Salzburg Festival, July
Christmas markets, December
The flakes are falling and the ski season is revving. One of the coldest months of the year in Austria, this is the right time to hit the peaks for downhill or cross-country skiing, or for snowshoe hikes.
An ode to the city's most famous son, Mozart Week stages a series of concerts in Salzburg in late January.
New Year Concerts
Vienna rings in the new year on 1 January with classical concerts. The Vienna Philharmonic’s performance in Vienna’s Staatsoper is a glittering affair.
Locals dress as Perchten (spirits crowned with elaborate headdresses) and parade through the streets across much of western Austria in a celebration to bring good fortune and bountiful harvests for the year.
The winter months are freezing, but in Vienna the museums and cultural scene are in full swing. Crowds are down. On the slopes the skiing is usually still excellent.
Of the 300 or so Vienna balls held in January and February, the lavish Opernball is the most illustrious.
The sun is thawing the public squares. Hiking and cycling are becoming possible from late March, but many sights outside Vienna are still dormant.
Spring has properly sprung and city gardens are at their blooming best. Room rates and crowds remain low. Snow still polishes the highest peaks of the Alps.
Cities are a delight on bright spring days: uncrowded and often warm. A hike to a mountain Alm (meadow) becomes a romp through flowers, and from April onwards all sights and activities flick to summer schedules.
In Millstatt in Carinthia, a string of concerts are held between May and September, mostly in the medieval abbey.
In Vienna, arts from around the world hit the stages until mid-June.
Modern art in weird and wonderful places is what Höhenrausch is all about, with city tours, rooftop walks, art installations and entertainment drawing crowds to Linz.
The snow finally melts and hiking and kayaking are excellent, with near-empty trails and warm but not overly hot weather. Mountain lakes are slowly warming up. Big-hitting sights in Vienna and Salzburg start to get crowded.
Vienna gets down for a three-day festival of rock, pop, hardcore, folk and country music on the Donauinsel.
A selection of top international contemporary dance groups takes to the stage for a month during the Tanzsommer in June and July.
Salzburg’s cutting-edge dance, theatre and music bash ignites from mid-June to mid-July.
Graz’ most important cultural festival offers almost continuous classical concerts in June and July.
School holidays begin in July, the time when families enjoy the warm weather on lakes and in the mountains. Cities can be sweltering and crowded, but restaurant dining is at its alfresco best.
Vienna’s premier avant-garde dance festival takes place from mid-July to mid-August, with the participation of dancers, choreographers and teachers in this five-week event.
World-class opera, classical music and drama take the stage across Salzburg from late July to August.
On the last Saturday in July, electric lights are extinguished and the town of Friesach returns to the Middle Ages.
School holidays continue to propel families into the resorts, making things a bit crowded. Hit some isolated spots in the fine weather – seek out a Heuriger (wine tavern) or an alpine peak.
Beginning in late July and continuing until late August, this is Vorarlberg’s top-class cultural event, with classical music and performances on a floating, open-air stage.
La Strada Graz
This upbeat summer arts festival brings street theatre, dance, puppet theatre and ‘nouveau cirque’ to the streets of Graz.
The temperatures are beginning a gradual descent and crowds are tailing off. Museums and most of the activities are still in season, however, and a couple of top-class festivals are revving into action.
Linz stages its most celebrated festival, a series of classical concerts based on composer Anton Bruckner.
International and Austrian performers take the audience through the range of works by Josef Haydn throughout much of September in his home town of Eisenstadt.
Mountain Yoga Festival
St Anton practises tree pose for its Mountain Yoga Festival, giving the resort an added dose of Zen in early September.
Goldener Oktober – the light picks out the golds and russets of autumn, the mountains are growing chilly at night, the wine harvest is in and some museums are preparing to close for winter.
Held in Graz each year, this avant-garde festival has a program of music, theatre, film and more.
Viennale Film Festival
For two weeks from mid-October, city cinemas host screenings from fringe films through documentaries to short and feature films.
Many museums outside the capital have gone into winter hibernation, the days are getting short and the weather can be poor. Cafes, pubs and restaurants become the focal point.
St Martin’s Day
Around 11 November the new wine is released and St Martin’s Day is marked with feasts of goose washed down by the nectar of the gods.
Wien Modern Festival
Contemporary music and pop culture take to the fore at this three-week festival, held at 16 venues across Vienna.
Snow! Ski resorts are gathering momentum and in Vienna and other cities the theatres and classical-music venues are in full swing – often the best performances are during the coldest months.
Christkindlmärkte (Christmas markets) spring up around the country from early December until the 24th and Austrians sip mulled wine on public squares.
Book early for the night of 31 December, celebrated with fireworks and a blaze of crackers and rockets on Vienna's crowded streets.