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Winter in Vienna – What to see and do

© by Ricardo Feres

Vienna is a lively and vibrant city no matter what time you visit, and many outdoor attractions are open all year. Here are some of our favorite things to do during the winter in Vienna.

Temperatures fall and the days get shorter, but Vienna never falls asleep. The weather can vary between 10 °C and -15 °C in January. Within a few days you can experience sun from a clear blue sky to bitterly cold snowstorms. Nonetheless, there are plenty of activities to enjoy whatever nature throws at you. Furthermore, enjoy a less crowded city, compared to summer. Well, at least away from the Christmas Markets. There are plenty of things to do — outdoors and indoors.

Make the most of your visit to Vienna with the 24, 48 or 72-hour Vienna City Card. It includes free public transport throughout the city. In addition, you can take advantage of more than 210 discounts on everything from museum tours to heurigen visits.

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Every November the Ice Skating rink – Eistraum at the Rathausplatz opens for the season. You can show of your skills at the 9.000 m² large ice-rink. Moreover, free practice areas invite children and beginners to take their first steps on the ice, while eight ice stock shooting lanes provide entertainment for team games. You can rent skates onsite.

Season: Open from January until March.
Hours: Daily from 10:00 to 22:30 o’clock 
Metro/subway: U2 U-Bahn Station Rathaus
Tram: Lines 1 and D to Rathausplatz/Burgtheater

Ticket Prices: approx. 8,00 Euro per adult
Skate rental: approx. 7,50 Euro

Museums and exhibitions


Vienna has a long list of museums that are a perfect getaway on chilly windy winter days. Austria’s capital has more than 100 museums, which include everything from world-renown collections to quirky exhibits. Check out what the Romans where up to at the Römermuseum or marvel at the crown of Emperor Rudolf II at The Imperial Treasury Museum (Wiener Schatzkammer) or take the tram to The Remise – the city’s public transport museum, which full of old-timer trams and other vehicles.

Café’s & Culinary Delights


Experiencing Vienna’s coffee house culture should be on the top of your list of activities at any time of the year. Nevertheless, on a cold winter day, it really makes sense not only to mingle with the Viennese but also to try some of the local culinary delights such an Altwiener Suppentopf (vegetables and pasta in a meat broth). Moreover, a good hot cup of coffee accompanied by a delicious cake is a must. Do like the Viennese, relax with a good read, enjoy a Wiener Melange and take your time choosing a cake from the exquisite menagerie of sweet delights.

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Relax at a Spa


Therme Wien to the south of the city is Europe’s biggest and most modern city spa. Its waters are heated by sulphur springs, which were popular even as far back as the Roman times. On a cold winterday in Vienna the 26 pools and 25 sauna and steam rooms are the perfect retreat. Although it’s located in Oberlaa, on the southern outskirts of Vienna, it can be reached quickly from the city center with subway line U1.

Get close up to sharks and monkeys


Haus des Meeres, or “the house of the sea” as it is called in English is actually not only an aquarium, as it also houses a mini zoo. The idea is to show nature in interaction, from the fish in the water to the birds in the trees. Haus des Meeres has 11 floors where they display fish from both salt and fresh water. In addition, a small tropical house has been added, where you can observe the nature from the forest floor and the alligator dam and right up to the tree canopies. Birds fly to your head and little monkeys are swinging in the trees. This is the closest you can get to the jungle without actually going there.

For more info: Haus des Meeres Aqua Terra Zoo

Enjoy a concert


The Wiener Musikverein is one of the world’s most beautiful concert halls and most decorative and striking buildings on Vienna’s Ringstrasse. Furthermore, it is the home of the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra. The most famous event is the annual Vienna New Year’s Concert. Why not enjoy famous classical music such as the Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – in the Brahms Hall of the Wiener Musikverein. If you love Mozart, Strauss or classical Viennese operettes check out the program by The Vienna Residence Orchestra that perform daily concerts at Palais Auersperg.

Be impressed by heavenly frescos


Churches, public buildings, and palaces in Vienna are important monuments to history and architecture. Especially churches in Vienna are not only places of belief, but are impressive cultural monuments. You can see stunning ceiling frescos in many of the public buildings, and palaces in Vienna. One example is the 17th century Jesuit Church that conceals an opulent interior with some heavenly frescos. Another place for fabulous frescos is the Austrian National Library. It is the biggest Baroque library in Europe. The Prunksaal (State Hall) has a palatial interior.

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Written by Arnold Weisz

Globetrotting multilingual communications specialist born in Vienna, Austria – with passion for scuba diving, golf and culinary delights! 15 years of experience as a scuba- and travel reporter for among others: X-Ray Dive Magazine and Dykking.