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Möglichkeiten, Weihnachten und Silvester in Wien zu feiern

Discover Vienna’s festive side this holiday season through markets, music, and glittering illuminations.
Hi, I'm David!

David is a freelance travel writer based in Melbourne, Australia. He has also lived as a digital nomad in Europe for several years, happily visiting castles and getting lost on hiking trails. His work has appeared in Skylife Magazine, Fodors, and Matador Network.

Finding cities in Europe that celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve isn’t difficult. But few go the extra mile for the festive season quite like Vienna. The Austrian capital wholeheartedly embraces the season, with the city looking, smelling, and sounding like the holidays. Whether you’re craving typical Austrian delicacies or longing to see Vienna decked out in lights, you can find seasonal things to do in Vienna at Christmas and on New Year’s Eve to suit every taste. Find out what to do in Vienna on New Year's Eve and during Christmas with these Yuletide activities.

1. For the foodies: Eat your way through holiday markets

austrian desserts in vienna
Be sure to come to Vienna hungry.Bildquelle: Kaca Skokanova / Shutterstock

The trick to staying warm in chilly Vienna.

Vienna is famous for its coffeehouse culture, but it’s not coffee and cake that are the focus of most Austrian Christmas traditions. Wander around or take a guided tour through the Christmas markets in Vienna to try a barrage of Vienna Christmas specialties, including bauernkrapfen (large jam-filled donuts), käsekrainer (sausages filled with cheese), and of course, the traditional glühwein (mulled wine). Visit local restaurants in Vienna, and you’re almost guaranteed to see another Vienna Christmas tradition—martinigansl (roast goose)—on the menu.

2. For illumination fans: See the lights and the fireworks

buildings covered in christmas lights in vienna
Get your cameras ready to catch the twinkling lights across Vienna.Bildquelle: S.Borisov / Shutterstock

Enjoy the city’s holiday glow.

Visit any Christmas market in Vienna and you’ll catch an elaborate lights display. But the grander illuminations are reserved for the inner city’s pedestrian streets, particularly the Graben, featuring iconic chandeliers. A holiday lights tour of Vienna isn’t complete without the fireworks in Vienna on New Year's Eve, which light up the sky across the city. The display includes a combination of official and amateur fireworks. Catch it from Heroes’ Square (Heldenplatz) or the nearby Rathausplatz.

3. For classical music lovers: Experience Vienna’s Christmas concerts

paper ornament in vienna christmas market
Christmas is one of the most musical seasons of the year, especially in Vienna,Bildquelle: Calin Stan / Shutterstock

There’s no intermission in Vienna’s concert calendar.

Music is such a big part of Vienna’s identity and appeal, and you’ll find many Christmas events in Vienna that revolve around music. Numerous churches around the city host ViennaChristmas concerts that visitors can attend, including St. Peter’s Church and the Capuchin Church. You can also experience concerts held at Schönbrunn Palace, combining a festive musical experience with the palace’s Christmas market.

4. For the party people: Celebrate at an Austrian Christmas ball

christmas market stalls in vienna
Dust off your gown or tux before heading to one of Vienna's balls.Bildquelle: Tatiana Popova / Shutterstock

Music and vibes to suit every taste.

There’s no better time for revelry than New Year's Eve in Vienna, as parties spring up around the city. From fancy galas and balls in palaces to club parties serving up electronic, techno, jazz, and pop music, there’s a New Year's Eve party in Vienna to suit your style. Alternatively, head to lively Graben or Rathausplatz to join the large gathering of people dancing as they await the New Year's Eve countdown in Vienna.

5. For the active visitors: Get out onto the ice

ice skating rink at christmas in vienna
Bundle up, lace up, and hit the ice in Vienna.Bildquelle: Nate Hovee / Shutterstock

It’s easy to go for a skate in the city.

There’s no better way to experience Austria’s frigid temps in a festive manner than ice skating in Vienna over the holidays. The Wiener Eislauf-Verein, next to the Vienna Concert House, is an open-air ice skating rink that’s open year-round. Or, you can head to the seasonal skating course outside the Rathaus that runs through the park during winter. Once there, you can glide under the park’s inventive illuminations and warm up afterward with a cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine.

6. For the budget travelers: Enjoy Vienna’s free activities

christmas lights in vienna
Your trip to Vienna doesn't need to be expensive.Bildquelle: berni0004 / Shutterstock

You don’t need to spend big to have fun over the holidays.

Although Vienna isn’t always the best destination for travelers who want to watch their spending, New Year's Eve is one time of year when you won’t miss out if you're on a budget. Each evening during the holiday season, you’ll find a trail of stages set up around the city center, hosting all sorts of free live performances as part of Silvesterpfad, Vienna’s annual street party. Later, as the bells of St. Stephen's Cathedral ring in the New Year, you can join a free dance class as everyone breaks out into the waltz.

7. For those short on time: See the attractions, even on Christmas Day

historic building covered in christmas lights, vienna
Many of Vienna's attractions are open on Christmas and New Year's Day.Bildquelle: Burben / Shutterstock

The best time for sightseeing without lines.

Lines for Vienna's most popular attractions are common, especially in summer and the lead-up to Christmas. But one of the best Vienna holiday travel tips is that many attractions remain open over Christmas Day and New Year's Day, including Schönbrunn Palace, the Albertina, and the Jewish Museum. You can even find guides willing to give tours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, a great opportunity to help you make the most of your time sightseeing. Just make sure to check the holiday hours of these attractions, as some close earlier than usual on certain dates.

8. For the faithful: Enjoy religious services in Vienna over Christmas

christmas sculptures in vienna
There's no shortage of churches holding Christmas services in Vienna.Bildquelle: Pandora Pictures / Shutterstock

A chance to worship in centuries-old churches.

The religious aspect of Christmas is alive and well in Vienna and Austria, so you won’t have much trouble finding religious services in Vienna around the holidays. As you don’t mind experiencing mass in German, you can attend Christmas Eve services across the many churches of different denominations around Vienna’s historical center.

9. For the families: Discover family-friendly Christmas activities in Vienna

christmas lights on vienna street
Kids and adults alike will have plenty to do in Vienna over Christmas.Bildquelle: omihay / Shutterstock

There’s plenty to keep the little ones entertained.

Christmas markets in Vienna do a great job of making a holiday visit to the city suitable for the whole family, from serving alcohol-free punch to creating play areas such as the hay-filled one at the Karlsplatz Christmas market. But the Vienna Prater Park is another excellent hub for family-friendly activities for your Vienna Christmas visit. The park’s attractions, its iconic Ferris wheel, and Madame Tussauds Vienna all remain open during the festive season.

10. For the shoppers: Find items from souvenirs to vintage antiques

ornament stall at christmas market
Partake in a little retail therapy at the Christmas markets.Bildquelle: Sumit.Kumar.99 / Shuttersock

Filling your suitcase won’t be a problem.

If you have souvenirs or gift-giving on your mind, you’re spoiled for choice in Vienna at the end of the year. The many Christmas markets around the city (that later turn into New Year’s Markets) offer some of the best holiday shopping in Vienna. Head there to pick up adorable trinkets and special handicrafts if you’re coming for Christmas or New Year's Eve celebrations in Vienna. Of course, shopping spots such as Naschmarkt and Mariahilfer Strasse offer less seasonal shopping—and you may end up getting some post-holiday sale finds.

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