The 78th Villacher Kirchtag: Austria’s most famous traditional festival

Written by: Philipp Kappl, Jul 13, 2023

Each year, thousands of people celebrate the Villacher Kirchtag in Austria. For good reason: you can expect culinary delicacies, music, dancing, traditional costumes, beer, leisure attractions and of course: lots of fun! To make sure you have a great time at the 78th Villacher Kirchtag, here’s all the important information!

Photo credits: Villacher Kirchtag GmbH

Villacher Kirchtag: All you need to know about Austria’s largest fair

You should not miss the 78th Villacher Kirchtag. We tell you when and where the Kirchtag takes place and what you can expect.

What is the Villacher Kirchtag?

The Villacher Kirchtag has been the highlight of the “Kirchtag Week” since 1936 and has become the largest traditional folklore festival in Austria. In the first week of August, Villach is transformed into a huge festival site with leisure attractions, food stands, party tents and souvenir stands. The highlight of this week is the Villacher Kirchtag, which takes place on Saturday.

When is the Villacher Kirchtag 2023?

The “Kirchtag Week” takes place from the 30th of July to the 6th of August 2023. The 78th Villacher Kirchtag is on Saturday, August 5, 2023.

Why do we celebrate the Villacher Kirchtag?

The first Villacher Kirchtag was organised by the city of Villach on the 1st and 2nd of August 1936, as an enactment of the medieval tradition of the fair around St. Jacob’s Day. This is because St. Jacob is the patron saint of the town’s main parish church and is celebrated during church week. Over the years, new traditions have been added, such as the Kirchtag soup, the Kirchtag shops and the traditional “Trachten” parade. In the meantime, the Villach Kirchtag has become the largest traditional festival in Austria and a fixed date in the summer, attracting guests from all federal states and neighbouring countries.

What can I do at the Villacher Kirchtag?

The Villacher Kirchtag has a varied programme that ensures fun and good humour. The mayor ceremoniously opens the festivities with the tapping of the beer. An absolute must is the Kirchtag soup, which you absolutely have to try. Giving your better half, or someone you like very much, a gingerbread heart is also on the agenda. In general, the focus is on enjoyment with the numerous Carinthian specialities and delicacies as well as cool, freshly tapped beer. Good entertainment is also provided with party tents, folk music and dance groups. There will be plenty to see at the Trachtenfestzug (traditional costume parade). Delight and fun are the motto at the Villacher Kirchtag, as numerous leisure attractions and rides await you.

PS: Traditional costumes are welcome! So throw on your dirndl or lederhosen!

Traditional Carinthian cuisine: Villacher Kirchtag soup & other specialties

You can find good food on every corner at the Villacher Kirchtag! The Villacher Kirchtag soup is a traditional dish that you should not miss. It is also called “sour soup“. It owes this name to the sweet and sour cream it contains. The other ingredients are usually five different kinds of meat, root vegetables and various spices. Here you will find a Kirchtag soup recipe so that you can recreate this Carinthian speciality in your (STUWO) communal kitchen.

Traditional Kirchtag delicacies also include Kokosbusserl (small biscuits made of coconut), Lebkuchenherzen (gingerbread hearts), Reindling (Carinthian cup cake) and Langos! All the delicacies and Carinthian specialities are on offer at the many food stands. The best way to quench your thirst is with a cool drink.

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Villacher Kirchtag Parade: The traditional costume procession in Villach’s old town

One of the highlights of the Kirchtag is the Trachtenfestzug (traditional costume parade), where you can marvel at traditional costumes from all over the world. The countless brass bands provide the musical accompaniment! The procession starts at the Pestalozzistraße/Italiener Straße junction. From there it continues through Villach’s old town to the main square. The parade starts on August 5, 2023 at 3 pm.

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Kirchtag Villach: Diverse music on the festival stages

For all those with rhythm and music in their blood, there is an extensive music programme. Starting on Tuesday, there will be a Kirchtag disco on Kaiser-Josef-Platz with great music for a party atmosphere. There you can go wild in your traditional costume to a wide variety of music – from rock to pop and chart hits to Schlager! No music wish remains unfulfilled and nothing stands in the way of dancing for hours!

In the name of tradition, there are of course countless folk music groups performing on Villach’s Hauptplatz. So you can enjoy your drink or meal in comfort and let the music fill your ears. There are also countless folk dance groups performing their hearty choreographies.

You can find the complete music programme here!

Something for everyone: The amusement park in Villach’s old town

From Tuesday to Sunday, you can get a real adrenaline kick at the amusement park right in Villach’s old town. On a stretch of 2 km, rides from chain carousels to ring games and small roller coasters are lined up next to each other. There is something for everyone! Ferris wheels and the like for romantics and relaxed connoisseurs as well as fast and breath-taking attractions for adrenaline junkies. By the way, with your Kirchtag wristband you can ride all the rides how often you want!

The opening hours of the amusement park are:

Tuesday 5:00 pm to 01:00 am

Wednesday-Thursday 4:00 pm to 01:00 am

Friday 2:00 pm to 02:00 am

Saturday 10:00 am to 02:00 am

Sunday 10:00 am to 11:00 pm

Conclusion: Villacher Kirchtag

Tradition, culinary delights, music, traditional costumes, amusement park… Here you’ll find everything you need for a fun afternoon and evening with your friends and fellow students. If you are still looking for accommodation, we recommend the STUWO vacation rentals in Villach. Our bright and modern apartments have everything you need for a comfortable and successful stay. The old town of Villach is only 7 minutes away by car and 15 minutes by bike.

Villach and the surrounding area have many wonderful excursion destinations and leisure activities to offer, which we present to you in this article. If you feel like letting your inner party animal out, you should visit the coolest bars and clubs in Villach. There is always something going on!

We hope you enjoy the 78th Villacher Kirchtag and have a great time in Carinthia!


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