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 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.
Top Things to Do in Vienna in January
- Follow the Silvesterpfad and Waltz into the New Year
- See Die Fledermaus at the Vienna State Opera, or the Vienna Volksoper
- Schlumberger Cellar World: Wine Tasting and Tour
- Therme Wien
- Viennese Coffee Houses
- Go to a Viennese Ball
- Three Kings High Mass at Augustinerkirche
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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.
Splurge | SO/ Vienna is a stylish and modern hotel located in the 2nd district, directly on the Danube Canal, at the Schwedenbrücke bridge. From this prime location, it takes only 10-minutes to walk to Stephansdom. Flaunting a 750 m² spa area and a panoramic rooftop bar and restaurant (Das Loft), So/ Vienna offers the discerning traveler a place to relax and savor the very heart of the city.
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.
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 Volskoper 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.
3. 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 5 of Schlumberger’s famous sparkling wines if you opt for the Grand Tasting with 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: Wednesday (11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.) and Thursday – Saturday (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.).
- After the tour, you’ll be given a complimentary glass of Schlumberger. But, we recommend selecting the Grand Tasting with the tour. That way you can taste 5 different wines.
- Entrance: Adults (11 EUR), Students & Seniors (8 EUR). Tour with 5-glass Grand Tasting (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
4. 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 Thermen spa complexes, you’ll 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!).
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.
Hours: Opening Hours
Entrance Fees: Therme Wien Price List
5. Vienna Coffee Houses
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.
6. Go to a 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 300 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… If you want to attend a Viennese ball, make sure you buy your tickets early, adhere to the dress code (strictly enforced), bring cash, and learn how to waltz.
Read Next: Vienna Rainbow Ball
7. 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)
Don’t Miss: Vienna’s Hidden Gems & Best Kept Secrets
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Austria Travel Guides:
- Austria Travel Guide
- 2 Week Austria Itinerary
- 1 Week Austria Itinerary
- Best Places to Visit in Austria
- Wine Tasting in South Styria