Best Time To Visit Austria

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Austria is a country of nine million people in central Europe that emerged from a grand history, from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to becoming an independent state just after World War I and the Treaty of Versailles. Austria became part of the European Union in 1995, a logical move given its shared borders to the north with Germany and the Czech Republic, while Slovakia and Hungary are to the east. Italy and Slovenia are to its south and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to its west.

Classical music and Austria are closely intertwined with such icons as Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn and Schubert, who were all born within its territory. A concert in Austria, probably in its capital Vienna, is a must for visitors, and Austria has some of the world’s best ski resorts.

With such a variety of fantastic things to see, deciding on the best time to visit Austria is difficult because of its appeal during all seasons. In winter, the slopes offer fantastic skiing, which is as much a drawcard as the summer attractions of beautiful mountainous settings to enjoy the great outdoors. So many of the reasons for visiting Austria relate directly to the landscape and the opportunities it provides.

Best Time To Visit Austria

Austria in Summer

best time to visit hardegg austria
Looking for warm weather as you explore? Then the best time to visit Austria is summer. Hardegg Castle in Thaya Valley National Park (Lower Austria) is pictured here.

Summers are pleasant and comfortable in Austria, helping to encourage visitors to get out and visit the natural environment.

There are exciting things to do in Vienna, but if you do not leave the city, you are missing so much.

Adventure seekers looking for an adrenaline rush will get it in many parts of the country. However, if you are just happy to take in the lovely landscapes, you can hire a car or take daily tours from a single base or two.

Somewhere in between is the chance to walk or hire a bicycle to escape crowds. Of course, this is the main holiday period because schools and universities are breaking up for summer, but you should still be able to get away for a fairly quiet time.

Here are some guideline stats but remember there are regional variations:

  • June (Sunrise 0450, Sunset 2100, Average Low Temperature 16C (64F), Average High Temperature Average High 25C (82F))
  • July (Sunrise 0510, Sunset 2050, Average Low Temperature 18C (68F), Average High Temperature 27C (86F)
  • August (Sunrise 0550, Sunset 2010, Average Low Temperature 18C (68F), Average High Temperature 27C (86F)

Five Things to Do in Austria in Summer

1- Get An Adrenalin Rush

With the snow gone other than on glaciers in the summer months, activities such as paragliding and ziplining offer spectacular experiences in the beautiful countryside.

Popular resort towns like Innsbruck or Salzburg offer plenty of summer activities, as they do winter action as well.

2- Go Hiking In The Alps
best time to visit austria weather
The scenery in the Austrian Alps is lovely and the best time to visit Austria if you’re keen on hiking is in summer.

Hiking in the Alps in the pleasant clear air is a popular activity.

You can enjoy the terrain with its lakes and forests at varying altitudes.

Well-established trails rated from easy to more difficult are suitable for most ages and levels of fitness.

3- Enjoy A Worthersee Lake Holiday
when is the best time to visit austria
The popular summer resort of Portschach am Worthersee is by Lake (Worthersee) in Austria.

Worthersee Lake in Carinthia is a place to consider for a summer break.

Remember, Austria is landlocked, so there is no sea to swim, but you can swim in this enormous lake, measuring 16.5 km (10 miles) by 2 km (1.25 miles).

You will love the blue-green appearance of the water as you take a photo of its waters and there are towns on the north shore offering accommodation.

4- Visit Zell am See
best time to visit zell am see austria
One of the best times to visit Austria is in summer. Spend time at Zell am See.

Zell am See town and Lake Zell are south of Salzburg and offer a variety of summer holiday activities, including Kitzsteinhorn Glacier, trails, a lift to Schmittenhohe Mountain and a 15th Century Romanesque Church and tower in the town.

Tourism facilities are good despite the town retaining a village feel.

5- Go Horse Riding

Riding along defined trails on a horse is worth considering for a fun family holiday, and you don’t need experience to enjoy being on horseback and riding through lovely forests.

Different trails exist for varying levels of ability.

The Hausruck Forest in Grieskirchen, Upper Austria, is an ideal opportunity to consider.

Top tips:

  • Comfortable clothing and footwear are essential for outdoor activities.
  • Always follow the instructions given if you are enjoying an outdoor activity.
  • Book accommodation in advance because this is peak season corresponding with school holidays.

Austria in Autumn

the best time to visit hallstatt austria autumn trees on a hillside with village on the water
One of the best times to visit Austria is in autumn, for the colourful leaves. Hallstatt village on Hallstatter See is a stunning autumn destination in the Salzkammergut region.

In autumn, you will find a slight drop in crowds with education schools resuming again. However, this is still a season to get out and enjoy Austria’s beautiful settings.

As autumn progresses, early evenings become cooler and nights occasionally cold. However, before the clocks change in late October, there are plenty of daylight hours to enjoy your chosen pursuit.

Graz is worth some of your time because of its historical content and its surroundings’ beauty. Likewise, if you spend some time in Vienna, it would be a shame not to go to an opera, even if classical music is not your favourite. Vienna has many landmarks, places of interest, and excellent restaurants, so start or finish your holiday by spending time there.

Here are some guideline stats but remember there are regional variations:

  • September (Sunrise 0630, Sunset 1910, Average Low Temperature 14C (60F), Average High Temperature Average High 21C (72F))
  • October (Sunrise 0710, Sunset 1810, Average Low Temperature 9C (49F), Average High Temperature 15C (62F)
  • November (Sunrise 0700, Sunset 1615, Average Low Temperature 5C (42F), Average High Temperature 9C (49F)

Five Things to do in Austria in Autumn

1- Visit Graz
best time to visit salzburg austria
Schlossberg (Castle Hill) is part of the UNESCO World Heritage city of Graz.

Graz, the capital of Styria, is a university city with one of the best-preserved historic centres within Central Europe, worthy of inclusion as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It was a 13th Century Hapsburg city and the base for the family to rule parts of Italy, most of today’s Slovenia, as well as Styria and Carinthia.

Their castle, Schlossberg, managed to resist even the Ottomans.

It no longer exists, but the hill where it stood has a clock tower. From there, you will enjoy great views of the region.

2- Go Cycling Or Driving Around South Styria

South Styria is famous for its forests, castles and wine.

Leaving Graz behind, you will find a place regularly described as a “land of milk and honey.”

You may have hired a car to tour around, but if you prefer cycling, you can hire a bicycle to explore the incredible landscape with its lanes and minimal traffic.

Pumpkin seed oil is one of the products for which South Styria is famous; try it.

3- Enjoy Autumn Colours
what is the best time to visit austria
Autumn in the Alps: this is the best time of year to visit Austria for stunning scenery.

The autumn colours in Karwendel Nature Park in the Tirol close to Bavaria are stunning.

Maple and sycamore trees shed their leaves with red, orange and yellow replacing the green of previous months.

The park is Austria’s largest at almost 740 square km (285 square miles).

You will see wild rivers, and a good variety of flora, and hopefully fauna.

The park is home to golden eagles, white-backed woodpeckers and chamois, Austria’s goat-antelope.

4- See An Opera In Vienna
best time to visit vienna austria water fountain in front of The Vienna Opera
The best time to visit Austria to see an opera is from September to June, with a two-month break in summer. So book your tickets for a performance at the Vienna Opera House.

Vienna State Opera is world famous.

The theatre did not survive the World War II bombing, but reconstruction of its original design was made possible partly due to USA Marshall Plan funding.

Prices suit every budget, and performances are publicised well in advance.

Look out for “The Magic Flute” or “Don Giovanni”, both composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

5- Learn Austrian Cooking
best time to visit austria city
Austrian apple strudel is delicious; anytime is the best time to visit Austria for a sweet treat.

Austrian cuisine will appeal to those with a sweet tooth.

Apple Strudel is one of the well-known desserts worldwide, so why not learn how to prepare it in Austria?

You can enrol in cookery classes in places like Salzburg and Vienna to suit your available time.

Top tips:

the best time to visit austria
A beautiful autumn day in Zell am See.
  • Nights get colder the further into autumn you get so prepare by packing accordingly.
  • Walking old towns requires comfortable footwear and appropriate footwear for walking/hiking.
  • Stop at any of the small, often family-owned inns and cafes as you travel for a warm welcome and good food.

Austria in Winter

best winter time places to visit in austria fir trees on a snowy slope with mauve sky
The best time to visit Austria for magical landscapes is in winter, when the trees are covered in snow.

Winter sports have always been important in Austria, and locals living in rural areas are usually excellent skiers. The increased availability of air travel skyrocketed the number of travellers able to visit the top winter sports resorts. These activities are not cheap, and you must book well in advance if you want to visit an Austrian ski centre.

Winter is another time you will enjoy Vienna and see a different face. The markets fill with all types of things from food and drink to ideas for presents. Viennese Balls, not exclusively held in the city or indeed Austria, are a tradition to look into. Even if the Vienna Opera Ball is beyond your means or simply inaccessible, look online because there are several held through winter. Attending a ball is a fantastic excuse to dress up and imagine yourself living in different times.

Here are some guideline stats but remember there are regional variations:

  • December (Sunrise 0740, Sunset 1600, Average Low Temperature 0C (32F), Average High Temperature Average High 5C (42F))
  • January (Sunrise 0740, Sunset 1630, Average Low Temperature 0C (32F), Average High Temperature 4C (40F)
  • February (Sunrise 0700, Sunset 1720, Average Low Temperature 1C (34F), Average High Temperature 6C (44F)

Five Things to do in Austria in Winter

hallstatt austria best time to visit small pan of goulash on a wooden table
The best time to visit Austria for a delicious meal is anytime. Try some Austrian goulash on a cool winter’s day.
1- Explore Innsbruck

Innsbruck in Western Tyrol is famous for its winter sports, and several small resorts are within reach if you decide to make this city your base.

This region’s international competitions include the 1964 and 1974 Winter Olympics and subsequent Winter Paralympics.

It stands at a little below 2,000 feet (574 metres) and contains interesting buildings, churches and museums if you want to spend time away from the slopes.

2- Go Skiing In Kitzbuhel
best time to visit kaprun austria skiing Professional alpine skier skiing downhill in high mountains of Alps.
If you love skiing, the best time to visit Austria is during the ski season from December to April.

Kitzbuhel is another winter sports venue known worldwide that is much smaller than Innsbruck.

It’s a town rather than a city and is around 90 minutes east of Innsbruck, with the skiing season often stretching from mid-October into May.

In mid-winter, prices are high because of its popularity with the upper classes from Austria and beyond.

Incidentally, there are 10,000 hotel beds locally in a town of only 8,000 permanent population.

3- Celebrate Christmas In Vienna
when is the best time of year to visit vienna austria
Winter is the best time to visit Vienna for bright lights and festive cheer, especially closer to Christmas.

Christmas in Vienna is an experience not to miss, especially with a backdrop of the capital’s stunning architecture and museums.

It is a musical and magical wonderland at this time of the year.

The Christmas Market opens on 16th December and remains open until Boxing Day, the 26th.

You will find it is expensive during this time, but why not treat yourself?

4- Visit Austria’s Castles

Castles such as Burgkreuzenstein covered in snow make wonderful images for your camera.

This castle in Lower Austria, north of Vienna and the Danube, replaced a mediaeval one on the same site that was there during the Thirty Years’ War.

Its construction involved buying sections of old structures from all over Europe.

Built in the 19th Century, it looks much older than that.

There are some 40 such castles in the country, all of which look very impressive in mid-winter.

5- Attend The Vienna Opera Ball

This famous annual event is held around the time when many other countries celebrate carnival in February.

A similar event takes place on New Year, but if you want to attend, you will need to search high and low for tickets.

Top tips:

  • Austrian ski resorts are busy and relatively expensive, and you will always need to book well in advance.
  • The temperature can be freezing at times, so dress appropriately.
  • Christmas is crowded in Austria’s cities, so plan your Yuletide holiday in advance.

Austria in Spring

best time to visit innsbruck austria Innsbruck, Austria: wide angle aerial panorama
Looking for the best time to visit Innsbruck in Austria? Why don’t you try spring?

Spring is an awakening, the end of short daylight hours and the emergence of new life that manifests in summer colours and fresh produce in the food markets.

As the snows recede, initially at lower levels, you can plan walks or more difficult hiking. Evening temperatures do not rise significantly until May, and daytime temperatures can be disappointing. When planning your itinerary, look for specific detail of what to expect in terms of temperature and rainfall. It still makes sense to book things in advance even though visitor numbers rise gradually. Remember, Easter falls in the spring, so it is often a chance for locals and visitors to get away from home.

Here are some guideline stats but remember there are regional variations:

  • March (Sunrise 0605, Sunset 1800, Average Low Temperature 4C (40F), Average High Temperature Average High 11C (52F))
  • April (Sunrise 0600, Sunset 1945, Average Low Temperature 9C (48F), Average High Temperature 17C (66F)
  • May (Sunrise 0515, Sunset 2030, Average Low Temperature 13C (58F), Average High Temperature 21C (74F)

Five Things to do in Austria in Spring

1- Eat Asparagus

Asparagus, both green and white, appears in the markets in spring.

Marchfeld, east of Vienna in Lower Austria exports fresh and chilled asparagus, with Marchfeld the main growing area.

Several places host celebration weeks to welcome this vegetable back onto menus.

It combines well with fish and meat and can be eaten alone with a glass of wine or made into a delicious soup.

A statistic: Austria consumes nearly five thousand tonnes of asparagus annually, primarily in the weeks after it appears.

Join them, especially if it is something you have not eaten before.

2- Look For Edelweiss
best time to visit the lake region in austria
The Edelweiss flower (Leontopodium alpinum) grows at high altitude and the best time to visit Austria to see flowers blooming is spring.

Spring blossoms begin to coat the Austrian countryside in colour as the snows disappear.

Edelweiss is one of Austria’s most famous flowers, celebrated in the song from “The Sound of Music.”

Alpine carnation, alpine rose, hyacinth and gentian cover the land making your walks and hikes even more attractive.

3- Hike The Tyrol

Climbing in the Tyrol offers something for all levels of ability, even though the Tyrol has many peaks over 3,000 metres (9850 feet).

Rock climbing requires experience, of course, and beginners should take on less arduous challenges, but all in all, the Tyrol is a great place to be in spring.

4- Go Canyoning And Rafting

Canyoning and rafting are just two of the experiences on offer near Salzburg.

The rugged countryside offers plenty of challenges, with experienced companies only too happy to talk about what they can offer travellers who are adventurous by nature.

5- Go Wine Tasting In Lower Austria

Wine production in Lower Austria is interesting.

Different soils and climates produce wines that differ from one another quite distinctly region by region.

This region borders Slovakia and the Czech Republic, with many vineyards only too happy to welcome visitors.

Top tips:

best time of year to visit austria
One of the best times to visit Graz is in the evenings. The Kunsthaus Graz art museum is a famous modern landmark built for the European Capital of Culture celebrations in 2003.
  • It is still cold at night until May so pack into account.
  • Always have the proper footwear, clothing and equipment for the activities you are planning.
  • Always follow any instructions and advice given by experts.

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Steve Smith is a widely travelled man who has lived on the South West Coast of Turkey since 2008. He hails from North East England where he lived most of his life but has been to every continent of the world, with a particular love for Southern Africa and its wildlife. He lists Argentina, India, and Vietnam as other favourite places that he enjoyed greatly while sport is also a passion, cricket and golf as a participant, rugby union and soccer as a spectator.