The typical Viennese Heurigen
Austria’s Heurigenkultur and its biggest celebration in the Viennese Prater
Austria’s Heurigenkultur is definitely one of the primary characteristics of Austria, and of Vienna in specific. Delicious wine from Austria’s beloved vineyards, beautiful traditional costumes (Dirndl for women, Lederhosen for men), exhilarating folk music and tasty Viennese delicacies (Wiener Schmankerl) please every Viennese heart. Visiting a Viennese Heurigen is an interesting way for any tourist to experience Vienna, as its special atmosphere provides a deep insight into the Viennese lifestyle. An even greater opportunity to witness Austria’s Heurigenkultur is during the Wiener Wiesn Fest (Viennese Meadow festival), at the Viennese Prater (at the Kaiserwiese) in autumn 2018.
What makes the Viennese Heurigenkultur so special
The Viennese Heurigen has always been part of any local’s life. It was a place to meet friends and family (or to make new acquaintances) and to laugh, drink, eat and sing. Managing a Heurigen is still often a family business, which makes every single one quite special. Instead of a large corporation with thousands of shops, most Heurigen have their own familiar atmosphere, often with wine from their own vineyards and family members who know many guests by name. Austria’s emperor Joseph II made this tradition possible in 1784 when he allowed Austrians to sell their self-produced goods (he mentioned food, wine, fruit juice) whenever they wanted and for a self-determined cost.
Next to the famous Austrian wine, a Viennese Heurigen also offers a variety of the most “Austrian” food you will find in Vienna. Treats like Schweinsbraten (roast pork), Hühnerbrust (chicken breast) and many other meat dishes with side dishes like Erdäpfelknödel (potato dumplings) or Sauerkraut will satisfy everyone’s hunger. You will also find typical baked goods like Salzstangerl or Brezel with different spreads (including Grammelschmalz and Liptauer) and something sweet afterwards (Schaumrolle and Topfenstrudel).
The Wiener Wiesn Fest
When you glimpse countless women in beautiful Dirndl costumes and handsome men in Lederhosen on the streets during autumn, you can be sure that they are heading towards the Viennese Prater for the famous Wiener Wiesn Fest. This festival is a must for both inhabitants and tourists.
This year, it takes place for the 8th time, and is more popular than ever. Set on the Kaiserwiese (Emperor Meadow) directly in front of Vienna’s landmark The Riesenrad (giant ferris wheel), the arrangement alone is interesting enough to attract the crowds.
From September 27th until October 14th, three huge marquees accommodate around 6,600 guests, and a further five alpine huts offer free entrance. These are open for all guests with free entrance from 11:30am until 1am. The cheerful music, drinks, food and especially the exuberant atmosphere make sure most people remain until late into the night.
For tourists, this is also a great opportunity to catch a glimpse of the other federal states, for example Steiermark (Styria), Salzburg or Tirol (Tyrol). Each federal state has its own customs, specialities and music. Thus, each federal state has its own dedicated day where visitors can experience Austria’s versatility.
The numbers reach 350,000 visitors, 240,000 litre beer and 700 hours of programming – the numbers are remarkable, and so is the Wiener Wiesn Fest. Visit during the festivities and have a great time in Vienna!
To see all dates and buy tickets, please visit the Wiener Wiesn website.