For most of the year, the Freyung hosts a much-loved organic farm market. At Christmas, this converts to the “Altwiener Christkindlmarkt”. Consider it a gentler alternative to the crowds on the Rathausplatz.
- Traditional old Christmas market with a farmer’s market attached
- Strong on candles and decorations
Dailyprogramme of events, including regular arts and crafts demonstrations
- 2019 dates: Nov 16 – Dec 23
- See also: All Christmas markets
The Freyung is the name given to an open area in the heart of Vienna, ringed by city palaces and the Schottenkirche, a church whose origins date back to the middle of the 12th century.
I’m sure the Irish monks that founded Schottenkirche would roll their eyes in disappointment (or perhaps not?) at the vast quantities of punch and sausages that disappear here through Advent, but the modern Viennese certainly seem to approve.
The Freyung market stretches across the front of the Benediktushaus (a guesthouse run by the Schottenkirche) down to the Austriabrunnen (a mid-19th-century fountain creatively called the “Austria fountain”). The surrounding palaces give it all a tucked away feeling and the narrow aisles create a jolly market atmosphere.
The artistic flair bears comparison with the Karlsplatz and Schönbrunn markets, with no poor-quality rubbish for sale: this is a particularly good location if you’re looking for candles, decorations, or food and drink to take home with you (such as pickles, honey, spices or Schnapps).
There was even a packing service when I visited, where you could get your purchases wrapped nicely in return for a charitable donation.
A stage at one end features a changing programme throughout late November and December. Typically, live music charms visitors in the later afternoon, with kids entertainers or arts and craft demonstrations earlier in the day.
Two highlights for me:
1. Running along the backs of one row of huts is a huge 46m nativity scene (the longest in Austria). It’s based on a famous 1830 painting by Josef Ritter von Führich.
2. Across the road that divides the market are the farm stalls selling regional and organic produce. A great place to get speciality cheeses, including the sharp Bergkäse mountain cheese that tastes like someone’s drilling your back teeth (but in a nice way).
This market is also the right location to buy your sausages and cured meats, organic wine and schnapps, poppy seed cake and other baked delights, or to simply enjoy a glass of organic beer.
It won’t take you long to get around the Freyung and it’s worth visiting in combination with the Am Hof Christmas market, which also focuses on arts and crafts and is just a short hop up the road toward the city centre.
Opening hours 2019
Times and dates are:
- November 16 to December 23
- 10am to 9pm
How to get to the Freyung
The market is a short walk from the major sights in the city centre and just south of Schottentor (U2 subway, Trams 1, D, 37, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44 and 71). The 1A bus stops at the Freyung itself (the Teinfaltstrasse stop).
Address: Altwiener Christkindlmarkt, Freyung, 1010 Vienna | Website