Advent in Vienna
The Magic of Advent on City Hall Square is the Austrian capital's largest Christmas market. Each year the square in front of Vienna's neo-Gothic City Hall is transformed into a winter wonderland brimming with countless stalls full of candies, handicrafts, tree decorations and Christmas gift ideas. The Christmas Village on Maria-Theresien-Platz - the square between the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Natural History Museum - is another popular choice for handcrafted wares. Quality gifts and traditional cribs can be found on the traditional Old Viennese Christmas Market in the old town's Freyung district. The Culture and Christmas Market in front of Schönbrunn Palace is worth a visit for its romantic atmosphere alone. It also stands out thanks to its huge selection of traditional rustic tree decorations. The Christmas Village in front of the Belvedere Palace also offers an impressive imperial backdrop.
Festive baking is de rigeur in the run up to Christmas in Vienna - and the rest of Austria for that matter. Oven-baked classics include Vanillekipferl (small vanilla flavored crescents made of shortbread and chopped and ground nuts), Zimtsterne (star-shaped cookies drizzled with cinnamon and sugar) and Stollen (a cake in loaf form, bursting with butter and dried fruits such as raisins, lemon zest and candied orange peel). The Christmas goodies created by former purveyors to the imperial court Demel and Gerstner are a special treat.
Vienna Christmas Market
Nov 12-Dec 24, 2011, City Hall Square, 1st district
Nov 16-Dec 24, 2011, Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1st district
Old Viennese Christmas Market
Nov 18-Dec 23, 2011, Freyung, 1st district
Culture and Christmas Market
Nov 19-Dec 26, 2011, Schönbrunn Palace, 13th district
Nov 18-Dec 23, 2011, Belvedere Palace, 4th district
Kohlmarkt 14, 1st district
Kärntner Strasse 13-14, 1st district