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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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DISCOVER AUSTRIA

The six most spectacular train trips in Austria

With its mountain peaks and crystal-clear lakes, Austria has more than its fair share of stunning scenery to fall in love with. And travelling by train can give you the chance to take the views in properly without any distractions. Here are Austria's most scenic train routes.

The six most spectacular train trips in Austria

Semmering rail line in winter

You’ll get epic views whether you travel in summer or winter, but the snow adds to the romanticism. Photo by Miroslav Volek on flickr.

Semmering Railway
Built between 1848 and 1854, the 41-kilometre-long Semmerling line was made a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1998 and it’s easy to see why: it runs through some jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery between the mountain towns of Semmering and Gloggnitz. It was a huge technical achievement for its time, not least because of the hefty gradient of the line. It was also the first European mountain railway to have a standard gauge track.

You’ll see glorious mountains, obviously, plus huge viaducts – 16 of them, if you’re counting – and 15 tunnels, including one whopping 1,430-metre-long one, and over 100 bridges, as well as plenty of lush forests and deep valleys.

semmeringbahn.at

Mariazeller Bahn

Clear skies are made for scenic train rides. Photo by flightlog on Flickr

Mariazell Railway
Remember we mentioned gauges above? Well, the Mariazell Railway is a narrow-gauge route – built like that because it was a difficult terrain for trains to cross. Running from St Pölten in Lower Austria to Mariazell in Styria, at 84km-long, it’s Austria’s longest narrow-gauge line.

The mountain section (Bergstrecke) of the line is the most picturesque. Get on at Laubenbachmühle where this starts and enjoy the train’s climb to its peak of 892m above sea level in Gösing where you’ll have gorgeous panoramic views and a glimpse of the 1,893-metre-high Ötscher mountain. Stay on board to see viaducts, reservoirs and deep gorges, in particular glimpses of the wild Erlauf gorge.

Want to really make the most of those views? Book a panorama carriage, which gives you super-comfy seats and unobstructed views of the scenery unfolding as the train trundles along. 

mariazellerbahn.at

Perfect peaks and lush valleys await. Photo by Schnitzel_bank on Flickr

Arlberg Railway

The Arlberg raiway is one of Europe’s highest – it climbs to 1,310 metres above sea level at its highest point. It goes up at a fair tilt, too and is one of the steepest passenger lines out there.

Connecting Innsbruck and Bludenz (on the Swiss border), it’s the only east-west mountain line in Austria. Visual delights include the Tyrolean Trisanna Bridge near the hilltop castle Wiesberg, snow-peaked mountains, the 6.6-mile-long Arlberg tunnel, and verdant valleys and forests at the Arlsberg pass  – go at sunset/sunrise and look to your right for the best views.

arlbergbahn.at

Schafberg Railway

There are – unsurprisingly – a lot of steep railways in Austria and this one is no exception. This is the steepest steam cog-railway in the country and has been running between St Wolfgang in Salzkammergut up to the 1,783-metre Schafberg mountain since 1893.  

It’s a gorgeous journey up the mountain with the views getting better and better the higher you go. At the top, you’ll have (weather-permitting) clear views over Salzkammergut’s glittering lakes, as well as the soaring peaks of neighbouring mountain ranges, such as the Höllengebirge.

schafbergbahn.at/

Tauern Railway
If you’re heading to Venice by train, then this is the most scenic route to take and it’s worth the trip in its own right, too. You’ll pass stunning valleys and gorges as the line winds its way up the High Tauern mountain range of the Central Eastern Alps.

The best views are on the right-hand side of the train when you’re heading in this direction, so try to get a window seat if you can.

oebb.at

Are you even in Austria if your train doesn’t pass a field of cows? Photo by Schnitzel_bank on Flickr.

Zillertal Railway
There’s always something rather romantic about travelling by steam train and the traditional Zillertal locomotive with its wooden carriages is no exception. It putters gently by the side of the Ziller river along the 32-kilometre stretch between the towns of Jenbach and Mayrhofen, giving you ample opportunity to take in the views as you pass picture-perfect villages and gorgeous valleys surrounded by mountains. 

If you’ve got your heart set on the romanticism of steam trains, make sure you check which train you’re getting as the steam-powered engine doesn’t run as frequently as the faster diesel one. If you haven’t pre-booked, get there early to make sure you get a seat as it can get very busy.
zillerbahn.at

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