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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

The best events and festivals in Austria in 2022

The pandemic continues to present challenges for Austria's event industry, but there are (tentative) plans for lots of events this year. Here are some of the ones worth adding to your calendar.

Vienna film festival
Covid permitting, these events are worth pencilling in your calendar. Photo: WienTourismus/Christian Stemper

Here’s an overview of some of the top events taking place in Austria in 2022 – for tourists and residents. 

Please note: the details for these events were correct at the time of writing (January 4th 2022), but as the pandemic progresses there could be changes.

JANUARY

Hahnenkamm Race (January 17th-23rd), Tyrol

The Hahnenkamm is a world-famous downhill FIS Alpine Ski World Cup race that takes place every year in Kitzbühel in Tyrol. It has been running for 82 years.

Fans were not allowed to attend in 2021, and this year there are limits on the number of spectators, so there will be two downhill races – on Friday and Saturday – to ensure as many people as possible can see the highlight of the event.

In 2020, the Hahnenkamm Race attracted 50,000 spectators and in previous years celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bernie Ecclestone have been in attendance. More details about the event can be found here.

READ MORE: Vienna State Opera cancels all shows to January 6th due to Omicron

Mozart Week (January 27th – February 6th), Salzburg

Editor’s note: On January 13th the organisers announced the Mozart Week was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Salzburg is the home of Mozart, so it’s no surprise the city has organised a special musical celebration dedicated to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart every year since 1956.

Events are going ahead in line with Austria’s current Covid-19 measures, including 2G rules (proof of vaccination or recovery). However, organisers ask ticket holders to check the website shortly before the event in case there are any changes. The Mozart Week website can be found here.

FEBRUARY

David Hockney: INSIGHTS (February 10th – June 19th), Vienna

This exhibition and retrospective of the acclaimed British painter is much anticipated in Vienna and will take place at Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien. Highlights include works from the Tate’s Hockney collection in the UK. Find out more about tickets and opening times here.

MARCH

Vinyl and Music Festival (March 5th – 6th), Vienna

This festival is a mixture of live music, record exchange, get-togethers and 150 exhibitors. Highlights include FM4 Morning Show host Stuart Freeman on the turntables and a performance by female alternative metal band, Hand of Juno.

The event takes place at the Ottakringer Brewery in Vienna and ticket prices start at €10. More details can be found here.

APRIL

Snowbombing (April 4th – 9th), TYROL

Snowbombing is a winter sports and music festival in the resort town of Mayerhofen in Tyrol. It’s organised by British live event company Broadwick Live and attracts a high number of attendees from the UK every year. 

Confirmed acts in 2022 include Bicep and Fat Boy Slim and festival passes start at  £579 (including accommodation). Full event details can be found here.

In 2021, Snowbombing was cancelled due to the pandemic and nationwide lockdown. 

FOR MEMBERS: EXPLAINED: How to maximise your annual leave in Austria in 2022

Crossing Europe (April 27th – May 2nd), Upper Austria

Crossing Europe is a festival dedicated to independent film from across the continent. It takes place in Linz, which is the capital of Upper Austria and a UNESCO City of Media Arts.

Organisers are planning to hold the 2022 festival as a physical event with a small selection of films available to be streamed. Crossing Europe was cancelled in 2020 and took place in a smaller capacity last year. 

Tickets can be booked at the festival website.

Schönbrunn Easter Market (April 2nd – 19th), Vienna

Easter markets are held across Austria every year, including one of the most charming at Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace. Stalls at this family-friendly market sell arts, crafts and regional food, and photos can be taken with giant Easter eggs. It is expected that current 2G rules will apply to this event.

MAY

Design Month Graz (May 6th – June 12th), Styria

Graz is Austria’s UNESCO City of Design so this event (organised by Creative Industries Styria) is a cultural highlight for the city. The event programme includes exhibitions, lectures, workshops and presentations.

The topic for the 2022 Design Month is Green Transition. More information can be found here.

JUNE

The Donauinselfest (June 24th to 26th), Vienna

This is Europe’s largest – and free – open-air music festival. It takes place on Danube Island (Donauinsel) in the Danube River in Vienna.

Performers at the festival are usually Austrian but there are also sometimes international acts in the line-up. In the past two years, Donauinselfest has gone ahead in a smaller capacity to comply with Covid-19 restrictions.

Full details of the 2022 event are yet to be announced, but organisers are hoping to return to a full schedule and capacity this year. The official festival website can be found here.

Nova Rock (June 9th to 12th), Burgenland

The annual Burgenland rock music festival is back in 2022 after being cancelled in 2021 due to (yes, you guessed it) the pandemic. Tickets holders were able to transfer their festival pass to the 2022 event. 

The line-up for this year’s festival features Muse and Foo Fighters, but with the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 it’s probably too early to say for sure whether the event will actually go ahead.  Find out more about Nova Rock here.

JULY

Mid Europe Music Festival (July 12th to 17th), Styria

Mid Europe is a music festival for wind and brass instruments that takes place in Schladming in Styria. The event is known for fostering a love of music and culture where musicians play out of choice, as opposed to being paid to perform.

Every year 35 orchestras from 15 countries descend on Schladming with events (24 in-door and 15 open-air) taking place across the Schladming-Dachstein region. Music genres include traditional Bohemian, classical, swing and ska. Event details can be found here.

AUGUST

FM4 Frequency Festival (August 18th – 20th), Lower Austria

FM4 is one of Austria’s national radio stations popular with the country’s young and multicultural population. The annual Frequency Festival is a showcase of the music played on FM4.

Like most large events in 2021, Frequency Festival was cancelled last year but organisers are hoping to return to their St. Pölten location later this year. Details about FM4 Frequency Festival can be found here.

FOR MEMBERS: Everything that changes about life in Austria in January 2022

Salzburg Summer Festival (July 15th – August 31st), Salzburg

The Salzburg Summer Festival offers a programme of opera, drama and concert performances and takes place across several weeks during the peak summer season.

It’s an important event on the city’s cultural calendar and serves as a celebration of Salzburg’s history. The full programme can be found here.

SEPTEMBER

Wiener Bierfest (September 15th to 18th), Vienna

For beer lovers, this is a key event to add to the calendar for 2022. Previous events have seen around 40 breweries in attendance, as well as stalls selling regional food and live music to set the scene. 

The free-to-attend event was cancelled for the past two years, but the Vienna Beer Festival is hoping to return in September 2022. The official website can be found here.

OCTOBER

Viennale (October 20th to November 1st), Vienna

The Vienna International Film Festival (Viennale) is an annual event that has taken place in cinemas across Austria’s capital city every October since 1960. 

In non-pandemic times the festival attracts around 75,000 people from around the world. Information about the 2021 event can be found here.

READ MORE: Where to find the latest Covid-19 information for your region of Austria

NOVEMBER

Vienna Residence Orchestra (throughout November), Vienna

The Vienna Residence Orchestra is considered as one of the best orchestras in the city and promises to take attendees on a journey back to Imperial Vienna. Examples from the programme include music by Mozart and Strauss.

The concerts take place at Auersperg Palace. Further details can be found at the website.

DECEMBER

Christmas markets (throughout December), nationwide

Christmas markets are a big part of Austrian culture. However, they were cancelled in 2020. Only a few events took place in 2021 after a steep rise in Covid-19 cases in November.

In 2022, it can be expected that Christmas markets will return, but we will have to wait until nearer the time to know more.

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For members

DISCOVER AUSTRIA

Discover Austria: 19 ways to make the most of autumn this year

The sun might still be shining but the seasons are changing and autumn is just around the corner. Here’s how to fully embrace the season this year.

Discover Austria: 19 ways to make the most of autumn this year

It’s no secret that winter in Austria is long and cold.

This is why it’s so important to make the most of autumn before the winter really kicks in.

Here’s how to make that happen with our selection of events, activities, places to see and seasonal foods to eat.

FOR MEMBERS: From inflation to Covid: What to expect from Austria’s winter season

Events

The Viennale – the annual international film festival – takes place from October 20th to November 1st.

A preview of this year’s programme includes feature films from France, Kazakhstan, US, Canada, Greece, Austria and the UK. As well as a monograph on Elaine May – the award-winning American comedian, actress, playwright and filmmaker. 

Screenings take place at various venues across Vienna, such as Gartenbaukino on Parkring, Stadkino im Künstlerhaus and Urania on Uraniastrasse.

The full Viennale programme will be published on October 11th at 8pm and the ticket presale starts on October 15th at 10am.

Oktoberfest is another autumn event to add to your list of seasonal fun.

The annual celebration of beer, dirndl and lederhosen might originate in Munich, Germany, but Austria is not one to be left behind. As a result, there are many Oktoberfest events that take place across the country from mid-September to early October.

READ ALSO: Discover Austria: Six off-the-beaten-track towns to visit

Unfortunately, Vienna’s Wiesn event has already been cancelled this year due to difficulties in securing a venue (according to the official website). 

But similar events are taking place, like Knödelfest in St Johann in Tyrol on September 24th, which is a one-day festivity of dumplings, beer and traditional music.

If Oktoberfest-style events are too kitschy for you, then check out Vienna’s Craft Bier Fest instead. It takes place from November 18th and 19th at the Marx Halle and visitors can sample beers from local and international brewing companies. 

Activities

Autumn can be one of the best times of the year in Austria for a hiking adventures as temperatures are cooler but there is still plenty of sunshine.

If you’re in the mood for a multi-day hike, then try the Adlerweg (Eagle’s Trail). It can either be broken down into smaller hikes or completed in one go in around four weeks.

The trail traverses classic alpine landscapes in Tyrol from St Johann to St Anton am Arlberg. However, some huts close from around mid-October before the winter sets in, so keep that in mind when planning a hiking trip.

READ MORE: Discover Austria: Five beautiful hikes and destinations south of Vienna

Alternatively, get involved in Vienna’s Wine Hiking Day on September 24th and 25th.

Every year, Viennese wine taverns (Heurigen) open to hikers searching for a panoramic view of the city while sampling local wines. Participants can choose from four different routes for the hike – ranging from 2.4km to 9.6km.

If hiking is not your thing, you can take the Heurigen Express instead. This is a dedicated train service that departs from the U4 station at Heiligenstadt and takes you into Vienna’s wine country.

If you prefer to explore the great outdoors on two wheels, then head to Burgenland to cycle along the province’s extensive bike trails. Burgenland has a slightly warmer climate and so enjoys a longer outdoor season than other parts of Austria.

Or test your stamina with a multi-day cycle from Vienna to Linz, the capital of Lower Austria, along the Danube cycle path. 

Autumn in Vienna (Photo by Ashkan on Unsplash)

Places to visit

Autumn is a great time for a city trip in Austria, especially as the weather gets colder and wetter in many parts of the country.

Vienna is always a top destination for a weekend getaway and if you can squeeze in a visit while the Viennale is on, then even better. But there are always plenty of other attractions to enjoy in Austria’s capital city, from museums to restaurants and live music.

FOR MEMBERS: Discover Austria: Five beautiful hikes and destinations south of Vienna

Then there is Linz, which is home to Ars Electronica, a cultural institution with a focus on new media art. Highlights in the autumn programme include the Deep Space Concert with keyboardist Gerald Peter on September 21st, and a Familienwochende (family weekend) on September 24th and 25th.

On the other hand, if you want to venture off the beaten path, head to Eisenstadt, the capital of Burgenland

Eisenstadt is a little-known (and small) city but boasts lots of culture, such as the grand Esterházy Palace. There is also an historic old town with shops, cafes and restaurants, and several Heurigen in the districts of St. Georgen and Kleinhöflein.

Seasonal food and drink

A switch to cooler weather is the perfect time to sample regional, hearty food in Austria, and there is nothing more Austrian during autumn than Schwammerl.

A Schwammerl is a large mushroom (the name comes from Austrian and Bavarian dialect, so it doesn’t mean the same as Pilz, which is just mushroom) and they are found in forests across the country from late summer. 

The best way to find Schwammerl in Austria is to go foraging yourself – as long as you know what you are looking for.

But if you’re not interested in picking mushrooms, you can find Schwammerl at most supermarkets, independent grocery stores and farmers markets during autumn.

READ MORE: Which Austrian cheeses are protected foods and why?

Alternatively, if you want to sample fresh mushrooms but can’t be bothered to cook, then head down to your favourite Austrian restaurant to try a regional Schwammerl dish. 

Highlights include Semmelknödel mit Rahmschwammerl (bread dumplings with cream mushroom sauce) and Böhmisches Schwammerl-Gulasch (bohemian mushroom goulash), the latter being a Viennese speciality.

For wine lovers out there, autumn is also Sturm season in Austria.

From late September to early October, Sturm – fermenting grape juice that is on its way to becoming wine – is served at Heurigen across the country.

Sturm has the look of cloudy, unfiltered beer but has a fresh, juicy flavour. It is most popular at Viennese Heurigen where you can usually sample local food alongside your glass of fermenting wine.

Find out more about Austria’s wine scene with The Local’s guide to the best wineries in the country.

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