Posted in:

Christmas Markets in Austria

© by Österreich Werbung, Photo: Popp Hackner

From the mid November until Christmas Eve, thousands of colourful lights illuminate the winter darkness in the Alps. It’s time for Christmas Markets.

In Austria Christmas Markets are called either Weinachtsmarkt, Adventmarkt or Christkindlmarkt. They are a mixture of buying frenzy and traditional and religious traditions. In a catholic country such as Austria, the Advent and Christmas are of course important religious festivals. You can find Christmas Markets, in one form or another, all over Austria. Check out the local tourist office websites for dates and opening hours. If you are on a weekend trip to Austria, they are open all day most weekends in December.

Marketplace

Christmas Markets are a good place to find handcraft and locally made products. The vendors range from housemothers, to farms to small businesses offering their products to locals and tourist alike. We find Christmas Markets a great place to shop for Christmas gifts as you can find things that you rarely come across in shopping malls, or at least they are handmade with care instead of mass-produced in a factory in Asia somewhere. Usually you will find nice eatable or drinkable gifts as well, which not only serve as a nice gift, but also represent traditional Austrian culture and traditions. Christmas Markets are also the perfect place for replacing some of your old Christmas tree decorations, as the choice usually is enormous.

Meeting place

Christmas Markets in Austria not only serve as place for shopping, but very much as a meeting place. Locals enjoy meeting friends and relatives to catch up on things in a hectic pre-Christmas season. Often there are loads of activities going on as well, for adults but especially for kids. It’s a great place to hang out and sample some of the local beverages and foods. Take a stroll through the Christmas market and breathe in the scent of freshly roasted chestnuts and hot Glühwein – just wonderful!

< Click on the images to enlarge >

Silent night in Oberndorf

Oberndorf, not far from Salzburg, is famous worldwide as the birthplace of the carol Silent Night (German: Stille Nacht). The little town by the Salzach river on the border with Germany has become an obligatory stopover for Christmas travellers. During the Christmas mass in 1818, Silent Night! Holy Night! was performed for the first time by Franz Xaver Gruber and Joseph Mohr in the St. Nikolaus Church. There is of course a “Silent Night” museum and Christmas market in town, a small but very nicely done at the Silent Night Chapel.

Advertiesement

From folksy to fancy

Christmas Markets come in all shapes and forms. Some are down to earth but very cosy events, while others are really elaborate and hectic circuses. Most larger cities and towns have several Christmas Markets going on in the same time, allowing you to choose different settings, themes and sizes. Vienna for example has 14 Christmas Markets spread out around the city this year. If you are up for 2-3 we recommend visiting the Schönbrunn Palace, the Stephens Cathedral and Spittelberg Christmas Markets to sample different atmospheres and selection of products. The first markets open November 15 and close December 23. A few have open longer. They are all easy reachable by public transport.

All over Austria

Christmas Markets in cities like Graz, Innsbruck and Salzburg are of course well worth a visit. Nonetheless, if you have time and your own transport try to visit Christmas Markets in smaller towns or villages. Small doesn’t necessarily mean less gaudy or boring. Some of them are fantastic and offer a good chance to indulge with the locals with far less stress. We’ve also very much enjoy visits to Christmas Markets in places like Fürstenfeld (Styria), Lienz (East Tirol) and Freistadt (Upper Austria), just to mention a few.

  • Burg Strechau, Styria, Austria

    Posted in:

    Burg Strechau – Renaissance Castle & vintage cars

    If you are travelling on the A9 motorway from the south in the direction of Voralpenkreuz (A1) in the vincinity of Rottenmann, you cannot miss the castle at the top of the cliff. The red and white painted window shutters, defence walls and towers had fit well as a movie backdrop in a Hollywood movie. […]

    Read more

  • Hiking on Schneeberg in Austria

    Posted in:

    Schneeberg – Family-friendly mountain hiking

    The highest mountain of Lower Austria, Schneeberg (Snow Mountain), with its 2,076-metre (6.811 ft) high summit Klosterwappen, offers family friendly hiking and stunning views. Only about 80 kms (50 mi) from Vienna it’s a popular hiking destination for the Viennese, as well as for travellers. Hence, I boarded the yellow and green salamander train and headed up to Schneeberg. Arriving […]

    Read more

  • Posted in:

    The best boat trips in Austria

    We have been cruising the lakes in order to find the best boat trips in Austria. Passenger boats have been criss-crossing Austrian lakes for centuries. In the beginning to serve the communities on the lake shores, but since the 18th century also on tourist cruises. Some of the lakes still have historic cruises with steam […]

    Read more

Advertisements

Share, , Google Plus, Pinterest,

Written by Ana Lucia Marcos

Ana Lucia Marcos

Ana Lucia has traveled the world, but fell completely in love with Austria. She loves the dramatic mountain landscape, the phototastiske lakes and the captivating castles. Moreover, a real Wienerschnitzel is always on the menu when she explores the alpine country.