Christmas in Vienna

Twinkling lights above the city’s streets, romantic markets on its squares: Vienna certainly knows how to get in the Christmas spirit during Advent.

The first Advent and Christmas markets open in mid-November – including the capital’s largest, the Vienna Christmas World Christmas market on Rathausplatz. Soon after, the Christmas villages on Maria-Theresien-Platz, in front of the Belvedere Palace and on the University of Vienna Campus follow suit. Other highlights include the Culture and Christmas Market in front of Schönbrunn Palace and Art Advent in front of the Karlskirche church.

The Christmas Market and Magic of Advent on Rathausplatz is the largest and best-known, with about 150 stalls, a Christmas workshop where kids can bake and get involved in arts and crafts, and the beautifully decorated trees in the Rathauspark. For traditional handicrafts and Christmas music, the Old Viennese Christmas Market on Freyung or the Am Hof Advent Market are the places to be. The Christmas market on Stephansplatz showcases arts and crafts against the impressive backdrop of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. 2014 brought the inaugural K.u.K. Christmas market on Michaelerplatz in front of the Hofburg, which carries a range of products, primarily from Austrian manufacturers. The Christmas Village on Maria-Theresien-Platz, between the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Natural History Museum offer handicrafts and culinary treats such as punch and mulled wine. After Christmas, the New Year’s Village is the perfect place to pick up traditional Austrian lucky charms and figurines such as pigs, chimney sweeps and so on.

Musical Advent in Vienna

Advent concerts at St. Stephen’s Cathedral, trumpet recitals in the Annakirche church, gospel choirs and a star-studded festive gala evening: Vienna gets in the mood for Christmas with concerts covering everything from classical to gospel.

The Christmas in Vienna gala at the Wiener Konzerthaus on December 21, 2018 (pre-premiere December 20, 2018) has a host of stars lined up, and a packed program brimming with Christmas carols and festive music from all over the world. Valentina Nafornita, Angela Denoke, Dmitry Korchak and Adrian Eröd will all be performing alongside the ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, the Wiener Singakademie and the Vienna Boys choir. The concert will be conducted by Christian Arming. On December 15, 16 and 17, 2018 audiences at the Wiener Konzerthaus will able to see the Wiener Symphoniker perform Johann Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio under the baton of Philippe Jordan. And the Bolshoi Don Cossacks will be putting in an appearance at the Wiener Konzerthaus. On December 23, 2018 the high-profile male voice choir will perform a program of carols and church songs as well as Russian folk classics underscored by explosive choreography. The Ural Cossack Choir will also be treating audiences to the sounds of a Russian Christmas at the Karlskirche (Church of St. Charles) on December 20, 2018.

One concert that gives everyone the chance to join in is the pre-Christmas highlight at the Wiener Volksoper. On December 16, 2018, top soloists, the State Ballet, and the Volksoper’s orchestra and children’s choir will perform together at the event. The Vienna Boys Choir is synonymous with vocal perfection. Its members will be working their magic at MuTh – their very own venue in the second district – at their good shepherds Christmas concert (December 11-15, 2018).

Choirs from all over the world get together at City Hall during advent for the annual International Advent Singing Festival Vienna. This popular choir event is free to attend. Oh Happy Day and When the Saints are two of the classics in The Christmas Gospel’s repertoire. The ensemble will be performing live at the Karlskirche on December 7, 8, 14, 15, 21 and 22, 2018. The singer Stella Jones and her American Christmas Gospel ensemble will be starring on four evenings (Dec 9, 16, 21 and 22, 2018) at the Votivkirche, and The Original USA Gospel Singers & Band can be seen at the Minoritenkirche on December 20, 21, 22 and 23, 2018).

Things take a more contemplative turn with the Clemencic Consort’s Christmas Baroque concerts (Dec 15 and 16, 2018) performed on period instruments in the impressive Eroica Hall at Palais Lobkowitz. At St. Stephen’s Cathedral, soloists from the Wiener KammerOrchester create a Christmassy atmosphere at the Advent Concerts accompanied by trumpet and featuring selected works by composers including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Sebastian Bach, Franz Schubert, Joseph Haydn (Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings during the four weeks of Advent). At the Minoritenkirche church, festive sounds will ring out at the Trumpets in Concert events on December 13, 15 and 19, 2018 from 7.30pm. This brass instrument will also be the star of the show at the Trompetenzauber concerts in the Baroque Annakirche church every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from November 30-December 23, 2018. Selected works by Bach, Mozart, Handel et al for trumpet and organ will be performed at the Christmas Trumpet concerts in the Malteserkirche church on several dates in December 2018.

Festive music is also an important part of numerous Christmas markets such as Vienna Christmas World on Rathausplatz, the Christmas Village on Maria-Theresien-Platz, the Old Viennese Christmas Market on Freyung, the Culture and Christmas Market in front of Schönbrunn Palace, Art Advent on Karlsplatz and the winter market on the square in front of the Giant Ferris Wheel.

(c) Wien Tourismus / Vienna Tourism Board

The Prater hosts the Winter Market on Riesenradplatz, while the Baroque palace once owned by Prince Eugene provides the backdrop for the Belevedere Palace Christmas Village. Elsewhere, the Art Advent market in Front of the Karlskirche church specializes in arts and crafts, offering plenty of space for children to play among the bales of hay. Pink Christmas in Vienna on Naschmarkt is Vienna’s gay and lesbian Christmas market. The Christmas Market on Spittelberg is always popular thanks to the romantic cobbled streets and an impressive range of stalls selling handicrafts and excellent food. Winter im MQ in the nearby MuseumsQuartier is a strictly kitsch-free zone with ice pavilions, curling lanes and DJs. At the Culture and Christmas Market in front of Schönbrunn Palace, around 80 stallholders from Austria and neighboring countries offer a range of handicrafts, Christmas decorations and gifts as well as punch and Christmas cookies. At the turn of the year, it reopens as a New Year’s Market offering lucky charms.

Viennese Advent and Christmas Markets 2018

Vienna Christmas World at the Christmas Market

Nov 16 -Dec 26, 2018: Sun-Thu 10am-9.30pm, Fri-Sat 10am-10pm, 24 Dec 10am-6pm
Rathausplatz and Rathauspark, 1010 Vienna, www.wienerweihnachtstraum.at

The city’s biggest Christmas market brings the enchanting romance and nostalgia of the season to life, with around 150 colorful stalls offering handicrafts, gift ideas, confectionery, hot drinks including punch and mulled wine, sausages and snacks. In 2016, from November 11 to December 24 the new Vienna Christmas World at the Christmas Market offers visitors the chance to glide on skates across 4,500m² of ice on Rathausplatz and the surrounding park. Skate hire and service are provided. On weekday evenings, part of the ice is reserved for anyone who wants to try their hand at curling. The Ringstrasse entrance to the Christmas Market is crowned by an eight-meter high, 20-meter wide archway, with 24 candles. They symbolize the days of Advent and the countdown to Christmas: each day from 1 December onwards, a new candle flickers into life. A magical new design will light up the trees lining the Ringstrasse next to the Rathauspark, and the trees in the park itself will be festooned with a variety of illuminated decorations. Inside City Hall, children can join the workshop in the Great Hall to get stuck in to some fun arts and craft activities, with free, trained supervisors. They can also write out their letters to Santa – while the grown-ups take a break in the Christmas café. A huge Christmas tree adorned with hundreds of environmentally friendly LED lights takes pride of place in front of City Hall. The tree is presented by one of Austria’s provinces as a gift to the capital.

Old Viennese Christmas Market at Freyung

Nov 21 - Dec 26, 2018: daily 10am-9pm
Freyung, 1010 Vienna, www.altwiener-markt.at

Freyung is one of Vienna’s most beautiful squares, and Christmas markets have been taking place there since 1772. Today visitors can treat themselves to a waffle and a mug of hot apple must, punch or hot chocolate while they peruse a fine selection of arts and crafts. The stands offer a wide choice of Christmas tree decorations, nativity scene sets, glass decorations, ceramics, basketware and toys. Advent music every afternoon, weekends: arts and crafts demonstrations, Mon-Fri from 10am: children’s activities.

Christmas Village and New Year’s Village on Maria-Theresien-Platz

Nov 18-Dec 26, 2018: daily 11am-9pm, Fri and Sat until 10pm, Dec 24 11am-4pm, Dec 25-26 11am-7pm; Dec 27-30, 2016 11am-7.30pm, Dec 31, 2016 11am-6pm
Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna, www.weihnachtsdorf.at, www.silvesterdorf.at

The square between the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Natural History Museum is home to the Christmas Village on Maria-Theresien-Platz, where illuminated Christmas trees and music from gospel choirs and Austrian brass bands makes for the perfect festive setting. Christmas gifts on the market stalls include wooden and glass handicrafts and jewelry, watercolors and oil paintings. Food and drink stands serve up seasonal favorites like hot punch and mulled wine. After the Christmas Village closes, from December 27 to December 31, 2016 the New Year’s Village will take its place on Maria-Theresien-Platz.

Am Hof Christmas Market

Nov 11-Dec 23, 2018: Mon-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sun and public holidays 10am-10pm
Am Hof, 1010 Vienna, www.weihnachtsmarkt-hof.at

Among the wide selection of arts and crafts on offer at the Am Hof Advent Market are traditional ceramics, jewelry, silk paintings, woodwork, mirrors and handmade soaps.

Christmas market on Stephansplatz

Nov 11-Dec 23, 2018: daily 11am-9pm, Dec 24 11am-4pm, Dec 25+26 11am-7pm
Stephansplatz (by Churhausgasse), 1010 Vienna, www.weihnachtsmarkt-stephansplatz.at

At the Christmas market outside St. Stephen’s cathedral in the heart of the old town beautifully decorated stalls specialize in high quality arts and crafts.

K.u.k. Christmas Market on Michaelerplatz

Nov 11, 2018 -Jan 2, 2019: daily 10am-8pm
Michaelerplatz, 1010 Vienna, www.kuk-weihnachtsmarkt.at

The white stands at the K.u.k. Christmas Market on Michaelerplatz in front of the Hofburg carry primarily Austrian products including candies, tin figures, handmade cribs and much more besides.

Gourmet market next to the Vienna State Opera

Nov 12-Dec 31, 2018: daily 11am-9pm
Mahlerstrasse, 1010 Vienna, www.haas-haas.at

Up-market tea store Haas & Haas puts on this Christmas food market under the glass-covered promenade on Mahlerstrasse. Opposite the Opera house and right next to the Ringstrassen Galerien mall, the 15 stands tempt passers-by with their cheeses, wines, charcuterie, marzipan and nougat, Austrian specialties, and hot punch.

Winter Market on Riesenradplatz

Nov 19, 2018 - Jan 8, 2019: Mon-Fri 12pm-10pm, Sat-Sun and public holidays 11am-10pm, Dec 24 10am-5pm, Dec 31 12pm-2am
Riesenradplatz, Prater, 1020 Vienna, www.wintermarkt.at

This Winter Market in the Prater offers lots of fun for all the family with a kids’ winter train ride, the giddy heights of the chain carousel and live music from pop to soul. All accompanied by warming Christmas drinks and tasty snacks.

Belvedere Palace Advent Market

Nov 18-Dec 23, 2018: daily 10am-9pm
Upper Belvedere, Prinz-Eugen-Strasse 27, 1030 Vienna, www.weihnachtsdorf.at

At the Christmas market in front of the splendid Baroque Belvedere Palace 40 merrily decorated stalls offer traditional handicrafts and other, more contemporary gifts from Austria’s federal provinces and neighboring countries. Visitors can warm themselves up with hot punch and mulled wine, and enjoy a sausage or local favorite like Schinkenfleckerl (a classic winter pasta and ham dish). Brass bands, gospel choirs and other ensembles provide entertainment, and there’s a vintage carousel and mini railway for the kids.

Art Advent – arts & crafts market on Karlsplatz

Nov 23 - Dec 23, 2018: daily 12pm-8pm
Karlsplatz, 1040 Vienna, www.artadvent.at

Beautifully crafted creations from over 70 designer-makers exhibiting stained-glass ware, musical instruments, jewelry, silk paintings, woolen hats and scarves, natural cosmetics and lots more. For the kids there’s a workshop where they can make their own Christmas gifts, a train ride, and hay bales to lark around on.

Medieval Christmas market at the Museum for Military History

Nov 29, 2018 14:00 - 22:00 h and Nov 30 - DEC 2, 2018 10-22 h
Arsenal, Objekt 1, 1030 Wien, www.hgm.or.at

On the open-air grounds in front of the Museum of Military History in Vienna there are medieval craft and gastronomy stands, jugglers, fencers, dancers, fire-eaters and minstrels. Children’s programme with living nativity scene, fairytale hour, horse riding, merry-go-round and handicrafts.

Spittelberg Christmas Market

Nov 15 - Dec 23, 2018: Mon-Thu 3pm-9pm, Fri 3pm-9.30pm, Sat 12pm-9.30pm, Sun and public holidays 12pm-9pm
Spittelberggasse, Burggasse, Schrankgasse, Stiftgasse, Siebensterngasse, 1070 Vienna, www.spittelberg.at

Over 100 stands with products from Austria and surrounding countries on the romantic cobbled streets of the Spittelberg district. The market is known for high quality handicrafts and food and drink including traditional gingerbread, Christmas biscuits, cakes, pastries and teas. The kids activity program consists of puppet theater, fairy tales, biscuit baking and candle making. On Sundays parents can leave the little ones in the safe hands of the staff at the Christmas workshop.

Campus of the University of Vienna/Altes AKH Christmas Village

Nov 17 -Dec 23, 2018: Mon-Sat 2pm-10pm, Sun and public holidays 11am-10pm
Altes AKH/Universitätscampus, Alserstrasse/Spitalgasse, 1090 Vienna, www.weihnachtsdorf.at

Over 50 stalls in the attractive grounds of the old General Hospital form an atmospheric Christmas Village offering handmade jewelry, candles, soap, leather goods, woodwork and ceramics. Revelers looking for mulled wine, hot punch and a wide selection of Christmas eats won’t be disappointed. Two curling lanes, a vintage children’s carousel, and a Christmas train ride provide further entertainment.

Culture and Christmas Market and New Year’s Market, Schönbrunn Palace

Nov 19-Dec 26, 2018: daily 10am-9pm, Dec 24 10am-4pm, Dec 25-26 10am-6pm, Dec 27, 2016-Jan 1, 2017 10am-6pm
Schönbrunn Palace, Schönbrunner Schlossstrasse, 1130 Vienna, www.weihnachtsmarkt.co.at

About 80 stallholders from Austria and neighboring countries display a varied selection of traditional arts and crafts, handmade Christmas tree decorations, nativity scene sets and other beautiful items made from natural materials. Hot punch and Christmas biscuits are in plentiful supply and there’s music from choirs, gospel groups and brass bands from Austria and abroad. Kids can do handicrafts under the supervision of expert craftspeople in the Christmas workshop, make biscuits in Schönbrunn Bakery or take a tour of the Schloss Schönbrunn Experience children’s museum. A New Year’s market with traditional lucky charms, delicious food, hot punch and mulled wine is held on the same site from Dec 27, 2016 to Jan 1, 2017 (open daily 10am-6pm).

Christmas magic at Schloss Wilhelminenberg

This year, there will be no Christmas market, but again in 2019

Christmas Market in Türkenschanzpark

Nov 11-Dec 24, 2018: Mon-Fri 3pm-10pm, Sat-Sun and public holidays 12pm-10pm, Dec 24 12pm-3pm
Corner of Peter Jordan-Strasse and Dänenstrasse, 1180 Vienna, www.weihnachtimpark.at
Handicrafts, seasonal food and drink and a carousel in the charming surroundings of Türkenschanzpark – with live music on Sundays.

Advent Market and Christmas Exhibition at Hirschstetten Gardens

Nov 17-Dec 18, 2018: Thu-Sun 10am-8pm
Blumengärten Hirschstetten, Quadenstrasse 15, 1220 Vienna, www.park.wien.at
The Christmas exhibition in the heated greenhouses operated by the municipal gardens agency in the 22nd district is inspired by “sweet Christmas”. This year, the themed confectionary and flower arrangements will include “Land of plenty” and “Spice bazaar”.

Temporary Christmas and Advent Markets and Other Advent Events (selected, by district)

Nativity display, Peterskirche church

Nov 26-Dec 18, 2018: daily 10am-6.30pm
Petersplatz, 1010 Vienna, www.krippenfreundewien.at
The show’s exhibits are sourced from private collections and presented in the church’s crypt, under the title “Nativity scenes from around the world”. On weekends there are accompanying events exploring themes related to nativity displays and Christmas.

Medieval Advent Market in front of the Museum of Military History

Nov 30, 2018: 2pm-10pm, Dec 3+4, 2016: 10am-10pm
Arsenal, Objekt 1, 1030 Vienna, www.hgm.or.at
The square in front of the Museum of Military History will be filled with medieval handicrafts and concession stands, jugglers, swordsmen, dancers, fire breathers and entertainers. The children’s program includes a living nativity scene, fairy tales, horse riding, carousel and arts and crafts.

Advent Market in the Remise – Wiener Linien Transport Museum

Nov 30 - Dec 16, 2018: Thu-Sun 2pm-9pm
Ludwig-Koessler-Platz, 1030 Vienna, www.remise.wien

This small, welcoming Advent market is set in the well-preserved, heritage-listed tram depot that houses the Wiener Linien Transport Museum, which exhibits historic and modern transport vehicles throughout the year, and tells the story of public transport in Vienna. Hot organic punch, jacket potatoes and roasted chestnuts can all be enjoyed in a festive atmosphere, while gift ideas abound – toy railway streetcars and subway trains, Viennese tram Christmas tree decorations and nostalgic calendars.

Winter im MQ

Nov 3-Dec 23, 2018: Mon-Fri 4pm-11pm, Sat-Sun and public holidays 2pm-11pm
MuseumsQuartier, 1070 Vienna, www.mqw.at

Each year the courtyard of the MuseumsQuartier is transformed into a charming winter wonderland for Winter im MQ. Ice pavilions serve original punch creations, the building’s facades double up as a giant screen for video projections, the water feature is converted into a curling rink and there are DJ sounds to enjoy.

A paradise for connoisseurs of the finer things in life opens in the halls of MuseumsQuartier on the first weekend of Advent, with fashion, jewelry, ceramics, small interior furnishings, books and many more creations from Austrian and international designers. Entry to the 1,000m² indoor market is free.

Advent-Kunsthandwerksmarkt im Schloss Neugebäude

Nov 30 -Dec 2, 2018 and Dec 12 - DEC 9, 2018 and Dec 13 - Dec 16, 2018
THU, FRI 14-20 h, SAT 14-21 h, SUN 10-19 h
Otto-Brix-Gasse 1, 1100 Wien

The wonderful castle Neugebäude offers the scenery for another Christkindlmarkt with a lot of handicraft value, gastronomy but also live concerts.

Advent at Schönbrunn Zoo

Hietzinger Tor entrance, Hietzinger Hauptstrasse, 1130 Vienna, www.zoovienna.at

Schönbrunn Zoo offers free children’s tours on each Sunday of Advent (starting at 2.30pm at the Hietzing information center). On December 3 and 4, 2016 there’s a chance to make decorations in the Christmas workshop, and bake cookies in the kitchens of the Tyrolean Farmhouse. On Dec 24, 2016 – when the main family celebrations take place in Austria – special Christmas activities are put on to occupy the kids during their agonizing wait for gifts later in the day.

Nativity display at Lainz Game Reserve

Nov 30, 2018 - Jan 15, 2019
Lainzer Tiergarten, Lainzer Tor entrance, Hermesstrasse, 1130 Vienna

A Nativity display featuring life-size wooden figures at the Lainzer Tor entrance.

Source: Wien Tourismus