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Christmas day - Vienna or Salzburg?

Hi there. My husband and I are currently planning a 2 week trip over the Christmas period. Roughly, we are considering flying into Munich for 3-4 days, then heading to Salzburg for 3ish days, an overnight trip to Hallstatt, then onto Vienna (no driving - all train). Possibly adding Prague and/or Budapest at the end. We are both 30 and love food and cooking, as well as walking and staying active on holidays. The Christmas markets will be a main attraction for us.

For Christmas Day, I understand that wherever you are, most places are closed, and that the best markets are in the lead up to Christmas. Ideally we'd like to do a lunch out and see some sort of concert on Christmas day. Would you recommend spending Christmas Eve/Day in Vienna or Salzburg?

I'd really appreciate any other advice re this itinerary too! Thank you.

Posted by
5697 posts

Our favorites -- Christmas in Salzburg, New Year's Eve in Vienna. Many Salzburg hotels have Christmas dinner. Not so much for concerts -- we just take a walk.

Posted by
1767 posts

Munich - Salzburg - Hallstatt - Vienna - Prague - Budapest

Too many places: You must consider that moving from one to another will cost you roughly half of a day. Daylight is short at that time of the year; the period between sunrise and sunset is about 8 hours, only.

My suggestion would be: Salzburg - Hallstatt - Vienna

Posted by
613 posts

If all else fails on finding a place to eat, go to a major train station.

More concerts in Vienna than just about anywhere. One that we found unique was Xmas Morning Mass at St Stephen's Cathedral. A chorus and orchestra in the balcony and the priests down front at the alter alternated performing the parts of the Mass. A Bruckner Mass with lots trombones from the balcony, standard mass from the priests. This was a very long service, but we noticed that the natives came and went throughout the service so after we got our fill, we left too.

Posted by
5253 posts

In Austria, everything starts shutting down on Dec. 24 around noon and everything will reopen on Dec. 27. Note that families in Austria celebrate Christmas on Dec. 24 at home with family. That entire week will be exceptionally quiet. The Vienna tourist board will publish a list of restaurants open on Dec. 25 closer to the holidays. A few Advent markets in Vienna convert to New Years markets after Dec. 26, but not the best ones. If your focus is the Advent markets, then it would be best if you were in Austria by Dec. 23 or earlier. Waltzing at midnight on NYE is fun, but Vienna features a street party rather than a massive fireworks display. The street party can be rough but can also be fun. People buy and shoot off their own fireworks which can be scary. I prefer to celebrate with friends on a rooftop, as do most Viennese.

Posted by
1140 posts

In general most larger Christmas markets end the evening of 23 December. The forth Advent is 22 December this year. Smaller markets usually will be held during the first three Advent, and only one or two weekends. Surfing the net you can find most Christmas market times for 2019. So if your focus is Christmas markets, then you need to plan earlier in December. Just guessing the probability for snow 24-25 December will be higher in Salzburg and the Salzkammergut. Might be hard to find, but there are Christmas concerts held in barn like settings with traditional music, animals and Nativity play. Kind of a round robin presentation. If you find one book early as they are usually packed. Maybe a tourist info office can help? These too are usually held the first-third Advent.

Posted by
2156 posts

Lots of tourist activities are up and running on Christmas. We did the Sound of Music tour on Christmas.

Posted by
34 posts

My husband and I did a Christmas Austria trip in 2015. We enjoyed the Christmas Markets in Vienna and noticed that most packed up on December 24 (although a few stayed open.) We ate on Christmas Eve at EF16 in Vienna and went to a Christmas service right before dinner at St. Peter's. It was a memorable evening! We traveled to Salzburg on Dec.25 since we knew it would be very sleepy. Many Salzburg restaurants were not open on December 26, but tourist sights seemed to have regular hours. We were able to tour the Mozart Geburtshaus and visit the fortress. We stayed at Hotel Auersperg and were happy they had a restaurant that day (and also impressive breakfasts!)

This year, we are are returning for Christmas, but planned our time differently. We are in Vienna over the Christmas holiday. We made sure to find accommodations that have a kitchen. We loved visiting the Naschmarkt and plan to buy provisions for Dec 25 and 26 to make ourselves.

You'll have a wonderful time! Austria in December is magical.

Posted by
13 posts

Thank you for your response eschroeck! That's all very helpful. Can't believe it's August tomorrow - Christmas will be here before we know it.

Posted by
1767 posts

In the beginning of December a list will be published showing the restaurants in Vienna which will be open on Christmas day.