Even if you’re not a Christmas loving romantic it’s hard not to love Vienna at Christmas with its enchanting markets. I am Viktoria, a foodie and coffee shop lover living in London, but I lived in Vienna for many years and I loved strolling around in this special period of the year. Vienna is worth seeing all year round, but if you go in December, you will feel the city’s unique, magic atmosphere. It gets dark quite early and taking walks around the Vienna Christmas markets before heading to a bar is what Viennese people love to do. It’s an age-old tradition, dating back to 1298. Just to see the lights, smell Glühwein (mulled wine) in the air, see snowflakes dancing and soak up the special feeling is something you can only get in Vienna…
The 9 Best Christmas Markets in Vienna
- Christmas markets in Vienna are called “Christkindlmarkt” because the traditional Christmas gift-bringer in Austria is called “Christkindl” (“Christ-child”).
- Bring your gloves, hat, scarf and warm clothes. It gets freeeezing cold (I know what I’m talking about!). Therefore I’m adding my tips to warm up too!
- All Christmas markets (except Schönbrunn and the Vegan Advent Market) are in walking distance. Great, huh? Are you ready? Here are my favourites…
1. Art Advent – Arts & Crafts on Karlsplatz
In front of the famous church Karlskirche you’ll find an alternative Christmas market – full of arts and crafts. Wander down the little streets and explore local food. You have to try a “Raclette Brot” (proper bread with warm cheese from the Alps) and the “Schilcher Glühwein” (mulled wine from Styria). So delicious! There’s a huge live nativity scene too.
Where to warm up: I recommend the bar and restaurant Heuer am Karlsplatz because it’s a new and trendy spot. A bit cosier is Pointers, one of my favourite bars/pubs in Vienna – say hello to Noura and Mark from me.
2. Christmas Market on Spittelberg
Idyllic alleyways with lots of stalls full of artisan’s wares… The Christmas market on Spittelberg is perfect to buy unusual Christmas gifts. It’s in the middle of a Biedermeier heritage district in the hip neighbourhood Neubau with lots of trendy bars and restaurants around it. The atmosphere is unique – you won’t be disappointed.
Where to warm up: Definitely Amerling Beisl! It has the most amazing courtyard in Vienna. A few minutes walk away is the best roof top bar in Vienna: Dachboden.
3. Winter in the MQ
Drinking mulled wine to DJ sounds – this place has a really cool vibe! MuseumsQuartier (MQ) in Vienna is not only hot during summer months. You’ll love the huge courtyard between the museums with different ice pavilions (and punch specialities), a curling lane and video projections on facades. Sounds amazing, right? It is!
Where to warm up: Way too many options around the ice pavilions! I recommend Halle, Leopold, Kantine, MQ Daily and Glacis Beisl.
4. Christmas Village on Maria-Theresien-Platz
Between impressive buildings of the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Art and just two mins from MQ, you’ll find the Christmas village on Maria-Theresien-Platz. The former Austrian monarch statue will look at you from the centre of the square, while you’re exploring the decorated market stalls and delicious food. Try “Kiachl” from Tyrol (similar to doughnuts, but with cranberry jam or sauerkraut).
Where to warm up: Just cross the street and head back to Museumsquartier!
5. Christkindlmarkt at Rathausplatz
I know, I know. The internet says it’s one of the most touristy Vienna Christmas markets. And it’s true! But even as a local I visited this market at least once every year. It’s like a shining fairy tale with a giant Christmas tree. The stalls are full of Christmas knickknacks. Try the chocolate covered fresh fruits , walk around and be amazed by this magical place and spectacular City Hall. Tip: Bring your ice skates for some fun on the beautiful ice rink in the middle of the market.
Where to warm up: Head in the direction of the (beautiful!) university and cross the street to Café Stein, a typical Viennese café. I spent lots of hours during university there and I love the ambience!
6. Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace
Baroque at its best! It’s the perfect place for a tranquil evening, not as crowded as Rathausplatz. Lots of stalls with handcrafted goods and culinary delights. You’ll fall in love with the breathtaking building and the beautiful garden. Make sure you’ll explore the Belvedere Palace also in the daytime!
Where to warm up: Around Karlsplatz, just a few minutes away, you’ll find lots of places. For great coffee check out Kaffeefabrik. I also like Radlager Palazzo and Vollpension.
7. Old Viennese Christmas Market on Freyung
The oldest existing Christmas market is in the city centre. It first took place in 1772 but has changed over the past 300 years and nowadays you can buy handicrafts, glass decoration and ceramics. Don’t forget to explore the centre of Vienna too. I love strolling through the old streets and dreaming of the old glamour of Vienna…
Where to warm up: Delicious and cheap giant pitas you’ll get at Kolar. One of the top bakeries in Vienna “Joseph – Brot vom Pheinsten” is also just around the corner. If you want to see Vienna’s oldest (and definitely smallest) Irish pub head to Bockshorn.
8. Christmas Village in the Old AKH
Another alternative to the more traditional Vienna Christmas markets. The former main hospital is now the campus of the University of Vienna, which makes it a popular meeting point for the younger crowd. My tip: Follow the small paths and discover fascinating stalls. Don’t forget to try the “exotic” punch like “Apfelstrudel” (apple strudel) – at least once!
Where to warm up: Check out Coffee Pirates for a delicious flat white.
9. Christmas Market Schönbrunn
Last, but not least: Schönbrunn. This is one of the main attractions you shouldn’t miss while you’re in Vienna. It’s a tourist hotspot but the locals also LOVE Schönbrunn. The famous palace is gorgeous and with the smell of hot punch in the air (and maybe in your hands too), you’ll have an unforgettable evening.
Where to warm up: There aren’t too many great options. But try Landtmann’s Jausenstation or the Pure Living Bakery for some delicious pastries.
And now you’re all set! Which of the Vienna Christmas markets is your favourite? Or which one would you most like to visit?
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Other posts you may be interested in:
- 10 Of The Best Things To Do In Vienna On A Budget
- 5 enchanting Christmas markets in Prague
- 8 of the best Berlin Christmas Markets not to miss!