Austria’s best Christmas markets for 2021 (and the Covid rules in place)

Austria's best Christmas markets for 2021 (and the Covid rules in place)
Some of Austria's festive markets are cancelled or face additional restrictions, but there are still events going ahead from Innsbruck to Vienna. Photo: Felipe Tofani/Flickr
Visiting a Christmas market is a festive must-do in Austria and this year there are events taking place across the country - from big to small and everything in between.

After the annual Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmärkte or Christkindlmärkte) were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, some events are returning this year.

However, once again Austria is experiencing a wave of Covid-19 infections. This means organisers and visitors have to follow rules and regulations to protect staff, visitors and the general public. So please note: as the Covid-19 situation in Austria is changing on a daily basis, the information in this guide could change. You can stay up-to-date on Austria’s Covid news by checking thelocal.at/tag/covid-19 for the latest information or by signing up for our free daily newsletter.

At the time of publication, the consumption of food and drink in a hospitality setting in Austria is only allowed in compliance with 2G rules (proof of vaccination or recovery). 

The 2G rule applies from the age of 12, and children aged between 12 and 15 can continue to use tests and will be allowed entry, for example using the Ninja Pass which shows school tests (although in Vienna children aged 12 and 15 can only use a PCR test for entry). 

Visitors to Christmas markets across Austria are also advised to keep a distance from others (at least one metre) where possible, to use hand sanitiser and to carry proof of 2G. If anyone is experiencing flu-like symptoms, they are advised to stay home and not visit the markets.

Some regions have additional rules in place for the markets, as outlined below. At the time of writing, Salzburg had banned the sale of alcohol at Christmas markets and required FFP2 masks, while Upper Austria also required FFP2 masks and only take-away food or drink (not on-site consumption) was allowed.

READ MORE: The Covid rules that apply nationwide and regionally in Austria

VIENNA

Vienna Christmas World on Rathausplatz, 1010 Vienna

Vienna’s largest market promises a “fairytale Christmas world” with 150 stalls selling gifts, tree decorations, culinary treats, drinks and snacks. There is even a ferris wheel and light installations for kids in the Children’s World, and a huge Christmas tree on Rauthausplatz.

When: November 12th-December 26th.

Rules to be aware of: The 2G rule applies to the main market, the ferris wheel and the Wiener Ringelspiel for people aged 16 and over. 

Christmas Village on Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna

Vienna’s Christmas Village is located between the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna and the Naturhistorisches Museum Vienna. It has more than 70 stalls selling handicrafts and traditional gifts, but there is no programme of live events this year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

When: November 17th-December 26th.

Rules to be aware of: Proof of 2G must be provided at food and drink stalls where products are consumed. 

Christmas Market at Schönbrunn Palace, 1130 Vienna

For a family-friendly Christmas market with an imperial backdrop, this is the place to visit in Vienna.  The Schönbrunn market has more than 60 exhibitors from Austria and neighbouring countries, and an extensive children’s programme, including a Christmas workshop.

When: November 20th-December 26th.

Rules to be aware of: Visitors will need to show proof of 2G. Additionally, no dogs or bicycles are allowed in the Schönbrunn area.

READ ALSO: 12 things you only get once you’ve celebrated Christmas and New Year in Austria

CARINTHIA

Neuer Platz, Klagenfurt

This is the biggest market in the region with around 50 stalls planned. The city centre will be embellished with lights while stalls offer local delicacies, knitwear, and festive ornaments. Tuesdays and Thursdays are extra special with live music on offer. Elsewhere in the city, market stalls are located at the Domplatz (November 25th-December 19th, Thursdays to Sundays).

When: November 20th-December 24th.

Rules to be aware of: 2G rules apply.

Pörtschach Advent Market, Wörthersee

Called ‘Silent advent by the sea’ this is a Christmas market with a difference, with the focus firmly on tradition and tranquility. Visitors can enjoy warming up around an open fire pit and families can sample the children’s programme.

When: November 19th-December 19th (Friday to Sunday).

Rules to be aware of: 2G rules apply.

TYROL

Old Town Christmas market, Innsbruck

The annual Christmas market is nestled between Innsbruck’s medieval buildings in the city’s historic Old Town. Stalls sell tree decorations, handicrafts and knitted goods, with live music from an Austrian Turmbläser (brass band) on the Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof).

When: November 15th-December 23rd.

Rules to be aware of: 2G rules apply and visitors will be given a wristband.

Panorama Christmas Market, Hungerburg

With 360-degree views across the city of Innsbruck from the Hungerburg cable car station, this is a unique Christmas market. Visitors can take the Nordkettenbahnen from the Congress lift station in the city centre to reach the market within eight minutes. 

When: November 26th-December 23rd.

Rules to be aware of:2G rules apply and visitors will be given a wristband.

Christmas Market, Kitzbühel

Kitzbühel is the ski resort town famous for the downhill Hahnenkamm race and every year it holds a traditional Christmas market to coincide with advent season. In fact, it’s even marketed as “Christmas like it used to be”.

When: November 24th-December 26th (Wednesday to Sunday).

Rules to be aware of:2G rules apply and visitors will be given a wristband.

READ ALSO: Frosty German words and sayings to use this winter

SALZBURG

Christkindlmarkt at Residenzplatz, Andreas Hofer Straße 12

The Christkindlmarkt in Salzburg has been running for 48 years. A highlight this year will be an 80-year-old spruce Christmas tree from the Flachgau district. The tree will be lit for the first time on November 18th when the market is officially opened to the public.

When: November 18th-January 1st.

Rules to be aware of: 2G rules apply. Visitors are asked to register in advance on the Christkindlmarkt website to help with contact tracing. FFP2 masks are required and no alcohol will be served. Dogs are allowed to enter the market.

Schloss Hellbrunn, Fürstenweg 37 

At Schloss Hellbrunn, more than 700 conifers are decorated with lights and decorations, and the 24 palace windows are transformed into a giant advent calendar. This market is particularly popular with families who enjoy visiting the eight-meter-tall Christmas angel.

When: November 18th-December 24th (Wednesday to Sunday).

Rules to be aware of: 2G rules apply and visitors will be given a wristband. Visitors have to register online in advance (no group registration allowed, apart from families living in the same home). 

Hohensalzburg Fortress Advent Market, Mönchsberg 34 

The market at Hohensalzburg Fortress features stalls selling local arts, crafts, gifts and traditional Christmas food and drink. There is also live music from small groups of musicians and choirs to create a festive atmosphere. Salzburg Card holders get free entry to the fortress. 

When: November 26th-December 8th (Friday, Saturday and Sunday only).

Rules to be aware of: 2G rules apply.

STYRIA

Advent Market in front of City Hall, Graz

The Graz Advent Market is described as a “welcoming village of stalls”. Visitors can buy handicrafts and treats, or sample the local festive drink Feuerzangenbowle – a blend of mulled wine and rum. The market takes place at the Hauptplatz in front of the Rathaus (Town Hall).

When: November 19th-December 24th.

Rules to be aware of: 2G rules apply.

Christmas Market on Glockenspielplatz, Graz

This is Styria-themed Christmas market with stalls selling local specialities, home-made arts and crafts, mulled wine and punch.

When: November 19th-December 24th.

Rules to be aware of:2G rules apply.

Advent in Leoben, Hauptplatz, Leoben

The Christmas market in Leoben’s main square promises a traditional and magical experience for visitors. There are stalls selling gifts, drinks and snacks, and a special event on December 5th when Santa and the Krampus will hand out gifts to children.

When: November 26th-December 23rd.

Rules to be aware of: 2G rules apply.

VORARLBERG

Christmas Market at Kornmarktplatz, Bregenz

This is the largest Christmas market in Vorarlberg and features an ice rink, a children’s carousel, pony rides and a live nativity scene, as well as traditional stalls. Plus, there is a festive events programme, including a Christmas post box to send a wish list to Santa.

When: November 14th-January 1st.

Rules to be aware of: Wristbands are issued to monitor compliance with 2G rules and an FFP2 mask is recommended.

Sankt Anton Christmas Market, Montafon

The Christmas Market in Sankt Anton is organised by the Women’s Movement, the Fruit and Garden Association and the Family Association. The aim is to create a festive event in the run up to Christmas while also raising money for disadvantaged children in the region. There is a live choir and workshops for children.

When: One day event on November 27th.

Rules to be aware of: 2G rules apply.

BURGENLAND

Christmas markets throughout Burgenland have been cancelled due to Covid-19. 

UPPER AUSTRIA

As Upper Austria is currently experiencing very high levels of Covid-19 cases, Christmas markets in the province have been cancelled or delayed, including the Christkindlmarkt at Hauptplatz in Linz.

Organisers of the Volksgarten Christmas Market in Linz are planning to open from December 6th to 24th if conditions allow. The event was originally planned to open on November 20th. 

The Local advises readers to check individual event websites for up to date information.

LOWER AUSTRIA

Many Christmas markets in Lower Austria have already been cancelled as a result of the ongoing pandemic, including the market on Rauthausplatz in Sankt Pölten and in Johannesbachklamm.

Other markets in the province have delayed the opening until the first week in December, depending on the situation. Further information can be found here.


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