Vienna is a magical city at any time of year but this is especially true around the Christmas and New Year period.
With fairy lights sparkling around the fantastic architecture, the incredibly friendly and welcoming atmosphere and the aromas of chestnuts and mulled wine on every corner, it makes for a New Years experience unlike any other.
Vienna’s Christmas Markets
One of the best features of Vienna at this time of year is the various Christmas markets. Although visitors may be visiting the city after having bought all their presents and even after Christmas itself, these markets will still be an important part of their visit. This is because the name ‘Christmas market’ is in fact slightly misleading. The markets are not a collection of stalls selling goods to be given as Christmas presents but rather selling a selection of delicious food and drink to be enjoyed there on the pavement in the swirl of steamy breath and with friendly locals.
New Year’s Eve concerts and events in Vienna
There are many concerts and events on New Year’s Eve itself. There are a series of balls and waltzes in some of the most stunning venues in the city which give visitors a chance to don their evening dress and dance into the early hours. Many of these are attended by aristocrats and celebrities and it can therefore be difficult, or at least expensive, to get tickets, but for a classy New Years Eve that won’t be forgotten it is worth it.
New Year’s Eve street parties in Vienna
For those with less elegant requirements there are also spontaneous street parties and open air events around the centre of the city that even perhaps have a better atmosphere than the more formal options. These begin during the afternoon and continue until New Year’s Day morning when revellers finally drift off to bed or nurse their hangovers in private.
Vienna is also a remarkably safe city compared to other western capitals and so the street parties are great places for families to enjoy the festivities together.
New Years Day cruise on the Danube
Those who have not over-indulged the night before may want to consider a New years Day cruise on the Danube, when the calm that settles over the city and surrounding countryside makes the frosty or snowy scenes even more beautiful than usual.
Budget accommodation in Vienna
The only problem with Vienna at this time of year is that accommodation can be expensive, especially in the centre. Accommodation outside the centre is slightly less convenient but usually the same standard can be much cheaper.
Here is a selection of five budget hotels in Vienna:
- Hotel Adrigan – 3-star hotel – double room from €39
- Hotel Geblergasse – 3-star hotel – double room from €44
- Kaffeemühle Aparthotel – 3-star hotel – double room from €45
- Hotel Beim Theresanium – 3-star hotel – double room from €50
- Pension Carantania – 3-star hotel – double room from €59
Photo of Rathaus and Christmas lights in Vienna, Austria, by Stefan Baudy