Home Uncategorized The Scoop on the Vienna Xmas Markets

The Scoop on the Vienna Xmas Markets

by Roberto
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Vienna has built a strong reputation when it comes to christmas markets. A recent winner of Europe’s best, the Vienna Xmas Markets date all the way back to 1298. So you are assured of what you can expect from the markets. The smells of Gluhwein and roasted chestnuts, and the twinkle of christmas lights is a guarantee. But which of the many Vienna Christmas Markets around the city is worth your time visiting. I took it upon myself to visit all I could in my few days there. Just so you don’t have to.


Tips for visiting the Viennese Christmas market

The christmas markets are at their most atmospheric in the evenings, when the christmas lights have an opportunity to shine. They are also at their busiest then. 2020 will see a strict system of number control to reduce the amount of people in each market. Face coverings will be mandatory throughout and there will be no indoor activities.

Each market has its own individual collectors item mug for the Weihnachtspunsch (otherwise known as Gluhwein or mulled wine). Let’s be honest, that’s why (I was) you are there. Collecting one from each of the markets is indeed a noble challenge.

Remember to dress sensibly while visiting. The winter will guarantee temperatures will hover around the 0 degrees celsius mark. Hats, gloves, scarves and even a hot water bottle will certainly make your visit more comfortable.

Some of the markets do lie outside the city. However, the Viennese public transport system is excellent. The Vienna city card offers free public transport as well as entry to popular attractions, and is great value starting at €17.00 per day.

Vienna at Christmas

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When do the Vienna Xmas Markets Open

Vienna’s christmas markets traditionally run for the advent period from around the 15th November through to the New Year. This varies between the individual markets and also from year to year. In 2020 they were at first scheduled to open 14th November. However the Vienna Christmas markets 2020 will be impacted by the current Covid restrictions. They are now due to run from the 7th December, however this also subject to change. For the most up to date info and opening hours consult the Wien website.


What to expect at Vienna Christmas Markets

Vienna at Christmas time is enchanting, with spectacular lights throughout the city. There are numerous Christmas trees, and shops and cafes fully grasp the spirit of the season too. This is definitely a city that takes Christmas serious.

The Viennese Christmas markets have a motto- to offer quality to their visitors. It’s certainly obvious in the food but also in the ornaments and decorations. Plastic is frowned upon and wood and glass are encouraged. It undoubtedly represents better value for money for the visitor.

In each market you will find handmade decorations and baubles, nativity scenes, soaps, candles, candle holders, jewellery and snow globes among many other treasures.

Food lovers will be well looked after by hot sausages, soup in bread bowls, roasted almonds and chestnuts, candies, pretzels, langos, crepes and the local speciality of Leberkäse.

Vienna Xmas Markets
Lights of the Vienna Xmas Markets

Which Christmas Markets in Vienna should you visit?

The big question. A lot of the markets are not altogether dissimilar to each other. It all depends on what you are actually hoping to get from the market. Buy local craft products? Get drunk on Gluhwein? You can do that at any, but some have a livelier atmosphere. Let me thus break down which are the best christmas markets in Vienna.

Vienna Christmas Markets

Vienna Christmas World at Rathausplatz

Location.

The Viennese Dream christmas market (also known as the christkindlmarkt Wien) is in the shadow of the Vienna Town Hall in the Rathauspark.

Highlights

With the Rathaus at its back and a huge Christmas tree at its centre, the setting is undoubtedly beautiful. The Little Vienna Ice World is a 3000 metre squared ice rink that runs through the park. The trees of the park are all lit, and one in particular, the lovers tree, is filled with red hearts. Perfect for couples selfies. The 125 stalls here offers christmas tree decorations, gifts, handcrafts and also lots of delicious treats. There is also an area dedicated to children with a carousel and other rides.

Worth visiting?

As Vienna’s largest market, it’s an easy recommendation. However it’s also its busiest and you will be but one of a throng of tourists here. Nevertheless the close proximity to the city centre, and it’s fantastic festive atmosphere mean it’s a must on your visit to Vienna. There are also events held in the Rathaus throughout the season.

Vienna Xmas Markets
Vienna Christmas World at Rathausplatz
Vienna Christmas World at Rathausplatz

Stephansplatz

Location

This advent market surrounds the foot of Vienna’s stunning Cathedral.

Highlights

With around wooden 40 wooden stalls wrapped around the cathedral, this market clearly has a timeless feel to it. It is in fact one of the newest though. There is a theme here of contemplation and tradition.

Worth Visiting?

As you are likely to stumble across it by simply wandering into the city centre, it’s certainly a yes. The setting is dreamy. It may be the first market you’ll visit as you introduce yourself to the city, and in that case the perfect setting to have that first Weihnachtspunsch. The hot dogs come highly recomended also.

Stephansplatz

Christmas Village on Maria Theresien Platz

Location

The Christmas Village is on Maria Theresien Platz the square between the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Museum of Natural History.

Highlights

Food stalls take centre stage in a market which is only a few moments stroll from the Rathausplatz.

Worth visiting?

It’s considered an essential stop on the tour of the city’s markets. The setting is again impressive, sat in between the two museums, and it certainly has a large number of stalls. However it didn’t have the same impact on me as others, and nothing made it stand out from the crowd.


Christmas Market Schönbrunn Palace

Location

This market is located at the Schönbrunn Palace, an 18th century lavish summer palace of the Habsburgs, and also one of the top Vienna tourist attractions. Subway U4 from Karlsplatz runs direct to Schonbrunn.

Highlights

The location is without a doubt the most spectacular in the city, with the palace glowing gold at night, and the huge tree and interesting light installations complimenting the 80 stalls. Choirs often perform from the christmas tree.

Worth Visiting?

It is, above all others. The setting will wow you, especially the starry lights of the square. The market is laid out perfectly and is strongly craft based in its products. It’s the only market that’s a significant distance outside the city, but most assuredly worth the effort to travel to.

Vienna Xmas Markets Schonbrunn
Vienna Xmas Markets

Belvedere Palace Christmas Market

Location

The Belvedere Palace is located slightly outside Vienna’s centre. Use your Vienna card and jump on tram D.

Highlights

The Baroque palace from 1717 is firstly famed for its art collection. At Christmas though the lake in front encourages you to create your own photographic art, as its lit in the most romantic of ways. With about 40 stands its small, but the market offers plenty of craft and food options.

Worth visiting?

For the market itself, sadly no. However the location, as with Schonbrunn, is the real attraction. A romantic stroll by the lake is also the perfect tonic for too much good food at the markets. There’s also the unusual christmas tree that’s worth checking out, built using sleds, and with seating inside. It’s ideal to visit in the evening hours when the lights work their magic.

Vienna Xmas Markets Belvedere

Art Advent at Karlsplatz

Location

Situated on the square in from of the Karlskirche Church.

Highlights

The market is known as Art Advent, and unsurprisingly has a huge focus on arts and crafts. Most stalls are in fact run by the artists themselves. Organic food is popular, and this lively market also features a live action crib.

Worth Visiting?

Looking for a market with an alternative atmosphere? This might be the one for you. With a lot of children themed events by day, and a live music stage by night, it undoubtedly caters for a much younger and hipster crowd. Fun is definitely on the cards here. As a result its one to visit late in the evening and soak up the atmosphere with a drink or three.

Vienna Christmas Markets
Art Advent at Karlsplatz

Best of the other Vienna Christmas Markets

Christmas Village Altes AKH

The Christmas Village Altes AKH is located in the grounds of the University of Vienna, a building which once served as a hospital. Nowadays it provides an enclosed christmas market, which makes it popular with local families due to the increased safety. There is a large focus on food and drink also, with several enclosed restaurants and bars. It’s also got a wonderful facility where you can brush up on your curling skills.


Michaelerplatz Square

This small market is in fact only a handful of huts in front of the Hofburg Palace entrance at Michaelerplatz. On its own it wouldn’t be worth the effort. But if you intend to see some of Vienna besides the markets, you may just end up here looking for the Spanish Riding School or the Sisi Museum. The white huts do fit the area beautifully.

Vienna Christmas Markets

Spittelberg Christmas Market

This market is a bit more sprawling than the others. It occupies the streets of one of Vienna’s trendiest neighbourhoods, and the stalls are located wherever they can find space on the narrow streets. In an area known for its galleries and craft shops, the produce here are predominantly food and drink based, with some crafts and clothes.


AM Hof Vienna Xmas Markets

This market is here since 1842, in a square surrounded by fine Viennese buildings. It’s only a short distance from the city centre, which means it’s not a large effort to visit. It is also beside the market at Freyung. Again crafts and food are a central focus of the 40 stalls. However if you have visited several other markets, there isn’t enough here to draw you.

AM Hof Vienna

Old Viennese Christmas on Freyung

The last market I had the pleasure of visiting is that at Freyung. As just stated it’s next to the Am Hof market. This market was originally founded by Irish monks and has the worthwhile distinction of the attached farmers market that runs all year round. It’s a small market again but the opportunity to take home some organic products sets it apart.

Old Viennese Christmas on Freyung

Guided tours of the Vienna Xmas Markets

Want to take all the hassle out of visiting the Vienna Xmas Markets? Why not consider a free walking tour of the markets.


What else to do in Vienna

Keep an eye on this site soon as I will compiling my travel tips on the best things to do in Vienna in 2 days.

Vienna has a close proximity to the cities of Bratislava in Slovakia and Budapest in Hungary. All three can easily be visited together, and each of these capitals offers something rewarding for the European traveller. If you are interested in visiting why not click on one of the following guides:

Why you need one day in Bratislava.

The ultimate guide to Budapest


Travel Insurance

Now more than ever is the time to consider adding travel insurance for your trip. The travel industry is very fragile, and cancellations, business closes and lockdowns are indeed a distinct possibility. Protect yourself against them with World Nomads travel insurance. World Nomads offer a no obligation quote, and in fact now protect domestic trips too.


Vienna Christmas Markets

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