Advent in Salzburg
Advent is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful seasons in the city of Salzburg. When the first snowflakes swirl in the air, when children start to build snowmen in the Mirabell Gardens and the scent of mulled wine wafts through the narrow streets, even the surliest characters become hopelessly romantic.
A walk on Salzburg's city mountains affords a breathtaking view of the city's snow-covered rooftops, domes and steeples. The ringing of the bells reminds us that Christmas is approaching. Back down in the city, the hustle and bustle of the Christmas market exudes pleasant warmth and wakens long-forgotten memories of childhood. Who can resist the scent of punch and toasted almonds, hot chestnuts and freshly baked apples, gingerbread hearts, nativity figurines, Christmas ornaments, toys or hand-knitted wool socks!
Culture and reflection
A multitude of traditional events in Salzburg make the wait to Christmas Eve a little easier: at the beginning of December the squares and streets of the city are astir with Krampus and Perchten runs. The shaggy, terrifying spirits parading through the streets symbolize Perchta, a pagan alpine goddess. If you touch them or get swatted, consider yourself lucky – they are thought to bring good luck.
Advent singing, Advent Serenades, church service, readings and concerts offer a more peaceful and contemplative atmosphere: a celebration of the traditional alpine Christmas.
Or you can retrace the history of the famous Christmas Carol "Silent Night" in Salzburg: Joseph Mohr, the song's lyricist, was born in Salzburg and the carol was first performed in nearby Oberndorf.
Christmas magic and Christmas markets
Salzburg's romantic Christmas markets are renowned: the historic Christmas Market on Cathedral Square and Residence Square has been held since the end of the 15th century. It has gone down in history as one of the most famous pre-Christmas markets alongside the markets in Vienna, Paris, Amsterdam and Nuremberg. The 2007 European Christmas Market study rated Salzburg's Christmas Market as one of the most beautiful markets in the German-speaking countries.
Accolades were also given to the Advent Magic in Hellbrunn: a study conducted by the South Westphalian College in Hagen in 2008 established that Hellbrunn is one of the best Christmas markets in the German speaking countries when it comes to the Gemütlichkeit, friendliness and satisfaction experienced by the visitors. If you're in Salzburg during Advent, a visit to the smaller markets on Mirabell Square, in the Sterngarten, at St. Peter's Monastery, in Maxglan or at Hohensalzburg Fortress should not be missed.