So, Easter, the time of frolicking lambs and, wait…there are no lambs in Vienna (or Austria). Or very few – different country, different traditions.
In fact, it’s the rabbits that rule the Easter menagerie – as you’ll notice if you enter any supermarket in the weeks leading up to the holiday.
Read on for details of Easter markets and events in Vienna, as well as tips on seasonal travel, weather, food, and traditions.
- Maundy Thursday: April 9th
- Good Friday: April 10th
- Easter Saturday: April 11th
- Easter Sunday: April 12th
- Easter Monday: April 13th (the only public holiday over Easter)
The official Easter school holidays in Vienna run from April 4th to April 14th. So kids go back to school on April 15th.
Tip: all kids aged 14 or less travel free on the transport authority’s subways, trams and buses during the Easter break.
(Easter market on the Freyung)
The city is a popular destination for an Easter trip: visitors swap places with the Viennese, who often head to the Alps for a final ski before the spring sun melts all the snow.
The Easter markets head up the list of seasonal attractions at this time. Think of them as high-quality arts and crafts markets with a truck-load of eggs and several high-calorie pinches of local cuisine.
As well as an enjoyable experience in their own right, the markets also make a decent source of unique souvenirs and gifts. The top locations for visitors are:
- Schönbrunn: outside the golden Habsburg palace (Mar 28 – Apr 14)
- Am Hof: very close to the city centre (Mar 27 – Apr 13)
- Freyung: includes an organic farmer’s market (Mar 27 – Apr 13)
The Easter market in Palais Niederösterreich is rather special, but only runs for two days, unfortunately (March 27-28 in 2020).
Easter events in 2020
Specific events during the Easter period include:
- The Vienna Blues Spring music festival, which pulls together blues musicians from around the world and runs from March 20 through to April 30 in 2020.
- The Prater Easter holidays festival, which takes place over the school break in the Prater area (home to the giant Ferris wheel, a theme park, the planetarium, restaurants, an extensive park area and much more). It’s meant mainly for children. (I haven’t found any information for 2020, yet, though).
- The Children’s Museum at Schönbrunn Palace should have its usual Easter activities, including puppet shows and craft workshops.
It’s still a little early for Easter concert listings, but…
- On Easter Saturday and Sunday, the Wiener Symphoniker (Vienna Symphony Orchestra) will perform “Spring in Vienna” at the Musikverein, with music by Beethoven, Schubert, Mozart, and more.
- On April 9th, the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Tibor Bogányi, play a special “Music of the Masters” Easter concert featuring works by Korngold and Schubert (also at the Musikverein)
(An Osterbaum or “Easter tree”)
Two words – eggs and rabbits.
You paint, colour, decorate, hang up, or eat the former, and it’s the Easter rabbit who brings the things in the first place. Given my understanding of reproductive biology, I’m going to assume the rabbit doesn’t actually lay them.
Oh, technically, it’s the Easter hare, since the German word is Osterhase (Ostern = Easter and Hase = hare).
Listen closely on the morning of Easter Sunday and you’ll also hear the sound of a million hard-boiled eggs cracking in gladiatorial combat. Learn more about this and other Austrian Easter traditions here.
(Easter chocolate, including some imports from the UK)
There isn’t any.
At least, it’s nothing like Christmas, with its wide range of seasonal specialities.
There is plenty of
There’s also the Osterpinze – a relative of the Striezel – which is a soft breadlike pastry made from yeast dough. And Osterschinken (Easter ham), which as far as I can tell is basically various varieties of normal ham with the word Easter added to the front. But I might be wrong.
This is a difficult one to call. March and April in Vienna can see
The Easter period is still relatively low key
The same principle applies to public transport. A “Sunday” service operates on the 13th, but
Since the week leading up to the Easter weekend is a school holiday, the “Ferien” timetables apply to trams and buses. This basically means slightly longer intervals in the morning, when kids no longer need transport to school.