Okay, full disclosure; we didn’t quite make it to ‘The Big One’ in Vienna. Our travel schedule just so happened to work out so that we had to leave the city a mere four days prior to the start of the world famous celebration at Rathausplatz.
Rather than be disappointed by this scheduling, we took advantage of the flexibility to visit a few smaller Christmas markets in the city. These markets were enjoyable little tastes of the bigger celebrations to come- and with half the crowds.
The best bet for early birds like ourselves was the Christmas Market at Stephansplatz, which began November 11 of this year. Centrally located outside the beautiful St. Stephens Cathedral, we hiked up the 343 steps to the top of the tallest of the gothic towers for an amazing view of the city and the cathedral’s incredible tiled roof. After taking in the views, we rewarded ourselves with a hot mug of glühwein, or mulled wine, and browsed through the many market stalls. We found that this market had some heartier food options- not just pastries and drinks!
Dates: November 11- December 26, 2022.
Times: 11am- 9pm
Just a few minutes walk away from Stephensplatz, the Michaelerplatz Christmas Market sits in the curved square outside the Hofburg. The white stalls were selling high end decor, but also some very welcomed knitwear like hats and scarves. There was also a particularly nice selection of pastries at one of the stalls here that we took advantage of a few times during our visit. This market is very close to the Spanish Riding School and as a result there are usually several horse drawn carriages available to ride if so inclined.
Dates: November 11- December 26, 2022
Times: 10am- 8pm
Conveniently located just a block away from our hotel, the K+K Maria Theresia, we had the unexpected pleasure of stumbling across another Christmas Market. I can’t seem to find information about it online*, but it was a lovely surprise while exploring the area and definitely worth a visit. Unlike the other Christmas markets we had been to, this one wove in and out of three streets rather than a more central open space. There was a good mix of food and crafts here, with many of the local shops and bars participating in the event. We had a potato pancake drizzled in garlic sauce that really hit the spot on a cold night. The most popular treat seemed to be the freshly baked chimney cake- it’s well worth the wait!
*let me know if you know the name!
As I mentioned, we were a little too early for the Christmas Market at Rathausplatz, but we did visit the site to check out the set up.
While much of it was fenced off for its construction, we were still able to enjoy some of the beautiful Christmas decorations at the Advent Celebration at Rathaus Park- huge tree baubles were scattered across the park and one particular tree was decorated with cute heart ornaments. We made sure to get a photo in front of the big ‘Wien Liebe’ sign.
Through the fence, we could see the maze of market stalls and Vienna’s famous double decker merry go round- it looked magical.
Dates: November 19 – December 26
Times: 10am to 9:30pm
Although I’m disappointed we weren’t able to see the Rathausplatz market in action, I was still very pleased with the events we were able to experience!