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…
- Arts, crafts, and regional food & drink
- Visitors should focus on the Freyung, Am Hof, and Schönbrunn markets
- Main 2023 markets open across a couple of weeks before and during Easter
- See also:
What to expect
(Easter egg hanging at a market)
The first question many people ask about Vienna’s Easter markets is “are they as good as the Christmas markets?”.
Well, not quite.
How could they be?
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 yes. Just don’t compare them to the Christmas equivalents.
(Expect plenty of food and drink, too)
In terms of what to expect, well, eggs for starters. Lots of them.
Not tacky plastic ones or large chocolate ones encased 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 steaming bowl of vegetarian goulash.
The Easter markets tend to start around 2½ weeks before Easter and usually run through to Easter Monday.
See here for specific 2023 dates and times as they become available: the main markets should start around the last week of March going on previous years.
Market hours vary, but they commonly open mid-morning and close 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. However, other folk had the same idea; viewing the craft stalls proved easy enough, but the food stalls had queues.
The main markets
The most popular and convenient markets for visitors to the city are typically (assuming all open in 2023):
(Welcome sign at the Ostermarkt am Hof)
The Ostermarkt am Hof 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 and quite historical: a large central square where Mozart gave his first Viennese public performance and Roman children once unwrapped their chocolate Easter rabbits (only one of those facts is true).
(Location for the Schönbrunn market)
The Ostermarkt Schloss Schönbrunn has the best setting of all.
The market sits to one side of 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, this wonderful market is 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.
(Decorated eggs at the Freyung market)
The Altwiener Ostermarkt 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.
The Freyung market is another place to sample regional food and drink, thanks to the organic farmers’ market held on the other side of the narrow road.
This Easter market offers something a little different, being largely inside and only lasting two days.
The Oster-Erlebnismarkt 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.
(The palais still has some Renaissance interiors)
A local event with a long tradition, the Kalvarienbergfest is a rejuvenated version of a more traditional Lent market.
This street festival is not really intended to compete with the others, but instead offers locals a bit of entertainment, culture, art, kids activities, and fried snacks.
(Street market flair)
Done the markets?
Vienna has other delights to offer at Easter, of course, once you’ve had your fill of crafts and chocolate-coated fruit.
In particular, the art exhibitions tend to reach one of their annual high points in spring.