Whenever I’m in Vienna, I ALWAYS make it a point to pay at least one visit to the Naschmarkt. It’s one of my favorite places to go in the city when I’m looking for a quick snack or ingredients for a future meal. Conveniently located only a few minutes walk from ‘Karlsplatz’ it’s easy to access from anywhere in Vienna by using ‘VIE’s efficient U-Bahn and Tram networks. It’s so easy to reach that even if you have a 4-5 hour layover at the airport, you can easily get to the Naschmarkt via the CAT train and U-Bahn, enjoy the atmosphere and head back to airport in plenty of time to catch your flight. It beats airport food by a LARGE margin!
The ‘Markt’ dates back to the 1500’s when it was primarily a place where milk bottles (made of wood!) would be sold. According to Wikipedia, the term Naschmarkt is derived from this 16th century practice since the wooden milk bottles were made of ash, translating to Asch and was known as the ‘Aschenmarkt’. Fast forward a few centuries, move the ‘N’, lose the ‘E’ and we have our Naschmarkt! At a mile long, it’s one of the larger food markets that you’ll find anywhere.
My most recent visit was during this winter and compared to my summer visits, it was not quite as festive or ‘alive’ as it normally is in the Spring and Summer when local fruits, vegetables, flowers and ‘foodstuffs’ overrun the market. During the winter, items imported from warmer climates make up a large part of the offerings for obvious reasons.
This is not say that the Markt is not as enjoyable in the winter as it is in the summer, it’s just a bit different. The shops are all open, people fill the lanes and the smell of a diverse range of food (from Wurst to Crepes to Sushi!) coming from a variety of restaurants and vendors fills the air!
If you are looking for a recommendation, I STRONGLY recommend paying a visit to Urbanek. This meat, cheese and wine specialist has a tiny shop that can barely fit 6 people inside, but the selection of speciality meats and cheeses will rival the finest butchers. Their access to rare local wines (sometimes only 6 bottles a year from a vineyard) make the experience complete. The shop is family run and they are more than happy to let you sample anything they have to offer. My advice? Their Mangalitsa ham. Wow!
My camera battery was on ‘fumes’ so I couldn’t take nearly as many photos as I would have liked, but I think there is enough to share that will give you a sense of what the Naschmarkt is about. Should you find yourself visiting Vienna or just passing through, this local landmark is absolutely worth the visit!