Whoop, it’s the season! Christmas is just around the corner, so it’s time to get in the festive mood. Of course, Christmas Markets are a favorite all-time go to for everybody who tries to get into the spirit – and to get some spirit. And food, that is. Austria has some real gems when it comes to that and I’ll tell you about my favorite ones soon, but first I’d like to write about a lovely place called Kittenberger Adventure Gardens (“Kittenberger Erlebnisgärten”, in German). It’s located in a little town called Schiltern in Lower Austria and should definitely be on your bucket list. Throughout the year as well as during Advent.
The Kittenberger Erlebnisgärten’s success started back in 1996, when founder Reinhard Kittenberger, a garden designer, started to create display gardens to inspire his clients. The idea is simple yet convincing. People who are interested to get their garden in a better shape stroll through the area, get some ideas, can buy tools, decoration and plants on site and also have the garden architect’s office there – should they want some serious revamping. By now the whole area stretches over 50.000 square meters (539.000 square ft.) and is home of 40 different theme gardens. There are animals, such as ponies, alpacas and rabbits, slides, water gardens and a playground for kids, a restaurant, the before mentioned shop and a climbing garden to make sure everybody has a good time there. You can even bring your doggy along.
It’s a very beautiful place to stroll around, no matter during which season you come for a visit. But before Christmas it’s – for me – a perfect alternative to traditional Christmas Markets with their packs of tourists, sometimes cheap kitsch and the greasy (yet amazing!) food. Because the gardens are amazingly decorated, more than 350.000 lights transform the area to something magical. One of the highlights around Christmas time is “Illumina” – a show featuring music and light. There’s also a daily concert (4 pm) by Reinhard Kittenberger and Rudi Murth. Of course you can get your fair share of punch, mulled wine and cookies as well.
I recommend to go there during the week, as it’s open every day from 10 am to 7 pm but it’s less crowded from Monday to Thursday. In my opinion it’s wise to come around 2 pm and stay until after sunset. This way you can enjoy the beautiful decoration at daylight and witness the transformation as soon as it gets dark. The Kittenberger Erlebnisgärten should definitely be one of your to dos when in Austria. Honestly.
3553 Schiltern bei Langenlois
Open daily from 10 am to 7 pm; during Advent kids up to 4 years are free, kids up to 14 years pay 6 Euros, adults 9 Euros admission. Dogs must be on a leash.
(c) featured Image: Heller/Kittenberger Erlebnisgärten