Forget Paris — Vienna Is The Perfect Year-Round European Getaway

An unsung travel hero.

by Rachel Dube
vienna travel tips

With an abundance of museums, historical landmarks, and trendy neighborhoods, it’s no surprise that Vienna is at the top of everyone’s European bucket lists. The city, which comes alive in all the seasons, is particularly magical in the summer. It’s filled with greenery, people are out and about, and the weather is perfect. However, the Christmas markets, snow-covered historical architecture, and cozy Austrian dishes make it just as appealing for a wintertime visit.

As the music capital of the world, Vienna draws in visitors from around the world to experience its year-round orchestra performances. Classical music legends, ranging from Beethoven to Mozart all made their original debut in Vienna. The city also has over 280 parks scattered throughout the city, making more than half the metropolitan area green spaces. Whether you’re looking to snack on a warm slice of Sachertorte, visit one of the many gorgeous museums of palaces, or drink local wines by a warm fireplace, here are some tips for making your trip to Vienna truly memorable.

Earlier in the year, my mother and I finally pulled the trigger and booked tickets to the Austrian capital. We planned our itinerary based on things we both loved, incorporating a mixture of art, culture, and shopping. The real reason for our visit, however, was to experience the magic of the famed Christmas Markets — which were worth the hype. After our visit, I can say for certain that the city makes the perfect year-round getaway for a mother-daughter trip, girls' weekend, or romantic escape.


To get an inside look at the city, we booked tours with Rebel Tours Vienna (a brother-sister duo with tons of knowledge of the city). We selected the duo because they interestingly explained the city to both of us, catering the tours to the things we told them we were interested in. In addition, we arranged a second tour with Shopping with Lucie, an American transplant who moved to Vienna and takes visitors to local designers, shops, and hidden gems throughout the city. It was super interactive and incorporated visits to shops that we both loved, including a local home decor retailer for my mom and local up-and-coming designers for me.

Visits to the Vienna State Opera House, Albertina Museum, and Leopold Museum were other things on our itinerary. We also incorporated stops at the famous Schönbrunn Palace and Belvedere Palace since they both highlighted the rich history of Vienna. We visited all the magical Christmas Markets but would swap out this activity for tastings at nearby local wineries in the warmer months. The wineries are a short Metro ride away from the city yet feel like an alternate reality.


To get around, we walked or used the Metro. The public transportation in Vienna is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It was affordable, clean, easy to use, and offered quick transport to everywhere in the city. While some traffic-heavy destinations are harder to navigate, the prime location of our hotel and conveniently located Metro stations throughout the city made it a breeze to get practically anywhere.

During our visit, we opted to stay in the Rosewood Vienna, a 99-room property with a location on Petersplatz, one of the most famous squares in Old Town Vienna. Since it was so centrally located, we could walk to almost all the main sites. Housed in a 19th-century building, the property was built inside the former home of legendary composer Mozart. The rooms are spacious, featuring a neutral color palette with a design that plays an ode to the glamour of Vienna’s history. Suffice to say: The rich history and gorgeous, modern design were a hit with both me and my mother.


Vienna also has a burgeoning food scene, but a few spots stood out as truly exceptional. Demel, a famous pastry shop and chocolateria that was established in 1786 served up our favorite Kaiserschmarrn (a famous pancake dish from Vienna that’s topped with plum). For dinner, we adored Neue Hoheit Brasserie, a rooftop restaurant inside the Rosewood that has an extensive Austrian wine list, and Cafè Ritter, a 100+-year-old spot serving up traditional Viennese cuisine.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t have changed a thing if I visited the city alone. At the end of the day, the memories made with my mom are irreplaceable. The city is filled with hidden gems in the cultural scene, ranging from music to art-focused activities. It’s also a great place to enjoy the sunshine or bundle up and sip a cup of warm mulled wine in the winter. Regardless of when you visit the music-filled city, you can’t go wrong with a visit to Vienna.