Upon popular request Expat Club organises a weekend Christmas trip to Austria’s capital Vienna. Celebrate Christmas with us in one of the world’s most beautiful and historic cities. The city is known for one of Europe’s best Christmas markets in an amazing setting, whereas countless other tourist attractions complement this special trip, such as Schloss Schönbrunn, the Saint Stephen’s Cathedral, the Belvedere Palace, the Hofburg, the Karlskirche, the City Hall, the Hundertwasser Haus and the Spanish Riding School. We will be staying in an outstanding 4* luxury hotel right between the old city centre and Schloss Schönbrunn.
What is included?
direct return flights with Brussels Airlines or Austrian Airlines
1 carry-on bag (12kg max)
1 carry-on personal item (e.g. umbrella or purse)
return transfer by taxi or private bus to/from our hotel
local public transportation
2 nights in the 4* luxury Maxx by Steigenberger Hotel
2 delicious breakfast buffets
guided city tour by local guide
coffee/tea and Sachertorte at world-famous Café Sacher (t.b.c.)
Wiener Barock & Klassik Concert
entrance fees at Schloss Schönbrunn (the Grand Tour)
As with all Expat Club trips, our program for this trip is carefully designed. Still, it may slightly change depending on, for instance, traffic and weather conditions. We will do our best to still deliver the best possible program, as we always do. We organised the program in such a way that the group gets a good introduction to the history, architecture and main tourist attractions of the city, including the Christmas markets. However, you are always free to follow your own program and reconnect with the group later.
Friday 6 December
17h15 – Meeting at Starbucks in main terminal Brussels Airport (for first flight only)
19h05 – Departure to Vienna with Brussels Airlines SN20907
20h00 – Departure to Vienna with Austrian Airlines OS0356
20h45 – Arrival at Vienna Schwechat & taxi to hotel (first flight)
21h45 – Arrival at Vienna Schwechat & taxi to hotel (second flight)
22h45 – Arrival at Maxx by Steigenberger Hotel
Saturday 7 December This day introduces you to the city of Vienna with a guided tour, which ends with “Kaffee und Kuchen” at the famous Sacher Hotel. In the afternoon we visit the #1 tourist attraction Schönbrunn (Sisi Palace), where you can make the Grand Tour with an audio-guide and stroll through the gardens and the Christmas market. In the evening we will experience the city’s musical side during an intimate concert in the beautiful small Schönborn palace, with music from Mozart, Rossini, Tschaikowski and Strauss.
09h00 – Guided tour in Vienna City Center
11h00 – Coffee & Sachertorte at Café Sacher
12h00 – Departure to Schloss Schönbrunn
12h30 – Arrival Schloss Schönbrunn, lunch & free time
(visit palace, gardens, Christmas markets)
16h30 – Return to hotel
20h00 – Wiener Barock & Klassik Concert – Palace Schönborn
Sunday 8 December Being in Vienna only 2 days, maybe you wish to visit certain places on your own and at your own pace. Or maybe you prefer to stay with the group. Either way, after checking-out from the hotel (you can leave your luggage) we suggest to start today at the Hofburg Palace. With your entry ticket (included) you can visit the Sisi Museum, the Imperial Apartments, the Silver Collection and Vienna Imperial Furniture Collection. If you feel like it, you can also attend a performance by the world-famous Spanish Riding School (optional, €60, book during checkout). In the afternoon the group will break up in smaller groups, to visit places such as the Belvedere Palace, the Prater amusement park, or yet more Christmas markets.
10h00 – Opening Christmas markets, visit to Hofburg
11h00 – Spanish Riding School (optional)
12h30 – Lunch
14h00 – Visit to Hofburg
16h00 – Free time Christmas Markets
19h00 – Departure to Vienna Airport from hotel
21h35 – Departure to Brussels with Brussels Airlines SN2908
23h20 – Arrival Brussels
Due to the late arrival, we will coordinate shared taxi / Uber rides, so you will not have to pay the entire fare yourself but can share it with other participants.
During our trip we will be able to enjoy many special visits. We always organise a rather full program, but if you feel like exploring places on your own, such as Prater, the Belvedere, or the Hundertwasser Haus, you are of course free to do so.
On Saturday morning we begin our visit to Vienna with a guided tour by a local expert. S/he will take us along the most famous places while telling us about the history of this marvellous city, as well as the architecture, economics, infrastructure and many more subjects.
Arguably one of the world’s most famous cafés, not in the least place for its delicious Sacher Torte. Part of the 5* Sacher hotel we will make a stop here to warm up, get a good coffee with either a Sacher Torte or equally delicious Apfelstrudel. Your choice 🙂
The main summer palace of the Habsburgers is also called the “Austrian Versailles”. It has a whopping 1441 rooms and forms a major tourist attraction in the city. You will have the opportunity to explore it on your own with an audio guide (upon availability), so you can decide how slow/fast you walk through, so you have either more or less time for the the lovely Christmas markets afterwards.
This is the former principal imperial palace of the Habsburg dynasty rulers and serves now as the official residence and workplace of the Austrian President. It was originally built in the 13th century but had many expansions after that. In the Hofburg we’ll be visiting the following places:
Sisi Museum – Here more than anywhere else once can sense the legendary mystique of Empress Elizabeth, known as Sisi. Six rooms showcase numerous exhibits once owned by the empress together with replicas of some of her gowns.
Imperial Apartments – The nineteen rooms comprising the official and residential suites occupied by Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife Sisi are furnished in authentic period detail and convey an impression of nineteenth-century courtly tradition and imperial lifestyle.
Silver Collections – In the former Court Silver and Table Room you can explore the sumptuous extravagance of imperial dining traditions. The collection includes precious services of porcelain, glass and silver that once belonged to the Habsburg family.
Hofmobiliendepot, the Vienna Imperial Furniture Collection – The Vienna Imperial Furniture Collection showcases a unique display of furniture that encompasses the Baroque, Biedermeier and Historicist eras as well as the Vienna Modern movement and contemporary Austrian furniture design.
Wiener Barock & Klassik Konzert
… cause we all enjoy listening to the great artists. This typical Wiener concert is held in a smal room of the stunning Schönborn Palace in the center of Vienna. Palais Schönborn-Batthyány was built in 1699. The impressive concert hall invites you to an unforgettable evening full of virtuous musicians and superb opera singers. Listen to first-class musicians interpreting the most splendid works of Mozart, Vivaldi, Donizetti and Tschaikowski. Let the music take you away on a journey beyond comparison and discover the most important era of Austrian musical history. This concert starts at 20h00 and is included in the price of the trip. It will be a great way to experience Vienna together.
Spanish Riding School
The Spanische Hofreitschule is a world-famous Austrian institution that is dedicated to the preservation of classical dressage and the training of the beautiful white Lipizzaner horses. Their performances are held in a stunning hall in the Hofburg, which are broadcast all over the world on 1 January as part of the New Year’s Day Concert by the Wiener Philharmoniker. It is one of the “Big Four”, the most prestigious classical riding academies in the world. A visit on Sunday morning is optional (not everybody likes horses). You can either book your ticket on their website, or indicate during checkout that you would like to book a €60 seat. Note this seat is on the higher balcony and you may have to stand or bend forward to see the performance.
There are literally dozens of larger and smaller Christmas markets in Vienna. But the larger ones can be found in front of the City Hall, the Belvedere Palace, the Maria-Theresien Platz, the Museums Quarter and the Schönbrunn Palace.
For this trip we have chosen an outstanding 4* hotel at an excellent location between the city centre and Schloss Schönbrunn, with excellent public transportation connections. Many top sights are just 2 or 3 stops away! The hotel belongs to the famous Steigenberger chain (like the 5* hotel on Place Stéphanie in Brussels) and continuously receives superb reviews.
The air-conditioned rooms are with 24-30 sqm rather spacious and of course have an ensuite bathroom with a bath and shower. The rooms are also equipped with a comfortable armchair, a desk, a Nespresso coffee machine and a flatscreen TV. As a guest you are also invited to make use of the wellness centre with a gym, steam bath and sauna (for free). This will be an unforgettable stay.
Every morning a delicious breakfast buffet is served rom 6h30 until 10h30. Breakfast is included (€44 value per person) and can be reserved during the reservation process. In this hotel you can choose between the following rooms:
Single room – One large bed
Double room – One large bed for a couple or adult & child
Twin room – Two single beds for 2 friends sharing
Twin room – Two single beds for solo travellers who would like to share a room
Family room – For 3 or 4 friends or family members (upon request only)
Room options for solo travellers
If you travel alone you either opt for a single room, but a surcharge applies (price visible once you reserve your spot). You can avoid the single room surcharge by sharing a “twin room” with 2 single beds. For this trip we offer ONLY female sharing room. During the outbound trip we introduce you to all other ladies group who also want to share a room, and you mutually agree with whom you’d like to share the room. So you will never have to search for a room partner yourself, and do not have to worry about having to pay a solo surcharge. Since our participants are all adults, there is always a kind person to share the room with. It is a perfect way to lower your costs and to meet another friendly expat.
On Sunday morning we need to check out by 10h00. You can leave your luggage safely in the hotel for pick up in the late afternoon when we go to the airport.
We will be taking direct Brussels Airlines flights to / from Vienna. The evening departure times are perfect, because (a) you will not have to take a day off from work (nor leave earlier), and (b) we can really enjoy 2 full days in Vienna.
Sun 8 December – SN2908 – Vienna (21h35) > Brussels (23h20)
To avoid making the flights unnecessarily expensive, checking in luggage is optional (it costs €30 per segment). Experience from previous trips also shows that most of our participants travel with hand luggage only on such short trips. Still, if you want, you can indicate during check-out that you would like to add a suitcase.
The flights will be carried out by Brussels Airlines and Austrian Airlines.
This trip is carefully planned. Still, all timings are indicative and may change if required by circumstances.
The trip is sold as a package. You cannot go with your own transportation and/or arrange your own accommodation. If there are specific things that you do not want in the package, please let us know, and we may consider a discount on a case by case basis.
You are personally responsible for getting a good cancellation and travel insurance that covers you for unforeseen emergencies and medical expenses before or during the trip.
You are personally responsible for appropriately using the hotel room. Any missing or broken items will be billed after the trip. If you share the room with someone else, you are equally responsible for leaving it the way you found it.
Expat Club cannot be held liable for long delays that influence the program (e.g. missing the guided tours). Expat Club cannot be held liable either for weather-related cancellations or any other unforeseen events that influence the course of the trip, including, but not limited to technical problems with the planes, strikes, traffic, weather etc.
The date for cancelling your trip with a refund is 8 weeks prior to departure, as stated in the terms & conditions.
Expat Club cannot be held liable for personal injuries during the trip, such as, but not limited to, things that happen during guided tours. Joining this trip is at your own risk.
Solo travellers can choose a solo room or opt for the free room-sharing service. If you do not find a room partner on your own, we will find one for you (male/male, female/female). During the outbound trip we will connect you with others in the same position. If you decide to take a single room during the trip, then you will have to fully pay for it yourself. If you book this option, you are never forced to pay for a single room.
If you book a double / twin room and your travel partner cancels, either from the same order or from a separate one once you indicated you want to share the room with him or her, you will have to pay the single room supplement.
The Maxx by Steigenberger Hotel Vienna has to right to accommodate us in an equivalent hotel.