In this guest post travel writer Anne-Sophie Redisch describes some of the wonderful Christmas Markets in Vienna.
From mid-November to 24 December, Vienna is filled with Christmas spirit. Viennaâ€™s Christmas markets are as charming and elegant as Vienna itself. The markets are held in several locations, including (but not limited to) Spittelberg, Schloss Belvedere, SchÃ¶nbrunn and Rathausplatz (City Hall).
Christmas trees for sale in Graben St, Vienna
Vienna’s Christmas Markets are a long standing tradition with records from 1626 showing that huts for selling bakersâ€™ and confectionersâ€™ goods were set up on Graben street by the chimerical St Stephen’s Cathedral. On present-day Graben, pines and firs from the Vienna Woods are for sale among the majestic buildings and monuments. In 1780 â€“ 1781, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart resided at no. 17 Graben, Today, this building houses Pension Nossek, my favourite Vienna B&B. It always thrills me to open the heavy wooden door and climb the winding stairway, thinking he did the same 229 years ago. I wonder if he ambled along the Christmas stalls, drinking mulled wine.
Christmas decorations at Christkindlmarkt
Many locals prefer the cosy atmosphere of Spittelbergâ€™s market. Rather than on a large square, itâ€™s set up along narrow cobbled lanes and passageways. By the beautiful baroque palace Belvedere, you can combine Christmas market browsing with a visit to the worldâ€™s largest collection of symbolist Gustav Klimtâ€™s golden paintings.
Temptation abounds at Christkindlmarkt, Vienna
At UNESCO World Heritage listed SchÃ¶nbrunn, history once again commands attention. This Christmas market is relatively new (2009 is only the 16th year), so little Archduchess Maria Antonia Josepha Joanna didnâ€™t experience it. Iâ€™m sure she would have been delighted, though; legend has it she was a lively, carefree child. Oddly, I canâ€™t seem to visit this Habsburg palace without picturing the little girl running around the grounds with her 15 brothers and sisters, blissfully unaware of the horrible fate that awaited her in Paris (where she was better known as Marie Antoinette).
The Christkindlmarkt by the imposing City Hall is the most famous of the cityâ€™s markets, possibly visited by as many as 3 million people each year. Blown glass, handicrafts, Christmas tree ornaments, beeswax candles, wooden toys; itâ€™s a veritable kaleidoscope of colours. The scent of roasted chestnuts and freshly baked goodies pervades the air. Punch and mulled wine taste better for being served in porcelain mugs rather than plastic cups. If you forfeit the 2 Euro deposit, you can take the specially made Christkindlmarkt mugs home.
Inside City Hall is a childrenâ€™s workshop, the Christkindl Werkstatt; a favourite outing for Viennese primary schools. Gleeful children create fabulous Christmas presents. Thousands of ginger bread biscuits, animal figures, picture frames, leather jewellery, candles and colourful goblets are created during the advent period.
Christkindl Werkstatt (Children’s Workshop), Vienna
After dark, Viennaâ€™s Christmas markets take on a bewitching character. Youâ€™d be forgiven for thinking youâ€™ve been transported to a fairy tale; itâ€™s thoroughly magical.
More European Christmas Markets
Discover another 24 Christmas Markets in Europe in our collation post.
Best of Vienna Tips
You can find ideas of other things go do in Vienna in our
Best of Vienna Tips
Our Best of Vienna Travel Tips collation will give you plenty of ideas for you trip to Vienna. Find out about more fascinating Vienna museums. We’ve also researched some of the best places to stay in Vienna for all budgets.