If you like your Christmas markets sandwiched between mighty imperial buildings, then Maria-Theresien-Platz is another must on your list.
- Wonderful location between two grand museums
- Very tasteful lighting among the topiary and fountains
- Best seen after dark (um, obviously)
- Excellent selection of arts, crafts, and food stalls
- 2020 dates: Nov 18 – Jan 6 (after Christmas as a New Year market)
- See also: Christmas markets
The market itself
The setting is, of course, fantastic. This is Vienna at its best.
Which means you can feast on strudel and sausages, view the Feast of Venus by Rubens, then discover how our ancestors coped when the giant animals of prehistory objected to being turned into meat products.
After all that science and culture you might need a bracing drink (also available from the Christmas market).
And if that wasn’t enough, the market huts curl their way around the square’s beautifully-lit fountains, topiary and the centrepiece monument to Empress Maria Theresa, unveiled in 1888.
So eat your chocolate-coated fruit below the alert gaze of the lady who famously said:
While other nations do battle, you lucky Austria, you wed.
The Empress had 16 children to exploit for her peace-through-marriage policies.
The quality of the stands is, as usual for Vienna, high. In fact, the only stand I ever saw that looked vaguely like it was selling plastic toys turned out to be from the Natural History Museum. So we can forgive them, given the location.
You’ll find all the usual goodies, of course, plus a few extras, as the market is one of the largest.
I popped in at the 2019 opening: the range and quality of the stands was very much above average.
For example, one stand sold absolutely exquisite wooden models that looked as intricate as the insides of a watch, while a chocolate booth offered a host of special varieties, including organic selections from Zotter (my favourite chocolate supplier).
Another stand sold traditional snow globes, notable because the first patent issued for a snow globe was to a Viennese surgical instrument manufacturer. The family-run business still makes the globes today.
- Unlike most markets, the Maria-Theresien-Platz has a temporary toilet facility
- This is definitely one to do after dusk, with the closed-off fountains on the square decked out in Christmas lights, both museums lit up, and a ghostly Empress watching over it all
- Despite its wide layout, the central location means the market gets busy when the crowds gather for an evening mug of punch. So try and get there for late afternoon, when the sun disappears but the locals are still at work
- The end nearest the Natural History Museum has the highest density of food and drink stalls. The end nearest the Kunsthistorisches Museum includes some covered areas with bar tables, just in case it rains or snows
Opening hours 2020
Dates and times for 2020 are:
- November 18 to January 6
- 11am to 9pm (Sun to Thurs)
- 11am to 10pm (Fri and Sat)
- Closed earlier on December 24th (4pm), and December 25th to January 6th (7pm)
- Closed early on December 31st (6pm)
The market converts to a New Year’s market (the Silvesterdorf) after the 26th.
How to get to the square
Subway: U2 or U3 to Volkstheater or U2 to Museumsquartier, then a short walk
Tram: D, 71, 46, 49, 1 or 2 to Ring/Volkstheater (and a short walk)
Bus: 48A to Ring/Volkstheater
Address: Weihnachtsdorf Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna | Website