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 Christmas and New Year, a small market usually moves in.
- Typically sells New Year knickknacks, punch and wintry fare
- Unusual for its white booths
- Lovely location at one end of the Hofburg palace
- Follows on from a Christmas market
- Next dates: TBA (was immediately after Christmas – Jan 6 in 2022/2023)
- See also:
The k.u.k. Neujahrsmarkt
(Not a bad background)
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, which dates 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.
As a decent 21st-century alternative, you can always walk up Herrengasse, which leads off Michaelerplatz. This takes you to Café Central, one of my favourite traditional coffee houses.
Anyway, that’s all 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 small k.u.k. Neujahrsmarkt (New Year market) nestles gently into 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 much as expected for year-end markets.
(Horse-drawn carriages add to the ambience)
On my last visit, you could, of course, get your New Year lucky charms, punch, Schnitzel, and pastries here. But also wooden toys and hats-a-plenty, decorated glass candle holders and snow globes, for example. The market follows on from the Christmas market on the same site.
Consider the market 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 remarkable history around you.
At night, for example, the dome of the palace tract is normally beautifully lit, and the Christmas lights leading away down Kohlmarkt make quite a sight.
A Christmas market on the same spot precedes the New Year market. I don’t have dates and times for 2023/2024 at the time of writing (assuming it goes ahead around the redevelopment work planned for the square), but the last event opened from just after Christmas through to January 6th with times of:
- 10am to 8pm
- Special opening hours around New Year’s Eve
How to get to Michaelerplatz
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 may shut down during the actual New Year’s Eve celebrations, if too many people are expected to crowd the streets).
Address: Michaelerplatz, 1010 Vienna