Vienna Day 4: Spanish Riding School, Demel’s, and the locals’ favourite Christmas Markets

On our final day, we enjoyed a breakfast of yoghurt and pastries, before collecting our pre-booked tickets for the Spanish Riding School performance. Anyone remotely in the equine world will know of this place – famous for it’s incredibly well trained horses and riders. Tickets must be booked well in advance, and good advice on picking your seating can be found on TripAdvisor. We booked upper tier seats, which had a relatively good view – if you stood up. Much like the history museum, this will appeal to some and not others – but I very much enjoyed it, and I think my non-horsey husband had a good enough time too! Unfortunately photo taking whilst the display is on is not allowed, otherwise you would be inundated with them on this post!

After this, we crossed the street to the swanky Demel’s café for a taste of the famous Sachertorte (chocolate cake). After having heard disappointed reviews, I was pleasantly surprised myself how tasty (and not dry!) the cake was. That afternoon we made some final Christmas market visits, to a couple of places recommended to us by a friendly local. Spittelberg and Karlsplatz markets require some travel on the tubes, but were full of good quality and unique finds, including some really well priced colourful ‘papier mache’ decorations. These seemed far more authentic than those found at the more popular but tackier Rathausplatz market.

That evening we planned a dinner at the Palmenhaus, attached to the Hofburg palace. This had sounded like a dream restaurant, although upon arriving, we realised it was not part of (as we had imagined) the butterfly house, but next door. The roof was attractive and filled with greenery, but the furniture was very basic, the overall atmosphere disappointing, and the food well overpriced. We opted for a coffee and chose to eat instead at the Hofburg café restaurant. This was a much cosier spot, with great service and food, where we dined on another local dish of goulash, and a final portion of apfelstrudel, as our last memories in Vienna before setting off for home.

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Top: window display in Demel’s. Above: Spanish Riding School, Sachertorte and apfelstrudel at Demel’s, Christmas markets (2) Palmenhaus.

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