Who says that Christmas markets only ever mean cold, winter and snow? There is a perfect recipe for this winter: The Christmas markets of course, but also street food, the sweet smell of cinnamon in the air and a good dose of relaxation.


Villach – a small town in the lower part of Austria, just a few steps from the Italian border. Here you will find a lot of warmth (yes, even in winter!) between typical shops, lots of sweets, hot dogs with sauerkraut, beer, souvenirs and local crafts. In the city, there are several restaurants and pastry shops, but also the stalls offer you a great view of this region in Carinthia. All under the motto “Christmas” of course.

And since the theme is exactly the markets, I took the opportunity to buy unique pieces and take home some little memories of this area, maybe a decoration for the Christmas tree or lucky charm that you can keep at home all year round!

The stalls offer, as I said, a wide selection of hearty and warm cuisine. From roasts to sandwiches, from caramelized apples to chocolate fruits. I’ve tried a little of everything! Villach is good for a quick tour, but also for a longer break between streets, alleys and small squares decorated with Christmas lights.

Only a few kilometres away from this little jewel, at the foot of the famous skiing area Nassfeldpass/Passo di Pramolle, lies the Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa Carinthia, which takes its name from this Austrian region. Here we can add the missing ingredients for our perfect recipe.


Despite the low temperatures of the season, the heated pool of this hotel offers you the best view from the huge windows. The wood does the rest to make the surroundings warmer and more comfortable. The desire to spend more than a few hours in this hotel is inevitable thanks to the bar and the room with the TV and billiard table!

The basin is divided between inside and outside, and the two areas are connected so as not to have to go outside. Although it’s -2 degrees outside and it gets dark in the afternoon, winter won’t have the melancholic air!

The pool in the dark atmosphere outside gets a new and magical charm, the steam of the hot water contrasting with the sparkling air makes the atmosphere so relaxing and surreal.

But the route can be even more relaxing. Saunas, indoor and outdoor pools with whirlpools, you’ll be spoilt for choice. I am not a fan of the cold, but here it is something different, trust me.


As for every decent Italian, food for me is love, comfort and happiness at the same time. The Austrian recipes are of course different, but for me, this is always a good opportunity to get closer to the tradition of the country in which I am at this moment. I like to try out the typical and local cuisine and then replicate the recipes I have discovered at home. Here in the Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa Carinzia, you will find dumplings, but also a large selection of cheese and sausage products, even for breakfast (anyone who follows me on Instagram knows that I only love the salty).

Let yourself be recommended good local wine and the dishes of the day, you won’t regret it!

The Christmas markets can be much more, for me, they are a wonderful opportunity to take a break and have a few days off!