Innsbruck’s festive spirit never ceases to amaze me. During previous stays in Innsbruck I’ve experienced cultural events like Fasching, tractor parades, handicraft festivals, harvest festivals and other quirky cultural events. I knew I was in for a treat during my winter visit. My friends forewarned that everything revolves around Christmas Markets during the winter, and that’s become very evident. Visitors and locals can indulge in the different vibes that each market offers. Needless to say, I was excited for the markets since my arrival. As with all of my travels, the excitement stems from the anticipation of sampling the seasonal treats while learning about local traditions.
My first Christmas Market experience at Marktplatz
The Marktplatz Christkindlmarkt is the nearest to my home and my favorite so far. Market visitors enjoy a clear view of the iconic multi-colored buildings across the river and Nordkette beyond them. A merry-go-round, pony, puppet theater and virtual reality roller coaster ride make it family-friendly. Cafe Kröll’s stand gives out frequent customer cards for Glühwein drinkers and I’m almost due for a free Glühwein! A huge illuminated Swarovski Crystal Christmas Tree towers over this setting, adding a modern design touch.
Old Town Christmas Market
This market is usually the most crowded, but the setting is magical. Well worth a visit during your stay in Innsbruck. Most locals tend to gravitate towards other markets; either closer to their homes or less crowded. I visited this market during the inauguration of Christkindlmarkt season, the city really put on a show. Lots of performers were out dancing and singing, adding to the holiday vibes.
Fischerhäusl Christmas Market
Fischerhäusl is one of Innsbruck’s most popular restaurants for traditional Tyrolean cuisine. The Fischerhäusl Christmas Market is mostly frequented by younger locals. A huge bonus to this market is their happy hour, dropping the price of Glühwein from 3.10 to 2.00 Euros. Score! That’s actually a better deal than my buy 10 get 1 free card from Kroll.
Stiftskeller Christmas Market
Stiftskeller is another restaurant famous for traditional Tyrolean food. I’ve been there many times and love the place. The Christmas Market is even smaller than Fischerhäusl’s and also seems to be a place locals prefer over the crowded markets. I tried Glühmost (hot mulled cider) there and immediately fell in love with the drink. It tastes like apple pie. Yum!!!
The local Christmas Markets are strictly food and drinks. Don’t be deterred from visiting as many as possible while visiting.
Techno & Punsch. Innsbrucker Glühkindlmarkt
If you’re into techno music before 10 PM, this is your spot. Maybe I’m getting old, or maybe I just never liked techno music, but this was not the vibe I expected from a Glühkindlmarkt. I may have enjoyed it a bit more if they actually had Glühwein… and ear plugs.
Tips for Christmas Markets:
- Go beyond the traditional red Glühwein. The white mulled wine is also tasty and as previously mentioned; I’m in love with the hot mulled cider.
- Work on your winterspeck (winter bacon, or love handles). There’s so much food to try at these markets. Zillertaler Krapfen are savory hand pies filled with grey cheese (just try it!) and potato. Kiachl is fried dough topped with sauerkraut or jam and powdered sugar. Next on my list is Raclette
- Don’t be deterred from visiting the “local” Christmas Markets. All “local” means is there are no stands selling knick knacks, just food and drinks.
- More info on all Christmas Markets here