Vienna in December ("Dezember")
Vienna is a diverse and colourful place full of life; there are different things to see, places to go and stuff to do in different times of the year. In this set of articles, I will highlight the best seasonal events of each month. Vienna in December is dominated by a lack of light and crazy crowds of people shopping like mad. In this respect, it is not different from other Western cities. Lots of tourists come for the Christmas markets and on New Year′s Eve, the city centre turns into a madhouse. All in all, December is a surprisingly touristy month for Vienna.
Weather in Vienna in December
Vienna is cold in December, but not as cold as January - besides, it is full of market stalls that sell Glühwein (mulled wine) to keep you warm and entertained. The average maximum temperature in December is 3 degrees Celsius, the minimum is a straight zero degrees. There are only two hours of sunshine per day (on average, again) and throughout the month, there are 8 days with rain or snowfall. If it wasn′t for the Christmas preparations and markets, Vienna would be rather miserable in December. If that doesn′t scare you away, bring very warm and windproof clothing with proper shoes, scarf, gloves and a hat. You will need it - that and mulled wine.
Things to See & Do in Vienna: December
Christmas markets, obviously: There are dozens of them and I plan to do and one day, I promise, I will write a separate article on them. Try the one in front of the Rathaus City Hall for the biggest and most touristy one; much more charming is the one on the Spittelberg; and in the campus of the Altes AKH, there′s another nice one, as well as on Karlsplatz. Throughout Vienna, you will find smaller markets, often associated with churches or monasteries. A very popular one is the Christmas Market in front of Schloss Schönbrunn.
Concerts and music performances are often done in churches throughout December. Christmas Day and Boxing Day are national holidays; hotels and restaurants will be open, but nothing else will. For New Year′s Eve, all of Vienna′s city centre is transformed into a madhouse with ten thousands of rowdy people throwing fire crackers at each other. Personally, I have spent one New Years′ Eve in Vienna on the streets - never again. The most classy way to dive into the new year in Vienna is by attending a traditional ball in the Hofburg - appropriately called "Kaiserball" or Emperor′s Ball.
Things to Do & See in Vienna′s Surroundings: December
In the surroundings of Vienna, Christmas markets will be held in most communities - especially bigger ones with a historic city centre. They are often more authentic than the ones in Vienna; even though the majority of goods sold at Christmas Markets are more or less the same all over Austria these days. Customs are followed more strictly than in the capital: The 4th of December is St. Barbara′s Day, the 6th St. Nicolas′ Day - for details on the respective celebrations, please read my article on "Traditions & Customs".
Carol performances and other Christmassy things can be expected in almost all significant settlements of Austria, but there is nothing in particular that I could think of as being noteworthy for tourists. Christmas itself and New Years′ Eve are both a big deal for all of Austria, including the surroundings of Vienna.
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