Under the royal backdrop of the majestic Schönbrunn Palace, one of Vienna’s most splendid markets glows with an intoxicating blend of holiday cheer, nostalgia and romance.
A twinkling tree, the stunning glow against the Palace, lively and festive concerts, handmade gifts and traditional Christmas markets – these are why a million people visit Vienna’s stunning Christmas Market at Schönbrunn (aka Weihnachtsmarkt Schönbrunn). And don’t forget the food – Victorian-style candy and sweets, candied fruits, traditional gingerbread and cookies, strawberries dipped in hot chocolate, melted cheese on dark bread, roasted chestnuts, delicious pastries, cotton candy, Christmas punch, mulled wine, piping hot waffles, crepes and sausages are a delicious and tempting taste of the market. Two specialties include the fragrant Vanillekipferl – a delightfully light, crescent-shaped biscuit with icing, sugar, vanilla and almonds. Yum! And the sweetest way to combat the cold is with a swig of traditional Christmas Punsch (aka Weihnachtpunsch). There are numerous variations – but it is often some combination of either mulled wine or tes, spices, sugar, rum and brandy.
Each year, somewhere between 60 to 80 exhibitors turn out with small wooden stalls teeming with traditional handicrafts and workshops. An intricately hand-carved manger sits in front of the lit-up Christmas tree. And in a throwback to another era, traditional artists of all sorts – everyone from candlemakers, glass blowers, wood carvers and stonemasons – come together to sell their crafts. Homemade beeswax candles are popular gifts here -- along with handmade ornaments, nativity sets, jewelry, notebooks, toys and snowglobes (fun fact: snowglobes were invented in Vienna in the early 1900s!). Visitors also enjoy live open-air concerts or Mozart wafting through speakers (Vienna was of course Mozart’s home base!)