I thought I'd reshare my post from two years ago. Markets are opened again in Vienna in 2021, with entry restricted for those who are vaccinated or recovered. There is a new market at the Liechtenstein Palace in the 9th District which I am eager to investigate. Otherwise, from what I can tell, most markets are back to their same, old selves and several started up on Nov. 12. I'll update my list below as I visit the markets this year (I'll visit them all).
For the 2019 Advent season, I visited 15 markets in Vienna. I drank the Punsch and Glühwein. I ate the cheese. I shopped. I took in the lights, sounds and atmosphere. My notes are below, which I hope helps future visitors. The markets rarely change, so these comments should hold true in 2020 and beyond, but I’ll update as necessary. It’s a rough life, I know. Happy New Year!
First, some Advent Market basics:
When are the Markets? – The markets started this year in mid- to late November. Many closed up on Christmas Eve, but several find a new life after Christmas as New Year’s Markets, which can go until Jan. 6. I suggest the following link for exact dates and times - https://www.wien.info/en/shopping-wining-dining/markets/christmas-markets
Day or Night? – Definitely go to the markets after sunset, which at this time of year is about 4 pm. The darkness brings out the festive lights!
What should I wear? – Warm clothing is a must as you’ll be standing outside in the freezing cold, with little relief. A hat, gloves, warms socks and shoes are all imperative.
Will it snow? – Probably not.
What should I drink? – A warm punsch or Glühwein, of course. Punsch is a warm alcoholic drink, usually fruit flavored but there are hundreds of variations (my favorite is the Mozart which is with marzipan and pistachio). Kinderpunsch (children’s punsch) is the non-alcoholic version. Glühwein is warm spiced red wine. Hot chocolate is also available a most markets. Be sure to get Schlag (whipped cream) on your punsch or hot chocolate.
How do I get my drinks? – Every market has multiple punsch stands which are like an outside bar. You push your way to the front and order your drink. You will pay for your drink, plus a 3-4 Euro deposit for the mug. Every time I bought a punsch, I would witness a confused customer shouting at the worker that they were overcharged. Do not be this person. You will get your deposit back when you return the mug (or don’t return the mug and keep it as a souvenir). You can return your mug to any punsch stand in the same market – it doesn’t have to be the stand where you bought your drink.
What do I eat at the market? – Markets typically serve fatty, cheesy and rich foods. Raclette, sausages, doughnuts, chestnuts, fried potatoes and big pans of spaetzle are common. You can definitely get a meal at a market, but bring the pepto.
Tell me about the shopping – Christmas crafts, ornaments and decorations galore of various quality and price are available at all markets. These days, many items are imported, but if you are diligent you can find nice locally made products. You can also easily find jewelry, clothing, toys, ceramics, snow globes and everything in between. Many vendors will have stalls are multiple markets, so there is some repetition. Haggling is really not done and do not expect bargains.
Should I bring the kids? – Yes!
Suggested grouping of markets – Many of the markets are close to each other, making it possible to visit several in one afternoon/evening. Grouping #1 - Belvedere, Karlsplatz and the Oper Genuss Market. Grouping #2 – Rathausplatz and Altes AKH. Grouping #3 – Maria-Theresien-Platz, MuseumsQuartier and Spittelberg. Grouping #4 – Freyung, Am Hof and Stephansplatz.