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
- Some longer intervals, particularly on December 25/26
- Access the main Christmas markets easily on foot or using buses, subways and trams
- The D tram line takes in four of the biggest markets
- Book a concert experience* in the Viennese Advent
- See also:
Christmas travel services
Trains, buses and trams run normally in Vienna until the school Christmas holidays officially begin, which is typically just a day or two before Christmas itself.
In the 2023/2024 school year, for example, these official holidays run from December 23rd to January 6th (though the kids will only go back on January 8th after the weekend).
During that Christmas break, services switch to a slightly reduced holiday timetable.
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).
(Christmas is Ferien time)
Those same timetables also have entries for Samstag (Saturdays) and Sonntag/Feiertage (Sundays and Public Holidays), when intervals also increase.
That Sonntag/Feiertage one is the one to watch over Christmas, given that the 25th and 26th are both public holidays. They fall on a Monday and Tuesday in 2023.
(In 2022, the 25th is both a Sunday and Austrian public holiday)
Again, intervals might be longer than during normal weekdays, but still better than many other cities’ conventional timetables.
December 24th is an exception to the rule. Although not formally a public holiday, the subway, bus and tram lines traditionally reduce their frequency and switch to longer intervals after 6.30pm (Austrian families tend to celebrate Christmas in the early evening of the 24th).
A handful of bus lines typically provide a reduced service during the day of the 24th as well. Three of these exceptions are usually the 1A, 2A, and 3A buses that traverse the old town. These commonly cease operation from around 2pm.
Having said that, I haven’t seen any official news yet on what will happen in 2023.
Getting to the Christmas markets
Find travel advice for each market on their individual pages. But here some general tips for 2023:
- Many markets are close together and easily reached on foot if you’re in the centre of Vienna (see map below). 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