Yesterday the most commercial, but also atmospheric season of the Year started again. Yes, I talk about Christmas. The lights of the large Tree in front of the Rathausplatz are lit. Even though most of the Christmas markets in the city will not open until the 18th, it is still the start of the Christmas season in Vienna!
Driving home for Christmas
And Christmas in Vienna means a whole city full of decorative lights and the smell of gingerbread and mulled wine on the streets. Even though I am far from romantic, even I have to admit that there is probably not a more romantic city in the world during Christmas than Vienna. Vienna is the type of city where songs like White Christmas and Wonderful Christmas Time fit well to. People also drive home for Christmas here. In all the 25 years I lived in Holland I never had a white Christmas and I also never drove home for Christmas. It is not so popular there.
Christmas markets in Vienna
Spread around the city there are I believe around 18 Christmas markets (Christkindlmärkte) which vary in size and atmosphere. All markets have free entrance, and the prices for food or drinks are pretty similar. There are quite a few in the first district. Most of the others are easy accessible by public transport.
Wiener Adventzauber in front of the Rathaus
There is the massive “Wiener Adventzauber” in front of the Rathaus where people can buy decoration, Glühwein, Lebkuchen and other traditional goods. The atmosphere is quite nice here, although it can be very crowdy sometimes. The decoration in the park surrounding the market is in my opinion a bit too kitschy. But hey, there will be a lot of people that love it!
Weihnachtsdorf Altes AKH
The market located at the old hospital in the 9th district of Vienna is one of my favorites. It is small, it is cozy and the crowd is mostly Viennese. The location, a courtyard with a park surrounded by the buildings of the hospital, is very nice. I just need some stations with the tramway from my work to the market, so for me it is perfect for an after work glühwein.
On the Maria-Theresianplatz between theMuseum of Art History and the Museum of Natural History is also a market. It is mostly stuffed with tourists, probably because of the nice location. I was here once in the evening, when it started snowing like a maniac. Packed with warm clothes and warming my hands with a cup of hot mulled wine I enjoyed the atmosphere here a lot.
Other Christmas markets in Vienna
As I mentioned before, there are a lot of these markets spread over the city. Some of these markets are well worth a visit, like the one at Spittelberg, Karlsplatz and Belvedere castle or at Am Hof.