The best Christmas markets are perhaps those with palatial backdrops, where you sip mulled wine beneath marbled eves of imperial splendour. Step forward the Christmas market (Weihnachtsdorf) at Belvedere.
- Beautiful location alongside a Baroque palace
- Smaller and less frantic than most other Christmas markets
- Particularly recommended for couples
- Continues as a New Year market after Christmas
- 2020 dates: November 20/22 – December 31
- See also: Christmas markets | Belvedere Palace
NB: Events, markets, etc. continue to be subject to public health restrictions in late 2020 and likely beyond. Be prepared for changes (e.g. compulsory face masks at the Xmas markets)
As the name suggests, the Belvedere Christmas market is located right in front of the Upper Belvedere palace, the former home to Prince Eugene of Savoy that dates back to around 1717.
I defy you to enter through the southern gate after sunset and not gasp in wonder at the beauty of the scene before you. Photos cannot do it justice. For a moment, the world seems a better place.
(The red Christmas tree in the distance was actually made of sledges)
Just be sure to stand with a view across the lake and photograph the palace, market and Christmas lights in their entirety. This is what Christmas in Vienna is all about.
The palace itself houses a permanent art collection, including various Klimts, such as the famous The Kiss. That painting would set you back in excess of €130 million, so you might prefer to pick up something a little more affordable at the market.
(The Kiss is way too big to gift wrap, anyway.)
The market certainly has a focus on quality arts and crafts. It’s also smaller than most of the main markets, with a single broad channel flanked by around 20 stands on each side.
There I found jewellery from amber, silver, steel and Murano glass; handmade soaps and scented woods and candles to tickle the senses; ceramics, wooden toys and woolly hats, handcrafted decorations, and even drinking horns made from real horn.
And, naturally, there is enough to eat and drink, too. As well as the usual chestnuts and sausages, there were, for example, cupcakes, crepes, hams and Carinthian cheeses, and much more.
Given the history of Belvedere, one stand even sold food from the Savoy, including raclette and galette savoyarde. Bon appétit mes amis!
If you’ve little ones, they might like the small carousel or a trip on the reindeer train (not using real reindeers). But for me the market is best suited to couples looking to capture the romantic flair of times gone by.
Steal a fleeting kiss before the lake, then share a steaming baked potato and a mug of punch in front of the palace before shopping for Christmas delights (there’s an ATM on hand if you need more cash).
And don’t worry if you turn up after the festivities – the Belvedere market continues as a New Year market until December 31st in 2020.
Opening times 2020
The 2020 dates and times are:
- November 20/22 to December 31 (from the 27th as a New Year’s market)
- 11am to 9pm (weekdays)
- 10am to 9pm (weekends)
- Closed early on December 24th (11am to 4pm), December 25th-30th (10am or 11am to 7pm), and December 31st (11am to 6pm)
How to get to Belvedere
Ah, there’s a whole article with travel tips for Belvedere. You want the part telling you how to get to Upper Belvedere.
This is a popular tourist destination in its own right. So do consider visiting the upper and lower palaces during the day to enjoy the various art collections, then pop into the Belvedere market for a well-earned mug of something hot and a bite to eat.
Address: Weihnachtsdorf Schloss Belvedere, Prinz Eugen-Strasse 27, 1030 Vienna | Website