A bleary-eyed Vienna stumbles out of Christmas, only to find itself clutching yet another glass of punch in one hand and, in the other, a plastic pig holding a four-leaf clover. The New Year markets are upon us.
Read on for details of all the top markets, together with a location map.
What are the New Year markets?
In some cases that literally is what happens: a Christmas market morphs directly into a New Year’s market (German: Silvestermarkt or Neujahrsmarkt) and the difference between the two is largely cosmetic. In other cases, there’s a bit more turnover (and usually a drop in stall variety).
Inevitably, these year-end markets lack the characteristic seasonal flair that comes with their tinselled predecessors. The camaraderie, anticipation and Advent atmosphere that bless the Christmas markets are missing, though things do turn rather jolly on New Year’s Eve.
So, if you want to enjoy roasted almonds and fried sausages while you browse gourmet cheeses and golden candles, all with fewer people to jostle with, then the markets are a good way to pass the time before the New Year fireworks go off.
The top markets
In 2018, there were nine registered “Silvestermärkte” in Vienna, but a couple were in the outer districts and/or relatively small, so not of particular interest to visitors.
The two outstanding annual markets are:
The Silvesterdorf is the successor to the Christmas market on the same site, featuring over 70 stands with a nice variety of wares to sell and a super location. (More information)
A high-class market which probably tops my list. It’s also the New Year version of an existing Christmas market. The courtyard of the summer Habsburg palace makes a gorgeous setting. (More information)
In 2019, the excellent Belvedere Christmas market has extended opening days through until December 31st.
I found these all in 2018, and expect them to return for 2019, but watch this space for specific info on dates etc.
The square in front of city hall hosts the city’s biggest New Year’s Eve party and community waltz. Seventy booths pave the way toward the midnight festivities, with over half just there to see you have enough to eat and drink. Most of the rest sell New Year knickknacks and party gear. (More information)
The Wintermarkt sits at the entrance to the Prater entertainment complex and almost under the iconic giant Ferris wheel. Pretty much food and drink only. (More information)
Near the opera house
A pedestrianised road leading away from the state opera house has a small gourmet market where you can pick up your prosciutto and parmesan before downing a glass of sparkling wine. (More information)
Another historic location, this time in front of the winter Habsburg palace. A small collection of striking white stands with mainly food, drink and New Year knickknacks. (More information)