As Vienna's most popular outdoor market, the Naschmarkt is a must-see destination in the Austrian capital. It's a colorful, lively place that dates to the late 16th century when the area was mostly reserved for farmers selling fresh milk and other dairy products. It was only in the early 20th century that the modern-day market as we know it came into being; at that time, 100 stalls were introduced to accommodate Viennese merchants of all stripes.
Since then, the market—located in the city center near the grand square at Karlsplatz and stretching toward the Vienna University of Technology—has become the capital's largest and most vibrant outdoor market. Lined with restaurants and terraces, it's also a great place for people-watching and enjoying a drink or meal. Here's how to enjoy it to the fullest.
What to Expect
There are some 120 different stalls at the market, so it's a good idea to reserve at least an hour and a half to wander around, taking in sights, smells, colors and—if you're lucky enough to be handed a sample or two—flavors.
Whether you're stocking up for a picnic in a nearby park, taking some goodies home to enjoy later, or just enjoying the commotion and color, the choices seem nearly endless. It's probably a good idea to bring along a couple of sturdy cloth bags if you have them and plenty of cash. If need be, there are ATMs nearby, including one located within the market grounds.
What to Buy and Eat
Hoping to get a taste of the city's famed fresh produce? With so many farms and vineyards outside Vienna, it's no wonder it's lauded for its delicious fresh fruit and vegetables. Dozens of the traditional "huts" are piled high with these, from ripe local strawberries and asparagus (the latter is a real treat in the spring) to peppers, zucchini, and eggplant.
Fish and meat vendors offer fresh fillets and cuts perfect for a barbecue or formal dinner—ideal if you're staying in self-catering accommodations.
There are also stalls selling dozens of varieties of local cheeses, as well as huts selling Viennese specialities like sauerkraut, sausages and other cured meats, and olives.
Mediterranean and Middle Eastern specialties (olive oils, zaatar and other spice mixes, baklava, halvah, and dates) are popular at the market, while Chinese, Indian and Turkish delicacies are the stars of certain stands.
Sweet tooth? There are several vendors selling cakes, pastries and other sweets. In need of fine cooking oils, mustards, jams, or other condiments? You'll find plenty of those here, too.
The Flea Market
While most people associate the Naschmarkt primarily with delicious food, on Saturday a large flea market springs up on early Saturday morning. The "Flohmarkt" is an ideal destination for antique shopping or rummaging through piles of fascinating old pictures, vintage toys and records, clothes, and even weapons.
When to Go
The market is probably the most pleasant and idyllic in spring and summer, when you can really enjoy being outdoors and even dine al fresco. The best time to hit the market stalls is in the morning when the crowds haven't yet had their pick of choice items, and you can really take the time to explore, snap some photos, and enjoy the experience. We recommend going at around 8:30 or 9 a.m.
For restaurants, make sure to get to your chosen one a bit before lunch or dinnertime in order to snag good seats, especially if you prefer to sit outside.
How to Get There
The Naschmarkt is conveniently located in the city center, right between the large square known as Karlsplatz and the Kettenbrückengasse station.
Getting there by Metro is probably the most convenient. The Karlsplatz station is served by lines U1, U2 and U4, while Kettenbrückengasse is served by line U4. You can also reach it by tram: take line 1 or 62 to Karlsplatz, then walk (about five minutes).
Market Opening Days and Hours
The Naschmarkt's main stalls are open every day of the week except for Sunday. Most of the 100 stalls open at around 6 a.m. and close at 7 or 7:30 p.m. On Saturdays, many close earlier (around 5 to 6 p.m.).
Meanwhile, the Flohmarkt (flea market) is open every Saturday from around 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Finally, restaurant opening days and times are separate; see section below for more details.
Restaurants at the Naschmarkt
There are a variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars situated on the market, making it a popular place for an after-work gathering with friends, or for a casual meal. You'll be spoiled for choice, too: from the famous Naschmarkt Deli with its traditional sandwiches, charcuterie, and cheeses, to delicious, fresh fish at Umar, to Turkish specialities at Orient & Occident, culinary influences from around the world can be savored here.
For a full list of restaurants at and around the market, as well as opening times and days, see this page at the Vienna Tourist Office.
Be Wary of Pickpockets
While Vienna is generally a very safe city, with crime levels well below many larger metropolitan areas, open-air markets are prime territory for thieves and pickpockets. Avoid having your wallet and other valuables snagged by taking some sensible precautions.
This includes wearing a bag that you can wrap around to hold snugly in front—backpacks and shoulder bags should be avoided, as they can be more easily grabbed or discreetly opened. It's best not to carry too much cash with you, but if you must, consider wearing a money belt. Finally, never leave your bag or phone unattended, or even left casually on a table or nearby chair. Pickpockets and thieves can move very quickly.
Sights and Attractions to Visit Nearby
The market is in close range of numerous important sights and attractions in the old city. Head over a few blocks northeast to see the iconic art deco building with the dramatic golden dome known as the Secession House, a meeting place for Vienna's Secession artists' group of the late 19th century. Led by Gustav Klimt, the movement ushered Austrian art firmly into modernity. You can see Klimt's famous and monumental "Beethoven Frieze" inside, as well as interesting temporary exhibits.
Also nearby is the Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera), with its magnificent neoclassical facade and world-class programming. Whether you take a quick look, go on a guided tour or book tickets to a show, it's a remarkable place.
Head due north to get to the Museumsquartier, an enormous arts and culture complex that includes gems such as the Leopold Museum and the Vienna Museum of Art History.
Finally, many of the better coffeehouses in Vienna are in close reach of the Naschmarkt, especially on and around the old ring road known as the Ringstrasse. There's little better than following a stroll at the market with a Viennese melange and slice of decadent cake. Hop on the tram or go on foot to reach your next gourmet destination.