Traditional handicrafts, mulled wine and candyfloss — a trip to the Christmas market is a ton of fun for the whole family. The Christmas markets in Vienna offer something for everyone, a good mix of entertainment, food and knick knacks that will get you through the pre-Christmas period.
In 2016, Vienna has a total of 19 public Christmas markets of various sizes and styles. Depending on time and tastes, it’s worth exploring one or all of them. Entry to Vienna’s Christmas markets is, of course, always free.
The Vienna Christmas Dream at Rathausplatz
The most popular market is probably the Vienna Christmas Dream in front of Vienna City Hall on Rathausplatz. With more than 150 stalls, it’s also one of Vienna’s biggest markets.
The market stalls sell yummy treats from hearty delicacies to candyfloss and warming drinks like mulled wine, as well as children’s toys and small gifts made from glass, wood or fabric that make ideal presents for the Christmas period.
At Volkshalle inside City Hall, kids get to decorate “Lebkuchen” (gingerbread) and create their letters to Santa. Meanwhile in the southern part of the park, visitors can take a turn on the two ice-skating rinks which are connected by multiple paths that can be skated on as well.
For the first time ever the Christmas Dream has an app as well. With the app installed, kids can let a little elf guide them through the fairytale-winter-wonderland at the market.
Fin-de-siècle elegance at Michaelerplatz
The Grand Ferdinand in Vienna isn’t the only one to appreciate fin-de-siècle elegance. The k.u.k. Christmas Market at Michaelerplatz takes a look back at the Imperial and Royal monarchy. Instead of the standard brownish stalls, the organisers have put up dainty white-lacquered stalls. On display are traditional crafts and handmade culinary specialities.
The Christmas market is right next to Hofburg and instead of plastic toys, you’ll find nostalgic playthings made of wood and sheet metal. Instead of mass-produced sweets, there’s gingerbread from Mariazell and traditional pastries. And the Christmas mangers available at the market are all handmade by artisans who know their trade. Many of the companies who have stalls at the market even used to be purveyors of the court during the monarchy.
A particular delicacy at the k.u.k. Christmas Market is the chocolate ring cake with a core of marzipan. The recipe was created specifically for this market. Furthermore, every Tuesday and Thursday at 5 p.m., visitors get listen to the trumpet fanfares at Michaelerplatz
Enough Christmas markets to meet all kinds of tastes
Other Vienna Christmas market classics are the Spittelberg Christmas Market with its winning combination of culture and cuisine, and the Christmas Village on Campus, where the little choo choo train and wintery merry-go-round are bound to make children happy.
ArtAdvent on Karlsplatz focuses on arts and crafts. An added bonus is that all the food sold at the market is organic, so you can feast to your heart’s content and do it without remorse.
But beware! The advent season won’t last forever. So it’s probably best to quickly plan that jaunt to Vienna, book a room at the Grand Ferdinand, and explore Vienna’s many Christmas markets from the conveniently central location of the hotel.