Less than a year before moving to Budapest, I saw a public television show about Vienna’s Christmas markets. The show’s host declared that Vienna’s markets were special. That stuck with me, which is why I targeted Vienna for Thanksgiving—I wanted to experience Vienna’s Christmas markets.
The city did not disappoint. And there were so many more markets than I expected!
There was the huge market in front of Town Hall. I had been warned that it was extremely touristy, and the items were more likely to have come from China than Austria. I don’t know if that’s the case, but it was quite a flashy scene. Inside Town Hall was a different story; there were activities for kids, including baking, painting mugs, and creating candles. Adorable!
I went to many other Christmas markets, including the Christmas Village at Maria-Theresien-Platz, the Am Hof Advent Market, the Old Viennese Christmas Market, the markets at Museumsquartier and Spittelberg, and unknown ones that I stumbled upon with great delight.
In most cases, I showed amazing restraint and didn’t buy anything. But shopping wasn’t the draw anyway. I love the markets because they’re all about community. Regardless of the temperature, people are out and about. Families and friends gather, and cheer abounds.
The markets are also a feast for the senses. The kaleidoscope of decorations. The warmth of Glühwein (mulled wine) heating your palms and spreading throughout your body. Laughter and multilingual chatter mixing with holiday music. The heady bouquet of roasting meats, warmed spices, fresh evergreen, and baked dough.
And then there are the tastes! Gooey Nutella on a freshly baked waffle. A crisp and seasoned bratwurst mingled with roasted potatoes. Zesty Glühwein. I only scratched the surface with all the wonderful tastes.
The Vienna Christmas markets are definitely worth the trip!