MANCHESTER, along with many British cities, plays host to terrific Christmas markets in the build-up to December 25, punters glowing with Gluhwein in their veins checking out crafts and Bratwurst. But why not check out Weinacht in the markets of Mitteleuropa? Vienna is only a short flight way from Manchester with Jet2.com and the markets in its pretty squares are truly magical.
Here’s Planet’s guide to the best of them with some tips on where to stay, too.
At the traditional Vienna Magic of Advent, the Rathausplatz becomes a shining fairytale land. The 150 or so sales stands offer Christmas gifts, Christmas tree decorations, sweets and warming drinks. The trees of the surrounding City Hall Park are festively decorated and radiate in a sea of lights. There are lots of offers here for children, in particular.
Not far away is the Christmas village on Maria-Theresien-Platz, situated between the Museum of Fine Arts and the Natural History Museum. 70 stands offering traditional handicrafts and original gift ideas are set up here during Advent. The romantic Christmas village in the Old AKH (the former General Hospital) is also a popular meeting point during the run-up to Christmas, especially for the younger crowd. There are also two areas for playing “ice stock sport”, an Alpine game similar to curling, right in the Christmas village.
The Old Viennese Christmas Market on Freyung in the city centre is committed to tradition. A Christmas market was held here as early as 1772; today, it is a place to buy handicrafts, glass decorations, traditional cribs and ceramics. Festive Advent music can be heard on the square from 4pm daily. Top-quality handicrafts can also be purchased a couple of steps further along at the Am Hof Advent Market (pixctured above).
The cultural and Christmas market in front of Schönbrunn Palace offers romance in front of an imperial backdrop, and is converted into a New Year's market after Christmas. The atmospheric market offers traditional handicrafts, hand-made Christmas decorations, Christmas concerts and an extensive children's program, including Christmas workshop. The Christmas Village at Belvedere Palace enjoys an impressive baroque background. The unique palace gardens provide an ideal site for a tranquil Christmas market.
Children in particular also really appreciate the Christmas Market on Karlsplatz. (pictured right). In addition to an extensive children’s program, the market is above all noted for handicrafts. There are also numerous stalls full of artisans’ wares in the idyllic tiny alleyways at the Christmas Market on Spittelberg and numerous other vendors with unique culinary gift ideas.
Entertainment is the word at the winter market on Riesenradplatz in the shadow of Vienna's legendary giant ferris wheel. There are children's adventure rides, musical live acts and a humorous show program here beyongs Christmas, until January 6. The Christmas market at Stephansplatz focuses on contemplation and tradition, with 26 booths offering high-quality products from Austria.
Leading leisure airline Jet2.com offers friendly low fares, great flight times, and a generous 22kg baggage allowance to Vienna Airport from Manchester Airport.
Flights start from £49 one way including taxes.
For more information please visit www.jet2.com.
Two highly recommended (and cool) places to stay, both members of the Design Hotels association, are.
The Guest House, Furichgasse 10, 1010 Vienna. +43 15 12 13 20-25. www.theguesthouse.at/default-en.html
25 Hours, Lerchenfelderstrasse 1-3, 1070 Vienna. +43 15 21 51 15 1. www.25hours-hotels.com/en/
For further information about Vienna visit this link.
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