12 Days of Austrian Wine 2014: Christmas Markets

Austrian Christmas markets aren’t just for shopping, they’re a way of life in Austria! These festivals, akin to something of magic, not only featuring wonderful, locally made goodies (including wine!) but also enough festive cheer to last you year round.

As you wander through the markets, big and small, each aisle is packed homemade presents, you’ll be filled with Christmas cheer (and cookies and gluehwein) and wonder why this winter wonderland doesn’t last all year. The good news is that it does last from the end of November into January so you have plenty of time to soak up the fun.

Thanks to Austria.info, we have a great list of Christmas markets to visit should you find yourself in Vienna, but even if you don’t, cheer yourself up with some traditional Austrian fare – don’t forget the Vienna Boys Choir on repeat!

As early as 12th of November to 6th of January
Sparkling Christmas lights and decorations adorn the streets of Austria’s cities and villages. The Christmas Markets offer hand made toys, numerous delightful Christmas displays, and pastries, cookies and other delicacies. Here are some of the most popular markets and their opening times:

November 15 to December 24:
• Vienna – “The Magic of Advent”
The Christmas Market held in front of the City Hall can be traced back to the year 1298. Today, 140 stalls offer a variety of seasonal food and drink as well as handicrafts and Christmas decorations. For children, there is even a Christmas workshop, where they can make trinkets and bake cookies.

November 22 to January 1:
• Vienna – Schönbrunn Christmas Market
Vienna’s most scenic and cozy Christmas Market is held directly in front of Schönbrunn Palace. With daily concerts, the scent of mulled wine and gingerbread in the air, and the beautiful Christmas tree to admire, you can’t help being in a festive mood.

November 14 to December 23:
• Vienna – Spittelberg Christmas Market
At the Spittelberg Christmas Market, stall after stall form long rows in the narrow lanes of the Biedermeier district near the MuseumsQuarter. Choose from fine arts and crafts, ceramics, hand-blown glass, rugs, batik and silk paintings, or even find a piece of silver or brass jewelry.

November 15 to December 23:
• Vienna – St. Stephans Place
Next to St. Stephens Cathedral will be a market filled with great crafts and mainly handmade products made in Austria.

November 20 to December 26:
• Christmas in Salzburg
The romantic Christmas Market on Cathedral Square right in the heart of Salzburg dates back to the 15th century. The tree vendors occupy the Residenzplatz on the side of the huge Baroque building. Several folk groups perform traditional Salzburg Christmas carols, all designed to conjure the true Christmas spirit.

November 20 to December 24:
• Salzburg – Hellbrunner Advent Magic
One of the most perfect locations for a traditional Christmas Market is the charming Hellbrunn Castle near Salzburg. Come and soak up the fairy-tale atmosphere, shop for local handicrafts, and listen to traditional music while sipping a cup of special Christmas coffee.

November 15 to January 6:
• Innsbruck Christmas Markets
The medieval square in front of the Golden Roof is transformed into a traditional Austrian Christmas Market, where you can sample Tirolean fare and buy Christmas presents. In fact, the entire town center is so beautifully decorated, it seems like one big Christmas Market. The snow-capped mountains in the background provide the perfect seasonal atmosphere.

November 21 to December 24:
• Graz Advent Markets
A romantic tour is the best way to experience the magical atmosphere of the various Christmas Markets in Graz. Nestled between medieval buildings or spread out right in front of the festively adorned City Hall, the various stalls beckon with glittering trinkets, local handicrafts, and delicious foods.

November 22 to December 24:
• Linz Christmas Markets
The Christmas Markets in Linz are held on the Baroque main square and in the Volksgarten. The Linz City Express takes you from one market to the next, so you can enjoy typical arts and crafts, hot punch, and performances by brass orchestras and choirs without having to walk far. Linz also features a special Christmas and crèche exhibition and workshops, where you can create your own Christmas presents.

November 30 to December 22:
• Rattenberger Advent
A medieval city with only 439 inhabitants and covering an area of 11 hectares, Rattenberg is the perfect backdrop for an authentic Advent experience. Be sure to check your calendar, Austria’s smallest city holds its lovely Christmas Market only on certain weekends in December!

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Categories: 12 Days of Austrian Wine, Austrian wines

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