Seen one Christmas market, seen them all? Wrong. Across Europe’s most exciting cities, brightly-lit festive stalls are big draws. But in Vienna in particular, you’ll stumble across all sorts of creative, won’t-find-elsewhere trinkets and foodstuffs!
So, come on, follow us on a journey around the winding markets of Vienna and see what you can pick up…
At both the Belvedere Palace and Spittelberg Christmas markets, it’s pretty typical to come across handmade wooden goods. Each of these delicate items has been formed by the careful hands of cheery stallholders. Over at Maria-Theresien-Platz, wooden cut-outs make great decorative gifts for the tree. Star and circle shapes exhibit intricate outlines of scenes carved into the wood. They’re ever so whimsical. You’ll also spot dinky reindeer made out of exposed bark and wood – some even finished with red fabric fashioned as scarves, or handy keyrings attached to the top.
Across many of Vienna’s Christmas markets, you’ll stumble upon a whole host of international items. Just outside the mighty Belvedere Palace, a setup of wooden stalls is poised and ready to show off goodies both sourced locally and from further afield. At the quirkier end of the spectrum, that includes African trinkets and gifts that hail from Portugal too. Looking to take home something with an international flavour, that isn’t native to Austria? Make a beeline here.
Although it doesn’t get much more traditional than a Christmas market, things have a modern flavour over at Maria-Theresien-Platz. To keep up with current trends and on-the-rise consciousness about food, there’s a dedicated vendor serving vegan hotdogs. They’re made predominantly using oyster mushrooms and look almost identical to their meaty counterpart! How’s that for fast food?
Huge range of mulled drinks
On top of the standard mulled red wine, you’ll have the option in most of the markets to go for the white wine variant. Ciders and punches are popular too. We’re talking rich apple flavours complemented by rosemary and other herbs, alongside piping-hot fruity cocktails that pair festive favourites such as orange and cranberry. You can also get your hands on mugs of all sorts of steaming alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, so prepare to warm your cockles.
Beyond the artisanal wares of the classic Schönbrunn Christmas market and the hand-crafted baubles hanging in the glittering Rathausplatz stalls, various pieces that aren’t festive faves will catch your eye. Grab your map and head over to Belvedere Palace, where, in the upper grounds, its seasonal market takes centre stage. It’s there that you’ll spy all kinds of gifts and souvenirs that aren’t typically Christmassy at all. Anyone for a Viking-style drinking horn? Or maybe an iconic Venetian mask made in Murano? You’ll even be able to order Savoyarde cuisine such as raclette and fondue!