When a seasonal market pops up in some sublime historical setting and contains eggs in a myriad of
shapes, sizes and colours, then you know it’s Easter market time in Vienna.
Discover what to expect and where to find the best ones…
- See also: Easter in Vienna
What to expect
The first question many people ask about Vienna’s Easter markets is “are they as good as the Christmas markets?”.
But how could they be?
(Easter egg hanging at the Freyung market)
The Christmas markets are embedded in a city bursting with a wide mix of seasonal scents, sounds, lights and colours. Easter means there are more eggs and chocolate rabbits in the shops. No competition.
Ask, though, whether it’s worth visiting an Easter market and the answer is yes. Just don’t compare them to the Christmas equivalents.
In terms of what to expect, well, eggs for starters. Lots of them.
(More decorated eggs)
Not tacky plastic ones or large chocolate ones wrapped in coloured foil, but decorative eggs – mostly hand-painted eggshells designed to hang on your Osterbaum (Easter tree).
Otherwise, the Easter markets are essentially good quality arts and crafts markets, with a tasty dose of regional cuisine thrown into the mix.
Even without the wintry ambience and Christmas punch, it’s nice to browse the stalls, sip a glass of Austrian wine, and sample a wild boar sausage or a
The Easter markets tend to start around 2½ weeks before Easter and usually run through to Easter Monday. See here for specific dates and times.
Opening hours vary, but are commonly from mid-morning to early and mid-evening (6-9pm).
Saturdays, Sundays and the long Easter weekend, in particular, can get quite busy. I was at the Schönbrunn market, for example, on a Good Friday, which was delightful, but very busy. It was still relatively easy to view the craft stalls, but there were queues for food.
The main markets
The most popular and convenient markets for visitors to the city are:
(Welcome sign at the Ostermarkt am Hof)
The Ostermarkt am Hof (March 27 – April 13) scores points for artistic merit and culinary offerings.
There’s a whole section devoted to artists and artisans, ensuring unique and original products for sale, while the food and drink stalls cater to a wide variety of tastes (but especially to those of us with a sweet tooth).
The location is lovely: a large central square next to where Mozart gave his first Viennese concert.
The Ostermarkt Schloss Schönbrunn (March 28 to April 14) has the best setting. It sits in the huge courtyard in front of Schönbrunn Palace, where Imperial children hunted for eggs in Easters gone by. Or probably not. Or, if they did, they presumably got their servants to do the hunting for them.
Anyway, it’s a wonderful market, full of high-quality wares as well as regional specialties to keep your hunger at bay. Look out, particularly, for the giant Easter eggs and the activities for kids.
(Decorated eggs at the Freyung market)
The Altwiener Ostermarkt (March 27 – April 13) also sits near the city centre, outside the Schottenstift monastery that dates back to the 12th century.
This is where you get your decorative eggs, which are piled high toward the market’s middle at a huge open stall overflowing with the best efforts of chickens and artists.
The Freyung market is also the place to sample regional food and drink, thanks to the organic farmer’s market on the other side of the narrow road.
This Easter market is a little different because it’s inside and only lasts two days. The Oster-Erlebnismarkt (March 27/28) gives you a taste (literally) of the province of Lower Austria, offering food, drink, arts, crafts, and music from the rural province.
Best of all, the market is a rare opportunity to go inside Palais Niederösterreich, a private palais with beautiful renaissance and baroque rooms.
A local market with a long tradition, the Kalvarienbergfest is a rejuvenated version of a more traditional Lent market. It’s not really intended to compete with the others, but instead offers locals a bit of entertainment, culture, art, kids activities, and fried snacks.