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!
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.
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!
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.
Here are the markets you shouldn’t miss, when you are “the touristy” one:
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,
At a glance for all "echte Wiener":
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):
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:
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:
Header Image: ©stadtwienmarketing/Sebastian Toth via vienna.at