Hallstatt is often described as the most beautiful village in Europe, and it’s most likely true. At least it’s true if you love the combination of a lakeside location, towering mountains, cobblestone streets and quaint houses.
Hallstatt Christmas Market is located in the heart of the village, a special one-day winter and Advent event well worth experiencing. In this guide, I share confirmed dates for 2023 and what to expect from this picturesque location.
Hallstatt Christmas Market 2023
The Christmas market at Hallstatt is unique in that it’s a one-day-only event. It’s located in the main square, steps away from Lake Hallstatt, surrounded by mountains.
If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see Hallstatt even more beautiful than normal, covered in a blanket of snow. This is an incredible event that few people get to experience each year.
Dates and Location
Hallstatt Christmas Market dates: 8th December 2023.
Location: Marktplatz, Hallstatt.
Opening times: 10am to 6:30pm.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Ice skating: No.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, but limited.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, but not recommended during busy periods.
Parking: Paid car parking is located before the entrance to the historic centre which is a 10-15 minute walk. Day parking ticket: €16.
Reason to visit: Spend Christmas at a UNESCO World Heritage listed region while enjoying the beauty of Lake Hallstatt.
Recommended tour: Unique sunrise hike.
Day trip to Hallstatt: If you choose to visit Hallstatt on a day trip, I recommend this trip from Salzburg or this one from Vienna.
Travel tip: Although most people visit Hallstatt on a day trip from Salzburg, I suggest staying overnight experience the serenity of the lake as the sun rises without the hectic crowds that arrive later in the day.
Where to stay: Seewirt Zauner is located directly on Marktplatz.
Hotels near Hallstatt Christmas Market
Given that Hallstatt is a small destination, almost everywhere is near the Christmas market. Some lakeside hotels can be up to 10 minutes away, which might only be an issue if the weather isn’t great.
I suggest staying at Seewirt Zauner as it’s located directly on Marktplatz, the Christmas market location and is close to the waterfront sights and restaurants.
Alternatively, my guide to hotels near Hallstatt Christmas Market lists several well-located hotels for all budgets.
Location of Hallstatt Christmas Market
Christmas in Hallstatt
Plan your trip to the region with my Austria Christmas markets 2023 guide. Discover where to go, things to do and the best ways to experience Austrian food, history and culture.
Erdäpfelknödel: Imagine a plump, round dumpling made from potatoes. That’s Erdäpfelknödel for you. Often served as a vegetarian main course or a side dish in a meaty meal, these potato dumplings find their origins in Austria’s rural areas and can be stuffed with various fillings, including smoked cheese, mushrooms, or spinach.
Fleischknödel: In Hallstatt, the festive season serves up Fleischknödel, a hearty meat dumpling that can trace its roots to Austrian peasant cuisine. Usually, Fleischknödel is prepared from a dough of bread, milk, eggs and minced meat, making it a substantial and warming meal for cold winter nights.
Vegetarian Käsespätzle: Käsespätzle, cheesy egg noodles, is an Austrian staple turned vegetarian delight. These homemade noodles are mixed with a generous amount of Austrian cheese and garnished with crispy, caramelised onions. A comforting dish, Käsespätzle is like Austria’s answer to macaroni and cheese.
Linzer Torte: Hailing from Linz, Austria’s oldest known cake has made its way to Hallstatt. The Linzer Torte is a crumbly pastry with a lattice design on top and a filling of tangy red currant jam, presenting a delicate balance of sweet and tart flavours.
Tafelspitz: A simple, slow-cooked delight, Tafelspitz features a boiled beef in broth served with a medley of accompaniments including apple-horseradish and chive sauces and, traditionally, a side of rosti potatoes. This humble dish, which Emperor Franz Joseph I loved, is a royal fixture of Austrian cuisine.
Spinatspätzle: This is a spinach variant of the classic Spätzle, petite, chewy dumplings, and it’s a local vegetarian favourite. Spinatspätzle is often served with a creamy sauce or browned butter and topped with grated cheese, bringing a wholesome and hearty dish to the vegetarian table.
Vanillekipferl: These crescent-shaped, vanilla-infused biscuits are a festive Austrian classic. Covered in a dusting of icing sugar, Vanillekipferl melt in the mouth with a burst of sweet vanilla flavour, making them an endearing finish to any Christmas feast.
Food at the Christmas Market
Bauernkrapfen: A hallmark of the Hallstatt Christmas market, Bauernkrapfen are Austrian doughnuts without a hole. Vendors fry up this sweet treat on the spot and serve it hot, often sprinkled with powdered sugar or filled with apricot jam. These fluffy delights give off a tantalising aroma, drawing in market-goers to indulge in the sugary warmth.
Bratkartoffeln: In the streets of the Hallstatt Christmas market, you’ll encounter Bratkartoffeln, or fried potatoes. This German-origin dish has been warmly embraced by Austrians. Slices of potatoes are pan-fried until golden and crispy, then served hot with onions, marjoram, and a dash of garlic.
Glühmost: Austria’s twist on the classic glühwein, glühmost, or hot cider, is a traditional drink to warm your bones in the Austrian winter. Made by mulling cider with a blend of aromatic spices, it fills the market air with its inviting, fruity scent.
Zwetschkenröster: It’s hard to resist the call of Zwetschkenröster, a warm plum compote, as you stroll through the market stalls. The plums are stewed with sugar and cinnamon to create a sweet and slightly tangy dessert. It is often served alongside a slice of stollen or fluffy pancakes, making it a delightful snack.
Pretzels: Hailing from neighbouring Germany but beloved in Austria, you’re likely to spot large, twisted pretzels in the market stalls. Whether you prefer them plain, sprinkled with coarse salt, or slathered in butter, they make for a perfect snack while browsing the market.
Nockerl: Tucked away in the snow-covered market stalls, you’ll find Nockerl, an Austrian gnocchi. Prepared from a simple dough of eggs, flour, and salt, these soft dumplings can be either sweet or savoury, topped with sugar and cinnamon or a hearty sauce.
Lebkuchen: An iconic Christmas treat, Lebkuchen is an Austrian gingerbread, and you’ll find it in abundance at the Hallstatt market. Decorated with colourful icing or left plain, this spiced biscuit, with hints of honey and nutmeg, embodies the festive spirit.
Kaiserschmarrn: A beloved Austrian dessert that is particularly popular in ski resorts and alpine huts. It’s a shredded, fluffy pancake, often served with powdered sugar and a side of plum or apple compote. A treat for sweet-toothed visitors, the light and airy texture of Kaiserschmarrn provides a delightful contrast to its rich taste.
Holzknechtnockn: Named after the Austrian word for lumberjacks, ‘Holzknecht’ is a hearty dish originally created to fuel hard-working men in the forest. The dish features dumplings, often made with potatoes or bread, served in a rich, savoury broth. It’s comfort food at its finest and a staple in Hallstatt’s local cuisine.
Beugerl: A special kind of yeast pastry roll that’s often enjoyed as a breakfast item or a snack. The dough is rolled into a thin, flat shape, topped with various ingredients (like poppy seeds, nuts, or quark), and then rolled up and baked until golden brown. It’s a popular treat in many bakeries around Hallstatt.
Pofesen: Pofesen, also known as ‘Arme Ritter’ (Poor Knights), is a traditional dessert or breakfast dish that’s like a more decadent version of French toast. Slices of stale bread are soaked in a sweetened mixture of milk and eggs, fried until golden, then dusted with powdered sugar or served with a fruity sauce or compote. It’s a great way to repurpose leftover bread, and it’s much loved in Hallstatt.
What to Buy
Hallstatt Salt: I would like to begin with the product that gave Hallstatt its fame – salt. Hallstatt was historically the hub of salt production in Austria and Central Europe, earning it the nickname “the ancient salt town”. It’s an excellent gift idea for those who appreciate gourmet cooking. Each salt package comes from the world’s oldest salt mine, located right in Hallstatt, bringing a touch of history to every meal.
Handcrafted Leather Goods: Artisans at the market showcase their skills by crafting leather items right before your eyes. The products they produce, from wallets to belts and bags, show exquisite workmanship. Such gifts are practical and carry a sense of the local craft heritage.
Traditional Austrian Dirndls and Lederhosen: Clothing stalls might catch your eye with their array of traditional Austrian clothing. A dirndl or lederhosen make for an outstanding memento of your visit, allowing you to take home a piece of Austrian culture.
Handmade Wooden Toys: Gift your loved ones with traditional, hand-carved toys, a true example of Austrian craftsmanship. They are not just for children but can also serve as a unique piece of decor in any home.
Hallstatt Ceramics: Hallstatt is known for its ceramics, making these an ideal souvenir. From ornamental pieces to functional kitchenware, these ceramics have unique, intricate designs that represent local artistry.
Local Art: Austrian artists display their artwork at the market, ranging from beautiful paintings capturing the scenic views of Hallstatt to unique sculptures. Buying a piece of local art is a wonderful way to support the local community and have a lasting reminder of your trip.
Austrian Christmas Ornaments: Decorate your tree with a bit of Austrian flair. Hand-blown glass ornaments, wooden carvings, and handmade straw decorations add a unique touch to your Christmas decor. They are carefully crafted to embody the Christmas spirit.
Austrian Delicacies: If you are keen to take a taste of Austria home, consider buying local edible goods. Jams, chocolates, liquors, and specially brewed beers are available, all produced in the region. A pot of local honey or a box of handmade chocolates can be a sweet treat.
Remember, choosing gifts that are made locally helps to support the local economy and artisans. It’s a wonderful way to bring home a piece of Hallstatt while contributing to the town’s well-being.
Things to do in Hallstatt in Winter
Hallstatt Salt Mine: Known as the oldest salt mine in the world, it’s an exciting location to visit, even in winter. A tour of the mine provides a fascinating insight into the history of salt mining, complete with a ride on the miner’s slide and an exploration of the prehistoric burial ground.
Heritage Museum Hallstatt: This museum is open year-round and provides a deep dive into the 7,000-year history of Hallstatt, showcasing artefacts from the Iron Age to the present. It’s a great indoor activity for a cold winter day.
Dachstein Ice Caves: If you’re ready for an adventure, consider visiting the Dachstein Ice Caves, a natural wonder that stays frozen even in summer. Keep in mind that accessibility may depend on the weather conditions.
Visit the local churches: Hallstatt is home to several beautiful churches, like the Evangelical Church and Catholic Parish Church, each with its unique charm and history. Their tranquil interiors can offer a peaceful retreat from the cold.
Lake Hallstatt Boat Tours: While many boat services are seasonal and weather-permitting, some operators might offer tours on Lake Hallstatt in winter. Flanked by snowy mountains, the lake looks especially serene and beautiful in the colder months. Remember to bundle up against the chill!
Wellness Retreat: After a day out in the snow, there’s nothing like a wellness retreat. Visit one of the local spas and unwind with a relaxing massage or thermal bath.
Photography: With its charming architecture and dramatic landscapes, Hallstatt is a photographer’s dream, particularly in winter. Whether you’re an amateur or a professional, you’ll find an abundance of picturesque scenes to capture.
Local Cuisine Sampling: Spend your evenings sampling local Austrian winter fare in cosy, family-run restaurants. It’s a delicious way to wind down after a day in the snow.
Skiing: Hallstatt is blessed with several family-friendly ski areas, offering a range of terrains suitable for all levels. Krippenstein-Dachstein, for instance, is one of the best spots for skiing and snowboarding, with its vast, snow-covered landscape providing plenty of room for exhilarating downhill runs.
Cross-country skiing: For those who prefer a less gravity-fuelled and more endurance-testing winter sport, there’s cross-country skiing. You can hire equipment right in Hallstatt and then take to the extensive network of trails that crisscross the region.
Winter hiking: Don your warmest winter gear and embark on a scenic winter hike. There’s a trail that starts at the tourist office and threads its way through Hallstatt, or if you’re up for more of a challenge, consider hiking in the stunning Dachstein region. The panoramic views of snow-laden landscapes are truly spectacular.
Horse sleigh ride: Step into a winter wonderland on a horse-drawn sleigh ride. Snuggle under a warm blanket as you glide through the snow-covered streets of Hallstatt. It’s a tranquil way to take in the charm of this historic town.
Snowshoe hiking: Strap on a pair of snowshoes and explore the snow-covered landscape of Hallstatt. This enjoyable winter activity lets you access parts of the countryside that are difficult to reach by foot, and is perfect for those who are new to snow holidays.
Tobogganing: Who says winter fun is only for adults? Tobogganing is a delight for children and the young at heart. Many of the ski areas in Hallstatt feature dedicated toboggan runs, providing a rush of adrenaline as you slide down the hill.
The local tourist office has further information regarding Advent events and the best ways to experience Hallstatt at Christmas.
Sustainable Travel Tips
The choices we make have an environmental and social impact on the places we visit. Keeping sustainability in mind when visiting UNESCO-listed Hallstatt at Christmas markets is important.
Take advantage of local renewable energy initiatives: Like many other regions in Austria, Hallstatt is actively engaged in clean energy production. Make use of accommodations that prioritise renewable energy use. Many hotels and guesthouses are increasingly making use of geothermal and solar energy for heating and electricity. You’re supporting their efforts to reduce carbon emissions by choosing such accommodations.
Avoid food waste at Christmas markets: Food is a significant part of the Christmas market experience. Be mindful of the portion sizes when ordering at the market stalls in Hallstatt. Many dishes are often served in larger portions, so it may be worth sharing with a friend or family member to prevent any food from going to waste. Also, try to consume everything you purchase.
Favour handmade, local products for ethical consumption: As you peruse the Christmas market stalls in Hallstatt, look for local crafts and artisan products. The purchase of these items supports local businesses and reduces the carbon footprint associated with shipping products from abroad.
Choose vegetarian options for a more sustainable diet: Austrian cuisine is traditionally meat-heavy, but many Christmas market stalls now offer vegetarian or vegan versions of traditional dishes. Opting for plant-based dishes, such as the mushroom or cheese-filled Knödel, can significantly reduce your meal’s carbon footprint.
Walk or cycle around Hallstatt: Hallstatt is best explored on foot or by bike. The town is quite small, and most of its attractions are within walking distance of each other. This reduces your carbon emissions and allows you to appreciate the town’s charming architecture and natural beauty at a leisurely pace.
Use public transport or carpool to reach nearby attractions: For locations outside of Hallstatt, try to use the well-connected public transport systems or consider carpooling with others to minimise carbon emissions. Austria’s efficient train network covers most of the country, making it a convenient and more sustainable travel option.
Hallstatt has a one-day Christmas market taking place on 8th December 2023 and every year.
Hallstatt has a one-day Christmas market taking place on 8th December 2023 and every year.
Hallstatt Christmas Market opens from 10am to 6:30pm on the 8th December 2023.
If you love cosy winter experiences in an idyllic setting, then Hallstatt is worth visiting in winter.
The Christmas Market in Hallstatt is held in the town’s charming Market Square, where the seasonal decorations and lights create a wonderfully festive atmosphere. The picturesque alpine surroundings further enhance the unique experience.
If you have visited Hallstatt in winter or want to leave a review of the Xmas market, please comment below. This helps others interested in visiting and trying to plan their holiday.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Hallstatt, Austria. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.