It’s the birthplace of Mozart, has stunning architecture and a rich history, and for anyone looking for a festive trip that will leave lasting memories, the Salzburg Christmas markets are worth visiting.

The city transforms into a winter wonderland as its market, known as the Salzburg Christkindlmarkt (Christ Child Market), becomes a must-visit destination.

And if you believe that a winter scene needs snow then welcome to a city where it will snow, on average, for 13 days in December.

Around 40 inches (100 cm) of snow falls every year and around the winter solstice, the days can be very short.

This really is one of the most celebrated Christmas markets in Europe.

Where and when are Salzburg Christmas markets in 2024?

The Salzburg Christkindlmarkt is in the heart of this World Heritage-listed Old City, on the Dom and Residenzplatz Square.

Opening officially on the Thursday before the first Sunday of Advent, it offers a delightful experience for all.

  • Salzburger Christkindlmarkt Am Dom-Und Residenzplatz: November 23 to January 1 2025
  • Sternadvent: November 23 to January 6 2025.
  • Christmas Market on Mirabellplatz: November 23 to December 24.
  • Advent at Salzburg Fortress: November 29 to December 22 (Fridays to Sundays).

Why visit the Salzburg Christmas market?

The Salzburg Christkindlmarkt is more than just a market – it’s a stunning location where visitors can immerse themselves in local traditions and customs.

The market has around 100 stalls and offers a wide range of goods, from traditional decorations for the Christmas tree to Austrian specialities, mulled wine and hot punch.

There are steaming mugs of Glühwein (mulled wine), flavoured with cinnamon, cloves and citrus available.

We also enjoyed the freshly baked gingerbread and melt-in-your-mouth Lebkuchen (gingerbread hearts).

Also, don’t miss out on Salzburger Bosner, a local sausage served in a warm bread roll with mustard and onions.

The market also has a daily events programme, including readings of Christmas stories for children, Krampus parades (those are the scary figures), guided Christmas tours, choirs (including sing-along events!) and appearances by the ‘Christ child’.

To many, visiting the Christkindlmarkt is like stepping into a Christmas card with its unique setting and traditional huts.

We also loved the lighting – which has been specially designed – that stretches above the market stalls, and we think there are other aspects that help elevate Salzburg’s Christmas market above the rest, including:

  • Baroque surroundings: Salzburg’s stunning Baroque architecture provides a majestic backdrop to the festivities. The market squares are flanked by impressive buildings like the Salzburg Cathedral and the Residenz, creating a 0picturesque scene.
  • The Sound of Music: Salzburg is the setting for ‘The Sound of Music’ so if you love the film, you’ll love the city. Check out the events list because some carollers sing some of the film’s famous songs.
  • Family-friendly: Unlike some markets, Salzburg strives to create a market that caters to all ages. There are carousel rides, gingerbread house decorating workshops and live nativity scenes.

The market can be very busy since it attracts visitors from around the world every Christmas season. It’s also a very popular attraction with the locals too.

oooOooo

Salzburg Christmas Markets 2023 – Heavy Snowfall Walking Tour 2023

We told you that you can expect snow at Salzburg’s Christmas markets, and this video from Travel and Adventure Studios proves it.

Starting at the entrance, the high-resolution footage shows the wintry spectacle really well.

From the festive lights and Christmas trees to the well-stocked stalls, the markets are very busy, and the scenic surroundings make this a must-visit destination.

The ice rink is difficult to navigate in the snow and this is another European Christmas market that visitors will need to dress warmly for.

There’s a stop-off at other markets, including the impressive stalls at the Advent Market.

The atmosphere is jovial and there are lots of families enjoying the surroundings of each market.

The festive lights in the streets between the markets are also fun to enjoy and one market has a choir performing.

For those who like sweet treats, there are some fascinating stalls to indulge in.

There’s no commentary but the video is a good focal point for those who just want to walk around the markets and enjoy the stunning settings.

oooOooo

The history of Salzburg Christkindlmarkt

Salzburg’s Christkindlmarkt boasts a rich heritage stretching back centuries. In the late 1400s, Cathedral Square played host to the ‘Tandlmarkt’, where locals could purchase various goods.

By the 17th century, it evolved into the famed ‘Nikolaimarkt’ (Saint Nicholas’ Market).

This market, renowned for its delectable treats, charming dolls and knick-knacks, drew visitors and rivalled the popular markets in Vienna, Amsterdam, Paris and Nuremberg.

Carrying on this tradition, the city’s Christkindlmarkt continues to enchant today.

Tips for enjoying the market

If you like the sound of Salzburg’s Christkindlmarkt, then here are some tips to get the most from your visit.

  • Dress: You will need to dress warmly since this can be a very cold place in winter. The temperature will be around zero degrees and the short days mean the evenings can be very cold too. We suggest wearing layers to help when you stop at a cafe or restaurant.
  • Cash: Many of the stalls will take cards but we found that having some cash – you’ll need euros – helped with cash-only traders. And tips in cafes!
  • Souvenirs: To remember your festive visit consider buying traditional decorations for the Christmas tree or Austrian specialities available at the market.
  • Language: Most people will speak a good level of English, but it would hurt to know a few words to help: ‘Hallo’ (hello), ‘danke’ (thank you), and ‘bitte’ (please). We find these also help: ‘Entschuldigung’ (Excuse me), and ‘Wie viel kostet das?’ (How much does this cost?).
  • Crafts: The market is a treasure trove of handcrafted wonders from unique ornaments for your Christmas tree, hand-painted ceramics, intricately carved wooden toys and traditional Austrian textiles. There are plenty of skilled artisans showcasing their expertise in glassblowing, embroidery and woodcarving which help to make this a perfect festive market.
  • Planning: Aim to visit on a weekday, if possible, as weekends can get very crowded. Book your accommodation well in advance, especially during peak season.

oooOooo

Christmas 4K Walking Tour – Salzburg Christmas Markets

Another great high-resolution offering a tour of the Salzburg Christmas markets, this time by Postcard And A Pint.

It starts at the entrance to the markets and it’s a snowy and cold visit – again, don’t forget to dress for the wintry conditions!

Even in the afternoon, the stalls are busy with visitors enjoying what is on offer.

And since it is filmed during the day, there’s more to enjoy from the background scenery of old buildings – and the colourful stalls also stand out.

Again, there’s no commentary but none is needed. The markets are really attractive and there’s something for everyone here.

However, the festive lights aren’t on, but the brightly lit stalls do stand out.

The film is focused on Salzburg’s Christkindlmarkt on Dom and Residentzplatz Square – but there is a lot to see and enjoy.

oooOooo

How to get to Salzburg from the UK

Salzburg is well-connected by air, rail and road, making it easily accessible for visitors.

  • Fly: There are a lot of flights from the UK to Salzburg – but be careful when selecting yours. That’s because many flights have stopovers so take much longer. It’s best to fly direct to Salzburg and, thanks to the skiing season, there’s plenty of choice at this time of year. You can opt for British Airways from Gatwick and Glasgow, Ryanair from Stanstead, Easyjet from Gatwick, Luton, Bristol and Liverpool. Jet2 fly from Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh. Prices do vary so it’s best to check more than one site, but Skyscanner offers flights to Salzburg from £198 direct – when flying midweek – and £247 when flying at the weekend. Travel Supermarket offers a wider range of flights but many of these have stopovers in Frankfurt, Dusseldorf or Vienna.
  • Driving: If you’re driving, Salzburg is well-connected by the Autobahn network but remember you will need to be prepared for wintery road conditions and potentially expensive tolls. Be aware that it will take 17 hours of driving to get there from London.
  • Train: The train journey takes 10.5 hours from London and will cost from £60.
  • Bus: You could get the bus for £19 but the journey takes 25 hours with various stops.

Where to stay for the Christkindlmarkt

As a popular tourist destination, Salzburg offers an impressive range of accommodation. For budget travellers, we can highly recommend the YoHo youth hostel with bed prices starting at €25 per night. It’s in the city centre and close to the main train station and the Christmas markets. There’s also the Salzburg Hauptbahnhof which has beds in dorms for €30.

Mid-range choices include the Hotel Elefant in the Old Town and close to the Cathedral at €150. Another Old Town option is the Hotel Elefant Salzburg, which is in a former brewery.

More luxurious options include Hotel Sacher Salzburg – home of the famous chocolate cake – and costs €400 per night. And there’s the 5-star Goldener Hirsch which has been operating since 1403.

We found that Booking.com offered a great range of hotels to meet various budgets – and lots had special deals.

AirBnB is also a great option for finding a place to stay in Salzburg during the Christmas markets. There are a variety of apartments and rooms available throughout the city, to suit all budgets.  Prices typically range from €100 per night and up.

We’d recommend looking at those in the Old Town (Allstadt) which is the most popular tourist area. Alternatively, you’ll find prices are cheaper in the New Town (Neustadt) – and still within walking distance of the markets.

Other attractions in Salzburg

Beyond the Christmas market, Salzburg has much to offer visitors.

  • Mirabell Palace and Gardens: Explore the stunning Mirabell Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and stroll through its beautifully landscaped gardens adorned with intricate sculptures and fountains.
  • Fortress Hohensalzburg: Take a funicular ride up to the majestic Fortress Hohensalzburg, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city and surrounding mountains. Explore its fascinating history and impressive staterooms.
  • Salzburg Museum: Delve into the rich history and culture of Salzburg at the Salzburg Museum, showcasing archaeological artefacts, art, and exhibits on the city’s development.

Budgeting for your Salzburg Christmas markets trip

Austria can be surprisingly expensive, and Salzburg more so. To help with budgeting, here’s a breakdown of the costs you can expect.

Accommodation: As mentioned above, the cost of accommodation can be surprisingly cheap. The hostels, which are very good, cost from €25 – €40 per night, a mid-range hotel from €150 – €250 and a luxury hotel is €400+ per night. We found Airbnbs will cost from €100+ per night but the price depends on size, location and amenities.

  • Food and drink: Christmas Market Snacks such as wurst (sausage), chips and strudel can be found for €3 – €6 each. Glühwein (mulled wine) and hot chocolate are €2 – €4 each. You’ll find a sit-down restaurant meal will cost between €15 – €30+ per person (though with so much delicious food available on the markets, we don’t think this will happen!). We’d estimate that a daily budget of a minimum €30 – €40 per day on food and drinks – but you’ll probably find you are spending €50 – €70 per day.
  • Transport: Everywhere in Salzburg is within walking distance so you can avoid paying for public transport. If you do, a bus fare is €2.50 but the Salzburg Card is great value at €25 – €69 (depending on how many days you are staying) and this includes travel on public transport and free entry to many attractions.
  • Souvenirs and gifts: Expect small Christmas ornaments to cost between €5 – €10; hand-crafted items: €10 – €50+ and traditional Austrian clothes €50+.

Other cities or markets to visit

If you have more time, consider visiting other nearby cities or markets.

The picturesque village of Hallstatt is a popular day trip and there’s the Berchtesgaden region in Germany, which is stunning and just a short journey from Salzburg.

If you fancy other German Christmas markets, then we’d recommend Munich and Berlin.

Visiting the Christmas market in Salzburg

Visiting the Salzburg Christmas market offers a unique blend of history, tradition and festive cheer, making it a must-visit destination for any Christmas market enthusiast.

The breathtaking scenery and its rich history, friendly atmosphere, delectable treats and captivating attractions, Salzburg promises an unforgettable winter wonderland experience.

There’s a lot to see and do but one advantage the Christkindlmarkt has over its rivals is that it WILL be snowing, and it WILL be cold!