Christmas Markets: Advent Season in Tirol

Snow is falling and the air effervescent with scents of delectable foods and open fires. As day becomes night, thousands of Christmas lights sparkle and the spicy bouquet of hot mulled wine and gingerbread waft through the air, and spirits are high… There is plenty to see and do around the Land in the Mountains when the most wonderful time of the year rolls around—holiday momentum really builds with delightful Christmas Markets and amazing events and customs, deeply rooted in tradition.

Nothing is more memorable than spending Christmastime in Tirol… this is where you will enjoy echoes of the magic of Christmas past and today! Picture snow-capped peaks and quaint towns decked in pine garlands and white lights. Some of the simplest joys of the season are the atmospheric Christmas Markets taking place throughout the country and celebrating the traditional sights, sounds and scents of Christmas. Distinctive, numerous stalls invite you to browse the traditional crafts and Christmas decorations, as well as to sample the local food and drink specialties, some available only at Christmas time. 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 traditional 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. Christmas season in Tirol brings not only St. Nicholas, the bearer of gifts, but also Krampus, his darker side, who appears to mete out punishments for misdeeds of the past year. Large, foreboding, black-clad and antlers on his head, Krampus roams the streets on evenings around St. Nicholas’ feast.

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. From the largest over the highest to the most peaceful one, these bazaars offer visitors the unique opportunity to experience Tirol adorned in holiday finery. 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 at the old town district. The lovely Christmas Market at Hungerburg, situated 300 meters above Innsbruck, competes for bragging rights. Those who long for a quiet Christmas are strongly recommended to enjoy the festive season in the charming medieval town of Rattenberg, where the lovely, historic pedestrianized main road is exclusively lit by candles, torches and open fires.

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

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