There’s nothing better to get you in the mood for Christmas than the beautifully decorated stalls of a romantic Christmas market, a glass of punch with a cranberry Kiachl pastry, and festive tunes played by a traditional brass band. Adding to Jacob’s tips for Innsbruck’s festive markets, here’s my selection of romantic Christmas markets in Tirol. Merry Christmas!
Lienz Christmas Market
Scour the pretty stalls for Christmas tree decorations and traditional handicrafts, warm up beside a cosy fireplace and enjoy a glass of punch. Lienz Christmas Market also lays on a host of festive events, which range from nativity scene exhibits and craft sessions, to folk stories and workshops which focus on regional traditions.
Top tip: At 18:30 each evening, a new advent window and piece of artwork is revealed by the clock in front of the Town Hall.
Old Town Christmas Market, Golden Roof, Innsbruck
The scene at Innsbruck’s Old Town market couldn’t be more perfect: Christmas tree lights twinkle beneath the city’s famous Golden Roof, with the snow-dusted Nordkette mountains as a backdrop. Add the Old Town’s enchanting buildings to the scene, listen to traditional Christmas tunes played by local trumpeters, and there can be few places more atmospheric than this.
Top tip: Sipping mulled wine beside the Christmas tree and taking a romantic stroll through the Old Town’s narrow streets are two of my favourite activities here.
Seefeld Christmas Market
Wrap your fingers around a hot mug of mulled wine, take in the charms of the cottage-style huts and taste a traditional Tirol Kiachl (pastry) while browsing for local crafts and listening to the Seefeld brass band.
Top tip: Join a torch-lit chapel trail in neighbouring Leutasch and walk at night with lanterns, listening to traditional folk tales and songs.
Rattenberger Christmas Market
Peace and reflection are the central themes of this romantic market. The medieval town of Rattenberg becomes even more enchanting each Saturday before Christmas, when all electric lights are turned off and the streets are lit by candles and torches alone.
Top tip: Wander through the town’s pretty streets, stopping off at the studios of local glass artists – a traditional craft, the famous Kisslinger Crystal is made here.
Landeck Castle Christmas Market
The intimate market at Schloss Landeck (Landeck Castle) takes place on weekends during the lead up to Christmas. Expect a wonderfully cosy atmosphere, local music groups and lighting which echoes the starry sky overhead.
Top tip: Visit just before Christmas to see the castle’s ‘Krippele schaug’n’ exhibition of beautifully crafted nativity scenes.
Schwaz Christmas Market
At this weekend music, food and craft market in Schwaz, ‘Anklöpfler’ groups (performers dressed up as shepherds) play traditional pastoral tunes while children ride on the Schwaz Christmas carriage.
Top tip: Stay into the evening and take your pick of Christmas concerts – there’s something for every taste.
Mayrhofen Christmas Market
Take a break from the Christmas rush and relax by an open fire surrounded by ancient trees at this beautiful Forest Festival in Mayrhofen. Listen to brass bands and local carol singers while munching on Zillertal donuts – a local specialty.
Top tip: Stroll through the Scheulingwald Forest during the ‘Silent Night’ theme evening and learn more about the creation of this famous Christmas song, and how the Zillertal valley brought it to the attention of the world!
Hall Christmas Market
Hall’s medieval Old Town is wonderfully atmospheric at Christmas time and strolling through the streets is an experience in itself. See an oversized advent calendar projected onto the façades of the town’s buildings and expect new festive surprises each day.
Top tip: Listen to regional choirs and brass bands performing Christmas carols at 6 o’clock each evening.
Christmas Market at Kufstein Fortress
The Kufstein Fortress turns advent weekends into a magical winter world, with festive lights and regional delicacies in a spectacular historic setting.
Top tip: Peer over the shoulders of local craftsmen to watch them creating traditional Christmas trinkets.
Imst Christmas market
Every Sunday in Advent, the Christmas market in Imst sets up behind St John’s Church. Candles are lit on the Advent wreath, open fireplaces flicker, brass bands provide musical accompaniment and festive illuminations add to the Christmas spirit.
Top tip: Follow the Nativity Trail to see ornate and diverse manger scenes displayed outside local houses and windows.