Vienna Christmas Markets 2019 Guide: Where To Go, What To Buy and What To Eat + Festive Daytrips

Vienna is famous for its decadence, and at Christmas the city lights up. This is a guide to Vienna’s 2019 Christmas markets, what to do in the city over the festive period and daytrips from Vienna at Christmas!

One great thing about living only an hour from Vienna was being able to enjoy the famous Christmas market scene in its entirety and step away from the big markets to happen upon some hidden festive delights.

Does Vienna have Christmas markets?

In Austria like many central European countries, the Christmas market tradition is strong. They have markets in all major cities and towns and in Vienna this tradition goes as far back as 1298. Albrecht, I granted Vienna’s citizens the privilege of holding a December Market or “Krippenmarkt”. Nowadays it has over 20 markets to choose from, generally referred to as ‘Advent Markets’ selling handmade craft goods and delicious treats.

Only an hour from Vienna, is the Slovak capital of Bratislava and here you’ll find a different style of Christmas market with local specialities like hot currant wine. They fill their trees with handmade wooden decorations and fruit and a Slovak Christmas market in the capital city is a much cosier affair. You can experience in one trip two different Christmas traditions, with different foods, drinks and handcrafted wares.

First let us give you a guide to Vienna at Christmas!

lrm_export_89867986380748_20181209_155307243908731733575955227.jpeg

How does Vienna celebrate Christmas?

Austria have a day on December 6th called St. Nicholas’ day where children get a gift from St Nicholas or a telling off from Krampus – a good day to time your visit especially if you have kids! You’ll find there is also an emphasis on Christmas Eve being the more important day than Christmas Day, meaning there are still things open in Vienna on Christmas Day. Traditionally carp, often breaded is eaten as the main meal and Christkind is the traditional gift bringer, which is Jesus as a child or an angel.

What to do in Vienna on Christmas Eve and Day

Trying to sightsee on these days is fine but most smaller museums are shut, while some of the larger museums are open. This year (2019) the Belvedere stays open, Albertina closes early on Christmas Eve, Schönbrunn Palace outside attractions close but the main palace, the zoo and park are open, Kunsthistorisches Museum (main art history museum) – closes early (at 3pm) on the 24th and Hofburg Palace, The Leopold, MUMOK, and Kunsthalle museums in the Museumsquartier are all open during Christmas. There are others, but always check first.

Vienna in Christmas is also a wonderful time to catch a concert! In Minorite Church in the city centre you can watch the marvellous Vienna Chamber Orchestra play a Christmas concert on the 25th and 26th December.

You will also find that the Christmas markets do tend to close by Christmas Eve but the markets in front of Vienna City Hall and Schönbrunn Palace are still open.

lrm_export_7091723571309_20191025_2013046948110818876921924463.jpeg

Where to eat in Vienna on Christmas Day?

Christmas day in Vienna is quieter and many restaurants are closed but you can enjoy Christmas dinner at the amazing Restaurant Plachutta at Wollzeile and Walfischgasse in the city centre, Freud’s old hangout Café Landtmann or Schick with its panoramic view, both on Ringstrasse and Brasserie at The Guesthouse Vienna on central Albertinaplatz who have an award winning wood stove bakery!

Vienna Christmas Market FAQ’s

Main square with Christmas tree and Henry

When do Vienna Christmas markets start?

The Vienna Christmas market 2019 dates are varied depending on the market, but generally they start around the 15th-20th November.

How late are Vienna Christmas markets open?

All markets have different operating times, but you will find markets that shut at 9pm and some that shut as late as 11pm where you can keep toasty warm with a hot mulled drink.

When do Vienna Christmas markets close?

Most markets run until at least December 26th, but this does depend on the individual market. We’ll pop dates and times for each market under the description.

Best time to visit Vienna Christmas market?

The Christmas markets in Vienna are incredibly busy and the streets are packed with shoppers and tourists. Visiting Vienna in the first week of the markets opening will be a little bit quieter but expect the markets to be packed throughout, particularly in the evenings.

Are Vienna Christmas markets good?

Vienna is the city that invented the snow globe, and it’s fitting considering the city itself looks like a real-life snow globe throughout the Christmas period with trees that sparkle, buildings wrapped up in lights and quaint market scenes. In a word, Vienna at Christmas is MAGIC.

Where is Vienna Christmas market?

It’s not just one market, there are around 20 Christmas markets in Vienna with the main one being the first on our list. When visiting Vienna, it’s hard not to have an impressive step count by the end of the day. There are cheerful Christmas trams with decorations, but most markets are within an easy walking distance from each other in the city centre.

The Top 6 Vienna Christmas Markets

With so much choice, it’s hard to know which markets to go to for the best possible Christmas experience! Here is a combination of bigger and smaller alternative Vienna Christmas markets, from the experience of locals.

christmas tree

Vienna Christmas World – Rathausplatz

This is the grandest of them all, but also the most commercial. In front of the illuminated City Hall are over 150 stalls, trees draped in twinkly lights, and an ice rink that follows a rather picturesque route around the park. You’ll also find shows for the children, including a little Ferris wheel and Christmas choirs at weekends. A delight for the senses, this market will bring out your inner child. Honestly don’t bother with gifts here, it’s all plastic toys and not much of quality but worth coming to see the park.

Dates and Times:

November 15 – December 26, 2019
Su-Th 10.00 am – 9.30 pm, Fr-Sa 10.00 am – 10.00 pm
December 24, 10.00 am – 6.00 pm
December 25+26, 11.00 am – 9.30 pm

Spittelberg Christmas Market

Just round from the MuseumsQuartier, the Spittelberg Christmas market snakes its way round a typical Vienna neighbourhood. Away from the grandeur of palaces and city halls is this local friendly market. It’s also a fantastic neighbourhood for independent shops and places to eat in the idyllic alleyways of the Biedermeier district. Find here good quality handicrafts and organic food. For those who love off the beaten path finds, this is the best market for that. Check out the MuseumsQuartier on your way for art installations and a modern take on the Christmas market.

Dates and Times:

November 14 – December 23, 2019
Mo-Th 2.00 pm – 9.00 pm, Fr 2.00 pm – 9.30 pm
Sa 10.00 am – 9.30 pm, Su & hols. 10.00 am – 9.00 pm
Spittelberggasse, Stiftgasse, Schrankgasse, Gutenberggasse, 1070 Vienna

Christmas Market in front of Schönbrunn Palace

The opulence of Schönbrunn Palace is impressive at any time of year, but at Christmas there’s a certain magical atmosphere to be had celebrating the festivities here. This is a great market for live music, Christmas workshops, a nativity scene and hot punch! Easily reached by public transport, this is a great option just outside of the main city centre and the market continues into New Year’s.

Dates and Times:

November 23 – December 26, 2019
Daily from 10.00 am – 9.00 pm
December 24, 10.00 am – 4.00 pm, December 25+26, 10.00 am – 6.00 pm
New Year’s Market December 27, 2019 – January 5, 2020
Daily from 10.00 am – 6.00 pm
Schönbrunn Palace, 1130 Vienna

Christmas Tree

Art Advent – Art & Crafts on Karlsplatz

Organic and bio-friendly Art Advent on Karlsplatz is a wonderful market for all the family and focuses on being sustainable and encouraging recycling. Not that you want to come for the recycling, the main attraction are the farm animals which kids can interact with and listening to live music. Each stallholder must make their own wares, so everything here is guaranteed to be of a high quality and buying food and goods from here is giving back to the local community.

Dates and Times:

November 22 – December 23, 2019
Daily from 12.00 noon – 8.00 pm, food until 9.00 pm
Karlsplatz, 1040 Vienna

Christmas Village in the Former General Hospital

The Christmas Village at the University (Former General Hospital) is popular with the student demographic and boasts curling lanes and children’s railway. It’s a great alternative to the bigger Christmas markets and far less commercialised. It has a wonderful cosy atmosphere with Alpine log cabins, and you can watch local craftsmen make candles while you sip on a mulled wine.

Dates and Times:

16th November – 23rd December 2019
Daily from Mon to Wed 2.00 pm to 10.00 pm, Thursday and Friday 2.00 pm to 11.00 pm; Saturday 11.00 am to 11.00 pm; Sunday 11.00 am to 9.00 pm
Alser Strasse / corner of Spitalgasse, Court 1; 1080 Vienna

Christmas Market at Freyung

This is the most traditional of all the Vienna Christmas markets and it is a favourite with locals. Find roasted chestnuts and gingerbread amongst a selection of beautiful stalls filled with vintage offerings, handmade wooden toys and glass decorations – absolutely zero tat here. Freyung market is focused on tradition, it has farmer’s market stalls selling organic produce such as Bergkäse mountain cheese and there are lots of arts and crafts demonstrations as well as music from local musicians. You can also combine this market trip with the famous Am Hof Christmas market.

Dates and Times:

November 16 – December 23, 2019
Daily from 10.00 am – 9.00 pm
Freyung, 1010 Vienna

Things to do at Vienna’s Christmas markets

What to buy in Vienna Christmas markets?

Your shopping will be inspired by the Baroque beauty of this dazzling city at Christmas. Handmade decorations are in abundance at all Christmas markets, as is beautiful glassware at the less commercial offerings. Beeswax candles are popular in markets like Freyung and you can always invest in a snow globe from the home of them! Traditional wooden toys are wonderful for children and find all kinds of handmade crafts and jewellery or go to Spittelberg for a good cosy jumper.

What to eat at a Vienna Christmas market?

Coming away from the Vienna Christmas markets without adding an inch is very difficult. Roasted chestnuts can be found along the streets of Vienna and in the markets at Christmas, various types of strudel are also a moreish dessert choice. Try some kartoffelpuffer, a potato pancake in garlic sauce, giant pretzels or sausages. Mountain cheeses and cured meats are also a popular food stuff on offer at the markets. You can’t escape the biscuits and baked goods on offer. Vanillekipferl (almond and vanilla flavoured biscuits) are Austria’s most famous Christmas bake, Linzer Augen are jam filled cookies, Zimtsterne cinnamon stars and Lebkuchen gingerbread are all sweet offerings to be found.

What to drink at a Vienna Christmas market?

An Austrian Christmas market equates to drinking lots of hot mulled beverages, to really get the most out of your experience you can’t spend December in Vienna without having at least one Punsch (punch) or Glühwein (mulled wine) at a Christmas market. Glühwein is a typical Austrian beverage consisting of heated red wine and spices. Punsch is a drink made of fruit juice, spices and alcohol like wine or liquor. The Punsch will blow your top off, it’s stronger than it looks! The Apfelpunsch option is our favourite, but you can enjoy a variety of flavours including a ‘turbo’ version which honestly, we have no idea what it consists of!

5 Unique Things to do in Vienna at Christmas

As well as Christmas markets, it’s also a fabulous time to enjoy all the city has to offer.

  1. Look at the city’s pretty lights, like the lake outside of the Belvedere building and along the Graben and Kärntner Straße.
  2. Visit the nativity scenes in the beautiful St. Peter’s Church, a baroque masterpiece!
  3. Marvel at Vienna’s shop fronts with their elaborate decorations.
  4. Visit Sacher Hotel – outside are cute Nutcracker statues and inside is the delicious chocolate torte that they are famous for.
  5. See an Advent concert including the “Christmas in Vienna” musical gala in the Konzerthaus, with special performances in the major concert halls, city centre churches and cathedrals.

Daytrips from Vienna at Christmas

Another option might be to head out of Vienna for the day and visit more Christmas markets! Only an hour away is the Slovak capital city of Bratislava, we have a guide on all the food on offer but it’s also just a magical city to experience at this time of year with a glass of their famous hot currant wine in hand!

Graz in the Styria region of Austria is another option, it’s a gorgeous city with a Mediterranean feel and amazing wines. Or head to Brno in the Czech Republic, the city comes to life at Christmas and unlike Prague, most of the stands sell actual Czech, handmade products plus the prices are very cheap, and you’re not bombarded by tourists.

Where to stay in Vienna at Christmas?

As people who lived just an hour from Vienna, we don’t want to recommend hotels we haven’t stayed in ourselves. We can say that friends of ours have both had lovely stays at the quirky 25 Hours Wien Hotel in the vibrant 7th district next to MuseumsQuartier and Hotel Daniel next to the main train station where you can actually stay in a sleek trailer or a room with a hammock.

It might sound odd, but another option for cheaper accommodation might just be to get an apartment in Bratislava and travel through (the bus is 10 € pp return) or a hostel in Vienna – one that we have been to is Wombats City Hostel next to Naschmarkt which is lively and fun!

Vienna_Christmas_markets_guide_hoopla_adventures_2019_screenshot_20191025_1955235633172399785727853.jpg

Hopefully this guide to Vienna at Christmas satisfies all your queries, but if you want to know anything about the city drop us a comment below!

We also have guides on free and cheap things to do in Vienna, visiting Bratislava for the day complete with itinerary, the top 7 things to do and see in Brno AND a 3-day itinerary to Graz, Austria.

There are no affiliated links in this article, these are our own opinions and own recommendations.

6 thoughts on “Vienna Christmas Markets 2019 Guide: Where To Go, What To Buy and What To Eat + Festive Daytrips

  1. Two years ago, I was in Vienna during early December and managed to visit most of the Christmas Markets there, I was so happy because I loved the vibe! Vienna is a gorgeous city and the festive vibe added to its charm. I wish I had taken the day trip to Bratislava. I’m glad you’ve talked about what to do on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day because all market pretty much end right before and most places are closed on those two days.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, I’m really surprised by the number of Christmas markets in Vienna – in Poland there is usually just one per town, located in the city center/old town and here you’re writing about 20 in one city! I always wanted to do a Brno-Bratislava-Vienna-Budapest trip during the Christmas period, but always get discouraged by the distance (no plane connection and the bus/train takes over a dozen of hours) or weather :/ Maybe it’s time to finally plan something like this for this or next year 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Would love to visit Poland for Christmas though. Only really the Bratislava to Budapest takes 3 hours and that’s the longest stint. I love traveling between all these places on the bus, so picturesque! Regiojet do amazing services between all of these cities, I recommend using them. Honestly it would be a really great trip!

      Like

  3. Christmas in Vienna is next level, the city is just so magical and festive in December! In my opinion, Vienna has the best Christmas markets in the world, I especially love the one at Karlsplatz as it’s a little less touristic and you can find beautiful crafts there. When I was in Vienna a few years ago, there was even an LGBTQ+ Christmas market!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.