The Christmas season in Vienna is full of coziness, and the thriving Austrian capital is pulling its strings when the cold weather comes.
Vienna is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful capitals in Europe and a place where festivities and Christmas celebrations are taken seriously. Events throughout the city range from picturesque markets in the shadow of dramatic Baroque architecture to classical concerts in some of the world’s largest venues and art installations. The Christmas markets in Vienna have a long tradition – reason enough for many visitors from all over the globe to come.
Here are the best things to do in Vienna at Christmas.
Christmas Market at Belvedere Castle
The Belvedere Castle Christmas Market lasts until Christmas Eve and is one of the newest and least commercial markets in the city. It is much more intimate than the larger markets outside the Town Hall and Schönbrunn Palace. In front of the magnificent Belvedere Palace – a miraculous Baroque palace built at the beginning of the 18th century as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy in the south-eastern center of Vienna – the facade of the palace is illuminated and there are stalls selling traditional handicrafts, Austrian food and Christmas decorations.
Winter at the Museumsquartier
The Museumsquartier is one of the great masterpieces of Vienna – the area is rich with some of the world’s leading art galleries and museums. With a large courtyard and numerous venues on the grounds, the Museumsquartier offers an extravagance of events every Christmas. In the MQ, you can play curling next to a cup of mulled wine. Or you can listen to one of the numerous concerts, diary slams or stand-up comedy shows offered during the pre-Christmas season. At WinterWAMP you have the opportunity to buy unique gifts from designers. The MQ is worth a visit for its lighting installations as such. Click here for the Winter Awakening program at the MQ.
Christmas market at Karlsplatz
The Christmas market at Karlsplatz on the south side of the Ringstrasse is run by Divina Art, an association of artisans. All items sold on the market have to pass a committee and every piece has to be made by the actual seller. There are also traditional cakes, mulled wine and punch, live music and a live crèche for children. All of this in front of the Charles Church, one of the most beautiful baroque churches in Europe, built by Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach in the 18th century.
Opening hours: Nov 22 – Dec 23 from 12.00 to 8.00 pm
Christmas market at Schönbrunn palace
The Advent market in front of the splendidly illuminated Schönbrunn Palace has been a tradition for many years. In the huts, you will discover traditional handicrafts, carvings, lovingly designed Christmas decorations and toys. Culinary delights in the Schlosspark include various punch variations, mulled wine and sweet and spicy delicacies. Note: Dogs are not allowed!
Opening hours: Nov 23 to Dec 26 from 10.00 am to 9.00 pm
Christmas market at the Rathausplatz
The town hall square without a Christmas market is not imaginable. Not without a reason, the Christkindlmarkt at the Rathausplatz is also called “Wiener Weihnachtstraum – Viennese Christmas Dream”. You can slowly get in the mood for Christmas there and move from hut to hut. After all, there are 152 of them… The crowds are huge, but so is the offered program. There are gospel choirs, tower blowers, ringlets, a reindeer train, a crib trail, a photo point and even a kissing stop.
How about a little ice skating? The small ice rink offers 3000 m2 of ice paths through the town hall park. If you book online, you get a 10% discount on the entrance fee and the skate rental.
Opening hours: Nov 15 – Dec 24 from 10.00 am to 9.30 pm, Friday and Saturday from 10.00 am to 10.00 pm
Winter market at the Riesenradplatz
The Prater rocks from Nov 16 to Jan 6 with Punsch and Gospel, Pop and Soul live concerts. During a ride on Vienna’s landmark The Giant Ferris Wheel you will have a wonderful view over the illuminated city. An experience not only for Vienna visitors but also for the Viennese.
Live concerts from Wednesday to Sunday from 7.00 pm
Christmas concert in St. Stephen's Cathedral
The Christmas concert, which takes place on various dates in December, offers the opportunity to experience world-class music in the magnificent surroundings of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The Harmonia Ensemble Vienna interprets pieces of chamber music and works by Schubert, Handel or Bach as well as many popular Christmas songs. The cathedral is located at Stephansplatz, right in the heart of the city, with a subway stop right in front of the door. The famous cathedral is a must for every visitor to Vienna. Oh and there’s also a Christmas market in front of the cathedral.
Tickets for the concerts are available here.
Christmas markets off the beaten track
At the medieval Christmas market on the grounds of the Military History Museum in Ghegastraße, you will find jugglers, dancers, bonfire-eaters, live music and lots of food stands. Take the underground U1 to Keperplatz, the tram O to Fasangasse or D to Quartier Belvedere and after a short walk, you are right there.
Nov 28: 1 – 10 pm
Nov 29-30: 10 am – 10 pm
Dec 1: 10 am – 8 pm
The Gugumuck snail factory in Rosiwalgasse 44 in the 10th district is the home for snail lovers. On 7 and 8 December from 3 to 9 pm, a culinary Christmas festival with snail specialties and a nice entertainment program awaits you there. If you’re quick, you might get a seat at the seven-course gala menu. With the U1 to Alaudagasse and then with the 16A to Rosiwalgasse and your snail experience can start.
The Haas & Haas Teahouse behind the Cathedral of St. Stephen provides a wonderful Christmas atmosphere with its winter market and open fireplaces. With homemade hot drinks and small barbecue skewers, the teahouse offers its guests something special beyond the mainstream.
Daily from 4 to 8 pm Saturday and Sunday from 2 pm.
The most beautiful Christmas lights in Vienna
Vienna is simply beautiful in the Christmas season. The lighting designers are doing a great job by dressing the city in a festive blaze of lights. Discover the most beautiful Christmas lights on a walk through the city.
The “Graben” Vienna in the city center. Exit metro station Stephansplatz (St. Stephens Square) and you’re in the heart of the city.
The “Kohlmarkt” takes you from Graben to the famous Hofburg. Walk beneath the sky of lights.
The Christmas lights of the Golden quarter. Walk along the Graben and then turn slightly right. That’s where you need a purse full of $$$ if you want to do some Christmas shopping…
No, this is not a city in Asia, this is Rotenturmstraße in Vienna with its famous massive red Christmas lights.
You’ll find the big red bow at the end of Kärntner Straße close to the famous Sacher Hotel and Café.
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