10, 9, 8... That famous countdown towards midnight on New Year‘s Eve - who could possibly not know it? As the final seconds of the old year pass, the excitement rises amongst the listeners, and just a moment later, another year has passed. But what are the customs and traditions you can typically expect to encounter at New Year’s Eve in Austria? And where are the best places to do your partying? Read on to find out.
As in many other countries within the Christian tradition, you’ll very often hear church bells being used to ring in the New Year at midnight in Austria. And in Vienna, the tolling of the bell known as the Pummerin is a special highlight; not only is this the largest bell in Austria, it is also one of the six largest cantilevered bells in the world. Which is why crowds of revellers gather outside St. Stephen‘s Cathedral, home to the Pummerin, every year, to wait for the unforgettable, rarely-heard sound.
Apart from New Year’s Eve, the Pummerin is only rung on special occasions nowadays.
For many Austrians, the tolling of the Pummerin is quickly followed by the iconic sounds of The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss II. It doesn‘t matter whether you‘re listening on your mobile, television or radio; shortly after midnight, the question is not if you will hear the unmistakeable sounds of Austria‘s unofficial national anthem ringing out through the streets and alleyways all around you – it’s when.
Did you know the Blue Danube is played every time one of our flights is preparing to leave the ground? No? Be sure to listen closely next time you‘re boarding! #1, 2, 3...
And in Austria, too, of course, there‘s just no escaping those fireworks at midnight! It's not just at Rathausplatz in the capital, Vienna that young and old are offered a spectacular sea of colour and light, however – there are displays scattered across the country, at events such as the New Year‘s Eve on the Mountains in Innsbruck and at Schloßberg in Graz.
Another much-loved tradition amongst Austrians at this time of year is to give one another lucky charms as presents. Chimney sweeps, clover, piglets and horseshoes are all popular symbols of the wish to bring the recipient a little extra luck in whatever challenges New Year may throw at them!
Popular New Year celebrations in Vienna
New Year’s Eve Trail
The New Year’s Eve Trail lures up to 600,000 people into Vienna city centre on 31st of December each year. Featuring stopping-off points along the route from Vienna‘s Prater to Rathausplatz, the Trail snakes its way through the centre of the capital. Countless DJs and food and drink stands guarantee a good atmosphere, with the crowning glories of the event the countdown and the huge fireworks display on Rathausplatz. #HappyNewYear!
Want to turn night into day – even after midnight? No problem! Vienna’s vast array of clubs, such as Pratersauna, mean you can party through into the small hours of New Year’s Day.
New Year‘s Eve galas
You can also make a seriously chic start to New Year in Vienna, of course. At the New Year’s Eve Gala in Vienna City Hall, for example, you can enjoy a four-course menu in an unbeatable environment, accompanied by the Vienna Hofball Orchestra throughout. There’s no limit to the extravagance at the Hofburg New Year’s Eve Ball either, gala dinners, Viennese coffee houses and a New Year’s Eve buffet are all unbeatable reasons to party and enjoy the good life, and a wide range of hotel chains, including the Intercontinental Wien, the Marriott and the Grand Hotel Wien, make perfect backdrops, with outstanding gala menus followed by major parties every year. #TrèsChic!
If you prefer things a bit more unusual, Vienna has plenty for you too. You can admire the Austrian capital from above, for example, by paying a visit to Schloss Willhelminenberg palace, Kahlenberg peak or the Danube Tower. Vienna’s iconic Big Wheel, the Prater, will also be turning on 31st of December, offering a unique panorama. Two party ships from DDSG Blue Danube also be offering breathtaking and unforgettable views of the fireworks – from out on the Danube itself. #Flamboyant!
New Year’s Eve celebrations outside Vienna
New Year‘s Eve in Salzburg is just magical! On the big night, the Old Town is transformed into a sea of lights, musical sounds and local titbits waiting to be enjoyed. Not just cosy, then, but extra-atmospheric too! The highlight, as every year, is the fireworks display on the Mönchsbergmountain.
In Bregenz, you can enjoy a party that‘s as wild as it is romantic – at the Promenade des Bodensees boardwalk. As you admire and enjoy the fireworks from the Promenade, Bregenz nightlife – just moments away by foot – invites you to dance into the small hours.
New Year’s Eve on the Traun– simply a dream! The town of Traun lures crowds to its New Year‘s Eve party every year with large helpings of music, punch and sparkling wine. The evening is rounded off by a vast sound fireworks display at midnight. Even after that, though, there’s plenty for night owls to do in the city centre. At the New Year’s Eve market on the banks of the Wolfgangsee, you can enjoy a range of small but perfectly-formed stands in a great ambience from 26th to 31st of December. With its breathtaking backdrop, meanwhile, the New Year’s Eve party on Marktplatz is the crowning glory here.
If the New Year‘s Eve experience in regional capital Klagenfurt is aimed at anyone, then it’s the little ones. A special Kids’ New Year’s Eve Party is held here every year, and is a great place for adults and children alike to let off steam. If exclusive is more your thing, however, then be sure to get hold of a ticket to the New Year‘s Eve Gala at the Schlosshotel Velden.
Flickering lights, the roaring seas and a glass of good wine: you can make a particularly festive start to the New Year on the banks of the Neusiedler See. And the New Year’s Eve party at Seerestaurant Katamaran is one of our insider tips when you’re looking for the best place to do so. A six-course menu, plenty of music and traditional custom of eating a pig’s head make New Year’s Eve a very special experience.
At the casino, on the ship – or how about a spa? No problem! There are numerous different ways of getting New Year off to a great start In Lower Austria: the famous Casino Baden hosts a first-class gala dinner with musical accompaniment every year. On a river cruise with Brandner, on the other hand, you can experience live music and culinary delights, all set against a wonderful winter panorama. Therme Laa spa is the perfect place to sit back and relax in the warm water or the sauna. But your physical well-being and good mood are also guaranteed by the buffet and wide range of DJs!
Laser shows, light spectaculars and impressive performances. No, we’re not talking about Las Vegas here, but the Graz New Year Spectacular. The celebration is rounded off by a huge New Year’s Eve show, complete with lights, fountains and musical accompaniment. And you can round off the evening at a huge range of different bars and clubs afterwards.
Snow, snow… and yet more snow. At the Hopfgarten New Year’s Eve on the Mountains, the ski region in the Brixental valley is transformed into a vast party location. Cable cars continuously carry you safely up onto the mountain until 2.00 am, while the live DJs, bars and huge fireworks display lend the party of the year a touch of après-ski.
... 3, 2, 1 HAPPY NEW YEAR! Already made your plans for New Year’s Eve? If not, then hopefully we’ve been able to inspire you to do so! To find out more about and book flights to Vienna or out into the provinces, just click here: