The Christmas Markets of Austria can be floating, with panoramic views, at high altitude or in the centre of a city, full of delicious food, hand-made items and rarities: at the same time originals and traditional. The Christmas Markets of Austria are the perfect opportunity for a winter weekend break of shopping and taste, surrounded by the scent of gingerbread and rum. From Vienna to Innsbruck, from Salzburg to Carinthia, here you can see the Christmas Markets of Austria not to be missed.
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Christmas Markets of Vienna
If you are among those who, during Christmas time, love to lose between stands, Christmas decorations and the smell of gingerbread, you have to thank Albert I. Because he did it. The Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, in 1296 granted the first authorization for a Christmas market in Vienna. Since then, the magic of the Christkindlmarkt has never died down. Every year, from mid-November until the beginning of January, the main streets of the Austrian capital are transformed into a giant showcase for lovers of Christmas. The perfect tour kicks off from Rathaus Platz, opposite the Town Hall in the city’s largest flea market. Here walking around about 150 stands, hunting perfect gift is a too easy challenge. Here you’ll find candles, ornaments, figurines and trinkets found nowhere else, along with deliciousness such as krapfen (Austrian doughnuts), pancakes and waffles.
Satisfied the stomach, you can move to Freyung square at the Altwiener Christkindlmarkt. They call it “the market of Old Vienna” and it is precisely in the tradition, the first edition dates back to 1772, which finds its roots. While your eyes are caught by the ceramics, glass decorations and wooden items, Christmas music, from 16 onwards, sets the pace to walk. A look at the 60 stands of the market in Maria -Theresia -Platz, near the Museum of Fine Arts, and then you can reach the Schönbrunn Palace: in an Imperial scenery, you’ll find a market with a retro touch with handmade items, Christmas workshops and concerts for children. Before leaving Vienna, you have to make a stop at the market in Karlsplatz, which this year celebrates its twenty birthday.
Date: from November 16th
Website info: wien.info
Christmas Markets of Vienna special feature: in Karlsplatz market, you can shoo while earing reading poetry aloud
Christmas Markets of Graz
Graz got many awards: UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, Capital of Culture in 2003, UNESCO City of Design in 2011. Not only that. Among the titles obtained by Graz, the second most populous city in Austria, is also the Genusshauptstadt, capital of flavours. Because between sauerkraut and beans, horseradish and ham, the capital of Styria is a paradise for gourmand tourists, always looking for new recipes and delicious specialities. In the Christmas period, so expected here to be called the “fifth season”, the town is invaded by aromas and flavours typical of Christmas from cider to punch up to Feuerzangenbowle, hot red wine with cinnamon, orange peels and rum. With cup in hand, you walk in the historical centre, among baroque churches and Renaissance palaces, museums of modern arts and medieval streets. There are 13 Christmas markets in Graz.
The Christmas Markets tour in Graz can begin with the most important, in front of the Town Hall, in Hauptplatz: more than 40 stands with themed decorations, glass vases, pottery, candles and homemade sweets, in addition to Kubiskernol, the precious oil of pumpkin seeds. A suggestion: better to go there in the evening, when the facade of the town hall is transformed, with a play of light, into a giant advent calendar. Lovers of Christmas objects have to reach Färberplatz, to sniff out the deal between the stands of the Steirische Initiative Kunsthandwerk, the Styrian Association of Artistic grab, and find their small masterpieces in wood, glass, metal and fabric. And finally, you have to spend some time in the neighbourhood of the Franciscans to visit the Christmas market, the city’s oldest and, then, everyone to Winterworld in Karmeliterplatz, where a track of 600 square meters expects to host many ice skaters.
Date: from November 22nd
Website info: adventingraz.at
Christmas Markets of Graz special feature: the handmade products of Styrian Association of Artists
Christmas Markets of Salzburg
A park of 400 trees decorated with 13,000 red spheres, tens of Krampus and Perchten (terrible monsters and devils) run through the streets causing a lot of noise, the scent of Gluewein, roasted chestnuts and gingerbread: this is Christmas time in Salzburg. If there is a perfect destination to enjoy Christmas time, that is Salzburg. During Advent the Austrian city, the birthplace of Mozart and of music turns into the perfect destination for the more nostalgic, which, between a toast with rum and a couple of chestnuts, can get lost in the historic Christmas market in main Church square, and enjoy the pleasure of a tradition that has lasted five centuries. This historic market was founded at the end of 1400 when it was just a flea market.
So unique and rare that in a short time it became one of the most charming Christmas Market in Europe, able to compete with those of Paris, Nuremberg, Vienna and Amsterdam. Once there it’s difficult not to find the perfect gift to put under the Christmas tree, maybe a flat painting or a local delicacy, a curious decoration or a carved object. While the view sweeps from stand to stand, the brass bands perform in this square every Saturday. Krampus and Perchten, evil creatures, terrorize children. The tour continues in Mirabell Square, among the wooden huts, or in the Hellbrunn market, near the homonymous castle. The prize of originality goes to the Advent Market in the Beer World of Stiegl, where the rum and ginger give way to beer and ginger.
Date: from November 21st
Website info: salzburg.info
Christmas Markets of Salzburg special feature: mulled beer at the Advent Market in the Beer World of Stiegl
Christmas Markets of Innsbruck
The Austrians call it the “capital of the Alps” because here, in a few miles, you will pass by the magnificent medieval buildings of the old town to the mountains of 2000 meters and more. Houses of yesteryear encircle the old town, revived during Advent by endless stands of markets. Krapfen and kiachl, the typical sweet peep from the stalls, inviting passers-by to brave the cold with calories, while lights and crystals catch the sight of even the most distracted tourists. Under the Golden Roof, the city’s symbol, the more traditional market (this year celebrates its 40th anniversary) with local handicrafts and greediness for refined palates.
If you travel with kids the obligatory stop is at Marktplatz, the market square, where you’ll find farm animals, rides and candies. Maria -Theresia -Strasse – a potpourri of sparkling lights, glass and crystal is a pleasure for the eyes, even if the real gem is the market located in the scenic castle of Hungerburg. After a Christmas Market day in Innsbruck, you can take the funicular up to the ski station of Hafelekar, 2256 meters high, to feel at one with the mountains, take your skis and enjoy the snow.
Date: from November 15th
Website info: innsbruck.info
Christmas Markets of Innsbruck special feature: the flea market at the castle Hungerburg with panoramic views
Christmas Markets of Carinzia
In Carinzia there is the highest of the Christmas markets of Austria and a floating one, the boat Christmas market and the farmers Christmas markets. If you are looking for the most originals the Christmas markets of Austria, then you have to go to Carinthia. Here is where the tradition of Christmas markets, over the years, has been able to marry creativity. The tour starts from the Millstätter, where a floating terrace (the Kap 4613) hosts gluewein stands decorated in Christmas style. In a platform of water, you chat with friends while enjoying cider and roasted chestnuts, homemade bread and Weihnachtskrainer, the hot dogs of Christmas, while the air smells of wood, pine needles and braziers.
Mountain lovers cannot miss the Mount Petzen where on December 7th, 14th and 21st, the highest of Christmas markets of Austria is held at 1,700 meters, between Carinthian decorations and delicacies such as sausages, bacon and potato ravioli, and snowfields. Another Christmas Market must in Carinzia is located at Villach, where takes place one of the most historic Christmas markets in the region. Fifty stands scattered around the old town welcome visitors in search of gifts and freshly baked cookies, waiting to see passing on the river Drava, on December 22nd, the boat with the Child Jesus and the Magi.
Date: from November 22nd
Website info: austria.info
Christmas Markets of Carinzia special feature: the floating market on the lake Millstätter.