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Everything You Need to Know About Christmas in Austria

Everything You Need to Know About Christmas in Austria

Find yourself dreaming of spending your Christmas holidays nestled in the Austrian Alps? Or perhaps attending seasonal balls in Vienna? Or maybe you’re just curious about Austrian Christmas traditions. In any case, read on to learn all about Christmas in Austria!

Austria is home to some of the most whimsical and charming scenes in the world at Christmas, and we don’t blame you for wanting to be part of it. Spend your days on the slopes, strolling through Christmas Markets, or dancing the night away in formal wear. Whatever you’re looking to do during Christmas in Austria, you’ll want to read our guide before you go!

Christmas in Austria - Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Christmas Market in Vienna – Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Krampus Run

The Krampus Run is a Christmas tradition in the alpine area of Austria and happens in early December. The word “krampen” means “crawl”, but in some dialects it means, “withered”. There are many names for Krampus, and in Salzburg he’s called “Perchten”. A group of Krampus is called a “Pass”. For those unfamiliar with Germanic traditions, this one always seems to shock visitors due to its, ‘scary’ costumes. The best way to describe a Krampus? Scary, loud, and unique. Alongside a scary mask, Krampus wears big bells on their backs, used to send the winter devils to hell. Christmas in Austria is certainly different!

December 6th marks St. Nikolaus Day, and this is where the tradition of Nikolaus and Krampus comes in. Saint Nicholas bring gifts to the children, and Krampus traditionally scares the bad children who don’t get toys. But don’t worry, this doesn’t really happen. When it gets dark, the kids go “Krampus-hunting” as a way to show their courage.

Christmas in Austria includes the Krampus tradition

The tradition goes until mid December, with a few additional nights called “Rauhnaechte” in mid January. If you want to witness one of these runs, we recommend checking out the Ares Pass, not far from Salzbourg.

Christmas Markets in Austria

Easily one of the most whimsical elements of Christmas in Austria, the Christmas Markets (or Weihnachtsmarkt) are a must visit. Starting at the end of November and running until just before Christmas, the tradition is a favourite among locals and foreigners looking to get into the holiday spirit.

While at the markets, you’ll have the option to browse several stalls filled with food, drinks, souvenirs, and homemade goods. We highly recommend trying Glühwein, which is a hot mulled wine and is the perfect treat to warm yourself up!

As for food, the options are endless! All Christmas Markets offer various types of sausage and sweet treats, but our favourite is definitely Lebkuchen. You should combine it with a cup of glühwein, but be wary if you don’t have much of a sweet tooth!

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Glühwein, Christmas in Austria – Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Ball Season in Vienna

The people of Vienna love to dance! The Austrian capital hosts over 400 balls each winter, bringing over 300,000 dancers from all over the world. Attendees wear masks and costumes, giving the ball a Carnival-like feeling. Initially an event for the noble class in the 18th century, Emperor Joseph II opened the event to anyone who wanted to attend. As a tourist, you can attend as well! If you want to participate, remember there are strict and formal dress codes. It won’t hurt you to know how to do a proper Waltz, either!

Skiing and Winter Sports

If you want to combine your Christmas in Austria with a bit of sport, we recommend it! Austria is full of ski slopes and resorts, and while some are on the expensive side, there are lots that are affordable. Whether you’re after snowboarding, skiing, or just relaxing somewhere in the mountains, we think this is a great option for your holidays!

Christmas in Austria

Where to stay in Salzburg, Austria

If you’re visiting Salzburg book your bed at the long standing Auberge de jeunesse internationale de Yoho – right in the centre of town and with an awesome late night bar and spacious rooms.

Everything You Need to Know About Christmas in Austria

Christmas in Austria is a wonderful and unique experience which will certainly set your holiday out from all the rest! Enjoy the whimsical and unique traditions of this small but mountainous country! If you need more information to help you plan your Christmas holidays, click ici for a range of helpful tips, city guides, food guides, and more. For all the latest news at Famous Hostels, follow us or subscribe on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Youtube.

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