Vienna is a hub for Star Alliance member Austrian Airlines. In addition, Air Canada has direct flights to the Austrian capital, making it a destination to consider when you use Aeroplan points to travel.
Also, Vienna is a prime location to experience Christmas Markets, and a quick December getaway can fill your heart with that winter wonderland magic.
Vienna - Highlights & Things to do
Vienna - Christmas Markets
- Am Hof
- Altes AKH
- Genussmarkt bei der Oper
- Weihnachtsdorf on Maria-Theresien-Platz
- Belvedere Palace
- Wintermarkt am Riesenradplatz
- Schönbrunn Christmas market
- Christkindlmarkt am Rathausplatz
One of the main ones, Christkindlmarkt am Rathausplatz, is located in front of City Hall. That Christmas Market floods the surrounding areas with a magical atmosphere packed with local food and crafts vendors with a dramatic neo-gothic backdrop as well as a park enchanted forest around it.
You can find everything in the shops if you need to go through your Christmas gift lists in Vienna. But hanging out with a glass of mulled wine and a bowl of goulash with your family or friends is, by far, the best of a Christmas Market in Vienna experience.
Vienna - Schloss Schönbrunn
Schloss means palace and Vienna is very well known for its gorgeous castles. Schloss Schönbrunn is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of Vienna’s top tourist attractions; Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Sisi once lived here.
The castle has beautiful parks and gardens that are free to visit while there are paid exhibitions inside. The interior of the building itself is pretty impressive on its own as there are incredible decorations, paintings and woodwork. If you are an art and history amateur, you can easily spend the whole day here.
Vienna - Schloss Belvedere
Unlike Schloss Schönbrunn, you will not find any royal apartments here but the grounds are beautiful to walk in.
This Vienna palace is now home to a major classical art collection by Renoir, Monet, Van Gogh and many other well-known names. There is a permanent collection that is quite moving as well as special exhibitions.
One of the most famous Austrian paintings “The Kiss” is hosted here.
Vienna - Hofburg Imperial Palace
This Vienna palace was the seat of power since the early days of the Austrian Empire. The Hofburg is currently being used as the President’s official residence.
The Hofburg is also home to the National Library that still sparks that middle age aura and that Beauty and the Beast vibe.
There are also several exhibits being held here such as one on Sisi.
Vienna - Mozart Museum
Mozart’s last standing apartment in Vienna is spread over three floors where you can learn all about him. This genius musician is really a world icon and no visit to Vienna is complete without a tour of the place where he wrote some of his best work.
While it is not related to Mozart, the Mozart Kugel is a famous chocolate you can find everywhere in Austria.
Vienna - Opera House
Classical music is well established in Vienna; how can it not be with the likes of Mozart and Strauss? The Vienna Opera House has beautiful interiors and will bookend your getaway nicely.
To avoid scams, especially from one of those Mozart-dressed seller, it is better to buy them from the ticket office directly.
Vienna - Day Trip to Bratislava
Got extra time in Vienna? Why not spend the day in Bratislava, Slovakia? From Vienna’s main station, you can either hop on a train or a bus to Bratislava. The latter is much cheaper and takes about one hour.
Bratislava is one of Europe’s smallest capital but it is a beautiful melting pot of cultures and amazing architecture!
Vienna - Flying with points
If you are sold on the idea of a lovely December getaway in Vienna, you will be happy to know that Austrian Airlines operates direct flights from Montreal while Air Canada takes care of the route from Toronto. While it is a lengthy 8-hour flight, the journey will be well worth it even if you can only afford a couple of days in Vienna for the Christmas Markets.
Since Austrian Airlines is a Star Alliance partner airline, you will pay a fixed price of 40,000 Aeroplan points in economy and 70,000 points in business class for a one-way ticket to Vienna.
In order to get fly more comfortably at the front of the plane, you should either be on the lookout way in advance or during the 7–14 days window before departure.
Indeed, Austrian tends to release those award space for partners at the last minute after members of their own programs are served.
As with Air Canada, I was able to find similar rates within a month of departure; dynamic pricing isn’t always biting you in the teeth and the fact that all Air Canada seats are up for grabs, it can sometime work in your favour.
The TD Aeroplan Visa® – Infinite Privilege* has a generous sign-up bonus; you’ll have more than enough for your flights to Vienna! This round-trip ticket is on a direct flight to Vienna and priced at 80,000 points.
The cherry on top with Air Canada flights is that you are able to use eupgrades to fly in business class for fewer points. You can get instant confirmation if there are R Space open or may have to wait until an announcement is made at the gate.
Whether you aim to fly to Vienna with Austrian or Air Canada, ExpertFlyer is your friend to either find availability or R Space.
Vienna - Accommodation and points
The Renaissance Wien Hotel is an excellent use of points and of the free night award certificate as rates starts at €150 or $210 (and higher during Christmas Markets season) while you earn them at the cost of either $120 or $150 with the renewal of the Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card and the Marriott Bonvoy® Business American Express®* Card.
So for a family or for a couple, each adult could sign up for both cards and you’d rack up four annual free night’s awards you can use at the Renaissance Wien Hotel. If you do the math, a 4 nights’ stay in Vienna during this beautiful time of the year would come to only $570.
One day or another, Aeroplan users will definitely be presented with the idea to visit Vienna either during a stopover or as a trip of its own to experience the Christmas Markets or simply, the stellar Austrian Alps and landscapes.
As always, points come into play to make it more affordable.