The Best Time to Visit Vienna

The Belvedere palace and museum in Vienna

 

Michal Krakowiak/Getty Images

While all four seasons in Austria's capital have their charms, for most people, the best time of year to visit Vienna is probably mid-summer to early fall, or during the winter holidays. During the first period, temperatures are warm and balmy, days are long, and outdoor activities such as al fresco dinners, wine tasting in nearby vineyards, and day trips can add up to an enjoyable stay. The winter holiday season, meanwhile, is alluring for its festive lights, decorations, and numerous celebrations.

If you're visiting Vienna for the first time, you may conclude that summer and mid-winter are right for you, especially in light of our advice above. But depending on your budget, interests, tolerance for big crowds, and other factors, it may be wiser to book your trip at another time of year.

The bottom line? Every season in the Austrian capital city has its pros and cons, charms, and downsides. Keep reading to learn more about what each season tends to be like, and for info on popular events and activities to enjoy in Vienna, year-round.

Popular Events and Festivals

The winter holiday season in Vienna offers a large number of exciting events, which explains why so many visitors throng on the city at this time. From around mid-November, Christmas markets take over the town with cheerful chalet-style stands, toys, decorations, mulled wine, and other treats. At the same time, ice skating offers another fun way for visitors of all ages to enjoy the city in its wintery guise. The annual New Year's Concerts in Vienna is world-famous; the city Philharmonic orchestra brings in the new year with traditional Waltzes and elegant balls. The spring, meanwhile, is an ideal time to taste the city's finest produce and traditional products, from white asparagus to grüner veltliner wines. Don't miss May events such as the Genuss Festival, a three-day food and drink celebration that takes place in the Stadtpark, the Vienna Wine Fest, and the European Street Food Festival.

Moving to summer, music, beer, and art are all big draw cards, with events like the Vienna Beer Festival, the Vienna Jazz Festival, and numerous open-air film festivals and exhibits central to the mid-year program. Finally, fall is harvest season and ideal for enjoying events such as the Vienna Harvest Festival (Erntedankfest) and the Wiener Wiesn Fest, a folk festival that celebrates traditional Austrian arts and crafts, music, food, wine, beer, and more.

The Weather in Vienna

Vienna has an oceanic climate that features warm to hot summers and cold winters with moderate levels of rain and snow. It's a relatively bright city and enjoys some 1,900 hours of sunshine a year. The weather is generally considered best for visits between April through early October. Late spring and early summer bring abundant rainfall, however. The warmest month is July, and the coldest is January, while the wettest is June. In the winter, years with abundant snowfall attract skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts to nearby slopes.

See our full guide to typical weather in Vienna here for month-by-month details on average temperatures, rainfall, daylight hours, and winter snowfall levels.

Peak Season in Vienna

Peak season generally falls over two periods: late May through early September and December through January. The winter holiday season attracts thousands of tourists to the city's many Christmas markets, festive decorations, and New Year's concerts. Flights are generally most expensive during the summer and mid-winter months, while you can often find good deals on flights and hotels outside of the peak periods. But we always recommend that you book well in advance, irrespective of when you plan to visit.

Spring

For mild temperatures, a relaxed atmosphere, moderate to thin crowds, and delicious food and wine-tasting opportunities, spring can't be beaten. You can often get good deals for trips in March through early May, which is technically still low season in the capital.

Events to check out:

  • If you're a foodie, make sure to taste regional Austrian specialties at the Genuss Festival in May, or the Styrian Spring Festival (generally in mid-April).
  • Music fans will enjoy the free annual Summer Night classical concert, generally held in the gardens of Schönbrunn Palace every May.

Summer

If long days, picnics in the grass, wine-tasting on sprawling winery lawns, and seemingly endless art, film, and music festivals are your speed, summer in Vienna may be for you. This is a relaxed but busy time in the Austrian capital. While it can be crowded, the often balmy, sunny days and ability to get out of the city center for strolls, wine tours, and day trips to areas of outstanding natural beauty can mitigate the bustling vibe.

Events to check out:

  • If you're interested in checking out the creations of local artists and designers, the Fesch'Markt Vienna in June is an excellent way to get an overview and take home original items as gifts or decor.
  • In July and August, film and live music take over the city with events such as the Rathaus Film Festival and Popfest Wien.

Fall

Fall in the Austrian capital brings crisp, often clear skies, an excellent opportunity to enjoy harvest festivals and wineries just outside the city, and the lure of spending an afternoon in one of Vienna's cozy cinemas, historic cafes, and many fine museums. While early fall can still be warm and bright, temperatures start to dip significantly from late October, and November is often quite chilly, wet, and dark.

Events to check out:

  • If you want to see several of the city's best museums and art collections in a single evening, don't miss Long Night of Museums, which generally falls on October 6 each year.
  • Love wine and countryside walks? You'll get the best of both on Vienna Wine Hiking Day, which sees the area's dozens of wineries and heurige (winery taverns) celebrate the new harvest with a day of informal tours and nature walks. There are three routes that, in total, allow you to explore some 15 miles around the city. Start early if you want to cover a few in the daylight, as this event generally falls in early October as the days are getting shorter!

Winter

Winter in Vienna can be genuinely magical. This is the season to enjoy holiday markets that draw you in with glittering lights and traditional treats, ice skating in the city's numerous parks, and wintery walks through old-world streets that can appear straight out of a storybook, especially when covered in a layer of snow. Christmas shopping and festive dinners are certainly on the list, as are cozy retreats to the city's many lavish, historic coffeehouses.

Event to check out:

  • Starting in mid-November, festive Christmas markets start springing up around the city, including a large one outside City Hall on Rathausplatz. Some 150 stands at the market make it the city's most important, while holiday music, food, and nearby ice rinks add to the appeal.
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