Each December Vienna’s city hall turns into a huge advent calendar, each window revealing one new work of art per day to stylishly count down the days to Christmas. This Magic of Advent Market is the oldest and largest Christmas market in Vienna. Spoil your taste buds with an original Austrian doughnut or bauernkrapfen while marvelling at the 28-metre-tall spruce that towers over the square.
Head next to Schloss Schönbrunn, the emperor’s former summer residence, for a Christmas shopping spree in a truly imperial atmosphere. If Empress Sissi suddenly walked down the stairs, you would hardly be surprised.
A visit to Vienna’s Spittelberg market is like being transported back in time. The district has retained its village flair; feel the magic while strolling through the jolly Biedermeier streets. Opt for a set of homemade paper crafts before stopping at Austrian punk-chic designer Lena Hoschek for a Christmas party outfit.
Salzburg’s Domplatz market has a cosy winter feel. Set in the historical city centre, its charms include choral singing, glogg punch and a superbly old-fashioned Christmas hotchpotch of stalls. The Domplatz also offers a dramatic view of the Hohensalzburg fortress. Look up and make a wish.
High up above the city of Innsbruck on the Hungerburg, a handful of Christmas booths has opened for the Christmas season. Although this is a tiny market, it arguably boasts the most splendid view of all of them. Moreover, culinary delights are a priority at this altitude. Indulge in a roast apple with marzipan-chocolate ice cream. And if you can handle heights, take the cable car even higher up to the Seegrube and the Hafelekar, which towers above 2,200 metres.