Viennese Christmas Fair

The Christmas Fair in Vienna has the longest tradition of all times. It dates back to 1298 (!) and according to a survey, it is Europe’s third prettiest Christmas market (What a great job, deciding which fair is the most beautiful in Europe. I would totally do that!). It certainly became the most popular and now has 20 official locations. My favourites are the one in front of the City Hall and the one between the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts facing the Statue of Maria Theresia. Other markets are on Freyung, Karlsplatz, Prater, Stephansplatz, Michaelerplatz and in front of Schönbrunn Castle and the Opera House. All the streets are decorated with beautiful LED lights (go see Graben!) and if you are lucky, there are some carol singers on some places as well.

What can you find?
– mostly Christmas decoration, some of them are handmade
– toys
– mulled wine (Glühwein) served in specially made mugs. Long time ago there was only 1 official mug everywhere, but these days there is a mug for almost every location. You pay for the mug and the wine, and if you don’t want to keep the mug, you get its price back. On the illustration below you can see last year’s boot-shaped mug from Maria-Theresien-Platz.
– punch
– fruit on a stick coated with chocolate (my favourite)
– apple coated with red glazing (be careful of your teeth!)
– gingerbread (but mostly beautifully decorated, not for eating it in a second kind of gingerbread)
– roasted chestnut
– whole potatoes with cheese/sour cream/ham on top (my salty favourite)
– sausages with bread and mustard
– pretzels

Tips:
1. Try to avoid going on a weekend, because it will be super crowded! Fridays are much better!
2. Things sold here are extremely pricey, so this won’t be the place where you shop Christmas presents for the whole family, but don’t miss mulled wine and the whole Christmas experience because of that.
3. It’s not easy to take photographs because of the crowd so try the less popular markets if you want to take quality pictures.
4. Be cautious of your stuff, markets are the target places of pickpockets.

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