If you always felt your average Christmas market needs more swords, bagpipes, and mead, then head over to Vienna’s Museum of Military History for the annual medieval Advent market.
- Historical market food and flair
- Full of medieval entertainments, too, with music, juggling, and fire shows
- 2023 dates: Nov 30 – Dec 3
- See also:
The Mittelalterlicher Adventmarkt
(Not your average Christmas decoration)
Vienna offers a couple of alternatives if you’ve had enough of the traditional Christmas markets.
Essentially, you can go in two directions…
The MQ winter event represents the futuristic alternative, with nary a wooden decoration in sight and plenty of exotic-sounding 21st-century drinks.
The medieval Advent market is the historical alternative, where the announcements come through a town crier, and dragons must be kept on a leash (no exceptions).
(Fewer bottles, more jars and flasks)
The market opens for just a few days near the start of the Advent season, occupying an area next to the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum (Museum of Military History).
If you’re now imagining handicrafts, roast pork on an open spit, spiced mead in earthenware mugs, and rows of swords and helmets to purchase as stocking presents, then you’d actually be about right.
Think of it like a renaissance fair with added Glühwein.
Quite a few booths sell clothing and weapons for reenactments and cosplay (seems like a good place for your House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power costumes).
Other stalls sell historical-flavoured jewellery, crockery, cutlery, and crafts. Not to mention plenty of food, most with a strong rustic feel to it.
The entertainment includes jugglers and regular demonstrations of sword fighting techniques, with each evening typically ending with a fire show.
And there’s music, likely featuring historical instruments. Many visitors and most booth staff also dress for the occasion, which further adds to the authenticity of the event.
All-in-all, the medieval market offers something a little different to rows of Christmas baubles. But be warned…we went on a Saturday afternoon back in 2019 and it was absolutely packed.
Opening times 2023
Provisional dates for 2023 are November 30th to December 3rd. Planned opening times are:
- Thursday: 1pm to 10pm
- Friday and Saturday: 9am to 10pm
- Sunday: 9am to 8pm
No ticket is required.
Put aside a few extra minutes to browse the displays in the museum, too, which include such highlights as the bloodstained uniform of Franz Ferdinand or the coat worn by Napoleon on his way into exile.
A visit to the museum means, of course, you also get to see the real historical versions of some of the items sold at the medieval market.
How to get to the Advent market
The market takes place behind the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum. You reach the area relatively easily via public transport, though it involves a little bit of walking. Check the main museum article for tips on which trams, buses and subways to take.
If you want to combine the visit with a more conventional Christmas market, then nip down Arsenalstraße and keep going to reach the Belvedere one (which includes a a fairytale photo opportunity).
Address: Arsenal, Objekt 1, Ghegastraße, 1030 Vienna