Now, April is quite a decent time to visit Vienna.
Well, spring should definitely have sprung. So you have a fair chance of avoiding the cold. Equally, it’s not high summer and nobody has hung up Christmas lights… so the city’s busy, but not peak busy.
Which makes April as good as March, but with a higher probability of sun (and Easter).
Top April activities in 2024
For a gentle taste of two typical Viennese experiences, try an evening concert in the central Peterskirche.
A quartet play selected pieces of light classical music. And the astonishing Baroque church interior gives you the historical ambience the city does so well.
(Easter market on the Freyung)
Most importantly, the season brings the Easter markets; in 2024, these begin opening in mid-March. They tend to close as soon as Easter is over, but you will find one or two still open around April 1st or 2nd.
The markets offer a colourful mix of arts, crafts, food, and drink. This includes more decorative eggs than you can lay in a century and enough Austrian delicacies to keep your cholesterol and sugar levels high throughout your stay.
Exhibitions in April 2024
(The Albertina is always a good address for top exhibitions)
April 2022 and 2023 had some astonishing exhibitions, and the 2024 programme looks to repeat that level of quality. So far we have, for example:
- The Kunsthistorisches Museum showcases Renaissance art from Northern Europe: Dürer, Holbein & similar
- A real treat from the Albertina with a retrospective for the iconic Roy Lichtenstein. They also have the final days of the Joel Sternfeld photo exhibition (until April 28th) and highlights from the VERBUND collection
- Highlights from the prestigious Heidi Horten Collection. We ❤ features many of the greatest artists of the 20th and 21st centuries: highly recommended
- The Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien has a retrospective for the hugely influential Roberto Matta
- Solo photo exhibitions for Beate Gutschöw and Laure Winants appear at FOTO ARSENAL WIEN
- Staying with photos, the Wien Museum MUSA introduces us to the work of the photographer Elfriede Mejchar
- An invite to explore The Beauty of Diversity at the Albertina Modern and appreciate the benefits of casting a wider artistic net
- A chance to discover the works of Broncia Koller-Pinell and her artistic contemporaries at Lower Belvedere, along with Ukrainian art from the first half of the 20th century
- At Upper Belvedere, take (from April 12th) a deeper dive into the works of 18th-century painter Franz Anton Maulbertsch
- The MAK carries on with its gorgeous look at textiles and ceramics in contemporary art
- A hearty welcome back to the Kunst Haus Wien after renovation. Their exhibition of contemporary art around the idea of Into the Woods starts up on April 6th
- The final days (until April 28th) of the Wien Museum’s presentation around the great Baroque architect Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach. I really enjoyed this one.
- View a timely examination of the concept of Peace and the history of Jewish care in Vienna at the Jewish Museum, as well as a biographical and art exhibition for Emil Singer and his etchings
Away from purely art & design…
- The Naturhistorisches Museum brings us their special exhibition on the Arctic and the changing Polar world
- The Smart World exhibition at the Technisches Museum introduces us to AI and the issues around its use in the home, at work and in urban planning
- At the Weltmuseum, camels and related species face the spotlight in terms of their impact on communities and culture. And two new exhibitions start up on April 18th:
- Indigenous art of the Amazon
- A glossary of materials found in the collections with examples
- The National Library opens the archives for a focus on Anton Bruckner
- Austrian poet Friederike Mayröcker forms the subject of a special exhibition at the Literature Museum (from April 18th)
For more possibilities, consult the broader exhibition listings.
Talking art, the Art Austria fair also looks set to enliven April (provisionally from the 25th to the 28th).
Enjoy some food & drink
(Wine from the Steiermark)
One of the country’s more Alpine provinces is the Steiermark. Each year, the region’s tourist folk, farmers, wine growers, and musicians turn up in Vienna for the Styrian Spring festival (April 4th to 7th).
As well as offering a taste of the traditions of that beautiful part of the country, the festival offers a taste of the tastes, too. Like all Austrian provinces, the Steiermark has a proud culinary heritage. Look, particularly, for their wine, beer, and pumpkin products.
And there’s more:
- The 2-day mit alles culinary festival returns on April 5th and 6th.
- A two-day spring version of the Craft Bier Fest (April 12th and 13th) attracts numerous breweries from around the country and abroad, who are all happy to provide a sample for you to taste in exchange for a coin or two.
- Attention turns from beer to whisky at the Vienna Whisky Festival (April 5th and 6th), although the venue is our main brewery.
Fantasy, photos, music & film
On the fantasy front:
- The Fantasy Con (April 13th and 14th) is a small event with an artist alley, readings, music and similar
On the photos front:
- The Vienna Vintage Photo Fair (April 7th) has free entry and features some 35 local and international specialist vendors, collectors and related institutions with an array of historical photographs to view (and buy)
On the music front:
The Vienna concert season is in full swing in April, of course, but if you fancy something a little different…
- The Vienna Blues Spring continues throughout April and features performances from both local and international musicians…with a focus on (guess?) blues
- The wean hean festival celebrates the Viennese song tradition (April 11th to May 11th)
- The Salam Music festival (April 12th to 21st) offers a blend of music and other artistic expressions of the Middle East and Arab regions
(The Reigen hosts most of the Vienna Blues Spring gigs)
On the movie front:
- The Festival du Film Francophone (April 16th to 25th) does what it says on the label
Enjoy the running (and cycling)
April hosts the weekend of the Vienna marathon (April 21st), an international event with added kudos: part of the course for the race is the same stretch of road where Eliud Kipchoge became the first human to run the marathon distance in under two hours (at the INEOS 1:59 Challenge).
The month also wears a cycling helmet. The Argus Bike Festival (April 13th and 14th) is a lovely two-day event with information stands, bike-related exhibitors and lots of two-wheeled show action.
Enjoy the April sun
Unlike in March, you’re more likely to find spring flowers peeping up from Vienna’s numerous parks and gardens in April (and enough sun to enjoy them).
If you want to enjoy the fresh green on the trees and/or fruit tree blossom, then head for places like:
- The Lainzer Tiergarten: an extensive nature protection area with wild boar and more (the lovely Hermesvilla is here, once a summerhouse for Empress Elisabeth)
- The Vienna Woods: lots of cycle paths and hiking trails through the hills and forests that surround Vienna’s west
- The Stadtpark park: in the centre and featuring famous musician memorials (look for Strauss, in particular)
- The Prater park: an 11km hiking trail that starts and ends in an area rich with restaurants and entertainments
- Of course, don’t forget the sculpted gardens attached to the various palaces, too, such as at Schönbrunn, Belvedere or the Volksgarten next to the Hofburg. You’ll see these as you pass through the usual sightseeing areas, anyway
Several protected or private areas usually open up in full to the public end of March. For example:
- The Cobenzl city farm: just as it says on the label. Kids can get up close to farm animals
- Hirschstetten: part of the city’s horticultural nursery complex. They’ve turned it into a landscaped botanical gardens, with a palm house and a fair few birds and animals in there, too. It’s a bit of a secret and off the usual tourist trails. Oh, and it’s free
Go for an ice cream
If that sounds banal, it’s not meant to. The local ice cream season begins at the end of March, and we’re not talking about lollipops in the freezer aisle of the supermarket.
Vienna hosts many remarkably high-quality ice cream parlours, so fill a cone or cup with your choice of flavours. Or take a seat and enjoy something off an extensive ice cream menu that might set your diet back a few weeks. Oh, and vegan options are usually available.
Incidentally, the official European (and Austrian) ice cream of the year for 2023 was apple strudel (move over vanilla, your time has passed). We’ll see what flavour 2024 brings…