Christmas Trips - Travel Tips

Forget Santa: here's where you can still see Krampus, the terrifying Christmas devil

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Christmas Trips - Travel Tips Forget Santa: here's where you can still see Krampus, the terrifying Christmas devil

Before St Nick, with his portly belly, friendly smile and generous disposition, there was Krampus. This terrifying demon figure, who's half-goat and sports huge and imposing horns, is part of Christmastime celebrations across Alpine countries.

Chris Woolfrey
Chris Woolfrey

Most people who mark the coming of Krampus do it on the 5 December - throughout Austria, villages held their Krampus festivals then - but some of the biggest and best Krampus nights are yet to come.

Ready to be scared? If you're the kind of creep who needs two Halloweens, get yourself to Austria or Germany in the few weeks. You're in for a nasty surprise.

See Krampus in: Salzburg, Austria


Creepy Krampus masks. Photo by Chris Woolfrey

Chris Woolfrey

Chris Woolfrey

Creepy Krampus masks.

The beautiful, old Austrian city of Salzburg is home not only to Mozart but probably the most famous Krampus festival around. On the 16 December the city marks Krampus Day; on the 21 December, people dressed both as terrifying evil spirits and as Krampus itself will run rampant throughout the city.

If you're more of a history buff, get to Salzburg for the 16th. On Krampus Day there will be mask carvers, a traditional Krampus parade, and explanations of all the weird Krampus related customs.

For those of you who just want to be scared out of your wits (or drink with demons), the 21st is for you. The Krampus Run - which also took place on the 5th and 6th, and is exactly what it sounds like it is - sees residents dressing up and doing their scary thing along the running route.

Get your Krampus on in Salzburg.

See Krampus in: Munich, Germany


Krampus is legit terrifying. Photo by Chris Woolfrey

Chris Woolfrey

Chris Woolfrey

Krampus is legit terrifying.

In 2017, Munich chose to put on two Krampus runs; one on the 10 December and on 17 December. 40 groups from across Austria, Bavaria, and the parts of Italy that are cool enough to enjoy their own Krampus traditions will be in the second run.

Head to Munich's Marienplatz on the 17th and enjoy a bottle of Paulaner, Augustiner Edelstof, or Spaten while you watch the demons go wild.

Grow your demon horns in Munich.

See Krampus in: Austin, Texas?

The Krampus tradition predates Santa (and Christianity) in the Alpine regions of Austria, Hungary, Italy, and Slovenia; next year, it won't just be European mountain folk who get in on the act.

In early December this year, several cities across the USA were home to Krampus: a Haunted Christmas, and it looked truly terrifying.

Austin, Chicago, Nashville, and Portland, among others, gave over their cities to the Krampus haunted house -- and when 5 December 2018 rolls around, there'll be more of the same for sure. The world's Krampus-love has been growing steadily over the last few years; 2018 might just be the year that Krampus, our favorite horned Christmas devil, goes mainstream.


Scare yourself witless. Enjoy a Christmas market. Or just relax. Get the best Christmas travel tips: join TRVL


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