There are four Christmas markets
in Vienna: at the City Hall, the Belvedere (castle), the University,
and at Schönbrunn (castle). At all of these locations,
there is live music: old men that play very traditional Christmas
songs, with a guitar player and a few singers.
But sometimes, one can see a very unusual Christmas concert.
Last time, a group of old men were performing a jazz concert,
playing all the traditional Christmas songs in a funky way, it
was very entertaining.
The traditional Viennese Christmas market has about fifty wooden
cabins that offer punch, mulled claret, sweets, traditional confection
of pastry, and sandwiches. Of course, one can also buy a few
Christmas presents. The selection is rather poor and much too
expensive, but sometimes, since the Christmas market is open
until 9.00 p.m., it can serve as last minute shopping.
But Christmas markets should not just be used as a shopping opportunity.
Instead you should also enjoy the Christmas feeling, produced
by the music, glittering lights, freezing chill, and the smell
of candy and punch.
The problem at the markets is usually that they are very full;
it is very hard to walk without squeezing through the crowd.
It is best to go in the late afternoon around five. At that time
the market starts to fill up, but at least one gets a glimpse
of the market in daylight and it’s not as crowed yet.
What distinguishes one market from the other is that the markets
in Schönbrunn and Belvedere are bigger and have a mysterious
atmosphere with the castles in the background. The City Hall
and University markets are warmer, since they are inside the
city and a little smaller. All four markets offer the same products
and all of them are expensive. Mulled claret costs 5 Euros, which
includes 2 Euros deposit for the cup.
With the public transportation, it is very easy to get to all
four markets. When one goes to the City Hall market, the first
thing that you see is the beautifully decorated building. It
has 24 windows that are covered, and each day, starting from
December 1, one window is opened.
Christmas music, glittering light, Christmas trees and sweet
tonsils, it all sounds like a cliché. But Vienna knows
how to make this cliché a sophisticated and traditional
adventure. Christmas in Vienna should be on everybody’s