From imperial palaces to famous cafes, Vienna has enough assets to keep its animated tourists throughout the year. But during the holidays Vienna is truly in its element. Here are the main reasons for visiting this fabulous city during the winter season:

1. The fun includes music, food and art
During the winter holiday season, Vienna hosts many concerts, operas and dance performances. Various exhibitions can also be found in the city's art galleries and renowned palaces. Since the last days of November to the first days after the "Feast of Nativity", Christmas markets can be found all along the city. The most famous of them is "Christkindlmarkt". It's long tradition goes back to the thirteenth century, when the city's residents were given the privilege of opening a "December market" (Dezembermarkt).

Here you can also find over 80 stalls selling your all-time favorites such as cotton candies, roasted chestnuts, "wursts" (traditional sausage), jars of pickles or gingerbread in the strangest forms. The garlands and Christmas are also present, as well as a variety of wooden toys that attract a fabulous 3 million visitors each year. The smell of mulled wine and spices ("Glühwein") invites you in, while the multicolored lights hanging above Rathausplatz market transforms into a magical realm of Christmas. If you want an unforgettable memory, take a picture under the "heart tree", the "tree with seals" or the "tree with puppets".

2. Hear the Christmas's heartbeat at the Schoenbrunn Palace
The main area where events take place is the Schoenbrunn Palace Christmas. The Christmas Market here opens on November 21 and runs until December 26th, between 10:00 and 21:00, except on the last 3 days, when the program is reduced to 16:00, respectively 18:00. Around 60 exhibitors participate at the fair each year, including traditional and foreign companies. If you want to buy Christmas decorations there is a wide range on offer, such as souvenirs made of wood, stone, glass etc. Here you may also find toys, pottery and handicraft products. Entertainment is assured by the various types of events that take place here, from concerts for children and adults to traditional parades.

3. Christmas Market in the historic area

Vienna offers the Spittelberg Christmas Market: a maze of narrow cobblestone streets, located between Burggasse and Siebensterngasse. Spittelberg Christmas Fair is smaller and less crowded with tourists than the Rathausplatz, but maintains the Christmas atmosphere just as good. You will find here traditional objects and various original handmades. Also, you can enjoy enjoy "festive" beer and customary mulled wine.

This fair is known as one of the most authentic Viennese Christmas fairs. You can visit it between November 14 and December 21, between 14:00 and 21:00 Monday to Friday. On weekends, Christmas Market is open from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm.

4. Christmas Market next to a baroque palace
If you like Baroque architecture, then you'll be delighted by the Belvedere Palace. It was once the summer residence of Prince Eugene and nowadays it's famous mainly because it hosts the largest collection of Klimt's creations, the headlight being assured by the famous painting "The Kiss and Judith". The palace opens between November 20 and December 23, and it operates daily between 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, except on the last day when it's opened only until 3:00 pm.

5. Other Christmas Markets in Vienna
Find other Christmas Markets in Vienna Maria Theresa Square (Maria-Theresien-Platz) and Rathausplatz. Rathaus Square hosts one of the most famous Christmas markets in the city. The area is decorated with snowmen and fairytale houses. During Christmas, the market holds workshops for children, where they can learn how to create gifts for loved ones manually. Carousel and pony rides are two other famous attractions of this place.
The Christmas Fair "Maria Theresa" is one of the newest ones that opened, but that doesn't mean it's short of handmade toys, festive candles, beauty products and other souvenirs.

6. Taste the Delicacies Sold at Fairs
The Christmas markets offer mulled wine (Glühwein) to warm you up. Wiener Schnitzel is also a customary culinary which is widely appreciated thanks to its taste and large size. Roasted chestnuts, grilled sausages and caramelized hazelnuts are other very loved treats you can find in Vienna's fairs.

7. Visit the Imperial Vienna
Vienna is famous worldwide for being home of the Habsburg family, who led the Austro-Hungarian Empire. One of the most renowned members of this dinasty was the beautiful Empress Elisabeth, who was born here in 1837, just before Christmas.
Vienna has retained much of its imperial grandeur, from imposing Hofburg complex, the winter residence of the kings, to smaller private palaces, most of which are open during the holiday season. So if you want to step back in time, Vienna can easily immerse you in that atmosphere. You can even treat yourself with a vintage carriage ride, pulled up by real horses.

8. Witness the Amazing Art Galleries
You can enjoy a lot of visual art museums and galleries in Vienna. You'll be able to see the fabulous paintings of the Klimt and Schiele (two of the most famous artists of Austria), the permanent exhibitions of the museum Belvedere, and also the artworks found at the Leopold Museum (located in the "Museum Quarter").

9. A Night at the Opera
As expected for a city that was once the home of Mozart and Strauss, Vienna still attracts the best talents in the musical world. Also, the city boasts many places where you can enjoy the wondeful songs, from large theaters to small music halls. The Opera ("Staatsoper") is the largest of all and should be visited by all fans of the classic genre. Around the corner you can also find the Vienna Boys Choir that are open for the public on 24 and 25 December. The show is held at the "Hofburgkapelle" chapel, but you will truly need a reservation to get inside. Also, dress elegantly for this occasion, just like the Viennese use to.

10. Christmas shopping in Vienna
Don't forget to buy special Christmas gifts from the "Kärntner Strasse" street, an elegant avenue without car traffic, but with various outdoor cafes and shops. Note that the prices are above average (very expensive), due to the fact that this located right in the social life center of Vienna. Street musicians here are first class, they sing Mozart and Haydn. Coffee shops offer various treats for all tastes, and also delicious cakes. Beware that some shops might be closed after Christmas Eve.

It's undoubted that Vienna is one of the most beautiful destination for winter holidays. If you want to visit this intriguing city too but you don't have a lot of the money to spend, then the look for the attractive Christmas packages offered by various tour operators. In addition to transportation, these packages usually include accomodation, meals and other interesting facilities, such as a city tour or a visit to the Schoenbrunn Palace.