Europe, Seasonal, Travel

Christmas Markets in Vienna

Vienna is a city notorious for its decadence, grandeur and elegance. The Austrian capital is just as famous for its expense as it is its opulence. After a relatively un-festive feeling on my way back from last years yuletide trip to Warsaw, a few months ago I decided I needed something fabulously festive for 2019. After toying with the idea of certain cities in Germany, it came as a rather lovely surprise to find some terrific deals for Christmas city breaks on the British Airways website.

Whilst my tips for visiting the city and eating out posts will come separately, as the festivities played a large part in my trip to Vienna, it only made sense to write about the Christmas markets I visited.

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Altwiener Christkindlmarkt

The first market we visited was in the evening of the day we arrived in the city. We headed to an open area in the heart of the city, surrounded by lavishly decorated hotels and palaces, known as The Freyung. For the rest of the year, this area is actually home to an organic farmers market, but from mid November it is transformed into one of the quieter winter wonderlands Vienna has to offer. As with many of the markets, there is a daily schedule of events, including craft demos and musical performances.

Altwiener Christkindlmarkt is quite an arty market in comparison to what might typically spring to mind when you think about Christmas markets. Here, some of the items to purchase, aside from the lashings of mulled punches and hot sausages, include handmade candles in quirky shapes and homemade jewelry out of wood, amber and coal.

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Weihnachtsmarkt am Stephansplatz

This Christmas market is afoot the famous St Stephen’s Cathedral and is one of the newest markets in the city. Even though it might not be steeped in quite as much history as some of the others, it definitely aims to please with all of the traditional offerings it provides.

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In the centre of the city, this market is one of the easiest to find and we happened to come across this one whilst venturing around St Stephen’s Cathedral. It is unusual in that the traditions of the market are surrounded by many a high street store and a range of restaurants. Tradition notes that sellers utilised the area around a church as a marketplace, especially during times of cultural significance, such as Christmas, where the churches would be busier than normal. This market follows the same idea.

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Wooden market stalls are set out around the grounds of the cathedral, with only human and equine access permitted. Horse drawn buggies, known locally as ‘fiakirs’, congregate at one side of the market. Having no cars in the centre of the city is refreshing as it allows market dwellers to stroll leisurely around the stalls, browsing the vast array of handcrafted gifts, festive decorations and Austrian food, without car fumes filling the air.

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Hundertwasserhaus and The Hundertwasser Village

Firstly, Hundertwasserhaus is a beautiful landmark in Vienna, known for its colourful exterior. With more than 200 trees planted on its roof and along its balconies, the house stands tall as something of a green oasis, or at least it would do in the summer. A site to behold, the house attracts over one million visitors per year. It being December however, when I visited, there was not a leaf to be seen, but the building itself was rather impressive. Opposite the building stands The Hundertwasser Village.

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Now this may not be a ‘Christmas Market’ in the conventional sense, but if you know anything about me as a writer or blogger, you will know that this will fit in just fine with me. The Hundertwasser Village was built in the early 1990’s so is relatively new. Previously a car tire factory, it was decided that the visitors to the nearby Hundertwasserhaus needed something else to do, so this purpose built area was created.

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Essentially an area of souvenir shops, eateries and an art gallery, the village was filled with Christmas jangles and in the centre of the indoor village I found my favourite ‘Christmas punsch’, providing a true winter warmer. Unlike at the market stalls, where you have to purchase a cup, or at least put down a deposit on one if you plan on returning it, I had managed to find somewhere that ‘punsch’ was served without needing to bring your own mug. This wonderful concoction of whiskey, rum, orange juice, lemon juice, honey and cinnamon was served steaming hot and was guaranteed to get you feeling jolly in no time at all.

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Wiener Weihnachtstraum

This one is the big one. It is the reason most people travel to Vienna for the Christmas markets and what comes to mind when you mention Viennese markets in particular. Wiener Weihnachtstraum is located in front of the town hall and has everything to offer that you would anticipate – from mulled wine to ice skating and lots in between.

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Me being me, I was interested mainly in the food available for purchase and for trying. I sampled the “ΓΌberbackene fladenbrote” or what is more commonly known as baked flatbread. Served hot with bubbling cheese, I picked up the fresh tuna version of this winter warmer. I’m not the biggest fan of white bread, but in Vienna it was hard not to love the fluffy, cloud like pieces of dough, encapsulated with a crusty outer shell. Walking around the market I also sampled a few freshly baked biscuits, one filled with Nutella and the other overloaded with cinnamon sprinkles.

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Something of a sensory overload, there was a plethora of sweet treats available, all around the market place. From chocolate covered everything and numerous nougat flavours to donuts and dates filled with the sweetest cream, it was hard to know just what you wanted to try first.

Away from the stalls, Wiener Weihnachtstraum provided a whole host of festive fun for all ages. Visiting on a Tuesday evening, it was bustling but still festive and not that crazy Oxford Circus at rush hour sort of busy, you can often get from Christmas markets on say a Saturday afternoon. With a ferris wheel and ice skating just some of the things to do here away from the market stalls, there is even a lovely tree filled with red, heart shaped lights, which makes for some lovely photographs. Lots of couples and families were queuing to take a picture with the signs around this tree, which I did not opt for, but I did see a young couple get engaged in front of the tree, which was pretty cheesy, but did result in a wave of cheering and applause when the young lady said yes.

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Vienna definitely left me feeling a lot more festive than when I returned from my trip to Warsaw. I would love to return to Vienna in the summer months to see how it is different when everything is not sparkling with festive cheer. What would the capital look like on a regular Tuesday night, for example?

Now that I have returned from my trip to Vienna, I can definitely understand why people speak so highly of the city when it comes to Christmas markets. All of the items available to purchase at the markets, were very expensive indeed, but away from the stalls, I found Vienna on par with London for the majority of things, like eating out and getting around, so I did not find it as expensive, away from the markets, as people make it out to be. (My tips for a spend savvy trip to Vienna are coming soon!)

If you have been to Vienna for Christmas, or on a regular weekday, do let me know what you thought in the comments below. 

37 thoughts on “Christmas Markets in Vienna”

    1. It really is all of the above – I went, fully prepared to be underwhelmed following my 2018 trip, but it was above and beyond! A wonderful city to visit, especially at this time of year, although I am curious as to how it would be in say, June! x

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  1. Oh I have been looking forward to this post!

    I was pretty sold on visiting Vienna anyway but you have totally sold me! It sounds like a wonderful place to visit. Your pictures are fabulous.

    I am so glad you had a great time x

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    1. Thank you so much! Wait until you see all of the delicious food in my post about eating my way around the city! It is an incredible place to visit! I was happy to find that it wasn’t as expensive as people make out as well, you just need to be a bit savvy on certain things! Definitely one for the festive bucket list! x

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    1. I would definitely put it on your list of places to check out – I’m so glad I got to visit. I was fully expecting it to not be as good as it sounds, but it seriously, really is β™₯ Thank you for reading and your comment x

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    1. We hit incredibly lucky with a great deal from our local airport for this one, for sure. Everything in our searches was coming up so blooming expensive, it was crazy. I can’t recommend Vienna enough, at least in the winter time! It has one of the best atmospheres! x

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  2. Vienna looks truly beautiful. The nearest i got to that was the Christmas market in Edinburgh. Nowhere near the style of Vienna and i got a bit tight on the mulled wine!

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    1. I always loved the markets in Edinburgh β™₯ They were some of my favourite when I was growing up. I think you would love Vienna – everything there (at least related to Christmas) is just so classy. A little on the chilly side with the snow flurries but nothing you can’t cope with! x

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      1. Sorry for the late reply – I was off all socials for the holidays! It still doesn’t have the comment option – there’s the option to pin for later, some # tags then the option to share on socials and some details on your other posts 😦 x

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      2. No I understand. I am also coming back myself. Slowly. For some reason the comments on that post where unchecked I have made sure it is ticked now. Thank you so much for giving me the heads up. Hope you had a great xmas zz

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    1. Thank you so much – same to you β™₯. Vienna is such a lovely city and great for some shopping (aside from the Christmas stuff!!) I aim to get my eating out in Vienna post and top tips for the city up soon β™₯ x

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    1. IT was seriously so beautiful – I cannot recommend it enough, at least around Christmas. We did focus a lot of the festive side of the city on my visit so I would love to return in summer and see if the mood changes! x

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    1. Definitely one for the list! People rave about Germany (and they look wonderful) but I don’t know, I feel like there was just an extra oomph of style in Vienna – I think it will be hard to beat! Thank you so much for reading my post! x

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    1. No problem at all – it more often than not, takes me several weeks, if not months, to get my travel content up on my blog, but this needed to go up ASAP! I loved it so much and definitely recommend! x

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  3. I’m not much of a Christmas market man (the wife would love it) but Vienna looks beautiful! Definitely somewhere I’d contemplate visiting. Great photos.

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  4. This reminds me of Christmas Market in Switzerland. How I missed it! What I liked most was the snow, handmade crafts and FOOD! Churros dipped in hot chocolate……

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    1. The food is so so so so the best part of Christmas markets (at least for me). Chocolate dipped churros are an absolute dream – although I can’t eat too many as they are so sweet! β™₯ Thank you for reading my post and commenting – I hope you had a great Christmas x

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  5. I’ve never thought of visiting Vienna Vienna, or anywhere in Austria to be honest, but this has changed my mind. I love a good Christmas market and these ones look beautiful. The little snowman and that staircase especially.

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    1. It is literally the epitome of all that is festive. I would highly recommend for a Christmas break. It was amazing – even though my expectations were low because of my jaunt to Poland in 2018! That snowman β™₯ it was hard not to buy a load of stuff I didn’t need – purely because it was so cute or pretty! x

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  6. Amazing, amazing, amazing and nothing more to say.
    Oh no, there is what to say – I hope that I will visit Vienna next Christmas! I haven’t been there yet but I think, that it’s a must-see!!!!

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    1. Vienna is truly wonderful at Christmas – it is one of those places that just feels so magical. I haven’t been at another time of year to compare the spirit but it was truly great and everyone there was super friendly – definitely one for the list! x

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