You might say one of Vienna’s newest Christmas markets is also its most traditional.
Back in “days of yore”, traders would often use the space around a church as a marketplace, particularly if that church was also a site of pilgrimage. So you could get your relics and radishes at the same time.
The Stephansplatz Christmas market follows this precedent.
- The most central of the Christmas markets
- Stephansdom cathedral provides a wonderful backdrop
- 40 or so stalls, with plenty of nearby shops and restaurants, too
- 2019 dates: TBA
- See also: All Christmas markets
Stephansplatz is the square surrounding Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s), the huge cathedral that dominates the pedestrianized area at Vienna’s heart. And so the market harks back to medieval times, with its wooden stands clinging to the sides of the cathedral, offering tourists and city dwellers refreshing victuals and a selection of handicrafts and gifts.
No relics though. Or, sadly, radishes. Though you can at least find the former in the cathedral treasury.
Two things in particular help the Stephansplatz market stand out.
First, obviously, the location. The stands are all wooden and topped by lights, with a backdrop of townhouses and other buildings from the time of Mozart (whose former home is but a street away), not to mention the magnificent cathedral lit up in Christmas colours.
The fiakirs (horse-drawn carriages) collect at the far side of the cathedral, at one end of the market, adding another historical touch to the ambience.
Second, the booths are a kind of “best of” selection. There are around 40, so the Stephansplatz market is relatively small compared to say the Christkindlmarkt, but they cover pretty much the entire spectrum of market stands.
So you’ve your handmade and hand-painted decorations made of wood and glass, Italian truffles and jars of pesto, candles, artistic candle holders and ceramics, Lebkuchen, amber jewellery, specialist chocolates, Styrian schnapps, and more. (Incidentally, if it’s Lebkuchen you want, then Vienna’s renowned Pirker Lebkuchen store sits opposite the fiakirs.)
Of course, mixed in among all this are stands serving food and drink, seasonal and otherwise. It’s lighter on the food side than most other markets, but you can still get your pretzels, crepes, cupcakes, cured meats, Leberkäse, roasted almonds, hot sausages, cheese spätzle or soups served in giant bread rolls. And Weihnachtspunsch (of course).
If you’re taking in the Christmas lights display along the Graben and Kärntner Straße, then the market allows you to complete your Christmas experience bingo without much effort – it’s at the junction of those two streets (see map below).
Opening times 2019
I’m waiting for confirmation of dates, but they ought to be roughly like these from 2018:
- November 16 to December 26
- 11 am to 9 pm (closes at 4 pm on Dec 24 and at 7 pm on Dec 25 and 26)
How to get to Stephansplatz
The market is slap bang in the middle of town, right outside the Stephansplatz central subway station that’s on the U1 and U3 subway lines. You can also reach it on bus lines 1A, 2A and 3A (the stop is also called Stephansplatz).
Address: Stephansplatz, 1010 Vienna | Website