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 there are no Christmas markets… so the city’s busy, but not peak busy.
So April is as good as March, but with a higher probability of sun and Easter.
Top April activities in 2021
So what might you do in April 2021 beyond the usual year-round delights that Vienna has to offer the enthusiastic visitor?
NB: this all assumes we’re back to normality. Continuing public health requirements related to COVID-19 may, of course, change all the below. So bear that in mind.
With Easter falling in early April in 2021, the chances of bumping into seasonal holiday activities are high at the beginning of the month.
In 2021, these markets are likely to open from about March 20th until around April 5th. They 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.
The main markets are at Schönbrunn, the Freyung and Am Hof. All three are great, but I’d recommend Schönbrunn because it’s in the courtyard of the summer Habsburg palace, which makes for a glorious setting.
Enjoy Alpine food
(Wine from the Steiermark)
Talking of Austrian cuisine, one of the country’s more Alpine provinces is the Steiermark. Each year, the region’s tourist folk, farmers and musicians turn up in Vienna for the Styrian Spring festival (cancelled for 2021, dates TBA for 2022).
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.
Enjoy an exhibition
Normally I’d put out some specific recommendations here, but exhibition dates may shift a little as postponements from 2020 reverberate through the system. So far, it looks good for these particular highlights:
- The final days of the major Aztecs exhibition at the Weltmuseum (until April 13th) with over 200 objects from museums around the world
- A major Munch exhibition at the Albertina, featuring 60 or so of his works, as well as highlighting other artists (Warhol, Emin etc.) inspired by his oeuvre
- I’m confident that the MAK museum will do its usual excellent job with the Women Artists of the Wiener Werkstätte exhibition, slated to begin on April 21st, 2021.
- The Leopold Museum should be showing around 90 works from the Bührle collection (dates to be confirmed at the time of writing). Lots of household names put in an appearance: Cézanne, Picasso, Van Gogh, Degas, to name but four.
Enjoy the music
(The Reigen hosts most of the Vienna Blues Spring gigs)
The Vienna concert season is in full swing in April, of course, but if you fancy something a little different…
- The Vienna Blues Spring features daily performances from both local and international musicians, with a focus on (guess?) blues. Enjoy near-daily gigs throughout the entire month
- The (free) Electric Spring electronic music festival took a break in 2020, but will hopefully return in 2021 with its wide mix of styles and performers across open-air and indoor venues at the MuseumsQuartier
Enjoy the running (and cycling)
April normally hosts the weekend of the Vienna marathon (now moved to September in 2021), an international event with added kudos. After all, 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 arrives wearing a cycling helmet. The Argus Bike Festival (April 11-12, 2021) is a 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 pretty much guaranteed 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
- 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 palace. You’ll see these as you pass through the usual sightseeing areas, anyway.
Several protected or private areas usually open up 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 nursery complex. If that sounds relatively uninspiring, it’s actually quite beautiful. 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 isn’t meant to be. The local ice cream season typically begins at the end of March, and we’re not talking about lollipops in the freezer aisle of the supermarket.
Vienna hosts a fair few high-quality ice cream parlours, so fill a cone with your choice of delicious 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.