- Christkindlmarkt Salzburg is the the best rated tourist attraction in Austria.
The historical Christkindlmarkt on the Dom- und Residenzplatz square in the beautiful baroque city of Salzburg attracts up to one million visitors each year. All alleys and squares around the market are highly and festively decorated with garlands. And how it all smells so sweet & spicy like Christmas! The large Christmas tree is placed amidst the numerous lights and lovely decorated huts. Being in the middle of the square, it magically completes the Christmas atmosphere. Saturdays, you will find the Salzburger Turmbläser (brass ensemble) playing at the Residenzplatz square and enchant their audience.
Handcrafted art work
At the Christmas market stands, there are plenty of handcrafted products offered, all of which carry the quality seal “handmade in Salzburg” and are as charming as Salzburg itself. The natural products widely range from jumpers to fuzzy lamb fur. Here you can find anything that keeps you warm in winter. Or maybe you are more in the mood to shop glassy and wooden Christmas tree decoration, artfully carved crib figurines and figures of saints or coloured chip of wood boxes? Pottery and wrought iron products are sought after in particular. Some buy a very decorative Advent and door wreath. Goldsmiths and jewellers from Salzburg traditionally offer their precious products on Salzburg's Christkindlmarkt. And children just love the handmade toys, almost all of which are made of wood and, of course, individually crafted.
Once you step on the Salzburg Christkindlmarkt, you will immediately smell the lovely scents of Christmas sweets. Traditional food offered includes warm pretzels, cheese raclette, finest prosciutto and Italian Tramezzini, jacket potatoes and freshly smoked salmon. If you like it rather sweet, there are roasted almonds, baked apples or “Bauernkrapfen” (Bavarian doughnuts) to choose from, perfectly complemented by hot apple juice, finest liquor, mulled wine, hot baked apple punch or an original “Feuerzangenbowle” (brandy punch cocktail).
A definite highlight for children is the readings to children time, taking place each Advent Saturday in front of the large Christmas tree on the Residenzplatz square. At the end of the reading event, the Salzburg Baby Jesus alongside its helping angels gives out books to children.
Creative visitors are invited to participate in the event “Basteln am Markt” (“Crafting at the market”), taking place Thursdays from 4-6pm. Under the supervision of the hut's owner, you may join the round and let your creative imagination run free so that you have your self-made souvenirs to take home with you. Mind that participants are required to book in advance.
Apart from its historical Christkindlmarkt, Salzburg has a number of other pre-Christmas events to offer. For more than 60 years the Salzburg Advent singing has taken place in the “Große Festspielhaus” and has always attracted local visitors as well as those coming from afar. If you can't get enough of the Salzburg Christmas magic, you shouldn't miss visiting the “Hellbrunner Adventszauber” in front of the splendid Palace Hellbrunn and a number of other smaller Advent markets. You find those, for instance, at the Mirabellplatz square, in the St. Peter's Monastery or on the “Festung Hohensalzburg”.
The Advent season is the time of year to practice some old customs. In the beginning of December, you may witness the so-called “Krampus- und Perchtenläufe”, a run of beasts, half human half animal, who stroll around and roar through the villages joined by enigmatic sounds of bells.
The tradition of the “Tandlmarkt“ on Salzburg's Domplatz square goes back to the late 15th century. From the moment of its start, the market became a fully-fledged Christmas market, which was known as “Nikolaimarkt“ during the 17th century. A fortnight before and a fortnight after Nikolai, the merchants, who were also known as “Tandler” in Austria, were offering dolls, sweets and second-hand objects. Nikolai market, which was confined to the cathedral arcades, was included into the common market regulation in 1903. Almost 30 years later, in 1932, the “Nikolaimarkt” ceased to be. The Salzburg Christkindlmarkt was then newly set up in 1974 and is nowadays known to be one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the world thanks to it unique atmosphere, traditional huts, products and starry sky.
How to get there
The Christkindlmarkt Salzburg is set up on the Dom- und Residenzplatz square in the old town of Salzburg.
By public transport
Take a train to Salzburg. At the central station, you may take either bus line 3, 5 or 6. You get off at the stop “Rathaus”, which is in close proximity to the Christkindlmarkt.
By S-Bahn (city train), you stay on the train until it calls at “Müll-Altstadt”. From here the Christmas market is only a 10 minutes walk away.
You get via the Tauernautobahn (A1, A8) to Salzburg. Exit at “Salzburg Mitte” and carry on towards the city centre, where you follow the parking guidance system leading to the car park buildings of the city centre. Try to leave your car at the car park “Mönchsberggarage” because it's only a few walking minutes away from the Christkindlmarkt.
Close to the motorway exit “Salzburg Süd”, you find a park-and-ride car park (Alpine road). Here you have buses taking you directly into town.