Last Updated on November 11, 2023 by gregor
Shopping at Christmas Markets in Vienna: What to buy at Christmas Markets in Vienna – Souvenirs & Gifts
Vienna, with its splendid Christmas markets, turns into a dazzling wonderland during the holiday season. These markets, steeped in tradition and festivity, offer a shopping experience unlike any other. In this Vienna Christmas Market Shopping guide, we’ll explore the myriad of treasures you can find at Vienna’s Christmas markets, providing you with comprehensive information on what to buy and where to find these festive gems.
Visiting the Vienna Christmas Markets – Best Christmas Markets in Vienna
Before diving into shopping, let’s set the scene. Vienna’s Christmas markets, or ‘Christkindlmärkte’, are more than just places to shop; they are hubs of festive spirit, glowing with twinkling lights and adorned with elaborate decorations. Each market, with its wooden stalls and festive ambiance, invites visitors to immerse themselves in a world of Yuletide joy.
Read our Detailed Christmas Market Guide with Locations; Opening Hours and MAP.
The Christmas markets in Vienna for 2023 include a variety of popular and central locations, each offering its own unique charm and range of festive products. Here are some of the notable ones:
- 1. Christkindlmarkt: Situated in front of the Rathaus city hall, this is the most visited and famous Christmas market in Vienna, known for its large Christmas tree and a variety of seasonal offerings.
- 2. Schönbrunn: Set in the forecourt of Schönbrunn Palace, this market is known for its elegance, high-quality stalls, and imperial splendor.
- 3. Belvedere: Located in front of the Upper Belvedere palace and next to a small lake, this market is smaller and a bit away from the center, offering a picturesque setting with fewer crowds.
- 4. Altes AKH: Situated in the grounds of the former general hospital, this market is popular with locals and features regional food and drink from across Austria.
- 5. Stephansplatz: This central market curls around the edges of Stephansdom, offering a historical atmosphere and a range of refreshments.
- 6. Am Hof: Located in a square surrounded by historic buildings, Am Hof is known for its section dedicated to independent artists and unique gift ideas.
- 7. Freyung: Known as the Altwiener Christkindlmarkt, this market is located just up from Am Hof and is famous for its adjoining organic farmer’s market.
- 8. Maria-Theresien-Platz: One of the biggest Christmas markets, it is sandwiched between the Naturhistorisches and Kunsthistorisches museums.
- 9. Karlsplatz: This market is located in front of the Baroque Karlskirche church and is known for its alternative feel, featuring unique arts and craft stalls.
- 10. Spittelberg: Set in Vienna’s bohemian quarters, this market is known for its unique arts and crafts and the Biedermeier architectural surrounds.
- 11. Michaelerplatz: A small market located at one end of the Hofburg palace, known for its unique white booths and central location.
- 12. Hirschstetten: Located in Vienna’s 22nd district, this market is set in a nursery and botanical gardens, offering a local feel and a unique floral exhibition.
- 13. Weihnachtszauber: Hosted by the Ottakringer brewery in the 16th district, this market has a local flavor and includes bonus weekend markets in the adjoining event hall
Traditional Viennese Crafts: A Touch of Authenticity
These markets are great places to find traditional crafts that showcase the rich cultural heritage of Vienna, and make perfect gifts or souvenirs to bring back home.
1. Rathausplatz Christmas Market: This market is located in front of Vienna’s City Hall and offers a wide range of traditional crafts including wooden toys, glass ornaments, ceramics, and handmade textiles.
2. Schönbrunn Palace Christmas Market: Set in the grounds of the beautiful Schönbrunn Palace, this market features numerous stalls selling traditional crafts such as hand-painted ornaments, carved wooden figures, and festive decorations.
3. Belvedere Palace Christmas Market: Surrounding the stunning Belvedere Palace, this market offers a variety of traditional crafts including handmade candles, leather goods, and embroidered textiles.
4. Spittelberg Christmas Market: This market is situated in the historic Spittelberg district and features numerous stalls selling traditional crafts such as handcrafted jewelry, ceramics, and knitted items.
5. Art Advent Christmas Market: Located in the Karlsplatz area, this market showcases a wide array of traditional crafts including hand-blown glassware, wood carvings, and festive decorations.
These Christmas markets are the perfect place to find unique and authentic traditional crafts that make wonderful gifts or souvenirs from Vienna.
Hand-Painted Ornaments and Christmas Tree Decorations
At the Vienna Christmas World on Rathausplatz, artisans offer exquisite hand-painted baubles and Christmas ornaments. These delicate pieces, often made of glass or wood, depict scenes of winter landscapes, Viennese landmarks, and traditional Austrian designs.
Woodworking and Carvings
The Old Viennese Christmas Market on Freyung is famous for its wooden crafts. From intricate nativity scenes to hand-carved figurines, these items reflect the skill and tradition of Austrian woodworking.
Christmas Markets Culinary Delights: A Taste of Vienna
Read our Detailed Christmas Market FOOD GUIDE with Locations; Opening Hours and MAP.
Viennese Christmas markets are a haven for food lovers. Here are some must-try treats and where to find them:
Sweets and Pastries
No visit to a Viennese Christmas market is complete without trying the local sweets. Head to the Christmas Market on Spittelberg for handmade gingerbread, ‘Vanillekipferl’ (crescent-shaped vanilla biscuits), and ‘Stollen’ (traditional fruit bread).
For savory delights, the Christmas Market at Schönbrunn Palace offers a variety of Austrian sausages, ‘Leberkäse’ (a type of meatloaf), and ‘Käsekrainer’ (cheese-filled sausages).
Warm up with some traditional Austrian drinks. The Christmas Village on Maria-Theresien-Platz is known for its ‘Punsch’ (a type of mulled wine) and ‘Glühwein’ (hot spiced wine), often served in collectible mugs.
Unique Christmas Gifts: Find Something for Everyone
Finding the perfect Christmas gift is easy at Vienna’s markets:
Handmade Jewelry and Accessories
At the Christmas Market on Stephansplatz, you’ll find stalls selling unique handmade jewelry and accessories. These range from contemporary designs to traditional Austrian styles.
Festive Clothing and Textiles
For festive clothing and textiles, visit the Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace. Here you can find hand-knit scarves, hats, and gloves, perfect for keeping warm during the winter.
Christmas Art and Antiques: For the Connoisseurs
For those interested in art and antiques:
The Christmas Market on Spittelberg, set in a quaint neighborhood, is the place for vintage Christmas decorations and antiques, offering a nostalgic journey through time.
For contemporary art lovers, the Art Advent – Christmas Market on Karlsplatz offers unique pieces from local artists, including paintings, sculptures, and ceramics.
Specialty Foods and Regional Products: A Gastronomic Adventure
Vienna’s markets are also a destination for specialty foods:
The Christmas Village on the University Campus is known for its regional products like ‘Mozartkugeln’ (chocolate marzipan balls), artisanal cheeses, and fine Austrian wines.
Organic and Gourmet Products
For organic and gourmet options, visit the Art Advent – Christmas Market on Karlsplatz, which emphasizes high-quality, sustainable products.
Interactive Shopping: Workshops and Customization
Vienna Christmas markets offer interactive experiences
Candle Making and Customization
At the Christmas Market at Schönbrunn Palace, you can participate in candle-making workshops, creating your personalized Christmas candles. These workshops are a great way to get into the festive spirit and create a unique souvenir to remember your visit by. The market also offers a wide variety of artisanal candle vendors, where you can shop for beautifully crafted candles to take home with you. Whether you’re looking for traditional red and green candles or something more modern and stylish, you’ll find the perfect addition to your holiday decor at the Christmas Market at Schönbrunn Palace. Plus, the atmosphere of the market, with its twinkling lights and delightful aromas, will truly make you feel like you’ve stepped into a winter wonderland. Don’t miss this special opportunity to get creative and bring a piece of the magic home with you.
The Christmas Market on Stephansplatz occasionally hosts glass-blowing demonstrations, where you can commission custom-made glass ornaments. The market also features stalls selling a variety of handcrafted glass items, including delicate figurines, colorful vases, and unique decorations. Visitors can watch as skilled artisans work their magic with molten glass, shaping and moulding it into stunning creations.
The demonstrations offer a fascinating insight into the traditional art of glass-blowing, and visitors have the opportunity to engage with the artists, ask questions, and learn about the techniques and skills involved. It’s a great opportunity to witness the creation process firsthand and appreciate the craftsmanship and artistry that goes into producing these beautiful pieces.
For those looking for a special memento of their visit to the Christmas Market, commissioning a custom-made glass ornament is a fantastic way to take home a unique and personalized souvenir. Whether it’s a festive bauble, a delicate snowflake, or a decorative figurine, having a piece made especially for you adds an extra layer of meaning and significance to your holiday experience. Plus, it makes for a truly thoughtful and one-of-a-kind gift for friends and family.
So, if you find yourself at the Christmas Market on Stephansplatz, be sure to stop by the glass-blowing demonstrations and witness the magic of this ancient craft in action. It’s a memorable and enchanting experience that adds an extra sparkle to the holiday season.
For the Little Ones: Christmas Toys and Children’s Gifts
Don’t forget the kids:
Traditional Wooden Toys
At the Old Viennese Christmas Market on Freyung, find classic wooden toys and puzzles that hark back to a bygone era of craftsmanship.
Modern Toys and Games
For more contemporary toys and games, the Christmas Market at Schönbrunn Palace offers a wide selection, including educational and eco-friendly options.
A Haven for Collectors: Christmas Market Mementos
For collectors, Christmas markets in Vienna offer unique items:
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Many markets have their unique souvenirs, such as the collectible mugs from the Christmas Village on Maria-Theresien-Platz or the hand-illustrated market maps from the Christmas Market on Spittelberg.
Christmas Market Postcards and Stamps
Special postcards and stamps commemorating the Christmas markets can be found at the main post office booth in the Vienna Christmas World on Rathausplatz.
Tips for Shopping at Vienna’s Christmas Markets
To make the most of your shopping experience:
– Plan your visit: Each market has its unique charm and offerings, so research beforehand to decide which markets suit your shopping needs.
– Timing: Weekday mornings are less crowded, making it easier to browse and shop.
– Bargaining: While some negotiation is possible, most prices are fixed, especially for handcrafted items.
– Payment: While many stalls accept cards, having cash is handy for smaller purchases. – Dress comfortably: Wear comfortable shoes and clothing to make navigating the market easier.
– Bring reusable bags: Many markets are eco-friendly and encourage shoppers to bring their own bags.
– Sample the local cuisine: Take breaks to try out the local food and drinks to fully immerse yourself in the market experience.
– Be respectful: Remember to respect the local culture and customs while shopping and interacting with the vendors.
– Explore off the beaten path: Don’t just stick to the main thoroughfares, explore the smaller alleys and corners for hidden gems and unique finds.
– Have fun: Shopping at a local market is not just about buying things, but also about experiencing the culture and enjoying the ambiance. So, take your time and enjoy the experience!
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In conclusion, Vienna Christmas Market Shopping
Shopping at Vienna’s Christmas markets is an experience filled with joy, tradition, and discovery. From handcrafted ornaments and delicious treats to unique gifts and festive decorations, these markets offer a plethora of choices for all tastes and preferences. So, wrap up warm, immerse yourself in the festive spirit, and enjoy the delightful shopping experience that Vienna’s Christmas markets have to offer! Whether you’re looking for a special gift for a loved one or just want to soak up the magical atmosphere, a visit to Vienna’s Christmas markets is sure to be a highlight of the holiday season. With the scent of Glühwein in the air and twinkling lights all around, it’s the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. And with the variety of markets scattered throughout the city, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, don’t miss out on this enchanting shopping experience and make the most of what Vienna’s Christmas markets have to offer. It’s a festive tradition that’s not to be missed!
Interested in a Christmas Market Guided Tour? Read this Blog Post:
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