Vienna was the most incredible city to visit at this time of year, as the Christmas markets were in full force – and they totally surpassed the ones we visited in Bruges last year. During our three night stay, we were able to go to three of the markets: Stephansplatz, Maria Theresien Platz and Rathaus, which houses the largest of the Christmas markets. As well as the beautiful log cabins selling food and very boozy punch, sold in the most gorgeous mugs (you pay a deposit, so they’re worth taking home!), there were so many stalls to browse. Of course, my favourite were the ones selling sweets, gingerbread houses and candy floss. But there were also local gifts, local food, woodwork, candles and much more. The lights were also magical and it was definitely worth the crowds and queuing.
On our first full day, we spent a few hours at the National History Museum (a complete steal at only 5€ for students), but could have easily stayed longer. It’s opposite the Art History Museum, with the Christmas market in the middle, so you could easily make a day of it! I really enjoyed looking at the pink and sparkly rocks, before moving on to the animal section. I had to run through the stuffed bird rooms though, they’re just too freaky! Like the museum in London, there were plenty of dinosaurs too – and it’s made me want to head back to the museum over here.
Continuing the animal theme, we went to Vienna Zoo! I absolutely love zoos and should make more of an effort to go to my local one in Colchester. Unfortunately, the giraffe house is currently being built, so we didn’t get to see them – but we did get to see some of my other favourite animals: the flamingos, pandas and penguins. The zoo is within the palace gardens and we also walked round the outskirts, but didn’t make our way to the maze of Japanese gardens, nor did we go inside the palace. I would love to go back there, though. I imagine during the warmer months, it’d be a perfect place to enjoy a picnic and while away the hours.
We even had time to take in a game as Rapid Vienna were playing on the Saturday night. It was totally different from going to Barnet, as the stadium was so big, although it looked bigger because it was so empty. And it was absolutely freezing! Luckily they served lemon tea, which was amazing and soon warmed me up. Where we sat was reasonably quiet, which was good because the section to the right of us was crazy: there was a guy on a loud speaker and they let off numerous smoke bombs. It was an experience!
As a final point, we stayed at the Ramada Encore which was decent enough, with links to public transport nearby. Getting the metro was easy and we were only three stops from the zoo and roughly seven to Stephansplatz, which was the main city centre.
What are your Vienna recommendations?
Love, Lucy xx