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
- The big ones are the Freyung, Am Hof, and Schönbrunn markets
- Main 2024 markets start mid-March and continue until Easter
- Book a concert experience* for your trip
- 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 like the Christmas markets?”.
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 definite yes. Just don’t compare them to the Christmas experience.
(Enjoy plenty of food and drink)
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 dates and times as they become available: the main markets start up March 15th/16th in 2024.
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 long queues.
The main markets
The largest, most popular and most convenient markets for visitors to the city are:
(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.
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. Hundreds (possibly 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 typically held on the other side of the narrow road.
Short-term, smaller, or outlying markets
Vienna has several other “Ostermärkte”. Here a selection of those likely of most interest to visitors to the city…
A local event in Vienna’s outlying 17th district with a long tradition; the Kalvarienbergfest is a rejuvenated version of a historical 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 (most importantly) fried snacks.
(Street market flair)
A small market on Michaelerplatz, right in the very centre of town, popped up for the first time in 2023. The main advantage is you can sample a few Easter treats while also appreciating the quite remarkable historical ambience of the surrounding square.
This Easter market offers something a little different, being largely inside and usually 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.
The market also provides a rare opportunity to go inside Palais Niederösterreich, a central palais with beautiful renaissance and baroque rooms.
(The palais still has some Renaissance interiors)
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.
By the time Easter 2024 comes around, the Albertina should have a Roy Lichtenstein retrospective, for example. And the Kunsthistorisches Museum should be showcasing some Renaissance greats from north of the Alps (like Dürer and Holbein).