Christmas in Vienna:
From Traditional/Peaceful to Modern/Boozy

In terms of „Christkindlmärkte“ (Austrian for Christmas Markets) I can say with my utmost certainty that Vienna offers anything one could wish for. Christmas Markets are an old tradition popular among old and young. To show how much we love them, we stick to the motto: „The earlier, the better!“.

At the famous Museumsquartier (an artsy area in the 7th district, which is definitely living up to its reputation as “one of Viennas hotspots” in winter as well), you can already enjoy your “Punsch” (Christmas punch) since November 7. A bit early? Naah! Think of the smell of all the delicious treats: hot Kaiserschmarrn, roasted almonds, the cinnamon in the mulled wine, … There’s no too early!

Classic Punsch mugs here in Vienna - (c) STADTBEKANNT Hofinger

Side note: Due to this great variety of culinary delights – both savory and sweet – Austrians affectionately call their visits to Christmas Markets simply to go “punschen” which actually is the tasty “Punsch” turned into a verb.

Which “Christkindlmarkt” type are you?

Be that as it may, let’s turn to the really important questions: Which Christkindlmarkt should you try first?  Where can you find the best Punsch and mulled wine? Or do you prefer to explore the most extraordinary combination of flavors?

Not only the number of culinary delights has become vast but also the different Christkindlmarkt locations in Vienna. That's why I want to help you with choosing the right or rather first one to visit and the order of the following ones. When categorizing our Christmas Markets, however, pigeonhole thinking and stereotypes will come in handy – sorry for that. From Hipster to Viennese Originals, everything will be represented. Let’s go!

1 „The Tourist“

Vienna is not only famous for its Christkindlmärkte (also: Weihnachtsmarkt) but also for its one-of-a-kind ambience and scenery during Christmas time in general. This might be a pleasure on the one hand but, on the other hand, it also means that the city and its classic Christmas Markets are more than “well attended”.  

Vienna’s inhabitants, well-known for being “grantig” (grumpy to misanthropically), therefore tend to avoid the hurly-burly around the Rathausplatz, Schönbrunn or the historical old town. However, for Vienna’s newbies or just any lover of the Viennese Flair, these places are simply perfect! You can not only enjoy your first Punsch or any other caloric bomb but, at the same time, be stunned by looking at the famous sights. This ultimate Christmas experience is completed by Austrian craftsmanship, Christmas baubles and many other pretty things.

One of my favorites... Christkindlmarkt at Palace Schönbrunn! In front of the big tree, they have different singers or bands on many evenings. (Photo via Arcotels)


Here are the markets you shouldn’t miss, when you are “the touristy” one:

2 „A echter Wiener!“ (A Viennese Original)

To be honest, every Christmas Market gets crowded from time to time. Still, the shy (a nice paraphrase for grumpy) Viennese veterans prefer their small(er) Christkindlmärkte a bit off the touristic hotspots. Speaking of these,

  • the Weihnachtsdorf at the Uni Campus Altes AKH will also make every student’s heart beat faster and faster! From class to Weihnachtsdorf (Christmas village) in a few steps: This Punsch paradise is located in the Campus’ courtyard. Several wooden huts spread along the winding paths below the trees. Be prepared for exotic flavors, typically Austrian dishes and a everything your calory-greedy heart desires.
  • If you are ready to go on a little “journey” into the depths of Ottakring (the 16th district) for enjoying peaceful Christmas vibes, the Weihnachtszauber Wilhelminenberg is your personal “el dorado”. There, the view over the city is in no way inferior to the one you enjoy at one of your favorite student residence's roof at THE FIZZ Vienna Brigittenau.
  • At “Spittelberg”, the view might not be the highlight of your visit, but the location itself will definitely be! This Christkindlmarkt stretches out on the small and cosy little street of the 7th district. Take care: After the second, third, fourth, … mug of mulled wine you can definitely get lost here. In the middle of Vienna, however, this location can make you easily forget the hustle and bustle of the city.

The small streets at Spittelberg - every one with its own "shape" and flair! (Photo via punschvergleich.at)

At a glance for all "echte Wiener":

3 "The Underground Hipster"

The ordinary Christmas Market sounds boring to you? Then this category will definitely be the right one for you along with some special concepts and locations (as well as a few details):

  • ART ADVENT Markt am Karlsplatz
    Karlsplatz is a special but not really "underground" (meaning secret) location. However, the Christmas Market there is really stunning as it specialises in art, handcraftship, organic products paired with entertainment. In fact, it is the only Christmas Market in Austria which is certificatied for 100 % organic gastronomy. Art Advent will cater all those who appreciate unique art pieces and sustainable concepts.
  • Veganer Adventmarkt at ARCOTEL Kaiserwasser
    Hipster and vegan... I warned you, this is going to be a blogpost using various stereotypes. However, living vegan is a trend or rather mindset that is growing more and more popular especially among students. So, good news for all the vegans out there: Vienna does not only stick to traditional Christmas Markets neglecting many things that matter to you. Check out this vegan one near Vienna International Center.
  • Adventzauber at Transport Museum Remise
    From vegan to vehicles: This is a very special location! Do you happen to know what a Remise is? It's kind of a shelter for buses, trains and different vehicles which need some maintenance or repairs. In Vienna, the Wiener Linien use them, for example, for trams. One of them, however, was turned into a museum. And the transformation is not done yet: Every December, this place hosts a cute little Christmas Market with culinary delights without forgetting where the visitors actually are, in a Remise. Attention: It starts on December 6!
Back on track(s)? Christmas at the Remise - something you won't forget (Photo by Johannes Zinner via weekend.at)

4 „The Summer Lover“

Remember summer time? Sunbathing with a cool cocktail in one and some ice cream in the other hand seems like ages ago. Lucky you if you are feeling that way! In Vienna, you don't have to give up enjoying drinks combined with a view over the city on a rooftop. Although the sun won't be there, hot Punsch and mulled whine will keep you warm there in Winter. Here's a list of a few Restaurants, event locations or hotels who turn their roofs into a Punsch paradise every year:

A mug of warm mulled wine to warm your hands while overlooking the Danube Canal... and that's (ONLY in terms of m) the lowest rooftop Punsch! (Photo by wien.info)

Which Christkindlmarkt has won your heart/tummy?

Information overload? Don't worry. It's only November and you will have at least one month to find your favorite spot! Still, you might want to make sure your gym membership is still valid... Christmas pounds are calling.

For everyone who is not willing or able to give many different Weihnachtsmärkte a try, here are my favorite ones and personal recommendations:

  • Weihnachtsmarkt Schönbrunn
  • Weihnachtsmarkt am Spittelberg
  • Weihnachtsdorf Uni Campus Altes AKH
  • Punschen auf der Klyo Dachterrasse

Header Image: ©stadtwienmarketing/Sebastian Toth via vienna.at