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Vienna Slow Travel Guide
Vienna Slow Travel Guide
Written By Carly Hulls
I don’t want to jinx it guys, but…it looks like this lockdown might be easing up soon. Which for many of us begs the question - where can we travel in Austria for summer when lockdown lifts?
Most of us will likely just be happy to get out of our homes and see one or two friends again (human interaction! Whoo!) but with summer creeping up, the idea of a getaway and enjoying the outdoors is absolutely irresistible.
While I adore slow travelling in Italy, Slovenia and across Europe, the truth is, Austria has some pretty stunning locations that we can enjoy safely, within the government mandated restrictions.
The following activities and destinations are just some of the places on my wishlist to explore across the summer, maybe they’ll spark your wanderlust too.
(Psst, if you’re looking for some lakeside escapes, this article is pretty handy too!)
#1 Graz for a citybreak
You all know how much I loved my visit to Graz last year. Its the small but mighty city ideally suited for slow travellers and enjoying things at your own pace. With its culinary heritage and fascinating architecture you can get happily lost in the city streets and enjoy a relaxed weekend away.
But the real reason I’m itching to get back here when lockdown lifts, is the availability of so many local small, sustainable businesses and makers to support.
Apart from the fact that it is a stunning city!
Graz has a fantastic selection of local farmers markets (up to 16!) and some wonderful fair fashion stores like Chic Ethic Fair trade, Lieblingsplatz and Magazzin.
For foodie delights, the zero waste store Das Gramm is a must-visit, not only for their package free food, but loads of zero waste accessories like eco lunchboxes, metal straws and keep cups.
For easy snacking, ‘Standl 5’ sources their food from suppliers no further than 50km from Graz, and the restaurant scene in Graz is off the charts for locally sourced farm-to-table food, from the fancy Aiola and award winning Der Steirer, to the simple market stalls.
The city of Graz will be ensuring that all visitors have plenty of space to explore, and there are endless outdoor activities, especially cycling trails and parks to enjoy.
It’s straightforward to get to from Vienna, so this is a no-brainer to plan a city escape asap!
#2 Grüner See
Gruner See is one of those famous Austrian landmarks that has been on my list for so long, and I could never quite find the right time to visit. You probably know it from countless images like this….
In summertime, the mountain snow melts and swells the size of Grüner See lake, turning areas that are normally walkable into underwater fairylands.
HOWEVER - due to ecological concerns, the tourism board of the region has wisely banned all scuba diving activity at the iconic Grüner See to preserve the natural habitat and no doubt limit the impact of overtourism to the region.
That said, Grüner See is surrounded by bountiful hiking trails, a gorgeous mountain backdrop and, being in South East Styria, you can still guarantee you’ll eat well, so I’m keen to explore.
#3 Cycle along the Wachau
I repeat this as a life goal on almost every wishlisht I make, but after river cruising along the Danube, and having a few short stays in the Wachau valley, I’m convinced cycling along it and tripping between wineries is one of the best ways to explore.
There are a multitude of ways to do this, whether you just take a short day trip, bringing your bike on the S bahn and wending your way back to Vienna. You could also book a cycling tour to allow for someone else to show you the way and ensure after all the wine tasting you get home safely.
Or, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can arrange a multi day ride and stay overnight in Krems or Melk to enjoy it, rather than racing back to Vienna. That should give you ample time to roam Caste Aggstein, enjoy a roadside snack and sip fresh wine in small villages like picturesque Spitz.
This is a particularly cruisey trip to make from Vienna, with so many rail connections. We’ll be rustling up some friends to take a weekender trip this year before it gets too hot!
#4 Salzburg Weekender
Normally a city filled to bursting with tourists, now is the time to take a cheeky weekender to Salzy and enjoy the gardens, historic streets and gorgeous mountain views all to yourself.
With international tourists numbers likely to stay low for the next few months, right now is the ideal time to see normally busy cities in a quiet, slow travel way.
Of course, I’d recommend staying a the eco-conscious Keep Residence accommodation, and pairing your weekend with some outdoor activities, like SUP boarding or hiking in the surrounding areas.
Even just strolling Mirabell Gardens or the fantasy Schloss Hellbrunn waterpark is a fun way to while away the weekend - and shake out the cobwebs from weeks spent in your city apartment.
With direct trains every few hours from Vienna, and local businesses and restaurants in desperate need of your support, there’s never been a better time to enjoy this hotspot, without the Sound of Music crowds.
#5 Mondsee, Attersee and the Salzkammergut lakes
With summer sparkling ahead of us, of course getting to the waterside is the #1 priority. The Salzkammergut region is a heaven of picture perfect lakes, mountains and quaint villages with idyllic bauernhof farmhouses to stay in.
For a rustic, outdoorsy relaxed week away, it doesn’t get much better.
On our many drives from Vienna to Tyrol, Stefan and I always make a point to stop for a coffee break by Mondsee lake at the worlds most spectacular service station for coffee, and each time we swear to return to Mondsee for a summer break.
This is the year - we’re seeking out an eco or local accommodation spot and hope to head here with a bunch of friends for a proper summer lakeside getaway, to really explore and unwind in paradise.
#6 WilderKaiser & Walchsee Tyrol
Every summer, normally around August, we take at least a long weekend to visit Tyrol and enjoy the natural wonders of the mountain trails, farmhouse living, visit Stefan’s family and enjoy the lakes and cycling trails.
I am a self-confessed beach addict, but this tradition of a mountain escape has grown on me over the years.
The region I know best and love returning to is around the Wilder Kaiser where Stefan grew up, and slightly further afield to Kaiserwinkl region where the stunning lake Walchsee is.
This fairytale area always feels like a portal back towards a simpler time - gentle cowbells soundtrack sunsets over golden mountain peaks, farmhouses with balconies overflowing with flowers and simple inns and hotel bars for hearty meals. Well worn hiking trails and rustic alpen huts appear untouched and people greet you in the village streets.
It’s a simple place, easy to unwind, and reconnect with nature, though outdoorsy exercise, surrounded by sunshine and sky and lakes.
To truly escape to another world, these two regions are a must-do - allow yourself at least 2 nights to unwind and reset your headspace from the rush of city living.
Views in Ellmau aren’t too shabby either!
#7 Zell am See - Kaprun
If you’re looking for the classic combination of mountains, lakes and idyllic historic village, Zell am See ticks all the boxes.
What’s beguiling about this place is even though it feels timeless, within the village you can find cool spots, like the Ginhouse bar, to try regional drinks and chat with the locals.
The village and historic Grand Hotel on the lakeside are a throwback to Belle Epoque-era in Austria, when royalty and aristocrats would visit the lake to hobnob and stroll the pebbled paths with stunning views. With peaceful lookout points and views fit for royalty, the entire lakeside is open for summertime swims.
Plus, you can combine your visit with viewing the famous Kitzsteinhorn lookout point (Salzburg’s highest point) on the glacier in the Hohe Tauern national park.
Winter views from the glacier back to Zell am See
In winter the region is known and loved for the excellent skiing, but in summertime you can wander the lakeside paths, visit waterfalls, swim in the crystal clear lake and if you’re feeling very adventurous, try some canyoning, rafting, parasailing, SUP boarding and mountain biking.
It’s basically a microcosm of all the best parts of living in Austria - stunning countryside, historic city centres, plenty of outdoor activity and gorgeous architecture and accommodation to choose from. Oh and let’s not forget one of Austria’s best spa and therme locations - Tauern Spa.
These are just a few of the dream locations I’m looking forward to exploring this summer - where are you planning to visit this summer?
Where do Austrians go in summer? ›
South Tyrol, an Italian region bordering Austria, is home to many native German speakers. This is because the region used to be owned by Austria during its empire years before losing the First World War. Now, it serves as a place where many Austrians go to visit a place that feels like a home away from home.Is Austria good to visit in summer? ›
Austria has just the right kind of weather for every traveler during summer. With tons of activities on board like paragliding, zip-lining, mountain climbing, hiking, horse riding and more, you'll also get to witness some splendid views, especially those including lakes in the front and alpine mountains at the back.How many days in Austria is enough? ›
A 10-day trip is ideal to fully experience Austria's top cities, from the country's capital, Vienna, to Innsbruck in the historic Tyrol region. In a week, you can still see much of the country by basing out of a major city and taking strategic day trips into the countryside.What is the most visited place in Austria? ›
1. Schönbrunn Palace, Vienna. The Habsburgs' summer residence is Austria's most popular tourist attraction. Take a guided tour through the Imperial ceremonial rooms or stroll through the freely accessible gardens.Is Vienna crowded in summer? ›
In summary, the busiest times to visit Vienna are during the summer, and the high season is from June to August, but if you want to avoid the crowds and high prices, it's best to visit Vienna during the spring, fall or winter.Is Vienna good in summer? ›
The weather in Vienna is ideal for summer activities. Average temperatures range from 14 to 27 degrees Celsius (57-80 °F), so not too hot to trek around town all day, but not too cool to enjoy swimming in the river.What month is best to visit Austria? ›
Quick Facts. The best time to visit Austria is during the shoulder months, in spring, between April – May, and in fall, between September – October. The weather is excellent for outdoor activities, and the crowd is sparser. The high tourist season between June – August sees excellent weather and sunny days.Is it better to visit Austria in June or July? ›
When is the best time to visit Austria? The best time to visit Austria for outdoor activities like hiking and boating is during their summer, between June and August. There are more crowds than in other seasons, but these are less overwhelming than those you'll find in destinations like France or Italy.Is Austria busy in July? ›
July is the peak season for travel to Austria, so expect higher prices and more tourists in many parts of the country, from the cities to the mountains and lake areas. Many Austrians and other Europeans take their summer vacations in July and August, as do travelers from North America.Should I spend more time in Salzburg or Vienna? ›
If it comes purely down to geography, you should visit Salzburg if you're traveling from Germany, or Western Europe in general. If you're visiting from Central or Eastern European countries such as Slovakia, Prague or Hungary, then you should visit Vienna.
Which is better to visit Austria or Switzerland? ›
Switzerland is famous for the beauty its Alps offer, and although more expensive, it is worth experiencing. Austria has more of a small-town feel, with shorter mountain peaks that are equally breathtaking. Less expensive than its Swiss counterpart, your money can stretch farther here.What is the best way to tour Austria? ›
Train is by far the best way to travel around Austria, especially with this itinerary. Austria's national rail operator, OBB, is one of the best in Europe. It's clean, with free wifi on board, food cars, and it's comfortable.What is the most beautiful city in Austria? ›
There's a reason Salzburg is number one on our list for its combination of beauty, history, and culture. But there's so much beyond Salzburg in Austria too. If you like larger cities, you'll want to head to elegant Vienna or charismatic Graz; if you prefer smaller places, put delightful Hallstatt and St.Do they speak English in Austria? ›
The majority of Austrians speak German, while a significant proportion of the population also speak Austro-Bavarian. In addition, nearly three quarters of Austrians speak English proficiently. Within this mix of languages, there is plenty of scope for business translators to make a good living.Are Austrians friendly to tourists? ›
Austria is generally a friendly country. People love welcoming foreign visitors, and many people speak fluent English, especially those working in tourism.Can I wear jeans in Vienna? ›
Men, wearing a collared shirt, well-fitting earth-toned pants, with a pullover wool sweater will help you blend in seamlessly. Ladies, wearing a pair of dark jeans or pants, or even a dress, would pass as local. Blouses and skirts, depending on the weather, would also be appropriate.Is Vienna friendly to foreigners? ›
Austrians are quite friendly and foreigners are typically received with a warm welcome. Despite this, Austrians tend to lead more private personal lives. It can be difficult to make friends with locals unless one interacts with them on a daily basis at work or as part of a recreational activity.Do people wear shorts in Vienna? ›
Pack for the weather
In the summer months (June, July and August) it is hot, but women do not wear shorts in the city, even teenage girls. Even in summer the evenings can be cool, so pack a lightweight jacket or sweater. A light raincoat is useful even in the summer months, as is a travel umbrella.
If you are wondering how many days in Vienna you need, three days is adequate to see the whole city. Three days in Vienna will allow you to get to the top attractions at a reasonable pace and maybe give you a chance to soak in some of the many cultural activities like visiting Vienna's Museums.How long is ideal to spend in Vienna? ›
The best time to visit Vienna is from April to May or September to October. The mild weather in spring and fall brings mild crowds. Most visitors aim to enjoy the warm, sunny weather that Vienna experiences in the summer months. Between June and August, you can expect the city to fill up and room rates to skyrocket.
How many days is best for Vienna? ›
We think that three days in Vienna is the perfect amount of time for a visit. Three days will let you see the majority of the main sights in this beautiful city that you're interested in, plus add in a few of the less well-known attractions, without being too rushed.What is the rainiest month in Austria? ›
Precipitation is quite evenly distributed over the entire year. However, the months May, September and the first half of October tend to be the driest; April and November tend to be the wettest periods.Is Austria affordable to visit? ›
The minimum budget to travel in Austria is 80 to 100 euros/day/per. By staying in a hostel, cooking at least two meals, staying in dorms or pensions outside the town centre, avoiding pricey entrance fees and using public transport strictly. Midrange budget to travel in Austria as a flashpacker is 150 -200/day/per.How hot is Salzburg in July? ›
The average temperature in Salzburg in July for a typical day ranges from a high of 74°F (23°C) to a low of 54°F (12°C). Some would describe it as mildly cool, humid but cool.Is Austria crowded in August? ›
August is the peak season for travel to Austria, so expect higher prices and crowds in many parts of the country, from the cities to the mountains and lake areas.Is Vienna too hot in July? ›
The average temperature in Vienna in July for a typical day ranges from a high of 81°F (27°C) to a low of 60°F (15°C). Some would describe it as mildly cool with a gentle breeze.Is it humid in Austria in July? ›
With only 64% humidity on average, it is quite dry in July. The highest value of 80% is experienced here in November.Is Vienna good in July? ›
The best time to visit Vienna is during the summer when temperatures are high and the nights are warm. July and August are the warmest months with an average temperature of 24°C that rarely drops below 14°C at night. Autumn is another pleasant time to pack your bags and travel to Vienna.How is Vienna in July? ›
July in Vienna is usually pretty straightforward, weather-wise. It's a summer month with lots of sunshine and warm summer nights. On average, expect highs around 81°F (27°C) and lows around 65°F (18°C).What is Austria like in the summer? ›
July is midsummer in Austria. Summer is generally warm and dry in this landlocked country. At lower altitudes, expect high temperatures of around 80°F (27°C), and up in the mountains, the temperatures will be a few degrees cooler, while the larger cities (such as Vienna) may be a bit warmer.
Where do Austrians emigrate to? ›
The states with the largest Austrian American populations are New York (93,083), California (84,959), Pennsylvania (58,002) (most of them in the Lehigh Valley), Florida (54,214), New Jersey (45,154), and Ohio (27,017).What are summers like in Austria? ›
Summers can be hot, with temperatures sometimes reaching 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) or more (maximum temperatures revolve around around 95 degrees Fahrenheit or 35 degrees Celsius in July). Summer evenings are usually cool. Precipitation is quite evenly distributed over the entire year.What is the summer capital of Austria? ›
The capital of Austria is Vienna.Is it good to visit Austria in July? ›
When is the best time to visit Austria? The best time to visit Austria for outdoor activities like hiking and boating is during their summer, between June and August. There are more crowds than in other seasons, but these are less overwhelming than those you'll find in destinations like France or Italy.Which city in Austria has the best weather? ›
If you want long, hot summers then head to Burgenland or Styria in the east, or Carinthia in the south of Austria. If you like city life and you want to enjoy hot weather in the summer with the possibility of some snow in the winter (but not too much), then Vienna or Graz are good options.Can Americans live in Austria? ›
If you do not have EU/EEA or Swiss nationality, you are considered a national of a third country. This will necessitate a residence permit to stay in Austria. The best option to obtain permanent residence in Austria is to apply for a Red-White-Red Card.Can US citizens retire in Austria? ›
Austria offers several visas to Americans, but the most popular one for retirees is a settlement permit. To qualify for a settlement permit, a person must prove that he or she has sufficient funds, health insurance and a place to live.How many Americans live in Austria? ›
It has been estimated that there are 11,000 Americans living in Austria. Living in Austria is an incredible experience for a variety of reasons, including the culture, the people, the architecture, the parks, and the skiing.What to wear in Vienna in the summer? ›
In the summer months (June, July and August) it is hot, but women do not wear shorts in the city, even teenage girls. Even in summer the evenings can be cool, so pack a lightweight jacket or sweater. A light raincoat is useful even in the summer months, as is a travel umbrella.What is the best time to visit Vienna? ›
The best time to visit Vienna is during the summer when temperatures are high and the nights are warm. July and August are the warmest months with an average temperature of 24°C that rarely drops below 14°C at night. Autumn is another pleasant time to pack your bags and travel to Vienna.
What is Austria famous for? ›
Austria is famous for its castles, palaces and buildings, among other architectural works. Some of Austria's most famous castles include Festung Hohensalzburg, Burg Hohenwerfen, Castle Liechtenstein, and the Schloß Artstetten. Many of Austria's castles were created during the Habsburg reign.Is Austria humid in the summer? ›
In general, a relative humidity of 40-60% feels pleasant. With only 64% humidity on average, it is quite dry in July. The highest value of 80% is experienced here in November. In warm months, there is also a higher absolute humidity almost everywhere.How long is summer vacation in Austria? ›
Austrian school holidays usually include about 10 days off over Christmas (around 24 December – 6 January) and an extensive summer break which usually begins in early July and lasts through mid-September.Is Austria an expensive country? ›
Even though, in general, Austria is an expensive country, not every region is the same with some stark differences in the cost of living depending on where you are based. Burgenland in the east of Austria has some of the lowest prices for essentials like accommodation.