The winter market on the square outside Vienna’s giant Ferris wheel is sort of a Christmas market. And sort of a New Year market. And sort of neither.
Consider it more of a gathering point for chasing away the winter blues with a glass of something and a spot of fun.
- Food, drink, and entertainment at the Prater funfair complex
- Lots of things for the kids to do
- 2022 dates: TBA (was November 20th to January 9th last time out)
- See also:
If you imagine a Christmas market and take away most things but the food and drink stalls, then throw in music and dodgems, you’ve pretty much got the Wintermarkt am Riesenradplatz.
The market’s a little more down-to-earth than its seasonal siblings nearer the city centre. More rock and roll than Silent Night. A pint of ale to the others’ glass of Chardonnay.
The square in front of Vienna’s famous Ferris wheel welcomes you to the huge Prater funfair with a ring of restaurants, shops, and entertainments. In late November, December, and early January, the space fills with stalls and bar tables, with pop and soft rock piped in over the loudspeakers.
Typically, around 20 stands sell a mix of traditional winter market fare and more usual snacks and drinks.
On my last visit, I found all the weird and wonderful varieties of punch, plus Glühwein, Schnapps, and hot chocolate, but also beer and wine; waffles, oven potatoes, raclette, crepes, spätzle, langos, roast chestnuts and chocolate-covered fruit, but also pizza and chips.
In the spirit of the Prater, the Wintermarkt distinguishes itself through more “action”. For example, live acts perform many evenings, featuring a range of musical styles: expect Austropop, funk, soul, blues, gospel, rock, etc.
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The location also means plenty else to do once you’ve eaten your waffle or toasted the season with a mug or glass of the good stuff.
For example, a mini train usually takes you through the Prater (requires a ticket). The Chocolate Museum and Madame Tussauds live on the same square, too. Some Prater rides and attractions may remain open through winter. Not to mention the giant Ferris wheel itself, which looks wonderful at night.
(I imagine the views across a wintry landscape, market, and Prater at night from the top of the Ferris wheel make for some excellent photos.)
Normally, a winter circus puts up its tents on the nearby meadow, too.
Is it a place to soak up the Christmas atmosphere? Kind of. Is it a place to warm yourself with snacks and drinks while the kids have wintry fun? Yep.
Opening times 2022
I don’t have 2022 details yet. The market opened last time around on November 20th and continued through to January 9th.
Opening times were:
- Midday to 10pm (weekdays)
- 11am to 10pm (weekends and public holidays)
- 10am to 5pm on December 24th
- Midday to 10pm on December 31st
How to get to the Wintermarkt
The Prater and the square are just a short walk from the Praterstern subway station (look for the giant Ferris wheel when you exit the station – it’s impossible to miss). The station is served from the centre by the U1 and U2 subway lines. Trams 5 and O also stop there, as do the bus lines 5B and 80A.
The S1, S2, S3, S4 and S7 city train lines also stop at Praterstern.
Address: Prater Riesenradplatz, 1020 Vienna | Website