Austria: The 10 Most Magical Christmas Market you will love to visit
If you have in your bucket list to spend Christmas in Austria, you are in the right place! You are about the discover the top 10 most magical and festive Christmas Market in Austria.
My first visit to Austria was during Christmas time, and it was so magical and one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The highlight of my trip was to be able to visit many Christmas markets and to fall in love with the culture in Austria, and to experience how the locals spend this special time of the year.
I have learned that all Christmas Markets in Austria is unique. Some focus more on food, some on handcraft, some are great for families and kids, while some are a perfect destination for a romantic couple getaway. Because of its uniqueness, make sure you plan to visit a variety of Christmas Markets for a great delightful experience.
Imagine the lights of a Christmas tree rivaling with glistening tiles of the Golden Roof, the aroma of freshly made “Kitchen” (piping hot doughnuts laced with Sauerkaut), and the sound of Christmas carols. This is Christmas time in Austria!
From the middle of November until the end of the year, Austria is the place to find romantic Christmas markets.
Enjoy these amazing markets and safe travels!
BONUS RESOURCES: In this guide you can find all the best tips and practical information you need to visit the best Christmas Markets in Austria. In the end, you can find a bonus section for all the RESOURCES you need to plan and book your trip to Austria, and to make your experience as easy, safe, and fun as possible.
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Where to visit the most magical Christmas Markets in Austria
If you are planning to spend Christmas in Austria and you are not sure where to start, this is a perfect start for your trip planning. I have listed the destinations that are easy to access and to travel between cities, and to give you the opportunity to visit the most magical Christmas Markets in Austria – also, called Advent markets in Austria.
Vienna Christmas Markets
In my opinion, Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities on the Planet! Visiting Vienna during Christmas time is even more magical. Vienna offers more than 20 Christmas Markets around the city, all of them offering beautiful crafts, decorations, and amazing local food to try. During Christmas time in Vienna, you can also enjoy ice skating at Rathausplatz.
Innsbruck Christmas Markets
With 6 Christmas Markets and more than 200 stalls, Christmas time in Innsbruck is not only colorful and magical but also, very easy to walk around and visit the city and many Christmas Markets. It is surrounded by the snowy Alps and it is a perfect fairy tail scnerio when you visit the Christmas Markets. You can take the cable car up into the mountains for an amazing experience and views of the snow covering the roofs.
Salzburg Christmas Markets
In Salzburg, you will find Christmas markets placed right outside many historic buildings. You can enjoy the markets, as you view the historical buildings, as when these two come together, they offer a completely magical experience. You can easily stroll under them while taking in history, and all the Christmas spirit.
Graz Christmas Markets
Graz is the second-largest city in Austria and it is located on the Southeastern side of the country. The city is very walkable and the most popular Christmas Markets are only walking distance from each other. The Christmas Markets are magical, with the backdrop of the city’s Christmas lights which are lit daily from 4:30 pm until midnight.
The 10 Most Magical Austrian Christmas Market
1- TOWN HALL CHRISTMAS MARKET - The largest Christmas Market in Vienna
In central Vienna, right outside the Town Hall, you’ll find the biggest and quite possibly, the most beautiful Christmas market in Austria, the Chriskindlmarkt at Rathausplatz.
Also known as the Vienna Christmas Dream, this market is the place to be if you want to experience a traditional Austrian Christmas market during the festive season.
At the entrance (where there’s no fee), you are greeted by an overhanging arch filled with gorgeous Christmas decorations. The Town Hall square is lined with nearly 150 booths selling everything from Christmas gifts to Christmas tree decorations and a wide variety of traditional Viennese food.
While you are wandering through the market, it’s best to admire all of the items at the booths while sipping on traditional Austrian Glühwein (mulled wine) and munching on some delicious roasted chestnuts – a real Austrian treat!
Not only is the market known for its fantastic booths, but adjacent to the market is the ice rink, located in the Rathauspark, another reason to visit this beautiful Christmas Market in Vienna!
HOW TO GET TO THE TOWN HALL CHRISTMAS MARKET: The best way to get to the market is via public transport or walking. You can catch Tram 1, 72, or D, which stops right outside the market. With its enormous decorations and being located in the heart of Vienna, it’s easy to find!
2- BELVEDERE PALACE - The most impressive Austria Christmas Market
The event at Belvedere Palace is one of the most, if not the most, impressive Christmas markets in Vienna. The whole palace lights up for the occasion, and it’s a joy to witness from every angle.
Not least from the Landstraßer Gürtel entrance where you’ll be wowed by the palace’s reflection in the decorative lake in front.
Each Christmas around 40 stalls set up in front of the baroque palace, selling handcrafted toys, trinkets for your tree, beautifully scented candles, and authentic snow globes. Of course, there are huts selling plenty of punch to warm you up too, and typical Austrian treats to curb any hunger pangs.
There are often bands or singing groups providing entertainment in the evenings and if you arrive early enough, you can combine your visit with a look around the art museum that’s housed within the palace. This is a particularly romantic market for couples to enjoy, and one which doesn’t normally get as busy as Schönbrunn, or those in the city center.
The market typically runs from around the 20th November through to Christmas, and then it morphs into a New Year’s market to see out the year.
HOW TO GET TO THE BELVEDERE PALACE CHRISTMAS MARKET: Take tram line D from the city center, or take the metro to Karlsplatz and walk the final leg.
3- SCHONBRUNN PALACE - Royal Atmosphere Christmas Market in Vienna
The Christmas Market from the Schonnbrunn Palace is without a doubt one of the most beautiful in Vienna. Each year, the courtyard from Schonbrunn Palace transforms into a magical land, with stands selling punch and mulled wine, traditional Austrian sweets, and delicious grilled sausages.
The focus of the market is on crafts and arts, so expect to find some beautiful, stylish artisanal pieces to take home with you.
What makes this Christmas market special is the royal atmosphere of the Schonbrunn Palace. Even if you are visiting just for a few hours, you can still pretend and feel you are a princess here. It’s even better if you have watched the 1955 Sissi movie, the princess’s summer residence.
For the Christmas market, all the decorations are carefully chosen to be silver and gold, which couldn’t be more royal, especially with the impressive palace as a backdrop.
As it’s quite away from all the other Christmas Markets in Vienna, Schonbrunn is not as crowded as others.
As all the main Christmas markets in Vienna, the one from the Schonbrunn Palace has its own mug design, which changes each year. You can take the mug home with you, as a souvenir, by not returning it and taking your deposit back.
HOW TO GET TO THE SCHONBRUNN CHRISTMAS MARKET: You can easily reach the Schonbrunn Christmas market from the main train station in Vienna, by tram. You can even walk if it’s not too cold.
4- SPITTELBERT CHRISTMAS MARKET - A Smaller and cozy Christmas Market n Vienna
If you love smaller, cozy Christmas markets, Vienna’s Spittelberg Christmas Market is for you. Spittelberg is a sweet and utterly charming little neighborhood which is located around the MuseumsQuartier.
Even if you’re not visiting during the holiday season, it’s 100% worth it to wander around its adorable narrow streets and courtyards, which are filled with restaurants, bars, concept shops, and galleries.
The Christmas market winds its way through these streets and courtyards, which are beautifully decored with twinkling lights, making it feel a lot more intimate, cozy, and fun-to-explore.
Amongst the Spitterlberg Christmas Market’s stalls, you’ll find plenty of food and drinks like Christmas-inspired decorated cupcakes, unique homemade liquors, chocolates, and waffles. Other stalls sell anything from soaps and candles to jewelry to clothing, so even though the market is small, there’s enough variety to keep you interested.
Vienna hosts many big and impressive Christmas markets, but I’m certain that this one will steal your heart, and you definitely won’t regret adding it to your Vienna itinerary.
HOW TO GET TO THE SPITTELBERG CHRISTMAS MARKET: You can take Tram 49 (get off at Stiftgasse), buses 2A (to Stiftgasse) and 48A (to Sankt Ulrichs Platz), or the Subway’s U3 (get off at Volkstheater).
6 - HALL IN TIROL CHRISTMAS MARKETS - The family magical Christmas Market in Austria
O Christmas market in Hall in Tirol is one of the best in Austria if you’re looking for a traditional medieval setting.
Surrounded by centuries-old buildings and narrow cobbled lanes, this market is small and intimate compared to big city markets. No wonder it’s a favorite among the locals to spend enjoyable evenings drinking, eating, and shopping away from the bigger tourist crowds in nearby Innsbruck.
The Hall Christmas market usually opens on the 2nd last Friday of November and remains open daily until 24 December. What makes this market special is the numbers of the Advent calendar on the buildings around the upper town square. They disappear one by one as Christmas day approaches.
If you’re at the market in Hall in Tirol around 18:00 every evening, you’ll hear trumpeters play traditional Christmas melodies. Make sure to get a mug of hot Glühwein to sip on while you listen. Afterward, treat yourself to a Kiachl (fried dough with a filling), some Käsespätzle (Austria’s version of macaroni and cheese), or roasted nuts.
The stalls selling unique local arts and crafts are the perfect place to do Christmas shopping for loved ones back home. And if you have small kids, they’ll enjoy the petting zoo or camel rides.
HOW TO GET TO THE HALL IN TIROL CHRISTMAS MARKET: Hall in Tirol is a medieval town about 10 km from the Tyrolean capital of Innsbruck. The Christmas market is easily reached by bus. Arriving by train is also possible, but requires a 15 to 20-minute walk to get to the old town.
6 - SEEFELD CHRISTMAS MARKET - A romantic charming Christmas Market in Austria
The Seefeld Christmas Market is one of 9 Christmas markets in Tyrol, Austria that carry a seal of approval for their authenticity and product quality.
This cozy market next to the village church in the center of Seefeld in Tirol is attracting more visitors every year. The train station that brings visitors from Innsbruck and Garmisch Partenkirchen is just a few minutes’ walks away.
Seefeld is on a sunny plateau which makes it a beloved holiday region in winter and summer. But when the sun goes down, the welcoming lights of the Christmas market turns the village into a romantic festive wonderland.
The smell of roasted chestnut, steaming mugs of Glühwein, and other traditional Christmas delicacies fill the air. There are fires to provide warmth and local choirs and theatre groups provide soulful entertainment.
The Seefeld Christmas Market is open daily from the end of November to the beginning of January. Seasonal highlights include visits by St Nikolaus and some devil-like Krampusse at the beginning of December, as well as advent singing in mid-December.
HOW TO GET TO THE SEEFELD CHRISTMAS MARKET: From Innsbruck, you can reach the train station in Seefeld, directly adjacent to the pedestrian zone Seefeld, in about 35 minutes.
7 - MAREKET MARIA-THERESIEN STRAßE - Christmas Market with picturesque mountain views
Innsbruck is one of the most popular destinations in Austria for winter sports enthusiasts, and also, a great place for visiting the Christmas Markets.
The Christmas market in Innsbruck opens as part of the mountain Christmas from mid-November in 6 different locations in the city, and one of the best markets to visit is the Maria-Theresien-Straße Christmas Market.
It is surrounded by a sparkling sea of modern Christmas lights. A special eye-catcher is the illuminated mountain crystal that towers up above the market and watches over the stalls, lined by trees covered in tiny, sparkling lights, and is home to approx. 30 market stalls that offer winter cuisine and gift ideas.
You can also stroll through the cozy alleys and let yourself be enchanted by the delicious smells of Christmas delicacies. Every evening there is live Christmas music here.
HOW TO GET TO MARIA-THERESIEN STRAßE CHRISTMAS MARKET: It is easy to access by public transportation, options to take subway lines, light rail, or public bus. The closest station is Schottentor is 65 meters away or 1 min walk.
8 - SALZBURG'S CHRISTMAS MARKET IN THE CITY CENTER - A Christmas Market in the city of Mozart
Home to Mozart and “The Sound of Music”; named a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its amazing preserved baroque architecture and unique blend of German and Italian influence, Salzburg is a perfect winter destination in Europe.
O Christkindlmarkt am Domplatz is the largest and most famous Christmas Market in Salzburg has been held at the Cathedral Square since 1974.
This famous Christmas Market draws countless visitors from all over the world every Christmas season and is also very popular with the locals. The traditional huts blend to create a unique atmosphere, along with specia lighting that stretches above the market like romantic stars across the night sky.
The organizers have also ensured that visitors are treated to a colorful daily events program that includes readings of Christmas stories for children, Krampus parades, guided Christmas tours, choral concerts, visits by the “Christ Child”, festive melodies performed from the surrounding towers, and so much more.
HOW TO GET TO THE DOMPLATZ CHRISTMAS MARKET: The Cathedral is located in the center of the town so it is impossible to miss it, and it is the largest Christmas Market in Salzburg.
9- HOHENSALZBURG FORTRESS COURTYARD - Romantic Christmas Market int he Castle
O Hohensalzburg Fortress Christmas Market in Salzburg is under the linden trees in the castle courtyard is not only the highest Salzburg Christmas Market but also one of the most atmospheric.
The Hohensalzburg fortress was built in 1077, and it was one of Europe’s largest castles at that time, and it is actually the largest preserved castle in central Europe. This fortress was built to protect the archbishops and the principality from any possible attacks.
Lit by traditional Herrnhuter stars, the quaint courtyard is a merry place to shop local crafts and listen to live music.
A free, supervised children’s workshop in the “Children’s Hödlmoser atelier” features Christmas music, cookie-baking, arts and crafts, and provides entertainment from 2.00 to 5.00 p.m
The stalls offer a fine selection of Salzburg delicacies, local handicrafts, and gift ideas. In this market, you can find local arts and crafts, very charming gifts, and a great lively social interaction, besides great views of the city.
HOW TO GET TO THE HOHENSALZBURG FORTRESS CHRISTMAS MARKET: You will either take a steep but scenic hike or a funicular to get to the market. The view over the city is worth the climb. Buy a ticket to tour the fortress while you’re there, or get a free ticket to spend time at the market and enjoy the castle grounds
10- AUSFSTREIREM MARKET GRAZ - The coolest Austria Christmas Market
Located in a former castle moat called “Kasematten” on top of the Schlossberg hill you can find the “Aufsteirern” Christmas market in Graz.
In summer mostly used as an open-air stage, this place turns into a festively decorated living room for Christmas. Both, its special location and unique ambiance make this Christmas market one of the coolest ones in Austria!
Once at the Christmas market, don’t miss out on the delicious and fruity mulled wine. The prices are a bit more expensive than anywhere else in the city, but at least it’s served in the cutest mugs ever!
If you get hungry, head to one of the many food stalls offering typical, hearty Austrian dishes. Most of them are very meat-heavy but don’t worry if you’re vegetarian or vegan. Fries and baked potatoes are usually available to buy as well.
Besides the mulled wine and food stalls, you can also find locals selling handmade crafts such as decoration, jewelry, and other nice stuff.
So, take your time and don’t rush through this market. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on the most beautiful souvenirs to buy!
HOW TO GET TO THE AUSFSTERIRERN CHRISTMAS MARKET: Getting to the market alone is a real adventure already. If you’re fit enough, you can either climb up some steep stairs or follow the road up on the backside of the hill. A more convenient way is to take the Schlossberg funicular. As soon as you’re on top of the Schlossberg simply follow the signs saying “Aufsteirern”.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR YOUR AUSTRIAN CHRISTMAS MARKETS TRIP
- WHEN TO VISIT: Check the opening dates for the Christmas Markets you are planning to visit – Check this website for all the dates.
- BOOK YOUR HOTEL: As soon as you decide on the dates and itinerary, book your hotels. It is a very popular time of the year o visit Austria and hotel s tend to book up quickly.
- PACK WARM CLOTHES: Christmas time in Austria is cold and you will see a lot of snow. Make sure to pack a comfortable but also snow proof boots, hat, scarf, gloves, and a very warm jacket.
- FOOD IS AMAZING: Make sure when you visit the Christmas market in Austria, you go hungry! The food is amazing and there a big variety of local food and drinks you will want to try.
- BRING CASH: It is a good idea to carry some Euros with you as you will make small purchases such as little gifts, food, and drinks. Not all the stands accept credit cards.
- WHAT YOU CAN BUY AT CHRISTMAS MARKETS: You will find a huge variety of high-quality and unique items to buy, believe me, it is hard to leave a Christmas market in Austria without buying anything. The most popular items are Christmas Ornaments, wood carving, decor, snow globes, wool items and much more.
WHEN TO VISIT AUSTRIA TO VISIT THE CHRISTMAS MARKETS
The Christmas Markets in Austria generally open from late November and they last until right before Christmas day, but dates vary per market and also, a bit every year. Check the website listed above for dates.
Different than many other European Christmas markets that may remain open after Christmas, in Austria is different.
Don’t expect to see a lot of locals on the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, as it is traditional to celebrate with the families, and most of the business will be closed on these days.
AUSTRIA GUIDE BOOK
Prepare in advance for your trip to Austria. Here are some of the excellent guide books that can help you to prepare for your trip and to explore the best of Austria during Christmas time:
WHERE TO STAY IN AUSTRIA
BOOK YOUR HOTEL As soon as you decide on the dates and itinerary, book your hotels. It is a very popular time of the year o visit Austria and hotel s tend to book up quickly.
TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR YOUR AUSTRIA TRIP
Considering that anything can go wrong with any trip, we don’t want to risk the fun, right? Risks are of breaking down, loosing your luggage, or even worse, having an accident and get injured.
I recommend and also use reliable insurance through World Nomads. You can just do a quick quote below, and you will be surprised to find out how little it can cost, for the benefit you will get.
RENTING A CAR IN AUSTRIA
Road trips are a great option, and actually, my favorite way to explore Europe. You get the chance to see and do a lot in a short period of time. Request a quote from a reliable source and compare the prices from different car rentals available.
CHRISTMAS IN AUSTRIA BEST TOUR OPTIONS
If you are not planning to rent a car and drive around Austria, the good news is that there are plenty of great options for tours to experience the magical season, in the comfort of a private tour, with a local guide that speaks English. Check this top picks for your:
Vienna: Christmas Markets Tour – This walking tour takes you to some of Vienna’s traditional Christmas Markets to see the magical holiday decorations and handicrafts that reflect the season.
Silent Night Oberndorf Christmas Eve Tour from Salzburg – Enjoy the festive Christmas Eve celebrations in the Silent Night Chapel in Oberndorf, near Salzburg. It was here the now world-famous song was first sung. Drink your fill of the magical atmosphere, among the snow-covered foothills of the Alps.
Innsbruck: Magical Christmas Tour – Witness Innsbruck at a special time of year that brings magic to the city. Visit Christmas markets, admire iconic sights, and learn more about the city’s festive traditions.