Spittelberg Christmas Market, a Neighborhood Market (Weihnachtsmarkt am Spittelberg)
Vienna offers a lot of Christmas markets to choose from– some are great for shopping, some are better for decorations, and still others are more suited for just hanging out (to read about seven different Vienna Christmas markets, don’t miss my highly opinionated post, the best and worst of Vienna Christmas markets).
Where does the Spittelberg Christmas market fit in? Having personally visited the Spittelberg Christmas market for the last two seasons, I think that what it lacks in over-the-top Christmas decor or artisan crafts it makes up for with its indie spirit and laid-back atmosphere.
Spittelberg is also a good antidote to what I’ll call Christmas market fatigue (which might occur after manically visiting every single stall in every single Vienna Christmas market). Since the crafts and food at the Spittelberg Christmas Market aren’t the main attraction, it’s easy to relax and just enjoy a punsch here.
A Walk through the Spittelberg Christmas Market
Spittelberg is in Vienna’s 7th district, just outside the ringstrasse. It’s often called a “village in the city” for its elegant Biedermeier styled buildings, romantic cobblestone alleys and neighborhood feel. Spittelberg an easy walk from the center but if temperatures dip you can also hop on the u-bahn (get off at the Volkstheater station).
Finding the Spittelberg Christmas market can be slightly confusing for the first-timer– there is no central square or grand building to mark this Christmas market. Instead, the Spittelberg Christmas market is spread over three narrow streets– Schrankgasse, Spittelberggasse and Guttenberggasse.
Christmas Decorations at the Spittelberg Christmas Market
Spittelberg’s Christmas decorations are low-key and subtle, but charming nonetheless. Market vendors set up shop in traditional wooden huts with peaked roofs. A small string of lights and some garland here and there are pretty much the extent of the decorations.
Eating and Drinking at the Spittelberg Christmas Market
I didn’t see many food options at the Spittelberg market–it seemed more like the place to grab a snack than to fill up on an entire meal. Fortunately, Spittelberg is a great neighborhood for dining, so save your appetite for one of the neighborhood’s many restaurants. The Spittelberg Christmas market does have one food vendor of note: look out for the potato guy who cooks potato pancakes (kartofelpuffer)– and don’t miss the tasty side of garlic sauce.
As for drinks, the intimate atmosphere at the Spittelberg Christmas market makes it the perfect place to huddle over a small table with your toasty mug of gluwein or punsch (which were both extra tasty here).
Shopping for Christmas Gifts at the Spittelberg Market
I found the crafts at the Spittelberg Christmas market varied widely– there were some European Christmas markets staples like beeswax candles and gingerbread, but nothing terribly unique that you couldn’t find at any other Vienna Christmas market.
Many of the more unique crafts at the Spittelberg Christmas market weren’t even from Austria. Freezing cold and gloveless, I searched the Spittelberg stalls high and low for locally-made mittens, but had to settle for a made-in-Nepal pair (which to be fair, did keep my hands very warm).
Fortunately, you don’t have to limit your shopping to the Christmas market– the Spittelberg neighborhood itself is great for shopping year round, filled with independent boutiques and designers, and vintage shops.
Shopping Spittelberg’s Independent Boutiques and Vintage Shops
Spittelberg is worth a visit any time of year to shop its independent boutiques and excellent vintage shops. I loved sifting through the bins of vintage goods spilling out onto the sidewalks. Time and the cold prevented me from checking out all the adorable shops here, so I hope to come back to do a full review.
Have you been to the Spittelberg Christmas Market? What’s your favorite Vienna Christmas Market?