Christmas shopping in Vienna

Austrians know how to celebrate Christmas and they begin in November when, by tradition, the Christmas markets start appearing all over Austria.  With the aroma of roasting chestnuts signalling that Christmas market season has begun, shoppers are confronted with a large choice of handcrafted wares.

In the Capital, Vienna, these Christmas markets are truly an age-old tradition. The forerunners of the present-day events date back to the Middle Ages. When, in 1298, Albrecht I granted Vienna’s citizens the privilege of holding a December Market or Krippenmarkt. Since then, the character and prevalence of these markets has changed considerably. Also known as Advent markets on sale are a vast array of Christmas gifts and mouth watering treats.

Some of the best know Christmas markets are:

Rathuaspark, on the square in front of City Hall:  Featuring Christmas tree decorations, wooden toys, gingerbread hearts, roast chestnuts, baked potatoes, candied fruits and aromatic berry laden punch are on sale at some 150 stalls. Inside City Hall, children can craft their own Christmas gifts out of clay, paper and glass at the workshop in the Great Hall, or bake cookies and vanilla crescents.

Belvedere Palace, Prinz Eugen-Straße: Explore baroque lifestyle and traditional handicrafts. The popular Christmas Village is set against the glorious baroque backdrop of the world-famous Belvedere palace, one of Vienna‘s most beautiful and significant sights. More than 40 festively decorated market stalls offer traditional handcrafted goods, elaborate Christmas decorations and special culinary delights.

Christmas Village, Maria-Theresien Platz: Experience impressive Viennese buildings and traditional Christmas customs at the Maria-Theresien Platz this winter. The Christmas atmosphere is provided by festively decorated market stalls as well as a vast array of culinary delights.

Universitätscampus, Alserstrasse: The Christmas Village at Vienna’s former General Hospital (“Altes AKH”) will enchant the visitor with its traditional Viennese cosy atmosphere. The lovingly designed and decorated market stalls located on the many narrow alleyways offer an array of beautiful Christmas gifts as well as distinctive and mulled wine.

Parade Court, in front of Schönbrunn Palace: Approximately 60 exhibitors present handicrafts and original gifts such as hand-made Christmas decorations, mangers or objects made of natural materials are available for visitors to admire and make purchases from. The fragrance of fresh Christmas cakes and biscuits and hot punch also contributes to the atmosphere and feeling of Christmas.

Christkindlmarkt Spittelberg, behind the Volkstheater: Spittelberg is a revitalized heritage district from the Biedermeier period with narrow side streets. At the Christmas market you can find objects d’art, ceramics, warm pullovers, rugs and jewellery made of silver, enamel and brass.

Altweiner Christkindlmarkt Freyung, Schottengasse: The Altwiener Christkindlmarkt is located against the backdrop of numerous palaces in the Freyung district of the Old Town. The goods on offer cover everything from hand-decorated Christmas tree candles to traditional basket ware.

Divina Art Christmas Market in front of the Karlskirche, at Karlsplatz: This market unites more than 60 craftsmen and women from mid Europe presenting their unique work. Besides the market the visitors can discover the convergence of town and countryside, children and adults, art and culture. Spectacular fire shows, an intelligent yet hearty programme for children, the best live music, daily poetry readings and much more will be offered.

Ice Palace at MQ MuseumsQuartier, Museumsplatz: An Ice Palace is specially constructed at the MuseumsQuartier for winter at the MQ. Try out quite unusual punch specialties or extravagant delicacies accompanied by a variety of activities like curling, fun activities for the kids, winter sounds with DJs and video projections.

These Christmas Markets are held all over Austria and are the perfect place to purchase an original gift, and to begin to feel true Christmas spirit.

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