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I absolutely love Europe in the winter, especially around Christmas. My most memorable visits to Vienna came several years ago on my way to and back from Yakutsk, Siberia. The outbound trip was Thanksgiving weekend (the fourth Thursday in November) and the return trip was the week before Christmas. On the way over, it was actually a bit warm for late November but on the return trip, I got to enjoy fully fledged, storybook-type Christmas weather. We did a lot of great things but my several trips to the Christmas markets were at the top of my memories.
Christmas markets in Vienna are as ubiquitous as the city’s elaborate and stunning Baroque architecture. The Viennese version of winter wonderland – at once cozy and elegant – coming to life in public squares all over town.
After stopping by the popular Christkindlmarkt in front of the Rathausplatz, waltz over to the market in front of the lavish Schönbrunn Palace, the former imperial residence. True to Vienna’s storied musical heritage, expect plenty of classical concerts fueling the nonstop city-wide party.
When: mid-November until Christmas Eve
What to buy: Hand-blown glass, jewellery, and candles.
Food and drink: Key indulgences include apfel strudel, maroni (chestnuts), bratwurst, and lebkuchen (gingerbread). To drink? Glühwein or punsch, natürlich.
For the children: Little ones will go starry-eyed at the market in front of Vienna’s neo-Gothic Rathaus (town hall), which is decorated as a giant Advent calendar. A hands-on Christmas workshop, pony and carousel rides, and a bewitching winter garden also delight.
- Family Travel
Christmas market - Viener Christkindlmarkt
In front of Rathaus is the main Christmas market. In every shop you can see different kind of art or handicraft. Most beautiful are "kugeln" to decorate Christmas tree. Then something to eat as cakes and cookies, donuts, heisse brot (hot bread), apple in sweet caramel?, and many many others. Hats, gloves, jeweleries, pictures, art, candels, figures of Bethlem, etc.
- Arts and Culture
Vienna's Christmas Market is somewhat of a tradition, dating back some 7 centuries and a very nice market it is too.
Huddled together from the Rathaus, expanding over a fairly large area, are lots of little wooden huts selling their wares. Aromas of warm punch, spiced fruit and sweets fill the air, wooden nut crackers dance on their pegs and the hundreds of fairy lights twinkle and dazzle for you as you pick your way around the market through the snow (for that real Christmas feel...if you're lucky).
It's a busy place but it's full of Christmas spirit and cheer and if you're not quite there yourself a few glasses ofmulled wine ought to help!
And this is a Christmas market to take your children to - not only will they enjoy the general atmosphere and visuals of the market but there are many activities they can join in with such as biscuit making.
The market opens mid November and goes on through. Stalls tend to open 9am - 9pm
- Family Travel
Vienna Christmas Markets in Winter
Starting at the end of November lasting till Christmas Day, you can find "Christkindlmärkte" on nearly every corner of most Austrian cities. Small huts provide you with choices for shopping, i.e. christmas gifts, food and most important, hot punchs and the "Glühwein", sweet and heated mulled wine. You can find Christmas markets at the following places:
RATHAUSPLATZ - The "Christkindlmarkt" on the square in front of the City Hall is Vienna's classic Christmas Market. Strolling among the elaborately decorated trees in the park, Viennese and visitors from all over can enjoy the wonderful Christmas atmosphere. The tree with seals, the "Kasperl tree", the "Herzerlbaum" (Hearts tree) and other similarly decorated trees offer a perfect setting for a souvenir photo.
SCHÖNBRUNN CASTLE - The festively illuminated Schonbrunn Palace, the former summer residence of the Austrian Emperors, provides a spectacular backdrop for an idyllic Christmas village full of the scent of mulled wine and ginger breads. And almost every day, festive concerts play for the crowds' enjoyments.
SPITTELBERG - The most famous one for Christmas shopping is the Christmas market at the Spittelberg. In this lovely historical quarter, both traditional and original handicrafts are sold on narrow granite- stone paved alleyways, niches and courtyards. It's Vienna's most authentic Christmas market.
Christmas Markets in Vienna
There are a number of them around Vienna, my favourite is definetly the one at Rathaus Platz and the one at the Belvedere castle. Come in the evening when it gets dark and all the trees are lightened up with different shapes and the Rathuas is a count down advent calendar with lit up windows. With the opera opposit, it's just X-mas magic. There are stalls at the markets where you can buy X-mas gifts and decorations and amazing hot punch (my favourite is with strawberries or forest berries) and something small to eat. You can keep the mug in which you'll be served punch.
The Christmas Markets - "Wiener Christkindlmarkt"
One of the best thing's Vienna has to offer!
There is such a great spirit around them, and so much to do, see, smell, taste and hear! These markets began over 7 centuries ago and have become an integral part of Viennese society. It is a great place for everyone to visit, from families to singles, it's also a great place to meet people!
1. The gluwein stand. It seems to be similar to what the British call mulled wine. It is fantastic warm wine, sometimes with berries or mixed with juice or oranges. Delicious on a cold winter night at the markets!
2. The Christmas decorations - fantastic glass balls decorated in 100's of different styles, wooden nutcrackers and other wooden carved ornaments, and many more.
3. The music - fantastic stalls of different types of Christmas music - great if you want to pick up some traditional German Christmas songs
4. The food - delicious traditional Austrian food and deserts
I think it's a good idea to go during the night as well, as the atmosphere intensifies, with the Christmas lights everywhere and the people seem more festive. It's almost like a winter fairyland, only with lots of Gluwein!
There is always something exciting going on here, one night whilst I was there they had ski jumping in the middle of the city!
Opening dates: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. from 18 November through 23 December, and until 5 p.m. on 24 December
- Family Travel
- Study Abroad
If you find yourself in Vienna just before Christmas, as we were, you must visit one of the myriad of christmas markets in the city. We hit quite a few, the one at the Schonnbrunn Palace, the one in front of the Rathaus, the one in the shopping district. They are fun and all those gluhwein glasses make nice souveniers.
Christmas markets were the main reason I wanted to go to Vienna explicitly before Christmas. This market is held in front of Rathaus and is especially beautiful and atmospheris after dark when all the Christmas lights are on. There are lots of tempting stalls selling beautiful handmade Christmas decorations, which make as good souvenirs, but there are also delicious snacks, sweet or salty, and hot drinks available. Definitely a place worth visiting.
- Family Travel
Behind the Rathaus (station - Rathaus) is the infamous Vienna Christmas Markets. You can spend hours here wandering around the shops selling little nik naks and bits and pieces. Alot of hand made Christmas decorations and a variety of food stalls selling Gluewein, Roasted Chestnuts and these Garlicy potato pancake things which where delicious. There was an eerie mist that was carpeting the markets when we were there and it offered us a great chance to take some photo's
Christmas in Vienna!
Europe is at its best, in my view, when Christmas arrives. The photo is not mine but instead from a tour firm prospectus, because unfortunately I have not been to the Austrian capital during this fantastic time of year, though I do not give up hope:))
Why a person might enjoy -- and will enjoy, I think -- Christmas time in the city? Well, there's the Christmas market, the famous balls (just like a scene out of your average fairytale!), fireworks, decorations, people watching, a huge Christmas tree, and Christmas shopping!
To see all this, you should go anytime in the 3-4 weeks preceding Christmas, or for the holiday itself, of course.
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