living reading time: 5 min publication date: 13.12.2019


© Nicole Lazzari
The heart-shaped photo frame of Villacher Advent

Snow has already fallen on some of the mountain peaks and the air is crisp…. Winter is here and so is the Christmas season!

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” sings Andy Williams, which you can hear these days in malls, on the radio, and as you walk through the Christmas markets in many towns.


The Villach Christmas Market was the first to open this year in Carinthia, with their lights twinkling from November 15th through the end of the year. Come drink a cozy cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the season. Open from Sunday to Thursday 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., and Fridays, Saturdays and holidays 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

This year Villach also has the honor of hosting another important event: the Ö3-Weinachtswunder, a charity event held in a different city each year to raise money for the Licht ins Dunkel aid organization, which helps families in need. From December 19th - 24th well-known radio personalities from the Austrian radio station Ö3 will work from a glass studio on the Hans-Gasser-Platz, playing music and broadcasting for 120 hours straight. Donate and get your favorite songs played - you can help bring a Christmas miracle to people who need it, and you’ll have fun at the same time!

Christmas decoration in Villach
© Nicole Lazzari


If you have already experienced the Villach Christmas Market and you want to see something new, be sure to check out the Klagenfurt Christmas Market, open through December 24th. This festive event includes live music, handmade arts and crafts, delicious food - and of course mulled wine and punch! ().

And on December 30th definitely come out for the “Bauernsilvester” celebration in Klagenfurt, when all the farmers gather to celebrate with Carinthian New Year’s customs, regional delicacies, schnaps to keep you warm, live music, fun games, and even a soothsayer! Begins at 6 p.m. at the Neuer Platz in Klagenfurt - absolutely not to be missed.

Klagenfurter Christkindlmarkt
© Nicole Lazzari


Do you want to feel like you’re in “A Christmas Carol”? You must go to the Christmas markets around Lake Wörthersee, where a huge Christmas wreath with four giant candles is set up on the lake. You can see this wonderful creation from the market in Velden beginning November 22nd; the markets in Pörtschach, Maria Wörth and at the Pyramidenkogel open the same day. In Velden the sparkling lights of the little wooden market stalls are reflected in the Wörthersee and create a magical atmosphere. The Christmas markets around the lake will be open Fridays from 3 - 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. until December 22nd. A special program for children runs Fridays from 3 - 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 - 7 p.m. 

Christmas spirit in Velden
© Nicole Lazzari

If you’d like to see the region in a different and incomparable way, be sure to take a cruise around Lake Wörthersee to fully experience the beauty of this holiday season. 

Is that not quite enough? Then check out the scenery from 920 meters above sea level, where visitors can take in a unique panoramic view of the wintry Carinthian lake landscape from the Pyramidenkogel. The viewing platform can easily be reached with the panoramic lift or by braving the 441 stairs! At the foot of the observation tower guests can expect a cheery Advent market with beautiful handicrafts and live music. This market, including a special program and space for kids, is open until December 22nd on Fridays from 2 - 7 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.

The christmas crib on lake Wörthersee
© Nicole Lazzari


If you want to be sure there’s snow when you visit a Christmas market, then don’t miss the winter wonderland that is the Christmas Market in Bad Kleinkirchheim. On weekends from November 29th to December 21st this spa town turns into a romantic winter village. Come enjoy the Advent market around the family spa St. Kathrein and get immersed in a merry world full of regional delicacies, traditional arts and crafts, and holiday music.

And for a magical outdoor Christmas experience, don’t miss the Katschberger Adventweg, an extraordinary holiday event high in the mountains. Grab a thermos and walk or ride in a horse-drawn sleigh the 2.5 kilometers from Katschberg to the Pritzhütte, the beginning of the Adventweg, warming up with complimentary hot tea at the huts along the way. The Advent path itself is a two kilometer long lantern-lit winter wonderland, complete with music, warm drinks, holiday treats, handcrafts, and places to stop and warm up. Visit this market on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 2 - 8:30 p.m. until December 22nd, as well as on Christmas Day. And if you want to experience the sleigh ride, make sure you call ahead and reserve a seat!