Trip Tips: Vienna Christmas season packs a punch

Fri Dec 6, 2013 10:08am EST
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VIENNA (Reuters) - The German expression "Es weihnachtet sehr" (It's getting very Christmassy) fits the mood in Vienna as Austria's capital decks itself out in style for the holiday season.

The centre of the old Habsburg empire treats locals and visitors to quaint Christmas markets featuring crafts and decorations, hot punch and baked goods in all the city's main squares.

Consistently voted the world's most liveable city, Vienna goes all out for the season. Christmas markets are open daily from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. They close on December 24 at 5 p.m.


The Ottoman Turkish sieges of Vienna in the 16th and 17th centuries never managed to overwhelm the city but did leave behind a cafe culture that still thrives. Every Viennese has their own favorite for coffee and a leisurely klatsch about the day's events.

Try the Landtmann across from City Hall - once Sigmund Freud's regular haunt - or the Cafe Central, and watch the heads of society-conscious locals snap up to see who has just walked in with whom.

A stroll through the Naschmarkt, the 1.5-km-long (1-mile) open-air market with food stalls that first opened in the 16th century, offers more international variety.

Cheese fans shouldn't not miss Poehl's.

Restaurants don't offer just meat and potatoes, exemplified by the renowned breaded and fried veal dish known as Wienerschnitzel.   Continued...

Belvedere palace is pictured behind an advent market in Vienna November 25, 2013. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader