In Vienna, the famous Christmas markets begin to open in November, allowing Catholics – and, non-Catholics, to experience this beautiful festive season earlier than the norm. These markets are widely visited not only by the inhabitants of the city, but also by tourists from all over the world who come to the Austrian capital to witness the greatness of a country that knows how to enjoy the holiday season like few others do.
With dozens of Christmas markets on display in Vienna, we have selected three that stand out due to their special charm and location: Christkindlmarkt, Schloss Belvedere and Schloß Schönbrunn. Keep on reading below to see what sets these markets apart from the rest and learn more about what to expect as a guest.
Traditional market of the Christkindlmarkt
Open from November 16 to December 26
Every year, at the Rathausplatz in Vienna (Town Hall Square), the Christkindlmarkt Christmas Market takes place, and is the most important and visited market in Vienna thanks to its more than 150 stalls that promise all kinds of Christmas crafts. There are also plenty of stalls that offer typical sweets with surprises as unusual as chocolates in the form of everyday objects. Toy lovers also flock to this market to enjoy the wood craftsmen’s stalls that are made entirely by hand with cars, puppets and small animal figures on display.
A large ice skating rink is installed next to the market, while on the Town Hall’s ground floor young chefs bake typical pastries and sweets and make brightly colored Christmas candles. International choirs also visit the market and sing traditional Christmas songs from around the world. Finally, we recommend attending one of the trumpet concerts that take place next to the large Christmas tree located in the center of the square from November 25 to December 23.
Advent market of Schloss Belvedere
Open from November 23 to December 26
The residence that once belonged to Prince Eugene of Savoy now serves as a coveted Christmas market location. Worshiped by the Viennese, guests can enjoy the beautiful gardens of Belvedere, the wonderful views of imperial Vienna and the city’s baroque architecture at this market.
The Belvedere Palace Advent Market, one of the most impressive in Vienna, highlights 40 stalls that offer traditional Christmas decorations and typical gastronomic delights such as the hot punch of red wine flavored with spices, known as Glühwein; tea with brandy and candied fruits, as well as caramelized baked apples. Be sure to try the Käsekrainer sausages stuffed with melted cheese and served in hot rolls.
In addition, concerts of Christmas carols and Gospel music take place every night and are held on a stage next to the palace gardens.
Schloß Schönbrunn Christmas and New Year Market
Open from November 24 to January 6
Next to Schönbrunn Palace, which was built in the seventeenth century and served for 150 years as the summer residence of the imperial family, the Schloß Schönbrunn Christmas and New Year Market takes place. The reason for having two markets instead of one is due to the Christmas market opening on November 24 and remaining open until December 26, while on December 27th the New Year market begins and closes its doors on January 6.
The Christmas market Schloß Schönbrunn offers an extraordinary Christmas experience. There is much to discover in its 80 stands decorated with Christmas decorations and spirit. Exhibitors from all over Austria and neighboring countries such as Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, create a unique atmosphere in the illuminated royal courtyard of Schönbrunn Palace.
Some products on display at this market includes traditional handicrafts, nostalgic toys and Christmas decorations that are designed with great care and are made by hand with colored glass, wood, ceramics, paper and tin.
The market’s culinary menu also offers many variations of spicy and hot wine, as well as Austrian delicacies such as Bauerngröstl and Kaiserschmarrn (sweet chestnuts and gingerbread).
After Christmas, the market becomes an experience centered around the New Year. The stalls are decorated differently and offer items for the new year’s entrance party and live jazz shows. ■