Mountain Christmas in Maria Kirchental
An insider tip for the whole family
A trip to the mountain Christmas market at ‘Pinzgauer Dom’, as Maria Kirchental is affectionately known, is an experience for the whole family. A visit to the Christmas market can be wonderfully combined with a winter hiking tour,” explained the woman at the tourism office.
We park the car in the car park in St Martin and make our way to Maria Kirchental on an approximately 45-minute wintry hike. Mum reads us the brochure on the way: “After a number of miracles were reported to have occurred here, the Archbishop commissioned the building of a church on this holy site, which was consecrated in 1701. Today Maria Kirchental is one of the most significant pilgrimage sites in the Salzburger Land and, with approximately 1,200 individual pieces, its extensive collection of votive pictures is one of the most precious of its kind in Austria.
Making the ascent to Maria Kirchental
This delightful method of transport lets you travel the snow-covered two-kilometre journey in no time. We hike through the romantic, wintry forest and the scent of warm, oven-roasted potatoes, roast chestnuts, fruitcake and fruity orange punch soon rises to greet us. We admire the lovingly decorated Christmas trees at the entrance to the Christmas market.
A small but fine Christmas market leaving nothing to be desired
The beautiful area in front of the impressive pilgrimage church, which is illuminated with torches, provides the perfect backdrop for this small but impressive Christmas market. People from around the region man their stalls and sell their home-made wares. All manner of knitted, felted, ceramic and carved goods are on offer here and fresh-baked bread, cheese from the Kalbrunnalm mountain pastures and famous sausages from the nature park are sold at the nature park’s own stall. The local publicans cook for hungry visitors and offer home-made punch and mulled wine to provide a cosy sense of inner warmth.
A crackling campfire attracts the kids. Christmas stories are told here, and you can make your own Christmas tree ornaments at a crafts station and grill twist bread and sausages over the open fire. With the kids well looked after, Mum and Dad can even take a wander alone through the Christmas market and enjoy the romantic atmosphere.
Last-minute Christmas gifts and unique souvenirs are available for purchase at the stalls. Enjoy the sounds of the Weisenbläser brass band over mulled wine and roast chestnuts while you warm yourself up by the wood burning stoves. This awakens childhood memories and even the biggest Grinch is sure to soften to the magic of Christmas in the mountains when faced with this idyll.
“Engerl” post office for your greatest wishes
Children who have finished letting off steam with games, crafts and sliding along with snowshoes in the children’s area can now settle down with Mum and Dad on the loungers lined with thick pelts and watch attentively as the Anklöckler carollers perform. “Before we go, we simply must visit the Engerl post office!”, whisper the children to their parents. There you can write down your greatest wishes for Father Christmas in a letter, complete with its own stamp. The letter is then placed in the Engerl post box and is sent directly on its way to Father Christmas. With a wink, the parents peek over their children’s shoulders whilst they are busy writing their letters. Father Christmas is sure to make one wish come true this year: the sledge they are hoping for is sure to make its way under the Christmas tree.
It’s now time to head back, as darkness has long since fallen over Maria Kirchental. We make our way back into the valley with much laughter. A perfect end to this festive visit to the Christmas market.
Save the date for 2023: 9 th and 10th of December and 16th and 17th of December 2023