It’s the holiday season. Halloween is over; outside my window I can see the first snow flakes of the year dancing in the wind, and since we in Europe don’t celebrate the “conquest and genocide of Native Americans by European colonists”, it’s time to get into the Christmas spirit. In Vienna, as in many other towns and cities, this means it’s time for various Chrismas markets and villages to open.

There are some 200 of those in the city. Most of them, typically charity events, are only open for a weekend or two and very small. A few are larger and open daily at least until Christmas, some even until after New Year’s.

One of those is located in one of the cities larger parks, the Türkenschanzpark. Situated on one of the hills that form the western border of Vienna in the middle of a rather posh residential area, it is usually filled with young families, old women, and their dogs. The christmas village has a rather good reputation, which is why we went there, although it’s quite far away from anywhere I would usually go in Vienna.

At first, we had a hard time finding it. We came into the extensive park at the other end. Lovely as it might be in daylight, at night the area is positively creepy.

When we finally found the market, the first impression was that it was disappointingly small, only 20 booths or so. In the dark it’s also hard for the park itself to work its charm. To be fair, just like the park, the market caters primarily to young families. There is a carousel and a playground nearby.

On the upside, it was pleasantly devoid of kitsch, plastic toys and the like. Instead, you found delicious waffles, nice traditional wooden toys and Christmas decorations, regional goods, and of course, hot punch and spiced wine. All in all a nice, familiar affair, worth a visit if you’re in the area anyway.

Size: some 20 booths
Prices: low, hot beverages start at €3.–
Kitsch: low to medium
Special offer: very good for children

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