Christmas Markets in Vienna

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Oct 31st, 2016, 07:45 PM
  #1
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Christmas Markets in Vienna

I've just learned that several Christmas markets will be open when DH and I are there in a couple of weeks for a business trip. We only have 24 hours available (Tuesday afternoon, 11/15, and Wednesday morning, 11/16). I've just discovered that several of the Christmas markets will be open that Tuesday afternoon, namely:

Christkindlmarkt in Rathausplatz
the market in Stephansplatz
Am Hof market
Altez AKH market
Spittelberg market

I'm interested in your impressions in the various markets: what are the differences between them, which one would you recommend, and why?

Thanks in advance for your replies! Even though we won't be in Vienna for long, I'm excited by the opportunity to see a small bit of it!

Cheers,
Annettetx
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Nov 1st, 2016, 05:25 AM
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Even with only 24 hours in Wien, you will stumble upon several Christmas markets. The Stephansplatz is the center of the city (around the main cathedral), so this market would be the first choice.

But I also recommend the Rathausplatz, because the Rathaus (City Hall) is decorated and illuminated very nicely. Go and see for yourselves!

The natural time to go through a Christmas market is late afternoon/early evening, when everything is illuminated and you appreciate a glass of Glühwein most. Also, you can have a full dinner on a market if you get delicacies from several stands.
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Nov 1st, 2016, 07:12 AM
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I loved the Rathaus one. It is large and very crowded but much to see.
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Nov 1st, 2016, 07:30 AM
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annettetx, we live in Vienna so perhaps my observations are biased, but I will share them for your consideration.

First, check the hours for the Stephansplatz, Am Hof, and Spittelberg markets. Typically the first two open toward mid-day during the week, while Spittelberg sometimes opens as late as 1500 during the week. Sometimes the food and beverage stalls open a little later. The Stephansplatz market is newish and pleasant enough; Am Hof is artsy; and Spittelberg is at its finest at night. Of these three, Spittleberg is my favorite both for the setting and the international handcrafts.

The Wiener Kristkindlmarkt at Rathaus is Vienna's "big" market, commercial and very merry and bright, but best enjoyed in the evening, as well (there are often school groups during the day, with students running amok over the candy stalls). Go for the food and lights, and of course collect an (expensive) ornament as a souvenir.

The Altes AKH market is a wonderland if you are traveling with young children; otherwise, you may be a bit underwhelmed. If you have to prioritize, I would rank this one last.

I hope this is helpful.
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Nov 1st, 2016, 08:27 PM
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Thank you very much, traveller1959, MarthaT, and fourfortravel -- Your first-hand opinion is very helpful!

We're on a river cruise and will arrive in Wien (I'm going to have to get familiar with that spelling and pronunciation) at 1p on 11/15, and then leave at 12:30p on Wednesday, 11/16.

Assuming that the ship docks somewhere near the city center and that we do indeed get off the ship just after 1p, I think our plan will be to go see a sight (Stephansdom or the Hofburg) and then go to a Christmas market.

The next morning we have the option to take a "Hidden Vienna" walking tour, which somehow includes a 1 1/2 hour bus ride. We're not big fans of long bus tours, so I think we may ride the tram, have coffee and a pastry somewhere, and enjoy walking around on our own.

Cheers,
Annette
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Nov 2nd, 2016, 12:56 AM
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Annette, you may want to check where your river cruise docks, for planning. There are some cruises now docking at the northern edge of Vienna, which requires taking the U-Bahn into the Inner Stadt. Just an FYI.
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Nov 2nd, 2016, 01:16 AM
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Your plan for the afternoon sounds good. For the next morning, you can simply stroll through the beautiful inner city on your own. Consider visiting one or two of the museums - not only the collections are good, but also the buildings are very nice, especially of the art history museum and the natural history museum.
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Nov 2nd, 2016, 01:18 AM
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Somehow Fodor's does not accept the link to the list of museums. Well, you will find out about them.


And of course, a piece of cake in a coffee house is mandatory in Vienna.
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