Vienna.. a city with Christmas spirit.
Vienna, generally a very beautiful city when it comes to the architecture and rich history, somehow manages to become even more enriched by the beautiful Christmas lights and… of course best of all.. the famous vienize Christmas markets.
Best time to visit Vienna
Contrary to popular opinion, Christmas comes alive in Vienna already mid of November, when most of the Christmas markets open.
Mid and end of November is actually the best time to visit Vienna’s Christmas markets, as the crowds have not yet arrived. You can still tour your favorite markets (or all of them if you have enough stamina) without being bothered by the thousands of tourists, all out to buy Christmas presents and drink a cup of hot wine.
Bonus: Hotels are also not so expensive mid- end November, especially if you book your visit a bit ahead of time (2-3 weeks).
If you want to find out how to travel through Vienna and get from the airport to the city, please see How to get from Airport to Vienna and public transport in Vienna.
December, whilst still very beautiful to visit, it also has much lower temperatures (-2 to -10 C and windy) and hotel prices sour! You would not be able to find easily hotels below the price of 200 Euros.
My list of favorite Christmas markets below.
Christmas Markets in Vienna you simply cannot miss!
1. Spittelberg Christmas Market (open from 14th November until 23 December, opening hours: 9 – 21:30)
Spittelberg is a very classy Christmas market. It unfolds in the 6th district of Vienna around a number of small beautiful streets (called ‘Gassen’). Usually this Christmas market is not so busy, even in December, so you can enjoy the nice little shops around the market without many crowds roaming around you. You can buy a variety of hand made crafts and also local delicatessens, as well as the very delicious (in my opinion) hot wine. Of course if you want to venture outside of the hot wine territory, you can always experiment with the famous ‘Puntsch’ which offers you a variety of options.
Bonus: This is very close to Mariahilferstrasse, which is the biggest shopping street in Vienna.
How to get there: Metro lines U3, U2, station: Volkstheather
2. Karlsplatz Christmas Market (open from 22 November – 23 December, opening hours: 12:00 – 20:00)
Karlsplatz is a very artistic Christmas market. Here you can find a variety of arts projects and crafts to buy: paintings, handmade jewelry, very beautiful Christmas decorations and of course many (Christmas related) souvenirs.
Also, in Karlsplatz Christmas market you can find, in my opinion, the best red hot wine (‘roter Glühwein’) which you can find: Franz und Bert stand sells one of the most delicious (to be understood: sweet) hot wines in Vienna.
Bonus: they also have a very nice playground for children, built with hay, so its suitable for also very small children. They seem to have a lot of fun there!
How to get there: Metro line U4, station: Karlsplatz
3. Schloss Schonbrunn Christmas Market (open from 23 November – 5th January, opening hours 10 – 21)
If you can, enjoy this Christmas market at dusk! It has gorgeous lights decoration and a big Christmas tree dominates the whole ensemble! Next to the giant tree there is a small stage, which hosts free Christmas carol concerts. This take place each day around 6pm. It is really hard to beat this atmosphere.
Bonus: Schonbrun Christmas market is usually not so crowded and you can easily combine a visit to Princess Sisi’s castle with a cup of hot wine afterwards. In my opinion, it’s a cannot miss!
How to get there: Metro line U4, station: Schonbrunn.
4. Schloss Belvedere Christmas Market (open from 22 November – 26 December)
This Christmas market has a distinctive and unique baroque atmosphere! Situated in front of the Upper Belvedere Palace, next to a lake, it gives the visitor a sense of magic when entering the market. It is definitely one of the more smaller Christmas markets, but that means also fewer crowds! This market has a focus on quality arts and crafts: Ceramics, wooden toys and woolly hats, handcrafted decorations, and even drinking horns made from real horn.
Bonus: Schloss Belvedere hosts the permanent Klimt collection, with the famous painting ‘Kiss’. Definitely worth a visit!
Enjoy and have fun in Vienna!
Of course you can also visit the famous Rathaus Christmas market as well as Stephansplatz Christmas market! They are really really great and each of them has its own specifics. However, I would recommend a visit during the day, or early evening if you want to avoid the crowds. Of course there is then the problem that you won’t be able to marvel at the really beautiful lights decoration, but it’s a trade-off. You have to decide what’s more important.
Read my articles on my take on the Rathaus and Stephansplatz Christmas Market!