Christmas in Bavaria and Austria

How It Differs from the United States. Check our Photos Too

Author: The Traveling Professor/Tuesday, December 18, 2018/Categories: Germany & Austria

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When we have traveled with our small groups to Europe during the holidays seasons, we have done trips to the Austrian and Bavarian Christmas markets.  Our trips usually include a trip to Vienna.  On our way to Salzburg we do a short stop in Steyr.  Our last stop in Austria is Innsbruck then we finish up in Munich.

Of course there are shopping malls and lots of gift-giving in Austria and Bavaria.  However, each city and village has a Christmas market with local vendors selling local foods, goods and crafts.  It is a time for socializing with a cup of mulled wine (gluhwhein) and a sausage with neighbors and good friends.  The smaller cities and neighborhoods in large cities have local shops where unique and intimate gifts can be purchased.  It's almost like going back to the Christmas you knew as a kid 50 or 60 years ago.

Here is an overview:

Vienna:  This is one of the most beautiful and interesting cities in the world.  There are over 40 Christmas Markets in Vienna set up in various neighborhoods.  Each neighborhood features local vendors and foods unique to that neighborhood. The larger markets have ice skating set up.  The whole city of Vienna, including the trams, are beautifully decorated.

Steyr:  This is a special place with it's old town Christmas Market.  We visit on our way to Salzburg. There are brass concerts, a blacksmith, and story telling.  But the highlight is a visit to the Christkindl Post office where travelers can have their special Christmas greeting stamped with a special postmark.  

Salzburg:  Nothing says Christmas more than Salzburg.  This centuries old city is the where the song Silent Night was written and first performed.  Trumpeters play from church tops on Thursday nights. The Christmas trees are spectacular. We enjoyed dinner and traditional Christmas music at restaurant Stiftskeller St. Peter (founded in 803 A.D.), getting reservations weeks in advance. 

Innsbruck:  A few hours by scenic train from Salzburg is the Tyrolian city of Innsbruck.  Just near the Italian border is is surrounded by snow-covered mountains.  Other than Steyr, which is really only a village, Innsbruck is the smallest city we visit. Perhaps because it is so small and compact, there is more of a religious theme of Christmas more than Vienna or Salzburg demonstrates.  The river runs through the city, horse drawn carriages clip-clop down the street, and the markets are full of wonderful foods and crafts.

Munich:  We try to go on a weekday where there are less crowds and we enjoy it more.  Munich is definitely a big city with larger stores and restaurants.  However, it is divided up into smaller markets that give it a personal touch.

Here are photos form The Traveling Professor's small group tour to the Christmas Markets of Bavaria and Austria.

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