A regional festival in Vienna normally means the opportunity to eat and drink copious quantities of local fare from one of Austria’s provinces. Which brings me to the Waldviertelpur festival…
- 3-day celebration of the Waldviertel region
- Lots of local gastronomic treats
- Area known particularly for its beer and poppy seed products
- 2020 dates: TBA (originally planned for May 27-29)
- See also: Steiermark Frühling festival | Genuss Festival | Harvest Festival
The Waldviertel lies to the northwest of Vienna, about an hour’s drive away in the province of Lower Austria. It has a certain mystical quality to it, encouraged by harsh winters, moors, forests and distinctive boulder formations.
It’s a place you could easily imagine has the odd ghostly hound wandering mournfully around the landscape.
The Viennese like to retreat there for the weekend, taking advantage of the relative peace and quiet, not to mention a host of delightful regional drinks and dishes.
(Beer from the Waldviertel)
Each year, however, the people of the Waldviertel move in the other direction, decamping to Vienna to present a three-day celebration of their traditions, tourism offers, handicrafts, music and (especially) culinary prowess at the Waldviertelpur festival.
We Viennese join them, pretending to share in the celebration of those traditions, tourism offers, handicrafts and music. But really to eat and drink (or maybe that’s just me).
(Pork, horseradish and dark bread)
The festival combines dozens of open-air booths with a programme of events, all showcasing the region’s wonders.
These booths are a healthy (or not, depending on how much – and what – you eat and drink there) mix of bakeries, breweries, butchers and food buffets, distilleries and vineyards, tourist attractions, fashion outlets, plus art and craft stalls.
The region is particularly famous for its poppy seeds (German: Mohn), so if you want to try something truly local, go for a poppy seed treat. They come in all sorts of forms, but mostly in baked products like the organic Mohnzelten pictured above.
Another popular option is Mohnnudeln: thick noodles made from potato dough and covered in a poppy seed sauce. So it looks like the plate is being savaged by a blackfly invasion (it tastes better than my description).
(Local felt products)
The accompanying festival programme focuses on local music, with a strong folk flavour to it. But you might also catch, for example, craft demonstrations or a fashion show featuring Waldviertel Trachten (the traditional clothing you’ll be familiar with from films like the Sound of Music).
As a showcase for the best of the Waldviertel, the quality of fare at the booths is very high. So, if you’re sightseeing around the Hofburg area, it’s a nice place to stop in for a snack (or lunch):
The festival also makes a nice contrast to pounding city pavements, offering a short break from historical tours and dark coffee houses. Mind you, I was there on a Wednesday afternoon and it was packed (like I say, they do good beer).
2020 dates and tickets
Dates for the 2020 Waldviertelpur festival remain unclear, since the original dates fell victim to a broader event ban caused by Coronavirus concerns.
You don’t need a ticket to wander round – the event is open-air with free access.
How to get to the Waldviertelpur festival
You’ll likely wander into the Rathausplatz square on your travels. If not, it’s close to a number of central subway and tram stations:
Subway: Take the U2 to Rathaus, or the U3 to Volkstheater
Tram/bus: Take the 1, 71 and D trams to Rathausplatz/Burgtheater. Or tram 2 to Parlament. or tram 37, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 44 to Schottentor.
Address: Rathausplatz, 1010 Vienna | Website