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-based market integrated into the surrounding shops, too
- Normally very big on food and drink
- 2022 dates: Nov 10 – Dec 23
- See also:
The Spittelberg market
(Press photo © Reinhard Podolsky / mediadesign.at)
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. This somewhat bohemian location even featured in the movie, Before Sunrise.
Unlike most of its colleagues, the Spittelberg market doesn’t occupy a large square or open area.
Instead, the stalls fill narrow streets, alleyways and courtyards, flanked by lighted doorways that lead into galleries, craft shops, busy bars
and parallel universes.
Many of the surrounding 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 busy at peak times.
The other distinctive element to Spittelberg is its more random, organic feel.
The booths do not all share the same design, as is commonly the case elsewhere. 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 seemed to dominate the market on my previous visit, though plenty of art and craft stalls dotted the area (perhaps with more clothing booths than most markets).
It might just be my perception, but it felt like the market took a giant leap of quality last time out. 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 2022
The 2022 market plans to run from November 10th to December 23rd with these opening times:
- 2pm to 9pm (Mon-Thurs)
- 2pm to 9.30pm (Fri)
- 10am to 9.30pm (Sat)
- 10am to 9pm (Sun and public holidays)
(If all this Christmas starts to get to you and you want the warm drinks but without too many reindeers and Santas, then wander straight toward the centre of town and into the nearby MuseumsQuartier complex for the Wintergarten event.)
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)
Address: Spittelberggasse, 1070 Vienna | Website