Vienna Hotels Articles

March 20, 2010

Christmas in Vienna

Vienna must be the most Christmassy place on earth and a wonderful choice if you are thinking about spending the holidays away from home.

Christkindlmarkte, which are temporary markets designed to sell Christmas fare, ranging from specialty foods to toys and gifts, are found everywhere throughout the city from the end of November until Christmas Day. Sweet, hot wine (Gluhwein) is sold, to fortify you for further spending and there is certainly plenty to spend on.

The biggest Christkindlmarkts are at Vienna City Hall, at the Spittelberg and inside the University Campus. You will find hand crafted gifts being sold, and the aroma of roasted almonds and gingerbread add to the seasonal atmosphere.

There are more than 140 stalls, selling roasted chestnuts, candyfloss, delicious Vienna sausage, and pickles of all varieties. The trees which dominate the square are festooned with a myriad of lights and it really is the most romantic and Christmassy thing you could ever see – crisp, magical, pure Vienna and the nearest thing to a Christmas card scene possible.

Spittelberg market is smaller, not so many tourists and it definitely has a more ethnic flavour. The goods on offer are more trendy, almost funky, and well worth checking out. Also worth looking at is the market outside the Karlskirche, and another in the courtyard of Schloss Schönbrunn (Schönbrunn Palace).

When your shoes are completely worn through with trudging around Vienna’s Christmas markets, sink back into the seat of a horse drawn caleche and drink in the Christmas lights in comfort on your way home.

If you feel like taking off a few pounds after stuffing yourself with all those Christmas delights, the Imperial Ball is the first of the season and starts the festivities in true elegant splendour. Take to the dancefloor and waltz the night away to Strauss’ finest. (Just when you thought your feet were recovering from the shopping.) Tickets for the Imperial Ball may be applied for at www.hofburg.com.

New Year’s Eve is one big street party, with free entertainment until the early hours of the morning. There are waltzes, operetta, rock music and folk songs, then at the end the Pummerin (Austria’s biggest bell) in St Stephen’s Cathedral rings in the New Year, and everybody staggers about to the strains of the Blue Danube Waltz.

The Hangover Breakfast on the Rathausplatz has to be the best idea Vienna ever had, and is accompanied by live transmission of the New Year’s Day Concert, given by the Vienna Philharmonic on a giant screen outside City Hall. You can take your Alka Seltzer in style. Aaaaaaahh……..

So what are you waiting for? Somewhere to stay? Bookings may be made for up to 18 people in the most wonderfully romantic Austrian castle you ever saw, just a short drive from Vienna. Check it out on www.selectholidayvillas.com.

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