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How high is the kid-appeal in Vienna, a city known for its glittering annual Ball Season, dancing horses, classical opera and elegant 19th century coffee houses?
Surprisingly high: with thousands of parks and gardens, family events and festivals all year round, more Christmas markets and city centre ice rinks than anywhere else in Europe and free entry for children at nearly all major museums.
Direct flights from the UK to Vienna all year round take just over two hours.
Sachertorte (the world’s first chocolate cake) was created in Vienna in 1832. Taste the original and best at Anna Sacher in Inner Stadt.
Vienna’s entire city centre is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.
Most of the city centre’s major museums are free for kids including ZOOM Children’s Museum, the Belvedere and mumok (museum of modern art).
Vienna has over 2000 parks and gardens, the equivalent of 120m² of green space per person for the city’s entire population of 17 million.
1300km of bike paths and routes criss-cross the city and the majority of them are entirely traffic free.
The Mercer Study voted Vienna the ‘World’s Most Liveable City’ in 2016 – for the seventh consecutive year.
Vienna’s historic centre might be the most expensive area in the city for hotels, but it’s not to be missed for anything else. Centred around medieval Domkirche St. Stephen (look for the cheerful roof tiles), this is the district for major museums and galleries, skating in front of Rathaus in winter and window shopping round the insanely expensive Golden Quarter.
Innere Stadt’s nearest neighbour is a little quieter, but it’s also home to the Belvedere Palace, so don’t expect peaceful. This is a gorgeously elegant district for boutique hotels and major international brands. Fractionally less expensive than the city centre, but not much.
Mariahilf is the city centre district with a distinctively cool personality and a family atmosphere. This is where to find the motherlode of alternative Christmas markets, Esterhazy Park and the Haus des Meers Aquarium, lots of cute (and affordable) shopping, new generation coffee houses and good value mid-range hotels.
Vienna won’t ever run out of grand palaces, but Schöbrunn is the one to beat. The city’s most visited attraction is misleadingly nicknamed, ‘Empress Sisi’s Summerhouse’ but is actually so immense, guided tours are mandatory. Kids will probably prefer the gardens for the world’s oldest zoo and delightfully puzzling maze.
For a breather from overwhelming opulence, Donaustadt is edgy and youthful Vienna with designer polish. Right on the banks of the Danube, this is the district for city beaches, interesting pop-up shops and clubs, new restaurants and cool beach bars in summer.
The city’s breathtakingly lovely Art Deco district is a surprisingly good area for inexpensive hotels, historic guesthouses and budget brand hotels. It’s also where Naschmarkt, one of Europe’s biggest flea markets, sets up shop on a Saturday. And it’s the heartland of cute cinemas, indie cafés and restaurants, young Viennese designers and wonderful vintage stores (Vienna vintage is outstanding thanks to the demand of the city’s annual Ball Season).
Famous for its enormous Ferris Wheel (best view in the city), summer in Prater is one of the city’s finest traditions. The funfair runs from March to October but there are hundreds of other reasons to visit all year round. Prater Park
From its own studio for teenager film makers to baby’s sensory play, workshops for under 8s and all year round events and activities for kids of all ages, ZOOM is one of the best loved museums in the city. ZOOM
One of the world’s greatest museums, the Belvedere contains an extraordinary collection of art from medieval masterpieces to modern works. And, of course, it’s where to see ‘The Kiss’ by Gustave Klimt. Belvedere Museum
Home to the legendary Lipizzaner dancing white stallions. Performances are staged here throughout the year but you can go see the horses in rehearsal during training season and the spectacle’s free. Spanish Riding School
Ever gracious and polite Vienna even manages to keep all its major museums in one place, including ZOOM Children’s Museum. Museum Quarter
Leave a day at least to do justice to this magnificent royal palace, the world’s oldest zoo, vast grounds and intriguing puzzle maze. Schönbrunn Palace
A virtual reality and all-too-real 5D tour of Vienna through the ages covering just about everything from the Black Plague to the present day. Time Travel Vienna
Unsurprisingly, the city which created the world’s first chocolate cake also has a fabulous chocolate museum. Schoko Museum
Less than half-an-hour from the city centre, this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is home to Viennese wine country and a natural habitat for dozens of species of birds and wildlife and an astonishing 2000 plus varieties of plants. Vienna Woods
Vienna is a city made for cycling and getting better and better all the time. Guided bike tours round the centre and into the countryside are a great way to get to know the city, fast. Pedal Power
Vienna’s wonderful for walking around, especially in Innere Stadt and the neighbouring districts. The public transport system’s excellent and runs 20 hours a day, seven days a week across the entire city. There are riverboat services on the Danube, catamaran ferries to nearby Bratislava, tourist buses in the city centre and over 1000km of bike lanes and paths too.