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
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 June
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, 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 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)
Sites that usually close earlier on December 24th only
- Riesenrad (giant Ferris wheel) – typically closes earlier on December 24th (unconfirmed)
- Albertina museum – open daily but usually closes at 2pm on Christmas Eve (unconfirmed)
- Imperial treasury – typically closes early at 3pm (unconfirmed)
- Kunsthistorisches Museum (main art history museum) – may close early at 3pm (unconfirmed)
- The Hundertwasser Museum – may also shut early on the 24th at 3pm (unconfirmed)
- Haus der Musik – close earlier at 6pm
- Kunstforum – another probable early closer at 3pm (unconfirmed)
Sites that close on specific days
- Spanish Riding School – normally no tours on the 24th, 25th or 26th. No morning training on December 25th (unconfirmed)
- Natural History Museum – closed on December 25th
- 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 events 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 are in full swing to around the 26th and beyond.