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.
[Be aware, of course, that the below may be impacted by future COVID regulations. Check official sites nearer the time.]
Easter 2022 covers the following days:
- Maundy Thursday: April 14th
- Good Friday: April 15th
- Easter Saturday: April 16th
- Easter Sunday: April 17th
- Easter Monday: April 18th (the only public holiday in Austria over Easter)
The official school holidays in Vienna run from April 9th to April 18th; all kids aged 14 or less travel free on the transport authority’s subways, trams, and buses during this Easter break.
(Easter market on the Freyung)
Vienna has become 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 ends the fun.
The Easter markets head up the list of seasonal attractions. Think of them as top-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 are:
- Schönbrunn: in front of the Habsburg summer palace
- Am Hof: very close to the city centre
- Freyung: includes an organic farmer’s market
The Easter market in Palais Niederösterreich is rather lovely, but only runs for two days.
(The Konzerthaus classical music venue)
Specific events traditional during the Easter period include the Vienna Blues Spring music festival, which pulls together blues musicians from around the world and usually runs from late March and through April. Otherwise, I’d point you at the general concert and events pages and the specific activity suggestions for March and April.
In terms of exhibitions, it looks like you could be in for quite an artistic treat.
At the time of writing, for example, Vienna’s museums plan the following absolutely top events:
- Josef Hoffmann exhibition at the MAK museum
- Dalí – Freud exhibition at Lower Belvedere
- David Hockney retrospective at the Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien
- Edvard Munch exhibition at the Albertina
- Rothschilds exhibition at the Jewish Museum
- Vienna Falls in Line exhibition on Nazi art policies at the Wien Museum MUSA
- Foodprints exhibition at the Technical Museum
- Dust & Silk exhibition at the Weltmuseum
- Iron Men armour exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum
- …and an Ai Weiwei exhibition at the Albertina Modern
(Explore more options at the main exhibitions page.)
(An Osterbaum or “Easter tree”)
As far as Easter traditions go, you only need to know two words: eggs and rabbits.
You paint, colour, decorate, hang up, or eat the eggs, and the Easter rabbit brings the things in the first place. (Given my understanding of reproductive biology, I’m going to assume the rabbit doesn’t actually lay the eggs.)
Oh, and technically it’s the Easter *hare*. The German word for the animal is Osterhase, which derives from Ostern (Easter) and Hase (hare).
Learn more about Austrian Easter traditions here. In particular, discover why you hear the sound of a million hard-boiled eggs cracking in gladiatorial combat on the morning of Easter Sunday.
(Easter chocolate, including some imports from the UK)
There isn’t any. If you ignore the increase in the number of eggs appearing at mealtimes.
At least, the seasonal cuisine is nothing like Christmas, with its wide range of advent specialties.
(Supermarkets being supermarkets, I daresay you’ll find a few Christmas delights morphing into Easter shapes.)
Apart from the chocolates and sweets, we have Osterschinken (Easter ham), which seems basically to be various varieties of normal ham with the word Easter added to the front. (But I might be wrong.)
We also have the Osterpinze (pictured above), which is a soft sweet pastry made from yeast dough. Supermarkets fill with other Easter-themed baked items, but most seem to be Easter rebrands of products you get the rest of the year, too.
If I sound a little cynical, it’s because I am.
This is a difficult one to call. March and April in Vienna can see warmth and
The Easter period is still relatively low key
The same principle applies to public transport. A “Sunday service” operates on Easter Monday, 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.
Have fun and enjoy those eggs.