Whether you love listening to classical music or jazz, sipping on wine, or hitting the slopes, there's a festival in Austria to satisfy all tastes.
Festivals in Austria are among the most prestigious in the world, attracting millions of visitors from across the globe each year. But while these popular events offer a full spectrum of cultural celebrations, music is, of course, a mainstay. As such, there are numerous festivals celebrating local composers such as Liszt and Mozart as well as more contemporary styles. That said, there are also major film celebrations, theater showcases, and events that bring together all the art disciplines. And then there are the more eclectic festivals that celebrate the quirks of Austria's rich culture and history.
Viennale. Born out of a desire to turn Austria into a cultural superpower, the Viennale international film festival is one of the country's most prestigious events, attracting more than 90,000 visitors each year. It was first held in 1960 to dispel the stark reality of the Cold War. Since then, it has grown to become one of the oldest and most respected festivals in the German-speaking world. As such, each October, the creme de la creme of European cinema descends on Vienna to celebrate the year's best documentaries, short films, and experimental forays in cinema.
Salzburg Festival (Salzburger Festspiele). A true celebration of the arts, the famous Salzburger Festspiele offers visitors a range of cultural experiences. Operatic turns, classical concerts, and dramatic performances come together in the charming Baroque city of Salzburg. Because of its commitment to high-caliber performances, the festival has become one of Austria's greatest cultural highlights, and one of the most anticipated Austrian festivals on the calendar.
Castle Grafenegg Music Festival. Held every August, this beloved Austrian festival invites attendees to enjoy a wealth of top-tier classical and jazz concerts within the stunning grounds of the 13th-century Grafenegg Castle. Curated by Austria's finest pianist, Rudolf Buchbinder, the much-anticipated event brings together international orchestras, soloists, and talented young musicians. Many consider it to be one of the most important orchestra festivals in Europe.
Danube Island Festival (Donauinselfest). Referred to as 'Donauinselfest' by the locals, the three-day Danube Island Festival has grown to become one of the largest open-air festivals in Europe and attracts millions of visitors each year. And the best part is, it’s totally free to attend. Boasting nearly 20 stages and numerous tented areas hosting rap, pop, rock, hip-hop, and folk concerts by international artists, the event is an absolute must-visit for music lovers. In fact, you could almost call it Austria’s answer to Coachella or Glastonbury!