Photo Series: Enchanted by the Vienna Christmas Lights

Vienna Christmas Lights

When it comes to Christmas time, Vienna takes its celebrations seriously. Around every corner is a Christmas market with stalls bursting with people trying to keep warm with a mug of glühwein. But to me the Christmas lights, are the real stars of the season. In December, the city centre of Vienna is transformed with an incredible array of dazzling lights, worth a visit just to see them alone. Even if you’re reading this after Christmas has passed, it’s never too late to start thinking about plans for next Christmas! Enjoy the following journey through the Vienna Christmas lights.


Centring in on Stephansplatz

Throughout the pedestrian streets in the heart of Vienna, you will find different streets adorned with their own styles of lights. This makes you want to explore about more to try and find the best ones. At Stephansplatz, Karlsplatz, Maria-Theresin-Platz and outside the Spanish Riding School, you will find markets selling traditional Viennese Christmas foods, arts and crafts. Really, no matter where you go, you’re bound to find something to you’re liking.

A good place to start is outside the Opera House on the main pedestrian street of Kärntnerstrasse as it leads you to the heart of the city at Stephansplatz. As you follow the glittering lights overhead, you find yourself standing by a large Christmas tree and the lights around Stephansplatz.

Red Bow, Vienna Christmas Lights

Kartnerstrasse, Vienna Christmas Lights

City Lights, Vienna Christmas Lights

Red Xmas Lights, Vienna Christmas Lights

Stephansplatz Lights, Vienna Christmas Lights

Stephansplatz Market, Vienna Christmas Lights


Graben Lights

Once you’ve enjoyed all the lights around Stephansplatz, it’s best to head along Graben, Vienna’s other main pedestrian area. Possibly Vienna’s most iconic lights are the grand chandeliers that hang over Graben, totally in keeping with the imperial presence of the city. Be sure to keep your eye’s peeled, as down every side street you’ll find even more dazzling light setups. At the end you’ll be met with witness the glittery sky over Kohlmarkt, a personal favourite of mine.

Graben Lights, Vienna Christmas Lights

Graben Christmas Lights, Vienna Christmas Lights

Crown Lights, Vienna Christmas Lights

Kohlmarkt Lights, Vienna Christmas Lights


Palace Lights

In winter two of Vienna’s main palaces, the Belvedere and Schönbrunn, simply become backdrops for Christmas markets and lights. At the Belvedere, a small market sits between the reflecting pond and the palace, while star lights hover over the lake to enchanting effect. Meanwhile at Schönbrunn, the palace is bathed in a warm glow as to not distract from the large Christmas tree taking centre stage.

Belvedere Star Light, Vienna Christmas Lights

Belvedere at Christmas, Vienna Christmas Lights

Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna Christmas Lights


Karlsplatz Lights

Home to another large Christmas market, the lights and decorations in Karlsplatz are simple but effective. Streams of fairy lights crisscross over the markets and paths, converging over the large pile of hay that is the popular children’s playground.

Karlsplatz, Vienna Christmas Lights

Karlsplatz Fairylights, Vienna Christmas Lights

Karlsplatz Lights, Vienna Christmas Lights


Rathaus Christmas Markets

When it comes to the Christmas markets and lights, the biggest and best has to be at the park in front of the Rathaus, Vienna’s majestic City Hall. There are plenty of opportunities to indulge in food and drink, plus a bunch of craft stalls at which to shop. The various lights in the trees around the park are particularly creative and fun, but the main show is the way the Rathaus itself is lit up in glorious fashion. While other parts of the city are lit up the same way each year, the Rathaus lights are forever changing.

Rathaus 2017, Vienna Christmas Lights

Frohe Weihnachten, Vienna Christmas Lights

Rathaus Lights, Vienna Christmas Lights

Rathaus Market

Rathaus Lights

Guitar Lights

Christmas Stalls, Vienna Christmas Lights

Christmas Tree, Vienna Christmas Lights

Spooky Lights


Final Thoughts

Well there’s a taste of what Vienna has to offer at Christmas time. Together with enjoying the atmosphere and seasonal goods at the markets, the Vienna Christmas lights really transform the city. I hope that this may encourage you to consider coming to this beautiful city next festive season. It may well be the best time of year to visit.


Have you been to see the Vienna Christmas Lights during the festive season? Where are your favourite Christmas lights and Christmas markets? Please comment below.

Why Not Pin It for Later

Why you should spend your next Christmas in Vienna, via @travelsewhere

Why you should spend your next Christmas in Vienna, via @travelsewhere

Why you should spend your next Christmas in Vienna, via @travelsewhere













10 Comment

  1. I’ve been dying to visit the Vienna Christmas Market! Vienna will always have a special place in my heart as that’s where my husband proposed earlier this year! Hope you’re enjoying it! I saw your “Where am I now” status and saw you’re in Vienna! Be sure to go to Cafe Central and try the “Central Surprise” mmmm #TheWeeklyPostcard

    1. David says:

      What I love in Vienna is that there are so many markets to choose from. A proposal would certainly make it a special place to you. Thanks for the recommendation on Cafe Central, will be trying it soon I hope.

  2. Wow! These look amazing! Thanks for sharing, so wonderful to see. #mondayescapes

  3. The lights look lovely – I have only been to Vienna in the summer. I would have to choose London for my favourite Christmas lights – heading off there in 10 days to have a good look! #MondayEscapes

  4. Just beautiful. My first time in Paris, the xmas lights were up. It was so magical for me….

  5. You have managed to capture the photos beautifully, my night time photography is terrible! Thanks for linking up to #Monday Escapes

  6. Vienna seems so charming at Christmas time, David. Your pictures are simply astonishing. Which was the best Christmas market you’ve visited in Vienna?

    1. David says:

      Thanks Agness! Favourite market is a tough one, the Rathaus one is hard to beat for the sheer spectacle but can be busy. I found the one at Karslplatz to be the most laid-back though. Thanks for reading!

  7. Emily says:

    Vienna at Christmas has been on mt bucket list for a while now! All the lights kind of remind me of the Christmas lights in NYC.

  8. A long weekend in Vienna the weekend before Christmas has become a Jetset Boyz annual event. Vienna’s prettiest squares transform into magical Christmas markets. The aroma of Christmas baking & hot punch sets the mood in the run-up to Christmas.

    We usually stay at the Hilton Vienna Plaza because it’s so close to the fabulous Christmas market at the Rathaus and about five other markets. Last year there were fourteen different markets – you’re absolutely spoilt for choice and you’ll feel like a kiddy in a sweet shop! So, for those of you that have never been to Vienna in December why not make a plan and do it this December?

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