I’ve always dreamt of visiting Christmas markets in Europe, and this year I finally got to visit so many in Vienna. Filled with little wooden stalls selling everything from holiday trinkets to warm beverages, the markets are truly a magical experience and a sight to behold. This post covers the Christmas markets I visited in Vienna and what the atmosphere was like at each one.
What do Christmas Markets Sell?
Before I dive into the various Christmas markets in Vienna, I first want to talk about what you can find at a Christmas market. If your goal is to eat and drink your way through these markets (like mine was), then you won’t be disappointed! In addition to amazing food and beverages, you can also find gifts for the holidays or even goodies for yourself. Here is what you will find:
- Christmas ornaments – from baubles to tree toppers, the Christmas ornaments stalls will make you want it all!
- Handmade crafts – from woodwork to paper stars, there are lots of little trinkets and gifts that you can pick up
- Mini ceramic villages
- Soaps and candles
- Gingerbread cookies – these cookies come in all sizes and shapes and even ones you can wear!
- Other food – from light snack to full meals, food stalls in my opinion is one of the best things about these markets
- Alcohol – from warm fruit punches, creamy eggnog to mulled wine, the beverages at these markets were out of this world good! especially in the cold weather
All the markets I’ve mentioned below will carry almost all of the above goods
Best Christmas Markets to Visit in Vienna
One of my favorite markets and an absolute must visit! With over 100+ stalls, it’s also probably one of the bigger Christmas markets in Vienna. This market is also called the “Viennese Christmas Dream Market” and that is easy to see why! Vienna’s famous Rathaus or City Hall provides an ideal backdrop for this market while the giant Christmas tree and Ferris wheel adds to the magic. You can find anything from beautiful Christmas crafts to some amazing desserts and sweet treats at this market.
Schönbrunn Palace is a jaw dropping place to visit at any time of the year. But insert a Christmas market in front of its magnificent façade and it becomes something out of a fairytale! Schönbrunn is a big market and what stood out to me most about this market were all the amazing food stalls. Another amazing feature about Schönbrunn is the live music that entertains you while you traverse the stalls.
A little south east of Vienna, Schönbrunn may not be in a central location but it was still pretty crowded nevertheless. Don’t let the distance thwart you from going! It’s still accessible by public transportation! HERE is the link if you also want to visit the palace.
Perhaps the most central of all markets, the Stephansplatz market is right next to St. Stephan’s Cathedral. A little smaller than some of the other markets I’ve mentioned above but still worth visiting given the iconic structure it’s located next to. Plus, the surrounding area is full of festivities and holiday splendor.
Am Hof Market
Am Hof is situated right next to the glamorous and ritzy shopping area in Vienna which may explain the champagne bars at the market. Despite the location, it was still a very laid back setting. I bought some soft cookies here which were absolutely divine. Make sure to add this one to your list!
The museum of Natural History on one side, the museum of Art History on the other side, and Empress Maria-Theresa in the middle! The Christmas market at Maria-Theresien-Platz should definitely be on your Christmas markets in Vienna bucket list. This market was a lot more spread out than some of the rest. What stood out to me most about this market were all the interesting chocolate beverages.
Spittelberg market is a completely different vibe altogether. It’s a collection of a few tightly knit streets with stalls and feels like a bunch of neighbors got together and threw a laid back party. It’s a lot more smaller and intimate than some of the other markets. I really enjoyed the experience here but my favorite thing about this market is that they had this most amazing bailey’s punch, a warm creamy beverage with baileys in it. It was so good I came back to Spittleberg for another mug!
A Christmas market with a baroque palace in the backdrop? Sounds amazing doesn’t it? and it really is! Smaller than Schönbrunn but still charming nevertheless. One thing that stood out about this market was the entertainment for kids.
Tips for visiting the Christmas Markets in Vienna and Important Things to Know
They are Entirely Free
One of the best things about these markets is that there is no entry fees!
If you are visiting Vienna and don’t have a lot of days, then make a plan of which markets you are covering when. You may not have time to do all the markets and may have to pick and choose a few. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the experience and run out of time….which brings me to my next point
Check Closing Times
As I mentioned above it takes time to visit each market fully. Also expect to stand in food and punch stall lines if you plan on eating and drinking. Each market has different opening and closing times so check these times out prior and back to my first point, plan ahead!
Europe is a cashless place, and that’s great most of the time with the exception of Christmas markets. Some vendors may only take cash and it also makes the whole mug exchange so much easier….which bring me to my next point
Mugs for Hire or to Keep
Most beverage places will serve their punch and mulled wines in a festive mug that is customized with the name of the Christmas market. When you buy a beverage, you also pay for the mug with a deposit. You can get your deposit back or opt to keep the mug as a souvenir. If you don’t want the mug, simply return it back to the counter for your deposit.
This goes without saying but just a friendly reminder! All markets are outdoors and the weather can be pretty nippy, especially at night.
Carry your Vaccination Card
When I visited these Christmas markets in Vienna in 2021, I had to show proof of vaccination to get it to get in.
Christmas in Vienna
The Christmas markets are not the only great thing about Christmas time in Vienna. The entire city is highly decorated and lights up during Christmas! I have been to Vienna in the summer before but totally fell in love with the city this time around.
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Love Christmas in Europe? Check out my post on what Christmas is like in Spain HERE or below.