Winter is about to set in Vienna and it’s time to begin your Christmas preparations. Come November, and you will witness a joyous frenzy gripping the beautiful capital city of Austria. The city is ready to be transformed into a magical Christmas themed place from mid-November onwards until early January. With the big festival round the corner, it’s time for you to indulge in some serious Christmas shopping.
Vienna is home to about 25 Christmas markets across the city, with 20 of them being the official Advent markets. The first Christmas market took shape after Duke Albrecht-1 granted permission to the residents of Vienna. Ever since, the Christmas markets are being held regularly in the city. These markets have undergone changes over the past several decades, but they still continue to retain their original traditions, magical touch and charm.
The Christmas markets in Vienna are steeped in tradition. Their history dates back to 7 centuries. The first Christmas market was held in 1298 after Duke Albrecht-1 granted Viennese citizens permission to hold a Dezembermarkt or December market. During the 18th century, the market started functioning under the name of Krippenmarkt (crib market) and was essentially reserved for small traders. However, during 1814 the tradition of giving Christmas gifts began. The market, which was then situated at Am Hof, began selling Christmas goodies. The Christmas markets are being regularly held ever since and changed drastically over the years, while retaining their traditional charm and magic. These markets continue to attract visitors in large numbers, with over 3 million people visiting the markets every year.
Locations of Christmas markets
The best Christmas market in Vienna can be found in the city hall square beneath the Burgtheater. The market is simply awesome and exudes the traditional Christmas magic. You will be mesmerized with artistic displays, decorated trees and fairytale scenes. If you want to shop for art, clothes or jewelry, the best thing you should do is to head to the heritage district of Spittelberg and wander through its narrow streets. You may also consider visiting the Christmas market of Am hoff or Altwiener’s, an old-style Viennese Christkindlmarkt, to shop for something more traditional. Think of visiting the Christmas village on Old Akh to spend some special romantic time. The Christmas market at Ehrenhof in front of Schronbrunn Palace is the best place to visit for culture buffs.
Best time to visit Christmas markets
The Christmas markets in Vienna usually start from mid-November and continue through the Christmas Eve. Some of the markets even close a day earlier on December 23. The cultural market at Ehrenhof is however later on converted into a New Year’s market. Each of the Christmas market in the city starts on a different day offering varied options for you to explore. Whenever you decide to go for Christmas shopping in Vienna, it is important that you check the dates in advance and accordingly visit the markets. The picturesque Austrian capital city is surely the perfect destination for you to visit during Christmas and do some great shopping for your friends and family.
Buying gifts and presents
Exploring the Christmas markets in the city is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. You will get plenty of opportunities to buy wonderful gifts and exclusive presents for your loved ones, entire family or friends that are available here. The Christmas market at Rathausplatz is the best place to visit to shop for traditional decorations to dress up your tree. You can also buy mulled wine, warming drinks of chocolate and sweet treats. This is also a great place to come along with your little kids. They will thoroughly enjoy the nativity scenes and pony rides. The Rathausplatz Christmas market will in fact prove to be a wonderland for your children.
Visiting the Christmas village on Maria-Theresian-Platz is a sheer delight. Here you can find traditional handicrafts. This is also a great place for culinary delights as well. You will come up with original gift ideas while wandering through the market. Those who are planning to buy something different may consider visiting the alternative market on Karlsplatz where they will be able to purchase some exclusive handicraft items.
Apart from shopping, there are a lot of things that you can do at most of the Christmas markets. The Christmas market on Freyung comes alive each day at 4.30 pm. You can enjoy to festive advent music by attending the free concerts here.
The Christmas markets in Vienna offer you an excellent opportunity to know about the lifestyle, culture and traditions of the local Viennese, while enjoying the culinary delights in the city during this special festivity.