A Guide to the Best Vienna Christmas Markets

Vienna’s Christmas markets are back for 2021!

After a brief hiatus, 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!

UPDATE 11/22/21: Austria has imposed a nationwide lockdown starting Monday, November 22, 2021 that will last for 10 days, possibly extended up to 20 days. (Source: CNN)

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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.

Winter Boots | Opt for something both warm and waterproof, like these go-with-everything booties or these super warm winter boots.

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!

BROWSE VIENNA AIRBNB OPTIONS

A Note About Vienna’s Christmas Markets and COVID-19

While nearly all of Vienna’s Christmas Markets have announced their re-opening plans for the year 2021, it’s important to remember that the COVID situation in Europe is still fluid.

Many of the markets have COVID precautions in the place, ranging from social distancing and mask wearing to proof of vaccination. Be sure to check each market’s individual website and social media platforms for the most up-to-date opening information and entry requirements.

UPDATE 11/22/21: Austria has imposed a nationwide lockdown starting Monday, November 22, 2021 that will last for 10 days, possibly extended up to 20 days. (Source: CNN)

The Best Vienna Christmas Markets to Visit in 2021, 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:

  1. Quality, handmade goods
  2. Wide variety of food and drink
  3. 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.

2021 VISITOR INFORMATION

Address: Stephansplatz 1

Opening Dates: November 12 – December 26, 2021

Opening Time: 11 am – 9 pm, daily (with shortened hours December 24-26)

Nearest Metro: Stephansplatz (U1, U3)

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!

2021 VISITOR INFORMATION

Address: Prinz Eugen-Strasse 27

Opening Dates: November 19 – December 26, 2021

Opening Time: Monday-Friday, 11 am – 9 pm; Saturday-Sunday 10 am – 9 pm (with shortened hours December 24-26)

Nearest Metro: Südtirolerplatz/Hauptbahnhof (U1)

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!

UPDATE 11/22/21: Weinachtsmarkt am Hof has announced it will be closed from November 22-December 12, 2021 due to the nationwide lockdown. They currently do plan to reopen with precautions thereafter.

2021 VISITOR INFORMATION

Address: Am Hof

Opening Dates: November 12 – December 23, 2021

Opening Time: Monday-Thursday, 11 am – 9 pm; Friday-Sunday, 10 am – 9 pm

Nearest Metro: Herrengasse (U3)

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.

Pro tip: While you’re in the area, stop at Demel for some gourmet chocolates fit for an emperor, or Cafe Central for one of the best Sacher Torte’s in Vienna!

2021 VISITOR INFORMATION

Address: Michaelerplatz

Opening Dates: TBD; opening dates and times for 2021 have not yet been announced – we will update them here as soon as they are available!

Opening Times: TBD

Nearest Metro: Herrengasse (U3)

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.

UPDATE 11/22/21: Christkindlmarkt am Rathausplatz has not yet announced any plans for reopening its market after the nationwide lockdown.

2021 VISITOR INFORMATION

Address: Rathausplatz

Opening Dates: November 12 – December 26, 2021

Opening Time: Sunday-Thursday, 10 am – 9:30 pm; Friday-Saturday 10 am – 10 pm

Nearest Metro: Schottentor (U2), Herrengasse (U3)

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.

2021 VISITOR INFORMATION

Address: Freyung

Opening Dates: November 20 – December 23, 2021

Opening Time: 10 am – 9 pm, daily

Nearest Metro: Schottentor (U2), Herrengasse (U3)

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).

UPDATE 11/22/21: Weihnachtsmarkt am Spittelberg has expressed plans to reopen after the nationwide lockdown, from December 13-23, 2021.

2021 VISITOR INFORMATION

Address: Stiftgasse to Gutenberggasse, between Siebesterngasse and Burggasse

Opening Dates: November 12 – December 23, 2021

Opening Time: Monday-Thursday, 2 pm – 9 pm; Friday, 2 pm – 9:30 pm; Saturday, 9 am – 9:30 pm; Sunday 10 am – 9 pm

Nearest Metro: Volkstheater (U3)

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.

UPDATE 11/22/21: Art Advent am Karlsplatz has not yet announced any plans for reopening its market after the nationwide lockdown.

2021 VISITOR INFORMATION

Address: Resselpark

Opening Dates: November 19 – December 23, 2021

Opening Time: 12 pm – 8 pm, daily

Nearest Metro: Karlsplatz (U1, U2, U4)

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!

UPDATE 11/22/21: Weihnachtsmarkt Schloss Schönbrunn has expressed plans to reopen with restrictions on December 13, after the nationwide lockdown.

2021 VISITOR INFORMATION

Address: Schloss Schönbrunn, Main Gate

Opening Dates: November 20 – December 26, 2021

Opening Time: 10 am – 9 pm, daily (with shortened hours December 24-26)

Nearest Metro: Schönbrunn (U4)

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).

2021 VISITOR INFORMATION

Address: Maria-Theresien-Platz

Opening Dates: November 17 – December 26, 2021

Opening Time: Sunday-Thursday, 11 am – 9 pm; Friday-Saturday 11 am – 9:30 pm (with shortened hours on Christmas Eve)

Nearest Metro: Volkstheater (U2, U3) or Museumsquartier (U2)

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)

2021 VISITOR INFORMATION

Address: Alser Strasse 4

Opening Dates: November 12 – December 23, 2021

Opening Times: Monday-Wednesday 2 am – 10 pm; Thursday-Friday 2 pm – 11 pm; Saturday 11 am – 11 pm; Sunday 11 am – 9 pm

Nearest Metro: Schottentor (U2)

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!

2021 VISITOR INFORMATION

Address: Riesenradplatz

Opening Dates: November 20, 2021 – January 9, 2022

Opening Time: Monday-Friday 12 pm – 10 pm; Saturday-Sunday 11 am – 10 pm (with shortened hours on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve)

Nearest Metro: Praterstern (U1, U2)

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.

2021 VISITOR INFORMATION

Address: Mahlerstrsse 6

Opening Dates: November 12 – December 31, 2021 (closed Christmas Eve)

Opening Time: 11 am – 9 pm, daily

Nearest Metro: Karlsplatz (U1, U4)

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?

xo laura

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