Hardly any other country arranges as many beautiful Christmas markets each year as Austria does. Austrians clearly understand how to create the perfect pre-Christmas atmosphere throughout their different cities. We’ve picked out 10 dreamy advent destinations near the Alps.
What’s better than an advent market’s cosy, homey atmosphere during the time before Christmas? Shimmering ice crystals and a scent of hot punch in the air, crackling fireplaces warm up your hands and face, candlelight and lanterns bathe everything in soft light – Christmas markets have their very own charm. Angels and elves rejoice with market stalls full of self-made Christmas-themed baked goods and local, handcrafted items. In some places, groups of musicians provide for the appropriate background music. They are traditionally brass players, as brass instruments withstand the cold temperatures better than woodwind instruments. Just as fitting, little trumpets and hornets are also classic Christmas decorations.
What’s especially enticing about Austrian Christmas markets is the fact that they are so close to the mountain and ski areas. These Austrian cities have especially beautiful advent markets:
Christmas market “Christkindlmarkt” in Innsbruck’s historical city
Amidst the medieval houses of Innsbruck’s historical city, you can find the arguably most traditional Christmas market. Surrounding a large, brightly illuminated Christmas tree, 70 quaint market stalls are set up, selling all kinds of precious objects. Families with children are recommended to pay a visit to the Kiebachgasse street, near the famous “Goldenes Dachl”. The street is transformed into “Fairy Tale Alley”, where well-known fairy tale characters greet you from the houses’ fronts.
“Hellbrunner Adventszauber” in Salzburg
Those visiting Salzburg, the city of Mozart, during the time before Christmas should not miss out on the Hellbrunn “Adventszauber”. The advent market is decorated with more than 400 conifers, and Hellbrunn Castle has been its backdrop for the past 10 years. Visitors can look forward to stalls with traditional handcrafted items, an oversized advent calendar, a nativity scene exposition and an extensive programme for children. Salzburg also has several further Christmas markets. One classic market is the historical “Christkindlmarkt” at the Salzburger Domplatz.
“Christkindlmarkt” in Linz
The baroque main square in Linz is the backdrop for the Christmas market in Upper Austria’s capital city. The market is mainly aimed at artists and artisans. Therefore, a large selection of local handcrafted items can be found here, and you can look forward to hot punch and delicious gingerbread.
Advent at Lake Wolfgangsee
The three municipalities at the shoreline of lake Wolfgangsee in Salzkammergut, Strobl, St. Gilgen and St. Wolfgang celebrate the time before Christmas under the motto “Advent like it used to be”. For example, the whole Christmas market in St. Wolfgang is illuminated only by candlelight and lanterns. Another highlight are the artful nativity scenes with life-size figures and, sometimes, life animals, which entice spectators. Ferry boats commune between the three resorts. The boats also cross the swimming peace light lantern which makes for a beautiful atmosphere even on the lake.
Advent in Melk
With its historic city and the Benedictine abbey, the small town Melk on the Donau is a World Cultural Heritage. And it is against this beautiful background that the homely Advent villag is built on the main square in the pre-Christmas season. Local craftsmanship and a varied music programme characterise this wonderful Advent market.
Advent market in Schloss Esterházy palace
In Eisenstadt, capital city of Burgenland, Schloss Esterházy palace opens its doors for a pompous Advent market. Against the noble backdrop of the baroque-style inner courtyard, there are about 50 market stalls offering artful items and rarities, there a choir and brass ensemble performances, as well as an entertainment programme for children. Apart from the Christmas market, visitors can also visit the recent exhibitions in the palace.
The Christkindl Market at Neuer Platz in Klagenfurt am Wörthersee is known as one of the most beautiful markets in the entire Alps-Adreatic-region. The square is bathed in a sea of lights, the stalls are designed lovingly, and the scene is accentuated by choir performances, artists and music schools – all is set for a festive mood! Alternatively, the Christmas Market at Domplatz also has a nice programme with extras like e.g. a Gospel Mass, brass music and musical arias.
Christmas market at Schlossberg in Graz
The Christmas market in Graz is called “Aufsteirern”. Actually, the Christmas Market is located above Graz, on Schlossberg Mountain. Visitors go up the local mountain with the Schlossbergbahn mountain railway, when the market opens its doors only on the five Advent weekends. Everything here is home-made and typically Styrian, from craftsmanship to music performances. The programme is full of atmosphere and comprises brass players playing from the bell tower, the Styrian “Christkind”, or torch hikes.
In the small mountain village in Bregenzerwald, the rural atmosphere becomes even quainter in the time before Christmas. On the heritage-protected village square you can find brightly lit stalls offering, among other things, handmade decorative items and self-made Advent wreaths. The wreath and Christmas-themed baked goods are personally prepared by the village’s inhabitants, and the proceeds of the sale are donated to an orphanage project in Africa.
Christmas Market in the Museum quarter
A rather extraordinary market can be found in Vienna’s Museumsquartier. The historic buildings from the 18th and 19th century make for a high-contrast backdrop for six artistically designed ice pavilions where visitors can enjoy tasty punch and snacks, elaborate light installations and varying DJ sounds. Curling is also on offer. Apart from the, the surrounding museums offer a broad cultural programme.
With the friendly assistance of Österreich Werbung