UPDATED: Austria’s best Christmas markets for 2021 (and the Covid rules in place)

Visiting a Christmas market is a festive must-do in Austria. As the lockdown lifts for most of the country next week, here are some of the best markets taking place this year - from big to small and everything in between.

UPDATED: Austria's best Christmas markets for 2021 (and the Covid rules in place)
Some of Austria's festive markets are cancelled or face additional restrictions, but there are still events going ahead from Innsbruck to Vienna. Photo: Felipe Tofani/Flickr

After the annual Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmärkte or Christkindlmärkte) were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, and then again at the end of November 2021 for Austria’s fourth national lockdown, some events are returning from next week.

However, as the Covid-19 situation in Austria is changing on a daily basis, the information in this guide could change. You can stay up-to-date on Austria’s Covid news by checking for the latest information or by signing up for our free daily newsletter.

At the time of publication, the consumption of food and drink in a hospitality setting from December 12th in Austria is only allowed in compliance with 2G rules (proof of vaccination or recovery). 

The 2G rule applies from the age of 12, and children aged between 12 and 15 can continue to use tests and will be allowed entry, for example using the Ninja Pass which shows school tests (although in Vienna children aged 12 and 15 can only use a PCR test for entry). 

Visitors to Christmas markets across Austria are also advised to keep a distance from others (at least one metre) where possible, to use hand sanitiser and to carry proof of 2G. If anyone is experiencing flu-like symptoms, they are advised to stay home and not visit the markets.

Some regions have additional rules in place for the markets, as outlined below, and in Upper Austria the full lockdown will continue until December 17th, regardless of vaccination status.

READ MORE: Region by region: What’s open and what’s still closed in Austria after lockdown?


Vienna Christmas World on Rathausplatz, 1010 Vienna

Vienna’s largest market promises a “fairytale Christmas world” with 150 stalls selling gifts, tree decorations, culinary treats, drinks and snacks. There is even a ferris wheel and light installations for kids in the Children’s World, and a huge Christmas tree on Rauthausplatz.

When: December 13th-December 26th.

Rules to be aware of: The 2G rule applies to the main market, the ferris wheel and the Wiener Ringelspiel for people aged 16 and over. 

Christmas Village on Maria-Theresien-Platz, 1010 Vienna

Vienna’s Christmas Village is located between the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna and the Naturhistorisches Museum Vienna. It has more than 70 stalls selling handicrafts and traditional gifts, but there is no programme of live events this year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

When: TBC.

Rules to be aware of: Proof of 2G must be provided at food and drink stalls where products are consumed. 

Christmas Market at Schönbrunn Palace, 1130 Vienna

For a family-friendly Christmas market with an imperial backdrop, this is the place to visit in Vienna.  The Schönbrunn market has more than 60 exhibitors from Austria and neighbouring countries, and an extensive children’s programme, including a Christmas workshop.

When: December 13th-December 26th.

Rules to be aware of: Visitors will need to show proof of 2G. Additionally, no dogs or bicycles are allowed in the Schönbrunn area.

READ ALSO: 12 things you only get once you’ve celebrated Christmas and New Year in Austria


It is not yet known if Carinthia will keep regional restrictions beyond the national ones after December 12th. We should find out more soon.

Neuer Platz, Klagenfurt

This is the biggest market in the region with around 50 stalls planned. The city centre will be embellished with lights while stalls offer local delicacies, knitwear, and festive ornaments. Tuesdays and Thursdays are extra special with live music on offer. Elsewhere in the city, market stalls are located at the Domplatz (November 25th-December 19th, Thursdays to Sundays).

When: TBC.

Rules to be aware of: 2G rules apply.

Pörtschach Advent Market, Wörthersee

Called ‘Silent advent by the sea’ this is a Christmas market with a difference, with the focus firmly on tradition and tranquility. Visitors can enjoy warming up around an open fire pit and families can sample the children’s programme.

When: TBC.

Rules to be aware of: 2G rules apply.


Christmas Market at Marktplatz, Innsbruck 

This is billed as a family-friendly Christmas market with a merry-go-round and puppet theatre for kids, as well as 68 stalls selling crafts, decorations and festive food and drink for adults. Unfortunately, Innsbruck’s Christmas markets in the Old Town and Maria-Theresian Strasse have been cancelled.

When: December 12th-December 23rd.

Rules to be aware of: 2G rules apply and visitors will be given a wristband.

Panorama Christmas Market, Hungerburg

With 360-degree views across the city of Innsbruck from the Hungerburg cable car station, this is a unique Christmas market. Visitors can take the Nordkettenbahnen from the Congress lift station in the city centre to reach the market within eight minutes. 

When: December 12th-January 6th.

Rules to be aware of: 2G rules apply and visitors will be given a wristband.

Christmas Market, Kitzbühel

Kitzbühel is the ski resort town famous for the downhill Hahnenkamm race and every year it holds a traditional Christmas market to coincide with advent season. In fact, it’s even marketed as “Christmas like it used to be”.

When: December 13th-December 26th (Wednesday to Sunday).

Rules to be aware of: 2G+ rules apply (negative test even when vaccinated or recovered) and visitors will be given a wristband. Random checks might be carried out.

READ ALSO: Frosty German words and sayings to use this winter


The Hohensalzburg Fortress Advent Market in Salzburg has been completely cancelled for 2021.

Christkindlmarkt at Residenzplatz, Andreas Hofer Straße 12

The Christkindlmarkt in Salzburg has been running for 48 years. A highlight this year will be an 80-year-old spruce Christmas tree from the Flachgau district. The tree will be lit for the first time on November 18th when the market is officially opened to the public.

When: December 12th-January 1st.

Rules to be aware of: 2G rules apply. 

Schloss Hellbrunn, Fürstenweg 37 

At Schloss Hellbrunn, more than 700 conifers are decorated with lights and decorations, and the 24 palace windows are transformed into a giant advent calendar. This market is particularly popular with families who enjoy visiting the eight-meter-tall Christmas angel.

When: TBC.

Rules to be aware of: 2G rules apply and visitors will be given a wristband. Visitors have to register online in advance (no group registration allowed, apart from families living in the same home). 


At the time of writing, decisions were still being made about when to open Christmas markets in Styria. Events in Voitsberg and Pürgg have already been cancelled.

Advent Market in front of City Hall, Graz

The Graz Advent Market is described as a “welcoming village of stalls”. Visitors can buy handicrafts and treats, or sample the local festive drink Feuerzangenbowle – a blend of mulled wine and rum. The market takes place at the Hauptplatz in front of the Rathaus (Town Hall).

When: TBC.

Rules to be aware of: 2G rules apply.

Christmas Market on Glockenspielplatz, Graz

This is Styria-themed Christmas market with stalls selling local specialities, home-made arts and crafts, mulled wine and punch.

When: TBC.

Rules to be aware of:2G rules apply.

Advent in Leoben, Hauptplatz, Leoben

The Christmas market in Leoben’s main square promises a traditional and magical experience for visitors. There are stalls selling gifts, drinks and snacks, and a special event on December 5th when Santa and the Krampus will hand out gifts to children.

When: TBC.

Rules to be aware of: 2G rules apply.


The Christmas market at Kornmarktplatz in Bregenz has been cancelled. Smaller markets in the province could be operating from next week. 

A full list of planned Christmas markets in Vorarlberg can be found here.


Christmas markets throughout Burgenland have been cancelled due to Covid-19. 


Upper Austria is in full lockdown until December 17th. At the time of writing, most planned Christmas markets in the province have been completely cancelled.


Many Christmas markets in Lower Austria have already been cancelled as a result of the ongoing pandemic, including the market on Rauthausplatz in Sankt Pölten and in Johannesbachklamm.

Other markets in the province had delayed the opening due to the national lockdown. Further information can be found here.

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Seven ways the Covid-19 pandemic has changed Austria

Almost everyone has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic over the past two years, but how has it affected Austria as a country? Here are seven ways the pandemic has changed Austria.

Seven ways the Covid-19 pandemic has changed Austria

The Covid-19 pandemic has been more than a global health crisis – it has disrupted international supply chains, brought about changes in the way we work and socialise, and led to an increase in the cost of living.

But how has it all impacted Austria in particular?

The Local took a look at the major changes from the past two years and how they have influenced the Alpine Republic.

Digital payments are more popular

Austria’s love for cold, hard cash can be summed up in the saying, “Nur Bares ist Wahres” (only cash is true). 

But according to Petia Niederländer, Director of the Department for Payment Transactions, Risk Monitoring and Financial Education at the Austrian National Bank, the pandemic has massively accelerated the trend towards card payments.

FOR MEMBERS: Why is cash so important to Austrians?

Cash is still the preferred payment method accounting for 66 percent of all transactions in Austria, but the overall use of cash has dropped by 13 percent since 2019 as a result of hygiene regulations in shops.

Don’t expect Austrians to completely ditch cash any time soon though.

As Niederländer told the WKÖ: “More than two thirds cannot imagine a world without cash.”

Kissing is no longer the standard greeting

In pre-pandemic times, a common greeting between men and women in a non-professional setting was two kisses (one for each cheek). Although in reality they were more like air kisses.

Since Covid-19 though, kissing has been relegated to a fist pump or simply a smile due to social distancing and fears of transmitting, or passing on, the virus.

For some people (especially those from countries where kissing is not common), it’s a welcome change and a relief from awkward moments. But others might miss the continental flair of kissing.

FOR MEMBERS: Austrian clichés: How true are these ten stereotypes?

Home ownership has increased

In the past two years, Austrians have invested lots of money in residential property leading to a real estate boom across the country.

In 2021, the number of entries in the land register (a public register of property ownership) rose by 12 percent to 163,266, according to figures by Remax

The overall value of property transactions in Austria also increased from €35.15 billion in 2020 to €43.18 billion in 2021. Vienna alone accounted for property sales worth €12.7 billion last year.

This has led to rising prices and more Austrians being priced out of the property market, especially in high-demand tourist areas like Tyrol, as reported by The Local.

Stress and scandals have increased political instability

Before the pandemic, politics in Austria had already been rocked by the Ibiza scandal (find out more here), but it seems that was just the start of a tumultuous few years for the federal government.

At the time of the first lockdown in March 2020, former political wonderkid Sebastian Kurz of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) was Austria’s Federal Chancellor. Kurz then stepped down from the role in October 2021 following allegations of corruption before completely resigning from politics. 

READ MORE: Austria names its sixth Chancellor in five years

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) then became interim Chancellor in October before being replaced by Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) in December. Nehammer became Austria’s third Chancellor in as many months, and the sixth in five years.

In the meantime, Johannes Rauch of the Greens Party (Greens) recently became Austria’s third Health Minister since 2020 after Wolfgang Mückstein (Greens) and Rudolph Anschober (Greens) both quit after several months citing the stresses of the job.

As a result, public satisfaction with the ruling coalition government of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) and the Greens has dropped. 

According to a September 2021 Statista survey, just 45 percent of those surveyed were satisfied with the government, compared to 64 percent in winter 2020/2021.

Vaccine scepticism is widespread

The roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination in early 2021 lowered anxiety levels for many people in Austria, especially as many restrictions ended in the spring. But it also led to a rise in anti-vaccine sentiment, particularly after plans for mandatory vaccinations were announced.

By late 2021, Vienna became the stage for weekly protests against the vaccine and other Covid-19 restrictions. It even led to then-Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg blaming the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) for fuelling vaccine scepticism

The planned mandatory vaccination order has now been put on hold, but the episode has led to a growing distrust of government and authority figures in Austria.

Working from home is now acceptable

Before the pandemic, working from home was not common in Austria. 

But after several lockdowns and the ongoing risks associated with Covid-19, the home office has become a central part of working life for many people.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Austria’s new working from home rules

The rise in working from home has even led to new laws and tax breaks, such as benefits up to €600 to cover heating costs, digital equipment (laptops, mobile phones, wifi) and office furniture. Insurance coverage has also extended to the home office. 

The new tax regulations are scheduled to be reviewed in 2023, although they are expected to remain in place after the pandemic.

Cost of living is more expensive

The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns led to supply chain bottlenecks around the world in 2020. The result was rising prices and an increase in the cost of living.

The cost of meat and fruit in Austria significantly increased in 2020 with the price of an average shopping cart almost twice as expensive as inflation. In 2020, the average rate of inflation was 1.4 percent.

READ ALSO: Six helpful tips to save money on food costs in Austria

By December 2021, inflation had jumped to 4.3 percent and has continued to rise throughout the first quarter of 2022. In February, inflation in Austria hit 5.9 percent – the highest rate since 1984 – mostly driven by rising energy prices and the financial impacts of the war in Ukraine.

At the time of writing, there was no sign of inflation slowing down soon, which means a high cost of living is set to stay in Austria for the foreseeable future.