How to Celebrate New Year in Austria
It’s just days before New Year and I decided to do a suicide mission by hitting 4 countries in 7 days. It was my first time traveling solo in three years and I knew that I was up for the challenge. I flew into Munich, Germany. From there, I was planning on traveling to Vienna, Austria, Bratislava, Slovakia, and ending my journey in Prague, Czechia.
I arrived in Munich on December 30th. Their Christmas festivities were already over. Despite that, the city center was still jam-packed with holiday travelers. I took in the sites before heading to my hotel room to prepare for my journey to Austria.
My initial plan was to travel straight from Munich to Vienna. I heard that Vienna has an amazing New Year celebration so I decided that is where I wanted to be. I did not technically have to be In Vienna until nightfall. It is a 4-hour direct train ride. But despite the short ride over to Vienna, I did not want to enjoy my last day of the year traveling. Instead, I opted to make a pit stop in Salzburg.
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Public transportation around Austria is great. I took a train from Munich to Salzburg and another train from Salzburg to Vienna. There are several train operators that you can pre-book on. I did not purchase my tickets in advance as I did not want to have set plans. I went to the train station, purchased my ticket on the spot, and attempted to locate the correct platform. Keep in mind that last-minute tickets are more expensive but it allows you to be more flexible. I paid €39.50 on DB but I found that same ticket online for €24. I paid another €14.90 to get from Salzburg to Vienna. Trains depart to Austria every 30 minutes or so.
Once in the city, taking public transit is simple but not necessary for those staying in the city center.
Where to Stay:
I stayed at Dan In’n Out in Vienna. It was located near all the main sites. I paid €127 a night for a single which is a bit steep in the area. Once again, I booked it at the last minute. Since it was New Year, the hotel had a different check-in process. Check-in time opened at surprisingly 12:30 with a possibility of checking in earlier for an extra €25. The normal check-in time is 4 pm. The reception was only open from 7:30 to 12:30 that day. For those arriving after reception hours, they left key cards at the reception desk with the customer’s name and room number on them.
The single room was quaint and barely fit me but I knew that I had no desire to stay indoors. The hotel is in a quiet neighborhood. From my room, I could hear the celebration outside but it was tolerable. I wanted to stay at a place that was close to the main attractions but not loud where I could not sleep. This is the perfect place to stay for me.
Austria’s currency is the Euro. Below is the exchange rate as of December 2023.
$1 USD = €0.93 EUR
$1 CAD = €0.68 EUR
$1 AUS = €0.61 EUR
£1 GBP = €1.17 EUR
¥100 JPY = €0.64 EUR
German is the official language of Austria; however, in tourist locations, most residents speak English.
|Dec 31, 2022
|Dan In’n Out
Salzburg self-guided tour
Salzburg Christkindl Market
Free Evening Walking Tour in Vienna
Vienna New Years
Snacks at the Christkindl Market
Shawarma at the Train Station
|Jan 1, 2023
|Dan In’n Out
|Vienna Self-Guided Tour
|Ate in Bratislava
Salzburg is the halfway point between Munich and Vienna. It is about a 2-hour train ride from Munich to Salzburg and another 2-hour train ride from Salzburg to Vienna. Salzburg is known for its views of the Alps and the birthplace of Mozart. It is also the location where the Sound of Music was filmed.
Since I was in transit to Vienna, I had all of my belongings. There are numerous self-serve lockers located in the Salzburg train station. I just followed the signs to lead me to the lockers. The room is pretty large with 3 rows of lockers. A small bag locker is only €2 and the ski or XL lockers are only €4.50.
I decided to give myself about 4 hours in Salzburg. My only plan was to see Salzburg’s Christmas market. I left Munich at 8 am and arrived in Salzburg at 10 am. During my time in Salzburg, I saw the following sites: Kaitelplatz, Mozartplaz, St. Peter’s Abbey, Salzburger Dom, and many other places. They were setting up for the New Year. They were assembling a stage for live performances. The show was supposed to start in the afternoon. Unfortunately, I was going to miss it.
The Christkindl Market is located in Cathedral Square. The market was smaller than most but the Christmas joy is still there. There is a map of all the vendors right outside of the entrance. Nearby the Christkindl Market is the farmer’s market where local meats, pastries, and other goodies can be purchased. I ordered a pretzel and a drink here. After roaming for a few hours, It was time for me to head back to the train station to retrieve my bags and head over to Vienna.
Vienna (New Year Eve)
Things were getting crazy busy when I arrived in Vienna around 3 pm. I checked into my hotel and took a power nap. I was running on 2 hours of sleep. At 6 pm, I fought the urge to roll out of bed to do an evening walking tour.
I do not typically do walking tours with large groups but this is a great way to meet people. By the time the tour hit, the streets were populous. I have to dodge crowds to get to the meeting site. There was a good-sized tour group here. We walked to all the big attractions and learned a lot about the city. There were several street closures and we had to take back roads to avoid the crowds. There were lines of police vehicles located on the outskirts of the celebration. By the time the tour ended, it was nearly impossible to walk. Everybody was out on the street.
New Year Celebration
New Year in Vienna was perhaps one of the best I have experienced. Vienna has something that is called the Silvesterpfad, a New Year’s Eve Trail that kicks off around 2pm and ends at 2am. The trail has 4 stages located throughout the city to entertain the crowd. I stayed by the stage near St. Stephens as that was near my hotel. The event is free of cost and the entire city is outside celebrating.
There was one band that played that night (at least when I was there) and they were incredible. They sang all of the great Western hits from Burno Mars to Journey. It was just fun singing and dancing with a bunch of strangers. I did not drink and did not know a single soul yet the experience was amazing.
Drinks are BYOB for the most part. There are drinks for sale located in the very back but that means having to swim through a crowd of people and waiting in the outrageous line. If you intend on drinking, make sure you purchase your drinks in advance at the supermarket. Many stores, bars, and restaurants are closed for a few days. And for those bars and restaurants that are open, reservations are required.
Where to Eat:
Since most eateries are either closed or reservations only, food was difficult to find. I went to the train station for some quick fast food. I opted for the chicken shawarma. It was delicious!
What I Wish I Knew Before Visiting
- Some supermarkets are closed on NYE. I would have purchased food while in Munich or Salzburg before coming to Vienna.
- I would purchase drinks in advance to toast with others.
New Years Day
The morning of January 1st is quiet. The city is still sleeping which means that it is the best time to get up and explore. I woke up at 9 am and still have the entire city to myself. You can see the stages being taken apart throughout the city. I just roamed around for a few hours before deciding to hop on a train to Bratislava.