Lots of Christmas markets in Vienna have great settings and the Karlsplatz version is no exception with its location in front of the imposing Karlskirche church. But it differs from its city siblings in significant ways.
Its formal title is Art Advent, which gives you a decent clue as to where the emphasis lies.
- Focused on arts and crafts with a slightly alternative feel to it
- All available food and drink is organic
- Good for kids, with a straw area and rides
- 2019 dates: TBA
- See also: Christmas markets
The market is organized by an arts and crafts association called divina art. One of the requirements for those wishing to run a stand at the advent market is that the products on sale must be made by the applicant themselves (no traded goods) and must gain the approval of a qualified jury.
This selection process ensures quality, but also an originality and diversity not found elsewhere in Vienna. And it means you’ll often find the artist or craftsperson running their stand themselves, perhaps making new items as you watch.
The range of products on display is not limited to Christmas themes at all, covering clothing, jewellery, ceramics, household items and much more.
A sprinkling of food and drink stands also ensures you won’t miss your mug of Christmas punch or mulled wine. But the food and drink on sale is also a little different to the normal Christmas market offerings. It’s all organic, for starters, not to mention free of palm oil.
You won’t find the lower-end type of Christmas fare. We didn’t spot any pretzels, langos or chocolate-coated fruit. Instead, a waffle stand had long queues and other stands offered such delights as Fladenbrot (flat breads), Kiachl (a kind of flat doughnut) and Raclette (melted cheese on bread, which also leaves a glorious scent hanging in the air around the booth).
The market is also more open plan than most others, with an area directly in front of the church reserved for children’s activities: piles of straw to muck about in, pony rides, farm animals, art and craft workshops, etc. A central stage also hosts live music.
All of this happens under an umbrella of sustainability, recycling, and a shared responsibility for this world. So, for example, the children’s carousel is built from discarded goods and runs on pedal power. And you’ll find a booth that will pack your purchases for you…in return for a charitable donation.
In summary, the Karlsplatz Christmas market is definitely worth a visit. Not as the definitive advent market experience, but for its own sake as something a little different than the norm. It’s best appreciated in combination with a more “traditional” alternative, such as the Christkindlmarkt am Rathausplatz or Schönbrunn.
Opening times 2019
As soon as I get 2019 info, I’ll post it. Until then, you can get a feeling for the likely opening times from the 2018 details:
- November 23 to December 23
- Midday to 8 pm
How to get to Art Advent
The market adjoins the Karlsplatz subway station, which is on the U1, U2 and U4 subway lines (look for the Resselpark exit and follow the crowds).
Address: Resselpark, Karlsplatz, 1040 Vienna | Website