Villach is a pretty town in the Carinthia region of Austria that is home to a surprisingly busy Christmas market each Advent. Plenty of events and activities are taking place, including ice skating at Rathausplatz, Villach’s Town Hall.
In this guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know to plan your visit, including confirmed dates for 2023, opening times, where to stay and what to expect when you get there.
As you wander through the streets of Villach during the Christmas season, you’ll see a magical winter wonderland in the historic centre.
The town is beautifully decorated with Christmas lights, festive decorations and a central Christmas tree, creating a cosy and inviting atmosphere.
You’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy traditional Austrian holiday treats, shop for unique gifts and participate in the town’s many holiday events and activities.
Villach Christmas Market 2023
At the Christmas market in Villach, more than 50 pine stalls sell everything from handcrafted ornaments and toys to delicious Austrian snacks and warm mulled wine. There are six specialist food huts showcasing six different regions and specialties.
The highlight of the market is the towering Christmas tree in the town square, which is beautifully decorated with sparkling lights and ornaments.
Don’t miss the Winter Wonder Forrest, a light trail in the park located a couple of blocks southeast of the Town Hall.
Dates and Location
Villach Christmas Market dates: 18th November to 24th December 2023.
Location: Rathausplatz (Town Hall).
Opening times: Sunday to Thursday: 10am to 10pm. Friday and Saturday: 10am to 11pm.
Christmas Day: Closed.
Admission: Free, no tickets required.
Christmas lights: Yes, switch on date: 18th November 2023.
Ice skating: Yes, at Rathausplatz.
Vegetarian: Yes, plenty of options.
Vegan: Yes, but limited.
Pet-friendly: Yes, dogs are allowed on a lead.
Parking: Please take public transport to help limit congestion.
Reason to visit: Ice skating in the city centre. The small city atmosphere.
Specialities: The Christmas market in Villach, Austria, is known for its unique specialties, such as Villacher beer, Kärntner Reindling: A traditional Carinthian sweet bread made with yeast dough, raisins and cinnamon and Carinthian glühwein: A spiced and warmed red wine made with local ingredients such as Carinthian honey and cinnamon.
Where to stay: Boutique Hotel Goldenes Lamm is a locally-owned hotel, 2-minutes from the Christmas market.
Hotels near Villach Christmas Market
I suggest staying at Boutique Hotel Goldenes Lamm when in Villach. It’s in a great location in the Innere Stadt (the historic Old Town) and a 2-minute walk to the Christmas market at Rathausplatz.
Read my guide to hotels near Villach Christmas Market for more hotel and apartment options.
Location of Villach Christmas Market
Christmas in Villach
Watching a video is a great idea to get an idea of what to expect at Villach Christmas Market. The market features charming wooden stalls, festive lights and an array of locally sourced food and drinks.
To learn more about the best Christmas markets in Austria, you might find my guide helpful. I’ve listed the best places to visit, including dates and locations for 2023.
Whether you’re planning to visit Villach or other Christmas markets across Austria, this guide can provide you with valuable information to make the most of your holiday experience.
Christmas Specialties in Villach
A trip to the Villach Christmas market presents a chance to sample some of Austria’s delicious holiday food specialties.
Start your culinary adventure with some warming Glühwein, a mulled wine that fills the air with the scents of the season – a welcome toast to the chill of winter.
Next, for a savoury bite, consider trying the hearty Würstel. These grilled sausages are a street food staple in Villach and make for a satisfying snack tucked into a bun with a smear of mustard or ketchup.
For something heavier, the Swiss dish Raclette, also popular in Austria, is a perfect choice. It’s a feast of melted cheese oozing over potatoes, vegetables and bread. You can easily opt for a vegetarian version by simply skipping any meat or fish toppings.
Fancy something on the lighter side? Then the round bread dumplings known as Knödel are for you. Made with bread, milk, eggs and spices, these can accompany a main course or stand-alone with mushroom or cheese fillings for a vegetarian option.
Austrian cuisine’s gem, Spätzle, a type of egg noodle, often features as a side dish. You can savour a vegetarian rendition by choosing those flavoured with vegetable broth.
Street food options continue with Kartoffelpuffer, tasty potato pancakes fried to a crisp golden finish, commonly served with applesauce or sour cream.
Also on the street food list is Langos, a Hungarian specialty that has found its place in Austrian cuisine. This deep-fried dough, adorned with sour cream and grated cheese, is an indulgent treat that’s perfect for sharing.
Even in the winter chill, the Maroni stalls manage to draw a crowd. These roasted chestnuts make for a popular winter snack and are usually served in paper cones, ideal for leisurely munching while exploring the market.
To satisfy your sweet tooth, you can start with Kaiserschmarrn, a fluffy, sweet pancake lovingly served with a fruit compote, a treat that is especially perfect for the festive season.
The festive Lebkuchen are an essential part of an Austrian Christmas. These gingerbread cookies often come adorned with holiday-themed designs.
A trip to a Christmas market isn’t complete without Gebrannte Mandeln. These sweet, caramel-coated roasted almonds are a classic festive snack.
For a more substantial sweet option, Stollen, a dense fruit cake of German origin, makes an appearance during the holiday season, full of dried fruit and dusted with powdered sugar.
Finally, a more extravagant dessert option is the Baumkuchen. This layered cake is prepared by coating a spit with batter and rotating it over an open flame, resulting in a rich and decadent treat often found at Christmas markets.
When planning a trip to Villach, Visit Villach can be an invaluable resource, as it provides a wealth of information on local attractions, events, where to eat out, transportation options and more.
Sustainable Christmas Tips
Embarking on a sustainable Christmas holiday in Villach can make your experience even more enjoyable while lowering your environmental impact. Here are some suggestions for a greener trip:
Choose Green Energy Accommodation: Several hotels and guesthouses in Villach are committed to sustainability. Many of these establishments use renewable energy sources to reduce their carbon footprint.
Say No to Food Waste: As part of a conscious approach to food consumption, aim to order only what you can eat when indulging in the delicious offerings at the Christmas market. If you can’t finish your meal, ask for a take-home box. Austria has strict regulations about food safety, so most places will be happy to accommodate you.
Shop Conscientiously: When purchasing souvenirs or gifts, choose products made by local artisans. This supports the local economy and reduces the carbon footprint caused by long-distance shipping. For instance, the pottery at the Christmas market in Villach is locally crafted and makes for a unique and eco-friendly gift.
Embrace Plant-Based Foods: A sustainable diet often involves reducing meat and dairy consumption. Luckily, Austrian cuisine has a wealth of vegetarian options. Dishes like Käsespätzle, a cheesy noodle dish, or vegetable Strudel make for a delicious, plant-based alternative.
Travel Sustainably: Instead of driving, consider more environmentally friendly options to navigate around Villach. The city is compact and walkable, and cycling is another excellent way to explore, given the abundance of bike paths. Should you need to cover greater distances, opting for electric public transportation, if available, would be a greener choice.
Consume Responsibly: Remember to bring reusable bags, water bottles, and coffee cups to reduce unnecessary waste. Many stalls at the Villach Christmas market, aware of their environmental responsibilities, will be more than willing to accommodate your reusable containers for both food and drinks.
With a little effort, it’s quite simple to enjoy the magic of Christmas in Villach sustainably. Remember, every small step towards sustainability helps create a brighter future for all.
Villach Christmas Market starts on the 18th November and continues to the 24th December 2023.
The Christmas markets in Villach are held at Rathausplatz in Villach city centre.
The Christmas markets are open Sunday to Thursday: 10am to 10pm. Friday and Saturday: 10am to 11pm.
If you would like to leave a review of Villach Xmas Market, comment below.
Recommendations are independently chosen based on personal travel experiences and extensive research. This post contains affiliate links to hotels and tours in Villach, Austria. This means I get a small commission from any bookings at no extra cost to you.