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Easter Weekend in Vienna

I've been so happy with replies to other posts, so I'm hoping the Rick Steves regulars will be able to help me out again.

My husband and I will be in Vienna for Easter weekend. We know there will be a few Easter markets to wander through (beyond the necessary must-see attractions), but we also would love to take in Sunday services (or an Easter vigil service Saturday evening) at a church (or maybe two). He looked into seeing the Vienna Boys' Choir on Easter Sunday, but it seems that you would not actually see them, and I don't know that it's worth it to me to pay over $100 US to go to Sunday services with them.

Can anyone recommend other places (I assume St. Stephens has services, so I'm leaning towards going there instead) that would make Easter services special? I know many churches offer services in English in smaller chapels, but with my rudimentary knowledge of German and a love of new experiences, I'd rather be a part of an authentic Austrian service. (Yes, we are both Catholic, so would participate fully.)

Thanks so much!

Posted by
5450 posts

I would suggest the Augustinerkirche, located within the Hofburg complex. Services are free and every Sunday at 11:00 am. Wonderful organ, great choir, terrific acoustics, etc. My folks make a point of going there when they visit. Many people go straight from the Boy's Choir Mass directly to this Mass. Go early (especially on Easter Sunday) for a good seat.

A point about the Boy's Choir Mass - true, you can't see the kids while the sing, but that doesn't really detract from the experience. They do come down at the end of the service and sing a short piece for all to see.

For Easter Markets, the best ones are at Freyung and Schonbrunn. Freyung is filled with thousands of painted eggs for sale and Schonbrunn is more crafts and food. You should know that Easter Monday is a holiday in Austria so shops will be closed (same is true for Sundays).

Posted by
17 posts

Thank you so much, Emily! We will absolutely look into your recommendation-- it sounds perfect. We plan to travel on Monday, but will be in Vienna on Sunday. Given that it will be Easter Sunday, and that shops are closed, I'm not sure what we will end up doing. Hopefully we will at least be able to find a few restaurants open! Thanks for your tip!

Posted by
5450 posts

Shops are closed every Sunday, not just Easter Sunday. Restaurants will be open as normal - many will have special menus. If your heart is set on a particular place, you should probably reserve.

Posted by
111 posts

Visit to Vienna
My wife and I spent 3 days in Vienna during the Christmas season, late November 2012. There are many websites and apps specific to Vienna to assist you with itineraries. So much to see and do. Once you are there, I would suggest stopping at one of the public tourist offices located throughout the city. We researched and purchased tours and concerts with them. You will be able to book some attractions like the Vienna Boys Choir Sunday Mass which we booked in advance from the US, all seats assigned. As mentioned earlier, they sing in small chapel, in a hard to see choir loft. It was a beautiful mass, obviously spoke in Austrian. A single song is performed after mass, photos at that time only. As we are Catholic we noticed how many non-Catholics were at the service, many were in tour groups. The chapel barely holds 200 people (my estimation).
We booked a small evening tour of the city via a small bus / van with 5 other tourists. It was a extremely foggy evening was not able to see much and considered it a bust untill we finished the tour at a wiengarten. The evening turned out to be a highlight moment of our visit. You will love Vienna as we now consider it as one of our favorite European cities.

Posted by
4637 posts

They speak German in Austria. When written it's the same as in Germany. When spoken then there is some noticeable accent between let's say Berlin German and Viennese German.