Vienna: a stylish, up-market destination at any time of year, but especially magical at Christmas time.

Recently named the world's most habitable city by global consultancy Mercer, Vienna is the tops for cultural events, great restaurants and grandiose architecture. But if you’ve previously discarded this hub of history as ‘too expensive’, think again. Lastminute.com are offering December deals which include return flights from London Heathrow and 2 nights in a four star hotel starting from around £245 per person.

Vienna's Christmas markets opened on the 15th of this month and continue right up until Christmas Eve, giving you plenty of time to find something original to fill your loved ones’ stockings. The markets are a tradition dating back 700 years and offer, not only bustling market stalls, but also workshops and pony rides for the children.

The city is a culture vulture’s paradise, with a Klimt (one of Vienna's most famous sons) exhibition at the Belvedere Museum and a Michelangelo show at the Albertina. Schoenbrunn Castle, the former royal palace, and its gardens and grounds, are a Unesco World Cultural Heritage Site, and the former imperial residence, the Hofburg Palace is also a must-visit site. Cinema buffs might like to visit the Ferris wheel (Riesenrad), in the Prater amusement park, which featured in the film The Third Man.

Take time out from shopping and sightseeing to treat yourself to something sweet. There are coffee houses on every corner, but a slice of the classic creamy Sachertorte at the Hotel Sacher is a must. So start your Yuletide celebrations as you mean to go on!

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