With seasonal treats such as Orgelwaffel (roasted chestnuts) and spiced gluhwein (mulled wine) to enjoy alongside stalls full of handmade gifts and glittering tree ornaments, Austria’s Christmas markets are full of charm. From pretty Vienna to historic Salzburg, here are our top picks for festive holiday fun in Austria.
Widely considered a masterpiece of baroque architecture, the 18th-century Belvedere Palace was once the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy. When the seasons change and Christmas comes around, the palace plays host to one of the finest Christmas markets in Vienna—with traditional stalls selling high-quality handicrafts beneath the historic marble eaves.
The Salzburg Christkindlmarkt takes place from the Thursday preceding the first Sunday in Advent, with locals and visitors alike browsing the stalls and soaking up the atmosphere all the way up to the end of December. The UNESCO World Heritage–listed city is a postcard-perfect backdrop for this annual attraction, with pretty lights criss-crossing the markets and a wonderfully festive feel in the air.
Innsbruck’s Christmas markets take pride of place in the historic Old Town, beneath the grand facades of the city’s medieval buildings. Here, from mid-November to December 23, visitors browse for festive handicrafts and ornaments while brass bands play traditional carols from the high towers.
A lovely Christmas market takes place in front of Graz’s City Hall, where nativity scene displays, visits from St. Nicholas, and Advent concerts entertain guests of all ages. Visitors shop at stalls bursting with traditional handicrafts while youngsters entertain themselves on the popular carousel, and the local holiday tipple of feuerzangenbowle—a heady blend of wine and rum set alight—ensures everyone stays nice and warm.