Salzburg has no shortage of magical places to visit year round, but there’s something about the annual Christmas markets that enchant students and tourists alike. Alumni Ambassador Alba shared her memories of Christmas in Salzburg, and why you should go.
The holidays are now in full swing. Christmas tree farms are open, Christmas decorations have their own section at Target, and mom is going crazy coming up with a list of gifts to buy for our family. Last year, I had the opportunity to experience holiday cheer in my home away from home, Salzburg. And to put it in a few words, California looks like the Grinch compared to how Salzburg celebrated Christmas. The Christmas markets open the last week of November, bringing in a large number of bundled up tourists looking for incredible hot wine, pretzels, and holiday goodies.
On the opening day, AIFS treated us to hot cider and roasted hazelnuts at the market. What a way to start out the morning, right? Residenzplatz was decorated all around with wreaths and mistletoe, lights strung up in the alleyways, and an ice skating rink in Mozartplatz. It was hard to stay away from the markets my last semester abroad. The food was incredible, the hot wine delicious, and let’s be honest, it all felt like straight out of a movie.
However, one Christmas market was not enough for Salzburg. The Hellbrunn Palace also hosts its own Christmas market, and well, this one had me sold. Aside from there being many vendors selling art, chocolate, and gifts, there was a petting zoo! Yes. Ponies. And even community fire pits where you could buy and roast a sausage, bread, or marshmallows. Christmas never tasted so good.
Here’s to spending every Christmas wishing I was back celebrating the Austrian way. Bis bald, Salzburg!