When I posted about the Bratislava Christmas market, I didn’t think about the possibility for this to be an advent-style series. But, I realized that I have a few photos that survived our last European Christmas Market adventure, and I wanted to share them. Today, we’re trading Slovakia for Austria and heading to one of my favorite Vienna Christmas markets – the Schönbrunn Christmas Market!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for tours and products I love at no additional cost to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
Vienna Christmas Market Dates for 2022
- 11/19/2022 – 12/26/2022 – Vienna Rathaus Christmas Market
- 11/11/2022 – 12/23/2022 – Am Hof Christmas Market
- 11/12/2022 – 12/23/2022 – Stephansplatz Christmas Market
- 11/10/2022 – 12/23/2022 – Spittelberg Christmas Market
- 11/16/2022 – 12/23/2022 – Vienna Christmas Market at Maria Theresien Square
- 11/18/2022 – 12/23/2023 – Belvedere Palace Christmas Market
- 11/18/2022 – 12/23/2022 – Karlzplatz Adventmarkt in Vienna
- 11/19/2022 – 12/26/2022 – Schönbrunn Palace Christmas Market (New Year’s Market until January 4, 2023)
Getting to Schönbrunn Palace and Christmas Market
We stayed at the Marriott Vienna, in the heart of Vienna city on the Ringstrasse. (Vienna hotels are expensive. Book a good deal as soon as you find one, especially in December!) Out of convenience, we opted to take the u-bahn to Schoenbrunn. It is a straight shot – we boarded at Stadtpark and got off at Schönbrunn. (I love the Vienna Day by Day book because it includes subway maps.) We were able to purchase tickets using the automated ticket machine (and yes, they were checking them as we were leaving the Schönbrunn station). The entire journey took less than 20 minutes.
After our visit to the Schonbrunn Christmas Market, we were pushed for time to make our train for Budapest, so we grabbed a cab. It ended up being about 15 euro due to traffic. If you have time, I think it’s easiest to take the u-bahn. There was an added bonus of finding a giant Aldi store on the walk to the Palace, which really excited my husband.
Visiting Schönbrunn Palace
The first time we were visiting Vienna, we did not tour schloß Schönbrunn. (Read more about the history of the eszett here. Fascinating stuff, really. Does the US have a council on language? I digress.) I would have been happy just enjoying the palace grounds, the giant Christmas tree, and the Christmas Market, but my husband had other plans.
He headed to the ticket office to book us on the Grand Tour of the Palace. The next available time was approximately an hour and a half away (book online to get your preferred time), so we would have time to explore the Schonbrunn Christmas Market and enjoy some apple strudel. The palace cafe even has a strudel show! We skipped the show and went for the strudel. It was good, but I don’t remember it being better than any of the best cafes in Vienna. (Or MAYBE I was too excited about the party pretzel. That seems more likely.)
The Schonbrunn Palace tour runs approximately an hour. The headsets work great, even inside the palace, so it’s easy to hear the guide. Also, I really like the headsets because sometimes I want to spend more time check out one room but still want to know what I’m looking at when I move forward. This was a bigger group tour than what we usually experience, so it was nice to let the crowd move out. There are no photos allowed of the palace rooms, which is too bad. I think the empress had great taste. Overall, this tour helped me understand more about the history of Austro Hungarian Empire, more than just being a palace tour. While I was dubious at first, I ended up really enjoying it and I was glad that Tom pushed us to do the tour.
Christmas Market Schloß Schönbrunn
I know, I know. I lured you here for the Schonbrunn Christmas Market. (Wait, I just did the same thing that my husband did. LOL) There aren’t huge squares in Vienna the same way there are in Salzburg, so I find the Schonbrunn entry to be magical. The afternoon sun was starting to disappear when we finished our tour. It was minutes away from snowing. The whole thing just felt like a fairy tale. If you go to Vienna and miss Schonbrunn, you’re missing out. (We didn’t get here until our second trip to Vienna though, so I understand if you do.)
Compared with other markets, it felt like the Schonbrunn Christmas market had more traditional handicrafts. My mom bought a beautiful leather journal for my sister. I was obsessed with the Christmas ornaments. Some were made of lace. Others were hand-blown glass. And still some were the potpourri style that smell delicious. We loved them all.
But you know what I loved more than the Christmas ornaments? THE PARTY PRETZEL. What, you may ask, is the party pretzel? It’s the pretzel that is bigger than my head. (I didn’t name it. I just bought it.) There were all kinds of delicious breads and potato chips on a stick, but I had eyes only for the party pretzel. It was game over after that. I spent the rest of the time at the market enjoying my pretzel.
What I enjoyed most about the Schonbrunn Christmas Market was that it wasn’t crowded and there was plenty of open space to look around. I’m sure it gets more crowded in the evenings and on the weekends, but it was really nice when we were there. While most markets close right before Christmas, the Schonbrunn market extends into the New Year!
Other Vienna Christmas Markets to Visit
We booked this tour of the Vienna Christmas markets on our second trip to Vienna. It gave us a great overview of the city and all the markets (there are so many), but it was cold. We left before the tour ended, which is very uncommon for us. There were no headsets so it was difficult to hear our guide sometimes. She did give us a lot of information on what the different markets are known for though. It is a solid introduction to the sites of Vienna and covers a lot of ground for the Christmas markets.
I think the Vienna city hall (Rathaus) market is iconic. It has the best ice rink and it would be great for families. The Karlsplatz market (close to the Ringstrasse hotels!) had a large play area and nativity scene, too. The Belvedere Palace market looks beautiful at night with stars floating on the lake. The Christmas decorations leading up to Stephansplatz and its market are the best I’ve ever seen. (I think they are even more beautiful than New York City’s lights.) The opening times vary for every market, so it’s important to plan your travel ahead of time. It’s how we maximize our time everywhere. I wish I had the photos of all the other markets we visited in Vienna. Vienna at Christmastime is what sold me on Vienna.
If you need more inspiration (or info), the Vienna Tourist Board has a beautiful instagram account. Lorelei also has a great post on the Vienna markets! (She covers a lot of Christmas markets and is a fellow blue hour enthusiast, so if you’re looking for inspiration, she’s a GREAT source.) Travel and Destinations has a great photography guide to the Christmas lights of the city.