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Advent market in St. Leonhard | © Jonathan Forsthuber
Fairytale Stroll through Advent
We love to ramble through the Salzburg Christkindlmarkt and experience the pure enchantment. Arts & crafts, leather goods, exquisite specialties and sweet temptations lie in wait around every corner, making them practically impossible to resist. But wouldn’t it be nice to immerse ourselves completely in the magic of Christmas season and discover new spots a little farther removed from the world-famous Christmas market itself? That’s why we set out on a treasure hunt, coming across a couple of precious gems along the way.
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”
Andy Williams was already singing those words back in the 60s. For many of us, Advent and Christmastime continue to be far and away the most precious time of year. When the beautiful sea of illuminations casts a magical radiance across the city streets and the Christmas markets open their doors, it isn’t just the eyes of children that light up. Ours do, too, of course. High time, in other words, for our expedition to the local Advent markets.
Atmospheric and traditional
Our journey first takes us to Grödig in the south of Salzburg. Amid historic walls, the Schloss Glanegg estate greets us with a delightful Advent market that exudes a very special atmosphere even as we catch sight of it on our way out there: The resplendent beech tree-lined lane is beautifully lit up as if beckoning us personally to visit the Christmas market.
Our hearts leap with joy the moment we arrive. We catch sight of stand after stand in complete harmony, not quite knowing where to start. Laid out here are wonderfully crafted items made of wood, glass or ceramic, while over there an enticing selection of ham and sausage made from venison makes our mouths begin to water. By the time we get to the farmhouse doughnuts, which have either a sweet or savory filling, all resistance becomes futile. And when a group of wind musicians gathers around a romantic log fire to provide musical accompaniment to the Advent festivities, we realize we are unlikely to ever want to leave this place again. That said, another Advent market eagerly awaits us and so, overflowing with anticipation, we make our way there.
All for a good cause
Our festive foray now takes us to the small village of St. Leonhard. We are captivated immediately: Like a small village, the Christmas market is snuggled close to the village’s famous pilgrimage church. As we enter the market, we immediately notice the tempting fragrance of freshly baked bread. It just takes a brief sampling – and the bread for our next morning’s breakfast is bought.
Christmas decorations, ceramics, hand-carved Nativity figures and toys – the Advent market in St. Leonhard offers everything to warm the heart of Christmas fans. One thing that makes this market particularly special, is the fact that volunteers stand at every booth and all proceeds are donated to good causes. One of our fellow visitors also informs us that entrancing Advent celebrations are hosted in the church every evening at 5 o’clock. But because we have just missed it, we go ahead and treat ourselves – in the spirit of charity, needless to say – to a mug of hot punch instead.