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As fireworks burst in the sky above and the Danube Waltz blares from every device around, dancing in Vienna is underway. What could be better than spending New Year’s Eve in the world capital of elegant balls and the waltz?
Whether you want to go crazy with a wild New Year’s party or prefer a fancier way to celebrate, there are countless ways to spend the last night of the year. As always, there are plenty of ball events on New Year’s Eve and fireworks that light up the city for hours – visible from the Danube, a mountaintop or a rooftop terrace of a downtown building.
For those looking for the full blast version of New Year’s Eve madness, the Silversterpfad (New Year’s Eve Path) is how to spend this night in Vienna. From 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., the old city centre transforms into a huge party zone with everything from waltz crash courses, classical music performances to multiple DJ line-ups, catering to whatever your musical preferences are. If you are put off by large number of intoxicated party-goers, avoid the first district completely. That said, this type of New Year experience is certainly on the bucket list for many.
One highlight of the New Year celebrations are the fireworks that start in the early afternoon and come to its cacophonous crescendo at midnight. The best place to watch this is from a perch high above the city, like the viewing platform on the Kahlenberg, one of the mountains cradling the Danube valley. However, one cannot live on air and a nice view alone; Luckily the Skyline restaurant offers a package including a buffet, drinks and a club event that runs late into the next morning. While you catch your breath outside, the view of the sunrise will take your breath away.
What better way to glide into the New Year than sitting on a boat floating along the legendary Danube River with a glass of champagne in hand? Donaureisen offers a tour, which takes you from Nussdorf in the 19th district to Tulln, a suburban town west of Vienna. In Tulln guests enjoy a fire show before heading back to Vienna just in time for the midnight fireworks. It’s certainly a unique experience – just don’t let all the wine make you seasick!
No time of the year beckons quite as much to dust off the old dancing shoes and remember those waltz steps that every Viennese seems to learn along with skiing and walking. While every street corner turns into a dance floor once the clock strikes midnight, there is still no classier place to glide in ¾ time than a traditional Viennese ball. After a cocktail reception, guests at the Hofburg Palace enjoy an opening performance by the Vienna State Opera Ballet. During the gala dinner, you’ll have time to build up some courage for your turn to shine on the dance floor. If you don’t know the dance, no need to worry; there is much more to the event than waltzing all night long.
The most famous concert in the world, the New Year’s Concert, is held at Vienna’s Musikverein every year on 1st January (as well as 30th and 31st December). All tickets for this year’s concerts are sold out. But two other opera houses perform the popular Johann Strauss’ operetta “Die Fledermaus” over the New Year period: The Volksoper (31st December and 1st January) and at the Vienna State Opera (31st December and 1st, 3rd & 5th January). Too late to find a ticket? Enjoy the show in front of the Opera House on Karajan Platz where it can be watched for free at 7:00 pm on an enormous screen.