Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Time for Hot Chestnuts and Gluehwein!

Christkindlmarkt, Rathausplatz

Yes, it's that time of the year again, when Vienna decks itself in pre-Christmas finery and markets spring up all over the city.

For there are not one, not even two, but at the last count, no less than TEN Christmas Markets in Vienna. From the Prater to Spittelberg, Schoenbrunn to the Belvedere, all sell traditional Christmas toys, candies, decorations and the lights twinkle and win over even the most cynical of hearts.

The most famous is the Christkindlmarkt in the Town Hall Square. Every year one of the regions of Austria donates a Christmas Tree and this year it is the turn of Lower Austria. And pretty magnificent it is too! Around and about you will also see the other trees decked out. Probably the most famous is the one they decorate with illuminated red hearts.

But not only is there much to see and admire at any of the markets, there are the wonderful smells that, for me, help to make Christmas. In the chill air,  you will smell cinammon and other spices from the Punsch and Gluehwein. These mingle with the aromas of hot roasting chestnuts and friend potatoes that burn your tongue, yet make you smile.

I love to go to the Christmas Market at the Schoenbrunn Palace and try to make it there at least one evening.  One Christmas lingers especially in my mind. I arrived on a freezing evening, wrapped up in a long woollen scarf, thick coat and hand-knitted gloves. Snowflakes were dancing in the chill breeze as I wandered from stall to stall before arriving at my favourite Gluehwein station.

A choir was just starting to sing carols and, as I moved closer, clasping my mug of hot, spiced wine in my hands, they began to sing my favourite, Silent Night, and, strangers though we were, my fellow shoppers and I crowded as friends around the rostrum and joined in:

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!


For more information on Vienna's world famous Christmas markets, click here

The Christkindlmarkt at the Rathausplatz can be viewed on live webcam every day until Dec 24th


  1. I love this time of year! Thanks for sharing.

  2. The atmosphere there must be wonderful at this time of year. And the weather's just right for Christmas. I'd love to be there too.

  3. Cool pictures! Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. It's apleasure. Thank you for joining me!