Christmas is one of my most favourite celebrations in the whole year. I have talked to my brother about it and he agrees - within our family it definitly is the most important celebration of the year. And the beautiful thing is, that it is not only the actual festivity on the 24th – it includes the whole preparation time. For me personally that starts on the 1st of December.
The whole city starts to smell like cinnamon sticks, sweets, pine trees and candles, every window starts to glow and is decorated with stars and angels. Every corner lights up, Christmas lights brighten and illuminate the streets of Vienna. My most favourite lights are at the Ring, starting right at the Vienna State Opera. My tip: wait until it is dark and start walking along the Ringstraße. Both directions are equally beautiful – I promise, it is just magical.
Just as stunning are the lights in the Rotenturmstraße, when you start to walk towards Schwedenplatz from Stephansdom. I get very nostalgic walking in the city at this time a year. I have been living here almost 15 years and I cannot remember a time without the Christmas lights being there. It might sound a little cheesy but this is what makes Christmas in Vienna special for me. I would really miss them, if they weren't there. Especially this year with COVID19 and the many restrictions we are facing.
When walking around the city I enjoy exploring the first district the most. I love to take a different route each time, explore new streets, cafés or shops I haven't seen, or look at them from a different angle or in a new light when changing my route or time of day. During Christmas time it is special to walk through all the Christmas markets, and see if there are new stands compared to previous years.
Christmas carols are played at every corner, in every shop. One of my favourites is “It's beginning to look like Christmas ...“.
They also have a ice-skating rink at the City Townhall. It has a big spot right at the square and then goes around in between the trees of the park. It's similar to the Winter Wonderland in London right in front of Natural History Museum. Its lovely, with all the lights in the trees, very romantic.
So, I would be curious to find out: which one of Vienna's Christmas Markets is your favourite?
I have a couple which I visit every year, one of which, of course, is the Karlsplatz, a classic selling beautiful handcraft work.
Another classic, of course, is the Rathhaus Christmas Market. I especially like it because of its atmosphere at night with all the lights hanging in the trees. If I had to choose – and I am not saying that it is easy! - those would be my favourites.
I think the one in Schönbrunn is very nice: they have great stands and the huge fir tree in front of the castle is just stunning. Sadly, they often have quite a strong wind which can make a visit not as comfy as you wish it would be. This is the only reason you wouldn't necessarily find me there. And we mustn't forget the one at Freyung and Spittelberg. So please let me know about your favourite market and why. I would love to discover somewhere new! Until then – have a great Advent season!