The first question many people ask about Vienna’s Easter markets is “are they as good as the Christmas markets?”.
Well, not quite.
How could they be?
The Christmas markets take place in a city bursting with a wide mix of seasonal scents, sounds, lights and colours.
Easter means more eggs and chocolate rabbits in the shops. No competition. (Though, to be fair, the chocolate Lindt rabbits deserve a place in the dining halls of the Greek Gods.)
Ask, though, whether it’s worth visiting an Easter market and the answer is a yes.
The Easter markets tend to start around 2½ weeks before Easter and usually run through to Easter Monday. The main markets all started on April 1st or 2nd.
Market hours vary, but they commonly open mid-morning and close early and mid-evening (6-9pm).
Saturdays, Sundays and the long Easter weekend, in particular, can get quite busy. I once visited the Schönbrunn market, for example, on a Good Friday, which was delightful. However, other folk had the same idea; viewing the craft stalls proved easy enough, but the food stalls had queues.
THE MAIN MARKETS
The most popular and convenient markets for visitors to the city are:
1. AM HOF
The Ostermarkt am Hof scores points for artistic merit and culinary offerings.
A whole section devotes itself to artists and artisans, ensuring unique and original products for sale, while the food and drink stalls cater to a wide variety of tastes (but especially to those of us with a sweet tooth).
The location is lovely and quite historical: a large central squarewhere Mozart gave his first Viennese public performance and Roman children once unwrapped their chocolate Easter rabbits and also offers pretty handicrafts as well as hearty food. Not only can you look forward to the various wares offered by the booth holders at this Easter market, but also enjoy the flair of Vienna city center in good weather.
The Altwiener Ostermarkt also opens near the city centre, outside the Schottenstift monastery that dates back to the 12th century.
Call in here for your decorative eggs. Thousands dominate the market’s centre at a huge open stall.
The Freyung market is another place to sample regional food and drink, thanks to the organic farmers’ market held on the other side of the narrow road. Every year, at the Old Viennese Easter market on Freyung, a pretty old square in the Old City, the biggest tower of eggs in Europe is built with around 40,000 painted Easter eggs.