Ever dreamed of a truly magical family Christmas in the snow? The Northern Hemisphere at Christmas time is certainly chillier than Christmas in Australia – but there’s no guarantee that snow flakes will fall on cue! Innsbruck in the Austrian Alps turns on the Christmas charm in traditional, magical fashion every year. This Winter Wonderland will delight children of all ages and melt the heart of any ‘Bah Humbug’ Scrooge!
Against the backdrop of Austria’s towering (over 2,000 metres), snow-covered Nordketten mountain range, the sound of Christmas carols drifts down from the alcove balcony of the Golden Roof in Innsbruck’s Old Town. This time of the year is a magical experience for families visiting Innsbruck. Aside from the vast blankets of snow that create a spectacular winter wonderland, the Festive Season in Innsbruck is magically evoked with five special Christmas markets brimming with traditional White Christmas charm.
The best option to thoroughly enjoy the festive mood is definitely a two-night pre-Christmas package, offering 4-star-hotel accommodation and a 48-hour Innsbruck Card pass – the ticket to the most interesting sights in Innsbruck and its surrounding area. From AUD $201 per person, the package not only includes a copious buffet breakfast but also a small welcome present and a voucher for a mug of tasty mulled wine.
Altstadt Christmas Market
Innsbruck’s Altstadt Christmas Market counts among the most beautiful and romantic locations in the entire Alpine region. From 15 November until 23 December traditional Christmas ornaments, Tyrolean handicrafts, candles and Christmas pastries can be purchased from lovingly adorned stalls around the huge christmas tree.
The historical Old Town then becomes the perfect venue for a stroll and to enjoy the festive sights, or for a get-together with some friends over mulled wine and ‘Kiachln’ (piping hot doughnuts laced with Sauerkraut or jam). Every day spectators gather around the special theatre wagon stage to enjoy magical fairy tales and the enchanting tunes performed by young students from the Innsbruck music school.
In the narrow lanes, adults and children alike marvel at life-sized characters of giants, princesses and mythical creatures making a wonderland of tales and legends come alive. Also Innsbruck’s main boulevard Maria-Theresien-Strasse will once more turn into a magical ‘Christmas zone’ lined by glittering crystal trees which festively illuminate the seasonally adorned market stalls. This market in downtown Innsbruck is open from 25 November 2011 until 6 January 2013 and has a giant, sparkling rock crystal as its emblem.
Just a few steps away a little Yuletide paradise for children opens its door at the Innsbruck Marktplatz, by the river Inn. Every day from 15 November until 23 December, Punch and Judy, storytellers and the animals of a petting zoo – together with a host of other attractions – are there to help kids shorten the wait until Christmas Eve. This year, also a live Nativity tableau will make childrens’ eyes sparkle with joy.
A pre-festive meeting point that is not only charming but offers also exceptional views is the Panoramachristkindlmarkt, located just above town at Hungerburg. Here, from 23 November until 23 December, you can take in the crisp winter air and delicious aromas of Advent, as from Friday until Sunday the market stalls near the Nordkettenbahn station open their doors, offering mulled wine and panoramic vistas. The journey on the Hungerburgbahn funicular railway is quite a fascinating experience in itself: From the centre of town, it whisks you up to Innsbruck’s ‘panoramic Christmas market’ in less than 10 minutes.
To explore the most recent addition to the various Christmas market in town we recommend you head to the “Artsy” on the Wiltener Platzl, a mere five minute stroll from Marien-Theresien-Strasse. Following extensive renovation works, this quaint little square has become a tranquil urban oasis, set amid historical buildings. Flanked by quirky shops, bars and restaurants the market stalls feature not only lovely artwork and crafts but also a delicious variety of culinary treats. The Wiltener Platzl ‘Christkindlmarkt’ is open Monday to Saturday from 26 November until 22 December.
Check out these fantastic Innsbruck Family Ski Deals