So Many Christmas Markets, So Little Time

If you think Christmas in Vienna is all Christmas markets, you’d be mostly right.  I felt like every corner you turn, there is a Christmas market.  Not surprising considering there are 25 official markets and other smaller ones that are just little pop-up stands set up by local organisations such as the Rotary Club. European cities, big and small, are famous for the atmosphere of their magical Christmas markets and Vienna definitely lays on the holiday magic.

The markets, large and small, are fairly crowded.  Each market has its own coloured stalls, lights and other decorations to mark it from its competitors.

Christmas Market at St. Stephans

The one thing you can be sure of finding is gluhwein and punsch, both warm and alcoholic.  I’m not a sweet wine drinker but Vienna is so cold in winter that you appreciate having something warm to hold and drink.

gluwein sign

There is also a sweet non-alcoholic concoction for children that was not to my children’s tastes.  My husband was a trooper and drank lots of gluhwein so we could collect the cups as souvenirs.  You could return the mugs and get your deposit back but we felt they were too cute to return!

In addition to the drinks, there was standard Christmas gifts such as tree ornaments, souvenirs, food and hand-crafted goods.

christmas ornaments

christmas ornaments

How sweet are these snow globes?

snow globes

These Austrian treats called Kaiserschmarrn are basically diced sweet pancakes.  They are served in little bags so they could be eaten as finger food and were delicious.


The most child-friendly market is probably the one in front of the town hall, the Christkindl Market, with kids’ activities on the ground floor of the town hall and the city park nearby with its decorated trees and little fair rides.

Christkindl Market

My kids also enjoyed the Christmas market at Karlsplatz in front of the St. Charles Church that had an entire section filled with straw bales.  Lots of children were jumping around in the straw and creating forts.

We really had fun touring the Vienna Christmas markets!  I think in all we visited 8 of the 25 main ones.  Although that is still less than half of the markets, we did get a real sense of this Germanic tradition.  I hope you enjoyed the photos and hopefully inspire you to visit a Christmas market as well.

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