The Christmas market at the Habsburg’s Schönbrunn Palace is pretty special. After December 26th it morphs into the Neujahrsmarkt, which is a somewhat smaller, but also rather fine, New Year market.
- Beautiful setting; lovely selection of wares, food, and drink
- Nice way to experience a seasonal market without the Christmas crowds
- Not opening in the 2020/2021 season
- 2021/2022 dates: TBA
- See also: New Year markets | Schönbrunn Palace
Call me a sucker for Imperial grandeur, but I do like the Schönbrunn approach to a New Year market.
It’s big and expansive, like a well-fed courtier dressed in fine robes and just enough jewellery to make their status clear without resorting to vulgar showing off.
Given the wide-open space it occupies, you spend less time dodging other visitors than at most markets. And someone has given the layout thought.
The huts encircle the forecourt of the palace, but the food booths 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.
The New Year market (Neujahrsmarkt) follows on from the Christmas market. Not all booths survive the change – those that don’t are covered by a uniform screen wishing you a Happy New Year in various languages.
With the palace surrounding the market, it is, of course, a fantastic setting. The Christmas lighting continues through New Year, and the classical piped music adds to the grandeur of the atmosphere. The music takes on a more modern feel with live swing or jazz performances in the afternoons.
The variety and quality of the stands create 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 sell decorations, but most of those that stock goods with some kind of motif now include the colours and shapes of New Year: pigs, horseshoes, mushrooms and more. And the materials aren’t plastic, but rather wood, ceramics, and glass.
But, of course, there’s much more than just New Year motifs. On my visit, 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 buy miniature versions of Gugelhupf cakes, wrapped in transparent gift foil.
Which brings me to the food side of the market.
Dotted among the
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 that all sounds 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 2021/2022
The market is skipping the 2020/2021 season but should hopefully return at the end of 2021. Specific dates are obviously TBA, but expect something like December 27th to January 3rd. Typical opening times are 10am to 6pm, but watch this space (or check the official website below).
How to get to Schönbrunn
I have a whole article on how to get there.
Address: Schloß Schönbrunn, 1130 Vienna | Website