Enchanting family holidays in advent
Magic moments with friends and family in Vienna
The run-up to Christmas is a special time of year in Vienna. As darkness falls, the city streets come to life with decorations and the air is filled with the scent of chestnuts roasting on open fires. At the advent markets, wide-eyed children dash from one stand to the next marvelling at the handicrafts on display while their parents enjoy a mug of mulled wine and listen to choirs and brass bands perform traditional carols. The countdown to Christmas is well and truly on!
A particular highlight in Austria is the Saint Nicholas Procession on 6 December. Events are held throughout Vienna to welcome Saint Nicholas, upon whom the modern-day Santa Claus is based. He is traditionally accompanied by Krampus, a fearsome horned figure. While Saint Nicholas gives out presents to children have been good, Krampus punishes children who have been bad. Adults and youngsters alike will enjoy this centuries-old spectacle in the heart of the city – an important tradition in the run-up to Christmas here in Austria.
Charming Christmas markets perfect for all the family
Making presents for Mum and Dad, baking gingerbread biscuits, watching the craftsmen and craftswomen at work, or simply enjoying a sightseeing ride around the Prater park – there are lots of ways to enjoy Vienna’s Christmas markets. One of the most popular in the city is located next to the famous giant Ferris wheel in the Prater park. Highlights there include a magic circus and a sightseeing tour through the wintry park landscape. There are plenty more Christmas markets large and small across the capital city waiting to welcome the young and the young-at-heart. Here is a small selection:
- Traditional Viennese Christmas Market, Freyung
Puppet theatre, Punch & Judy, handicraft workshops, make your own clay pipe, etc
- Viennese Christmas Dream, Rathausplatz square
150 market stands, sightseeing tour, carousel, light installations in the park, etc.
- Baroque Christmas Village, Belvedere Palace
Old-style carousel, Ferris wheel, sightseeing train, etc.
- Crafts and Christmas Market, Schönbrunn Palace
Make your own marzipan figures, decorate gingerbread biscuits, treasure hunt with quiz, etc.
The children’s museum at Schönbrunn Palace as well as Schönbrunn Zoo also offer special activities for youngsters in the run-up to Christmas. Activities range from a find-the-present adventure hunts to DIY handicrafts and making biscuits together. There are also several charming markets right here in the 9th district close to The Harmonie Vienna.
Huge ice-skating rink in the centre of the city
One of the largest Christmas markets in Vienna, located in front of the city hall, has a massive 3,000-square-metre ice rink. It is the only outdoor ice rink in the city and winds its way through the park in front of the impressive neogothic city hall building. Brass bands and choirs regularly perform here, providing a festive musical backdrop for a picture-perfect ice-skating adventure in one of Europe’s most beautiful capital cities.
Family-friendly welcome at The Harmonie Vienna
After a long day out and about exploring Vienna in winter, there is no better place to warm up again than The Harmonie. The hotel’s large family rooms offer plenty of space for you and your family to snuggle up, play games or simply relax together. The ideal basecamp for what is sure to be an unforgettable Christmas trip to Vienna!
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