A Guide to the Best Vienna Christmas Markets
Vienna’s Christmas markets are back!
After a brief hiatus during the pandemic, the best Christmas Markets in Vienna are making a comeback, ready to spread more holiday cheer this year.
We visited the Vienna Christmas markets back in December of 2019, just before the world shut down. It was a magical 4 days covering 10 different Christmas markets across the beautiful Austrian capitol – each market as unique as the one before it.
If you’re planning a trip to the Vienna Christmas markets this year, read on to find out which were our favorites that you absolutely must visit!
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What to Pack for Christmas Markets in Vienna
Visiting Vienna’s Christmas markets this year? Be sure to bundle up! While Vienna in December can range from freezing to mild, it’s best to be prepared with lots of layers.
A few key winter weather essentials we recommend packing:
Winter Coat | You’ll be in your winter coat 99% of the time, so you might as well splurge and make it a nice one! Look for something that’s both comfortable, yet stylish, like this amazingly warm parka with a faux fur hood, or this simple, versatile down jacket.
Merino Wool Base Layer | How did we keep warm while spending so much time outside? With merino wool base layers, of course! Having this extra later is a must for visiting Vienna’s Christmas markets. This merino wool top and base layer pants are an Amazon favorite, though I’m a fan of this midweight strech top and matching base layer tights. Yes, the base layer is spendy, but you’ll wear it every day and lasts for years to come.
PS. They make adorable kid-sized base layer sets too!
Lightweight Merino Wool Sweaters | Sure, big chunky sweaters are cute and all, but have you ever tried packing several of them? A simple merino wool sweater will keep you much warmer, plus take up far less space in your suitcase.
Fleece-Lined Tights | If you don’t want to go full wool base layer, at minimum include a pair of fleece-lined tights in your suitcase. They’re also a little dressier than thermal leggings and pair nicely with a sweater dress for fancier occasions.
Waterproof Gloves with Touch Fingers | Let’s be honest, how are you going to Instagram the beauty of Vienna’s Christmas markets without them? You won’t regret investing in this pair.
Merino Wool Socks | Another must – you’ll want extra warm socks to keep your toes warm all day while out exploring. This set from Amazon is one of the best deals I’ve found.
shop winter travel favorites:
Ready to pack? Read our full Winter in Europe Family Packing List and download the free printable packing list, too!
Where to Stay Near the Vienna Christmas Markets
Whether you plan to visit one or multiple Christmas markets, it’s best to stay close to the action to make the most of your time. But finding an affordable hotel that sleeps more than 2 adults in Vienna can be quite a challenge. Here are a few viable options:
Hotels in Vienna
Living Hotel an der Oper ($$, Staatsoper) | This is one of the few hotels I found that offered a 2 bedroom family suite, at an amazing price no less! Living Hotel an der Oper is located in just about the most perfect spot, central to all of Vienna’s best Christmas markets. Whether heading down to Karlsplatz, over to Rathausplatz or Spittelberg, or up to Stephansplatz, you’ll find just about everywhere in Vienna to be accessible by foot from this hotel.
Compare prices at: Hotels.com | Agoda | Booking.com
Austria Trend Hotel Europa Wien ($$$, Stephansplatz) | The Austria Trend Europa is another affordable hotel in central Vienna that offers a large family room with plenty of space to sleep 4. Just a 4 minute walk to St. Stephen’s Cathedral and offering an optional breakfast buffet, it’s an ideal place to stay while visiting the city.
Compare prices at: Hotels.com | Agoda | Booking.com
NH Collection Wien Zentrum ($$, Mariahilf) | Located a bit outside the city center, but still walkable to popular markets like Spittelberg and Maria-Theresien-Platz, the NH Collection Wien Zentrum offers stylish family rooms that comfortably sleep 4, plus maintains affordability. And with Vienna’s excellent U-Bahn system, getting anywhere in the city center is an absolute breeze.
Compare prices at: Hotels.com | Agoda | Booking.com
Airbnbs in Vienna
If you’re needing a bit more place, you’ll find plenty of Airbnb options in Vienna as well! While Vienna in general is a bit spendier than other European cities, you’ll still find amazing quality places at prices much less than in the US. We stayed in this apartment near Art Advent in Karlsplatz and couldn’t recommend it enough for a small family!
The Best Vienna Christmas Markets to Visit in 2022, Ranked
With the honorable mentions above, let’s move on to the ones we were lucky enough to visit on our trip to Vienna. We covered a lot of ground in just a few short days (visiting some of the markets more than once)!
What kinds of factors did we think make for the perfect Christmas market? There are a few, actually.
But the 3 main things we looked for were:
- Quality, handmade goods
- Wide variety of food and drink
- Overall charming atmosphere
And after much consideration, we feel confident in our rankings. 🙂
Here are, in our opinion, the best Vienna Christmas markets worth visiting this year.
10 | Weihnachtsmarkt am Stephansplatz
Located on the grounds surrounding the iconic St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna’s city center, there’s really no way you can miss the Christmas Market at Stephansplatz.
You’ll find classic treats and Christmas ornaments at this market, but nothing out of the ordinary. There’s not as much coziness to it as other markets, but it’s worth a stop since you’ll likely already be visiting the area to see the cathedral itself.
While you’re there, be sure to take a peek inside St. Stephen’s Cathedral, or climb the 343 steps up the south belltower for amazing views over Vienna.
And for a most spectacular evening, attend a classical Christmas concert inside the magical cathedral.
9 | Weihnachtsdorf Schloss Belvedere
Situated in front of the stunning Schloss Belvedere, we squeezed this last Christmas market in on a chilly evening just before our flight home.
With market stall huts arranged in front of the palace, it’s creates a stunning backdrop for a Christmas market. We did find some unique things here too, like paper mache ornaments and pocket-sized dollhouses.
Weihnachtsdorf at Schloss Belvedere seemed like a common meeting place for locals, with cozy dishes like dumplings and wurst to warm your belly. We enjoyed it, but I would have rather visited during the daytime, pairing it with a visit inside the palace as well (pre-book your tickets here to skip the line).
Pro tip: If you do decide to make the trek out to Belvedere, couple it with a stop at Cafe Goldegg for some authentic Sacher Torte. The sweet old ladies serving up cake in our vintage booth made it totally worth the trip!
8 | Weihnachtsmarkt Am Hof
Weihnachtsmarkt Am Hof has some of the most original wares you’ll find of any Vienna Christmas market, and with good reason. The Kunsthandwerkmarkt (arts and crafts market) showcases vendors that are specially selected by a jury each year.
The market is relatively small and quaint, but with quality food vendors. Plus, you’re standing on a literal historic site: the Am Hof square was developed into a market square by the Habsburg dynasty in 1280.
I found the items sold at Am Hof to be a bit ‘artsy’ for my taste, but if you’re looking for a unique gift item, this is definitely the place to find it!
7 | Weichnachtsmarkt am Michaelerplatz
In front of Habsburg Palace, it’s hard to miss k.u.k Weihnachtsmarkt am Michaelerplatz (short for ‘kaiserlich und königlich’, or ‘imperial and royal’) as you bumble your way through Vienna’s old town.
Make a stop at this smaller market, Roman ruins looming below, which has everything from trinkets and Christmas decorations to winter comfort food favorites. The frequent passing horsedrawn carriages and street musicians add to the holiday magic in the air.
6 | Christkindlmarkt am Rathausplatz
Nothing prepared me for the Christkindlmarkt am Rathausplatz.
I thought it would be my most favorite Vienna Christmas market. After all, it’s the one you see in all the photos, with the giant glittery sign in front of the famous Rathaus building.
Unfortunately, while the atmosphere is pretty epic and iconic, it’s also incredibly crowded. We also found that most of the stalls tended to carry plastic toys and ornaments that looked to be imported. Definitely not the handmade, locally crafted items we had hoped to find in Vienna.
What it lacks in goods, however, it makes up for in location. In the adjacent Rathaus park you can escape the crowds a bit, drink glühwein under the twinkling light-covered trees, or slip on a pair of skates and head around the ice track.
Yes, you must visit the Christkindlmarkt am Rathausplatz. But definitely do so on a weekday to avoid the hoardes of visitors.
5 | Altwiener Christkindlmarkt (Freyung)
Just a short walk away from Rathausplatz, you’ll find yourselves at Freyung, or more formally named Altwiener Christkindlmarkt.
It’s much more quaint than what you’ll experience at Rathausplatz, with tons of locally sourced goods that include a mix of sweet treats, wooden toys, and ornaments. Freyung also happens to be right next to Am Hof, so you can easily visit both at the same time.
4 | Weihnachtsmarkt am Spittelberg
For a completely different Christmas market experience, you must visit Weihnachtsmarkt am Spittelberg!
This charming local market is unlike any other, because it nestles it’s Christmas market stalls along the narrow alleyways that fill the neighborhood! With a much more local vibe, we recommend visiting on a weekday when you’ll have more room to move around (the alleys get quite packed on nights and weekends!)
You’ll find a variety of food (watch for the giant cheesemonger stall!) and lots of textiles, which are Spittelberg’s specialty (think, wool mittens, hats, slippers and scarves).
3 | Art Advent am Karlsplatz
If artsy parents designed a Christmas market in Vienna, it would surely be Art Advent am Karlsplatz. Everything at Karlsplatz is well thought out, of the highest quality, and with a bit of a funky, eclectic vibe.
And Karlsplatz has pretty much everything you could ask for in a Viennese Christmas market:
Quality goods that are all 100% handmade? Check. Tasty eats to please your inner foodie? Check. Fun activities for the kids, like a self-propelled carousel, hay piles with farm animals and an arts and crafts tent? Check, check, check.
Top it off with an absolutely gorgeous backdrop, Karlskirche, complete with string lights and traditional wooden market stalls, Art Advent at Karlsplatz is definitely not one to be missed.
2 | Weihnachtsmarkt Schloß Schönbrunn
The Christmas Market at Schloss Schönbrunn was a pleasant surprise to us. Yes, it’s a bit of a ways outside the city center, but it definitely shouldn’t be skipped.
First off, if you’ve not yet toured the magnificent Schloss Schönbrunn, walked its gardens, or stopped into the Schönbrunn Palace Children’s Museum, then you must book your tickets now. It was one of the highlights of our trip, especially the children’s museum which is housed inside the castle (!!) and has a ton of hands-on activities for littles.
Outside, stroll the market stalls, where we found the best selection of ornaments, handcrafted toys, and paper goods of any Vienna market. And the food was equally as enjoyable. I’m still thinking about that knödel!
1 | Weihnachtsdorf am Maria-Theresien-Platz
Last, but not least. Coming it at number one we chose Weihnachtsdorf at Maria-Theresien-Platz! While perhaps not the most obvious choice for the best Christmas market in Vienna, for us it ticked all the boxes: delicious food and drink, a charming atmosphere that was never too crowded, and lots of fun handmade items we just couldn’t resist.
On top of that, the location is wonderful. The market sits sandwiched in between two beautiful baroque buildings: the Kunsthistorischesmuseum (Art History Museum) and Naturhistorisches Museum (Natural History Museum). Both are worthy of a visit as well (book your tickets for the Kunsthistorichesmuseum in advance here).
The traditional market stalls at Maria-Theresien-Platz also had some of the best goods we found throughout the city. And surrounding the market, the lighted gardens are fun to explore with littles.
And the food, oh the food! Weihnachtsdorf at Maria-Theresien-Platz was home to some of our favorite eats, including life-changing Kaiserschmarren and a wide variety of Weihnachtspunsch (we made sure to try as many as possible, for journalistic purposes, of course).
Short on time? Book a tour!
This highly-rated private walking tour takes you on a jam packed trip through Vienna’s most popular Christmas markets, complete with a knowledgable guide to lead the way!
Honorable Mentions: 3 Vienna Christmas Markets We Missed
While I wish we could say we visited every Christmas market in Vienna, sadly there are 3 key ones that we missed. And while I couldn’t in good conscious officially rank them among our favorites, I wanted to be sure to include them in this list:
Altes AKH / Weihnachtsdorf am Campus
Altes AKH, also known as Weichnachtsdorf am Campus der Universität Wien, is one I really wish we’d have made it to. It’s a definite favorite among families!
Unfortunately, it’s also tucked on the outskirts of the city center, and we simply ran out of time!
Weihnachtsdorf Altes AKH is not the biggest or glitziest market in Vienna, but it is arguably one of the most authentic and local feeling. Visitors report the market having more food and drink options vs. market wares, so come expecting to eat, drink and be merry.
A carousel, Christmas train, and playground round out entertainment for the kids, making it an ideal choice for families! (plus, it’s not too far of a walk from Rathausplatz)
Wintermarkt am Riesenradplatz
Located in Vienna’s famous Prater park, the Wintermarkt am Riesenradplatz‘s motto is “winter rocks”, with live concerts happening every Wednesday through Sunday.
A variety of declious foods and hot drinks are available throughout the market, as well as rides on the famous Riesenrad (Vienna’s giant ferris wheel). Be sure to check their COVID-19 precautions and opening information in advance.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Vienna on New Years Eve, you’ll find the ultimate celebration at the winter market on Riesenradplatz, complete with live music and a midnight fireworks display!
Genussmarkt bei der Oper
Literally translating to “Treat Market by the Opera”, Genussmarkt bei der Oper is all about just that – food!
Oh how could I have missed the treat market!? I’ll never let myself live it down. This covered market, not far from Karlsplatz, features artisan treats from Austria and Italy that will delight any foodie.
And there you have it. The absolute BEST Christmas markets in Vienna that you must experience this year!
Where have you experienced the best Christmas Markets in Europe?
planning a trip to vienna?
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- Need train tickets? Reserve them in advance with Rail Europe.
- Brush up on your German skills with up to 60% off Babbel’s language program.
- Book top-rated holiday tours and activities with Viator.
- Be prepared for anything with travel insurance from World Nomads.