The Best Christmas Markets In Vienna 2022

Table of Contents

Christmas in Vienna

I am writing here my personal opinion. That means, you are reading about the experiences of a “real” local, born here over 60 years ago, who has since had countless wonderful and terrible, calorie- and alcohol-rich, but always instructive experiences at all of the city’s “Christkindl” markets.

Yes, in Vienna the Christmas market is called “Christkindl” market, because in Vienna the “Christkind” comes to us and not Santa Claus.

On Christmas Eve, while the children are waiting excitedly (depending on the size of the apartment, in the dining room, in the kitchen, but certainly not in the living room), he/she/it miraculously flies through the window and deposits the presents under the decorated Christmas tree. Interestingly, the whole family is always waiting outside the living room except for one parent, but the children never miss him, they are much too excited for that.

Around five o’clock in the evening, the Christ Child rings a bell and that is the starting signal for the storm into the living room. Depending on the family tradition, there is then singing, praying, reading the Christmas Gospel, eating and unwrapping the presents. In the morning, the children were usually at a Christmas market, preferably with grandma and grandpa, the parents have to decorate the tree at home, the Christ Child alone can not do that in all homes.

This happens, as I said, on Christmas Eve (in German the “Heilige Abend”, the “holy evening”). The 25th and 26th are usually used for visiting relatives, with today’s trend to the patchwork family, this can be quite exhausting.

Best Christmas markets in Vienna
Old Vienna Christmas market

A Brief History Of Christmas Markets In Vienna

For more than 700 years, the Vienna Christmas Market has held a special place in the hearts of all Viennese and visitors to our beautiful city. Small traders have always supplied this market.
Albrecht I granted the Viennese merchants and tradesmen the privilege of holding a “December market” as early as 1296 to ensure the supply of the Viennese population. In the 16th century, today’s Christkindlmarkt was known as “Thomasmarkt” and was held as a Christmas and New Year’s market. In addition to the usual range of goods offered by merchants (textiles, food), the popular gingerbread and confectionery were also available. 
 
Christmas as we know it today first appeared in Vienna during the Biedermeier period (early to mid 1800s), when the first Christmas trees were erected in the palaces of the noble aristocracy in accordance with North German custom.
 
The practice of giving presents was not introduced until the Congress of Vienna, around 1814. According to sales invoices from the time, the Christkindlmarkt Am Hof was held like a general market, with a few sales tables and stalls offering pre-Christmas goods (tinsel angels, silver-plated nuts, ball strings, tinsel, candles, swag bags, mirrors, knives, textiles, and much more).
 

The oldest market still existing in its original form has been held on the city hall square since 1975.

What To Expect At A Viennese Christmas Market?

Live performances are also available at some markets, adding to the festive atmosphere. Furthermore, all of the larger markets are free to enter, making them an affordable activity for budget-conscious tourists. Christmas markets in Vienna are definitely worth visiting, whether you’re looking for something fun to do during your holiday break or you’re just curious about what these markets are all about!
 
If you’re going to a Christmas market, here are a few good tips to make your visit as enjoyable as possible. If you are sensitive to crowds, you should visit during the day. After office hours, the markets fill up quickly in the evening. Naturally, the atmosphere is much more festive in the evening after dark.
 
For years, there hasn’t been any snow before Christmas, but temperatures around or slightly above freezing are common, and the infamous Vienna wind makes it feel even colder. Make sure you have the necessary clothing, such as coats, hats, and gloves. Last but not least, remember to have fun! A festive atmosphere is essential at any market, including winter markets. So go shopping, eat traditional snacks and drinks, and after the third cup of mulled wine, you won’t mind hearing “Last Christmas” on every street corner.
 
 
woman at vienna christmas market
Christmas Market on Spittelberg @ Christian Stemper

How To Make The Most Out Of Your Visit?

There are numerous Christmas markets in town, in 2022 there are 17 of them, each with its own distinct atmosphere. To make the most of your visit, take a free walking tour of the city to get oriented and learn about Vienna’s history and culture. Once you’ve decided on a market or two to visit, make sure to sample some traditional holiday foods and beverages (like mulled wine). Don’t forget to buy some souvenirs for friends and family back home!
 
Our free tour comes to an end at the small but charming market in front of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Of course, you’ll get invaluable advice from a local, and not just about the Christmas markets. If you’ve been good, you’ll even get a free app after the tour with dozens of personal recommendations.
 
When visiting one of the main  Christmas markets, take in the sights and sounds. From the brightly lit stalls selling traditional holiday foods and drinks to the animated crowds of shoppers, the markets are always buzzing with activity. 
The most important piece of advice is to bring cash! Many booths will not accept credit cards. This is true in Vienna at all. Vienna is a very cash-friendly city. Many stores, restaurants, and even taxis only accept cash.
 
While there is no one way to experience a Christmas market, following these suggestions should help make your visit as enjoyable as possible!

Why Are Vienna Christmas Markets So Popular?

 
The Christmas markets in Vienna are among the most popular in Europe, attracting over two million visitors each year. This popularity is largely due to their diverse product offerings, which include traditional Austrian handicrafts such as Christmas tree decorations, snow globes (which were invented in Vienna), nativity scenes, as well as gloves and scarves. Furthermore, the markets are distributed throughout the city, making them easily accessible to visitors.
 
Of course, the traditional food and drink of a Viennese Christmas market will not be missing; more on that later.
christmas snow globes on Christmas market Vienna

What To Eat And Drink At A Vienna Christmas Market

 
The Christmas markets in Vienna are a popular tourist attraction. The markets offer a wide range of food and drink options, including traditional local dishes such as sausages and strudel, as well as international cuisine. Visitors can sample various drinks to learn about different flavors and styles.
 
There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re looking for something specific to eat or drink at the Christmas markets in the city. To begin, try as many different foods and beverages as possible. This will give you a better understanding of what is popular among the Viennese population and assist you in selecting items that will suit your tastes. Second, be aware that some markets are more crowded than others, so if possible, visit them during off-peak hours.
 
So what is typical at the markets? Very popular are Langos, a Hungarian flatbread (our cuisine has many influences from the old crown countries, such as Hungary, Bohemia, ex-Yugoslavia, etc.), which is served either plain, or stuffed with sausage, or ham and cheese. If you are not on your first date, have an extra portion of garlic slathered on top – very tasty! Or try the Austrian (and of course much better :-)) version of mac & cheese: Schinkenfleckerln. Last but not least, potato pancakes are an evergreen at the markets.
Langos
Langos
Schinkenfleckerln
Schinkenfleckerln
Potato Pancakes

Of course, sweets are very important. If you search a bit, you will find some of the real highlights of Viennese desserts, such as Kaiserschmarren, Apple Strudel, Marillenknödel (apricot dumplings) or Buchteln (sweet dumplings) with custard.

Kaiserschmarren
Kaiserschmarren
Marillenknödel
Marillenknödel
Buchteln
Buchteln

Of course, we must not forget about drinking. A visit to a Christmas market without a mulled wine or punch would be only half a thing. A warning beforehand. Unless you have decades of training behind you, as I have, be careful. It’s cold, the drinks are warm and sweet, but they contain alcohol. And not too little of it! If you are anti-alcoholic, find another city! I’m just kidding, of course there are soft drinks, or the very popular kids punch – actually a fruit tea with a lot of spices and herbs.
Don’t be surprised if the first mug is really expensive. The price also includes a deposit of € 4 or € 5. In the end you will have a cheap souvenir, or you can return it to any stand at the same market and get your money back.

The best Christmas markets in Vienna 2022 (and the worst)

Finally, here is my personal ranking of the best Christmas markets. Let me know if you agree with me, or completely differ!

1. Christmas Market Schloss Schönbrunn

By far the number one on my list is definitely the market in front of Schönbrunn Palace. The surroundings, the atmosphere, the quality of the offerings are unmatched. It can be perfectly combined with a visit to Schönbrunn Palace, preferably with a skip-the-line tour if you want to avoid long waits. If you get too cold, you have a large coffee shop right next to the market, where fresh apple strudel comes out of the oven every hour.

Schönbrunn Xmas market

Schönbrunn Xmas market

  • November 19 – December 26, 2022 Daily from 10.00 am – 9.00 pm
    December 24, 10.00 am – 4.00 pm, December 25+26, 10.00 am – 6.00 pm
    Schönbrunn Palace, 1130

2. Art Advent – Art & Crafts on Karlsplatz

Not only is the square in front of the most beautiful baroque church in the city worth a visit, it is also the only certified organic Xmas market and offers as a special feature a show workshop where you can watch various artisans at work. For the children, in addition to a carousel, there is the very popular trolley express and, among other things, a storyteller.

Xmas market Karlsplatz
Xmas market Karlsplatz
  • November 18 – December 23, 2022
    Daily from 12.00 noon – 8.00 pm, food until 9.00 pm
    Karlsplatz, 1040 Vienna

3. Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace

This here is the most noble Christmas market. Of course, you can also find kitschy things here, but then it is very noble kitsch. Yes, this has its price, but you don’t have to worry about buying cheap stuff here. The punch here is acknowledged to be the best in town, and we don’t need to talk about the location. In front of the summer palace of Prince Eugene, a baroque jewel of Vienna. Also, it is usually less crowded here than at most other markets.

Xmas market Belvedere
Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace
  • November 18 – December 26, 2022
    Mo-Fr 11.00 am – 9.00 pm, 10.00 am – 9.00 pm
    December 24, 11.00 am – 4.00 pm
    December 25+26, 11.00 am – 7.00 pm
    Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27, 1030 Vienna

4. Christmas Village on the University Campus

Here you can find the largest selection of food and drinks. The special feature is that all nine Austrian provinces have their own section here. So you can taste your way through the different regions of the country. The selection of souvenirs is correspondingly large. The market is a little outside the center, but very easy to reach by streetcar.

Weihnachtsdorf Campus Altes AKH
Weihnachtsdorf Campus Altes AKH
  • November 11 – December 23, 2022
    Mo-We 2.00 pm – 10.00 pm, Th-Fr 2.00 pm – 11.00 pm
    Sa 11.00 am – 11.00 pm, Su 11.00 am – 8.00 pm
    Alserstrasse/Spitalgasse, Hof 1, 1090 Vienna

5. Christmas Market on Spittelberg

This one is special. For one thing, it’s not a square, but a whole neighborhood where the market spreads out. A run-down part of town 30 years ago, today it’s home to high earners and artists. Secondly, this is the Christmas market for the beautiful, rich and successful, or those who would like to be.

Many would say this is the greatest of all the markets in Vienna, I’m probably a little too old fashioned to be excited by a caramel chili rum punch. Anyway, a visit is an experience and a change from the typical Christmas market.

Christmas Market on Spittelberg
Christmas Market on Spittelberg
  • November 11 – December 23, 2022
    Mo-Th 2.00 pm – 9.00 pm, Fr 2.00 pm – 9.30 pm
    Sa 10.00 am – 9.30 pm, Su & hols. 10.00 am – 9.00 pm
    Spittelberggasse, Stiftgasse, Schrankgasse, Gutenberggasse, 1070 Vienna

6. …also recommended

The Winter Market on Riesenradplatz in front of the famous Ferris wheel at the Prater amusement park is all about entertainment, with the slogan “The Prater rocks.” Until January 8, there are children’s adventure rides, musical live acts ranging from Gospel to Soul as well as Pop, and a comedic show program. 

  • November 11, 2022 – January 8, 2023
    Mo-Fr 12.00 noon – 10.00 pm
    Sa, Su & hols. 11.00 am – 10.00 pm
    December 24, 10.00 am – 5.00 pm, December 31, 12.00 noon – 2.00 am
    Riesenradplatz, 1020 Vienna

If you prefer beer to wine, then head to the only brewery in Vienna. The Ottakringer Weihnachtszauber (Christmas Magic Market) on the Ottakringer Brewery’s forecourt is new this year. From Thursday to Sunday, this sophisticated Christmas market offers food, creative handicrafts, curling, and, of course, an Ottakringer beer punch.

  • November 24 – December 23, 2022
    Th-Fr 3.00 pm – 10.00 pm, Sa 11.00 am – 10.00 pm, Su 11.00 am – 8.00 pm
    Ottakringerplatz 1, 1160 Vienna

The Christmas Market Am Hof almost made it into the top 5. A really old-fashioned market in one of the city’s most historic squares, with some advantages. First, there’s the location in the absolute center, second, a charming arts and crafts market, and last but not least, a truly great selection of food and drinks.

  • November 11 – December 23, 2022
    Mo-Th 11.00 am – 9.00 pm, Fr-Su & hols. 10.00 am – 9.00 pm, food until 10.00 pm
    Am Hof, 1010 Vienna

I don’t have to tell you anything about the Christmas Market on Stephansplatz. This is where our free tour ends every day. And as you join it anyway immediately after your arrival in Vienna, this will be the first market you see. 🙂

7. … and the worst!

Now things get tricky! I have already mentioned that this is about my personal opinion. But in this case, I share it with many, many locals. This is about the oldest, biggest, most famous Advent market in town, the one in front of our town hall. You can find it in any guidebook. But as is so often the case, when you can sell anything, at any price, for decades anyway, sometimes the quality falls by the wayside.

And that is the case here – not always, but far too often. In fairness, I have to say that the city is trying hard to improve things this year. The number of stalls has been reduced by a third, supposedly more attention has also been paid to quality, and maybe next year a visit to the Rathausplatz will be well worth a recommendation again. We will see!

  • November 19 – December 26, 2022
    10.00 am – 9.30 pm
    December 24-26, 10.00 am – 6.30 pm
    Rathausplatz, 1010 Vienna

  • Vienna Ice World at the Christmas Market:
    November 19, 2022 – January 8, 2023, daily from 10.00 am – 10.00 pm
    December 24, 10.00 am – 6.30 pm; December 31, closed

To Sum Things Up

If you’re looking for a festive and exciting place to spend your Christmas this year, be sure to check out one of the many amazing markets in Vienna. With so many different options available, you’re sure to find the perfect market for you. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!

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