Salzburg in January
Salzburg is nice all around the year - yet every month has its specific attractions. In these “Salzburg around the year” articles, we try to highlight the most important reasons to come to Salzburg in one specific month. January makes the start.
Weather in Salzburg in January
January hits the bottom: It can be terribly cold with temperatures going down to minus 10 or even minus 20 at night, the coldest month of the year - at least in Salzburg. It is generally more likely that you will encounter snow than in December. Maximum temperature averages at 2 degrees Celsius, minimum ones at minus 5 degrees. The hours of sunshine average at only two per day, snowfall can be expected on 11 days. Bring warm clothing and make sure to dress in layers - if you go to a museum, the theatre or other touristy things, you will constantly put you coats off and on again. Get warm shoes and thick socks - nothing is worse than cold feet in winter.
Things to see and do in Salzburg: January
For many Austrians, the new year starts with a hang-over or at least a need for sleep. Thus, the morning of the 1st will be very quiet. Around noon, the “New Year’s Concert” (Neujahrskonzert) of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra starts in Vienna - it is broadcasted on TV and often watched/listened to at the first lunch of the year. In Salzburg, rifle associations (Schützen) in historic dress line up and fire their historic guns to salute the new year. This custom is called “Neujahrsschießen”.
The 6th of January is the day of the epiphany; the Catholic youth organisation “Jungschar” organises the old tradition of the Sternsinger (“star singers”), for which four children dress up as the three kings of the epiphany plus one child carrying a golden star. They walk from door to door, sing traditional chants and bring blessings to the house. They use white chalk to write a blessing formula and the date of the year to the gate and in turn, they usually receive a small donation that goes towards mission projects, usually in the third world.
The 28th of January is the birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. There are always concerts to celebrate this occasion. January is also the month in which the “Internationale Mozartwoche” takes place, a series of high-quality concerts dedicated to Salzburg’s most famous son.
Things to do and see in the surroundings: January
The 6th of January is also one of the “Raunächte” (“Nights of the Smoke”). This pagan holiday is still celebrated a lot in the mountain areas by Perchten groups (see the respective article) and less touristy than the Perchten celebrations of December. In the Salzkammergut, the Glöckler are a colourful and more friendly version of the ugly and demon-like Perchta. Look for the Ausseerland in the Salzkammergut and the Pinzgau and Pongau regions for the Perchten respectively.
In the ski resorts of Salzburg, many tourism boards hold all sorts of events to attract even more people. These can include concerts of internationally famous pop stars, crazy sport events like kite skiing competitions or night skiing. Most of them are complemented with open-air drinking and rowdy parties. These events change from year to year, it is worth asking the Salzburg board of tourism for current information.
Salzburg around the Year
Website of the Tourist Information Office