Hear the murmur of cheery voices and delight in the scent of gingerbread and cinnamon as they waft through the wintry air. Let your chocolate-box story unfold from the moment you take on the whimsical Salzburg Christmas markets, then enjoy all the city and its slopes have to offer.
Salzburg Christkindlmarkt (Nov - Dec)*
Get into the spirit in Cathedral Square. This is the prime location for a sprinkling of magic, from the warm glow of lights to the procession of angels on Saturdays. A towering tree will complete the scene, while crafts, ornaments, traditional biscuits and even bite-sized Austrian savouries will suit all ages.
Advent Magic in Hellbrunn (Nov - Dec)*
Set in an idyllic wilderness of evergreen conifers and icy pathways, alpine and advent join forces in the grounds of Hellbrunn Palace. Hop on the dainty train to make your way around or even just plod by foot, browsing the quaint stalls and petting zoo as you go. No Salzburg Christmas market break would be complete without a visit.
Hohensalzburg Fortress Courtyard (Nov - Dec)*
Trace the hillside by funicular to Europe’s largest fort and you’ll soon see lit-up wooden booths appear. Stare down at the snow-clad roofs as you enter this cheery Salzburg Christmas market. Stock up on wrapping and tags, handpick the shiniest decorations and nibble on edible treats as you wander past brass bands.
Mirabell Square (Nov - Dec)*
With a typically Austrian appeal, all chocolate-box-style and laid out in rows, poinsettia-filled stalls and food huts take the reins here. A pretty palace backdrop makes Mirabell Square a popular pick during your Salzburg Christmas market holiday, so assemble your helpers and check out the woollens, trinkets and toys.
St Leonhard Market (Nov - Dec)*
This market introduces an arty approach to the festivities, with crafts, candles, lavender and other scented goods, while the peaceful songs of choirs whistle through the chilly air. It’s the ideal accompaniment to a wintry afternoon – along with the must-eat selection of local cookies and baked apples.
Glanegg Advent Farmers’ Market (Dec)*
If you fancy a Salzburg Christmas market with a culinary twist, then get yourself to the countryside for a festive farmers’ market. We’re talking the freshest farm produce, from rich game pies to venison sausages and wild boar. You can stock up on handcrafted wooden trinkets, ceramics and textiles too.
This Benedictine monastery is famed for its connection to the classic film The Sound of Music. Maria Von Trapp was a postulant at the abbey after the First World War and the gates were used as a setting for the...
Straight from the pages of a fantasy fairytale, Hohensalzburg Castle takes pride of place atop Festungsberg Hill, towering over the city. Reach the top via funicular, and discover 900 years of ancient history –...
The winner of the European Museum of the Year in 2009, the Salzburg Museum is housed in the Neue Residenz on the Residenzplatz. It combines exhibits about the famed people of Salzburg with archaeological finds...
Salzburg is big on advent celebrations, so it’ll begin to look a lot like Christmas very quickly. Carol singers flock to the streets, while church services keep traditions going indoors. Yuletide excitement will be in full swing as you explore the old town and get stuck into shopping, baking and more.
Take to the lake to gawp at a dreamy display of light and sound installations. From elephants and whales to flowers and mushrooms, the forest brightens up for a kaleidoscopic outdoor exhibition. You’ll be privy to concerts, impressionistic features and pyrotechnic stunt shows.
Spread across six weeks, Salzburg Volksgarten becomes the stage for the Contemporary Circus. Musicians, dancers, puppet shows and street performers team up to showcase what these tinsel-topped troupes can do. It’s a place where people can come together to delight in a programme of energetic arts and all things jolly, away from the buzz of the Salzburg Christmas markets.
4. Horse-drawn carriage rides
A clippety-clop through Mozart’s city is almost essential. It doesn’t get much more seasonal than a horse-drawn carriage ride through the snowy walkways of shimmering Salzburg, so combine a trip out exploring with a jovial jaunt through the most enchanting patches of forest and astounding Austrian architecture.
5. The Silent Night Chapel
It isn’t shouted about too often, but the writer of the famous carol ‘Silent Night’ was from Salzburg, so it’s only fitting to go to Oberndorf, where it was first sung on Christmas Eve in 1818. It’s tradition to visit, so head over before Santa hits town.
6. Go skiing
Keen skiers flock to Austria solely for the pistes, but you could get a little on-slope action in during your Salzburg Christmas market break. The area is huge for winter sports, so go and see what all the fuss is about. Submerge yourself in the staggering cinematic scenery, and get merry by the mountains.