Public Holidays / Bank Holidays in Austria
Having lived in England and the US for several years, I found it extremely annoying that shops and other facilities are closed that often in Austria.
Opening hours are strictly regulated and it is unlikely to find a shop that is open after 7 pm even on a weekday. Beyond that, all shops, banks and similar facilities close every Sunday. If you need groceries on a Sunday, you will have to go to petrol stations with associated super-markets or to one of the very few supermarkets in stations that have a special permit to remain open on every day of the week.
In the following, you see a list of the public holidays that mean that shops are closed. Be prepared and buy your stuff in advance!
Austrian Holiday Calender
1st of January: New Year′s Day. You are likely to have a hangover that day, so closed shops shouldn′t be too much of an issue. Most Austrians stay at home, sleep in and then watch the traditional "New Year′s Concert".
6th of January: "Dreikönigstag", called Epiphany or Twelfth Night in English.
Easter Monday: The date changes from year to year. Note that Good Friday is NOT a public holiday.
1st of May: Labour Day or "Tag der Arbeit", the big socialist outing day.
6th Thursday after Easter: The precise date changes with Easter from year to year, but "Christi Himmelfahrt" or Ascension Day is always a holiday.
6th Monday after Easter: Another one that changes, but Pentecost or Whit Monday is also a day off.
Early June: Corpus Christi or Fronleichnam. It can be good to live in a Catholic country.
15th of August: Mariä Himmelfahrt or Assumption Day - closed shops, but places like Mariazell′s church of pilgrimage boost from visiting pilgrims.
26th of October: "We-survived-the-war-hooray"-Day (Austrian National Holiday or Nationalfeiertag).
1st of November: Allerheiligen or All Saint′s Day. Traditionally spent at your family′s grave.
8th of December: Maria Empfängnis or Immaculate Conception - a holiday with much arguing: Every year, shopkeepers demand the right to open in favour of Christmas shopping. The situation varies from province to province, but it is generally only "half a holiday".
25th of December: Christmas Day or Christtag, all is closed as in every decent country.
26th of December: Boxing Day or Stefanitag ("St. Steve′s Day").
Note that sites of interest from the tourist′s point of view, such as museums, art galleries and castles don′t have to follow the opening hours issued for shops. They do have more freedom, but the extent to which they use it might depend on season, area or purpose (the Jewish Museum of Vienna is surprisingly closed on Saturdays, for example).
One date to keep in mind for museums in general is the 17th of May, the "International Day of the Museum", on which essentially all museums in the country are open to the public for free.
Practicalities & Useful Bits
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