Austrian Alps Summer Activities

Activities in the Austrian Alps don’t stop with favorite activities that draws visitors to the Austrian Alps – skiing. Come summer and the Austrian Alps bustle with summer activities, especially in July and August, which are also the peak travel months for the Austrian Alps and the Tyrol area.

Hiker on a meadow in Ehrwald Austria

A Hiker in Ehrwald

 

Vacationers from all over Europe flock to the Austrian Alps and the summer time activities. Here you’ll find; hiking, trekking, biking, horseback riding, or just taking in the fresh mountain air and the scenery. Even prior to summer, spring time can also be a great time to visit the Austrian Alps; the crowds are down and you’ll get to enjoy the serenity, take in the explosion of alpine flowers and enjoy the stunning mountain views. Some will even claim, as I would, that spring time is the best time for hiking and enjoying the outdoors. Whether you choose guided hikes or go it alone, hiking in the Austrian Alps is about as good as it gets.

A word of caution – in the Alps, the weather can change rapidly and it’s advised to check with the locals about conditions and what to wear. If staying in a Gasthof, the person running the guesthouse will be a great resource for you.

A field of wild flowers, with Sonnenspitz in the background  in Ehrwald Austria

Spring Flower Explosion

 

As we get into summer, besides the typical active and outdoors activities, music definitely fills the air in the Austrian Alps. As elsewhere in Austria, music is just a part of the Austrian culture. There’s the world famous Salzburg Music Fest in Salzburg, celebrating its favorite son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and that city’s musical heritage. Go a bit further West and you’ll find the Innsbruck Summer Festival in this the Tyrolean capital.

Also in Tyrol, the town of Erl celebrates with the Tyrolean Festival Erl and its presentation of classical music set amongst the spectacular outdoors. Lastly, there’s the Summer Festival at Lake Constance, at the far Western edge of Austria, which features world class performances set on the largest floating stage in the world. Besides being the setting for this spectacular Music Festival, Lake Constance shares its shores with Switzerland and Germany.

Panoramic view of Hallstattsee from high above on Kripenstein

Hallstattsee from Kripenstein

 

In the summer many of the larger lakes, or “see” as they are called in the Austria, become a playground for campers, boaters, canoers, sailors, swimmers and even divers. The relatively moderate elevation of these lakes allow the water to get to a comfortable temperature during the summer season, making them ideal for summer activities. Between Salzburg, Carinthia and Tyrol there are over 20 such “sees”, each with its own charm and many with great resorts and spas. Check out the “Alpine Beaches” for detailed information.

Austrians are also proud of their equestrian heritage and horseback riding is definitely one of the summer time activities, and is especially wonderful in the Tyrol area, where there’s the opportunity for horse back rides along ridges and enjoying the alpine flowers and spectacular vistas.  A number of resorts offer a day in the saddle followed by spending time in a great spa.  And then there are the 10,000 or so springs of pure mountain water feeding the Alpine lakes and streams.

In the Fall, of course you have the change in color of the leaves; many of the tourists will have left, the rates are down and this could be a glorious time to visit the Austrian Alps and just enjoy the peace, quiet and rustling leaves. As you can see, this is a magical place.

As we get into winter, skiing is again king. Check it out at Austrian Alps Winter Activities

Heurigen – Vienna Wine Taverns

Heurigen – what a treat. Good food, great local wine and a very comfortable down home setting. And please do take your time, no rush to get you out of your seat here.

A typical Heuringe setting in the country side of Vienna Austria

Typical Heurigen Setting

 

Vienna sits in the heart of Austria’s wine producing region, amidst which you’ll find the Heurigen (also referred to as Heurige, or Heuriger) – Vienna Wine Taverns - an integral part of Vienna’s culture and ambiance and a definite must visit. Stop at a Heurigen, sip one of that establishment’s wines along with some great cold cuts and enjoy this treasure and tradition of Austria and Vienna in specific. Many Heurigens also serve great home cooked food and will have fresh backed pastries, yummm. Definitely not a dieters paradise but, who cares when you’re out to enjoy.

Historically, due to a decree passed in 1784, today there are some 20,000 wine producing estates in Austria; with the majority in the Eastern part of the country and Vienna sits in the middle of it. There are scores of vineyards all around Vienna and nearby are areas such as the Wachau Valley region, which offers up a bounty of vineyards on its hillsides and steep slopes.

View of terraced vineyard taken from the Danube river in the Wachau awew

Vineyard on Slope in Wachau

 

Visit a wine village or two and not only can you tour a winery but, you can also savor some of the local fare, making it into a truly rich and rewarding Austrian  travel experience.

Vienna and wine, as with Vienna and coffee are inseparable. Vienna is the only world capital producing significant quantities of wine within its city limits. But it is more than just an attraction; it is a defining element of the urban image, and a significant contributor to Vienna’s economic system and to the quality of life of its residents as well as guests and visitors.

 

One of many Vineyards within the Vienna proper

Vineyard South of Vienna

An especially wine rich area in Vienna encompasses approximately 700 hectares (1,730 acres) and includes the towns of Kahlenberg, Nussberg, Bisamberg and Mauer. Its proximity to the Vienna Woods and the Danube River provides ideal climatic conditions for wine growing. Once a year in the fall, on what is called the “Vienna Wine Hiking Day” (for 2011, the dates are September 24 and 25th), the “Vienna Wine Trail”, is opened to the public. The trail includes two routes, each winding through the vineyards, and offering scenic outlooks of Vienna and the Danube.

Route 1 goes from Neustift am Walde to Nussdorf and winds through an area rich in legendary locations for Viennese wine and Heurigen tavern traditions. One possible stop on this trail is the Wien Cobenzl winery, which won two prizes at the 2008 Vienna Wine Awards.

Route 2 goes from Strebersdorf to the famous Heurigen location of Stammersdorf. The landscape is not the only impressive feature of this 10 kilometer long trail (6.2 miles). The numerous Heurigens along the way offer a pleasant break from the walk. Stop and have a sip or two of the locals’ wine along with some delicious local fare. The Weingut Wieninger is particularly popular and well-known.

The reason the walk is not open at other times is that the trail runs trough private property but, that should not keep you from taking in open parts of the trail or enjoying what the various Heurigens have to offer. Put on your walking shoes and let’s go.

When at a Heurigen, enjoy a glass of Trachen Weiss Wein – local dry white wine. 

Here are the links to maps for Route 1 and Route 2, provided by the city of Vienna.

Learn more about Vienna at Vienna Tourist Attractions. Enjoy!

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