Although one of Vienna’s newest seasonal markets, you might argue that the Stephansplatz Christmas market is also the city’s most traditional…
- Very central Christmas market
- Stephansdom cathedral provides a wonderful backdrop
- 40 or so stalls, with plenty of nearby shops and restaurants, too
- 2020 dates: TBA (was Nov 15 – Dec 26 in 2019)
- See also: All Christmas markets
Back in “days of yore”, traders often used the space around a church as a marketplace, particularly if that church also served as a place of pilgrimage. So you could get your relics and radishes at the same time.
The Stephansplatz Christmas market follows the same principle.
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 nearby cathedral treasury (if open).
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.
Fiakirs (horse-drawn carriages) also collect 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, snow globes, specialist chocolates, 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 still find your crepes, cured meats, Leberkäse, roasted almonds, hot sausages, doughnuts 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 2020
It might be a while before I have the 2020 details. For reference, here the dates and times from the 2019 market:
- November 15 to December 26
- 11am to 9pm (closed at 4pm on Dec 24 and at 7pm 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