Although one of Vienna’s newest seasonal markets, you might argue that the Stephansplatz Christmas market could well be the city’s most traditional…
- Very central Christmas market
- Stephansdom cathedral provides a wonderful backdrop
- 40 or so stalls, with plenty of nearby shops and restaurants, too
- 2021 dates: Nov 12 – Dec 26
- See also: All Christmas markets
Back in “days of yore”, traders often used the space around a church as a marketplace, particularly if that church also served as a place of pilgrimage. So you could get your relics and radishes at the same time.
The Stephansplatz Christmas market follows the same principle.
Stephansplatz is the square surrounding Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s), the huge cathedral that dominates the pedestrianized area at Vienna’s heart. And so the market harks back to medieval times, with its wooden stands clinging to the sides of the cathedral, offering tourists and city dwellers refreshing victuals and a selection of handicrafts and gifts.
No relics, though. Or, sadly, radishes.
Two things in particular help the Stephansplatz market stand out.
First, obviously, the location.
Townhouses and other buildings from the time of Mozart (whose former home is but a street away) form the backdrop, not to mention the magnificent cathedral all lit up in its Christmas colours.
Fiakers (horse-drawn carriages) also collect at one end of the market, adding another historical touch to the ambience.
Second, the booths represent a kind of “best of” selection. With around 40 stalls, the Stephansplatz market is relatively small compared to say the Christkindlmarkt. But it still manages to cover pretty much the entire spectrum of market stands.
So you’ve your handmade and hand-painted decorations made of wood and glass, Italian truffles and jars of pesto, candles, artistic candle holders and ceramics, Lebkuchen, amber jewellery, snow globes, specialist chocolates, schnapps, and more.
(Incidentally, if you want Lebkuchen, Vienna’s renowned Pirker Lebkuchen store sits opposite the fiakers.)
Of course, mixed in among all this are the stands serving food and drink, seasonal and otherwise. The market seemed lighter on the food side than most others on my visit, but I still found crepes, cured meats, Leberkäse, roasted almonds, hot sausages, doughnuts, soups served in giant bread rolls, and similar. And Weihnachtspunsch (of course).
If you’re taking in the Christmas lights display along the Graben and Kärntner Straße, then the market allows you to complete your Christmas experience bingo without much effort – it sits at the junction of those two streets (see map below).
If you do wander up the Graben street, then dip down Kohlmarkt to see Michaelerplatz square. This looks rather nice at night with all the historical buildings (including a wing of the mighty Hofburg palace complex) lit up. And it normally has its own small Christmas market, too.
Opening times 2021
The 2021 dates and opening times are:
- November 12th to December 26th
- 11am to 9pm (closed at 4pm on December 24th and at 7pm on December 25th and 26th)
How to get to Stephansplatz
The market is slap bang in the middle of town, right outside the Stephansplatz central subway station that’s on the U1 and U3 subway lines. You can also reach it on bus lines 1A, 2A and 3A (the stop is also called Stephansplatz).
The same square has another advent offering, too. The Haas&Haas tea rooms normally open up an inner courtyard for drinks and snacks among open fires.
Address: Stephansplatz, 1010 Vienna | Website