The Best Time to Visit Vienna

Michael Catford | August 7, 2019  in

Maybe you’re visiting Vienna for the first time. Maybe you’re looking to go back. No matter the case, you want to book a trip to the Austrian capital. But while you know where you’re going, when to go to Vienna is a different question altogether.

As it turns out, there’s no right or wrong answer to the question of the best time of year to visit Vienna. With its storied history, unrivaled architecture and refined culture, Vienna is a city that doesn’t rely on weather or events to attract the crowds. Whether you’re a solo traveler, on a romantic weekend away, or taking a break with the family, the best time to go to Vienna, Austria is any time.

But to help make the decision of when to visit Vienna a little easier, let’s take a look at what the city offers its visitors throughout the year. Through summer, autumn, winter and spring, here’s what you can expect from Europe’s capital of classical music and culture.

Vienna in the summer

Schoenbrunn Garden - Image by manekj from Pixabay
Schoenbrunn Garden – Image by manekj from Pixabay

The summer months in Vienna are characterized by long, sunny days and warm nights. It can get surprisingly toasty here (highs average 27C/81F and lows 18C/65F in the height of summer), so both locals and visitors will be seen enjoying the parks and dining al fresco. The city’s green spaces are filled with people exercising, enjoying picnics or lying in the sun during summer. This is generally seen as the best time of year to go to Vienna, and it certainly boasts the best weather and the most activity, although this does mean that you’ll be sharing the city with plenty of other tourists with prices reflecting the popularity.

The best of Vienna in the summer:

  • Swim at a city beach or outdoor pool: The lack of coastline doesn’t stop the Viennese from enjoying a day on the sand! Open from the beginning of May to the middle of September, there’s no better way to escape the summer heat than at a city beach or outdoor pool. Head to Döblinger Bad for amazing views of the city, or Vienna City Beach Club for a party.
  • Music Film Festival at Rathausplatz: Starting late June every year, Rathausplatz, Vienna’s magnificent City Hall Square, plays host to over 2 months of live music displayed on a gigantic 300m² screen. Entirely free, audiences can expect to enjoy everything from opera to pop.
  • Rent a boat on the Old Danube: The Alte Donau is a section of the Danube that has been cut off from the main artery after centuries of development. Now a tranquil lake, it’s the perfect place to rent a boat and enjoy the summer sun, or the Old Danube Light Festival held every July.
  • Sommernachtskonzert at Schönbrunn Palace: What better way to celebrate a Viennese summer vacation than by combining the city’s two most famous drawcards – palaces and classical music? Majestic Schönbrunn provides the backdrop for this free concert, held every June.

Vienna in the fall

Vienna in the Fall - Image by Manuel Mariscal from Pixabay
Vienna in the Fall – Image by Manuel Mariscal from Pixabay

The days slowly get shorter, the weather slowly cools, and the color palette of the city changes entirely. Vienna in the fall is a stunning place, and with the bulk of the tourists gone you’ll feel like you have the city to yourself. To many visitors, September is the best month to visit Vienna, Austria, as the weather is still nice and everything is still open, but the crowds are largely gone.

The best of Vienna in the fall:

  • Hike up Kahlenberg: Offering one of the best views of the city, Kahlenberg is a hill in the 19th District of Vienna that transitions from emerald green to a gorgeous autumnal palette in the fall. While the hike is somewhat challenging, the views of both the mountain and the city make it worth it.
  • Watch the leaves change at Schönbrunner Schloss Park: Speaking of changing leaves, there’s no more beautiful a place to watch the seasonal transition than Schönbrunner Schloss Park, the majestic gardens of Schönbrunn Palace.
  • Long night of museums: Arguably home to the world’s most incredible selection of museums, there’s no better place to be on the first Saturday in October than Vienna. Lange Nacht der Museen allows tourists to visit as many of the city’s museums as they can between 6pm and 1am, all for just €15.
  • Halloween at Prater: Vienna’s most famous amusement park, Prater does Halloween right. The entire park is transformed into a macabre spectacle, with costumes worn by workers and visitors alike.

Vienna in the winter

Cafe Central - ©WienTourismus / Christian Stemper
Cafe Central – ©WienTourismus / Christian Stemper

Short days and cold temperatures mean that the Austrian capital sees fewer visitors over winter. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go – this is the cheapest time to visit Vienna, and there’s still plenty of fun to be had. A stunning coat of white snow often drapes itself over the city, and Christmas festivities are taken very seriously!

The best of Vienna in winter:

  • Dive into Viennese coffee culture: Coffee is treated seriously in Vienna. There are a set of elegant rituals and social practices that the Viennese follow when they enjoy a cup, which creates a real air of old fashioned refinement. Warm yourself up in winter by ordering a hot chocolate, but only if it’s made with the real stuff, not powder.
  • Belvedere Christmas Markets: If you were to create the perfect Christmas market, it would look a lot like the Weihnachtsdorf at Belvedere. Located right in front of the upper Palace, the mulled wine and seasonal wares are every bit as exquisite as the surrounds.
  • Attend the Vienna Philharmonic Ball: Once events that were reserved for the upper crust of Vienna high society, winter brings the ball season, with waltz-heavy events held from November to January. The Philharmonic Ball is the most iconic of these, with ladies and gentlemen dressed in their finery expertly navigating the dance floor. You’ll need to get in quick, as tickets can be hard to come by.
  • Vienna Ice Dream: You’ll feel like you’re skating through a fairytale at Vienna Ice Dream, a series of ice trails that emerge from the Wiener Eislauf-Verein ice rink. Novice skaters needn’t worry – there are purpose-built beginner areas where you can find your feet!

Vienna in the spring

Schoenrbrunn Palm house in Spring - Image by Anna Armbrust from Pixabay
Schoenrbrunn Palm house in Spring – Image by Anna Armbrust from Pixabay

If it’s your first time visiting Vienna, spring is a spectacular choice. As the winter chill is replaced by warmth, the waterways, parks and public spaces come alive and residents slowly creep out from their cozy homes. If you’re looking for a time of year with good weather, beautiful scenery and fewer tourists, spring is just the ticket!

The best of Vienna in spring:

  • Enjoy homemade wine at a Viennese Heurige: Heuriger are traditional Viennese taverns that produce and sell their own wine. These places come into their own in spring, when the weather is warm enough to have a drink outside, but cool enough to enjoy a nice glass of red. Be warned that special liquor licenses see heuriger selling wine in alternate months during the growing season.
  • Cherry blossoms at Stadtpark: Vienna is famous for its cherry blossoms, and Stadtpark is arguably the best of the city’s many cherry blossom viewing points.
  • Vienna Blues Festival: A town so famous for its opera and ballet, Vienna dances to the beat of an entirely different drum in spring. The Vienna Blues Festival goes for almost a month and a half, and offers up an eclectic mix of local and international artists at a wealth of venues.
  • Electric Spring: Huge, fun and free, Electric Spring takes over MuseumsQuartier in late April, with a mix of hip hop, rap, electronic and alternative artists lighting up the stage. It’s every bit as cool as the name suggests!

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