Christmas Markets: Advent in Tirol

Snow is falling and the air effervescent with scents of delectable foods and open fires. As day becomes night, thousands of lights sparkle and the spicy scent of mulled wine and gingerbread wafts through the air. The Christmas market season has begun. Experience the magic of advent in Tirol.

Whatever happened to Christmas traditions such as quiet evenings in around an open fire sipping mulled wine and nibbling on hand-made biscuits? Here in Tirol many centuries-old customs have been preserved until today and provide a welcome reminder of how Christmas used to be. Among the activities and performances filling the Christmas traditions in some Tirolean villages is Joseph and Mary’s search for shelter entitled “Anklöpfler” (literally, "knocking at"). The story of the Holy Family’s journey, and their search for lodging, is re-enacted in a procession of carolers, historic characters and visitors participating in the Christmas music. December is also the time of year when "Krampus", the evil penchant to Saint Nicholas, comes out and punishes children who have been bad during the year. "Krampus" processions can be found throughout Tirol at the start of December.

Looking for a truly fantastic festive shopping experience? Look no further than the beautiful Christmas markets at eight designated “Advent in Tirol” towns and villages. Each year the heart of Innsbruck is transformed into a magical Christmas shopper’s paradise as over 70 chalets packed full of gorgeous Christmas gifts line the cobbled lanes and alleys surrounding the famous Golden Roof. The lovely Christmas market at Hungerburg, situated 300 metres above Innsbruck, competes for bragging rights. Those who long for a quiet Christmas should visit the charming medieval town of Rattenberg, where the lovely historic pedestrianised main road is lit by candles, torches and open fires.

And what would Christmas be without smiling children? For a fun-filled yuletide for all the family, ease yourself into the festive frenzy at Tirol’s atmospheric Christmas markets. With festive craft making, freshly baked cookies, carousels and the Fairytale Lane in Innsbruck, there’s plenty to keep the little ones (or the young at heart!) happy too.

Travelling to Christmas markets by public transport

All the "Advent in Tirol" locations can be easily reached using public transport.  The VVT Smartride App makes planning your journey in Tirol quick, easy and efficient. For more information visit

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