Wondering if you can visit any museums and palaces in Vienna over Christmas?
The answer is, basically, yes. Read on for the details.
- See also: Christmas market opening times
NB: Events, etc. continue to be subject to public health restrictions in late 2020 and likely beyond. Be prepared for changes (e.g. compulsory face masks at all seasonal markets)
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
I’ve gone through most of the top attractions to find those that seem to stay open over Christmas (24th, 25th and 26th of December). Note this information is correct as of early October
Important: check locally to be sure, because:
- Some locations may have a weekly day off that happens to fall on a Christmas date
- Christmas opening hours may change, especially as some locations have yet to clarify their Christmas dates
- 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 this year
Sites provisionally open as normal
- 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
- Belvedere – both the Upper and Lower palaces normally stay open (note that Lower Belvedere will be closed in 2020 due to renovations that continue until summer 2021)
- 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 – 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)
Sites that close earlier on December 24th only
- Haus der Musik – closes earlier at 6pm
Sites that close on specific days
- Spanish Riding School – looks like no tours, galas or public trainings on the 24th, 25th or 26th
- Natural History Museum – closed on December 25th and closes at 3pm on the 24th
- Museum of Technology – 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, it’s a touch quieter and you get a different, more relaxed atmosphere when delivery vans and stressed workers are off the streets.
And, of course, some of the famous Christmas markets should be in full swing to around the 26th and beyond.