I saw the sad sight of a recycling van full of Christmas trees on my run this morning. It’s still crisp and blue with winter but the magic of Christmas has passed- that wonderful magic that makes it socially acceptable to drink bubbly at 11AM in the morning. I have made the most of the season though: the whole month of December was taken up by my drive to visit as many Christmas markets as possible. So here is a guide to Christmas markets in Salzburg state and a little beyond. It’s a long post so I will split into several parts!
Christmas in Austria is just wonderful. It smells of cloves and chestnuts, it sparkles with ice and snow, you can wrap up in cosy layers and breathe it all in. I love everything from the bluebird sky days to the cold, candle-lit evenings. From the markets I visited, the best were the smaller ones in the towns rather than the cities. It may be more of an effort to get to and there may not be as many stalls but the atmosphere is what counts.
On more practical issues, wear lots of layers and try to take breaks in shops or by heaters to stay warm. Bring your own cup and cutlery if you are planning on eating or drinking. Accept that you will not really know what it’s like until you get there: the descriptions can range from wildly over-exaggerated to downright misleading. The best is to embrace the unexpected and know that you will always be able to find a warm drink and a sausage.