One of the most impressive squares in Vienna is the Michaelerplatz, bounded as it is by more historic buildings than you can slap a preservation order on. And at New Year, a small market moves in.
- Sells New Year knickknacks, punch and wintry fare
- Unusual for its white booths
- Lovely location at one end of the Hofburg palace
- 2020/2021 dates: TBA (assuming it goes ahead)
- See also: New Year markets
NB: Events, etc. continue to be subject to public health restrictions in late 2020 and likely beyond. Be prepared for changes (e.g. compulsory face masks at all seasonal markets)
The k.u.k. Neujahrsmarkt
The best thing about this market is undoubtedly its location. Stand on the square and you find yourself staring up (and down) at:
- A tract of the Habsburg’s city palace residence
- Excavations revealing the remains of Roman houses and roads
- The church of St. Michael (dating back to 1220)
- The Loos House, an iconic example of Viennese modernism
- Palais Herberstein, former home to Café Griensteidl and Vienna’s writing community in the late 19th century
That’s quite impressive. Not to mention the square is a common parking space for the carriages and horses that take visitors on city tours (with a bit of good fortune, you can buy a used horseshoe as a lucky charm). In fact, you’re only a quick trot away from the Spanish Riding School, as well.
(If you missed out on ever seeing the original Café Griensteidl on account of being born after the 19th century ended, you might walk up Herrengasse, which leads off Michaelerplatz. This takes you to Café Central, one of my favourite coffee houses.)
The k.u.k. Neujahrsmarkt (New Year market) has quite a challenge to live up to these surroundings. The 18 or so white booths are rather striking, a little different from the usual wooden booths that every other market has. The contents, though, are run-of-the-mill for year-end markets.
You can get your New Year lucky charms, punch, Schnitzel, and pastries. On my visit, I also spotted wooden toys and hats-a-plenty, decorated glass candle holders and snow globes, for example. The market actually follows on from the Christmas market on the same site.
It’s a jack of all trades: worth a quick peek as you pass through, and you can always while away a few minutes with a steaming mug of something hot and admire the history around you. At night, the dome of the palace tract is beautifully lit, and the Christmas lights leading away down Kohlmarkt are quite a sight.
Opening times 2020/2021
A Christmas market on the same spot precedes the New Year market. I don’t have dates for the latter, yet, assuming it goes ahead in 2020/2021.
How to get to Michaelerplatz
The square connects the summer palace with the main pedestrianised centre, so spend more than a few hours in Vienna sightseeing and you’ll probably walk through it anyway.
Subway: the U3 line passes more or less underneath, with the nearest station being “Herrengasse”.
Bus: trams don’t run across the historic centre, but there is a bus stop on the square fed by the 1A and 2A bus lines (these will not operate during the New Year’s Eve celebrations, because there are too many people in the streets).
Address: Michaelerplatz, 1010 Vienna