Top Events

Salzburg Festival, July

Styriarte, June

Christmas markets, December

Spectaculum, July

Donauinselfest, June

January

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.

Mozartwoche

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.

Perchtenlaufen

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.

February

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.

Opernball

Of the 300 or so Vienna balls held in January and February, the lavish Opernball is the most illustrious.

March

The sun is thawing the public squares. Hiking and cycling are becoming possible from late March, but many sights outside Vienna are still dormant.

Easter

Easter is when families come together to celebrate. Salzburg celebrates with Osterfestspiele, Vienna with OsterKlang Festival.

April

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.

May

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.

Musikwochen Millstatt

In Millstatt in Carinthia, a string of concerts are held between May and September, mostly in the medieval abbey.

Wiener Festwochen

In Vienna, arts from around the world hit the stages until mid-June.

Höhenrausch

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.

June

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.

Donauinselfest

Vienna gets down for a three-day festival of rock, pop, hardcore, folk and country music on the Donauinsel.

Tanzsommer

A selection of top international contemporary dance groups takes to the stage for a month during the Tanzsommer in June and July.

SommerSzene

Salzburg’s cutting-edge dance, theatre and music bash ignites from mid-June to mid-July.

Styriarte

Graz’ most important cultural festival offers almost continuous classical concerts in June and July.

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.

ImPulsTanz

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.

Salzburger Festspiele

World-class opera, classical music and drama take the stage across Salzburg from late July to August.

Spectaculum

On the last Saturday in July, electric lights are extinguished and the town of Friesach returns to the Middle Ages.

August

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.

Bregenzer Festspiele

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.

September

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.

Brucknerfest

Linz stages its most celebrated festival, a series of classical concerts based on composer Anton Bruckner.

Internationale Haydntage

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.

October

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.

Steirischer Herbst

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.

November

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.

December

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.

Christmas Markets

Christkindlmärkte (Christmas markets) spring up around the country from early December until the 24th and Austrians sip mulled wine on public squares.

Silvester

Book early for the night of 31 December, celebrated with fireworks and a blaze of crackers and rockets on Vienna's crowded streets.