Vienna, Austria is host to many Christmas Markets in Europe every year. I am very blessed to have visited 3 of the numerous Christmas Markets they have in Vienna alone in my few days there.
It has always been my dream to visit any of the Christmas Markets in Europe. At last, I got to visit some of them in Vienna and Munich last Nov. 27-Dec. 2, 2018. I have been planning the visit for several years now and each time I am about to embark on the journey, something would come up like lack of leave credits, budget was not enough, or my family and I decided to travel somewhere else. This time around, I went with my travel buddy and there was no turning back!
There were a lot to check out in Vienna. There were approximately 11 Christmas Markets in various spots in Vienna in 2018. I managed to visit only 3 of them but I am happy than not visiting any at all!
When you say Christmas Market, what does come to mind? Local delicacies? Ornaments? Punch and other drinks? Treats? Music? Fun? Well, all of the above and then some! There were just too many to see, and the Christmas handicrafts were the ones that really tickled me pink with excitement! I wish I had plenty of money to spare so could buy decors for our Christmas tree but the main goal of visiting was to immerse in the experience, provide feast for the eyes, feel like a local even for just a day/night, taste some of their local delicacies, have a gulp of the mulled wine, and bring home memories to last a lifetime. Yup! Checked all of those!
Without further ado, here are the 3 Christmas Markets I have visited in 2018:
Christmas Village Belvedere Palace
Open from Nov. 23 – Dec. 26, 2018
Prinz Eugen-Strasse 27 – 1030 Vienna
directly in front of Belvedere Palace(“Schloss Belvedere”) – upper yard
The small Christmas huts were uniformly designed and were all facing the upper Belvedere Palace. I also managed to visit the lower Belvedere and the inner courtyard in the morning and the whole place was very magical!
I wish I had more photos to show for the Christmas Market in Belvedere Palace. The cold weather got my phone conking out, and my digital camera too. I was left with a short video clip of the facade and few snaps but nothing of the Christmas stall/huts.
I didn’t spend longer time here since it was very, very cold that taking a single selfie involved a lot of energy and removing my gloves for that were just too much. I wish I had visited few hours earlier but I was in the Rathaus from 6:00 pm. I had to soak in all the lights, sounds, sight, and smell of food and Christmas spice around this place to give me all the reason to stay for few minutes for some snaps. And then my camera conked and then my phone died next.
Christmas Market at Stephansplatz
Open from Nov. 16 – Dec. 26, 2018
I visited the Stephansplatz before lunch. I had the privilege of going inside St. Stephen’s Cathedral and offer a little prayer before checking out the dark huts of the Stephansplatz Christmas Market. It was at the side and behind the church and they were at the perfect location in the center of a very accessible landmark – the St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
It was very crowded that day. A lot of tourists and locals alike flocked to the site to check out the cathedral and the Christmas stalls around the square. Just when I was about to take pictures around the square, my handy digital camera and phone died on me so I wasn’t able to capture much of the sight and share them all for you to see. However, I do have few clips that I managed to take.
Viennese Dream Christmas Market in Rathausplatz
Open from Nov. 16 – Dec. 26, 2018
Rathausplatz, 1010 Vienna
I went to the Christmas Market in Rathausplatz around 6 in the evening to see the delightful Christmas lights and witness the merriment of what this famous market holds for many visitors, both local and tourists. I was still in the tram and I could already smell the roasted chestnuts and hear kids laughing and adults chattering about. The display around me was thrilling. I stayed here for more than an hour until I couldn’t stand the biting cold and decided to check out the one in Belvedere Palace before heading back to the hotel.
All the Christmas markets that I have visited have the same staples like roasted chestnuts, the ginger cookies, delectable confectionery treats and the famous gluh wein or mulled wine. The mulled wine or other hot beverage sold there were poured in mugs that you could keep or return to get the deposit back. I think one mulled wine is around € 7 because it was that much in Munich. I didn’t buy any mulled wine because I had to visit another Christmas market and didn’t want to spend much. However, I already kept one from Munich. Though the one in Vienna Christmas Markets had different design with Vienna on them.
There were also plenty of glass baubles and other religious relics for Christmas. However, I spent some time looking at the handcrafted porcelain Christmas villages in some booths. Some were small enough to hang as Christmas ornaments while others are great addition for my Lemax Christmas Village collection. But I didn’t buy one because I was in a very tight budget. I wish I had extra and I am pretty sure I would have bought some.
There were plenty of wooden crafts as well which are handmade. Some wooden toys, trinkets, and nutcrackers were delightful. I really wanted to buy a nutcracker even when I was in Munich. But my mind kept computing about the cost and if it was necessary. Maybe on my next visit! I have to have some nutcrackers!
The other side of the market was like a small activity centre for everyone. In the middle of the skating rink is a cute snow globe. And did you know, the snow globe actually originated in Austria! Now, that’s a trivia. I just stood there for a while, watched the people enjoy their time with their families. And before heading home, I just decided to buy myself a small confectionery treat. I actually bought two! They were yummy marshmallow filled cones with chocolate drizzle. I think they cost around € 1.50. Price-wise, it may be just a tad much but I really am not very familiar with the usual commodity prices around Austria so anything below €5 to me is cheap!
The cold was really harsh and biting. I do love winter but it is different when the snow was just about to fall. So, I decided to head to Belvedere Palace for another walk at the Christmas Markets.
I saw some nice buskers with disability. I decided to give few of the coins I have in my pocket to one of them. Anyway, it is the season of giving. I felt good seeing the old man’s face lit up when I gave him my coins. I think they were enough to buy him a hot meal. He was just very thankful. Well, that night was certainly one of the best feelings I have ever felt in my life. Too many boxes checked! I actually cried when I stood in front of the big signage. I guess, it’s not everyday you dream of some places and one day, you’re standing on it. I am just very thankful for the travel opportunities I am afforded by my company.
It is really an experience I will never forget. I just love the jovial atmosphere in all the Christmas Markets in Vienna that I was blessed to visit. I will do this again in a heartbeat but maybe not next year as the little Princess prefers to visit Osaka for winter. I can start saving up for a December family getaway for 2020 and maybe visit other European Christmas Markets.
I do recommend you visit any of the Christmas Markets in Vienna if you plan to visit the city next winter time. The Christmas Markets usually open around 2nd-3rd week of November and are open until Christmas. Some stay open until first week of January. There are plenty of information available in the internet and few months before the event, they will release the dates of when the Christmas Markets will officially open. The markets are usually in the same place year after year. But there may be some additions or updates so you can check them out later.
I will try to post an individual article about each of the Christmas Markets I have visited in both Munich and Vienna. This is just a summary of what I saw, and experienced. So, more photos will be up so be sure to check back my posts or subscribe to my blog and other social channels. 🙂
Do you fancy traveling in the cold? Why not add the Christmas Markets of Vienna in your bucket list for a cold winter get-away?