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 Xmas 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 on sale is also a little different to the normal Christmas market fare. We didn’t spot any pretzels, langos or chocolate-coated fruit. Instead, a waffle stand had long queues when we were there and other stands offered Fladenbrot (flat breads) and such rare rural treats as Kiachl (a kind of flat donut) and Feuerflecken (looks a bit like a tortilla).
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 and poetry readings.
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 the more traditional alternative, such as the Christkindlmarkt am Rathausplatz or Schönbrunn.
Opening times 2016
- November 18 to December 23
- Midday to 8pm
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.