The weeks before Christmas Eve, the streets of Vienna shine bright with festive lights and if you follow the smell of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts you’ll quickly find yourself in the middle of one of the many impressive Christmas-town-like markets called Christkindlmarkt. Across the city small stands are set up to sell Christmas baubles, wooden toys and roasted apples covered in a sticky red sugar glaze. And most importantly Punsch! Here is a selection of the some of the most beautiful places you should visit when you’re in town:
- Wiener Christkindlmarkt at Rathausplatz tends to be overcrowded and overpriced but it’s impossible not to get in the spirit at the sight of all the sparkling lights in the trees in front of the city’s gigantic town hall (Sunday-Thursday: 10am-9:30pm, Friday-Saturday 10am-10pm)
- Altwiener Christkindlmarkt at Freyung is one of my favorites. Here you can find antique chrystal decorations from Gablonz and beautiful wooden toys (open everyday 10am-9pm)
- Weihnachtsmarkt at Spittelberg: Take a stroll through the narrow streets of the 7th district and bring the little ones. Here they have lovely programs like a puppet theater or cookie-baking for kids. (Monday-Friday: 2pm-9pm, Saturday-Sunday 1oam-21pm)
- Kultur- und Weihnachtsmarkt at Schloß Schönbrunn is a must-see and definitely the most beautiful one. Nestled in front of the former imperial summer residence, the atmosphere is just magical. Here you can find traditional Christmas decorations and toys made from glass, wood, paper or hay (open everyday 10am-9pm)
Vienna is famous for it’s beautiful historic city center and the classical buildings look even more intriguing when sparkling lights decorate the streets, like Graben, Kohlmarkt, Rotenturmstraße and along the Ringstraße.
Good and proper food
I love hearty food, and it just tastes even better when it’s cold outside! Every time I’m back in Vienna I go back to classics like Plachutta. Yes I’m a fan of their famous Tafelspitz, but have you tried their Beef Stroganoff? Geeeez! Another restaurant that I find myself yearning for when I’m abroad is Zur Herknerin in the 4th district. The chef, Stefanie Herkner is everything you wish your mother would be, pampering you with the best of viennese cuisine, like delicious homemade Topfenknödel!
(Wiedner Hauptstraße 36, 1040 Wien; +43 699 15220522; Tuesday – Friday 5pm-10pm)
Photo credits: Jessie Schoeller, http://www.weihnachtsmarkt.co.at / Gerhard Fally / Nik Pichler