Looking for a refreshing break away from the commercial run-up to Christmas at home? Here are five of the best Christmas Markets to visit in Tirol.
Lienz Christmas Market
November 27 – December 24
One of the oldest Christmas Markets in the Tirol takes place in Lienz, the capital of East Tirol. The main square in front of historic Liebburg Castle is decorated with colourful stalls, and the market also holds craft sessions and workshops focusing on regional traditions. Information from Ost Tirol Tourism.
Buy: Traditional handicrafts, Gluhwein and other delicacies.
Tip: There’s a larger-than-life advent calendar on the 24 windows of Liebburg Castle. At 6.30pm each day, a new advent window and piece of artwork is revealed.
Stay: Stay at five-star Grandhotel Lienz from 326€pp (£229) for three nights. Fly to Innsbruck or Salzburg airports.
Old Town Christmas Market, Golden Roof, Innsbruck
November 15 – December 23
It’s a fairytale scene with Christmas tree lights twinkling under Innsbruck‘s famous Golden Roof, and the Nordkette mountains as a backdrop. The city stages a total of five christmas markets, each one slightly different.
With over 60 stalls, one of the largest is in Marktplatz, next to the River Inn. The Altstadt (Old Town) has what is probably the most authentic Christmas Market in the city. The Christmas Market on Innsbruck’s main shopping street has a more contemporary and modern feel. The Christmas Market on the Hungerburg is in the more unusual location – up the mountain and reached by the Hungerburg funicular. Information from Christkindlmarkt and Innsbruck Tourism.
Buy: Markplatz market sells Christmas tree decorations, traditional wooden toys, hand-carved nativity scenes and figures inspired by the Grimms’ fairytales and Hans Christian Anderson stories. The Maria-Theresien Strasse market has glass and crystal. Wiltener Platzl market sells hand-made crafts and festive foods.
Tip: Warm up with a mug of Gluhwein under the Christmas tree whilst listening to the trumpeters play Christmas songs on the balcony of the Golden Roof.
Stay: Two-night Advent package from €149pp (£105) B&B including a 48-hour Innsbruck guest card. For a list of advent packages visit Innsbruck Tourism. Fly to Innsbruck airport.
Seefeld Christmas Market
November 27 – January 6
The ski resort of Seefeld is one of the most atmospheric villages in Tirol, and it has an excellent Christmas market.
Buy: Traditional handicrafts, hand-carved figurines, tree decorations, food such as gingerbread and local Zelten fruit cake.
Tip: Join a torch-lit trail in neighbouring Leutasch and you will walk along carrying lanterns whilst listening to traditional folk songs.
Stay: Five nights half board at four-star Hotel Lärchenhof in Seefeld from €704pp (£494) half board, including an Advent torch-lit walk around through the forest, and a Christmas-themed spa treatment. Fly to Innsbruck airport.
Rattenberg Christmas Market
November 27 – December 20
The medieval glass-making town of Rattenberg is located in the Alpbach Valley.
Buy: Christmas tree decorations and decorative handicrafts.
Tip: Wander through Rattenberg’s pretty streets, stopping off at one of the local glass artist’s studios.
Stay: Combine a christmas market visit with some skiing in Alpbach. Depart on December 12 and stay seven nights in four-star Alpbacher Hof from €894pp (£627) half board, including a six-day Ski Juwel lift pass, snowshoe walk and a visit to the Rattenberg Advent on December 18. Fly to Innsbruck airport.
Christmas Market at Kufstein Fortress
November 27 – December 23
The Christmas Market in Kufstein is based in two different locations: in the town centre and up at the Kufstein Fortress. As well as strolling around the beautifully decorated stalls, you can also join a guided forest walk to the old Thierberg chapel with its nativity scene, or go to the Kufstein Fortress and learn how the traditional Prügeltorte is baked over an open fire – and have a go at making one yourself.
Buy: Christmas tree decorations and traditional Tirolean handicrafts.
Tip: It’s great for families, with carousel rides, pony riding, and bread baking by the open fire.
Stay: Three-night Advent package from €225pp (£158) half board, including a guided walk. For more packages visit Kufstein Tourism. Fly to Innsbruck airport.