Romantic Vienna lights up in Advent with the scent of glühwein hanging over the Rathausplatz Christkindlmarkt set against the lovely backdrop of the Neo-Gothic town hall. Here more than 150 wooden stalls offer yuletide gifts – from handmade wooden toys to lavish tree decorations and Christmas candles – lights are strung across the square and nativity stories are read each evening. Food vendors offer Viennese specialities from smoked sausages to apple strudels and spicy punch, there are carol concerts around the Christmas tree and train rides on the Christkindl Express in the Rathauspark.
Neighborhood: Inner City
In Vienna's best-known district, pedestrian boulevards Kärntner Strasse and Graben connect you with landmarks such as the Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera), Vienna’s iconic Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral) and the vast compound of Hofburg, the Habsburgs’ former Imperial Palace. Peek down side streets such as Annagasse and Weihburggasse, and Graben’s Seilergasse and Habsburggasse, to get a feel for the center. The Imperial Apartments and the refreshingly demystifying Sissi Museum are must-dos at Hofburg. Spacious squares such as Am Hof and Freyung often host beautiful seasonal and antiques markets.