We love the seasonal markets too, but if you’re arriving in January or February, Christmas festivities aren’t relevant. So, we wanted to write a post about the most unique things to do in Vienna in January, so you can plan an unforgettable winter trip.
Vienna January Weather
Vienna, Austria, can get pretty frosty in January. Expect the daytime temperature to hover around -1°C, or 0°C.
The highest temperature we experienced was 4°C. Light snowfall is common, but it rarely lingers more than a day. It’s essential to have warm boots, a winter jacket, hat, and scarf.
Vienna in January: A Local’s Guide to Visiting Vienna in Winter
- Follow the Silvesterpfad and Waltz into the New Year
- See Die Fledermaus at the Vienna State Opera, or the Vienna Volksoper
- Visit the New Year’s Markets in Early January
- Photograph Vienna’s Frosty Skyline from Stephansdom’s North Tower
- Bathe in thermal waters at Therme Wien
- Eat coffee and cake at a traditional Viennese Coffee House
- Waltz through the Night at a Viennese Ball
- Listen to the Three Kings High Mass at Augustinerkirche
- Schlumberger Cellar World: Wine Tasting and Tour
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Vienna in January Map
Where to Stay in Vienna in January
Budget | Comfy apartments at Siebertgasse is a cheerful, and light-filled apartment-style accommodation in the 12th district, close to the Margaretengürtel U-Bahn station (U4). Each apartment has a kitchen and dining area. We love the airiness, the pastel accents, and the minimalist design of these apartments. This is a great place to stay if you’re an independent traveler, who craves exploring a city on your own terms.
Midrange | Hotel Schani Salon is an excellent hotel located on Mariahilfer Straße, Vienna’s biggest shopping street, a few steps away from the Neubaugasse U-Bahn station (U3). We love this Vienna hotel, because of the bright, modern rooms, the friendly vibe, the communal lounge and bar, and the helpful staff. Breakfast is healthy and varied.
Luxury | Altstadt Vienna is a boutique 4-star hotel in the charming Spittelberg quarter, close to Kunsthistorisches Museum. This contemporary-art-filled hotel features uniquely designed interiors and a hidden rooftop terrace (open from March until October). A wonderful breakfast is served in the Red Salon daily. In the afternoon, complimentary tea and homemade cakes are served in front of the open fireplace.
Luxury | The Leo Grand is advantageously located in the inner district of Vienna, steps away from Peterskirche, Stephansdom, and the Graben. This top-rated hotel features luxurious rooms with romantic, pastel-colored furnishings and decor. Stay here for the unbeatable location, helpful personnel, and fairy tale vibes. Breakfast is available at an extra charge.
Luxury | The palatial Hotel Imperial harkens back to imperial times with its grand, antique-filled interiors and sumptuous rooms and suites (fit for royalty). This 5-star hotel is set on the Ringstrasse boulevard in the heart of Vienna, walking distance to the Vienna Opera House, the Kärntner Strasse shopping street, Karlskirche, and the Musikverein concert hall. This hotel features a cocktail bar in the historic Hallensalon, rooftop fitness center with a sauna, on-site restaurant (Opus) and café (Café Imperial). Breakfast available.
Top Things to Do in Vienna in January
1. Follow the Silvesterpfad and Waltz into the New Year
Are you planning on visiting Vienna for New Years? If so, you’re in luck. Each year, Vienna’s first district transforms into a huge street party. On New Year’s Eve, you can spend hours following the Silvesterpfad (New Year’s Eve Trail) through Vienna’s inner district.
The path guides you to different stages featuring different types of live music. Along the path, there are food stalls selling mulled wine, champagne, and non-alcoholic beverages.
Admission | The event is free. You don’t need to purchase any tickets or make reservations to attend.
Count Down | No matter where you are, Strauss’ Blue Danube is played when the clock strikes midnight (24 Uhr). And in true Viennese style, everyone dances the waltz into the New Year. For the best view of the fireworks, head to the Rathaus.
Start Time | The New Year’s Eve trail begins at 2:00 p.m.
End Time | The New Year’s Eve trail ends at 2:00 a.m.
Where | Vienna’s first district (1. Bezirk/Innere Stadt)
2. See Die Fledermaus at the Vienna State Opera or the Vienna Volksoper
It’s a Viennese tradition to see Johann Strauss II’ Die Fledermaus around New Years’. Both the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Volksoper stage the famous Viennese operetta each year in late December and January.
It’s fun, joyous, and absolutely enchanting. So, if you’re new to opera, this is the perfect place to begin. In an operetta, the dialogue is spoken, not sung.
Tickets: Buy your tickets as soon as possible. Die Fledermaus will likely sell out quickly for performances in early January. If tickets are sold out for the Vienna State Opera, you could also get a standing room ticket. Find out How to Get Standing Tickets for the Vienna State Opera.
Vienna State Opera vs. Vienna Volksoper
The performance of Die Fledermaus will be excellent at both opera houses in Vienna.
However, there’s one thing to consider. Since the Die Fledermaus libretto is in German, you will need subtitles (if you don’t speak German).
At the Vienna State Opera, every seat has a personal screen for subtitles. So, you’ll know exactly what’s going on during the whole performance. However, at the Vienna Volskoper, subtitles aren’t always a given.
If you check the Vienna Volksoper schedule (“Spielplan” in German), you’ll know which performances have subtitles and which do not. Below the performance name and the composer, it’ll either say in German language with English subtitles or just in German language.
Vienna State Opera Address | Opernring 2, 1010 Wien | Google Maps
Vienna Volksoper Address | Währinger Str. 78, 1090 Wien | Google Maps
3. Visit the New Year’s Markets in Early January
While most Viennese Winter Markets shut down by late December, there are a few exceptions. The winter markets at Schloss Schönbrunn, the Prater, and Michaelerplatz stay open until early January.
Schönbrunn Palace Christmas and New Year’s Market
Schloss Schönbrunn is the former summer residence of the Habsburgs in Vienna. The palace is surrounded by beautiful grounds (free access), which are home to a number of attractions, including the historic Zoo, the Gloriette, the Palm House, and the Imperial Carriage Museum.
The Schönbrunn Palace Christmas and New Year’s Market is located directly in front of the palace.
Numerous stalls line the inner courtyard, selling traditional handicrafts, food and drinks.
Celebrate the beginning of the year with a Glühwein or a Punsch in this fabled setting.
Location | Schönbrunn Palace | Google Maps
Opening Times | December 25 – January 4: 10 am – 6 pm
Dates | November 19, 2022 – January 4, 2023
Prater Winter Market
The Prater is a large park in Vienna’s second district. The Prater Winter Market is located at the Riesenradplatz in the Prater amusement park, close to the historic ferris wheel dating back to 1897.
Location | Riesenradplatz | Google Maps
Dates | November 19, 2022 – January 8, 2023
Opening Times |
- Monday – Friday: 12 pm – 10 pm
- Saturday, Sunday, Holiday: 11 am – 10 pm
- December 24, 2022: 11 am – 5 pm
- December 31, 2022: 11 am – 2 am
The Imperial and Royal Christmas Market at Michaelerplatz
Michaelerplatz is located in front of the Hofburg imperial palace complex in the inner district. This small, but scenic market (k.u.k. Weihnachts- und Silvestermarkt am Michaelerplatz in German) is nice to visit while you’re out sightseeing. Nearby attractions include the church of St. Michael, Café Central, Café Demel, the Sisi Museum, and the Spanish Riding School.
Location | Michaelerplatz | Google Maps
Dates | November 11 – January 6, 2023
Opening Times |
- Daily from 10.00 am – 8.00 pm
- December 24: 10 am – 5 pm
- December 31: 10 am – 2 am
- January 1: 1 pm – 8 pm
4. Photograph Vienna’s Frosty Skyline from Stephansdom’s North Tower
Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral), the reigning symbol of Vienna, is located on Stephansplatz in the cultural heart of the city. Visitors can take in sweeping views of the Vienna skyline from the cathedral’s north tower (Nordturm) as well as south tower.
The north tower is accessible by an elevator, whereas the south tower is only accessible by foot (343 steps).
Though not as high as the south tower, the north tower is better for photography, because the viewing area is outside. The south tower viewing area is enclosed. Moreover, there are better views of the cathedral’s multi-colored tiled roof and the Pummerin bell from the north tower. The Pummerin is the third largest swinging bell in Europe.
To reach the north tower elevator, walk inside the cathedral. After passing the information desk, the entrance will be just up ahead on the left.
Location | Stephansplatz 8, 1010 Wien
Opening Times | 9 am – 8:30 pm
Entrance Fee | 6 EUR for Adults, 2.50 EUR for Children (ages 6 – 14)
Payment | Cash Only
5. Bathe in the Thermal Waters of Therme Wien
A Therme is a spa complex with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, steam and Finnish saunas, resting and silent rooms, cafeterias, and wellness facilities. A Therme is a perfect place to unwind, read a book, get a massage and recover from a strenuous day of sightseeing.
Like most Thermal spa complexes, visitors pay an entrance fee for the main facilities (swimming zones) and an extra fee for the sauna area (adults only). The sauna is the best part, especially for those cold January days.
If you’re new to Therme culture, Therme Wien is a perfect place to start. There are many facilities, so you can easily spend a few hours or a full day here. Most sauna zones in Austrian Thermen are unisex and textile-free, meaning no bathing suits allowed. However, at Therme Wien, there’s a separate area for women only (Woohoo!).
Learn More: How to Visit an Austrian Therme
How to get to Therme Wien | Take subway line U1 (U-Bahn) to Oberlaa. It only takes 15 minutes to reach the Therme from the center of Vienna.
Opening Times | Opening Hours
Entrance Fees | Therme Wien Price List
Address | Kurbadstraße 14, 1100 Wien | Google Maps
6. Eat Coffee and Cake in a Traditional Vienna Coffee House
When it’s cold and gloomy outside in January, there’s no better place to be than in a traditional coffee house (Kaffeehaus in German).
Vienna’s coffee house scene is one of a kind. You can get excellent coffee all over the world, but in Vienna, it’s all about the atmosphere.
These coffee houses are considered the extended living rooms of the Viennese. You can linger all day in a Kaffeehaus with a book, or newspaper, and no one will tell you to move, pay, or buy another coffee. It’s all about slowing down and enjoying the fine art of coffee culture.
Because this topic deserves its own special post, we wrote you a guide on the Best Coffee Houses in Vienna. You’ll learn how to read a Viennese coffee menu and which coffee houses to visit.
These are our favorite coffee houses in Vienna:
- Café Landtmann | Universitätsring 4, 1010 Wien
- Café Central | Herrengasse 14, 1010 Wien
- Café Sacher | Philharmonikerstrasse 4,1010 Wien
- Café Hummel | Josefstädter Str. 66, 1080 Wien
- Café Demel | Kohlmarkt 14, 1010 Wien
7. Waltz through the Night at a Viennese Ball
The best thing to do in Vienna in January is to attend a ball … you know, the Cinderella kind.
Each year, Vienna hosts over 450 balls. This is how the Viennese celebrate Fasching (Carnival).
Though the season formally begins in November and ends on Ash Wednesday, January and February are “high season” for ball-goers. Each ball has a different theme, price point, dress code, etc.
We attended the LGBTQ Vienna Rainbow Ball.
If you want to experience a Viennese ball, buy your tickets early, adhere to the dress code (strictly enforced), bring cash, and learn how to waltz.
These are the most famous balls in Vienna:
- Confectioners’ Ball: January 12, 2023 in the Wiener Hofburg
- Flower Ball: January 13, 2023 in the Wiener Rathaus
- Vienna Rainbow Ball: January 28, 2023 in the Parkhotel Schönbrunn
- Vienna Coffeehouse Owners’ Ball: February 3, 2023 in the Wiener Hofburg
- Opera Ball: February 16, 2023 in the Vienna State Opera
More info | Vienna ball season 2022/23
8. Listen to the Three Kings High Mass at the Augustinian Church
Augustinerkirche (the Augustinian Church) is a parish church located at Josefsplatz, next to the Hofburg. On Sundays, you can experience the Catholic High Mass. In this type of service, almost everything is sung.
We recommend attending a high mass at the Augustinian Church, because of the incredible orchestral and choral music. Each Sunday, the church choir, orchestra, and organ collectively create a sublime aural experience. It’s riveting!
If you’re keen on Christmas and Catholic holidays, try to catch the Dreikönigshochamt (Three Kings High Mass). In Austria, Three Kings Day marks the end of the Christmas season.
Schedule | High Mass Schedule at Augustinerkirche. Here you can see what masses (music) are being performed on which days. E.g. WA Mozart: Small Credo Mass, J. Haydn: Nicolaimesse, G. Puccini: Messa di Gloria.
Time | Usually at 11:00 a.m. on Sundays (please double check). Arrive 20 minutes early to get a seat.
Entrance | Free. The church asks for a donation of 8 EUR to support the music and ongoing costs of maintaining an orchestra, soloists, organist, and conductor.
Address | Augustinerstraße 3, 1010 Wien (Josefsplatz) | Google Maps
9. Schlumberger Cellar World: Wine Tasting and Tour
Did you kick off the New Year with a bottle of champagne? I certainly hope so. If you want to infuse your champagne drinking with extra knowledge, then head to Schlumberger Cellar World.
After touring the 300-year old sparkling wine cellars, you’ll have a sound understanding of how champagne is made and can casually toss around terms like cuvée, tirage, riddling, dégorgement and dosage.
The Schlumberger Wine Cellars are actually the oldest sparkling wine cellars in Austria.
You can go to Schlumberger Cellar World and take a 50-minute audio tour that guides you through the cellars and the process of making bottle-fermented wine – the production method that Schlumberger has employed since the mid-1800s. It’s the same method used in Champagne, France.
When the tour ends, the drinking begins! You can sample 3 of Schlumberger’s famous sparkling wines if you opt for the Connaisseur Tour. Reserve wines are also available by the glass (5 EUR), and by the bottle.
After visiting Schlumberger Cellar World, you’ll be convinced that sparkling wine isn’t just for celebratory occasions; it’s for all occasions.
Visiting Schlumberger Cellar World Info
The audio guide is available in 8 languages: German, English, Spanish, Italian, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese.
Opening Hours | Friday & Saturday (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.).
After the (sparkling) tour, you’ll be a given a complimentary glass of Schlumberger. We recommend selecting either the Classic, Rosé or Connaisseur Tour. That way you can taste 3 different sparkling wines.
Entrance | Adults (from 11 EUR), Students & Seniors (from 8 EUR). Connaisseur Tour (20 EUR).
Make sure to bring your own headphones. Otherwise, you can rent headphones for 1 EUR.
How to Get to Schlumberger Cellar World | Take the subway line U4, or U6 to Spittelau station. From Spittelau, it’s a 2-minute walk.
Address | Heiligenstädter Strasse 39, 1190 Wien | Google Maps
Read Next: Vienna’s Hidden Gems & Best Kept Secrets
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Austria Trip Planning Essentials
When to Visit Austria
Getting around Austria
Austria has an excellent public transit system. We’ve used it extensively to travel throughout the country. We highly recommend using transit if you’re visiting cities (Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz, etc…), and/or doing hut-to-hut hikes.
Some areas like Mayrhofen, Schladming and Lech am Arlberg have wonderful seasonal transit systems in place (e.g. summer hiking buses). However, if you’re not visiting during the high season, bus frequencies are significantly reduced and it’s far easier to get around with your own vehicle.
If you’re planning on visiting multiple destinations across Austria, we recommend renting a car.
Use these road trip itineraries for trip planning inspiration:
- 2 Week Austria Road Trip – starting in Vienna
- 1 Week Austria Road Trip – starting in Salzburg or Munich
- 10-Day Bavarian Alps & Tyrolean Alps Road Trip – starting in Munich
We recommend using the Discovercars.com car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.
If you’re driving into Austria from a neighboring country, don’t forget to purchase a vignette at/near the border.
Hiking in Austria
Where to Hike in Austria
Read Austrian Alps Hiking Destinations for an overview of where to hike in Austria, with tips on specific trails and where to stay. Also check out Best Day Hikes in Austria and these region-specific hiking guides:
- Salzburg Hiking Guide
- Filzmoos, Salzburg Hiking Guide
- Schladming, Styria Hiking Guide
- Lech am Arlberg, Vorarlberg Hiking Guide
- Vorarlberg Hiking Guide
- Vienna Mountains Hiking Guide
Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria
Austria is a premier hut-to-hut and long-distance hiking destination. The quality of the mountain huts are superb. We particularly love the high-alpine trails, which are called Höhenwege in German. We’ve summarized our favorite multi-day hikes in Trekking Austria. If you’re new to hut hiking, read this in-depth guide to Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria.
What to See & Do in Austria
- Visit a gorge like the Liechtenstein Gorge in Salzburg.
- Bathe in the thermal pools of an Austrian Therme like Aqua Dome in Tirol
- Stay in a thermal spa hotel like Rogner Bad Blumau (designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser) in Styria, EurothermenResort Bad Ischl in Upper Austria, or the Aqua Dome Hotel in Tirol.
- Hike to a mountain lake like Lake Tappenkarsee in Salzburg or Lake Drachensee in Tirol.
- Go Wine Tasting in South Styria.
- Marvel at the culture, music, and architecture of Vienna.
- Eat heartwarming mountain food in an Almhütte at Grosser Ahornboden in Tirol or Ursprungalm in Styria.
- Drive the Grossglockner High Alpine Road in Hohe Tauern National Park.
- Visit the castles, monasteries, and wine taverns of the Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.