There are quite a few public holidays in Vienna, and they are mostly Christian holidays. It is important to know about public holidays as a visitor since it might interfere with your plans to visit certain attractions, museums, galleries, and so on. Also, it is good to know if your nearby supermarket will be closed on a certain day.
Apart from national holidays, most of the shops are closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays by default. Vienna has managed to maintain some dose of sanity and get away from the global 24/7 consumer culture. This might be difficult for some people to get used to, but after some time it becomes normal, with a little bit of planning.
There are of course some groceries open on Sundays, but they are usually packed with people and mostly tourists on those days. Some small off-brand mini-markets are also opened, but they have high prices on most common goods, such as bread, water, beer, wine, etc. It is like taxation for not stocking up on time .
Public transport is also affected on weekends and holidays, as departures of underground, buses, and trams are much less frequent (from 10-12 per hour to 2 per hour, on average).
Here is a list of public holidays observed in Vienna throughout the year.
- 1 January – New Year’s Day: (Neujahr). The first day of the new year, a well-known, global holiday.
- 6 January – Epiphany: (Heilige Drei Könige). Also known as The Three Kings, Magi, or Wise Men, celebrated widely in the Christian world.
- March or April – Easter Monday (Ostermontag). Date changes based on Moon phases in the spring. Also, a popular holiday in the Christian world.
- 1 May – Labour Day: (Tag der Arbeit). International holidays are celebrated in Vienna regularly with parades, concerts, and public gatherings.
- May – Ascension Day: (Christi Himmelfahrt). Sixth Thursday after Easter (variable date, as Easter, is calculated by the Moon phases. Christian holiday, marking the ascension of Jesus to Heaven.
- May/June – Whit Monday (Pfingstmontag). Sixth Monday after Easter. Similar to other Christian holidays related to Easter, this one also has variable dates and occurs in late May or early June.
- June – Corpus Christi: (Fronleichnam). Second Thursday after Pentecost. Religious holidays mark the elements of the Eucharist.
- 15 August – Assumption: (Maria Himmelfahrt). Religious holiday marking the Assumption of Mary into Heaven.
- 26 October – Austrian National Day: (Nationalfeiertag). Marking this day since 1965, when Austria declared permanent neutrality after WWII, in 1955.
- 1 November – All Saints’ Day: (Allerheiligen). Christian festivals are celebrated in honor of all the saints both known and unknown.
- 8 December – Immaculate Conception: (Mariä Empfängnis). Christian holiday, celebrating the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.
- 24 December – Christmas Eve: (Heiligabend); Evening before Christmas day. Most of the shops will be closed in the afternoon.
- 25 December – Christmas Day: (Christfest). Many restaurants are open to having Christmas lunch.
- 26 December – St Stephen’s Day: (Stephanitag).
As you can see, there are plenty of public holidays in Vienna (and Austria). These will mostly affect government offices, schools, banks, and shops. For museums and other cultural sites, please check their respective websites.
It is also important to double-check the public transport schedule, especially if you are going back and forth to the airport or on some trip outside of Vienna.