Secret Christmas in Vienna - 7 Spots You Wouldn't Have Visited

Christmas markets in Vienna continue to be the hype for most winter travellers. But what if your festive spirit thrives more on off-path revelations and neighbourhood bliss? Here are seven under-the-radar spots that celebrate Christmas in a different way. (For all other local distractions, visit my collection of What to do in Vienna)

                       © Ritz Carlton Vienna 

Punch Closer To Heaven

Cafe Bar Bloom
 has long boasted to have Vienna's highest punch stand. The rooftop bar's views of nearby St. Stephen's Cathedral are just fantastic, you feel very much on top of it all. Hotel Ritz Carlton at Ringstrasse even sets up a small Christmas market on its rooftop terrace, offering mulled wine and Christmas snacks.

Homemade Christmas Cookies

Vollpension is probably the quirkiest cafe in Vienna. Run by a collective of Omas (grannies) the place is packed with vintage finds from the local flea market and offers the best homemade cakes and food in town. In the run up to Christmas the Omas won't shy away from baking tray loads of Vanillekipferl (photo) and other popular Christmas cookies.

Pre-Christmas Cooking Classes

Local cooking workshops, such as Andante's weekly 'Viennese Cooking Class', get a good Christmas touch in the weeks before Christmas Eve. The classes are held in English and enable you to cook a full-blown Austrian dinner in a small group.

© Spengler

Musical Advent Calendar

This Christmas music is different from any you have heard before, thanks to Friedl Preis, local festival guru and 'imperturbable cultural event organiser'. Each day between 1st and 23rd December, Friedl stage a different local music event in each of Vienna's 23 districts. The idea is to open up an event like a door of an advent calendar. 

photo: Gesangverein der Steirer in Wien

Advent Choir at Haus Der Musik

Vienna's Music Museum Haus der Musik stages free advent singing on the four Sundays before Christmas. Each Sunday a different choir performs at the foyer, from the traditional choir of the Styrians in Vienna (photo) to contemporary local choirs. Singing starts at 6.30 pm. Other small-scale classical concerts with a subtle Christmas adaption take place at Church St. Peter (Classic Ensemble Vienna) and at Church of St. Anne's (various local orchestras).

Best Atmospheric Churches

Minoritenkirche with its enchanting Christmas creche (above) is my favourite during Christmas. Enter this Gothic sanctuary in the city centre and it's like you put oropax into your ears - total bliss. Even its advent concerts, such as a pan flute event and a trumpet (!) concert series, exude peace. Other great churches off the beaten path are St. Ulrich in the 7th district and Servitenkirche in the 9th district.

Best Neighbourhood Christmas Market

The Christmas market at Wilhelminenberg ('Wilhelmine's mountain') is spectacular in many ways. It's tucked away in the 16th district yet offers amazing views of Vienna. You get all the goodies of a city centre market, including punch, mulled wine and Christmaks cookies. The audience consists almost exclusively of Viennese families. My favourites there are the glass blower who makes your own glass bauble on site, and the evening Christmas Fire (21th December 2016).

Find more ideas on Things to Do In Vienna in December on my site Vienna Unwrapped.

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