Those who long for a quieter celebration of Christmas, without the hustle and bustle of shopping malls, tinsel, and hectic schedules, are strongly recommended to enjoy the festive season in the medieval town of Rattenberg, Austria’s smallest town.
Standing on the banks of the Inn River, Rattenberg is tucked between the 10th century fortress on the hill and the river. The medieval center of Austria’s smallest town is full of revitalized townhouses, cobbled streets and alleyways. There will be no Christmas lighting in Rattenberg, instead, the lovely, historic pedestrian precinct will exclusively be lit by candles, torches and open fires on the four weekends during Advent Season, revolving around the theme of “Wonder & Mysteries”. The cultural program adds to the spirit-filled atmosphere of the season with ‘the square of 1,000 lights’, an upside down Advent wreath, festive music and meditative texts.
Moreover, there will be no classical stalls and booths selling goods in Rattenberg. It was the development of the glass industry that brought Rattenberg to the height of its prosperity. Rattenberg’s historic center is dotted by specialist glass shops that will be open during Advent Season, selling their elaborate and unique glass art designs and original hand blown creations. There will be live music entertainment on the Advent stage next to the Christmas tree. On the four Sundays during Advent season, Joseph and Mary’s search for shelter, entitled “Anklöpfler” (literally, knocking at), is re-enacted in a procession of carolers and historic characters. Don’t miss out on tasting the special Rattenberg Advent Wine, rounded off by elder and served in the original Rattenberg Advent Glass.
Rattenberg Advent Season Highlights
- Romantic Advent Walk followed by an organ concert at Spitalskirche Church: Fridays at 4:00pm
- Cultural program with traditional customs and music: Saturdays at 2:30pm
- Traditional wind playing and the ‘Search for Shelter’ performed by local actors: Sundays and December 8 at 3:30pm
- Contemplative Advent Music: Fridays at 5:00pm
- Carol Singing Along: Fridays, Sundays and December 8 at 6:00pm
- Special Glass Exhibition at Augustiner Museum: Fridays & Sundays 3:00pm to 6:00pm, Saturdays 2:30pm to 6:00pm