Advent holiday in Austria
Austria is a fascinating destination at any time of the year, but the weeks from the end of November to the end of the year, when time-honored customs come alive, are truly magical.
In the city of Salzburg the Magic of Advent can be felt everywhere. Apart from the historical Salzburg Christmas Market at Residenzplatz with the Cathedral as backdrop, creche exhibitions, Advent concerts and choral music, you can also find lavishly decorated stands offering arts and craft as well as culinary treats at Mirabellplatz and at the Baroque Museum. A very special atmosphere can be enjoyed at the Christmas markets in the inner ward of Hohensalzburg Fortress and in the courtyard of Hellbrunn Palace. Music performances in the Advent season include the traditional Salzburg Advent Carol Concerts at Grosses Festspielhaus, the Salzburg Advent Concerts at the Fortress’s historical hall and numerous church concerts.
Further information: www.salzburgeradvent.at
In Graz, the facade of the City Hall turns into an oversize Advent calendar with Christmas motives every evening. Moreover, the renowned ice artist Gert J. Hödl and his ice-carving team create a monumental ice creche, which will be exhibited at the Graz Landhaushof. Ice-skaters can enjoy the Christmas-decorated Graz Winter World, a large ice-skating rink of 600 square metres (6,458 square feet), which also integrates a Christmas market. Apart from the Christmas markets in Graz and special Advent city tours the Office for Christmas Carols at Sporgasse 23 is a unique institution. The Steirisches Volksliedwerk answers all questions on Christmas carols and keeps over 10,000 carols, texts and poems.
Further information: www.graztourismus.at
The numerous palaces and castles of Austria’s Small Historic Towns are ideal venues for festive Advent and Christmas markets. Among them are Orth Palace in Gmunden, Ennsegg Palace in Enns or Lamberg Palace in Steyr, where visitors can buy exquisite arts and crafts. The town of Steyr, by the way, is also home of the Christkind (Christ Child), who operates a post office here. Meanwhile, the ancient fortress walls of Kufstein house the Magic of Christmas with angel post office, children’s bakery and a large crèche exhibition.
The whole town center of Bad Radkersburg transforms into a Christmas calendar and local artists design the 24 windows of Liebburg Castle, the city hall in Lienz. Later, the art objects will be auctioned to the benefit of the “Licht ins Dunkel” charity campaign. Owing to Austria’s long tradition in crèche building, which is still taught in lessons and crèche-building schools today, numerous crèche exhibitions display various presentations of Christ’s birth.
On guided walks in Bad Ischl, Imst, Radstadt and Steyr visitors can marvel at figurine creches made of wood and roots, box crèches, board crèches, alpine Christmas crèches and creche trees. Meanwhile, the town center of Wels hosts 60 choirs with more than 1000 singers on the weekends, whereas the park of Porcia Palace in Spittal/Drau stages instrumental and vocal Advent concerts. Feldkirch invites to a journey of sounds with its Advent carol concerts introducing the audience to traditional Christmas stories, carols and melodies. Special treats for kids include the “Sterndlfahrt” on the lake in Zell am See and the Christkindl Adventure Train at the 1st Austrian Christmas Museum in Steyr.
Further information: www.khs.info
Advent in Vienna is a must for nostalgic fans of the city. Apart from the traditional Christmas market in front of Vienna’s City Hall with its festively decorated stands, pony riding, and fairy-tale displays, the magic of Advent can also be felt at the traditional Viennese Christmas Market on Freyung, the market at Spittelberg, the art market at Heiligenkreuzerhof, the arts and crafts markets in front of the church of St. Charles Borromeo (Karlskirche), at Belvedere Palace, at University Campus and Maria-Theresien-Platz as well as the culture and Christmas market in front of Schönbrunn Palace.
Further information: www.vienna.info
In the West of Austria, winter romance is offered by the Lake Constance Boat Trips, also joined by Saint Nicholas (“Nikolo”) during Advent. Fondue trips in the evening are very popular as well. The menu includes cheese fondue, Fondue Chinoise or Mongolian hotpots alternatively. The New Year’s Eve trip with gala buffet, music, dance and fireworks is a classic as well (www.vorarlberg-lines.at).
Further information: www.vorarlberg.travel