Which are the best things to do in Vienna in May 2020 to break up your sightseeing? Because it’s prime season, May has rare opportunities for music and outdoor lovers in store. If you need additional tips for classical music events, check my tips in Vienna concerts.
CORONAVIRUS UPDATE MAY 2020: As per the Austrian government’s announcement, all local events taking place until the end of June 2020 will be cancelled. If you have already booked a concert, opera, operetta, theater, performance or similar social event during this period, please get in touch with the event organizer.
1. Discover Unheard Of Spring Feelings
To celebrate spring, sweet violin tunes of Mendelssohn, Rimski Korsakov, Schumann, Sarasate and others will lure music fans to an outstanding spring concert on 1st May. If you have never heard of romantic composers Guillaume Lekeu and Pablo de Sarasate before you will be forgiven. In fact, this is THE opportunity to discover the distinctively romantic sounds of European composers, from Belgium and Germany to Russia and Spain.
On the 31st May, treat yourself to sweeping tunes from Mozart, Bach and Mendelssohn.
For more than one blissful hour, Hossen, the charismatic founder of the International Music Academy Orpheus in Vienna, will use his historic violin and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra to unlock sweet spring feelings.
To receive your 10 per cent discount per ticket just use the code unwrapped in your shopping cart. First, click on Add to Cart and then use the code where it says ‘Apply Discount Code’.
Date: 1st May and 31st May 2020, 7.30 pm
Location: Minorite Church, Minoritenplatz 1, 1010 Vienna
Tickets: get tickets
2. Taste The Genussfestival Food Fair
For three days, Vienna’s Stadtpark will turn into Austria’s biggest food fair. The more than 190 stalls are a good opportunity to eat your way through Austrian food, from my beloved Austrian sourdough bread to Viennese potato gulash, cheese Knöpfle from Vorarlberg, and sweet poppy seed gnocchi from Waldviertel.
Apart from that, you can watch a chef create themed tasters of Austrian regional dishes. At the ‘origins tent’, Austrian farmers and bakers show their work traditions.
Location: Stadtpark, Parkring 1010 Vienna
3. Join The Festival Of Joy
Each year, the brilliant Wiener Symphoniker celebrate the triumph of the Allied Forces over the Nazi Regime with the free open air concert Fest der Freude (Festival of Joy). In 2020, it will be 75 years since the end of World War II. Not only does the vibrant atmosphere of 10,000 people on Heldenplatz take away your breath, but the amazing music and sound system supported by dramatic light installations. Mostly, you can expect 19th and 20th century classics such as Mahler, Ravel and Korngold. Though what really moves the audience is Beethoven’s Ode To Joy (Ode an die Freude) from his famous 9th Symphony.
Date: 8th May 2020, from 7.30 pm
Location: Heldenplatz square, in front of Neue Burg (Hofburg)
4. See Vienna Boys Choir At The Spanish Riding School
It just happens seven times a year that the Vienna Boys Choir joins up with the Spanish Riding School. In the 2020 season, they will stage their exceptional program ‘A Tribute to Vienna’ twice in the grand baroque winter riding hall.
Date: 8th and 22nd May 2020
Location: Spanische Hofreitschule Wien, Michaelerplatz 1, 1010 Vienna
Tickets: get tickets for ‘A Tribute to Vienna‘
5. Attend Top Concerts At Musikverein
You may know the Musikverein’s Golden Hall from the Vienna New Year’s Concert that is broadcast worldwide each year. May will get you the opportunity to experience top quality concerts there, along with other local music fans. For example, Beethoven’s tremendous 9th Symphony to mark the occasion of his 250th anniversary. Alternatively, listen to Beethoven’s piano concert no 4 along with the overture from Mozart’s Magic Flute and Robert Schumann’s second symphony.
Dates: 9th May 2020 (Beethoven’s 9th Symphony); 17th May 2020 (Beethoven/Mozart/Schumann)
Location: Wiener Musikverein; Musikvereinsplatz 1, 1010 Vienna;
Tickets: use links above
6. Participate In The 26th Wine Tour At The Danube
On the first weekend this month, wine lovers from across Austria will flock to the Danube valley near Krems and adjacent wine growing areas. For the 26th time, 36 top local vintners of this famous wine region will open their wine cellar doors and fresh wine bottles to share their treasures and wine growing knowledge. Simply get a ‘Tour-de-Vin button’ for EUR 25 at any participating winery, which entitles you to wine tastings across all wineries. In addition you can participate at various events, from vineyard hikes to a champagne workshop (with English explanations).
Date: 2nd and 3rd May 2020
Location: various vintners, see details in the Tour-de-Vin pass (2020 version to be publicised by January 2020)
Admission: EUR 25
Transport: to get there from Vienna and tour the vintners, either rent a car, or hire a private car and driver.
7. Take An Easy E-Bike Tour
Each weekend, Viennese flock to their ‘house mountains’ Kahlenberg and Leopoldsberg. They are packed with lush vineyards, woods, panorama views, historic buildings and a good dozen of wineries. Equally popular is the Danube Island.
I’m not a great biker but joined a similar tour in the summer of 2018. Since then I have become an e-bike fan. This easy e-bike tour is the best outdoor fun in the Vienna Woods and Danube Island . Read more.
We may share the same experience here but I think off-path activities and encounters with ‘natives’ always feel special: Perhaps because they add authenticity to a holiday.
In my home city, you can connect with a group of Viennese foodies by cooking and dining with them at their own homes. (That’s actually me on the left in the photo, with two of the hobby cooks.) Find out more in Vienna cooking classes with private dining.
9. Head For A Day To Salzburg
While you will enjoy the city of Salzburg whatever the season there are activities in the surroundings that are only open in the warmer months.
Just take the lake district, Salzkammergut, for example. Boat rides on its most famous lakes like Hallstaetter See, Wolfgangsee or Attersee are mostly possible between mid April and October.
10. Visit The Danube Valley
The Danube Valley of Wachau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a boat ride from Spitz to Duernstein was one of the first trips I took my husband on to show him the best of my home country. This well conceptualised tour covers all that we had seen.
The highlight is definitely the extended boat ride from Spitz to Melk, and the fantastic baroque abbey of Melk which towers over the Danube. Many villages and towns like Krems date back to the Middle Ages (1305), boasting houses with coats of arms and metre-thick walls, big city gates and watchtowers.
Access details of the Danube Valley Day Trip.
11. More Things to do in Vienna May: Bratislava By Boat
Many readers ask me about my thoughts on a boatride on the Vienna Danube… and I always come up with Bratislava. The stretch of the Danube between these two cities is picturesque and green. I travelled from Central Vienna in just over an hour by high speed catamaran and had the whole day to see a gem of a European capital. You can find the full story and travel details in my review of our mini Danube cruise.
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