Advent is indisputably one of the most beautiful times in the city of Salzburg. In the midst of the baroque UNESCO Old Town and at the foot of the mighty Hohensalzburg Fortress, an atmospheric and magical fairytale world is created. Here, Advent tastes of cookies and punch, causes goosebumps and tears of joy in equal measure, and sounds like songs from childhood.
Four kilometers Advent
The pre-Christmas period is Salzburg's fifth season. Like in hardly any other city, culture, music and customs are combined with romance and culinary delights. The exceptional quality of what Salzburg has to offer constantly puts it in the top of international rankings. The best overview and at the same time the most convenient "table of contents" for Advent is provided by "Stadtwandern: Advent in Salzburg". The route, whose length of four kilometers can be explored individually at one's own pace, leads to the most beautiful nativity scenes, the most popular Christmas markets and the most interesting exhibitions. In addition, there are tips from locals, such as the house blend of the Sporer liqueur manufactory, which is no insider tip, but has long been an institution.
Getting goose bumps watching Krampus
You know him - and maybe you've already experienced him. Up close and personal, in the truest sense of the word. The Krampus is the companion of the Nikolo and drives around the 5th of December his mischief - not to be confused with the Perchten, which are the whole winter and especially around the Raunächte on the road and the winter should drive out. But who is this gruesome figure of the "Krampus" and what does he stand for? The Salzburg Christmas Museum on Mozartplatz presents the Krampus in a separate chapter of its exhibition, and in the Krampus Experience World in the Hellbrunn Advent Magic, he almost comes to life. The re-enacted scenes give an idea of the terror he causes in young and old alike. In this year's Advent, an exhibition at the Salzburger Heimatwerk on Residenzplatz is also dedicated to the tradition of Krampuspassen. Those who still dare can experience the thrill at the Krampus Runs in Salzburg's old town.
"Once upon a time ..." Fairytale-like at the Salzburg Advent Festival
As a city of music, Salzburg knows how to transform Advent into harmonious sounds. In 1946, Tobi Reiser the Elder founded the Salzburg Advent Singing, which is now considered a model for countless events in German-speaking countries. Every performance in the Großes Festspielhaus is almost sold out, which speaks for the fascination and joy of the original. The approximately 150 performers convey a very special atmosphere of wonder, introspection and childhood memories with folk music tunes combined with a scenic narrative. This year's production begins with the well-known words "Once upon a time ..." and is an Advent story passed down from generation to generation. This year's highlights also include the performances of the shepherd children and the devotional yodel, which invites you to sing along at the end of the play and creates an atmosphere that you will never forget.
Making children's eyes light up
For children, Advent is magical. This magic can be found in many places in Salzburg, for example at the Christkindlmarkt on Domplatz and Residenzplatz, where the original Salzburg Christ Child ensures beaming faces. Every Wednesday and Sunday, he comes to Residenzplatz with his two angels and helps people write down Christmas wishes on little pieces of paper and send them up into the sky with a balloon. In the DomQuartier's Residenzgalerie, children ages 5 and up get the chance to be playful and creative at the Creative Kids Club. At the "Christmas Magic" in the Salzburg Toy Museum, delightful doll's houses can be marveled at, in which different Christmas traditions are depicted. There is also plenty of adventure and fun at the Hellbrunn Advent Magic: Secret Santa village, campfire, Christmas post office, petting zoo, Krampus world and a visit from St. Nicholas shorten the waiting time for the Christ Child.
Only here. Only now. Taste the "Haunsberger
The fact that Salzburg's Christkindlmarkt on Domplatz and Residenzplatz appeals to all the senses is evident not least in the culinary offerings. Visitors looking for something really special will find the so-called "Haunsberger" at the Muckenhammer family's stand (number 82) on Residenzplatz: a warm roll filled with home-made pork sausage meat, mustard, sauerkraut, onion and curry. This delicacy, which is actually only available during the pre-Christmas season, is somewhat reminiscent in taste of the bosna, another Salzburg original. It was created around 30 years ago and owed to the fact that at the Christkindlmarkt on Dom- und Residenzplatz, no stall is allowed to have the same offer as the others.
Ox, donkey and the Untersberg: on a nativity scene tour
The highlight of Advent in Austria is the birth of the baby Jesus. The gifts found under the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve come from the Christ Child. The narrative surrounding the birth in a stable is depicted in traditional nativity scenes. Among the nativity scenes in Salzburg's churches are Baroque gems and those that are on display year-round. The Nativity Scene Trail of the Christkindlmarkt at Residenzplatz shows lovingly designed nativity scenes with a local touch. For example, the Untersberg becomes the backdrop for the biblical birth. A visit to the AIKO nativity scene in Steingasse is especially recommended. The beginnings of this self-made universe go back to 1963, when Brigitte Aichhorn-Kosina started making the figures. Today there are 309 little people, which in their arrangement in the scene offer sometimes humorous cross-references to the life of the artist.
Leave the hustle and bustle outside the (church) door
Amidst the hustle and bustle of the shopping streets and stores lie many small and larger oases of tranquility. The UNESCO World Heritage Site Salzburg counts 22 churches in the old town alone, where the magic of the season can be found in hectic moments. Whether it's the historic collegiate churches of Nonnberg Abbey and St. Peter's, the imposing Franciscan Church or the all-white Collegiate Church - they all offer silence, contemplation and a moment to slow down. In Salzburg Cathedral, in whose baptismal font, besides W. A. Mozart, Joseph Mohr was also baptized, who in 1816 wrote the lyrics to the world-famous Christmas carol "Silent Night! Holy Night!", contemplative Advent music resounds every Friday and Saturday at 4:00 pm. Along the route of "Stadtwandern: Kirchenstadt Salzburg" you will find the most famous places of worship - and there is a special note about each one.
Historical custom revisited: The tower blowing
Every Thursday and Saturday, the sound of trumpets at Residenzplatz provides very special moments at the Christkindlmarkt. At 6:30 p.m., the lights on Residenzplatz are dimmed and brass players from all over the country take turns playing from the Domarkaden, the terrace of the Salzburg Christmas Museum and the Glockenspiel tower. The traditional Salzburger Turmblasen was introduced by Tobi Reiser in 1952 and follows on from a historical custom. In earlier times, it was common practice at almost all important courts in Europe to use tower winders to warn of danger or to accompany important occasions. This tradition is commemorated every Sunday throughout the year when the tower winders play pieces of music from the archives of Nonnberg Abbey at 11:45 a.m. from the so-called "trumpet tower" of Hohensalzburg Fortress.
From A for acrobats to C for circus tent
A little more than 20 years ago, an idea began to develop that initially seemed unusual: to enrich the romantic and traditional Advent in Salzburg with a creative antipole. Today, the Winter Festival in the Volksgarten is an established and beloved event that has won the hearts of visitors with contemporary circus art and a varied program. With its special charm, the colorful light shows and especially with the unique international artists, the Circus Festival brightens up the winter and makes its audience marvel, empathize and laugh.
Let yourself be embraced by Christmas all year long
In the heart of the old town you will not only find the traces of Mozart, great architects and culinary specialties - this is also the Christmas center of Salzburg. And this shines 365 days a year. The Salzburg Christmas Museum on Mozartplatz and the "Christmas in Salzburg" store in nearby Judengasse are open almost all year round. What may sound kitschy to some is heaven on earth to others. International guests in particular appreciate this insight into one of our favorite traditions of Austrian joie de vivre. And who says that the story of Krampus and the meaning of Advent calendars can only be told in December?
Christmas markets and Advent markets in Salzburg
Several smaller and larger markets offer traditional crafts, Christmas decorations and small delicacies to sweeten the wait for Christmas for visitors.
The oldest Christkindlmarkt in Salzburg is located on Domplatz. Its origins date back to the 15th century, where traveling merchants offered their wares on the square. Over the centuries, this developed into an Advent market, which has since grown in size and already extends over the Residenzplatz.
The Christkindlmarkt in the Mirabellgarten offers an atmospheric picture during the Advent season. The small Christkindlmarkt has parking facilities directly nearby and excellent connections to public transport. Get new ideas for gifts for Christmas at the Advent market or relax with a mulled wine from shopping in Salzburg.
An absolute must is the Advent market at the Hohen Salzburg Fortress. You can either walk or take the fortress train to the site, which is located above the rooftops of the city. In the historic ambience, arts and crafts are on offer and children can make their own little things for Christmas.