[Updated October 2023]
The Christmas markets in Innsbruck, Austria are in a unique setting in the heart of the Tyrolean Alps. Snow-capped mountains and medieval cobbled lanes combine with centuries-old traditions to make the Innsbruck Christmas experience a truly authentic one. Here´s what to expect in Innsbruck for Christmas in 2023.
From mid-November onwards, the streets and squares of Innsbruck come alive with people celebrating the festive season under fairy tale lights.
Our visits to the Innsbruck Christmas market are somewhat predictable. In fact, it has become an annual outing for my birthday in November. What better way to celebrate than spending the afternoon and early evening at the markets in Innsbruck’s historic old town?
Here is my Innsbruck Christmas market overview with the latest information and dates for 2023. After reading and (better still) visiting, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s right up there with the best Christmas markets in Europe.
Besides the markets, you´ll discover two more reasons to visit Innsbruck at Christmas – the Lumagica light show and Swarovski Crystal Worlds. And if you´re spending more time in Tyrol, why not visit the six other authentic Austrian Christmas markets in the region?
- 1. Innsbruck Old Town Christmas Market
- 2. Market Square Christmas Market
- 3. Maria Theresa Street Christmas Market
- 4. Hungerburg Christmas Market
- 5. Wilten Christmas Market
- 6. St Nikolaus Christmas Market
- 7. Bergisel Kaiserweihnacht
- 8. Lumagica
- 9. Swarovski Crystal Worlds
- Best Hotels in Innsbruck for Christmas
- Practical Tips for Your Innsbruck Christmas Market Visit
1. Innsbruck Old Town Christmas Market
When: 15 November to 23 December 2023
Hours: 11:00 – 21:00
Event Tip: At 11:30 from 24 to 28 December local trumpeters will be playing traditional Christmas music from the Golden Roof balcony.
The Christmas market in the heart of the Innsbruck old town makes traditionalists like me happy. How can it not with a giant Christmas tree sparkling right next to Innsbruck’s most famous sparkling object – the Golden Roof with its 2,657 fire-gilded copper tiles. One would think Kaiser Maximillian had it built especially for Christmas. You can climb the Innsbruck City Tower for a unique view of the Golden Roof and the Christmas market with the mountains at the back.
Allow yourself time to stroll through the narrow lanes of the historic old town with its 70 or so market stalls. Don’t forget to look up at the beautifully preserved facades of the medieval buildings, because you might miss the 28 characters from fairy tales and legends looking down at you. There are also the four giants of Riesengasse (Giant’s Alley), which are hard not to notice.
Of all the Christmas markets in Innsbruck, the old town market is where we normally have something to snack on. My favourite is the sweet Kiachl (deep-fried dough with a place for a filling in the middle), while C likes the savoury one with Sauerkraut. M enjoys the strawberries dipped in chocolate and we all can’t get enough of the sugar-coated nuts.
2. Market Square Christmas Market
When: 15 November to 23 December 2023
Hours: 11:00 – 21:00
The Christmas market next to the Inn River on the market square or Marktplatz is where children feel most at home. An old-fashioned carousel and a 14-metre tall Swarovski crystal Christmas tree lend a nostalgic flair to this market. It’s just a beautiful setting in general with the row of colourful houses across the river and the mountains in the background.
We always start our Innsbruck Christmas market tour at the Marktplatz. M loves to play the duck fishing game next to the carousel. Each plastic duck he pulls out of the water has points attached to it. He may then choose a prize, depending on the number of points he gets.
Apart from the general food, drinks and craft stalls, the market square is also home to a petting zoo and a puppet theatre.
3. Maria Theresa Street Christmas Market
When: 25 November 2023 to 6 January 2024
Hours: 11:00 and 21:00 (until 15:00 on 24 December, 19:00 on 31 December, and closed on 25 December)
Just up the road from the Golden Roof, there are more market stalls in the pedestrian zone of Maria Theresa Street. I always get the idea this is where the locals hang out. From here, you have some beautiful views of the Nordkette mountains.
The Maria Theresa Street Christmas market is close to two shopping centres – The Kaufhaus Tyrol and the Rathaus Gallerien.
More Innsbruck Christmas Market Event Tips
- 5 December – Nikolaus and his angels visit the old town Christmas market at 17:00.
- 12 to 13 December – Tyrolean Carol Singing in the Congress Innsbruck.
4. Hungerburg Christmas Market
When: 34 November 2023 to 6 January 2024
Hours: Monday to Friday between 13:00 and 19:00 and from 12:00 on weekends and public holidays
With its prime location about 300 metres above Innsbruck, this is a small and intimate mountain view Christmas market specializing in handmade Austrian Christmas decorations.
The market at the Hungerburg station of the Nordkette cable car offers fantastic views of Innsbruck, the Inn Valley, and the Alps. The Congress station of the cable car, from where it’s less than 15 minutes to Hungerburg, is a 5-minute walk from the Golden Roof. You can buy the ticket online but it’s also included in the Innsbruck Card.
If you’re in Innsbruck on 4 December the Hungerburg Christmas market is also where you’ll meet Sankt Nikolaus and (if you’re brave enough) a Krampus. While Nikolaus and his angels hand out sweets to the kids, the Krampuses are set on frightening them (and their parents).
The Krampus “show” is held in the parking area at the Hungerburg. Get there early for a spot in the front row to watch the spectacle of around 20 devils running around a huge bonfire. They make a big racket with the cowbells hanging from their waists. Afterward, they join the crowds at the Christmas market and are happy to pose for photos.
5. Wilten Christmas Market
When: 24 November to 23 December 2023
Hours: Daily from 16:00 to 20:00
Organic glühwein and Sardinian delicacies, of all things, are the big attraction on the Wiltener Platzl, a small square on the corner of Leopold and Liebenegg Streets. However, there are also handicrafts and short concerts to keep visitors entertained.
6. St Nikolaus Christmas Market
When: 24 November to 23 December 2023
Hours: Daily from 16:00 to 21:00
The St. Nikolaus district is on Hans Brenner square across the Inn River. It is a quiet market known for its festive music and home-made biscuits.
7. Bergisel Kaiserweihnacht
When: Every weekend (Friday to Saturday) from 17 November to 17 December 2022. Also on 8 December, and 19 and 21 December.
Hours: Fridays from 14:00 to 21:00, Saturdays from 11:00 to 21:00, and Sundays from 11:00 to 20:00.
The youngest Innsbruck Christmas market is on the Bergisel hill in the shadow of the like-named Olympic ski jump. It’s called the Kaiserweihnacht (Emperor’s Christmas) and the perfect place to escape the crowds in the Innsbruck old town. This is where you come to enjoy a Glühwein around a fire, watch the Innsbruck city lights, and buy homemade Christmas gifts.
When: 18 November 2022 to 29 January 2023
Hours: 17:30 to 22:00
Price: From €17 per adult and €9 per child (6-14 years)
In addition to the Innsbruck Christmas market lights, the city´s Hofgarten (palace gardens) is transformed into a magical light spectacular called Lumagica Innsbruck.
This year, the light installations takes visitors on a journey around the world. Some crowd favourites from last year, such as the majestic deer, will also make a reappearance. The themed areas are rounded off by music-synchronized video projections and interactive light productions.
Tip: Admission to Lumagica Innsbruck is included in the Innsbruck Card. Or you can buy a combi ticket which also includes admission to Swarovski Crystal Worlds.
9. Swarovski Crystal Worlds
Swarovski crystals don´t only lend sparkle to the Innsbruck Christmas market. The nearby town of Wattens is also home to the Swarovski Crystal Worlds, one of the most popular attractions in and around Innsbruck. From November to February, a permanent Christmas atmosphere is present in the form of fairy-tale animal figures created by Dutch designer Tord Boontje.
If you want to experience snow and there´s nothing outside, the “Silent Light” Chamber of Wonder inside the Crystal Worlds is the place to be. An iced-up crystal tree studded with 150,000 Swarovski crystals rotates in an alpine winter landscape, complete with real snowfall.
Best Hotels in Innsbruck for Christmas
Practical Tips for Your Innsbruck Christmas Market Visit
- Traditional Austrian Christmas decorations, handcrafted products, and local seasonal delicacies are sold at the market stalls of all the different Christmas markets in Innsbruck.
- There is an information counter in front of the Ottoburg restaurant (where you enter the Innsbruck old town from the river) where you can ask the friendly angels everything you want to know about the Innsbruck Christmas market.
- If you’re visiting the Innsbruck Christmas market with kids, it’s best to go in the afternoon before it gets too cold and too crowded.
- In Tyrol, a Christmas market is called a Christkindlmarkt.
- The price of a glühwein at the Christmas markets in Innsbruck is generally €3,20 with a mug deposit of €3. So don’t get a fright if your first glühwein costs €6,20. You’ll get almost half back when you return the mug. However, if you like the mug, keep it as a souvenir!
- I’m a white wine girl and while most people associate glühwein with red wine, a white wine version is also available at most stalls. Try it.
- Warm fruit punch is the kids’ version of glühwein.
- Remember to dress warmly. Feet, hands, and ears quickly get cold when standing around outside. A pair of gloves with fingers that come off are great for handling money and mugs of glühwein.
The most popular Christmas markets in Innsbruck are in the historic old town of the city. They are the markets in Maria Theresa Street, in front and around the Golden Roof, and on the market square. All three are within easy walking distance from each other. The other three of the six Christmas markets in Innsbruck are in Wilten, Sankt Nikolaus (both in the city), and at the Hungerburg cable car station overlooking Innsbruck.
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