It’s the week before Christmas!! I hope everyone is feeling all Christmas-y, I have been in the mood for weeks already because I took a trip to Vienna at the end of November to visit the Christmas Markets!
I really love a Christmas Market – there’s just something about seeing all the market huts festooned in twinkly lights, and drinking warm gluhwein that makes me feel all festive and ready for Christmas!
Why Vienna? Well, I have been to Vienna once before, but I was excited to go again because we’d heard that there are TWELVE different markets with each market having a slightly different feel, and a different mug representing that market. How cute!
Read on for my top tips and favourite Christmas markets in Vienna!
Christmas Village – Belvedere Palace
The Belvedere Palace is a lovely setting for a Christmas Market – much quieter but very, very elegant. We visited the Upper Belvedere in the afternoon to see some famous paintings including The Kiss by Klimt, then when we were done, we went to the market at the back of the Belvedere, which was beautifully lit up. We enjoyed a gluhwein in a cute boot-shaped mug before heading back into the centre of town.
Vienna Christmas World – Rathausplatz
This is Vienna’s biggest market in front of the stunning CIty Hall. There are 150 booths offering all sorts of gifts, decorations, food – you name it, this market has everything. It’s also family friendly with activities for kids and a mini Ferris wheel!
There is also an ice-skating route that takes you through the park – we stood and watched ice-skaters glide romantically under the lights (but we also witnessed some hilarious not-so-elegant first time ice-skaters which entertained us for a while!)
Old Viennese Christmas Market – Freyung
The market at Freyung is the oldest traditional market – small but sweet! There were lots of handicrafts on offer here – my favourite stall was the one selling embossed wooden rolling pins! We also sampled a traditional kartoffelpuffer, I thought it was like a cross between a potato cake and a hash-brown – it was brushed with garlic butter which made it taste absolutely amazing!
Am Hof Christmas Market
Just down the road from Freyung is Am Hof Christmas Market – again, lots of unique handmade items, jewellery, ceramics and art stalls which made this market special.
Christmas Market – Stephensplatz
The markets at Stephensplatz are right in the centre of town – the stalls circle St. Stephens Cathedral offering mostly traditional gifts. Here, I bought a special edition of the boot-shaped mug in a pearly glaze as a keepsake!
Christmas Market – Schönbrunn Palace
I think this market was my favourite out of all the markets in Vienna. The Schönbrunn Palace looked spectacular, and there were a lot more tasty food choices – we had a really nice potato hash with roast pork and sauerkraut. The stalls were a bit different here – very classy decorations and handmade items, and there were a lot of things I had to hold myself back from buying!
Christmas Village – Maria-Theresien-Platz
This market is in a glorious location – on the one side, there is the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna (which is fantastic btw) and on the other, the Naturhistorisches Museum Vienna. There are over 50 booths here and a really lively atmosphere.
Wintererwachen at MQ – Musuem Quartier
Located at the Museums Quarter is a more contemporary Christmas market of sorts. There’s DJs and cocktails, modern art displays and curling – not your traditional Christmas Market!
Art Advent – Karlskirche
This market in front of the Karlskirche offers all handmade things and organic food. We were unfortunately too early in the day to visit the stalls as it starts at midday but we did get to see the cute farm animals at the petting zoo!
Top tips for your Vienna Christmas Markets experience
- Bring cash – most Christmas Market booths take cash only, and it can add up quite quickly if you are buying drinks (don’t forget to factor in the cup deposit!), snacks and gifts!
- Keep warm – you may get chilly being outside all day – warm up your hands with a hot gluhwein or punch, or better still, hand warmers will keep you warm all day!
- Plan a route – check where the markets are on the map, most of them are very close to each other so if you plan a walking route in advance you can easily hit a couple in a row!
- Try a weekday – it’s likely to be much less busy meaning you can have a relaxing stroll rather than be stressed by the crowds.
- Christmas market mugs – each Christmas market has its own special style of mug so you can choose your favourite! When you pay for your gluhwein you also pay a cup deposit. Once you’re done, you can take your mug back to one of the gluhwein stalls in that market and get your deposit back. Or just keep it as a souvenir! If you want a dry one, then just ask the stall for a fresh one so it’s not all sticky 🙂 I think you’ll find it hard not to come back back with at least one Christmas market mug!
I hope you’re feeling festive after reading that!
This blog post is the first part in my series dedicated to Vienna! Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out on my next post when I go on a mission to find the best schnitzel in Vienna!