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: Museums in Vienna
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.
Whatever it says below, 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
- Mondays or Tuesday are popular choices for the “day off”
- Equally, many places open up on their usual day off if it happens to be a public holiday
- 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? (here’s the latest info – Vienna opened up back in May, 2021)
- 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 over Christmas. Don’t forget to check the Christmas market opening times, too (all open for at least part of the day across the holiday period):
- Stephansdom 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, though the latter is being extensively refurbished and looks likely to only reopen in early 2022
- 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 as it opens all year
- Hofburg Palace (imperial apartments, Sisi museum and silver collection)
- Madame Tussauds – the Vienna branch of the wax museum
- 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 Kunst Haus Wien (Hundertwasser Museum) – may also shut early on the 24th at 3pm (going on past years)
- Kunstforum Wien – has also closed earlier on the 24th in the past (3pm)
- Haus der Musik – has closes earlier (at 6pm) on the 24th, though
Sites that may close on specific days
- Spanish Riding School – check the schedule. At the moment, it looks like no public training on the 25th, for example
- Natural History Museum – usually closes on December 25th and at 3pm on the 24th, though no sign of this at the time of writing
- Museum of Technology – closed on the 25th in 2021
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 on the 25th and 26th, everything’s quieter and you get a different, more relaxed atmosphere when delivery vans and stressed workers are off the streets.