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CHRISTMAS

Eight unmissable Christmas experiences in Austria

Christmas in 2020 is almost unrecognisable. Here's a taste of what we are all missing out on in Austria this year.

Eight unmissable Christmas experiences in Austria
Travel by horse and carriage to the Katschberger Adventweg. Photo: Katschberg/Franz Gerdl

We’ve given you the lowdown on the classic Christmas markets in Vienna, now here are eight hidden gems outside of the capital that are worth the trip, wherever you’re based.

Mariapfarr Adventmarkt

It’s now 200 years since priest Joseph Mohr wrote the text to the much loved carol Silent Night, in the church of Mariapfarr in the state of Salzburg.

This beautiful church has been renovated for the anniversary and is worth a pre-Christmas visit – especially if you can make it on December 4th for the Advent Market (from 2pm to 7pm) which will feature handmade crafts and textiles, Christmas decorations and delicious things to eat and drink.

Katschberger Adventweg

High in the mountains, this is a Christmas experience with little of the usual kitsch and commerce. The holiday region of Katschberg (on the border of Salzburg and Carinthia) has opened a 2km long advent trail at 1,750 meters. It’s a 45 minute walk along the trail so expect to have rosy cheeks and be slightly out of breath!

It opens on November 27th, and is then open every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 3pm to 10pm. The start of the trail is a lovingly restored hay barn which can only be reached on foot or by horse and carriage (which leaves from Gasthof Bacher every 15 minutes).

Lienz Adventmarkt

Lienz in Tyrol is home to a traditional and romantic Advent Market which opens on November 26th, situated on the main square between beautiful historic houses and with the Alps in the background. It has over 30 stalls, which will open every evening from 6.30pm until December 24th.

Admont Monastery market

A more contemplative Christmas experience is on offer at the Benedictine Stift Admont in Styria.

From 8th-11th December local producers from the region will be selling handmade gifts and culinary delights, accompanied by live music. Children can send their Christmas list to the Christkind and make gifts. There is also a living nativity scene with donkeys and sheep and a holy family made out of hay.

Photo: Freistadt Rust

Ruster Adventmeile

From November 18th, every Friday and Saturday (from 2pm to 7pm) Rust (in Burgenland) opens its advent trail. From Conradplatz, over the Hauptstraße, to Rathausplatz the grander houses and buildings will open their doors and invite people to enjoy their festively decorated courtyards.

Gosauer Bergweihnacht

Lovingly made gifts, regional delicacies and performances from a brass band are on offer at this market in Upper Austria. There are pony rides on offer for the kids, and candlelit walks through the woods. It takes place on the first and second weekends in advent

Schloss Dürnstein

This advent market in the courtyard of Schloss Dürnstein in Lower Austria is being held for only the second time but promises to be very atmospheric. Open from 8th to 11th November and 16th to 19th December guests can enjoy the candlelit castle grounds, and shop for original gifts and Christmas food. 

Schloss Wartholz

Another atmospheric Christmas castle experience in Lower Austria. The castle nursery is celebrating its ten year anniversary. Open until December 24th, from Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. 

This article was originally published in November 2018. 
 
 
 

CHRISTMAS

Where to find international food in Austria this Christmas

It’s always good to have a taste of home at Christmas, so here are the go-to places in Austria to find international food.

Christmas food
Whether you want the full dinner or just a beloved dessert from your home country, check this list of recommendations. Photo: picjumbo.com/Pexels

As we head towards another Christmas of Covid-19 restrictions, many international residents might be planning to stay in Austria this year instead of heading back to their home country.

But that doesn’t mean people have to go without their traditional Christmas treats.

Whether it’s British people searching for mince pies or Italians looking for the perfect panettone, there are specialist shops across the country selling international food. 

You just need to know where to look.

VIENNA

Bobby’s Food Store

Bobby’s Food Store is a shop on ​​Schleifmühlgasse in the 4th District and specialises in British and American products. It has a strong following on Facebook (13,000 followers) and regularly shares posts of new items in stock. Recent goodies include Mr Kipling cake mix, Bisto gravy, Paxo sage and onion stuffing and jars of Coop mincemeat. They also deliver to anywhere in Austria outside of Vienna.

Where: Schleifmühlgasse 8, 1040 Vienna.

Opening times: Monday to Friday 10:00-21:00; Saturday 10:00-18:00. 

La Stella Bianca 

For Italian food and drink, residents in Vienna should look no further than La Stella Bianca, which is located on Opernring 3-5 near the Wiener Staatsoper. Recent posts on the La Stella Bianca Facebook page show Christmas gift hampers and festive-looking panettone sweet bread in stock, as well as plenty of Italian meats and cheeses. 

Where: Opernring 3-5, 1010 Vienna.

Opening times: 08:30 to 19:00 (seven days a week).

Monte Ofelio

Another Italian suggestion is Monte Ofelio, which is primarily a cafe but also does take away. Customers can enjoy paninis, antipasti platters, bruschetta, biodynamic wines and, of course, panettone. Monte Ofelio also has a small grocery store selling products from independent Italian producers at their venue in Vienna’s 2nd District. 

Where: Schottenbastei 2, 1010 Vienna and Obere Augartenstraße 70, 1020 Vienna.

Opening times (during lockdown): Schottenbastei: Monday to Friday 08:00-14:00; Obere Augartenstraße: Tuesday to Saturday 10:00-18:00.

Prosi

Prosi claims to be the first store selling Asian, African and Latin American food in Austria, which was founded in the capital in 1999. The Prosi website says there are more than 10,000 exotic products available in the supermarket, including imported vegetables and a large variety of spices. Additionally, Prosi stocks food from the UK and USA.

Where: Wimbergergasse 5, 1070 Vienna.

Opening times: Monday to Saturday 09:00-19:00.

Britwurst

Carnivores rejoice: butcher Rich offers free-range turkeys, pigs in blankets, stuffing, and a variety of festive sausages alongside his usual range of British-style bacon and sausages. 

Where: Online at Britwurst.com

Opening times: Not applicable

GRAZ

Buon Cibo Italian Food Import

Buon Cibo is run by a married couple and they specialise in selling Italian produce to restaurants, as well as operating an online shop. Items currently available on their website are coffee, antipasti, oil, vinegar, pasta and pesto. They do free shipping for orders over €50, or self pickup by appointment.

Where: Online at buoncibo.at.

Opening times: Not applicable.

Romania Markt

This is a specialist store selling produce like cured meats and promises 100 percent Romanian stock. Romania Markt also has locations in Vienna, Linz, Salzburg, Klagenfurt, Sankt Pölten and Wels.

Where: Elisabethinergasse 10 -8020 and Triester Straße 330, 8055 Puntigam.

Opening times: Monday to Saturday 09:30-13:00 and 14:00-19:00. 

LINZ

F&S Internationaler Supermarket

This store specialises in food from many different countries and regions, with a particular focus on produce from the Balkans and Turkey. Google reviewers have recommended the selection of fruit and vegetables at F&S and left positive comments about the in-store customer service.

Where: Am Bindermichl 41, 4021 Linz.

Opening times: Monday to Friday 07:30-19:00; Saturday 08:00-18:00.

Non Solo Vino Italienische Delikatessen

This is an Italian grocery store located in central Linz. As to be expected, Non Solo Vino currently has a stock of panettone, as well as other specialities, like organic fig jam from Tuscany, homemade Ragu and Prosecco. They even have gift boxes filled with a selection of Italian produce and the website also features a collection of recipes.

Where: Bischofstrasse 15, 4020 Linz.

Opening times: Wednesday to Friday 10:00-13:00 and 14:00-18:00; Saturday 09:00-13:00; Sunday and Monday closed.

INNSBRUCK

Bottega di Parma

Bottega di Parma stocks a wide selection of wine, cheese, meat and other Italian produce. The shop is highly rated with excellent online reviews and it has a central location in Innsbruck’s Old Town close to the historic Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof).

Where: Herzog-Friedrich-Straße 5, 6020 Innsbruck.

Opening times: Monday to Thursday 11:00-20:00; Friday and Saturday 11:00-20:30; Sunday 12:00-18:00.

SALZBURG

English Shop

The English Shop is just a short walk from Salzburg Cathedral and sells a wide selection of English food and drink (as the name suggests). They even have a section on their website dedicated exclusively to Christmas products, such as crackers, Coop clotted cream fudge, Walkers mince pies and brandy butter. At the time of writing this guide, they were operating a click and collect service due to the lockdown.

Where: Kaigasse 21, 5021 Salzburg.

Opening times: Monday to Saturday 10:00-18:00.

Asiatische Spezialitäten Markt 

For produce from Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam and Thailand, as well as other Asian countries, this is the shop to visit in Salzburg. Stock at Asiatische Spezialitäten Markt includes rice, flour, noodles, fresh food, spices and drinks.

Where: Schrannengasse 2, 5020 Salzburg.

Opening times: Monday to Friday 10:00-18:00; Saturday 10:00-17:00.

Elsewhere in Austria

For international residents that don’t live in one of Austria’s main cities, it can be hard to find international food and drink. If that’s the case, then try ordering online at one of the websites below.

British Corner Shop – for British food.

Snack Shop – for snacks from the UK and USA.

Beer Lovers – for a selection of craft beer and cider from around the world.

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