When rows of stalls pop up in some sublime historical setting and contain eggs in a myriad of
shapes, sizes and colours, then you know it’s Easter market time in Vienna.
Discover what to expect and where to find the best ones…
- Visitors should focus on the Freyung, Am Hof, and Schönbrunn markets
- Usually open in the 14-18 days leading up to Easter Monday
- See also: Easter in Vienna
What to expect
The first question many people ask about Vienna’s Easter markets is “are they as good as the Christmas markets?”.
But how could they be?
(Easter egg hanging at the Freyung market)
Easter means more eggs and chocolate rabbits in the shops. No competition. (Though, to be fair, the chocolate Lindt rabbits deserve a place in the dining halls of the Greek Gods.)
Ask, though, whether it’s worth visiting an Easter market and the answer is a resounding yes. Just don’t compare them to the Christmas equivalents.
In terms of what to expect, well, eggs for starters. Lots of them.
(More decorated eggs)
Not tacky plastic ones or large chocolate ones wrapped in coloured foil, but decorative eggs – mostly hand-painted eggshells designed to hang on your Osterbaum (Easter tree).
Otherwise, consider the Easter markets good quality arts and crafts markets, with a tasty dose of regional cuisine thrown into the mix.
Even without the wintry ambience and Christmas punch, it’s nice to browse the stalls, sip a glass of Austrian wine, and sample a wild boar sausage or a
The Easter markets tend to start around 2½ weeks before Easter and usually run through to Easter Monday. See here for specific dates and times as they become available.
Hopefully, the markets can take place in 2021 after 2020’s COVID-related cancellations. At the time of writing, an event ban extends through February and we await details of what will happen in March/April.
Market opening hours vary, but are commonly from mid-morning to early and mid-evening (6-9pm).
Saturdays, Sundays and the long Easter weekend, in particular, can get quite busy. I once visited the Schönbrunn market, for example, on a Good Friday, which was delightful, but very busy. It was still relatively easy to view the craft stalls, but food stalls had queues.
The main markets
The most popular and convenient markets for visitors to the city are:
(Welcome sign at the Ostermarkt am Hof)
The Ostermarkt am Hof (2021 dates TBA) scores points for artistic merit and culinary offerings.
A whole section devotes itself to artists and artisans, ensuring unique and original products for sale, while the food and drink stalls cater to a wide variety of tastes (but especially to those of us with a sweet tooth).
The location is lovely: a large central square where Mozart gave his first Viennese concert.
The Ostermarkt Schloss Schönbrunn (provisionally March 20 – April 6, 2021) has the best setting of all. It sits in the huge courtyard in front of Schönbrunn Palace, where Imperial children hunted for eggs in Easters gone by. Or probably not. Or, if they did, they presumably got their servants to do the hunting for them.
Anyway, it’s a wonderful market, full of high-quality wares as well as regional specialties to keep your hunger at bay. Look out, particularly, for the giant photogenic Easter eggs and the activities for kids.
(Decorated eggs at the Freyung market)
The Altwiener Ostermarkt (provisional dates are March 19 – April 5, 2021) also opens near the city centre, outside the Schottenstift monastery that dates back to the 12th century.
Call in here for your decorative eggs. Thousands dominate the market’s centre at a huge open stall overflowing with the best efforts of chickens and artists.
The Freyung market is also the place to sample regional food and drink, thanks to the organic farmer’s market usually held on the other side of the narrow road.
This Easter market offers something a little different; it’s inside and only lasts two days. The Oster-Erlebnismarkt (2021 dates TBA) gives you a taste (literally) of the province of Lower Austria, with food, drink, arts, crafts, and music from the rural province.
Best of all, the market provides us with a rare opportunity to go inside Palais Niederösterreich, a private palais with beautiful renaissance and baroque rooms.
A local market with a long tradition, the Kalvarienbergfest (2021 dates TBA) is a rejuvenated version of a more traditional Lent market. It’s not really intended to compete with the others, but instead offers locals a bit of entertainment, culture, art, kids activities, and fried snacks.