When is the best time to fly?
Vienna’s high season is April through October with July and August the peak months. The winter sports season is also busy, and many Austrians visit the city for the Christmas, New Year, and Easter holidays. Advance flight and hotel reservations are a must during the peak seasons.
The weather in June and September make them perfect months for visiting, but they are still quite crowded. At the end of June every year Donauinsel, Dunube Island, transforms into Europe’s largest festival arena. This free outdoor event attracts millions of visitors each year who all come to enjoy three days of music, food and drink. The festival offers a diverse range of artists from top Austrian bands to internationally recognised musicians to ensure everybody is entertained throughout the weekend.
Vienna Jazz festival taking place in June/July is regarded as one of the best jazz festivals in the world and is home to many world famous musicians. Due to the festival's introduction of music genres such as soul, funk, reggae and ethnic music to all the top venues, it attracts music fans from all over the globe. Performances take place at a variety of top venues throughout the city such as the Vienna State Opera.
In late spring to early summer and late autumn to early winter the weather is still pleasant enough to take a cheap flight to Vienna, there is less demand for restaurant tables and hotel accommodations. Hotel rooms are also less expensive during the off season.
Long, long before international coffee giants made their way to Vienna there was a thriving coffee-house culture, where musicians (such as Beethoven and Mozart) would play, and writers and poets - and ordinary Viennese folk - would meet to drink coffee, eat Gebaeck (pastry), read newspapers and debate the issues of the day.
If some of these coffee houses with red plush and glittering chandeliers resemble palaces, they are nothing compared to the real palaces in Vienna. Austria's stately capital city was centre of the Habsburg Empire for more than 600 years and boasts the Hofburg (winter palace), Schönbrunn (summer palace), which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the Spanish Riding School where the Lipizzaner horses live.
The top museums to visit are the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which has the world's fourth-largest art collection; the Belvedere (once a palace, boasts collections by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele); and the Sigmund Freud Museum on Berggasse 19. The Naturhistorische Museum is said to be the finest natural history museum in the world.
Vienna has four seasons with cold winters and warm summers. Rainfall is light with only nine or so days of rain or snow a month. November through February are the coldest months with temperatures dropping to -5 or lower in December and January. Summer is from Easter to mid-October and can be quite hot and sticky. July and August are the warmest months with temperatures reaching the mid-20s. The fohn, a warm wind from Italy over the Alps, is known for making tempers flare. Getting to the cityVienna International Airport (VIE) is located 11 miles southeast of Vienna. The City Airport Train (CAT) is the quickest and easiest way to get to the city. The journey takes 16 minutes and the trains run from early morning to late night. Buses are also available and run 24 hours a day. Taxi, limousine and car rental companies serve the airport as well.
Getting around Vienna
Vienna is easy to get around, with public transport system comprising of trams and metro lines stretching out to the suburbs. If you’re moving on to other cities such as Prague or Budapest, you can take a train or ride a ferry down the Danube River.
Vienna insider information
- The spectacular imperial Schönbrunn Palace is one of the city’s major tourist draws. The palace has 1,441 rooms and was built between 1696 and 1712. The plan was to build a palace to rival Versailles, but Austria’s pockets were not as deep as France’s. The complex includes sets of faux Roman ruins, an Orangerie, a zoo and a maze. Hofburg, the Imperial Palace, winter residence, boasts top museum collections, the offices of the Austrian president, an international convention centre, the hall in which the Lipizzan stallions of the Spanish Riding School perform and the chapel where the world-famous Vienna Boys' Choir sings mass on Sundays and holy days.
- The trained and beautifully groomed white Lipizzan stallions are considered the oldest classic horse race in Europe. They perform on Sunday mornings, tourists can also watch them rehearsing in the mornings (Tuesdays to Saturday).
- The Naschmarkt is a charming area with cafés and small shops outside the Ring. There is a flea market there on Saturday mornings.
- St Stephen's Cathedral is where Mozart, Vienna’s most famous resident, married in 1782 and, sadly, had his funeral mass just nine years later, in 1791.
- Domgasse 5 is the only one of Mozart’s apartments that still exists. He lived here between 1784 and 1787. In 2006 it opened as Mozarthaus Vienna: a new centre devoted to the life and works of Mozart including the historical apartment. There is also a café, museum shop and event area.
- Karlskirche, (St Charles’ Church), is one of the most outstanding Baroque churches north of the Alps.
- Vienna has many beautiful parks including the Türkenschanzpark, one of the biggest parks and known for its botanical plants, Stadtpark and Volksgarten. The Belvederegarten is outstanding; they are the grounds of the Baroque Belvedere palace.