Saturday, April 14, 2012

Easter in Austria

Easter is a colorful time for Austria, with celebrations throughout the country. Wherever you go, you'll find people excited about Easter, whether it's your Austrian hotel, the people in the bar, or the people preparing for the Easter markets. Concerts are common throughout Easter, and what better way to experience some of Austria's regional traditions than by popping into an authentic Austrian Easter market.

Vienna's most famous Easter market is held in the surrounds of the Schönbrunn Palace between March 24 and April 9. There, the life and soul of Austria's traditional past is displayed along with regional delicacies. The site is open between 10 AM and 7 PM, and it's well worth a visit if you're in Austria. Alternatively, opening on March 23 is the Easter market on the Freyung, which offers a wide variety of baked goods, colorful Easter eggs, and tasty lamb. Don't forget to check the Easter handicraft workshop for the little ones.

As you might expect, Graz is filled with culinary delights during Easter, particularly at the Franziskanerplatz Easter market, and make sure you try the local schnapps. The Easter handicraft market on Hauptplatz is a great place for some unusual gifts, and if you're after something a little more international, pop over to Tummelplatz. These markets run from March 30 to April 7. Just to the north of the city, is Stübing, home of the open-air museum. There, you can experience Palmbuschenbinden, the weaving of palm fronds accompanied by a traditional Austrian celebration on March 30.

Tyrol has a wide variety of these markets dotted throughout the region. Whether it is the Innsbruck Easter market, running between March 30 and April 7, the Osterfestival Tirol, a series of dancing, singing, and performance events taking place around Innsbruck, or the Kufstein market, a decidedly folksy event on April 7, there are numerous places to visit to explore Austria's obsession with Easter.

Salzburg, on the other hand, is a little more muted, but there are still some great Easter celebrations in the area. The local open-air museum will hold an Easter farmer's market on March 31, along with a showcase of traditional rural pastimes. Visit Gwandhaus on March 17 – 18, and you'll find a large Easter Bunny waiting for you. Like many places, the market focuses on traditional Austria, so an entertaining time can be had by all.

Wherever you are in Austria for Easter, there will be dozens of events throughout the country. Make sure you visit a couple of them, and you have a great time learning about Austria's traditional past. Of course, you need to book a hotel in advance, as these events are very popular.