Looking for a next-level Christmas market? You’ll feel like all your Christmasses have come at once in Vienna. The capital of Austria invented the December Market back in the middle ages, and lays on quite the line-up for Christmas-loving crowds.
There are about 20 official markets to pick from, with plenty of smaller pop-ups around the city. This place is crammed with posh palaces and fancy buildings, so you’re guaranteed an Insta-friendly backdrop wherever you head. Tempted? Here’s a taster of some of the best Christmas markets in Vienna to get your winter city break off the ground.
For the full Vienna Christmas market experience, you’ve got to start with this one. The square in front of the Rathaus city hall fills with 100-plus stalls from early November to Boxing Day, and it’s easily the city’s most popular spot. Mugs of Christmas punch, bags of roasted chestnuts and pretzels the size of your head top the food menu. And you can shop for knick-knacks like tree decorations and advent candles as well as edible souvenirs. A giant twinkling Christmas tree and an old-school carousel provide the photo backdrops, and there’s a decent ice rink here, too. It stays open beyond Boxing Day – usually well into the first week of January.
Christmas Village, Upper Belvedere Palace
Belvedere Palace is a massive show-off all year round, but it looks even better at Christmas. Around 40 stalls back onto this beautiful Baroque building, which reels off no end of famous artworks inside. Outside’s where it’s at, though, with stalls selling amber jewellery, wooden toys and dainty jars of gourmet honey. Talking of food, this market may be smaller than the Christkindlmarkt, but the menu is pretty diverse. For every Würstelstand selling frankfurter and bratwurst sausages there’s a stall serving gooey Swiss Raclette or sugary Spanish churros. To get here, take the D-line tram to Schloss Belvedere – it’s about a ten-minute ride from the city hall with a bit of walking either side.
Schönbrunn market, The Hofburg Palace
That’s right – another fancy palace. This is Vienna, after all. Schönbrunn market unfolds in front of this 13th-century beauty and you can shop your way around 75-odd booths here. Pick up a handcrafted mini nativity scene then wander round the market’s life-sized version, eating freshly baked vanillekipferl biscuits as you go. Schönbrunn is wrapped in even bigger stately gardens than Belvedere Palace, so there’s lots more in the way of light trails running through the grounds. Plus, this one morphs into a New Year’s Market once Christmas is done and dusted, so you can stretch the celebrations into January.
Stephansplatz market, St. Stephen’s Cathedral
Going old-school? Stephansplatz ticks all the Medieval market boxes. Traditional wooden stalls wrap around this Gothic cathedral, and horse-drawn carriages are a familiar sight. Fill your tote with pretty glass tree decorations, delicate snow globes and bags of gingery lebkuchen biscuits from the market stalls. Hungry? Try steaming pumpkin soup served up in a bowl made from bread – it’s a bit of a Stephansplatz staple. This market is right in the middle of town and it’s perfectly placed if you want to see the city centre’s Christmas lights display. Just follow the Graben away from the cathedral and you can’t miss the giant Christmas chandeliers.
Tempted by Vienna’s Christmas markets?
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Author: Katie Gregory
Last updated: 23/10/23
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