Christmas in Innsbruck
Christmas in Innsbruck, the capital of the Austrian Tirol, is not all about the twinkling lights, roasted chestnuts and craft stalls; head to the nearby village of Igls (just 5 km from Innsbruck) to witness the famous St. Nicholas and Krampus Parade on Sunday 2 December 2018.
Krampus is a scary looking figure dressed in an animal-fur suit and horned mask, ringing a cowbell. In Austria, parents warn children that Krampus will carry them away if they don’t behave. Watch the procession in Igls, where circa 50 ‘devils’ in traditional costumes and homemade masks parade through the city centre.
For a contrast, go to Innsbruck’s Old Town market (running until 23 December 2018) afterwards – think medieval houses and sparking lights beneath the city’s famous Golden Roof and the snow-dusted Nordkette mountains. With circa 70 exhibitors and surrounded by century-old buildings, this is the town’s largest and most traditional Christmas market; weave your way through the stalls to find unique Christmas tree decorations, traditional wooden toys, beautiful hand-carved nativity scenes and figures and many other lovingly-made examples of Tirolean handicraft. Don’t miss sipping mulled wine beside the Christmas tree when listening to the Turmbläser and trumpeters on the balcony of the Golden Roof, delighting the crowds with atmospheric Christmas songs.