The best Christmas markets are perhaps those with palatial backdrops, where you sip mulled wine beneath marbled eves of imperial splendour. Step forward the Christmas market (Weihnachtsdorf) at Belvedere.
- Beautiful location alongside a Baroque palace
- Smaller and less frantic than most other Christmas markets
- Particularly recommended for couples
- 2019 dates: Nov 22 – Dec 31
- See also: Christmas markets | Belvedere Palace
As the name suggests, the Belvedere Christmas market is located right in front of the Upper Belvedere palace, the former home to Prince Eugene of Savoy that dates back to around 1717.
I defy you to enter through the southern gate after sunset and not gasp in wonder at the beauty of the scene before you. Photos cannot do it justice. For a moment, the world seems a better place.
Just be sure to stand with a view across the lake and photograph the palace, market and Christmas lights in their entirety. This is what Christmas in Vienna is all about.
The palace itself houses a permanent art collection, including various Klimts, such as the famous The Kiss. That painting would set you back in excess of €130 million, so you might prefer to pick up something a little more affordable at the market.
(The Kiss is way too big to gift wrap, anyway.)
The market certainly has a focus on quality arts and crafts. It’s also smaller than most of the main markets, with a single broad channel flanked by around 20 stands on each side.
There I found jewellery from Murano glass, amber, silver and steel. Handmade soaps and scented woods and candles to tickle the senses. Ceramics, wooden toys and woolly hats, leather-bound diaries, handcrafted decorations, and even drinking horns made from real horn.
And, naturally, there is enough to eat and drink, too. As well as the usual chestnuts and sausages, there were open dark bread sandwiches, dumplings and doughnuts, cupcakes, crepes, hams and cheeses from Carinthia, apple strudel, and much more.
Given the history of Belvedere, one stand was even selling food from the Savoy, including raclette and galette savoyarde. Bon appétit mes amis!
If you’ve little ones, they might like the small carousel or a trip on the reindeer train (not using real reindeers). But for me the market is best suited to couples looking to capture the romantic flair of times gone by.
Steal a fleeting kiss before the lake, then share a steaming baked potato and a mug of punch in front of the palace before shopping for Christmas delights (there’s even an ATM on hand if you need more cash).
Opening times 2019
The 2019 dates are:
- November 22 to December 31 (from the 27th as a New Year’s market)
- 11am to 9pm (weekdays)
- 10am to 9pm (weekends)
- Closes early on December 24th (11am to 4pm), December 25th-30th (11am to 7pm), and December 31st (11am to 6pm)
How to get to Belvedere
Ah, there’s a whole article with travel tips for Belvedere.
Address: Weihnachtsdorf Schloss Belvedere, Prinz Eugen-Strasse 27, 1030 Vienna | Website