The Christmas market at the Habsburg’s Schönbrunn Palace is pretty special. After December 26th, it morphs into the Neujahrsmarkt: an equally fine New Year market.
- Beautiful setting; lovely selection of wares, food, and drink
- Nice way to experience a seasonal market with no Christmas crowds
- 2003/2004 dates: from Christmas to Jan 4
- See also:
(Entrance to the market and palace area)
Call me a sucker for Imperial grandeur, but I do like the Schönbrunn approach to a New Year market.
It’s big and expansive but not gaudy; like a well-fed courtier dressed in elegant robes and just enough jewellery to make their status clear without resorting to vulgar showing off.
Given the wide-open space it occupies in front of the former Habsburg residence, you spend less time dodging other visitors than at most markets. And someone has given the layout thought.
The market huts encircle the palace forecourt, but the food booths typically either stand alone near the centre of the circle or sit next to the broad entrances, thereby keeping the rows of arts and crafts booths clear for browsing and shopping.
This New Year market (Neujahrsmarkt) follows on directly from the Christmas market.
Not all booths may survive the change; those that don’t were covered (last time I visited) by a uniform screen wishing you a Happy New Year in various languages.
The palace surrounds make for a fantastic setting, of course.
The Christmas lighting continues through New Year, and the piped-in classical music adds to the grandeur of the atmosphere; the music took on a more modern feel in 2022/2023 with live swing or jazz performances in the afternoons.
Despite the possibility of fewer stands, the variety and quality still creates the flair of a top-notch arts and crafts market, where the transition from Christmas to New Year is near seamless.
A couple of places still sold decorations on my previous visit, but most of those that stock goods with some kind of motif switch to the colours and shapes of New Year: pigs, horseshoes, mushrooms and more. The materials aren’t plastic as with many roadside New Year stands, but rather wood, ceramic, felt, and glass.
And, of course, the market offers much more than just New Year motifs.
(The market atmosphere © www.weihnachtsmarkt.co.at; Photo: FOTOFALLY)
I spotted booths full of handmade ceramics, delicate glass decorations, wooden toys echoing bygone days, specialist schnapps and liqueurs, mustards and organic honey, baroque-style decorations, regency-style writing materials…the list goes on.
And, of course, there were the ubiquitous snow globes, strong on Viennese motifs such as cityscapes and cakes. Incidentally, you could also buy miniature versions of Gugelhupf cakes, wrapped in transparent gift foil.
Which brings me to the food side of the market.
Dotted among the usual baked potatoes, punch, soup in bread rolls, and Kaiserschmarrn, I found numerous regional specialties, such as stuffed potato dumplings, slices of dark bread topped with black pudding and onion, and Bauerngröstl (fried potatoes and chopped meat).
Even the standard Leberkäse had a certain panache, with the meatloaf coming in wild boar, chilli, Emmentaler and Mangalitza flavours (the latter is an old pig variety).
And if all the above sounds rather meat heavy, I spotted vegan goulash, vegetarian Gröstl, and vegetarian stew, for example.
All-in-all, then, probably the city’s best New Year market experience.
Opening times 2023/2024
The New Year market begins after Christmas and continues through to January 4th, 2024. I don’t have opening times yet, but they were 10am to 6pm last time out.
How to get to Schönbrunn
I have a whole article on how to get there. Follow directions for the main entrance to the complex or for the palace itself.
The market fills a huge portion of the courtyard between the palace proper and the grand-looking gates. Don’t forget to take a look at all else Schönbrunn has to offer, including palace tours, the park & gardens, the zoo, and more.
Address: Schloß Schönbrunn, 1130 Vienna | Website (for the Christmas & New Year market)