Travel

The Best Vienna Christmas Markets

Everything you need to know for the Vienna Christmas Markets!

Ultimate guide to Vienna Christmas markets

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Vienna is such a great city! It seems like unless you’re really into classical music, Vienna gets overlooked as a destination. But it’s a capital city with hundreds of years of history, gorgeous streets, and more palaces than you can possibly visit. It’s been home to empires, trailblazers, and dozens of famous artists.

All of that to say: Vienna is a great destination year-round, but particularly magical at Christmas.

Vienna Christmas markets iconic

Vienna Christmas Market Logistics: Know Before You Go

Vienna is a big enough city that I’d recommend two days to explore all the markets. You could rush around and see all the markets (and nothing else) in one long day, but why? It makes what’s supposed to be fun, stressful! Plus all the markets will blend together in your memory, making all your rushing around pointless anyway.

The Vienna Christmas markets open either at 11am or 2pm, depending on the market. You can confirm their hours on this Austria website, but generally, everything is fully open by 2pm.

If you’ve never been to Vienna, use the morning to explore the city! I’ve shared a guide to Vienna if you need some inspiration, or take a walking tour to get some context for the city’s history.

Vienna Christmas markets best souvenirs

Vienna Hotels

If you’re looking for a place to stay in Vienna, here are a few I’d recommend!

Budget:

Midrange:

Vienna Christmas markets away from the crowds

Major Markets

Vienna’s Christmas markets are mostly in the historic city center, making it easy to walk between them. The few on the outskirts are mostly at palaces, making them worth the trek anyway.

Rathaus

The biggest and most magical is the one at Rathauplatz. This one sits at the foot of city hall, which is beautifully lit up year-round. It also has the iconic wreath archway you’ll see photos of on Instagram.

This one has everything you want in a Christmas market: plenty of lights and decorations, including several set up in a garden, allowing you to step out of the crowds when you want to. It has the biggest ice skating rink I’ve seen at a Christmas market yet, with plenty of trails meandering off the main circle area.

As the frontrunner, it also gets pretty crowded. If you’re there for multiple nights, try to go to this one on a weeknight, for a slightly smaller crowd.

Vienna Christmas markets best gluhwein

Am Hof

Am Hof market is another great one, capturing the best of the markets in one place. There’s a raclette stall which you absolutely have to eat at – get it over potatoes! It’s warming, filling, and even has a few vegetables in there. I think Am Hof has the best variety of foods in the Vienna Christmas markets, so everyone will find what they want!

Art Advent

Art Advent in Resselpark has the biggest variety of handcrafted souvenirs and gifts. They focus on artists, so there’s more variety than the usual Christmas ornaments and nativity scenes. If you want something unique to take home, go shop here! They also have some hilarious kid entertainment options: one area has a bike-powered coaster, and watching the kiddos bike their siblings along the tracks was pretty great. Another area had a bunch of hay, and kids built and wrecked forts and walls to their hearts’ content.

Vienna Christmas markets funniest part

Maria Theresien Platz

Sitting just across the street from the Opera, it’s a gorgeous setting. The market itself goes around the edges of the Maria Theresien Platz, making it feel less crowded even when there are plenty of visitors! There are also a lot of unique souvenirs here.

Stephansplatz

Stephansplatz has market stalls surrounding St. Stephen’s Cathedral. There’s something so magical about the setting, and the big lights along the gothic cathedral only add to the feeling! It’s also central to a lot of streets with major Christmas lights, so this is a good area to stroll in the evenings.

Vienna Christmas markets St Stephen's Cathedral

Minor Markets

Such a silly term, because sometimes the smaller ones are the best! But these are also worth your time if you have a few days here and want to see the variety.

Spittelberg market was in a cool, much more local neighborhood. Even though it sits less only 10 minutes’ walk from Maria Theresien Platz, there are far fewer tourists here. The market booths nestle onto the side streets, and there’s a general feeling of locals catching up over a gluhwein. There are plenty of great artisan crafts here too.

Weihnachtmarkt Altes AKH is another market mostly for the locals! It’s a larger one, hidden in a grassy square that’s part of the university. It feels like locals getting together for a street party. If you’re tired of massive crowds but don’t want to call it quits yet, head here.

Vienna Christmas markets local christmas markets

Freyungplatz market is a minor one on this list only because it’s small. But it’s tucked right in the middle of the historic city center and you’ll definitely pass it while exploring, so it’s still a must-do. There’s a good mix of food & drink booths with handmade crafts & souvenirs.

Schönbrunn Palace market sits just inside the palace gates and is a darling welcome to the palace itself. While this one is pretty far from town, you can easily take public transport to get here. I really loved visiting the palace – it’s worth the price tag if you like seeing the opulence of old-world royalty! I also recommend the market because it has a good variety of stalls and souvenirs.

Vienna Christmas markets gluhwein

Belvedere Palace market is small and cute, tucked behind the Upper Belvedere Palace. It’s cute, and a beautiful setting, but this shouldn’t be top priority if you have limited time. Think of them as a bonus if you visit Belvedere Palace while you’re there.

Prater is an amusement park on the north side of Vienna, so of course they have a market! They specialize in live performances every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening. Prater Christmas market is a bit further out, but still reachable by public transportation.

Vienna Christmas markets best street food raclette

Decor Worth Finding

In addition to the markets themselves, Vienna is packed with streets that are just gorgeous for their lights! These are a few of my favorites.

The best street has to be Graben, which is right off Stephansplatz! It has these stunning chandeliers lining the major pedestrian streets. On the other side of the cathedral is Rotenturmstasse, so check that out too.

The Ferstel Passage is a small galleria (old school mall) in the heart of the central district. It’s a picturesque little spot year-round, but the Christmas tree and holiday window displays make it especially nice in December!

Vienna Christmas markets best decorations

The streets surrounding the Vienna State Opera have a bunch of over-the-top shop windows! Another great shop window is Popp & Kretschmer, famous for their bow on the corner of the building.

Tuchlauben has great hanging lights over the street, as does Kohlmarkt. Another tucked away area is if you go through the archway in the MuseumsQuartier building, you’ll find a less traditional but still festive light display celebrating love!

A small decoration on a great eating street is Neubaugasse! It’s dotted with stars in a quieter part of the city. We had several meals here when we wanted to mix it up from the usual Christmas market options.

Vienna Christmas markets best street food

Want all this information on a map? I’ve put together a Vienna Christmas markets guide in an interactive guide you can use on your phone on Thatch! It’s how I organize all my own travel, so check it out for your next trip!

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