A bleary-eyed Vienna stumbles out of Christmas to find itself clutching yet another glass of punch in one hand and, in the other, a plastic pig holding a four-leaf clover. The New Year markets are upon us.
Read on for details of the markets…
- Traditionally open from December 26th to early January
- Full of arts, crafts, food, and drink
- What opens (and when) changes each year
- See also:
(A Silvestermarkt on Michaelerplatz)
At most markets that literally is what happens: a Christmas market morphs into a New Year’s market (German: Silvestermarkt or Neujahrsmarkt).
Sometimes the difference between the two is largely cosmetic, but normally the selection of stalls and the wares offered change to reflect the new season.
Inevitably, these year-end markets lack the characteristic Advent flair that comes with their tinselled predecessors.
That said, failing to quite live up to the Christmas versions is hardly a disgrace, and most New Year markets still glow with good cheer and quality wares.
So, if you want to while away the time before (and sometimes after) the New Year celebrations, then pop into a market to enjoy roasted almonds or fried sausages while you browse the collective endeavours of all those artists and artisans.
But which Silvestermarkt should you visit?
The answer depends on which markets open. While the Christmas market scene remains fairly steady, recent years have seen the locations of New Year markets chop and change.
I don’t yet have details for 2023/2024, so watch this space or keep an eye on official websites. For the record, the following markets opened during the New Year season just passed…
Last season’s markets
(The market at night, though energy issues might affect the amount of lighting this winter)
One market that makes a reliable annual appearance is the one at Schönbrunn. This high-class event tops my personal list of market favourites.
The New Year market succeeds the hugely-popular Christmas market and fills part of the courtyard of the Habsburg palace. The location makes a gorgeous setting, and the quality of the stalls reflects the surroundings.
This was the only large market to open in 2022/2023, with dates of December 27th to January 4th.
(The square with the Hofburg behind)
Another historic location, this time in front of the Habsburg’s Hofburg complex in the very centre of Vienna. A small collection of striking white stands with food, drink, goods and New Year items.
Like all the New Year markets mentioned, the k.u.k Neujahrsmarkt also followed on from a Christmas equivalent.
(The giant Ferris wheel in past New Year colours)
Another dependable option is the Wintermarkt on the Riesenradplatz, which actually opened in early Advent 2022 and continued through to January 8th, 2023.
The booths sit at the entrance to the massive Prater entertainment complex and almost under the iconic giant Ferris wheel (which looks wonderful if lit up at night).
Pretty much food and drink only, here, with a particularly local feel to proceedings.
(A glass roof keeps rain away)
A pedestrianised road leading away from the state opera house has a small gourmet Advent market which extended through into the night of December 31st in 2022. A place to pick up your prosciutto and parmesan before downing a glass of sparkling wine.
Markets from previous New Years
In past years, other markets have also fed and entertained visitors across the New Year period. Check locally or nearer the time to see if they reappear again in future.
(The building behind is the famous Kunsthistorisches Museum)
The Silvesterdorf succeeded the Christmas market on the same site. It featured over 70 stands with a nice variety of wares to sell and a super location among the historical architecture of the natural and art history museums on Maria-Theresien-Platz.
(One known for its glorious setting)
Back in 2019, the excellent Belvedere Christmas market extended opening days through to December 31st. The Upper Belvedere palace provided a rather elegant Baroque background to proceedings, especially in the evening thanks to the tasteful lighting.
(A source of supplies for the surrounding party)
Pre-COVID, the square in front of city hall hosted the city’s biggest New Year’s Eve party and community waltz as part of the formal Silvesterpfad celebrations (the square was not a stop in 2022, though).
At the last full event, seventy market booths paved the way toward the midnight festivities, with over half just there to see you had enough to eat and drink. Most of the rest sold New Year knickknacks and party gear.