|Weinachtmarkt in front of Rathaus (city hall)|
A nice tradition here in Vienna during the holidays is the Weinachtsmarkt, or Christmas Market. I am including photos from two of the more popular ones: the photo with the large church in the background is of the market located at Karlsplatz, the other is located in front of the city hall (Rathaus). These markets usually begin around the end of November or beginning of December. At many locations around the city, stalls spring up overnight. These stalls sell artists' crafts ranging from gifts made from leather, homemade candles or soap, hand-knitted hats, scarves and gloves, handpainted glass ornaments for the Tannenbaum (Christmas Tree), to jewelry made from various materials. The Karlsplatz market is reputably the largest, complete with pony rides and a petting zoo. Some are far smaller, with only a dozen vendors. There are around 20-or solarge markets across the city that open for a few weeks, but smaller ones open on special dates leading up to Christmas.
In addition to the crafts' stalls, one can enjoy some cold-weather food and drinks. One can partake of a variety of hot, alcoholic beverages. Our personal favorite was the Gluhwein, a hot, spiced wine similar to mulled wine sold in the US. The beverage stall sells you the wine and takes a small (2.50 Euro) deposit for the mug, you can then travel to any other stall to buy a refill and when you're ready to head home, you return the mug to get your deposit back. You can also buy various kinds of rum punch, roasted chestnuts, potato "puffer" cakes, and other Vienna favorites.
Originally, we were told these markets would remain open until just before New Year's Eve. In reality, the only market that stays open that long is the one in front of the Schonbrunn Palace, but most of these markets close just before Christmas Day. So if you plan to visit Vienna to enjoy the Weihnachtsmarkt, make sure you plan to come in early December before Christmas Day.
|The Christmas Market located at Karlsplatz- well loved by children for the petting zoo situated in front of the Basilica|