vienna christmas

Christmas Festivities You Must Participate in Vienna

Vienna, Austria is glamorous about Christmas and welcomes thousands of guests from all over the world during its yearly festivities. The Christmas market in Vienna brims with perfect gifts and souvenirs for both tourists and locals. Vienna Christmas begins with the 11th of November, St. Martin’s Day. The country illumines with the sparkiest decorations and brightest lights as the citizens fill their days with colors and music. 

The Vienna Christmas Calendar

Vienna Austria at Christmas is something out of a fairytale with its charming winding alleys and palaces all decked up, standing tall and beautiful. The country has its own set of rituals, traditions, and legends that extends for a period of two months with a wide range of activities and decorations. 

  1. St. Martin’s Day

The two-month-long celebration of Vienna Christmas starts on the 11th of November, with St. Martin’s Day. Kindergartens organise lantern processions with theatres about the famous legends of St. Martin while restaurants prepare the compulsory Martinigansl meal containing red cabbage, potatoes, and roasted goose. 

This day also marks the end of the wine growers’ year and new wine is blessed on the auspicious occasion. But, the most important function of this day is marked by the opening of the Christmas market in Vienna. 

  1. Advent Wreaths

The Sunday four weeks before Christmas, there is a tradition of setting up an Adventskranz made of evergreen twigs, ribbons, and four beautiful candles. Tourists often indulge in making or purchasing these wreaths to have an authentic Austrian Christmas experience. Once the wreath hangs, every Sunday till Christmas a new candle lights as a countdown to the festival. 

  1. Nikolaus Day

Nikolaus Day is celebrated on 6th December every year, as children keep their boots outside on the night before for chocolates, fruits, and coins from Sankt Nikolaus. In contrast to the saint who brings presence, comes Krampus, the terrifying demon who punishes misbehaving children.   

  1. Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is the day Austria celebrates its Christmas, not on the 25th of December. Many families follow the age-old ritual of waiting till 24th December to put the trees up. In the evening the parents and elders decorate the trees while the children go out and only come back to see the decorated trees filled with presents and chocolates. They call it Heilingenabend. 

  1. New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is known as Sylvester and has a series of events around the Ringstrasse like the New Year’s Eve Trail and the fireworks show. The Wiener Philharmoniker (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra) organizes the Neujahrskonzert on New Year’s Day, making it the world’s most famous and most-watched concert. 

  1. Three Kings Day

The Three King’s Day marks the end of the holiday season in Vienna Austria at Christmas and is called the Epiphany. It is on the 6th of January when children dress up like the Three Kings Casper, Melchior, and Balthazar and collect money for charity. The season ends on a bright note in the community of Vienna. 

Favourite activities During Christmas in Vienna Austria

Christmas Market in Vienna

The Christmas season means a lot to the natives and tourists in Vienna. The celebrations and decorations are accompanied by excellent places you can go and things you can see during Christmas. Here are some of the top picks of the season. 

  • Christmas Markets: Vienna markets during Christmas are the centre of attraction for tourists every year. They are filled with the best presents, decorations, lucrative sweets, and artistic culinary extravagances. The Christmas markets are the sole reason many tourists from nearby towns visit Vienna in the first place. 
  • Pictures of Belvedere: The Upper Belvedere Palace is an architectural wonder with a small lake in front of it. During Christmas, it is ornamented in fairytale-like decorations and becomes a must-visit place for every tourist or local. People fill their Instagrams with the glamourous picture of the Baroque building with its beautiful Christmas lights and the reflection of all of that in the lake in front.
  • Christkindlmarkt on the Rathausplatz: Christkindlmarkt on Rathausplatz along the Ring is among the most famous Vienna Christmas markets of 2021. It consists of a huge crowd on Christmas Eve with hidden displays, decorations, and fun-filled and ornamented ice skating trails. Locals assemble there in huge numbers to celebrate their holidays and roam around the market.
  • WEIHNACHTSPUNSCH: Vienna is famous for its steaming mug of Christmas punch, also known as Weihnachtspunsch. It is available in almost any flavour you want and is also available without alcohol. The drinks are available in unique souvenir collectable mugs which can also be bought separately. Every Vienna Christmas market 2021 have their own designs of mugs which are offered to every customer against a deposit, which is returned if you don’t wish to take back the mug. 
  • Roasted Chestnuts: Vienna markets are filled with food outlets, but most importantly the roast chestnut stands. They sell potato-based snacks, crispies, and roasted chestnuts. It is absolutely essential that you try out the traditional Christmas snacks if you have boarded the Vienna to Bratislava bus
  • Vienna Sausages: Another culinary delicacy Vienna offers are its sausages. Sure, you can buy them from the street corner sausage stands any time of the year, but during Christmas, they come into their own. Tasty sausages or Kasekrainer is the truest Viennese experience of all and you just can’t afford to miss it. 
  • Graben und Kärntner Straße: They say you can’t know a city until you don’t walk through it. Vienna Christmas is incomplete without a walk starting from the State Opera House building, to Kärntner Straße, to St. Stephen’s Cathedral, to Graben, and ending up at Hofburg Palace after Kohlmarkt. The best views of Christmas lights filled with crystals and chandeliers can be seen on this route. You can enjoy the sightseeing on Christmas eve and still catch your Vienna to Bratislava bus for enjoying Christmas day. 


Christmas is not just the largest festival of the Christian calendar, but also the peak tourism season in Austria. People visit from various countries and surrounding towns to be spectators of the grand celebrations and festivities. There are certain Christmas festivities you must participate in Vienna, to enrich your authentic Austrian experience. The whole package of decorations, food, lights, people, and cultural enthusiasm is guaranteed to take you to an amazing Christmas fairyland. 

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