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Vienna is a grand imperial city, along a majestic river, the Danube. The capital of a vast empire until 1918, today the city enchants its many visitors with its class, style and elegance. During the summer its imperial parks & gardens are an extraordinary place to walk and relax.

In the cold & snowy winter months its rich museums, sparkling theatres, ornate cafes and restaurants offer shelter and endless cultural opportunities. In the weeks before Christmas the city turns into a spectacular and glittering winter wonderland, with its famous Christkindlmarkt and amazing festive street lights.

Photo Credit: Paul Lee-Maynard

When to visit

Vienna in winter can be quite cold and often snowy, but there is a special charm in visiting during this period. Especially around Christmas when the city turns into a winter wonderland with its famous markets, which give a great excuse to indulge in a warm gluhwein or two. Not to mention that winter is the perfect time to enjoy a sachetorte or apfelstrudel, perhaps accompanied by a signature hot chocolate with whipped cream.

And then summer arrives and the city with its large parks and treelined avenues becomes a beautiful green and floral background for picnics and long walks. One of the most typical things to do in the summer is to visit a Heuriger, small and very typical rustic taverns which will make you feel like you've being invited into the wine growers' wooden cabins to enjoy their wares.

Discover and enjoy...

If you have never been here before, make sure you don´t miss the main sightsAnd whether it´s your first time or you´re coming back again, we think you´ll enjoy these hot tipsor take that special vacation selfie

St Stephen’s Cathedral

The centre of Vienna is dominated by the imposing St Stephen’s with its gothic spires and its colourful roof covered in glass tiles – over 200,000 of them! If you fancy a bit of exercise you can climb to the top of the main tower (137 metres and 343 steps high) and be rewarded by amazing views over the city.

Visit the Emperor’s Palaces & Treasures

When Vienna was the centre of a vast empire, the royal couple would live in the majestic and historical Hofburg in the centre of the city and the Schönbrunn Palace – their summer residence, just outside Vienna’s heart. The latter boasts a whopping 1,441 rooms and an amazing collection of Baroque and classical art. Most of the Emperor’s rich art collection is on show at the Kunsthistorische Museum.

Immerse yourself in Art

In the early 1900s Vienna became the capital of Jugendstil, a branch of Art Nouveau. A real and total break from the traditional art of the time with floral & natural themes. Admire these masterpieces, such as Klimt’s famous ‘Kiss’ at the Belvedere and Leopold Museums, The Secessionist Building, plus in various other buildings around the city.

Be merry at Vienna’s Christmas Markets

If you visit between mid-November and late December then you have the chance of visiting Vienna’s world famous Christmas Markets (Christkindlmarkt). There are several around the city, but the main one is spectacularly set in front of the Rathaus and features typical stands selling festive decorations, delicious seasonal foods and of course plenty of tasty punch and mulled wine (Glüwein).

Savour Schnitzel

Wiener Schnitzel may not be originating in Austria (it is said that it comes from Lombardy, in Italy), but it is definitely the no 1 adopted dish of the city. And to be fair the Viennese have perfected the dish to an absolute high. Try the veal speciality at Figlmüller, one of the most traditional restaurants in the city.

Sample the Café Culture

The Viennese have also another passion: coffee and cakes. And they have built temples in honour of this tradition. Try the amazing Café Central, with its stunning grand architecture, which saw famous (or infamous) customers during its history, from Adolph Hitler, Sigmund Freud and Vladimir Lenin. Or pop to Hotel Sacher, to try a slice of the famous chocolate and apricot jam cake.

Bathe in splendour

Kaiserbrundl gay sauna originally open in 1889 as the Central Bath House and in its heyday attracted some important figures, including Ludwig Viktor, Emperor Franz Josef’s brother, who is said to have had a predilection for handsome young men. Saved from ruin this beautiful complex is a great place to relax and socialise, still featuring the original marble baths & pool, imposing frescoed vaults and gilded arabesque rooms.

Planes, trains and automobiles...

Vienna Airport (international code: VIE) is located 18 Km (11 mi) southeast of the city and from there the best option is the fast train (CAT) from/to Mitte Rail Station, which cost about €11 one way / €19 return and takes just 16 minutes. Another option is to take the S7 express train which takes a bit longer (25 minutes), but it's much cheaper at €4.30 each way. Otherwise, there are 3 bus lines to/from various points in the city.

Vienna is a walkable city and most attractions are located at a short distance between them. However, public transport (tram, bus and metro) in Vienna is very reliable and relatively affordable. Don't miss a journey on the old fashioned trams still in service on some lines. An unlimited day pass costs just €8 and if you plan to make more than 3 journeys a day it work out more cost effective than single tickets.

The Scene

Most of the gay bars & clubs are located in city’s South-West, in the Mariahilf neighbourhood, mostly around the Kettenbrückengasse U-Bahn station. There are exceptions though, such as the stunning and historical Kaiserbrundl Sauna which is in the centre of town, close to St Stephen’s cathedral.