Austrian Christmas markets in Tyrol are known for their authenticity. While the big city markets are sometimes flooded by tourists, the smaller markets have become popular among those looking for a true Austrian Christmas market experience among the locals.
In the Austrian Tyrol, nine Christmas markets have earned the Advent in Tirol hallmark of quality. These markets comply to high standards with regards to their traditional appearance and the products sold at their stalls. We have been lucky to visit five of the nine and try to add one or two more every year.
We can also recommend some other really small markets for a truly authentic experience. The magic of Christmas is such that even if the local choirs and theatre groups sing and perform in German, you don’t need a translation to appreciate the message.
1. Innsbruck Christmas Markets
|Where||6 locations in and around the city|
|When||15 November 2020 to 6 January 2021|
|Opening Hours||Daily from 11:00 to 21:00|
|More Information||Innsbruck Christkindlmarkt|
The Innsbruck Christmas Market is by far the biggest in Tyrol. However, it is made up of 6 smaller markets that are spread out in and around the city. The prettiest, must-visit ones are those in the old town.
Start your Innsbruck Christmas Market tour before dark in Maria Theresa Street for a view of the Nordkette mountain beyond the city roofs. Then move on to the Golden Roof to experience the magic of Christmas in the heart of the old town.
For a livelier atmosphere, the Market Square Christmas Market on the banks of the Inn River is the place to be. Across the river, the St Nikolaus Market caters to families over weekends. For unusual eats and a unique cultural programme, the Wilten Market is your best bet. And if you’d like to see the city lights instead of the mountains, take the cable railway to the Hungerburg where wonderful views await you.
2. Hall in Tirol Christmas Market
|Where||Upper Town Square|
|When||20 November to 24 December 2020|
|Opening Hours||15:00 to 20:00 – Monday to Friday|
10:00 to 20:00 on Saturday
13:00 to 20:00 on Sunday
|More Information||Hall Christmas Market|
The Christmas market in Hall is only 10 minutes from our home and the one we visit most during the festive season. It’s also the one where we meet friends and take family because we like it so much.
The upper town square in this beautiful medieval old town with its cobbled lanes is turned into a lively market place at Christmas. The days left until Christmas are displayed in different coloured lights on the surrounding buildings, bathing the square in soft light.
Trumpeters perform every day at 18:00. For the kids, there’s a petting zoo and daily children’s entertainment. There is always a long line for traditional Kiachl with sauerkraut or cranberry jam, and you’ll find nice gifts at the art and craft stalls.
Buses and trains travel regularly cover the 10 km distance between Innsbruck and Hall in Tirol.
3. Seefeld in Tirol Christmas Market
|Where||Town centre pedestrian area|
|When||27 November 2020 to 6 January 2021|
|Opening Hours||Daily from 14:00 to 21:00|
|More Information||Olympiaregion Seefeld|
Seefeld is a small village on a sunny plateau north of Innsbruck. The Seefeld Christmas Market is in a beautiful setting in front of the village church. What we love most about it, is standing around eating and drinking traditional Tyrolean Christmas treats around a fire while soaking in the atmosphere.
What makes the Seefeld Christmas Market great to visit from Innsbruck is that it’s just a short (but beautiful) 35-minute train ride away. It means you can indulge in more than one Glühwein or Schnapps without worrying about driving.
Special events at the Seefeld Christmas Market include a Krampus Run at 17:00 on 4 December and The Sounds of Advent on 15 and 17 December.
|Where||Old Town of Rattenberg|
|When||Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 22 November to 20 December + 8 December 2020|
|Opening Hours||Mostly early afternoon to early evening (official programme)|
|Entrance Fee||€5 on Saturdays|
|More Information||Rattenberg Advent|
Medieval Rattenberg, on the Inn River about 46 km from Innsbruck, is officially the smallest town in Austria. What makes this market a highlight on our annual Austrian Christmas Market calendar is the absence of electric lights in the narrow cobbled lanes. Candles, torches, and open fires are used to provide light. There is even a candle labyrinth which is a favourite among the kids.
While the stalls at the Rattenberg Christmas Market sell mostly food and drink, the town’s shops remain open. This is the place to shop for traditional Austrian dress or the glass art for which the town is famous for.
We have never minded paying the €5 entrance fee to the market on a Saturday. The entertainment in the form of kids games, local theatre and music groups, and the romantic candlelit setting more than makes up for it.
For something different to drink around the log fires, try the Rattenberg Advent wine with a hint of elderberries that is served in the town’s original Advent glass.
|Where||Pertisau, Lake Achen|
|When||Weekends from 24 November to 27 December 2020|
|Opening Times||13:30 to 19:30|
|More Information||Achensee Christmas|
The Achensee is Tyrol’s largest natural lake with 3 pretty villages on its shores. The Christmas experience here is three-fold. There’s the market at Fischergut in Pertisau, a floating Christmas market on the lake, and a very authentic nativity scene experience in the Sixenhof in Achenkirch.
The market at Fischergut isn’t very big, but still worth a visit for a Glühwein next to the lake. There’s also a big shed where local groups perform and where kids are entertained.
While the Christmas cruise on the lake was a bit too expensive for us at €26, we loved our visit to the Sixenhof Museum in Achenkirch. Here you’ll not only learn how Silent Night became a world-famous Christmas carol but also get to sit between cows and sheep in a centuries-old stable and listen to the Nativity Story. Even if you don’t understand German, this is probably the closest you’ll ever get to what it must have been like in the stable where Jesus was born.
6. Bergisel Christmas Market
|Where||Bergisel Hill, Innsbruck|
|When||Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 22 November to 22 December 2020|
|Opening Hours||From 11:00|
This latest addition to the Austrian Christmas markets in Tyrol is on the Bergisel hill which is also home to Innsbruck’s Olympic ski jump. Called the Kaiserweihnacht, the Christmas market is in front of the Tyrol Panorama and Museum of the Tyrolean Imperial Infantry.
If you find the Christmas markets in the Innsbruck old town too busy, the Bergisel market is a great alternative. The Sightseer Bus stops here or you can even walk for some fresh mountain air.
The stalls at this market sell high quality handmade arts and craft. After getting your Glühwein in a tin mug, the best place to drink it is while looking across the city toward the Nordkette from the gazebo at the edge of the market.
|Where||Judenstein at Rinn near Innsbruck|
|When||6 December 2020|
|Opening Hours||From 11:00|
|More Information||Judenstein Weihnachtsmarkt|
I’m including the Judenstein Christmas market even if it’s held on one Sunday only. If you happen to be in the area on 6 December, this is probably the Christmas market where you’ll find the most locals in attendance.
Freshly baked biscuits and breads, handmade Christmas decorations and wreaths, pony rides, and lots of eating and drinking in the shadow of the village church is what gives this market a special character.
More Austrian Christmas Markets to Consider
The four Austrian Christmas markets with the Advent in Tyrol seal of approval which we haven’t visited are:
- St Johann Christmas Market
- Kufstein Christmas Market
- Kitzbühel Christmas Market
- Lienz Christmas Market
Have you visited any of these markets? If so, let us know what you thought of them in the comments.
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