Europe’s Christmas Markets: Vienna, Austria

View of the Christmas Village of Maria-Theresien-Platz, with the Christmas Market sandwiched between two imperial buildings

Europe’s Christmas markets combine time-honoured traditions, timeless treasures, and twinkle aplenty into a magical seasonal extravaganza.

Throughout the Continent, Advent markets uphold the authentic experience in cities large and small. Open, available, and accessible to all.

Vienna, Austria, traces its annual festive celebration back to December 1296, when Hapsburg ruler Albrecht I decreed the first Krippenmarkt.

Over 725 years later, the Weihnachtsmärkte is an essential experience of this UNESCO World Heritage City and the World’s Most Livable City 2018, 2019, and 2022.

Today, numerous Christmas village settings offer overall a wonderful array of:

  • Artisanal handicrafts
  • Delicious treats
  • Abundant entertainment
  • Nativity scenes
  • Beautiful decorations
  • Brilliant illuminations

Christmas villages typically open in mid-to-late November and run through late December. Some transition to New Year’s Markets and remain open through early January.

Additionally, a visit to one of Vienna’s grand cafés further enhances the festive experience.

Cafés and coffee culture are an integral and indispensable part of Viennese life since the 19th century.

Each Christmas village below pairs with a specific café recommendation. And, of course, there are many more to choose!

Wander through Vienna’s famous and fabled markets such as:

Viennese Christmas Market on City Hall Square
Rathausplatz
1010 Wien

Live the Viennese dream at this beloved Christkindlmarket. The city’s elaborate neo-Gothic Rathaus / City Hall creates a remarkable and unforgettable backdrop.

Riding the classic two-tiered carousel and skating at Vienna Ice World are unique highlights here.

Speaking of ice: From January to March, the area transforms to perhaps the world’s most beautiful open-air skating rink, skating trails, and curling rings.

Café Landtmann
Universitätsring 4
1010 Wien

Since 1873. Café Landtmann has been the consummate choice for elegant locals and chic travelers alike. Tuxedo-clad waiters, gleaming woods, white linen tablecloths, and fresh florals imbue the atmosphere with elegance.

Landtmann’s Apfelstrudel is a light and airy version of this venerable pastry. Its pool of delicate vanilla sauce finishes the dessert with perfection.

Christmas Village on Maria Theresa Square
Maria-Theresien-Platz
1010 Wien

Rejoice in a regal and remarkable setting under the Empress’ watchful eye.

Charming market stalls meander between the majestic Kunsthistorisches / Art History and Naturhistoriches / Natural History Museums.

Café Sperl
Gumpendorferstrasse 11
1060 Wien

Since 1880. Authentic patina, cozy atmosphere, and billiard tables welcome patrons to Café Sperl.

The legendary Sperltorte, which recipe is a closely kept secret, and the Sperl Schokoschnitte satisfy chocolate cravings.

Christmas Market on St. Stephen’s Square
Stephansplatz
1010 Wien

Celebrate in the splendid surroundings of St. Stephen’s glorious Gothic cathedral, the city’s symbol and the nation’s heart.

Elegant stalls feature fine handicrafts from throughout Austria, with a gentle emphasis on the sacred.

Café Diglas
Wollzeile 10
1010 Wien

Since 1923. Tulle petticoats adorn the pendant lights. Red leather covers the banquettes. It’s an intersection of history and modernity. Lively conversations bid you enter and embrace the whimsy.

Ensure to order the Scheiterhaufen, a signature house dessert. Bread pudding nestles in vanilla sauce, topped with a tower of meringue.

Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace
Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27
1030 Wien

Come for the world’s largest Klimt collection on display in this Baroque landmark museum.

Stay for the palatial and pleasant Christmas village set up in front.

Café Schwarzenberg
Kärntner Ring 17
1010 Wien

Since 1861, this is the oldest existing Viennese café on the Ringstrasse. Its traditional interior preserves the original charm, including the ladies’ room with 1920s marble design elements.

The Walnusstorte plays a starring role among many delectable choices in the glass pastry case.

Old Viennese Christmas Market on Freyung
Freyung
1010 Wien

Dating from 1772, this quiet and cozy Christkindlmarkt offers an intimate option to the bustle of bigger Christmas villages. Along with classical craft and culinary stalls, a farmers market expands the fresh local and regional specialties available.

Not only is this the oldest operating village, but also it offers another unique aspect: A street-facing Nativity panel, 150 feet (46 m) long. The must-see scene encloses the outer boundary. Its sweet storytelling charms market-goers and passers-by alike.

Café Tirolerhof
Führichgasse 8
1010 Wien

Since 1882. Black-framed arched windows beckon you into the cool cream interior. Crystal chandeliers add ample sparkle.

Hausgemachter Apfelstrudelcomes with your choice of vanilla sauce or fresh whipped cream. Or, the waiter said with a twinkle, “Why not both?”

“Why not both, indeed” is, without doubt, the correct and decadent answer!

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DISCOVER: The Vienna Tourist Board

 

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