Salzburg is known as the city of Mozart; in my opinion, it’s the city of Sacher torte too. At Salzburg Christmas Market, you can experience both, listening to classical Mozart while wandering around the Christmas stalls and taking a break with a slice of rich sacher torte.
In this guide, I share the confirmed Christmas market dates for 2023, opening times, locations and what you can expect from a winter trip to Salzburg.
Situated in front of Salzburg Cathedral with glimpses of the famous Hohensalzburg fortress that lies above, Christmas in Salzburg is traditional, musical and magical.
Like Vienna, Salzburg has several markets, large and small, some within Salzburg’s city centre and others in the surrounding towns and villages.
Salzburg is the ideal location if you’re looking for a classic European Christmas experience.
Salzburg Christmas Market 2023
In the heart of Salzburg, the Christmas Market creates an authentic festive experience. You’ll be surrounded by aromas of gingerbread, glühwein and hearty Austrian street food.
The wooden Christmas chalets display unique handmade crafts perfect for your holiday shopping, while the backdrop of Salzburg’s baroque architecture enhances the market’s charm.
Dates and Location
Salzburg Christmas Market dates: 23rd November 2023 to 1st January 2024.
Location: Dom (Cathedral Square) and Residenzplatz. At the base of the famous Hohensalzburg fortress.
Monday to Thursday: 10am to 8:30pm.
Friday: 10am to 9pm.
Saturday: 9am to 9pm.
Sunday and holidays: 9am to 8.30pm.
Christmas Eve: 9am to 3pm.
Christmas Day: Open 11am to 6pm.
Boxing Day: 11am to 6pm.
27th to 30th December: 10am to 8:30pm.
New Year’s Eve: 10am to 1am.
New Year’s Day: 10am to 6pm.
Ice skating: Yes, Ice Magic at Mozartplatz.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, plenty of options.
Gluten free: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Not recommended.
Reason to visit: Hot chestnuts, chocolate gingerbread, the markets in the Mirabell Gardens, Austrian folk traditions.
Recommended tour: Salzburg City and Christmas Markets tour. Drink mulled wine as you discover Austrian Christmas traditions.
Salzburg weather in winter: Temperatures average 4°C / -2°C (high / low) in December.
Where to stay: Hotel Wolf is a cosy, classic Austrian hotel 2 minutes from Residenzplatz.
OTHER MARKETS IN SALZBURG:
Christmas Market on Mirabell Square: 23rd November to 24th December 2023.
Advent Market in the Hohensalzburg Fortress Courtyard: 1st to 18th December 2023.
Advent Magic in Hellbrunn: 23rd November to 24th December 2023.
St. Leonhard Advent Market: Weekends in December.
Stern Advent with Winter Market: 23rd November 2023 to 6th January 2024.
Hotels Near Salzburg Christmas Market
I suggest staying in the Altstadt, which is Salzburg’s historic Old Town and it’s close to many of the city’s sights and attractions. Hotel Wolf is one of the nicest hotels near the Christmas markets on Residenzplatz and Cathedral Square.
If that hotel doesn’t suit you, this guide to the best hotels near Salzburg Christmas market lists several excellent hotels that cover all budgets, based on my travels in Salzburg.
Location of Salzburg Christmas Market
City and Christmas Tours
A city tour of Salzburg is an excellent starting point for discovering in the city’s rich history and vibrant culture.
This is the most popular walking tour of Salzburg. A local guide will take you to several of Salzburg’s most important landmarks and points of interest, including the historic Getreidegasse, Mozart’s Birthplace and Salzburg Cathedral.
As an alternative, you might like to take this food tour to learn about the local culture through its cuisine. Food tours are on the rise in popularity and in my experience are a great way to see a new city.
Christmas in Salzburg
If you’re looking to visit more destinations this Christmas, read my Austria Christmas markets 2023 guide for details and where to go and what to see. Keep in mind that Salzburg is one of the best Christmas markets in Austria so you will be making a great choice if you do visit this winter.
Christmas Specialities in Salzburg
Vanillekipferl: A crescent-shaped biscuit that melts in your mouth, vanillekipferl is a staple in Austrian Christmas cuisine. Made from a dough that includes ground almonds or hazelnuts, they’re lightly flavoured with vanilla and dusted with icing sugar, which gives them a delightful sweetness.
Stollen: Originating from Germany but widely enjoyed in Austria, Stollen is a traditional Christmas fruit bread. Enriched with candied fruit, nuts, spices and occasionally marzipan, it’s covered in icing sugar, symbolising the baby Jesus in swaddling clothes.
Weihnachtsgans: Christmas in Austria wouldn’t be the same without weihnachtsgans, or Christmas goose. This bird is often filled with a mouthwatering stuffing of apples, onions, and herbs, then roasted. It’s usually served with red cabbage and dumplings for a hearty festive meal.
Bratapfel: Bratapfel or baked apples are a sweet treat you can indulge in. The apples are cored and filled with a mixture of nuts, sugar, and spices, often accompanied by a dollop of whipped cream. It’s a simple yet heart-warming dessert that goes well with the chilly winter weather.
Kletzenbrot: Kletzenbrot is a dense, sweet fruit bread traditionally baked for Christmas. ‘Kletzen’ refers to dried pears, the primary ingredient, which are mixed with other dried fruits, nuts and spices to create a rich, flavoursome loaf.
Grünkohl: For those seeking vegetarian options, grünkohl or kale is a typical winter vegetable in Austria. Often served as a warm salad with roasted chestnuts and potatoes, it’s a healthy yet satisfying dish perfect for the festive season.
Erdäpfelsalat: A favourite in Austrian households, erdäpfelsalat is a potato salad typically served on Christmas Eve. This vegetarian dish is made with boiled potatoes, onions, vinegar and oil and is often garnished with fresh herbs for extra flavour.
Food at the Christmas Market
Lebkuchen: Lebkuchen are gingerbread-like biscuits that are synonymous with Christmas markets across Salzburg. The recipe typically includes honey, spices and nuts, resulting in a sweet treat with a slightly spicy flavour. They come in various shapes and are often beautifully decorated, making them a delight both for the palate and the eyes.
Maroni: Roasted chestnuts or maroni are a classic at the Salzburg Christmas markets. Sold from small carts, these chestnuts are roasted on an open fire, filling the air with a distinctive, enticing aroma. They’re a perfect warm snack to enjoy as you explore the market.
Bauernkrapfen: A local favourite, bauernkrapfen are akin to doughnuts but are unique to Austria. They’re deep-fried, dusted with powdered sugar, and traditionally served plain, but can also be found with various fillings. It’s impossible to resist the allure of these fluffy, sweet treats when wandering around the market.
Würstel: You’ll find a variety of würstel, or sausages, at the Christmas markets in Salzburg. From classic bratwurst to the spicier käsekrainer filled with cheese, these hearty snacks are usually served in a bun with mustard or ketchup. They’re an ideal, quick, savoury break from all the sweet treats.
Glühwein: An integral part of any Christmas market visit, glühwein is mulled wine, typically made with red wine combined with spices, citrus fruits and sugar. Served warm, it’s perfect for fighting off the winter chill. Some stalls even serve it in a decorative mug that you can keep as a souvenir.
Schupfnudeln: A German classic that’s also popular in Austria, Schupfnudeln are finger-shaped potato dumplings. Often found at the Christmas market, these are typically pan-fried, served with sauerkraut or sometimes sweet, dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with apple sauce.
Pretzels: Pretzels are a crowd favourite at Salzburg Christmas Market. In addition to the classic pretzel, you may find ones filled with cheese, ham, or even sweet versions topped with icing and almonds.
What to Buy
Mozartkugeln: Named after the famed composer and Salzburg’s most famous person, Mozartkugeln are round chocolates filled with marzipan and nougat. They come beautifully packaged and make excellent gifts. You’ll find various brands, but for a truly local treat, look for those from Fürst, the original producer.
Handcrafted Christmas Ornaments: The Salzburg Christmas markets are a wonderful place to find unique, handmade Christmas ornaments. Artisans craft these beautiful decorations from a range of materials such as glass, wood, or tin. From traditional Austrian designs to more modern creations, they’re an authentic memento of your visit.
Traditional Austrian Clothing: Items such as lederhosen for men, dirndls for women and Tyrolean hats are unique to this region. While they may not be everyday wear for everyone, they make unique and culturally significant gifts.
Handmade Candles: Beautifully crafted candles in various sizes, shapes and colours can be found at many stalls. Some are intricately carved or designed to reflect the holiday season. Apart from being an attractive decoration, they add a warm and cosy touch to any room.
Local Artwork: Artisans from Salzburg and the surrounding area often have stalls selling their work, from delicate watercolours of the Salzburg skyline to more abstract interpretations of the local scenery. They offer a chance to take home a piece of Salzburg that’s truly unique.
Salzburg Ceramics: Known locally as ‘Salzburger Keramik’, these handmade ceramics are a traditional Austrian art form. These products, which can range from dishware to decorative figures, are often adorned with traditional Austrian motifs and make a beautiful, functional souvenir.
Austrian Linens: Austria is known for its high-quality textiles; you can often find beautiful linens at the Salzburg Christmas markets. From embroidered tablecloths to colourful dish towels, these items combine craftsmanship and practicality, making them great gifts or souvenirs.
Things to Do in Salzburg in Winter
Salzburg in winter isn’t entirely about Christmas; I’m sure that isn’t the only reason you’re visiting. For most of us, visiting the Christmas markets is predominately a way to wind down after a long day by meeting up with family and friends.
If this is the traditional experience you’re looking for, then that leaves you with all day to explore Salzburg while visiting the famous sights and attractions.
Salzburg has so much to offer visitors. The old town is UNESCO World Heritage-listed, meaning it offers a special and unique cultural experience.
You’ll find castles, palaces, museums, churches and theatres within the Old Town. Each of which you can visit, in some cases for free but otherwise for a reasonable cost.
Salzburg’s most notable attraction is Hohensalzburg fortress, the white stone fortress which overlooks the baroque city. You can generally catch a glimpse of it from all areas of the city.
I suggest taking the funicular up to the fortress on a cold winter’s day. You can purchase a ticket when you arrive or buy a ticket as part of your castle entrance ticket if you plan to visit inside.
Another highlight of Salzburg is the Mirabell Palace and Gardens. The formal gardens are incredibly beautiful, even in winter, and the Mirabell Palace Christmas market is in the gardens.
Mirabell Palace is located on the opposite side of the river to the Old Town, but it’s not far; you can easily walk across the bridge to get there if you’re able.
You get sweeping views of the river, old town and the fortress skyline from the bridge here. Try to visit for sunrise if you can, you won’t be disappointed with the views and beautiful light at that time of the morning.
The Salzburg official website for tourism is an excellent resource for the latest information on visiting Salzburg and elsewhere in Austria.
Other Christmas Markets and Events
Advent is an important time of the year in Salzburg, with the Salzberger Christkindlmarkt being a traditional event since the 15th century.
In Salzburg, you’ll find events and traditions unlike elsewhere in Europe.
Salzburg Christkindlmarkt – The main Christmas market and festival at Residenzplatz.
Hellbrunn Christmas Market – A family-friendly Advent market at Schloss Hellbrunn.
St Leonhard Advent Market – A quiet market with authentic arts and crafts where the proceeds go to charity.
Mirabell Palace Market – One of the most beautiful locations in Salzburg, the Mirabellplatz Christmas market focuses on unique products and local, traditional food.
Folk Traditions – Parades feature the Austrian folk characters Krampus and Perchten.
Salzburg Christmas Museum – A unique museum on Mozart Square specialising in all things Xmas.
Sustainable Travel Tips
Here are a few tips on how we can travel more responsibly in Salzburg at Christmas.
Choose Public Transport: Salzburg has an extensive and efficient public transport system, including buses and trains. By opting for public transport over taxis or rental cars, you’re helping to reduce carbon emissions. Plus, the city’s compact layout makes walking or cycling feasible options for getting around.
Opt for Local, Seasonal Food: Salzburg is abundant with markets selling locally grown, seasonal produce. Purchasing these supports the local economy and reduces the carbon footprint associated with long-distance food transport. Consider trying traditional Austrian dishes at the Christmas Market that are made with locally sourced ingredients.
Support Renewable Energy: Salzburg’s electricity network relies on hydropower. By staying in accommodation using this sustainable energy source, you’ll help lower carbon emissions.
Be Mindful of Food Waste: When visiting food stalls at the Christmas market, try to order just what you can eat. If you can’t finish, ask if it’s possible to take the leftovers with you. Many stalls may provide compostable takeaway containers.
Purchase Ethically Made Souvenirs: Consider buying souvenirs from local artisans at the Christmas Market. This supports the local economy and ensures your souvenirs are ethically made. You’ll find a range of handcrafted products, from Christmas decorations to Austrian ceramics.
Promote Sustainable Diets: Austria is known for its hearty meat dishes, but many restaurants in Salzburg offer vegetarian and vegan options. Opting for plant-based meals, even occasionally, can contribute to a more sustainable diet requiring fewer resources.
Salzburg has several Christmas markets, but the main market is in Residenzplatz near Salzburg Cathedral.
Christmas decorations, children’s toys and sweet treats are popular gifts you’ll find at the Christmas markets.
Salzburg Christmas Market starts on the 23rd November 2023 and ends on 1st January 2024.
Yes, Salzburg Christmas Market is open on Christmas Day from 11am to 6pm.
If you have experienced Christmas in Salzburg or elsewhere in Austria and would like to share your experience, leave a comment or a Salzburg Xmas Market review below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Salzburg, Austria. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.