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 fine for couples, given the romantic setting
- The palace art exhibitions are a must for your trip, too
- 2023 dates: Nov 17 – Dec 31
- See also:
(Not a bad view)
As the name suggests, the Belvedere Christmas market is located right in front of Upper Belvedere palace, the former home to Prince Eugene of Savoy that dates back to around 1717.
I defy you to enter the Belvedere complex through the southern gate after sunset and not gasp in wonder at the beauty of the scene before you. Wait for the twilight blue sky to appear for the best background.
Pictures cannot do it justice. For a moment, the world seems a better place.
Just be sure to stand at the tip of 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 a globally-important selection of paintings by Gustav Klimt.
Klimt’s most famous work, The Kiss, would set you back way in excess of €130 million (at the very least). So you might prefer to pick up something a little more affordable at the market.
(Besides, The Kiss is far too big to easily gift wrap.)
The Belvedere market is (thankfully) quieter and a touch smaller than most of the main markets, with a single broad channel flanked by around 20 stands on each side.
On my visit to the previous one, I found jewellery from amber, silver, and steel; scented woods to tickle the senses; ceramics, wooden toys and woolly hats, handcrafted decorations, drinking horns made from real horn, and more.
And, naturally, you won’t run out of things to eat and drink.
In past years, the market offered quite an eclectic range of food. Last time out, it seemed to have pivoted more toward traditional Austrian and Alpine fare, such as sausages, Leberkäse, and Kaiserschmarren. But I also discovered such items as baked potatoes, Raclette, wedges, and churros (Iberian-style fried dough).
Given Belvedere’s original owner, I did miss the booth that used to sell food from the Savoy, although Raclette kind of fills that role.
(The market by day)
If you’ve little ones, I spotted a small carousel and a reindeer train (not using real reindeers). But for me the market is, perhaps, 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.
Opening times 2023
The Belvedere market opens in 2023 from November 17th to December 31st, with these scheduled times. (I’m unsure on details for December 25th, as the website had no times for that day at the time of writing):
- 11am to 9pm (weekdays)
- 10am to 9pm (weekends)
- Closed early on December 24th (4pm), then at 7pm on subsequent days and at 6pm on December 31st
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. The market is at the front, which means the side facing away from the gardens and lower palace, i.e. on the opposite side to the main museum entrance.
Belvedere is, of course, a popular tourist destination in its own right. Consider visiting at least the upper palace during the day to enjoy the various permanent and temporary art exhibitions (not to mention the stupendous interior architecture).
Afterwards, 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