The Top 5 Christmas Markets in Vienna

Experiencing the magic of visiting a Christkindlmarkt in the capital of Austria

Christmas markets are a bing thing in Austria and Vienna excels at hosting them. Let’s start with a language lesson. First you have to know that they are called Christkindlmark in Austria. Germans call them Weihnachtsmarkt.

If you are travelling to Vienna during the Christmas season then visiting at least one of these markets is a must. More can’t hurt either. To make it easier for you I will tell you more about my favorite five markets in the city. Enjoy!

Old Viennese Christmas Market – Freyung

From November 17 to December 23

This is easily my favorite. It’s small, it’s intimate and has a lot of authentic craftsmanship and locally produced snacks. The market opens at 10pm and closes at 9pm. They have a daily changing program for kids and adults likewise.

Location: Freyung, 1010 Vienna – Google Maps

Art Advent – Karlsplatz

From November 22 to December 23

This market is not only the ending point for our Christmas tour it is also the place where on can really find creative and authentic crafts and art.

Christmas Market Karlsplatz

Photo by a7m2 on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Local artists even create their work at the market for you to watch. This rather large Christkindlmarkt is located in the Resselpark, close to the Karlsplatz metro station.

Tip: I love to view the market from the nearby Otto Wagner Pavillon once they turned on their lights.

Last but not least this is a great visit with kids of all ages. They have a hay playground and some other attractions including all kinds of Austrian pets like goats and pigs.

Location: Resselpark, 1010 Vienna – Google Maps

Christmas Market – Spittelberg

From November 14 to December 23

Stroll the narrow streets of this romantic market that’s located in a district that dates from the Biedermeier period. Immerse in the festive atmosphere, have a hot Glühwein and accompany it with one of my favorite sweet snacks: Chimney Cake!

Chimney Cake

Photo by avlxyz on Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Location: Spittelberg, close to the Volkstheater – Google Maps

Christmas Village – Belvedere Palace

From November 22 to December 31

One thing special about this market is, that it’s open until New Years Eve. The other is, that it’s located in the premises of a palace that’s also a fantastic art museum!

Christmas Market Vienna

My tip: Visit their wonderful exhibition which showcases Austrian masters Schiele and Klimt among others and then savour the many treats this Christmas market has to offer.

Bonus: Come in the afternoon and enjoy a marvellous view over the city

Location: Schloss Belvedere, Prinz Eugen-Straße 27, 1030 Vienna – Google Maps

Christmas Village in the Former General Hospital (Altes AKH)

From November 18 to December 23

This is more a small village than a market. There are also a number of restaurants close by if you get cold and all the sweet Punsch can’t keep you warm. The location in the courtyard of Vienna’s former General Hospital is unique too.

Christmas Market Polaroid

My favorite snack here: Baked Potato!

If you are into winter sports you should check out their curling rink! Also good to know: No 🐶allowed 😞

Location: Altes Allgemeines Krankenhaus, Spitalgasse 2, 1090 Vienna – Google Maps

 

These are just my top 5 markets. There are plenty of other great markets, namely the one at Schönbrunn palace and the one at “Am Hof” in the inner city that are worth checking out.

You are interested in exploring the Christmas markets on tour with us? Join us for a tour in Vienna and capture the magic of Christmas on instant film!

Foodie Tip – Barcelona

The Best Cava and Tapas Bar

La Xampanyeria

You will find this small hole in the wall bar hidden in a quiet street, Carrer de la Reina Cristina, close to Port Vell (as well as the El Born district and the Gothic Quarter, Barri Gòtic)

The place is easy to miss as there isn’t even a visible sign promoting it. Sometimes there’s a line in front of it or even a doorman helping in keeping everything civil.

La Xampanyeria in Barcelona

La Xampanyeria (or Can Paixano) was founded back in 1969. In my opinion it is a must-visit during your stay. If you crave a tasty Cava (the Spanish but much cheaper version of Champagne) and hearty tapas at the counter or just about any spot where you can find space, then this is your place!

Check out the Can Paixano website for more information.

Tip: Get a bottle of Cava instead of some glasses. The bottle is quite cheap (approximately 15 Euros) and will come with two tapas of your choice already included in the price!

Can Paixano

Photo by ceasedesist on Foter.com / CC BY-SA

For those who don’t speak the Catalan language (probably most) we have prepared this small cheat sheet. Don’t think of asking for a menu, there isn’t one. The only way to figure out what you can order is the big board. Again, Catalan only.

This will help a lot when ordering. Enjoy!

  • Banderilla – Pickle
  • Botifarra – A sausage similar to Bratwurst
  • Bacó – A kind of bacon
  • Calents – Hot
  • Carxofa – Artichoke
  • D‘Ovella – Lamp
  • Entrepants – Sandwich
  • Foie Gras – Goose liver
  • Guindilla – Spicy pepper
  • Llongonissa – A pork sausage (peperoni/salami)
  • Lomo – Pork loin
  • Morcilla – Blood sausage
  • Panceta – A salt cured cold cut
  • Pechuga – Chicken breast
  • Pernil – A slow-roasted marinated pork leg or pork shoulder
  • Salsitxa – A sausage
  • Seito en vinagre – Sardins in vinegar
  • Sobrassada – Air dried sausage spread Streichwurst
  • Ternera – Veal
  • Xistorra – A fast-cure sausage similar to chorizo
  • York – Ham

Best of – Paris

Our favourite things to do on a trip to Paris

Paris is always worth a visit. We asked our local Instant Tours Paris host Dominique about his favourite things to do in the French metropole. And he delivered! 

Coffee

He recommends trying a traditional French Bakery. His top tips are either Poilane or Eric Kayser. For a French staple, the croissant he recommends a visit at la Maison d’Isabelle. They have the very the best croissants in the city.

Lunch

For launch head over to the cutest little place, Place du Marché Sainte Catherine in the Marais area. Grab a quick bite and continue exploring Paris afterwards!

Quiche

Quiche – Photo by ella.o on Foter.com / CC BY

Dinner

A restaurant that’s simple in its appearance but nonetheless has great and typical French cuisine is Le Pavé

Drinks

Fancy a tasty and refreshing alcoholic beverage. Head over to La Perla Bar for the very best mojitos and caipirinhas. Given from a man who’s been travelling Brazil each year I’d trust his recommendation on this. Get a bang for your buch and come at their happy hour (not on weekends).

Capirinha

Photo on Foter.com

Hot Days

A fantastic but at times very busy rooftop bar is on top of the Holiday Inn hotel close to Notre Dame featuring a fabulous view on the famed but under construction cathedral.

Paris From Above

Rainy Days

Now this is a true insider. The Smithsonian magazine called it “one of the most rewarding and inventive [museums] in Paris”. Visit the dedicated to hunt and nature Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in 62 Rue des Archives Paris 3e. Closed on Mondays.

Paris - Top Insider Tips For Coffee, Lunch, Dinner, Drinks & More

Photo by dalbera on Foter.com / CC BY

Editor’s note: This entry is not sponsored by any of the places above and reflects solely the authors opinion

Experience Salzburg from up high

Salzburg is one of the most photogenic cities that I know of. Even though I’ve already been living here for a couple of years now, I still sometimes stand at one of the city’s viewpoints and catch myself thinking that it looks like a beautiful painting. Always amazed that the city scenery in front of me is real.

Here are some of my favourite spots to take photos of this beautiful city:

Mönchsberg

Right behind the Salzburg Cathedral, there’s a small pathway going up Mönchsberg, called Bierjodlgasse. Keep on walking up until you’re close to the fork and turn towards the city.

The best views over the city of Salzburg

View from Mönchsberg

If you keep on heading up Bierjodlgasse and turn left at the fork, the trail will lead you around the mountain to the other side of the Mönchsberg. After walking through the archway, you’ll have an amazing panoramic view over parts of the city and the southern mountain range including Untersberg.

Untersberg - View from Mönchsberg in Winter

Untersberg

There is another lookout that is located a bit further up on Mönchsberg. You can reach this point from different sides, depending where you walked up the mountain. It’s called Richterhöhe. You have a beautiful view over to Fortress Hohensalzburg on one side and to the other side, you’ve a view over parts of the city and the mountains around it.

You can get to there by either walking up the stairs going up from Müllner Hauptstraße (located on the same height as Müllnersteg) and then following the street until you see Hotel Schloss Mönchstein to your right. There’ll be a small trail going left from the main road.

You can see Kapuzinerberg, parts of Gaisberg to your left and then in front of it and further to the right, the heart of the old town and then Mönchsberg with Fortress Hohensalzburg on top of it.

Kapuzinerberg

This is one of the best spots to see the sunset in Salzburg! Coming up Linzer Gasse from the river Salzach, you’ll see a big archway to your right. Walk the path up until you reach the Kapuzinerkloster (monastery). The lookout where this photo was taken will be on your right. Enjoy a view over the old town and the “other” landmark mountain, the Mönchsberg.

Sunset from Kapuzinerberg

Sunset from Kapuzinerberg

Schloss Mirabell

The stunning beauty of the Mirabellgarten is always worth a visit, no matter the season. At the one end of the garden, there are a couple of stairs. Climb them to have a beautiful view over the gardens with the Mönchsberg and Fortress Hohensalzburg in the background. That’s what we call a photo opp!

Mirabellgarten

Mirabellgarten in Salzburg

Salzach

Coming from the old town, keep walking towards Müllnersteg with the river, Salzach, to your right. The view is already beautiful on the way to the bridge but you’ll surely get the best view and pictures on the bridge itself.

View from Müllnersteg

View from Müllnersteg

What To Do? A Day In Vienna

Vienna – The capital of Austria was, according to the Mercer study, voted most liveable city in the world for the ninth time last year. If that wasn’t enough, it just overtook Melbourne as the world’s most liveable city after seven years in the survey of the Economist Intelligence Unit as well. If you still need convincing to come visit us in Austria, here’s what a typical day of your stay could look like.

8:30 am – Breakfast at Figar 1040

Always good to start the day with a nourishing breakfast. At Figar 1040, you’ll definitely find that. From delicious toasted Avocado Bread over Menemen (oriental scrambled eggs) to sweet Porridge, they have a very nice selection for every taste. 

10:00 am – Instant Tours Polaroid Tour

Now that you’re prepared for the day, we’d suggest to get an overview of the city. How? Just join us for the Polaroid Photo Tour Classic.

The tour starts at the picturesque Karlskirche where you will meet your local guide for a short introduction to your new best friend: The vintage Polaroid camera. 

Vienna Classic Tour

Karlskirche

Then we’ll slowly make our way along the magnificent Ring boulevard where many of the city’s most important sights are. You’ll catch a glimpse of the Hofburg, the Parliament, the famous State Opera and the not much less famous Burgtheater, the gorgeous City Hall. We end our tour at beautiful neo-Gothic Votivkirche, right next to the University of Vienna.

At the end of your experience you will hold eight unique Polaroid souvenirs in your hands.

12:45 pm – Traditional Austrian Lunch at Rebhuhn

Wiener SchnitzelAfter a longer walk and probably many beautiful Polaroids later, you’ll surely be a little hungry (or a lot). Lucky for you, the lovely Viennese restaurant Rebhuhn is just around the corner from Votivkirche, in Berggasse where you can enjoy a nice traditional lunch. Schnitzel, Tafelspitz and more. Check out our food guide to get a taste and an idea on what to order

3:30 pm – Walk through the gardens of Schloss Schönbrunn

Schloss Schönbrunn – not only known for its beautiful architecture but also for the gorgeous park and garden around it. A great place to take a stroll and take some more photos. Don’t miss out on climbing the small hill to the Gloriette. A fantastic view will reward you.

If you like to take a dive into Austrian history, we recommend taking a palace tour. There’s even a so called Strudelshow at the nearby Café Residenz where you can learn how make delicious Viennese Apfelstrudel! 

How do you best get to the palace? If you had lunch at Rebhuhn before, just walk down Schlickplatz until you reach the Ring (you’ve walked on it before, at your Polaroid tour), turn left and walk all the way down to the Danube Canal where you’ll see the sign of the metro station Schottenring to your right. The metro line U4 (green) will take you straight to the station Schloss Schönbrunn. 

Schönbrunn Palace Vienna

Schönbrunn Palace Vienna

6:00 pm – Dinner at Disco Volante

Mmhmm.. did someone say pizza? Disco Volante makes some of the best pizzas in town! Why is the place called Disco Volante? It’s because their wood oven looks like a gigantic disco bowl. Super cool and a definite recommendation from us 🙂

They’re open every evening but opening hours slightly change depending on which week day you go there. Also very easy to get there from Schloss Schönbrunn. Just hop on the U4 in the direction Heiligenstadt, get out at Margaretengürtel and then it’s just a short walk along Morizgasse. Turn right into Gumpendorferstraße where you will find the restaurant on the corner of Stumpergasse.

8:00 pm – Evening walk through the charming 7th district

After dinner you should take walk in this young and hip district of Vienna. You’ll find many contemporary art galleries, cafés, bars and beautiful independent fashion designer shops.

Of course, many of those will already be closed at 8:00pm but still great to get some inspiration which ones to visit on the next day 😉

I would recommend walking up Gumpendorferstraße for a while until you reach Otto-Bauer-Gasse on your left, walk up to Mariahilfer Straße (one of the city’s biggest shopping streets), follow it to Kirchengasse, turn left and go until  you reach Siebensterngasse.

This obviously isn’t the only way to reach your next destination but one I like a lot.

9:00 pm – Drinks at Café 7 Stern 

I just love this place! Café 7 Stern is great to sit outside in summer and super cozy inside during the colder months of the year. They’ve a variety of delicious drinks from non-alcoholic to alcoholic and their cakes are simply amazing. Perfect if you feel like having a little dessert after dinner 😉

Where to stay?

The Guesthouse Vienna – Boutique hotel in the heart of Vienna

Link: https://www.theguesthouse.at/

25 Hours Hotel

Link: https://www.25hours-hotels.com/hotels/wien/museumsquartier

 

Editor’s note: This entry is not sponsored by any of the places above and reflects the authors opinion

Our Top 5 Christmas Markets in Salzburg

It’s almost that time of the year again. I don’t know about you but I certainly love that month before Christmas when it’s starting to get a little colder outside, maybe a few first snowflakes have fallen. The city has its light decorations on. I can hear the Christmas songs from the ice skate track around the corner and when I walk through the city, the lovely smell of Glühwein follows me around.

It also means, it is time for the Christmas Markets again!

And Salzburg does really have a couple of beautiful ones to offer. Here are the ones I like best:

Advent Magic in Hellbrunn

From November 22 to December 24

One of the most romantic Christmas Markets is definitely the Hellbrunner Adventzauber in the courtyard of the castle.

Polaroid Of Christmas OrnamentsDuring the Advent time, an enchanted forest with over 400 coniferous trees is created around the castle, decorated with 13.000 red glitter balls and fairy lights. A must see!

Advent Market St.Peter Stiftskulinarium

From November 16 to January 6

The Advent Market in St. Peter is honestly my favorite! When you enter through the stone arch decorated from floor to ceiling with dark green fir branches and fairy lights, you truly have the feeling of entering into another world.

The decoration is made with so much love to detail and magical lights everywhere. This one is not really a market but it does have a delicious Glühwein to offer and sometimes you’ll hear a live band playing and singing in the courtyard. Truly a unique experience!

Advent Market at Franziskischlössl

From December 1 to December 30

The Franziskischlössl is located up on one of Salzburg’s house mountains, the Kapuzinerberg. It’s a really nice and cozy atmosphere up there! During the Advent time, they’ve a little market in their courtyard with local Austrian food products and regional craft works. You can either take a walk up the mountain or take the shuttle that leaves regularly from the entrance on Linzergasse.

Please check the opening hours before going up there. The market is only open on weekends, Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm.

Advent Market in the Hohensalzburg (castle) courtyard

From November 22 to December 24

The Advent Market on Hohensalzburg has been part of the pre-Christmas celebrations in Salzburg since over 20 years now. Up on Mönchsberg (another one of Salzburg’s house mountains), under the linden trees in the courtyard of Hohensalzburg, this market has a very special atmosphere.

Salzburg’s Christmas Market

From November 22 to December 26

Taking place on the Dome and Residenz Square, this Christkindlmarkt is the biggest and oldest one in Salzburg. It has already been around for a very long time – earliest mentions go all the way back to the 15th century!

Nutcracker at Christkindlmarkt Salzburg

Photo by Rob Young on Foter.com / CC BY

In the form like it’s known today, it was first hold in 1974. There’s a great program scheduled every day. One of the highlights is the famous “Turmblasen” every Saturday where the tower blasters stand on three towers around the Residenz Square, playing Christmas songs.

You are interested in exploring Austrian Christmas markets with a vintage Polaroid camera? Join us for a tour in Vienna or inquire a private one in Salzburg or Graz!

Untersberg – A Mystic Mountain

The stunning Untersberg in the background of the picture below is one of Salzburg’s six house mountains, always a nice companion when you take a walk on Mönchsberg (another one of Salzburg’s house mountains where the big fortress Festung Hohensalzburg is built on). The mountain is so massive that you can almost always catch a glimpse on it.

Untersberg - View from Mönchsberg

Untersberg – View from Mönchsberg

The magic of this special mountain

For me, this mountain has so much power, always has, since I’ve been living here, even before I found out all these magical things, myths and stories about it.

When the Dalai Lama was visiting Salzburg in 1992, he apparently said that the Untersberg is the Heart Chakra of Europe, some even say it’s the Heart Chakra of the World. Now to all of you who are not so much into spirituality 😉

Chakras are energy points along our spine. There are seven main ones and one of them is situated where the heart is, the Heart Chakra.

Now, I can’t say that much about this fact but I know from my own experiences that this mountain truly has some magical powers.

Untersberg - View from Mönchsberg in Winter

Untersberg – View from Mönchsberg in Winter

My favorite Story about the Untersberg

As mentioned above, there are many more myths and stories around the Untersberg. One of my favorite ones is the story about.

“The Lost Wedding Group”

Many years ago, a rich farmers couple and a small group of people were on their way from one village (St. Leonhard) to another one (Grödig) to celebrate their wedding party at the parents house of the bride. Everyone was in a good mood and the musicians they had with them played some music while they were walking towards the Untersberg.

Untersberg - On the way up

Untersberg – On the way up

Then someone of the group started to tell a story about an emperor and his army who had disappeared in this area. Ever since this event, it’s said that ghosts appear in this area and give presents to rovers.

As soon as the story was told, the groom started to call for the ghost to ask him to give them a present. All of the sudden, the mountain opened and a small man with silver-white hair appeared. The man pointed to a door which leads into the mountain.

Food & drinks in the mountain

Untersberg - View towards Störhaus

Untersberg – View towards Störhaus

The whole wedding group followed him until they arrived at a beautiful room. There was a big set up table full of delicious food and drinks. The engaged couple and the rest of the group sit down to eat and drink. After the meal, as they had been eating and drinking a little bit too much, they required a little nap. Still seated at the table, they all slept for quite some time.

 

When they woke up again, the mountain ghost showed them the way outside. It was daylight when they reappeared on the surface of the mountain again.

They had a look around and noticed that with the time they had spent in the mountain, everything had changed. The people living in the village close by didn’t speak their language anymore, it seemed like they had arrived in a whole different country.

The Wake Up After The Sleep

Untersberg - View on the way down from Störhaus

Untersberg – View on the way down from Störhaus

Even after a couple of days of walking, when they finally arrived in their known village, it didn’t seem like home anymore. At the place where their houses had been standing before, there were other houses built now.

They went to the priest of the village and told him everything what had happened. The priest opened his books and actually found an article where it said that 500 years ago, a young engaged couple, along with a group of people got lost in the area and had never been seen again.

I just love this story as it a great reflection of all the myths and stories about time loop wholes and other magical things happening on and around the Untersberg. If this is all true? Well, who knows… for my part, I love to believe in stories and myths that are beyond any logical reach.

Learn more about Salzburg

If you want to have a look at the mountain and hear some more stories about it, come for a visit to Salzburg. We’ll get a good look at it on our walking tour through the city. From a safe distance of course 😉

Five Hidden Gems in Barcelona

Discover this vibrant city off the beaten track

Barcelona is one of the most popular city destinations in Europe attracting millions of tourists each year, but the city still has a host of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Today we want to share our favorite spots  in Barcelona with you that are off the beaten track (at least sort of 😉).

Carmel Bunkers

Once upon a time, the Carmel Bunkers really were off the beaten track. But year after year the bunkers became more known and today it is a famous viewpoint over the city. What you get there are panoramic views of Barcelona from the Spanish Civil War bunkers where anti-aircraft guns were installed.

View from Carmel Bunkers Barcelona

View from Carmel Bunkers in Barcelona, Spain – Photo by Zach Marzouk on Trend Hype / CC BY

What’s great about the Bunkers is that they are free of charge.

For more information on how to arrive go here.

Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau

The Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau is not a Gaudí structure and hence not as well known as many other buildings in the city. But it is just as beautiful and impressive.

Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau

Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau

It is Europe’s largest art nouveau complex and was a public hospital until 2009.

Here you can find more information on this Art Nouveau Site, including opening hours and directions.

La Xampanyeria

La Xampanyeria (from Can Paixano) was founded in 1969 and in our opinion it is a must-see during your visit. If you want to have great Cava and Tapas, this is the place to go. The original Xampanyeria is in Carrer de la Reina Cristina and usually packed, you might have to wait to get inside. But it is worth it. Enjoy a glass (or bottle) of the amazing Can Paixano Cava while having some Tapas at the counter.

Read more about the place here

Encants Flea Market

Els Encants is not only Barcelona’s biggest, but also its oldest flea market. Over 500 vendors gather here to sell everything from vintage clothes, jewellery, accessories, furniture and antiques.

Encants Market in Glòries

Encants Market in Glòries

You can find some amazing deals here if you have the time to look for them. Or if you prefer to just get the feeling of it you can just stroll through the stalls and enjoy this great location. Pro-Tip: We visit the market during our “The New” Barcelona Polaroid tour.

For more Information visit the Encants Website.

Parque del Laberinto de Horta

Horta’s Labyrinth Park is Barcelona’s oldest conserved garden in a Romantic style.

As its name promises already: It is a labyrinth. You have to find your way threw the park’s labyrinth which is made from cypress hedges. What do you think, how long will it take you to go tot he centre and back outside?

You can find more information on opening hours and directions here.

The Butterfly House

Rainy Days in Vienna

 

Sadly not all days on a trip are blessed by blue skies and sunshine. The very best conditions for an Instant Tour around town. But sometimes we are out of luck and it rains. A lot. What to do? You are on a trip, in wonderful Vienna. Therefore sitting in a your hotel room isn’t really an option. That’s what this series of tips is all about.

Our other tips:

What are some good things to do in Vienna on a rainy day? Good question. This is our second tip:

Butterfly House in the Vienna Burggarten

 

Polaroid Butterfly House Vienna Burggarten

Visit the imperial Butterfly House in the Hofburg’s Burggarten, very close to the State Opera House.

Butterfly House

Inside the Butterfly House in Vienna’s Imperial Palace (Hofburg)

The National Library

Exploring a treasure on a rainy day

 

We all know, not all vacation days are blessed by blue skies and sunshine. The very best conditions for exploring a city with us. But sometimes we are out of luck and it rains cats and dogs. What to do? You are on vacation, in lovely Vienna – so sitting in a boring hotel room isn’t really an option. That’s what this series of tips is all about.

Our other tips:

What are some good things to do in Vienna on a rainy day? Good question. This is our first tip:

State hall of the Austrian national library

 

Austrian National Library

Photo credit: Manfred Morgner / Foter / CC BY-SA

Visit the magnificent state hall of the national library at Josefsplatz 1, 1010 Vienna. It’s a baroque historic library that was founded by emperor Charles VI in the 18th century and designed by famous court architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach.

Globe at state hall of the national library

Globe at the state hall
Photo credit: Manfred Morgner / Foter / CC BY-SA

In addition you can visit the Globe, the Papyrus and the Esperanto museum. The admission to the state hall is 8 EUR and there’s a reduced price for the combination-ticket.