Where’s the best place to glug a glass of Gluhwein this winter? Vienna is a strong contender says The Editor as he does just that… as well as take these pictures! Check out his photos and tips below.
Few destinations gear up for Christmas quite as well as Vienna, where 25 or more Christmas markets spring up in picturesque squares, streets and parks around the city, kicking off in mid-November and carrying on in most cases until the 23-26 December (with just a few staying open until the New Year).
I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Austrian capital this year and enjoy a hot mug of Gluhwein (mulled wine) with several friends (- including on one occasion with two of my favourite fellow travel bloggers, Peter of Travel Unmasked and Sabina of Girl vs. Globe… see the final picture!). Each market is home to anywhere from a mere handful to well over a hundred stalls, vending a mixture of seasonal decorations and gifts, local arts, crafts and food products, and of course tasty snacks like iced pretzels and hot fruit punch. Many also throw on carousels, play areas, live music and theatre to keep kids and adults entertained alike.
Each market is home to anywhere from a mere handful to well over a hundred stalls, vending a mixture of seasonal decorations and gifts, local arts, crafts and food products…
The easiest market to stumble is the one in the centre of town in Stephansplatz, under the cathedral, and whilst I’m confident this will meet all your festive needs, for something extra special I’d strongly recommend seeking out the largest, the so-called Magic of Advent Market at Rathausplatz where you’ll find the best Christmas lights (such as the tree-strung snowmen and angel-winged guitars you’ll find featured in this post) glowing next to the impressive Neo-Gothic town hall. For nearly as much grandeur but far less tourists try the Art Advent market on Karlsplatz, where your children can run around in the straw, and, depending on the weather, snow. Hipsters should head to Spittelburg where stalls are set up along several narrow streets in the newly trendy Neubau district.
For more info on all the the festive bazaars and their opening dates, check out the official tourism website – whilst for tips on everything else, from essential attractions to hip hotels, bars and restaurants be sure to check out our own complete weekend guide to the capital. Finally for more ideas on where to head next December check our guide to Christmas breaks around Europe (coming very soon!).
Fancy another jingle of the bells? Check out our photos from Prague’s equally gorgeous Christmas fairs! And if you have any travel inspiration of your own for us then we highly encourage you to share tips on any of your favourite festive destinations in the comments section.