One of the most impressive squares in Vienna is the Michaelerplatz, a square surrounded 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
- 2021/2022 dates: TBA
- See also: New Year 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 Hofburg palace complex
- 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 location of Café Griensteidl (and Vienna’s writing community in the late 1800s)
You likely missed out on ever experiencing the coffee culture of the original Café Griensteidl, on account of being born after the 19th century ended. So walk up Herrengasse, which leads off Michaelerplatz. This takes you to Café Central, one of my favourite traditional coffee houses.
Anyway, that’s quite an impressive historical pedigree for a small square.
And if you still need a bit more period flair in your New Year market, the square acts as 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 from them at this time of year.
(You’re actually only a quick trot away from the Spanish Riding School, as well.)
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, of course, get your New Year lucky charms, punch, Schnitzel, and pastries here. 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.
The market’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 make quite a sight.
Opening times 2021/2022
A Christmas market on the same spot precedes the New Year market. I don’t have dates for the latter, yet.
How to get to Michaelerplatz
The square connects the Hofburg with the main pedestrianised centre, so spend more than a few hours sightseeing in Vienna 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 the 1A and 2A bus lines service a stop on the square (these normally shut down during the actual New Year’s Eve celebrations, because there are too many people in the streets).
Address: Michaelerplatz, 1010 Vienna