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Vienna’s Stephansplatz Christmas Market– a Market in the Heart of Vienna
If you’re touring Vienna during the Christmas season, it’s impossible to miss the Stephansplatz Christmas market, named for the Stephansplatz square where it sits. The square is home to one of Vienna’s most famous landmarks, the spectacular cathedral, the Stephansdom. The Stephansdom is on every Vienna visitor’s tourist trail, and for good reason. The crazy, multi-colored roof, towering spires and combination of gothic and romanesque architecture sets it apart from other run-of-the-mill European churches.
But visit the Stephansdom between mid-November and the New Year and you’ll find it at its most photogenic, with Christmas market stalls winding around the striking cathedral and a giant Christmas tree competing with its towering spire for attention. At night, the lit-up cathedral creates a stunning backdrop for the lively Stephansplatz Christmas market, making it the perfect atmosphere to hang out an enjoy a punsch or two.
Even if you aren’t looking for the Stephansplatz Christmas market– you are sure to amble past is once, twice or a dozen times. The Stephansplatz is located dead center in the middle of Vienna, with the main shopping streets of Graben and Kärnten practically intersecting the square.
The Stephansplatz Christmas market itself is on the smaller side, so you don’t need to set aside a lot of time to browse its stalls. We thought of the Christmas market as more of a pit stop, a place to refuel and recharge with a boozy Christmas drink in-between sightseeing stops. Here’s what to expect at the Stephansplatz Christmas Market:
1. Stephansplatz Christmas Market’s Main Attraction: Pumpkin Soup
One of the top reasons to stop by the Stephansplatz Christmas market: the toasty-warm pumpkin soup, served in a bread bowl.
2. Drinking at the Christmas Market at Stephansplatz
The Stephansplatz Christmas market has all of the Christmas drinks you’ll find at other markets– including different flavors of punsch and gluwein. But if you need a break from these sweet drinks, you might want to note that this is the one of the few Christmas markets in Vienna that serves beer.
3. Shopping at the Stephansplatz Christmas Market
While there weren’t a ton of craft vendors at this Christmas Market the ones we saw all had excellent goods. Here are our picks for gifts to shop for at the Stephansplatz Christmas market:
- Storybook edible gingerbread houses, complete with gumdrops and frosting
- Sketches and prints of Vienna and Christmas-y scenes
- Colorful bottles of punsch
- Hand-crafted Viennese chocolate
- Christmas decorations, including hand-blown and hand painted Christmas balls and ornaments
- Gifts carved from olive wood
What to buy: Christmas ornaments, chocolate, punsch mixes, among other crafts.
Where to get it: Weihnachtsmarkt am Stephansplatz (Christmas market on Stephansplatz)
What to know: the Stephansplatz Christmas market is open November 15 through December 23, 2014, daily from 11:00 to 21:00