Last weekend we had the pleasure of taking a quick trip to Vienna to explore the world-famous Christmas markets. We packed as much Christmas activity into 24 hours as humanly possible–and it was magical.
Vienna on any normal day is a beautiful, classy, clean city. Its regal, pastel-colored buildings and Imperial palaces make you feel like you’re walking through a majestic wonderland. Add Christmas spirit to that, and it’s a truly unforgettable experience.
We brought along our Siberian Husky, Cadence. Everyone loves to talk about how they have “such a good dog,” but Cadence really is a good dog. She tagged along with us everywhere, sniffing that European Christmas air that smells of warm pastries and sausage and enjoying all the attention from strangers.
The biggest, most popular Wiener Christkindlmarkt is at the Rathaus (city hall), right in the heart of the city.
It was bustling on Saturday night–so much so, that it was like wading through molasses. But, everyone is in good spirits, and very friendly. Some notable things we saw were an ice skating rink, and multiple collections of standing tables to relax and enjoy Glühwein (hot spiced wine).
The booths were all great, and there was an endless selection of unique gifts, handmade items, and food.
Oh, the food. Cakes, roasted nuts, crepes, potatoes, sausages, cheese, spices, jams, donuts, fudge, chocolate… I really could go on forever.
We even saw chocolate that was molded and painted to look like real metal hardware and tools. Awesome.
This Christmas market was the definition of Christmas. Sparkling lights, wafts of sugar and spice floating, Polish pottery, hot alcoholic punch, roasting nuts, and so many trinkets I wanted to buy because they were just so cool. On every account, it did not disappoint.
Later on Saturday evening we checked out the market at Belvedere Palace. This one was way more low-key, and in a way, it made me feel like we were walking into a private party.
I asked my personal bartender if he would be so kind to fetch me another round of Glühwein. Each market has its own custom hot punch cup. You pay a deposit on it, so you can either keep it for a souvenir or return it for your deposit back. Needless to say, we kept all of ours. They’re just so adorable!
On Sunday morning, the Christmas markets opened around 10-11 a.m. We strolled around the city for a little while and grabbed coffee before indulging ourselves for round 2.
We took a nice long walk over to the Christmas Village at Maria-Theresien-Platz, between the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Naturhistorisches Museum.
Here, we tried a Kürtőskalács for the first time. It’s a type of Hungarian pastry where the dough is rolled on a stick and then covered in sugar or nuts.
The last market we toured was in the Spittelberg neighborhood. I really enjoyed this market because the booths are scattered throughout various streets and alleyways, taking you on a romantic, winding stroll through a Christmas maze.
This was the neighborhood that our Airbnb was in, so we were lucky enough to experience it at night and then again in the daytime. Both were good, but Christmas markets have a more cozy feel at night with all the ambient lighting.
Doesn’t it just give you the feels!?