If you’ve ever braved the Christmas train schedule in, for example, the UK, you may worry about travel around Vienna during the Christmas market season.
- Public transport continues throughout the Christmas period, but with longer intervals on December 24th, 25th and 26th
- You can access all the Christmas markets easily on foot or using buses, subways and trams – the D tram line takes in four of the biggest, for example
- See also: Special Manner and Ströck trams during Advent | Network travel cards
Christmas travel services
Trains, buses and trams run normally until the school holidays officially begin on Friday, December 24th, 2021 (school carries on right until the bitter end here). Then public transport switches to a slightly reduced timetable until those holidays end on Thursday, January 6th, 2022.
Of course, the Viennese version of a reduced timetable is still mightily impressive.
“Reduced” largely means slightly longer intervals during early weekday mornings – when kids would otherwise be travelling to school. On timetables, look for the “Ferien” (school holidays) entries for Montag – Freitag (Monday to Friday).
Those same timetables also have entries for Samstag (Saturdays), and Sonntag/Feiertage (Sundays and Public Holidays), when intervals also increase. That last one is the one to watch over Christmas, given that the 25th and 26th are both public holidays.
Again, intervals might be longer than during normal weekdays, but still better than many other cities’ normal timetables.
December 24th is an exception to the rule. Although not formally a public holiday, the subway, bus and tram lines usually reduce their frequency and switch to 15 minute intervals after 6.30pm (this is because Austrian families tend to celebrate Christmas in the early evening of the 24th).
Only a very, very few lines have a reduced service during the day of the 24th, though. However, three of these exceptions are commonly the 1A, 2A, and 3A buses that traverse the old town. These often cease operation from 2pm.
Getting to the Christmas markets
Find travel advice for each market on their individual pages. But here some general tips for 2021:
- Many markets are close together and easily reached on foot if you’re in the centre of Vienna (see map above). For example:
- All markets are well served by public transport. A good tip is tram line D, which takes you past four biggies: the Rathaus, Maria-Theresien-Platz, Karlsplatz and Belvedere