Rounding out the collection of Viennese Christmas markets is the one in and around Spittelberg, a collection of narrow streets, galleries, art stores, organic grocers, and similar in Vienna’s 7th district.
- Street market integrated into the surrounding shops, too
- Very big on food and drink
- More than the usual number of clothing stands
- 2021 dates: Nov 12 – Dec 23, 2021
- See also: Christmas markets
The Spittelberg market
The Spittelberg area represents the classic urban regeneration success story.
In the mid-1980s, the area looked set for demolishment to make way for speculative construction projects. Timely intervention by activists and politicians brought renovation, then rejuvenation.
A thriving collection of bars, restaurants, and shops has since sparked Spittelberg to life, and the Christmas market is a symbol of this success.
(Press photo © Reinhard Podolsky / mediadesign.at)
Unlike most of its competitors, the Spittelberg market doesn’t occupy a large square or open area. Instead, it winds its way through narrow streets, alleyways and courtyards, flanked by lighted doorways that lead into galleries, craft shops, busy bars
and parallel universes.
Many of the buildings date back to the early 1800s and Spittelberg remains one of the best areas to see Biedermeier architecture: a kind of homely conservative style that reflected the rise of the middle class and a safety-first attitude in the light of a paranoid state apparatus.
The layout gives the market a particularly cosy feel, a sense that the stands are embedded in the life of the area. It also means it can get absolutely jam-packed at peak times.
The other distinctive element to Spittelberg is the more random, organic feel to the stands. The booths do not all share the same design, as is usually the case elsewhere, and they’re scattered across the area, growing out into a sprawling mini-metropolis of lights, scents, and the noise of Christmas revellers.
The market once enjoyed an excellent reputation for its eclectic and extensive collection of arts and crafts, but that accolade has pretty much now passed to the Art Advent market on Karlsplatz. Food and drink seem to dominate today’s Spittelberg market, though plenty of art and craft stalls certainly dot the area (with more clothing booths than most markets).
It might just be my perception, but it feels like the market took a giant leap of quality last time out compared to the previous year. Which makes me happy, because Spittelberg was my first ever Christmas market way back in 1994 and I have a big soft spot for the event.
Opening times 2021
Dates for 2021 are November 12th to December 23rd. Opening times are:
- 2pm to 9pm (Mon-Thurs)
- 2pm to 9.30pm (Fri)
- 10am to 9.30pm (Sat)
- 10am to 9pm (Sun and public holidays)
How to get to Spittelberg
You can reach Spittelberg easily via public transport (don’t take the car – street parking is scarce):
- Tram 49 (get out at Stiftgasse)
- Buses 2A (to Stiftgasse) and 48A (to Sankt Ulrichs Platz)
- Subway: U3 (station Neubaugasse or Volkstheater)
If all this Christmas starts to get to you and you want the warm drinks but without the reindeers and Santas, then wander straight toward the centre of town and into the nearby MuseumsQuartier complex for the Wintergarten event.
Address: Spittelberggasse, 1070 Vienna | Website