The big outdoor Christmas markets grab most of the glory in Vienna, but the two-day Advent market inside the beautiful Palais Niederösterreich is an excellent insider tip.
- Regional crafts, food, and drink from the province of Lower Austria
- Gastronomy section, choirs, and brass bands in a covered courtyard
- Take a tour of the palais, too
- 2021 dates: TBA (usually around the end of November)
- See also: Christmas markets
The So Schmeckt NÖ Adventmarkt
Here’s another one of Vienna’s little architectural jewels, largely hidden away from the public except at a few choice special events: Palais Niederösterreich, home to 16th-century chambers and painted wooden inlaid ceilings.
Fortunately, one of those special events is a Christmas market showcasing the best of the province of Niederösterreich (Lower Austria), a region full of tradition, fine food, and a willingness to share both.
The German title for the event is the So Schmeckt NÖ Adventmarkt, which translates as “a taste of Lower Austria Advent market”. Taste is the pertinent word, here.
For two days, around 60 stalls occupy the courtyard, ceremonial hall, and other rooms of the palais. Chambers that once echoed to the sounds of Liszt, Beethoven and Schubert now let you sample the products of the region’s craftsfolk, farms, orchards, and vineyards. With the emphasis on food and drink.
The market is a treasure trove for those little gifts you take with you to lunches and coffee mornings at a friend’s house. Organic jams and spreads; sauces, vinegars, and oils; handcrafted chocolates or quail eggs with chili; regional wines, spirits, and liqueurs.
Not all the products are to take away with you, either. The covered courtyard has various food outlets where you can fill up with such delights as game ragout, dumplings, hot spiced cider, and cheese noodles. Choir and brass bands provide musical accompaniment.
All of which is jolly fine. But the real insider tip is to join one of the palais tours that only take place during such events. I’m not sure how much would be in English, but this is the only way you get to see, for example, the renaissance chamber from the late 16th century with its gorgeous wooden decor.
Which reminds me…if you do go, always be sure to glance up now and then. We sat casually with coffee and cake in one room only to notice that the ceiling looked like something from a church in Florence.
2021 opening times
Sadly, the event only lasts two days at the end of November. The 2020 dates were provisionally scheduled for Friday, November 27th and Saturday, November 28th, 10am to 9pm, but the event was cancelled for obvious reasons (lockdown). I expect the 2021 version to take place around the same time.
How to find the Adventmarkt
Palais Niederösterreich practically has its own subway station at Herrengasse. For travel tips, see the main Palais article.
The building sits between two historical institutions. One is Café Central, which is possibly my favourite coffee house with its gorgeous interiors (expect queues to get in, though). The other is the Minoritenkirche, a working church and concert venue that dates back to the 14th century.
Three outdoor Christmas markets set up stall nearby, too.
Walk up to the Freyung for a market heavy on decorations and organic food. Walk across to Am Hof for one with a lovely little section devoted to arts and crafts. Or walk down to Michaelerplatz square for another market and a host of rather lovely historical buildings that includes one entrance to the Hofburg palace and an ancient church.
Address: Palais Niederösterreich, Herrengasse 13, 1010 Vienna