Austrian Christmas markets

I got great help on an itinerary for this fall, but I'm having to bench those plans. My sister is doing a London study abroad program with her university this Fall and we are planning to meet up with her at the end. We'd like to spend some time in London with her, and then we'll all head down to Austria to visit some Christmas Markets. She's available to leave London on December 13th. I was thinking we could fly out to London on December 9th and then fly back from Austria around December 20th. We might be able to squeeze in two more days on either end. So, tell me your thoughts. What are your favorite cities in Austria in December? I've been reading RS Vienna book and I have the LP Austria book. Right now, I'm inclined to spend 4 days in Vienna and 3 in Salzburg with a daytrip from each. Maybe Melk or Bratislava from Vienna and Hall from Salzburg. My husband would like to visit Belgium, but I've had a hard time figuring out affordable flights from Brussels to Austria. We're open to stops on the way from London to Austria, though I recognize we don't have a whole lot of time, and with Easy Jet flights, it might be best to fly directly form London to Austria. As much as I love Paris, she'll be visiting for about a week with her program and my husband and I have both been. We'd like to visit somewhere new this time and save Paris for another trip. Dec 9 Fly to London Dec 10 London Dec 11 London Dec 12 London (possible daytrip?) Dec 13 Fly to Salzburg Dec 14 Salzburg Dec 15 Salzburg (daytrip to ?) Dec 16 Train to Vienna Dec 17 Vienna Dec 18 Vienna Dec 19 Vienna (daytrip to ?)
Dec 20 Fly home What would you do with 10-12 days on the ground between London and Austria in mid-December? Also, if you have any favorite hotels with triple rooms, that would be really helpful, too. Thanks!

Posted by Gary Mc
Salt Lake City
713 posts

Everything comes down to personal tastes. We visited Christmas markets 4 times in the last 5 years. Last year we did Vienna and Salzburg. Both towns were very nice. Salzburg is a beautiful place and Vienna had a wide range of markets. Still, I liked Germany better for their markets and the experience. I might consider Regensburg (Romantic Christmas Market), Landshut, Nürnberg and Munich. Again, Salzburg and Vienna were both very good.

Posted by Paul
NYC area
1427 posts

Hi Becca, I can only comment on Salzburg from your list. We absolutley love Salzburg (been 4 or 5 times), and it's even more charming during the Christmas markets. We're heading back this Christmas market season. In late Nov. 2010 we visited the Christmas markets in Austria... Salzburg, St. Gilgen, Rattenberg, Hall in Tirol and Innsbruck. Our favorites... they were all worthwhile. Overall, Salzburg would be at the top. Innsbruck probably second. A day trip to Hall. Do you mean Hall in Tirol? If so, it's also a favorite of ours. We've stayed 4 here times and are probably including it again this winter, but it may not make sense as a day trip from Salzburg. Closer to Salzburg are Berchtesgaden (again, we love this area and have stayed 4 times) and the Salzkammergut. Check schedules of certain small towns and vilage markets. There are some that hold them on weekends or "long" weekends... Thurs., Fri, Sat. and Sun. best to check ahead of time. Paul

Posted by Becca
Provo, UT
163 posts

Thanks, Gary and Paul! I think I'm thinking Hall in Tirol? It was in the same section as Innsbruck in the RS book. I originally was thinking Innsbruck because I saw a really beautiful picture of Innsbruck in the winter with Christmas lights on Pinterest (yeah, so who really knows, right?), but then from what I read in the RS book thought Hall in Tirol might be better for general sightseeing. So, would it make more sense to overnight in Hall in Tirol or Innsbruck and try to see both of them, and then eliminate one of the daytrips from either Salzburg or Vienna? Thanks for the tips on the other cities nearer Salzburg, I'll look into those!

Posted by Kurt
Nassau
52 posts

Don't tell the Germans, but Austria does a bang up Christmas! We've been to Austria several times in December – as mentioned, Vienna has a number of markets. I think the one at City Hall and Schonbrunn Palace are the most popular. Salzburg is very nice – all of the spice and dried flower bouquets add a wonderful scent to the place. Styr is another place often mentioned as having a great market. We were there December 23rd and 24th one year, really enjoyed everything, then found out we had gone to the "wrong" market, not the "best" one. Hate to be a nay-sayer on Innsbruck, but again a larger city with a variety of markets, none "wowed" me. I did try fried dough stuffed with sauerkraut for the first time. Also a number of the surrounding villages have processions, live mangers, etc. Hall is just down the road from Innsbruck so you could certainly do both.

Posted by Paul
NYC area
1427 posts

Hi again Becca, If you wanted to visit Hall in Tirol and Innsbruck, you could certaainly stay in one and visit the other. They are only about 15 minutes from one another. While we've never been "fans" of Innsbruck either, we loved it during this time of year. Innsbruck had a few large, different markets and Hall's was small and had a more "local" feel to it. We've stayed at the Gasthof Badl in Hall in Tirol in 10/01, 10/03, 4/05 and 11/10. Yes, we like Hall and love staying with the Steiner family at the Badl. Terrific people, great location and nice views of the mountains. http://www.badl.at If interested, we have some photo's at: http://www.worldisround.com/articles/362561/index.html http://www.worldisround.com/articles/362536/index.html Paul

Posted by Becca
Provo, UT
163 posts

Thanks for the links, Paul! Those pictures are getting me excited, it just looks so festive and magical. I particularly liked the ones in St. Gilgenit looks like St. Gilgen is accessible by an hour long bus from Salzburg, is that right? Anyone have any thoughts on Vienna and possible daytrips from there?

Posted by Denise
Lake Forest, CA, USA
1391 posts

If you would like to view my blog about the Salzburg Christmas Market, along with markets in the area you could visit, send me a personal message for the blog URL. The markets in the Salzkammergut area are magical and very special. For a triple room/small apartment, I would stay at Frau Ballwein's B&B.