Through the middle of November until Christmas day, many parts of Vienna are transforming their squares into whimsical markets. It’s not unusual to experience the smells of fresh Christmas baking, to see sales booths popping up across the area, and a number of tree decorations making their way into shop windows.
Christmas markets in Vienna
Christmas markets in Vienna have become something of a tradition. In the year 1298 Albrecht I first granted citizens to hold one or temporary set up. The nature of these markets has changed over time and there are over 20 types of markets that occur across the city, each with their own unique treats and seasonal gifts.
Read here about one of the most popular Vienna markets at Christmas:
The Viennese Dream Christmas market
This market takes place in front of City Hall and includes the highlight of a large tree and a series of declarations. The backdrop of City Hall gives this market a unique appeal and is a must-stop for many locals trying to get into the holiday spirit. There is also an area dedicated to children on the ground floor of City Hall for making candles and cookies.
International choirs sing on the weekends throughout this Christmas market which takes place from the middle of November throughout the square at the front of City Hall. According to vienna-unwrapped.com, this is one of the most traditional markets in the city center. The market here has been held since the year 1772 and it’s the perfect place to find the best glass decorations, handicrafts, ceramics, and custom-made mangers. Music gets started every day at 4 PM.
Christmas village on Maria Theresien square
This is a Christmas village that is bordered by a series of impressive examples of Viennese architecture. Located between the museum of art and the Museum of Natural History, this is an atmosphere that you won’t soon forget. The area is decorated with a series of market stalls and a number of culinary delights can be purchased here. The market is open over the weekend and extends into New Year’s through the first week of January. The market begins towards the middle part of November.
Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace
The Baroque architecture here is modeled by more traditional handicrafts. There are over 40 stalls with a series of traditional items and handcrafted goods. The culinary flavor here is traditional as well and many recount this market as one of the most beautiful in Vienna. If your goal is to experience more of a traditional or historical market, this could be an excellent stop along your way.
The New Year’s market here runs up until New Year’s Day and the Belvedere Palace market gets started towards the end of November running until the day after the holiday. Set with the backdrop of Belvedere Palace, this is an excellent way that you can explore the world-famous residence as well as one of the most visited markets in Vienna.
Christmas village in former General Hospital
Vienna’s former General Hospital now José Christmas village called the village Altes AKH. This is an enchanting and more modern village which is designed with a series of market stalls and narrow alleyways. Voted for some of the most delicious Gluhwein treats, this village kicks off in the middle of November and runs until Christmas Eve. It is a more modern approach to a village and the stalls and presents are designed with a touch that combines the tradition and some modern inclusions to a village setup.
Schonbrunn Palace Christmas market
This is a market that has over 60 exhibitors selling handmade items including Nativity sets. Visiting this market could be an excellent way that you could see the palace as well as experience some of the best baked Vanillekipferl and hot punch. Located in the parade court, this is a village that runs from the third week of November into the first week of January. The atmosphere here is wonderful and with the palace bordering the outside of the square there is a beautiful and historical backdrop to this quaint and very large Christmas village setup.
Spittelberg Christmas village
This historical district is known for its narrow side streets which transform into a Christmas village throughout the festive season. This is one of the best places to get high-quality jewelry, jumpers, rugs, art and ceramics. The market at Spittelberg is a shoppers paradise and you will feel like you’re on a treasure hunt as you make your way through the narrow passageways between stalls. The village runs from the 13th until 23 December and it includes a wide range of vendors with some lights and displays throughout the exhibitors.
What is different about Christmas in Vienna?
Many parts of the city are changed throughout Christmas time. Whether it’s the setup of markets or the trees in City Hall Park, Vienna is a wonderful city to visit around Christmas. There are over 3000 m of ice rink paths through several of Vienna’s parks. There is also a children’s world that gets set up with a carousel, rain gear train and a number of light installations that take place across the city.
Vienna is a place that truly transforms overnight in the middle of December and often continues its decorative touches well into the New Year.
Whether you’re planning on visiting Vienna to experience the magic of a traditional Christmas or you would like to spend time with friends and family in Vienna over the holidays, there are plenty of unique activities that you can enjoy throughout your time. Be sure to check on the opening times and performance schedules for each market so that you can enjoy the best experience when you visit. Remember that there are dozens of markets that happened throughout the season so it is important to track down your favourites so you can see all of your favourite vendors again next year!