Forget Advent In Vienna And Head To Zagreb Instead!

Forget Advent In Vienna And Head To Zagreb Instead!

Last year Jaime experienced his first real winter ever and since he was always cold, we skipped advent manifestations around the Europe and visited the Christmas market in Zagreb only. Even we had a great time, this year I wanted to show him how advent looked like in other, more famous cities.

Vienna was an obvious choice – it was close, reachable with the car, and well known as an advent destination. I visited several times before, but it seemed to be a perfect destination for Jaime to explore. Two days later, we realized we might be wrong. Vienna is probably the most popular city in the terms of Christmas markets, but we actually liked Zagreb better, and here is why.

Read more: Tips & trick for a day trip to Vienna

Forget Advent In Vienna And Head To Zagreb Instead! | Mexatia

Crowds vs. moderate crowds

Wherever you go in Vienna, it is crowded. If there are no people – then it sucks. Weekends are the worst, buses and buses full of tourists are coming to the city and you can see groups of 40 – 50 people following their guides everywhere. 

Visiting Christmas markets during the peak hours is a nightmare. Long wait lines for food stalls (which was obviously not enough), walking around surrounded by a bunch of people stopping and taking photos all the time, … I’m not going to lie and say there are no crowds in Zagreb. There are, of course, but a number of people in Vienna and Zagreb cannot be compared at all. Do not forget, the popularity is not always a good thing!

Forget Advent In Vienna And Head To Zagreb Instead! | Mexatia

No music vs. music everywhere

We decided on Vienna because we expected it to be more fun than Zagreb, but we got unpleasantly surprised. During our visit to Rathaus Christmas market on Friday evening, we realized there was no music at all. I’m not sure if something was wrong with their sound system or it is always like that. 

I remember having a better time in Vienna past years when there was an ice skating ring next to Karl’s church and Christmas songs were blaring from the speakers. This year, it was awfully quiet. In contrary, Zagreb is full of music wherever you go. If there no a live performance, there is some kind of music. 

Forget Advent In Vienna And Head To Zagreb Instead! | Mexatia

Expensive vs. affordable

Austria is generally more expensive than Croatia (of course), but prices in Vienna went up high. For example, the same cup of mulled wine will cost you 4€ or more in Vienna and only 12 – 15 kuna (2€ or even less) in Zagreb. The same goes for  sausages, coffee and basically anything you wish to buy or try. Everything in Zagreb is approximately half priced than in Vienna. 

Read more: Where to eat in Vienna – Here are the best cakes in Vienna

Forget Advent In Vienna And Head To Zagreb Instead! | Mexatia

Shop till you drop vs. having fun

After walking around the whole Viennese city center, we realized there is nothing really going on in the city. The markets were all about the shopping, 80% of the stalls were selling souvenirs and other goodies (even products from Venice – not sure why would you want to buy a Venetian mask during the advent in Vienna?), while the rest were reserved for food and drinks.

There is so many different happenings, performances, concerts and workshops going on in Zagreb that we could not believe we did not notice any in Vienna. Being one of the most popular winter destinations, Vienna was surprisingly boring for us, who did not come to shop but to have fun. At the same time, in Zagreb, we saw the concert, checked out kids workshop and went to ice skate. 

Forget Advent In Vienna And Head To Zagreb Instead! | Mexatia

Already seen vs. new and innovative

As I mentioned before, markets in Vienna were all about the shopping and less about new experiences, trying out different food and enjoying street activities with your friends and family. At the end of our stay, when I asked Jaime if he would like to visit another market, he answered “What for? They are all the same and I am not interested in buying the souvenirs.”. I guess that reflects the best how we felt about Vienna.

Read more: When did Zagreb Christmas market become that awesome?!

Forget Advent In Vienna And Head To Zagreb Instead! | Mexatia

In Zagreb, we did not know where to go first. Should we go to ice skate in the biggest ring or should we choose the one in the museum’s atrium? Are we going to try traditional food like sarma, sausages, and fritule or modern Christmas burgers and all kinds of international food? Should we check out the designer district or ride a funicular to reach the new markets in the Upper town? I think you got the point. 

These are some of the reasons why we liked Zagreb so much better. We found Vienna to be too crowded, too expensive and too boring. I am looking forward to seeing what’s going to happen in the years to come. Could the “little Vienna”, as Zagreb is often called, actually surpass it’s *big brother* and become known for it’s Christmas markets all around the Europe? Until then, forget Advent in Vienna and head to Zagreb instead!

Did you visit any Christmas market this year? Which one was your favorite?

 

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Where to eat in Vienna: Here are the best cakes in Vienna!

Where to eat in Vienna: Here are the best cakes in Vienna!

No trip to Vienna would be complete without taking a rest in at least one Viennese cafés, drinking a coffee and eating some fabulous cakes. In this post, I will present two of my favorite places in Vienna for the things mentioned above. For me, there are the best cakes in Vienna. Yummy!

Café Sacher Vienna

Sacher cake is Vienna’s most famous cake and it originates and it is named after the Sacher Hotel. They still have the rights to call their cake the “Original Sacher Torte” and their cake is supposed to be the only real one. Of course, Sacher cake is sold in other cafés too, but that is not it. Café Sacher is located in Sacher Hotel at Philarmonikerstrasse 4.

Sacher is the super tasty chocolate sponge cake is coated with an apricot jam and covered with a shiny chocolate icing. It is traditionally served with whipped cream and a small glass of water (it seems that nowhere in Vienna you will get the normal glass of water, they will give you just small glasses with around 1 dl of water). They say the cake was born in 1832 when royal head chef got ill and 16-years old culinary apprentice needed to create the cake for the very important royal guests. The price for the one slice in Café Sacher is 4,90€. If you decide to visit this café, be prepared for a long waiting line and crowded place during the weekends. But it is definitely worth waiting because the cake is absolutely amazing! Here you can buy all the sizes of the cake and other different sweets like souvenirs too.

Link to café’s website and TripAdvisor.

best cakes in Vienna

best cakes in Vienna

 

Café Gerstner K&K Hofzuckerbaeckerei

At Gerstner’s I ate some of best cakes in my life! I don’t remember the names of cakes, but whatever you take – you are not going to be sorry. When we came in we were absolutely amazed by the looks of the cakes, but when we tried them we were happy they don’t have only the looks. The special recommendation goes to apple strudel. However, the waiters could be little more kind and the service was not so fast. Café Gerstner you can find in Kärtnerstrasse 13 – 15, in the vicinity of the cathedral.

Link to the website and TripAdvisor.

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Where did you eat the best cakes in Vienna?

 

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Where to eat in Vienna? Here are the best cakes! | Mexatia