Austria has some of the most magical Christmas markets in Europe. The festive chalets, snow-covered mountain views, warm mulled wine, handmade toys and indulgent snacks are just a few of the things you’ll find there.
If you’re planning a trip to Austria this Christmas, you won’t want to miss out on experiencing the wonder and excitement of the Christmas markets.
In this article, I’ll guide you through the best Christmas markets in Austria with insider tips on what you can expect to see, traditional Christmas food and confirmed dates and locations for 2023.
Much like in other Central European countries, Austria hosts a plethora of Christmas markets that can be found in almost every city, town, and village. These markets are often referred to as Advent markets or winter markets and offer a variety of festive treats and goods.
Austria Christmas Markets 2023
You’ll love Austria’s classic Christmas markets if you’re a traditionalist. These markets typically feature handcrafted ornaments, local handicrafts, and traditional Austrian delicacies like Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and Glühwein (mulled wine).
Some of Austria’s best traditional Christmas markets can be found in Vienna’s Rathausplatz, Innsbruck’s Old Town, and Salzburg’s Cathedral Square.
For those seeking a more modern take on the Christmas market, Austria also has plenty to offer.
In cities like Linz and Graz, you’ll find markets with sleek, contemporary designs and offerings like vegan and gluten-free food options.
The Christmas market in Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier is also popular with anyone interested in modern design and art.
If you want to experience one of Austria’s most famous Christmas markets, you won’t miss the one in Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace. This market has over 80 vendors selling everything from handmade crafts to traditional culinary specialties. With the stunning palace as a backdrop, it’s truly a sight to behold.
Finally, if you’d prefer to experience Christmas with a neighbourhood feel, Austria’s smaller Christmas markets offer a warm and intimate experience.
In cities like Graz and Salzburg, you’ll find the Old Town squares offer a more relaxed atmosphere, fewer crowds, and a chance to chat with locals. These markets often feature homemade goods and unique, one-of-a-kind items.
If you’re planning a trip to Austria in 2023 and want to experience the best Christmas markets the country has to offer, here are my recommendations for the best places to visit.
Vienna Christmas Markets – If you’re looking for the ultimate Christmas market experience in Austria, look no further than Vienna! As Austria’s beautiful capital city, Vienna boasts some of the country’s biggest, best, and most traditional Christmas markets.
But that’s not all – Vienna actually has multiple large markets and countless smaller ones, so you could easily spend a week exploring all of the festive offerings. There is the classic Christkindlmarkt in front of Vienna’s City Hall, or visit the romantic market in front of Schönbrunn Palace; there’s a market to suit every taste.
But even beyond the Christmas markets, Vienna is absolutely stunning in the winter. The city is filled with charm and beauty, whether it’s raining, hailing, or shining.
I highly recommend a visit to Vienna during the winter, not only for the festive activities and events but also for the city’s many other attractions, cultural experiences, and incredible food scene.
Get more information on Christmas market dates, times and things to see in Vienna with my Vienna Christmas Market guide, updated for 2023.
If you would like to stay in a central location, book one of my recommended hotels near Vienna Christmas Market. In general, I suggest staying near the Museum Quarter or Rathausplatz.
Vienna is an incredible, historic city with beautiful architecture, world-class museums, unique stores, diverse cuisine and a progressive community. It’s often voted the most liveable city in the world and is a well-deserved accolade.
The Christmas markets span the city from the main market in front of the Town Hall to the magical Christmas Village at the Belvedere Palace.
The Christmas Village on Maria Theresien Square is huge, sandwiched between the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Art, two of Vienna’s most grandiose buildings.
Another favourite is the Christmas Market at Schönbrunn Palace, or you could try the more modern Winter Market at the Museum Quarter.
Other Advent markets scattered around the city are typically Viennese in style and generally cater more to locals, taking place predominantly in the German language.
These markets are actually great if you want to get a more ‘Austrian’ experience, although you can’t go wrong with any of Vienna’s Christmas markets, big or small, local or international.
Salzburg Christmas Market – Set in front of the stunning Salzburg Cathedral with views of the iconic Hohensalzburg Fortress perched atop the hill, this market is a true winter wonderland. You’ll find traditional goods, live music, and so much delicious food. The Salzburg Christmas Market is a magical destination that shouldn’t be missed.
And just like Vienna, Salzburg is home to multiple markets of various sizes, both in the city centre and in the surrounding towns and villages. This gives you the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the festive season and explore all that Salzburg has to offer.
Salzburg is the perfect destination if you’re looking for a classic European Christmas experience. The charming Old Town is filled with festive lights and decorations, and the Christmas markets offer a wide variety of handmade crafts and delicious treats. You can also enjoy local traditions such as Krampus runs and Advent concerts.
Get more information on dates, times and things to see in Salzburg with my Salzburg Christmas Market guide.
If you’re looking for hotels near Salzburg Christmas market, I have shared a list of where to stay.
If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, Salzburg may just be the place for you! If you’re lucky, you’ll wake up to a magical winter wonderland with streets, rooftops, and trees covered in a blanket of snow.
Even if snow doesn’t fall, the city is still breathtakingly beautiful, with its charming architecture and picturesque scenery.
On the other hand, if the weather is clear, you’ll have more opportunities to explore the compact city and experience some of its wonderful outdoor parks and attractions.
One place that’s definitely worth a visit is the Mirabell Palace and its adjacent gardens. Although they’re most popular in the springtime, they’re a lovely place to walk around all year round.
You won’t want to miss the Christmas market at Mirabellplatz, just outside of the palace during the Christmas period. It’s a bit less crowded than some of the other markets and is a popular spot for locals.
So whether you’re surrounded by snow or enjoying the crisp winter air, Salzburg is the perfect destination for a festive and memorable holiday season.
Innsbruck Christmas Market – Innsbruck is a compact city filled with festive cheer and offers a truly wonderful holiday atmosphere.
If you don’t know much about Innsbruck, it’s situated along the emerald-green River Inn and is surrounded by spectacular mountains on all sides.
This breathtaking setting provides the perfect backdrop for the city’s many winter activities, including skiing. In fact, locals are known for hitting the slopes before work or during their lunch break – how cool is that?
When it comes to Christmas markets, Innsbruck has two that are worth checking out. One lines the river, providing a picturesque setting for shopping and snacking on festive treats. The other is located in the historic city centre, where you can browse stalls and sip on warm mulled wine while taking in the charming holiday decorations.
For full details, read my Innsbruck Christmas Market guide that includes dates, opening times and locations for 7 festive Advent markets in Innsbruck.
Book one of my recommended hotels near Innsbruck Christmas market to be conveniently located during your stay.
If you’re visiting Innsbruck during the winter, you won’t want to miss the heart of the city: the charming old town. You’ll find many of the city’s festive decorations and holiday festivities, creating a truly magical atmosphere here.
As you wander through the old town, you’ll eventually come across the main Christmas market, marked by the elaborate Golden Roof – a stunning centrepiece of Innsbruck. It’s a must-see attraction that’s sure to leave you in awe.
But there’s more to the old town than just the market and Golden Roof. Take some time to explore the historic streets with their colourful pastel-coloured buildings, pretty fountains, statues, and columns. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to a fairytale land.
And while you’re likely to be indulging in plenty of festive treats at the markets, be sure to save some room each afternoon for coffee and cake – a traditional Innsbruck delight that’s especially delicious during the holiday season.
Graz Christmas Market – Another wonderfully traditional Austrian Christmas market is to be found in the city of Graz. This charming smaller city is filled with festive cheer, and the Christmas markets are no exception.
One market worth visiting is the Advent Market in the square in front of the Town Hall. It’s a compact market filled with handmade toys and decorations that will transport you back in time. The atmosphere is cosy and intimate, and it’s a great place to find unique gifts and souvenirs.
But the Christmas market experience in Graz doesn’t stop there. In the heart of the city, you’ll find a pedestrian square with mid-rise historic buildings. This area is easily accessible by trams that slowly pass by, providing a lovely sightseeing experience.
Another thing you won’t want to miss at the Graz Christmas Market is the specialty drink feuerzangenbowle. This fiery mix of wine and rum is a local favourite and is even better than the more popular gluhwein in some people’s opinions.
As several unique Christmas markets are scattered throughout the city, Graz is a great option if you’re looking to get away from the crowds in Vienna.
Hallstatt Christmas Market – Hallstatt is a village that should definitely be on your list if you’re planning to visit Austria during the Christmas season. It’s one of the most famous villages in the country, and for good reason.
Located on the shores of a beautiful lake and surrounded by mountains, it’s a picture-perfect destination that’s sure to take your breath away. The Hallstatt Christmas Market is a highlight of the village’s holiday season.
The market is in the town square, decorated with festive lights and decorations. You’ll find a variety of stalls selling handcrafted goods, traditional Austrian treats, and warm drinks to ward off the winter chill.
But the Hallstatt Christmas Market isn’t just about shopping and eating. The village itself is a true gem, with charming houses and streets that make for a lovely stroll. If you’re feeling more adventurous, take a walk up to the nearby salt mine, which offers incredible views of the village and lake below.
Consider taking a boat ride on the lake for a breathtaking view of the village. You’ll be treated to stunning views of the village and surrounding mountains while enjoying the water’s peaceful serenity.
In short, if you’re looking for a magical Christmas experience in a truly breathtaking location, the Hallstatt Christmas Market is not to be missed. The village’s natural beauty, coupled with the festive atmosphere of the market, makes for an unforgettable holiday experience.
Few people get to visit Hallstatt Christmas Market as it’s a unique event that only runs for one day each year.
Book one of these hotels near Hallstatt Christmas Market early or arrange a tour from Salzburg.
Klagenfurt Christmas Market – The Klagenfurt Christmas Market is a hidden gem in Austria that’s often overlooked by travellers. I stumbled upon this market when I visited a friend who lived there, and it was one of the most memorable Christmas markets I’ve ever visited.
The market has a cosy and festive atmosphere, with a variety of stalls selling traditional crafts and delicious treats. It’s a lovely place to take a stroll and soak up the holiday atmosphere.
While you’re in the area, don’t miss out on the small regional markets that are also worth visiting. These markets offer a glimpse into the local traditions and crafts of the region, and they’re a great way to get off the beaten path and discover something new.
Finally, if you’re looking for a unique souvenir to take home, be sure to check out the local woollen products. Klagenfurt is known for its high-quality wool, and you’ll find various cosy and warm items that are perfect for winter. I personally bought a pair of thick woolly socks that have kept me warm during many winters since my visit.
Get all the details and dates for Klagenfurt Christmas Market in my guide, updated for 2023.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, these hotels near Klagenfurt Christmas Market are ideally located.
Best Christmas Markets in Austria
You can also read my guide to the best Christmas markets in Europe if you’re looking for places to visit outside of Austria.
Here are some other Austria Christmas markets worth considering in 2023.
Linz Christmas Market: Linz has one of the largest Christmas markets in Austria, and it has over 170 stalls that are spread out across the city centre. The market is known for its beautiful Christmas tree, which is illuminated with thousands of lights and serves as the centrepiece of the festivities. You’ll find a variety of handmade crafts, including traditional ceramics, wooden toys, and embroidered textiles. Plenty of food stalls offer local delicacies such as roasted chestnuts, gingerbread, and Glühwein (mulled wine).
St. Wolfgang Christmas Market: This market is located on the shores of Lake Wolfgang, and it’s known for its unique and picturesque setting. The market features a variety of handmade goods, including pottery, glassware, and carved wooden figurines. Plenty of food stalls offer traditional Austrian and Central European dishes such as sausages, goulash, and strudel. Live music and entertainment add to the festive atmosphere, making it a great place to spend a winter evening.
Kitzbühel Christmas Market: Located in the heart of the charming alpine town of Kitzbühel. The market is known for its handmade crafts, including traditional wooden toys, ceramics, and textiles. Foodies will love the wide selection of local delicacies on offer, including roasted almonds, Lebkuchen (gingerbread), and Glühwein. There are also plenty of activities for kids, including a petting zoo and a carousel.
Bad Ischl Christmas Market: Held in the historic spa town of Bad Ischl, which was once a favourite summer residence of Emperor Franz Joseph. The market is known for its traditional crafts, including wood carvings, hand-painted glassware, and handmade candles. Food stalls offer regional specialties such as Kasnocken (cheese dumplings) and Kaiserschmarrn (shredded pancakes). Winter sports enthusiasts will appreciate the nearby mountains, which offer plenty of opportunities for skiing and snowboarding.
Villach Christmas Market: Located in the picturesque town of Villach, which sits near the borders of Italy and Slovenia. The market is known for its unique decorations, including a giant Advent calendar that’s displayed on the town hall. You’ll find a variety of handmade crafts, including ceramics, wood carvings, and textiles. Food stalls offer local delicacies such as Kärntner Nudeln (Carinthian-style pasta) and Reindling (a slice of sweet bread with cinnamon and raisins). Live music and entertainment add to the festive atmosphere, making it a great place to spend an evening.
These are just a few examples of the many wonderful Christmas markets that can be found throughout Austria. Each market has its own unique charm and attractions, making for a truly memorable holiday experience.
Sustainable Christmas Travel
When visiting the Christmas markets in Austria, keeping sustainability in mind is important. The choices we make can have a significant environmental and social impact on the places we visit.
Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Austria at Christmas.
Green Hotels in Austria: When choosing accommodation in Austria, opt for hotels that employ renewable energy solutions. These hotels often demonstrate their commitment to sustainability with eco-friendly practices such as water-saving measures and waste minimisation. Look for green certifications during your booking process to ensure you’re supporting environmentally responsible establishments.
Conscious Eating at Christmas Markets: Austria’s Christmas markets are culinary wonderlands, but avoiding food waste is important. Many Austrian markets now offer biodegradable or reusable serving dishes. So, when sampling delicious local treats like Lebkuchen or Kaiserschmarrn, see if smaller portions are available and try to use your own utensils when possible.
Ethical Spending While Austrian Christmas markets offer a host of traditional crafts like hand-blown glass ornaments and intricately carved wooden figures, exercise discretion in your purchases. Buy items that you’ll use for years to come, thus embodying the spirit of sustainable consumption. Prioritising quality over quantity ensures your purchases stand the test of time and minimises waste.
Local and Seasonal Eating Austrian markets often source local ingredients, especially for traditional foods. Eating treats made from local produce gives you a true taste of Austrian Christmas, supporting the local economy and reducing transportation-related emissions. Many markets offer glühwein made from Austrian-grown wines and locally-produced sausages.
Environmentally-Friendly Transit In Austria, excellent public transport links make it easy to move around without relying on a car. Cities like Vienna, Salzburg, and Innsbruck have efficient public transport networks, including trams, buses, and trains. During the Christmas season, special tram services often run, decorated in festive attire, allowing you to explore while lowering your carbon footprint.
Most Christmas markets in Austria typically open in late November and continue until Christmas Eve. In 2023, the markets are opening for a longer period. For example, Vienna Christmas Market dates are 11th November to 26th December 2023.
The 6 best Christmas markets in Austria can be found in Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz, Hallstatt and Klagenfurt.
Families typically celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve in Austria, but there is some diversity.
You can say “Frohe Weihnachten” in Austria to wish someone Merry Christmas. This is pronounced as “froh-uh vy-nokh-tun.”
There are many options for where to spend Christmas in Austria. The capital Vienna is a great place to start; Salzburg is a magical destination at Christmas, Innsbruck is relatively quiet, and Hallstatt is a stunning lakeside village.
Yes, especially the larger markets in cities like Vienna and Salzburg can be quite crowded. To avoid crowds, consider visiting during the weekdays or earlier in the day.
Many Christmas markets in Austria offer vegetarian and vegan options, such as roasted chestnuts, traditional baked goods, and warm drinks like glühwein and hot chocolate.
If you’re planning a trip to Austria during the holidays, be sure to visit the Christmas markets. Not only will you find beautiful decorations, festive music, and delicious food and drinks, but you’ll also have the opportunity to support local artisans and businesses.
Remember to dress warmly, practice sustainable travel habits, and be open to experiencing new cultures and traditions.
By following these tips and recommendations, you’re sure to have a memorable and enjoyable trip to the Christmas markets in Austria.