From the middle of November and throughout Advent, Vienna is transformed into a magical wonderland. With Christmas markets to be found on every corner, it is an amazing time to visit Austria's capital city.
Enjoy a mug of steaming hot Weihnachtspunsch (Christmas punch), treat yourself to sweet treats like Vanillekipferl and listen as angelic voices fill the air singing carols from times gone by. Whether you are in Vienna for 24 hours or 14 nights, at least one visit to a Christmas market is a must: take a look at some of the best below.
Vienna's magical Christmas Markets
There are over 20 Christmas markets in Vienna, with the whole city brimming with festive cheer. For guests of Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna, you will be close to some of the largest, including Rathausplatz, Maria-Theresien-Platz and Am Hof.
Wiener Christkindlmarkt at Rathausplatz
The biggest Christmas market in Vienna, the entire square in front of city hall comes alive at Rathausplatz. Popular for good reason, you will find over 150 stalls filled with traditional gifts, handcrafted goods, sweet treats, mouth-watering Viennese food and drinks to keep everyone warm and merry here. As well as this, there is the iconic Christmas tree that towers above everything else, a 3,000m² ice rink and a special area for little ones known as Children's World where a reindeer train and carousel can be found.
The best way to visit Wiener Christkindlmarkt, or Vienna City Hall itself, from Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna is to take tram 1 or D from Börse station and get off at Rathausplatz/Burgtheater or you can walk for about 10 minutes.
Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace
There is something special about the Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace. Offering the perfect photo opportunity with the illuminated Upper Belvedere as a backdrop, this market is certainly worth travelling further afield for.
Around 40 different stalls can be found here, focusing on high-quality arts and crafts. From delicate jewellery made from Murano glass to leather-bound diaries, it is a fantastic place to pick up Christmas gifts for loved ones. Make sure you arrive on an empty stomach too, the food here is delicious. Roasted chestnuts, fried potato dishes known as Bauerngröstl and crepes are among the food served. For Kempinski guests, our concierge helps with the directions for public transport or with taxi transportation.
Magnificent, especially in the snow, the Schönbrunner Weihnachtsmarkt is based at Schönbrunn Palace. With a huge Christmas tree at its centre, this is the Christmas market to visit if you are looking for live music and entertainment. Regular concerts and gospels start in the afternoon and early evening, and there is always a performance or special event taking place.
Of course, there are plenty of stalls to browse too, with everything from woolly hats to unique Christmas decorations made from wood, glass and ceramic. Sip mulled wine as the night falls, and tuck in to traditional Austrian dishes like the sweet Kaiserschmarrn or indulgent cheese kranski.
How to get here: From Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna, we recommend heading to Schottenring station, taking Line U4 and walking the short distance towards the palace.
Based between the Natural History Museum and Museum of Art History is Maria-Theresien-Platz. On a larger scale compared to many of the other Christmas markets, the area is filled with twinkling lights, opulent décor and stall after stall, surrounding the statue of Maria Theresa.
It is a great market to visit after a day exploring the two museums, and perfect if you are looking for souvenirs due to the wide selection on offer. As for food, you are well-catered for if you are feeling hungry. Traditional Austrian meals and sweet desserts can be found left and right, as well as pastries, goulash soup, roasted chestnuts and a whole range of punch!
To visit Maria-Theresien-Platz, exit the tram line 1, 71 or D at Ring/Volkstheater- if you are visiting from Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna, join the Börse station.
Amongst the above, there are so many other fantastic Christmas markets. If you have time, a visit to Spittelberg, Riesenradplatz, MuseumsQuartier (MQ) and Am Hof are highly recommended.
Winter activities in Vienna
Of course, there are so many other winter activities to make the most of in Vienna. During Advent, stopping by the many churches and cathedrals dotted across the city are a must. Outstanding inside and out, watching choirs sing Christmas carols here is sure to be an unforgettable moment for any visitor.
In November and December, the MuseumsQuartier is also full of life, with their Winter at MQ event in full swing. You will find DJs, live performances, exhibitions and workshops here, alongside so much more. Every year promises something different, and if you want a lively evening fuelled by art and creativity, it is not to be missed.
Of course, you can't forget ballet. The Vienna State Opera hosts its winter ballet every year, where the finest dancers will perform one of the great classics. Tickets often go on sale very early in the year, so booking in advance is recommended.
If you are planning on visiting Vienna with Kempinski this December, don't forget to speak to our concierge. Full of local knowledge, they will be delighted to help you organise your trip both before you arrive and during your stay.