Twinkling lights, roasting chestnuts, warm fires, and the smell of mulled wine in the air - it must be time for the Villach Advent Market. During the Advent, the historic city center of Villach transforms into a picturesque Christmas Market. With more than 60 rustic huts with food, drink, and handicrafts for sale the Villach Advent Market is the perfect place to celebrate the season.
Christmas markets have a long tradition in Austria and each town celebrates by transforming their city centers into cheerful marketplaces. In Villach, the St. Jakob parish church tower is covered in sparkling lights that illuminate the city. Several Christmas trees are on display and lights are strung throughout the city and its quaint winding alleys. The historic streets of Villach are transformed into a city of light during the Christmas season bringing joy to all.
The Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. In Austria, the Advent is celebrated with an Advent Wreath with four candles to light on the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. An Advent Wreath is made of fir branches decorated with ribbons, pine cones, and other decorations. The Advent is a time of celebration and Advent Markets are a part of the cheer.
During the Villach Advent Market, there are lots of events to enjoy. Highlights include choirs singing Christmas songs, live music, and the Silvester New Year’s party. Be sure to visit during the Bauernadvent when the Christkind arrives by boat to the Market. I also recommend the Villacher Perchtenlauf when Saint Nicholas’ spiteful companion Krampus visits Villach. Be sure to watch out though, Krampus and the Perchten are known to be wild and spiteful creatures!
There are also lots of activities for families including several children’s carnival rides, a petting zoo, and an ice rink. The ice rink in front of the Villach Rathaus is a beautiful sight during the Advent Market with its amazing lights. While drinking mulled wine and enjoying schnapps is a common Advent Market tradition for adults, there are also hot cocoa and Kinderpunsch so children can enjoy a warm beverage too!
The Villach Advent Market is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 am to 7 pm and on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 8 pm. The gastronomy huts are typically open later until 10 - 11 pm. The 2017 Villach Advent Market begins on Friday, November 17th and ends on December, 24th at 2 pm. Admission to the Villach Advent Market is free. For further information visit www.villacheradvent.at (information is in German, Italian, and Slovenian).
I have to be honest, winter is not my favorite season, but when the Advent Market opens in Villach, I can’t help but feel cheerful. Hopefully, we will see you there! Be sure to enjoy a mug of Glühwein for us!
Chelsea Navarro is an American expat from California, USA.
She has lived in Villach with her partner and dog since February, 2016. She enjoys exploring the Austrian wilderness, drinking Villacher beer and traveling around Europe.