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:
The big Austrian Christmas celebration is on December 24th in the late afternoon or early evening. But the official public holidays are Christmas Day (25th) and Boxing Day (26th). On those two days, transport services shift to longer intervals, and stores, offices etc. are closed.
Museums & other attractions
(Schönbrunn Palace typically opens all the year round)
To cut a long story short, many (most) places typically remain open across the 24th, 25th and 26th. You shouldn’t be short of things to do or see.
Whatever it says below, though, do check locally with official sites 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”, so this might affect December 25th and 26th in 2023
- 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
- Since the 24th is the big day, it’s not unusual to find places closing a little earlier on that day, so staff can get home to their families
Sites commonly open
(The zoo normally opens 365 days a year)
This list includes those locations that typically remain open over Christmas. I’ve noted what they did in 2022 and will update nearer the time based on what they announce for 2023.
Don’t forget to check the Christmas market opening times, too (some may open for at least part of the day across the holiday period).
- Stephansdom cathedral – bear in mind this is a working cathedral so religious services may prevent you accessing some areas at some times
- Belvedere – the Upper and Lower palaces (both closed at 2pm on the 24th in 2022)
- Schönbrunn Palace – the outdoor paid attractions, like the maze, close in winter, but the main palace tours and the extensive park and gardens, for example, remain open 365 days a year
- Schönbrunn Zoo – famously a place to entertain the kids during the Christmas holidays as it opens all year
- Sisi Museum, Hofburg – the Sisi museum, imperial apartments, and silver collection (actually had longer opening hours on the 24th, 25th and 26th in 2022!)
- The MUMOK (closed at 2pm on the 24th last year) and Kunsthalle museums in the Museumsquartier
- Madame Tussauds – the Vienna branch of the wax museum
- The MAK museum – closed earlier on the 24th in 2022 (at 3pm)
- Riesenrad (giant Ferris wheel) – closed at 4.45pm on December 24th in 2022
- Albertina and Albertina Modern – open daily (but closed at 2pm on Christmas Eve in 2022)
- Kunsthistorisches Museum (main art history museum but closed at 3pm on the 24th in 2022) and Imperial treasury (also closed at 3pm on the 24th in 2022)
- The Kunst Haus Wien (Hundertwasser Museum) – closed at 3pm on the 24th in 2022
- Kunstforum Wien – closed earlier on the 24th in 2022 (2pm)
Sites that may close on specific days
- Spanish Riding School – check the schedule. Last year, for example, the annual programme had no public morning training marked for December 25th or 26th and no guided tours from the 24th to the 26th.
- Leopold Museum – this closed on the 24th in 2022
- Natural History Museum – they closed on December 25th in 2022 and closed early on the 24th (3pm)
Other attractions may be open over Christmas, too, but I’ve just listed some of the major ones.
Basically, even with possible changes to the above for 2023, you should not get bored (though I reserve a little doubt because these days predicting what’s going to happen seems an impossible task).
If the weather’s not too cold, the holidays also present a good opportunity to simply wander around Vienna’s centre (the old town), enjoy the lights, and indulge in some Christmas punch.
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.