One of the most popular Vienna Christmas markets is the one at the Rathausplatz, the square outside Vienna’s town hall (Rathaus). This traditional Austrian Christmas market — called the Rathausplatz Christkindlmarkt — has been in existence since the 1700s, although it has only been in its present location since 1975.
This market is the largest one in Vienna with a huge number of stalls (151 this year) selling everything from Christmas ornaments and traditional handicrafts to gingerbread cookies, hand-knitted hats and scarves, cheese and toys.
I was at the Rathausplatz Christkindlmarkt for the first time a couple of weeks ago in mid-afternoon and, even in the daylight, it was still lovely to walk around, buy a gingerbread man to nibble on, drink a mug of hot mulled wine (Glühwein) and, of course, watch the crowds and take lots of photographs.
And I especially liked this market as the handicrafts sold there were for the most part really beautiful, with little of the cheap Chinese tat that some other Christmas markets in Vienna seem to have fallen prey to in recent years.
Look out for the hand-blown glass ornaments and other glass gifts, as they are absolutely lovely.
The Rathausplatz Christkindlmarkt also has an ice skating area, where you can rent skates, do some curling and enjoy something the Austrians have been doing at this time of year for hundreds of years.
The market is open daily until December 26th from 10am to 9.30pm during the week and 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights. It closes at 7pm on Christmas Eve.
You can get to it on Vienna’s fabulous U-bahn subway system — either the U3 line, where you will need to exit at the Volkstheater station, or the U2 line at the Rathausplatz station.
You can find out more about the Rathausplatz Christkindlmarkt on their excellent website. And watch the video below to see how it really looks.