Each Advent, the forecourt in front of Schönbrunn Palace is turned into a Christmas market of the more elegant sort. The palace and its outbuildings form an impressive backdrop, and the quality of the wares is very high, too.
- Gorgeous location in front of the Habsburg summer palace
- Perhaps the most classically stylish of all the markets
- Strong focus on arts and crafts
- 2019 dates: Nov 23 – Dec 26
- See also: Christmas markets | Schönbrunn Palace
It’s really really (really) hard to beat the atmosphere at the Schönbrunn Christmas market. Silver and gold lights offer a beacon to weary travellers, the entire front of the palace glows gently in the twilight, and soft, classical music plays across the open forecourt. It’s magnificent. Might even be my favourite.
There’s a giant Christmas tree on the palace side, where a small stage plays host to open-air (and free) advent concerts, with choirs and brass bands etc. performing daily (at 6 pm during the week, from 2/3 pm on weekends and holidays).
The Schönbrunn market is perhaps the most aristocratic (in the positive sense) of the Viennese Christmas markets. Around 80 stalls form a giant circle around the palace courtyard, offering booth after booth of high-quality arts and crafts from the workshops of candle makers, glass blowers, wood carvers, potteries, and other artists and artisans.
There’s gourmet food for sale, too: mustards and mountain cheeses, gingerbread and jams, honey and ham, schnapps and salamis. And not forgetting the food and drink you can consume on-site, such as steaming baked potatoes, strawberries dipped in hot chocolate, lentils and dumplings, and much more…it’s nigh on impossible to walk around without buying something to eat.
It’s a particularly good place to find unique Christmas gifts and traditional decorations harking back to a time when plastic was still a twinkle in some chemist’s inventive eye.
There’s usually a program of events in the surrounding buildings, too, with special exhibitions and guided tours. Kids might enjoy, for example, the advent activities at the Schönbrunn Children’s Museum or decorating gingerbread in the “Weihnachtswerkstatt” (Christmas workshop).
Like the other markets, it can get busy. And very cold; the open layout offers little protection from the wind. My tip is to go at dusk, around 4 pm, on a weekday. The darkness adds a little extra to the atmosphere, but it’s not peak visiting time.
Opening times 2019
Dates and times for the 2019 market are:
- November 23 to December 26
- 10 am to 9 pm
- Closes earlier on December 24th (4 pm)
The Schönbrunn Christmas market converts to a Neujahrsmarkt after the 26th, running until early January.
How to get to Schönbrunn
To reach the market, follow the general instructions for finding the palace.
Address: Schönbrunn Palace, 1130 Vienna | Website