Around New Year, Austria
becomes the place to be.
For changing the dateline in style, no other city beats Vienna. The last days of the year become a whirl of concerts and entertainment. While the Vienna Symphony
traditionally performs Beethoven's Ninth Symphony on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, the Vienna Philharmonic
is playing a selection of waltzes, polkas and operetta tunes, and its festive New Year's Day concert is a big social event (tickets are obtainable only through a miracle, but there are several concerts by other orchestras that offer the same kind of music and are more easily accessible).
This great event is broadcast every year on the PBS network and hosted by Walter Cronkite. On both evenings, the State Opera
and the Volksoper
give gala performances of Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus. And, if you got the tickets well in advance, you can toast the turn of the year at the 'New Year’s Eve Ball’ in the highest style imaginable. The ‘New Year’s Eve Ball’
in the Hofburg
ballroom is a time for rustling ball gowns, glistening jewellerey and the imperial majesty of the Austro/Hungarian Empire of yore. Just as the Habsburgs used to celebrate the New Year!
Vienna also turns the inner city into one big celebration. Starting at 2 pm on December 31 until 2 am on January 1, Vienna's old city centre transforms into a vibrant party arena. Thousands of people follow the New Year's Eve Trail
, in the city center, at City Hall Square and in the Prater. Along the famous trail, dozens of gastronomes serve punch and culinary treats, while numerous stations provide entertainment with a show program, waltzes, an operetta, rock, pop and folk music as well as a DJ line-up.
into the New Year in Vienna is an experience everyone should have at least once in their lifetime. The place to do it is under the brilliant chandeliers of the world's largest 'outdoor-ballroom' on Graben Street. The Vienna Dance Schools even offer open-air crash courses in the waltz, for those who need to learn or brush up on their dancing skills. New Year galas are held in the City Hill and Vienna’s leading hotels, while the Majestic Imperator train, a ‘palace on rails’, allows you to ride into the New Year in luxurious style.
Those who want to take off into the New Year in romantic style
should have a ride in one of the old carriages of the Giant Ferris Wheel at the Prater
, where from the top overlooking the illuminated panorama of Vienna, they can raise a toast to the city with a glass of sparkling wine. Another romantic way of ringing the New Year is to view the lights of the city from a boat trip
along the Danube. Or you can make your way to the Kahlenberg
, hills on Vienna’s fringe providing the best view of all the fireworks.
As midnight approaches, St. Stephen's Cathedral becomes the rendezvous of all revellers. Just before the old year comes to an end, the music stops and the countdown begins, culminating in the booming chimes of the 'Pummerin'
from the cathedral bell tower, to the accompaniment of the Strauss's Blue Danube Waltz
as midnight passes.
All throughout Austria you will experience fireworks
for example has brass band parades and evening fanfares in the Old Town at New Year's; Graz
and other smaller cities also stage a string of events to celebrate.