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[2023] Discover the Magic of Vienna Christmas Markets: The Ultimate Guide

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Vienna’s Christmas markets, or “Christkindlmärkte,” as they are known in German, are a beloved tradition dating back to the Middle Ages. They serve as bustling centers of cultural celebration, where locals and tourists alike gather to appreciate the twinkling displays, partake in mouthwatering Austrian treats, and peruse the diverse range of artisanal crafts and goods. Bookmark this Vienna Christmas Markets guide and enjoy all the city has to offer during Christmas!

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What is a Christkindlmarkt?

Christmas markets, or “Christkindlmärkte”, have a storied history in Austria, dating back to the Middle Ages. Originally, they provided a space for people to buy and sell essential goods for the winter.

Over time, they evolved into vibrant social events where locals and visitors gather to celebrate the Advent season. Today, they are integral to Austria’s cultural identity, symbolizing community, tradition, and the joy of the holiday season.

Fun Fact

The markets are named after “Christkind”, a central figure in Austrian Christmas traditions. The Christkind is traditionally depicted as an angelic figure with blond hair and wings. While the figure originally represented the baby Jesus, over time it evolved into a separate character. Today, the Christkind is said to deliver gifts to children on Christmas Eve, much like Santa Claus in other traditions.

When do the Vienna Christmas Markets Open?

Although mostly associated with December, most of the Christmas markets actually open as early as the middle of November. Many are open throughout the day and week, others are only open on the weekends.

Some Vienna Christmas markets are open for the entire Advent period while others only on specific dates. Please check out the list of markets below for details.

What to Expect at a Christmas Market in Vienna?

Christmas markets in Vienna are an enchanting experience, but they can also be a test of your patience. At least they test my patience. During peak times, especially on weekends, they can be crowded, with long lines at food and drink stalls.

Additionally, you might find the prices slightly higher compared to regular shops or markets, especially at the more tourist-centric locations.

The prices at the Christmas markets in Vienna can be steep.

However, the bustling crowds and twinkling lights are part of what makes Vienna’s Christmas markets so magical. There’s a special kind of joy in sipping a warm mug of Glühwein as snowflakes fall around you, or in finding the perfect handcrafted gift amid the lively stalls.

To make your visit more enjoyable, consider going earlier in the day or on weekdays when the markets are less crowded. Not only will you have more space to browse, but you’ll also have a better chance of interacting with the vendors and learning about their crafts.

For me, I try to visit just before dusk as the markets are still less crowded, but the twinkly lights are really bringing out the magic.

Also, while Vienna is generally a very safe city, with the hustle and bustle at the markets, one must, unfortunately, expect some share of pickpocketing. Please keep a close eye on your belongings when you visit.

Don’t forget that if you buy a hot drink, a small deposit (“Pfand”) is added to the cost of the mug (between 1 and 5 EUR). But don’t worry, you can get your deposit back when you return the mug.

The mugs at the Vienna Christmas markets make great souvenirs.

However, many visitors choose to keep their mugs as souvenirs, as each market often has its unique design – a perfect memento of your Viennese Christmas market experience.

Pro Tip

Bring cash. While at some craft stalls, you can now pay by card as well, most food stalls only accept cash.

Visiting Classic Vienna Christmas Markets

Vienna’s Christmas markets sprawl across the city like a constellation of festive islands. Each neighborhood has its own unique market, each offering a different flavor of Viennese Christmas spirit.

Whether you’re strolling down broad boulevards or exploring winding cobblestone streets, you’re likely to stumble upon one of these festive gatherings.

Navigating between these markets is quite easy. Vienna’s public transport system is efficient and convenient. The U-Bahn (underground railway), trams, and buses all serve the main Christmas market locations.

Moreover, the city’s compact layout and the markets’ proximity to each other make it possible to visit several markets in one day.

For your convenience, I have created a map of all the Vienna Christmas markets mentioned in this post.

Viennese Christmas Market on City Hall Square

Address: Rathausplatz, 1010 Vienna

The Christmas market at Rathausplatz in Vienna.

Located in the heart of Vienna, the Rathausplatz Christmas Market radiates charm from the shadows of the city’s grand neo-gothic city hall.

One of the 150 stalls at the Christmas market at City Hall Square in Vienna.

With over 150 stalls offering a diverse array of handcrafted gifts, delicious food, and holiday decorations, this market is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Vienna in winter.

Dates: Nov 11 – Dec 26

Opening hours: 10 am – 9:30 pm (daily); earlier closing times during Christmas

Spittelberg Christmas Market

Address: Spittelberggasse 1-30 Gutenberggasse 1-30 Schrankgasse 1-18, Stiftgasse 13-25, 1070 Vienna

The Christmas market at Spittelberg in Vienna.

Tucked away in the narrow, cobblestone streets of Vienna’s Spittelberg neighborhood, this market boasts an intimate atmosphere and a selection of handcrafted goods that are second to none.

If you’re seeking one-of-a-kind, locally-made gifts, the Spittelberg Christmas Market is the place for you.

Dates: Nov 16 – Dec 23

Opening hours: 2 pm – 9 pm (Mon-Thu), 2 pm – 9:30 pm (Fri),10 am – 9:30 pm (Sat), 10 am – 9 pm (Sun)

Schönbrunn Palace Christmas Market

Address: Schönbrunner Schloßstraße 47, 1130 Vienna

The market at Schönbrunn is one of the most famous Vienna Christmas markets.

The Schönbrunn Palace Christmas Market is set against the backdrop of the imperial summer residence.

It offers an array of stalls selling traditional handicrafts, handmade jewelry, and rustic Christmas decorations. The market’s festive concerts add to its royal charm.

One of the many stalls the Christmas market at Schönbrunn in Vienna.

Not surprisingly maybe, this is one of the most popular Christmas markets in Vienna. However, thanks to the large area, it actually feels less crowded than some of the other markets.

Dates: Nov 18 – Jan 4

Opening hours: 10 am – 9 pm (daily); earlier closing times from Christmas onwards

Altes AKH Christmas Market

Address: Alserstrasse/Spitalgasse, Hof 1, 1090 Vienna

The centerpiece of the Vienna Christmas market at Altes AKH.

The Altes AKH Christmas Market, set in the old general hospital, features nostalgic fairground rides and a unique assortment of stalls. Its lantern-lit paths and cozy atmosphere make it an ideal market for families.

Dates: Nov 10 – Dec 23

Opening hours: 2 pm -10 pm (Mon-Wed), 2 pm – 11 pm (Thu-Fri), 11 am – 11 pm (Sat), 11 am – 8 pm (Sun)

Belvedere Palace Christmas Market

Address: Prinz-Eugen-Straße 27, 1030 Vienna

The Belvedere Palace Christmas Market, in front of the stunning baroque palace, is one of Vienna’s most picturesque markets. Here, you can sip hot punch while browsing through artisanal products and soaking in the view of the illuminated palace.

Dates: Nov 17 – Dec 31

Opening hours: 11 am – 9 pm (weekdays), 10 am – 9 pm (weekends); earlier closing times between Christmas and New Year’s

Old Viennese Christmas Market on Freyung

Address: Freyung 7, 1010 Vienna

The Altwiener Christmas market in Vienna, located at Freyung.

Located in the city’s old town, the Freyung Christmas Market is possibly the oldest in Vienna. A Christmas market was held here as early as 1772. This market maintains a traditional vibe, with stalls selling a variety of handcrafted ceramics, glass decorations, and locally produced food.

Dates: Nov 18 – Dec 23

Opening hours: 10 am – 9 pm (daily)

Karlsplatz Art Advent Christmas Market

Address: Karlsplatz 13, 1040 Vienna

The Christmas market at Karlsplatz in Vienna.

This Vienna Christmas market is my personal favorite. Situated on the square in front of the Karlskirche, this market stands out for its focus on sustainability and handcrafted goods.

The stalls at the Vienna Christmas market in front of Karlskirche.

In fact, all items sold here MUST be hand-crafted and undergo a jury assessment before being sold.

Dates: Nov 24 – Dec 23

Opening hours: 12 pm – 8 pm (daily)

Maria-Theresien-Platz Christmas Village

Address: Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna

The Vienna Christmas market at Maria-Theresien-Platz.

Nestled between the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Art History, this market is an art lover’s dream. Alongside traditional food and craft stalls, you’ll find numerous art vendors selling original artworks.

Dates: Nov 15 – Dec 31

Opening hours: 11 am – 9 pm (Sun – Thu), 11 am – 10 pm (Fri – Sat); earlier closing times during Christmas

Stephansplatz Christmas Market

Address: Stephansplatz 2, 1010 Vienna

The Vienna Christmas market at Stephansplatz.

At the heart of Vienna’s bustling city center, this small but lively market surrounds the iconic St. Stephen’s Cathedral. A must-visit for first-time tourists, it offers a classic Viennese Christmas experience. 

Dates: Nov 10 – Dec 26

Opening hours: 11 am – 9 pm (daily); earlier closing times during Christmas

Pro Tip

To get away from the absolute madness of this market, duck into the courtyard of the Teutonic order. There, Haas & Haas organize “Winter in the City”, a tiny but inviting Christmas market. They may just serve the best Punsch and Glühwein in the city!

Prater: Winter Market on Riesenradplatz

Address: Riesenradplatz, 1020 Vienna

The entrance to the Vienna Christmas market in Prater.

Situated within Vienna’s famous Prater amusement park, this market pairs traditional Christmas festivities with the thrill of rides and attractions. Don’t forget to take a ride on the Ferris wheel for a breathtaking view of the city! 

Dates: Nov 18 – Jan 7

Opening hours: 12 pm – 10 pm (weekdays), 11 am to 10 pm (weekends); earlier closing times during Christmas; later closing time on New Year’s Eve

Am Hof Christmas Market

Address: Am Hof, 1010 Vienna

The stalls at the Vienna Christmas market located Am Hof.

One of the most elegant markets, the Am Hof Christmas Market offers a refined selection of gourmet food, high-quality crafts, and an exclusive range of drinks.

Dates: Nov 10 – Dec 23

Opening hours: 11 am – 9 pm (Mon-Thu), 10 am – 9 pm (Fri-Sun)

Imperial and Royal Christmas Market

Address: Michaelerplatz, 1010 Vienna

The Imperial and Royal Christmas market in Vienna.

The Imperial and Royal Christmas Market, located on Michaelerplatz just in front of the Imperial Palace presents mainly products of Austrian manufacturers, sweets, tin figures, handmade cribs, and much more. The white color of the stalls makes this market stand out.

Dates: mid-November until early January

Opening hours: 10 am – 8 pm (daily); earlier closing times during Christmas

Palais Liechtenstein Christmas Market

Address: Fürstengasse 1, 1090 Vienna

The Vienna Christmas market at Palais Liechtenstein.

The Christmas Market at Palais Liechtenstein offers a royal experience. Set within the grounds of one of Vienna’s most opulent baroque palaces, it features a curated selection of luxury goods, high-quality crafts, and gourmet foods.

A visit here is an opportunity to enjoy the holiday season in a truly grand setting (without the crowds of Belvedere and Schönbrunn).

Dates: Nov 17 – Dec 23

Opening hours: 2 pm – 9 pm (Mon – Thu), 1 am – 9 pm (Fri – Sun)

Böhmischer Prater Christmas Market

Address: Laaer Wald 216, 1100 Wien

The Böhmischer Prater Christmas Market is a well-kept secret among locals. Smaller and more intimate than the main Prater park, this market provides a cozy atmosphere with its vintage rides and charming stalls.

It’s an ideal destination for families and those seeking a quieter Christmas market experience.

Dates: late November – middle of December

Opening hours: 2 pm – 7 pm (Fri-Sat)

Advent Pleasure Market at the Opera House 

Address: Mahlerstrasse 6, 1010 Vienna

The gourmet Christmas market by the opera in Vienna.

The Christmas Market at the Vienna State Opera is a relatively new addition to Vienna’s Christmas scene, but it quickly gained popularity.

Living up to its name, this market is all about culinary pleasures. Enjoy gingerbread as well as meats and cheese along with a hot cup of punch.

Dates: mid-November until the end of December

Opening hours: 11 am – 9 pm (daily); earlier closing times during Christmas; later closing time on New Year’s Eve

Almadvent

Address: Messeplatz 1, 1020 Vienna

The Almadvent Christmas market in Vienna by Messe.

Almadvent is a lesser-known but still very charming Christmas market in Vienna.

The name is a combination of “Alm”, which typically refers to a mountain pasture in the German-speaking Alpine region, and “Advent”, the period leading up to Christmas. The setting is accordingly rustic with the huts resembling typical alpine architecture.

Dates: Nov 23 – Dec 22

Opening hours: 3 pm – 8 pm (Mon-Sat), 12 pm – 8 pm (Sun)

Alternative Vienna Christmas Markets

If you have had your fill of “classic” Vienna Christmas markets, check out some of the more unusual Christmas markets in Vienna. There is also a good chance that they are less crowded than the traditional markets (although I’m not making any promises here).

IKEA Westbahnhof Christmas Market

Address: Roof terrace, Europaplatz 1, 1150 Vienna

For something a little different, visit the IKEA Westbahnhof Christmas Market. Held on the terrace of the IKEA store at Westbahnhof station, this market offers a unique blend of Swedish and Austrian Christmas traditions.

Here, you can shop for IKEA Christmas decorations and enjoy traditional Swedish holiday foods alongside Austrian Christmas market staples.

Dates: mid-November until Christmas

Opening hours: 4 pm – 8 pm (Mon-Thu), 2 pm – 8 pm (Fri-Sat)

Ottakringer Weihnachtszauber

Address: Ottakringerplatz 1, 1160 Vienna

The Christmas market at Ottakringer brewery in Vienna.

The Christmas Market at the Ottakringer Brewery is a unique destination. Housed within the courtyard of Vienna’s oldest brewery, this market offers a diverse range of food, beverages, and crafts.

Most of all, you can try their “Glühbeer”… if Glühwein is not your thing. In addition, the market hosts live music, making it a lively destination for the younger crowd.

Dates: Nov 23 – Dec 23

Opening hours: 3 pm – 9 pm (Thu-Fri), 12 pm – 9 pm (Sat), 12 pm – 7 pm (Sun)

Medieval Christmas Market

Address: Arsenal, Objekt 1, 1030 Vienna

The Medieval Christmas Market provides a unique and immersive experience. Here, you step back in time to a Vienna of the Middle Ages.

Merchants in period costumes sell traditional handicrafts and old-world foods, all without the use of electricity. Experience the holiday season as it would have been centuries ago, lit by candlelight and warmed by open fires.

Dates: Dec 7 – Dec 10

Opening hours: 1 pm – 10 pm (Thu), 9 am – 10 pm (Fri-Sat), 9 am – 8 pm (Sun)

Winter im MQ

Address: Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna

Winter im MQ (Winter at the MuseumsQuartier) is not your typical Christmas market. This ultra-modern event turns the courtyard of the MuseumsQuartier into an urban winter wonderland.

With contemporary art installations, cutting-edge design products, and innovative food and drink offerings, it provides a fresh and vibrant take on the Christmas market tradition. DJs and live music events give this market an upbeat, youthful vibe.

Dates: mid-November until Christmas

Opening hours: 4 pm – 11 pm (weekdays), 2 pm – 11 pm (weekends)

Hirschstetten Botanical Gardens Christmas Market

Address: Quadenstraße 15, 1220 Vienna

Here, the Christmas market is combined with a flower show. Visitors can admire the themed floral arrangements and purchase plants alongside traditional Christmas items.

Dates: mid-November until Christmas

Opening hours: 10 am – 8 pm (Thu-Sun)

Advent Market at Türkenschanzpark

Address: Türkenschanzpark, 1180 Vienna

Situated in one of Vienna’s most beautiful parks, this market is a must-visit for nature lovers. This market perfectly combines the magic of nature with the sparkle of the holiday season. 

Dates: Nov 11 – Dec 23

Opening hours: 3 pm – 10 pm (weekdays), 12 pm – 10 pm (weekends)

Food at Vienna Christmas Markets

There is plenty of food at the Christmas markets in Vienna.

Indulging in some hearty food is an integral part of the Christmas market experience. Here’s a list of must-try delicacies along with a rough estimate of their cost.

Personally, I usually just go for a drink as I find most of the food overpriced, but there is something about a fresh Raclettebrot at a Christmas market or some hot chestnuts to warm your hands as you walk around…

Raclettebrot is a must-eat at the Vienna Christmas markets.

Remember that for drinks, you need to pay a one-time (refundable) deposit that is not included in the price on the signs! Deposits vary from 1 to 5 EUR per cup.

  • Glühwein (€3-€5): This is a warm, spiced red wine, perfect for keeping you cozy on cold winter days. It’s a classic staple at every market.
  • Punsch (€3-€5): Similar to Glühwein, Punsch can be made with various spirits, fruit juices, and spices. Some versions are non-alcoholic, perfect for younger visitors or those preferring a non-alcoholic option.
  • Maroni (€3-€5): Roasted chestnuts, or Maroni, are a traditional winter snack. You’ll find vendors selling these warming treats at every market.
  • Käsekrainer (€4-€6): This is a delicious smoked sausage filled with small chunks of cheese. It’s typically served with a side of bread or in a bun.
  • Lebkuchen (€2-€5): These are traditional German gingerbread cookies often decorated with sweet icing. They come in various shapes and sizes and make for a tasty snack or a cute gift.
  • Langos (€4-€6): A deep-fried flatbread of Hungarian origin, usually topped with garlic. In Austria, it’s usually thinner and crispier than those served in Hungary.
  • Raclette (€5-€7): Originally from Switzerland, this is a hearty dish where a wheel of raclette cheese is melted, and the gooey cheese is scraped onto boiled potatoes, pickles, and onions. A popular variation is also the “Raclettebrot”, where the cheese is served on a slice of dark bread.
  • Palatschinken (€4-€6): Similar to a French crêpe, these thin pancakes can be filled with various sweet or savory fillings.

The Perfect Christmas Gifts from Vienna Christmas Markets

The Christmas markets in Vienna are the perfect place to buy some last-minute gifts.

Austria’s craftsmanship shines through in the stalls of Vienna’s Christmas markets. Look for hand-painted ornaments, intricate wooden toys, and beautifully crafted winter clothing like hats and scarves.

Prices vary widely, but generally, small ornaments or sweets start from €3, while more elaborate items or handmade crafts can be up to €50 or more.

What always draws my attention are candles made from beeswax. I simply cannot resist the smell and for me, they are something so inherently traditionally Austrian, that I always pick some up.

Other Christmas Activities in Vienna

There’s more to Vienna during Christmas than “just” Christmas markets! Be sure to check out the Rathausplatz Ice Rink for a spot of ice skating, take a festive ride on the Ströck Christmas Tram, experience a Mozart Concert at the Golden Hall, see Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Concert in Karlskirche, or attend a Christmas concert at St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

The city is also home to several fantastic museums, making it the perfect destination for culture lovers.

For more things to do in Vienna in December, check out this article.

Practical Tips for Visiting Vienna During Christmas

1. While December is a great time to visit Vienna and take in the charms of the Christmas markets, if you’re actually visiting over the Christmas holidays, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Most notably, the city will be dead. Christmas is the most important holiday in Austria and people tend to spend it at home with their loved ones.

2. Most shops and attractions will close early on the 24th and remain closed until at least the 27th of December. Be careful, even most Christmas markets close at Christmas! Public transport will run on a skeleton crew with reduced frequency.

3. On the upside, this makes Christmas the perfect time to embark on a self-guided Vienna walking tour or scout out some of Vienna’s beautiful architecture.

4. If you need to buy food during those days, the train stations are your best bet (but do expect long lines).

Where to Stay when Visiting the Vienna Christmas Markets?

Hostel: Wombats Naschmarkt, a popular hostel in Vienna, within walking distance of the city center

Budget Economy: B&B Hotel Wien-Meidling, great budget option close to Wien-Meidling station

Budget Plus: Motel One Wien Hauptbahnhof, an unpretentious choice within 2 minutes of Vienna Central Station

Mid-range: Mercure Secession Vienna, a reasonably-priced 4-star hotel in the city center

Splurge: Hotel Sans Souci Wien, one of the city’s most prestigious hotels, the glamorous Sans Souci features trendy rooms and deluxe furnishings

Further Reading For Your Vienna Visit

That summarizes our definitive guide to Vienna Christmas Markets. We reckon you’ll also find the following resources useful for planning your trip to Vienna!


Now, what do you think? What is your favorite Vienna Christmas Market? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

About Jacky

Hello there, fellow globetrotters! I’m Jacky, a passionate travel blogger with an insatiable wanderlust. With several years of experience in online marketing, I leverage my expertise to ensure that you get the best travel advice, tailored for the digital age. My travels have taken me to over 30 countries, and I love sharing those experiences with readers like you. Besides traveling, my other loves are my beloved cats, architecture, art, science fiction, coffee, and all things cute. My travel tips have been featured on lonelyplanet.com and in the EasyJet Traveller magazine.

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