In Vienna, Austria, we did a brief walking tour of the city. The architecture is so lovely – reminding me a bit of Paris, but definitely with it’s own Austrian feel. My main goal of my visit to Vienna was to visit the Christmas Markets I had read so much about.

After the tour, MaryJane and I visited a couple of the Christmas Markets and were really surprised to find them filled with imported goods, seemingly of the made in China variety. I had read a lot in advance about Vienna's Christmas markets - everything from "they're the most stunning in the world" to "they're filled with cheap imported items". Sadly, the latter was true. However, I will say there were some food stands serving traditional food and drinks and that was nice to see.

After lunch, we visited Schonbrunn Palaceand explored the Christmas Market right out front of the palace. It was such a beautiful backdrop for the market! There were a handful of stands with locally made goods, but more that weren't.

When I asked a tour guide if there were any Christmas markets that were more authentic and without imported goods, he pointed me to the market at Spittelberg. I loved how the market was located in a series of narrow, winding, cobblestone streets. Although this market had a bit of a boho feel which isn't really my style, it was fun to walk through and everything seemed to be locally made.

I spent a couple of hours walking around the city at night and loved seeing the Christmas markets all lit up. They really are stunning at that time of day, and I think that's the best thing to take out of the Vienna markets - rather than what's being sold. They really are stunning to see and experience at night.

This is the third post in a series covering my visit to Europe and the Christmas markets in cities along the Danube River, all via a Viking River Cruise. You can find the first post here and the second post here.

MEET SERENA!

Stay-at-home mom, Serena Thompson, dreamed of creating a fun and happy little event to sell her vintage and handmade goods. In 2002, she and some friends held the first event in her neighbor’s barn. The sale became wildly popular and began attracting visitors from across the country and recognition in national magazines. Today the event fills the Spokane County Fairgrounds and features hundreds of creatively and carefully curated spaces filled with vintage and handmade goods. Many describe it as a bucket list event, magical, inspirational, and the best vintage & handmade fair in the country. Serena describes it as the happiest on earth.

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