Christmas in Vienna

By: Russell Benavides

This past December we took a trip through Europe to visit the Christmas markets in the famous cities of Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague. Our trip encompassed 10 days and was a wonderful experience for us. Each city was unique and exciting, but the best one of them all for us was Vienna, Austria.

We drove to Vienna by car from Munich via Salzburg on the German and Austrian autobahn (No, I did not drive 100 mph). We were not particularly excited about this stop on the trip since Megan’s mother did not have glowing reports of Vienna when she had previously visited earlier in the year.

However, we still were very excited to be visiting because of the massive Christmas market in Vienna’s city center called Rathaus Christkindlmarkt. It looked beautiful in the Google images we saw prior to our trip. And boy, we were not disappointed when we arrived there on our first night. This was the scene that greeted us:

vienna christmas 3

As you can see, the market was full of people and was a sea of Christmas fun. There were hundreds of market booths filled with an assortment of Christmas goodies. One booth would have dozens of ornaments while another would have fresh baked pastries. Our favorite booths though were the ones that had Gluhwein, which in English translates to mulled wine.

This was the perfect drink to enjoy while taking in the sights and smells of the market. The wine is made from red wine, cinnamon sticks, and citrus items and is served warm which is very pleasant given the cold temperatures outside.

vienna christmas 2

With gluhwein in hand, we journeyed through the maze that was the Christkindlmarkt to look through the wonderful items for sale. Gifts to be bought included ornaments, nativity scenes, pastries, candies, and toys for the children. The products in the booths were top notch compared to the rest of the markets we visited on our trip. The only city that compared to Vienna was Salzburg.

It took us a couple of hours to wander through the entire market. By the end of our visit, we were drunk on the Christmas spirit and could not think of a more wonderful place to visit during this time of year.

After visiting all the cities on our trip, it turned out that Vienna was the city we enjoyed the most even though it was the one we were the least excited about. We have the market at Rathaus Square to thank for that.

Click here to see where the Thankful Traveler is headed to next and view pictures of our recent travels!


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