Christmas in Vienna
Now, tell me, are you in Christmas mood already? ;) And did you see the major of Vienna in our video?
I´m aware of the origins of Christmas, but i think people insisted in celebrating this festivity because they needed something to look forward to in the cold months of winter.
Now really, just think about it. It feels a little depressing when October begins to look grey, the trees start to loose those golden leaves and the days get shorter. And you know this is gonna last for 3-4 months at least. So, what do we do? We prepare for this big celebrations that gives us hope and keep us busy in the dark afternoons.
This is only a theory of mine, no historical proof at all! :)
This being said, i´m writing this blog article, because i feel overwhelmed and impressed by the positive influence these preparations have and Vienna is beyond beautiful all lightened up smelling like cinnamon, baked apples and fresh fir trees.
When i was a kid i used to love this time of the year. School was closed, dad bought us the biggest christmas tree, mum wrapped the presents beautifully and we invited friends over to have dinner.
Then later, my parents discovered Jesus wasn´t actually born in December and we started to see the festivity as a consumer one. We together decided we won´t celebrate it anymore. And we didn´t miss it for years.
But eventually we realized life is short and challenging in every way and it`s good to acknowledge all the things we can be happy about and celebrate them with the people we love.
So, back to Christmas in Vienna, because this is my topic, right?
What should a tourist see this time of the year?
Well, the Christmas markets, of course!
It´s called Weihnachtsmarkt in German and also Christkindsmarkt in Austria and is held in the town square, squares and adjacent pedestrian zones, selling food, punsch and seasonal items in open-air stalls.
What to eat or drink?
Despite being very pricey, I would recommend you try the vanilla or cherry mulled wine. I usually drink the Kinder punsch, but almost all of them are good. Don´t forget to return the cup, if you don´t want it. It will cost you around 2´5 euros. And if you do want to keep it as a souvenir, don´t just buy any cup, but the prettiest out are. The boot or heart shaped ones are funny.
My favorite food at the markets is the oven baked potatoes. The city hall Christkindlmarkt offers the biggest ones. So good!
And as i have a sweet tooth, i´ll always buy a big pretzel, chocolate covered bananas, jelly gums and the viennese Krapfen filled with apricot jam. Ahm, and at one of my favorite Adventmarkets, am Spittelberg, you can find Spanish churros topped with cinnamon sugar or hot chocolate. Please try them! ;)
And the best sweets to buy as souvenirs are the traditional shaped gingerbread cookies with different dedications in German.
I would't buy the candied apples if i were you, so hard to eat!
Where to go?
- Rathausplatz: the city hall hosts one of the biggest winter attractions. Most of the Viennese don´t like it, because it is too touristy, but the view at night is pretty magical. All those hearts and canes hanging in the trees. Yesterday the weather was foggy and the mist made everything even more enchanting. And they even have vegan waffles, say what?!! ;) ***great for kids, they have lots of activities inside the city hall.
- Karlsplatz: also pretty big and with a nice view of the beautiful Karlskirche church. Right next to it, there is a French food stand. They make salty and sweet crepes, i can only recommend it. ***also great for children, they have many playgrounds and even a little stable with piggies and goaties :D
- Am Hof: held on cobblestone streets and in the heart of the old town, the market gives you the feeling you´re back in time. They even have one or two stands with antiques.
- Maria Theresien Platz: is touristy, but it´s located between two identical museums, pretty cool, huh?
- Palace Schönbrunn: happens to be appreciated by both tourists and locals, because, who doesn´t want to drink mulled wine on royal grounds? ***good for kids too
- Palace Belvedere: another royal Adventmarket with some good muffins (which you don´t usually find in other markets). The view in the evening from the lightened stars over the palace fountain is magical. ***ok-ish for kids
- Am Spittelberg: it´s young people´s favorite. And i already told you you can eat Spanish churros there. There are also some cute, little shops around, that sometimes are open late.
- Altes Akh: another young people´s choice. It´s hidden in the alleys of the University of Vienna Campus, that used to be a hospital. I remember husband would pick me after hours and we would eat all the gingerbread we could :)
- Stephansplatz: right between the imponent Stephan´s Cathedral and a cute flower shop. It is a nice market, but pretty small, too crowded and very touristy
- Carlton Ritz Vienna: you wouldn´t expect finding this cute, intimate and at the same time the highest advent market in town, with a great view over the city and the ice skating rink.
- Blumengärten Hirschstetten: is situated in a green house and has nice flower decorations. *** also great for kids
- There are many "Weihnachtsmärkte" in Vienna, i just mentioned the most important ones, if you have any suggestions, please don`t hesitate in telling me ;)
So dear reader, beside the magical markets, Vienna has these magical streets all lightened up in the evening. Take a walk in the late afternoon, listen to the sound hurried locals make on the cobblestone streets and look up.
This is my viennese winter fairytale ;)
aahm, and merry, merry Xmas!!!
text, pictures: @irinahp