By then, the imperial capital's prettiest squares will have been transformed into magical Christmas markets. The aroma of Christmas baking, hot punch and toasted almonds hangs in the air. The Old City and shopping streets are decorated with festive lights that create a Christmas atmosphere in Vienna.

A tall arched gateway with candles receives visitors at the entrance to City Hall Square for the Vienna Christmas World on Rathausplatz. The 150 sales booths at the traditional Christmas Market offer gifts, tree decorations, handicrafts, culinary treats, confectionery and warming drinks. The trees in City Hall park and along the Ringstrasse boulevard radiate a festive glow.

A special attraction for couples in love is the tree of hearts. Visitors can skate over a 3000-square-metre ice rink and along numerous paths through the park. The Children's World offers a carousel, a reindeer train and wonderful light installations in the park, which are based on Christmas stories for children.

Not far away is the Christmas Village on Maria-Theresien-Platz, between the Kunsthistorisches (Art History) Museum Vienna and the Naturhistorisches (Natural History) Museum Vienna. Over 70 booths offering traditional handicrafts and original gift ideas are set up here during Advent. Gospel choirs and music groups create a festive mood. The Christmas Village then transitions seamlessly into the New Year's Eve Village.

The romantic Christmas Village on the University Campus is also a popular meeting point during the run-up to Christmas, especially for students. With a children's railway and an old-fashioned carousel, the Christmas Village in the Altes AKH is also a big hit with families. Two curling lanes are also available.

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 mangers and ceramics. Festive Advent music can be heard on the square from 4pm. Top-quality handicrafts can also be purchased a couple of steps further along at the Am Hof Christmas Market. Christmas music and choral singing provide the perfect atmosphere.

Imperial flair in front of palaces

The Christmas Market in front of Schönbrunn Palace enchants with its 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 impresses visitors with its Baroque background. The unique palace park provides an ideal site for this tranquil Christmas market with elegant handicrafts and culinary delights.

Art Advent on Karlsplatz offers a diverse children's program and above all handicrafts to buy. Further variety is provided by art installations, show workshops and live bands. All the food on offer is organically certified.

There are also numerous booths full of handicrafts in the idyllic tiny alleyways of the Biedermeier district at the Christmas Market on Spittelberg as well as numerous other vendors with unique culinary gift ideas.

Enjoyment and tradition

The Imperial and Royal Christmas Market on Michaelerplatz in front of the Imperial Palace mainly presents products of Austrian manufacturers, sweet treats, pewter figures, hand-made cribs and much more in its white huts. The Christmas Market on Stephansplatz focuses on contemplation and tradition, with around 40 booths at the foot of St. Stephen's Cathedral offering high-quality products from Austria. The Advent pleasure market at the Opera House is all about culinary delights. Gingerbread, cheese, meats, punch and wine from regional producers get connoisseurs' hearts racing.

Entertainment is the word at the Winter Market on Riesenradplatz under the slogan "The Prater rocks". There are children's adventure rides, musical live acts from Gospel to Soul and Pop and a humorous show program here until January 7.

The Almadvent in front of Messe Wien conveys a rural character. This Christmas village has numerous cosy parlours serving food, a handicraft exhibition, a craft and baking parlour for children as well as an exciting fairytale forest and much more besides.

Information supplied by Vienna Now, Forever
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