It is HOT, HOT, HOT here in Florida so I’m thinking, how about some Christmas in July? Let’s make it one of my favorite cities at Christmastime, Vienna! I just can’t even describe how incredibly beautiful the Christmas lights in Vienna are, how awe inspiring it is to walk along the Graben towards Stephansplatz under the giant, sparkling chandeliers while gazing around to all the varying light displays adorning the other streets we pass. It is the most beautiful and festive display I believe I have ever witnessed. A great way to visit Vienna and other cities along the Danube with festive markets, is on a river cruise, we visited with AmaWaterways, our favorite river cruise line.
In addition to the gorgeous Christmas lights on display there are multiple unique Christmas markets to visit. I have not visited them all but I have visited several, each having it’s own distinctive feel, unique crafts and charm.
I’ll start with the largest, the Rathausplatz Christkindlmarkt, located in front of Vienna town hall, it is a large and at night a very crowded market with row upon row of booths selling everything from gluhwein and authentic handicrafts to Chinese made, mass market trinkets (although they have cut down on the amount of stands hocking these wares.) This market has quite a presence with the town hall lit in the background and the large Christmas light displays adorning the entrance.
A new market for me visiting this past Christmas and perhaps my favorite so far in Vienna, was the Karlsplatz Art Advent Christmas market. It is a smaller and less crowded market with the beautiful Karlskirche as a backdrop. They had a stage set up for live music and many vendors selling delicious treats including raclette, which is a personal favorite of mine. The quality of the items for sale here is very good overall, a lot of really nice and unique handicrafts.
The last two markets that I have visited are the market at Schonbrunn palace and the market at Maria Theresien-Platz, these are both smaller markets again with beautiful landmarks as the backdrop. The Maria Theresien-Platz market also had a cool projection light show to add to the festive feel.
These are only the ones I have been fortunate enough to visit, there are others in this great city that I am sure are very worth the visit if you have time.
There are so many other wonderful things about Vienna, it is such a charming city. I cannot imagine any better place to spend some time during the Christmas holiday season.