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The best festivals and events taking place in Austria this autumn

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The best festivals and events taking place in Austria this autumn
Wine tasting in the Alps. Photo: Chris Frenzel/Pixabay

With autumn just around the corner, we look at the cultural, foodie and historical events you should check out in Austria.


Cultural highlights

If you have a keen interest in cinema then the Viennale is for you.

The annual international film festival, which takes place from October 19th to October 31st this year, will include feature films from Austria, Argentina, France, Belgium and the USA to name but a few. 

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 10th at 8pm.

Theatre fans have been enjoying the the festival Europa in Szene since it started in Wiener Neustadt on September 6th. But if you still want to catch it, it runs until September 24th. 

The event, which takes place in the Kasematten, is being held under the motto: 'Sea Change - The Art of Transformation'.

The show takes a close look at transformation in various formats. The programme includes music theatre, performances, dialogues and other theatrical events. 

Medieval festivals

Fancy getting into the spirit of the past? Then check out one of Austria's medieval festivals.

The Knights' Festival at Liechtenstein Castle in Judenburg, which took place on September 16th and 17th, showcases traders, magicians and jugglers as well as a fire show and a knights' tournament. 

The Medieval Festival at Finstergrün Castle, Salzburg  is on the same weekend. You can expect dance and musical performances, show fights, fire shows, and of course food and drink.

And in the Castle Park (Schlosspark) Laxenburg in Lower Austria, the knights' tournament on horseback is taking place on several dates in September.


Beer festivals

Did you think Oktoberfest was just for Germany? Well, think again!

From September 21st to October 8th, you can pull on your dirndl or lederhosen (this is optional!) and head to the Kaiser Wiesn at the Vienna Prater.

The Wiesn, which is the biggest Oktoberfest-style event in Austria, will see groups of friends come together to enjoy huge beers, regional delicacies and live music. There are also lots of children's activities planned.

Visitors can enter for free on the day but tickets are needed for many of the evening performances.

A person gives a thumbs up to beer

Thumbs up to beer. Photo: MabelAmber/Pixabay

Meanwhile, if you fancy trying out some beer a little later in the year, there's the Craft Bier Fest in Vienna.

Taking place on November 10th and 11th at the Marx Halle in the capital, you can expert a huge variety of beer from a selection of different breweries as well as street food. 

Day tickets can be bought in advance for €15 each, and a two-day ticket costs €25. 

Wine events 

If wine is more your thing, then head to the annual wine harvest festival, Retzer Weinlesefest, in the Weinviertal region in Lower Austria.

It takes place from September 22nd to 24th in Retz's main square and visitors can enjoy wine tastings, live music, entertainment, a wine growers' parade - and even a fireworks display on the Sunday evening. 

If you want to combine wine with hiking, then get involved in Vienna’s Wine Hiking Day ,taking place on September 23rd and 24th.

Every year, Viennese wine taverns (Heurigen) open to hikers who can go for a brisk walk with stunning views and sample local wines. The Heurigen also offer delicious snacks including bread with various spreads and Marillenknödel (apricot dumplings - an Austrian specialty). 

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Participants can choose from four different routes for the hike – ranging from 2.4km to 9.6km.

There is the option of using the Heurigen Express instead. This train service departs from the U4 station at Heiligenstadt and takes you into Vienna’s wine country.

Don't forget to check out Sturm, the very alcoholic drink made from the first grapes of the harvest season.

It is traditionally sipped by Austrians in early autumn. The season usually runs from late September to early October. 

Apricot dumplings are an Austrian speciality.

Apricot dumplings are an Austrian speciality. Photo: RitaE/Pixabay

READ ALSO: The best Austrian wineries to visit this summer


Food festivals 

Austria is home to some delicious specialties including the Knödel dumpling (OK, these dumplings are German too). 

And on September 23rd, a one-day event celebrating Knödel and Tyrolean culture is taking place - and it shouldn't be missed by foodies. 

The Knödelfest  in St. Johann, Tyrol, starts at 11 am. Visitors should come hungry because they can sample 22 different dishes from the world's largest Knödeltisch (dumpling table). Crowd favourites include bacon, cheese and apricot. You can also expect live music and lots of drinks.

Later in the month, from September 27th to 29th, a three-day foodie event will take place in Vienna, showcasing cuisine from the Waldviertal rural region, which is located north west of the capital.  

Expect plenty of tasty food, locally made beer and wine, as well as arts and crafts stalls. 

Waldviertelpur takes place at Vienna's Rathausplatz and it's free to enter.

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