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Vienna’s International airport (code VIE) is about 25 minutes via car from the city center.
We booked a private transfer to and from the airport with Wein Transfer – all handled via email. At the time of our trip, the roundtrip transfer to our airbnb was about $75. Punctual and highly rated.
One thing about Europe is how well it’s connected by rail. You could easily fly into Munich or Prague and take a train to Vienna (about 4 hours) or fly into Budapest (2 hour train).
WHERE TO STAY
Vienna is made up of 23 districts, with the lower numbers being the city center. At the time of our trip, we stayed for 7 nights so we decided to book an airbnb. We stayed in district 3 and took their metro into the city center every day. We loved our airbnb, it was super convenient and super inexpensive. Usually I prefer a hotel, but since we were staying for 7 nights it was nice to have a lot of space. We only paid $1,000 for 7 nights!
If I were staying for only a few nights, it would be a dream to stay at the highly rated Park Hyatt Vienna. Off peak nights start at 25K points per night, standard 30K points per night and peak at 35K points per night. It also looks like you’ll need to book a suite if you have more than 2 people in a room.
VIENNA’S CHRISTMAS MARKETS
We have been to lots of Christmas markets but Vienna really surprised us by how many they had within a small/easy to navigate area.
Our favorites were Maria-Theresien-Platz (right in front of the Natural Science Museum which is magically lit up), Viennese Dream Christmas Market (in front of city hall), Christmas Market at Schönbrunn Palace, Rathausplatz (which has a carousel) and Christmas Village Altes AKH.
The metro is incredibly easy to use. We bought a “week” ticket, valid Monday – Monday, for less than $20 each and children up to age 6 are free. This was good for metro rides and buses. Honestly, their transportation system was fantastic!
NON MARKET ACTIVITIES
We were blown away by Vienna’s world class museums.
The Natural History Museum is not to be missed. We figured we’d be there for an hour or so, as we are not huge museum people, but it captivated us for half the day. And we really appreciated the top floor cafe for a nice rest, beverage and snack in the most stunning setting!
House of Music should not be skipped. Our son was 5 when we went there but there was so much for everyone. They have musical stairs you can run up and down (that work like piano keys), you can conduct your own symphony (quite funny!), and so many other interactive exhibits.
Schönbrunn Zoo is the oldest zoo still in operation. It is located on the grounds of the Schönbrunn Palace, so you can actually do both actives in the same half day.
Zoom Children’s Museum has reservable activities for many different age groups. We only reserved one 1 hour session for my son while we were there and we immediately regretted not booking more. The play area and activities for children are fantastic and my son loved every minute of it.
Prater is a super cool, smallish amusement park in Vienna. When we visited over Thanksgiving weekend only about 30% of the attractions were open. We were able to ride the famous Prater Ferris wheel and our son was able to do the bumper cars which were kind of no holds bar and probably not appropriate for a 5 year old. oops 🙂
CHRISTMAS MARKET ITINERARY
We stayed 7 days in Vienna and had plenty to fill out time. We appreciated that slow travel because it was our 1st time taking our son to Europe.
But if we were going now during the Christmas Market season, we’d probably fly into Munich, spend 2 or 3 nights there, take the train to Salzburg and stay 3 nights, then take the train to Vienna and stay 3 or 4 nights.
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