I’ll be honest. February is probably the quietest month in Vienna, with the fewest annual events and festivals.
Think of January and take away the fun bits. (Only kidding.)
One thing very much in February’s favour is genuinely fewer queues and crowds. In 2023, the week beginning February 6th is the so-called Semesterferien: a short week-long break between semesters when Vienna’s schools all go on holiday.
A lot of Viennese take off with the kids for the Semesterferien (to ski, for example), leaving more space for the rest of us.
Anyway, here are a few seasonal ideas for you.
Top activities in February 2023
Exhibitions in February
(The Kunst Haus Wien)
Vienna always has numerous exhibitions on at any one time. Some highlights already planned for February 2023:
- Belvedere has a Klimt exhibition (from February 3rd), placing his work alongside those by artists (like van Gogh) who inspired the great man
- Pop Art icon Kiki Kogelnik rolls up to the Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien (from February 2nd)
- The final days of the Gregor Sailer photo exhibition at the Kunst Haus Wien (until February 12th)
- Vienna’s Furniture Museum looks at Amboss cutlery in the context of 1950s and 1960s domestic culture
- The Natural History Museum’s main exhibition shines a light on the beauty of Brazil in the context of 200 years of the Austro-Brazilian relationship
- The MAK museum celebrates design and The Fest: a celebration of the celebration through the centuries
- The Kunsthistorisches Museums has a small exhibition dedicated to historical travelers: Around the World in 80 Coins
- For more choices, check the exhibition listings
Enter the Ice World
It usually starts in January but hits its peak throughout February: the Wiener Eistraum.
The “Vienna Ice World” offers a wonderful outdoor ice skating experience right in the middle of the city, along with food and drink with an organic focus.
The square in front of the Rathaus turns into a split-level ice rink, with skating trails and other rinks spread among the trees of the Rathaus park. Everything lights up delightfully at night.
Oh, and don’t worry if you forgot your skates – simply hire them on site.
Find accommodation for February
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Popular tours & classical concerts
Given far fewer people around, February is the time for booking those activities that are often busy or oversubscribed the rest of the year.
I’m thinking here particularly of:
- The Schönbrunn Palace tours (do the Grand Tour of the interior: you get into many more rooms than the basic tour and the cost difference is quite small)
- The Spanish Riding School (book to see the morning training or a stables tour if you can’t catch a gala)
- Opera tickets (particularly for the ever-popular Staatsoper)
- Vienna Zoo (which has various indoor enclosures like a rainforest house, if you’re worried about the weather)
- Classical music concerts (especially at the two top venues: the Musikverein and Konzerthaus)
Have a ball
One of February’s claims to fame is that this is a busy month for balls. So if you’ve ever dreamed of doing the waltz in the city that invented the dance, now’s your chance.
We have the Johann Strauss Ball, for example, at the famous Kursalon, where the man himself performed. And many more, including the world-famous Opernball (February 16th in 2023), though tickets and tables for the latter are not always easy to come by if you’re a mere mortal.
Catch the flowers
Some 40 exhibitors add more than a few spots of colour to the Viennese winter. We really enjoyed the previous one, since the show includes lovely displays as well as the expected sales booths.
Of course, you can always do as the Viennese do and flee the city for the slopes.
February is the main month for skiing in Austria, and you can reach the Semmering alpine ski resort, for example, in just over an hour, so suits a day trip.
It’s probably best not to do this in the Semesterferien week, unless you want to spend your day being abused by impatient Viennese as they push their way into the lift queue. Think of Rome’s Colosseum, but with ski sticks instead of gladiatorial swords and you get the idea. (I’m only partly exaggerating.)
Not outside, I should add. The state-run indoor swimming pools are nice and warm, but your holiday treat is a day or two at the spa baths complex at Therme Wien. Hot water from thermal springs feeds its various pools.
The Therme also offers all the usual spa treatments and a restaurant. Incidentally, it sits right next door to one of the city’s more renowned cake and confectionery outlets: the Kurkonditorei Oberlaa. (And it has its own subway stop.)
Tip – Dress up warm
I don’t have the stats, but I’m pretty sure February is our coldest month. Minus temperatures are no surprise.
That’s not all bad, of course. Snow is possible, which makes the city look even more beautiful (at least until it turns into that delightful brown slush we all know and love).
And there is a certain pleasure to be had in entering a coffee house or Konditorei and warming yourself with a hot coffee topped by whipped cream or with a classic dish like Schnitzel or Kaiserschmarren.