Each Advent, the forecourt in front of Schönbrunn Palace turns into a Christmas market of the more elegant sort. The palace and its outbuildings form an impressive backdrop, and the quality of the wares is equally high.
- Gorgeous location in front of the Habsburg palace
- Perhaps the most classically stylish of all the Vienna markets
- Strong focus on arts and crafts
- Around 80+ booths
- 2023 dates: began Nov 18
- …continues after Christmas as a New Year market until Jan 4
- Book a Schönbrunn market & concert* package
- See also:
(View from the main entrance)
It’s really quite hard to beat the atmosphere at the Schönbrunn Christmas market.
No street markings or garish signs spoil the historical vista. Instead, silver and gold lights beckon to weary travellers as the entire front of the palace glows gently in the twilight.
You almost expect some long-whiskered gentleman in a top hat to appear, ask after your family, and beg the honour of your company for the evening.
As such, the Schönbrunn market is perhaps the most noble of the Viennese Christmas markets, though the Belvedere version also has its palace backdrop.
(Weihnachtsmarkt Schloß Schönbrunn © www.weihnachtsmarkt.co.at; Photo: Andreas Tischler)
Dozens of stalls encircle the giant courtyard, offering booth after booth of quality arts and crafts from the workshops of candle makers, glass blowers, wood carvers, metal workers, potters, needleworkers, and other artists and artisans.
As a result, the market qualifies as a particularly good source of Christmas gifts and decorations that hark back to a time when plastic was still a twinkle in some chemist’s inventive eye. Perhaps only the market on Karlsplatz offers more choice.
An 18m Christmas tree decorated with 1000 LED lights dominates one side, where a small stage plays host to open-air advent concerts featuring a choir, brass band, or similar. That stage also has a large handmade nativity scene in front of it.
(After the market ends, the Christmas tree usually finds its way into the neighbouring zoo to enrich the lives of the elephants.)
On the culinary front, you have plenty of gourmet food for sale. The 2023 market, for example, has mustards and mountain cheeses, gingerbread and jams, honey and hams, schnapps and sauces, and much more.
And not forgetting the food and drink for consumption on-site, featuring the likes of waffles, crepes, soups, sweet dumplings, and other fare. (Including dishes with such joyously central European names as Altungarischen Kesselgulasch.)
Rather appropriately, you could get kaiserschmarren here, too: a dish allegedly named after (and enjoyed) by one of Schönbrunn palace’s former occupants: Emperor Franz Joseph.
I also found plenty of vegetarian options on my 2022 visit, such as vegan goulash and meat-free toppings for your baked potatoes.
(Weihnachtsmarkt Schloß Schönbrunn 2021 © www.weihnachtsmarkt.co.at; Photo: FOTOFALLY)
Drop in, turn your clock back a couple of hundred years and don’t ask anyone if the Hungarians should gain full independence.
Dates & times 2023
The 2023 Schönbrunn Christmas market opens on November 18th. Expect it to transition to a Neujahrsmarkt (new year market) from sometime around December 27th. The New Year market remains open until January 4th.
Tip: For the duration of the market, the folk behind the evening concerts in the palace’s Orangerie have a special concert package*. This includes vouchers you can use at the market for culinary treats and a souvenir punch mug.
Market opening times for the Christmas period are:
- 10am to 9pm
- Closes at 4pm on December 24th
- 10am to 6pm from December 25th (so these times also apply to the New Year’s market)
How to get to Schönbrunn
The event takes place in the huge courtyard next to the main palace building.
If the Austrian winter blesses the Christmas market with snow, then the park and gardens also look particularly splendid coated in white.
Out in the wooded or tree-lined areas, you might also spot red squirrels. They aren’t shy so often come quite close to visitors.
Address: Schönbrunn Palace, 1130 Vienna | Website