Wondering if you can visit any museums and palaces in Vienna over Christmas?
The answer is, normally, yes. Read on for the details.
- See also: Christmas market opening times
The big Austrian Christmas celebration is on December 24th, but the official public holidays are Christmas Day (25th) and Boxing Day (26th). On those two days, transport services are reduced slightly and stores, offices etc. are closed.
Museums and other attractions
To cut a long story short, many places remain open across the 24th, 25th and 26th. You won’t be short of things to do or see.
In early 2021, I’ll go through most of the top attractions to find those that definitely seem to stay open over this Christmas period.
Whatever I might find, though, do check locally to be sure, because:
- Some locations may have a weekly day off that happens to fall on a Christmas date and I might miss that
- Christmas opening hours may change, especially as some locations clarify their Christmas dates quite late
- Let us hope COVID-19 measures that include closures are a thing of the past by then, but who knows?
- Regardless of the presence or absence of COVID-19-related public health regulations and requirements, perhaps some locations may power down their opening times if not enough people are travelling in 2021
Sites commonly open as normal
This list includes those locations that typically remain open (I’ll confirm as 2021 progresses):
- Stephansdom (St. Stephan’s
cathedral) – bear in mind this is also a working cathedral so there may be religious services going on that prevent you accessing some areas
- Schönbrunn Palace – the outdoor paid attractions, like the maze, close in winter, but the main palace tours and the extensive park and gardens remain open 365 days a year
- Schönbrunn Zoo – famously a place to entertain the kids during the Christmas holidays
- Hofburg Palace (imperial apartments, Sisi museum and silver collection)
- Madame Tussauds – though this has closed an hour earlier on December 24th in past years
- The MAK museum – has closed earlier in the past on the 24th (at around 3pm)
- Riesenrad (giant Ferris wheel) – but has closed earlier on December 24th before
- Albertina museum – generally open daily but has closed earlier (at 2pm) on Christmas Eve before
- Kunsthistorisches Museum (main art history museum) and Imperial treasury – but have closed early on the 24th in the past (at 3pm)
- The Hundertwasser Museum – may also shut early on the 24th at 3pm (going on past years)
- Kunstforum – has also closed earlier on the 24th in the past (3pm)
- Haus der Musik – often closes earlier (at 6pm) on the 24th, though
Sites that commonly close on specific days
- Spanish Riding School – usually reduce the schedule for their public trainings etc.
- Natural History Museum – usually closes on December 25th and at 3pm on the 24th
- Museum of Technology – typically closed on the 25th
Other attractions may be open over Christmas, too, but I’ve just listed the major ones. Basically, even with possible changes to the above, you should not get bored (though I reserve a little doubt because of any potential public health issues that might mess things up again).
If the weather’s not too cold, the holidays also present a good opportunity to simply wander around Vienna’s centre (the old town). With shops and businesses closed, everything’s quieter and you get a different, more relaxed atmosphere when delivery vans and stressed workers are off the streets.