Eistraum, or “Ice Dream” rink in front of City Hall.

Vienna’s largest and most famous ice rink covers over 6,000 square meters. It is between the Vienna Konzerthaus and the Inter-Continental Hotel. Visitors can rent ice skates for just a few euros. You can take skating lessons or watch Bavarian curling, hockey, and skating competitions.

Vienna city hall lit up at night with an ice skating rink in front.

Visit a Viennese Coffeehouse

Nothing defines Vienna like its famous coffeehouses. Many are over 300 years old and have retained the same 18th-century style and atmosphere with Thonet-style chairs, marble tabletops, warm fireplaces, with board games and newspapers available for customers.

Some famous cafes include Cafe Korb, Cafe Leopold Hawelka, Cafe Central, and Café Schwarzenberg. Grab a regular coffee or a Viennese-style one (two shots of strong black espresso topped with whipped cream), and be sure to try the famous Kaiserschmarrn, one of the signature dishes of Austrian cuisine.

A typical Vienna coffee house with chairs and tables set up in the front.

Visit A Spa

If you’re looking for a place to relax and stay warm, then a Viennese spa is a great option. So Spa occupies the entire fifth floor of the art hotel Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom and features a glass ceiling, five treatment rooms, and a smoothie bar.

To enjoy Vienna’s mineral-rich thermal springs, try Therme Wien. They also have massage options, saunas, and steam rooms.

Vienna Spa

Attend A Wintertime Cultural Event

As the home of Mozart, Beethoven, Freud, and Klimt, it should be no surprise that Vienna is an epicentre for European culture, art, and knowledge.

The city boasts more than 100 museums, many of which sit in Vienna’s spectacular Museums Quartier. Each Christmas, the Museums Quartier hosts an outdoor extravaganza of events, including light shows, live music, DJs, and video projections on the building sides.

Other wintertime cultural events include the New Year’s Concert, The Nutcracker at the Staatsoper, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, and the famous Advent Concert Series at St. Stephen’s Cathedral, where a concert in this beautiful cathedral is played every night during Advent.

Vienna cathedral