In 2012 I got to three of Salzburg’s 5 markets on the high speed Rain Jet train from Munich. The ones I visited were the Chriskindel Market in the main square, the Mirabellplatz Christmas market and the Schloss Hellbrunn Advent Market on the grounds of a palace where the Gazebo from the movie Sound of Music is located. Each market has its own character, but I particularly liked the Hellbrunn market. A forest of Christmas trees had been set up, decorated with big shiny red balls. Red balls hung from the oak trees on the grounds as well. There were pony rides for kids through a forest of Christmas trees. There was the “Advent Kafe,” Kevin suggested in an email that it is would be the perfect place to go if you are expecting someone. A woman in a Santa costume led a reindeer around the grounds. She negotiated with someone to hold the reins while she slipped into the WC. The place was full of kids, younger ones wanting one more pony ride, older texting away on their mobiles.
These markets are surprisingly non-commercial. Many feature locally made crafts and locally produced foods rather than mass produced trinkets. I did see one booth in Salzburg featuring “‘JB Stetson’ an American Original.” A local craftsman made the Tyrolean looking feather ornaments and hatbands that you could buy to adorn your 37.8 liter (10 gallon) hat. (Show me the hat that can really hold 10 gallons!)