The first Christmas market, then known as the December Market, was held in Vienna in the 13th century by order of Albert I of Habsburg, King of Germany and Duke of Austria. Since then, the market has been renamed and relocated several times. In 1975, it was moved for the last time to Rathausplatz, where it has been held every year since then. Today, the Christmas market on Rathausplatz is the largest Christmas market in Vienna.
During the market, Rathausplatz transforms into “a city within the city” where you can find hundreds of cabins and stalls which offer souvenirs and traditional treats. There are fairground rides and live performances, nativity plays and a Christmas tree bedecked with lights. The city park near the square is filled with lit trees and decorated chalets. For a month and a half, it becomes known as the Enchanted Park (Verzauberter Rathauspark).
The Vienna Christmas market is once of the most important attributes of the Advent season in the city known as the Magic of Advent in Vienna (Wiener Adventzauber). Locals can’t imagine Christmas without it just like they can’t imagine Christmas without gifts or gingerbread cookies.
At the market, more than a hundred stalls offer local crafts, foods and drinks, and Christmas decorations. Here you can buy handcrafted toys ans souvenirs, traditional clothes and accessories, hats and bags, and other unique gifts and souvenirs. And if you get hungry while shopping, Christmas treats are waiting for you. Street vendors offer gingerbread cookies and roasted chestnuts, roasted almonds and traditional pastry, mulled wine and punch.
The Vienna Christmas market opens in mid-November and lasts through December 26. It is open all week from 10 am to 10 pm (the only exception is December 24 when merchants close their stalls at about 7 pm).
Vienna is one of the cities that host more than just a couple of Christmas markets. If you have time, you can visit the Christmas village in Maria-Theresien-Plats, the artisan and Christmas market in front of Schönbrunn Palace, the Christmas market on the Freyung, the Christmas market near the Belvedere, the Winter Market in Riesenradplatz, and more.