People + Places
If you are looking to get out and about over the holiday season around Vienna, Austria, then this is a must read. Our guest writer Brittany shares some of the most beautiful walks as well as what to expect when you get there.
December 23, 2021
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As one of the greenest and most livable cities in the world, Vienna, Austria is teeming with opportunities to connect with nature, both within and outside of the city. And for the lucky few, roughly 1.9 million people who get to live in and around this dynamic city, this is no secret! From classic parks like Stadtpark and Augarten, to the many paths throughout the Vienna Woods on the outskirts of the city, Vienna is bursting with green space to enjoy at any time of year.
As an expat going on year three in this lovely capital city, I’ve been committed to uncovering new gems through curiosity, word of mouth and pure, unadulterated nosiness. So for you, my fellow Viennese nature lover, I’ve collected my top 4 favorites! If you’re looking to branch out from your regular routes in the Vienna area, check out these beautiful walks and hikes, all accessible with an hour or less of travel.
Kahlenberg in Nussdorf
Perhaps the most popular and well-known area in the Vienna Woods, Kahlenberg offers a can’t miss hiking opportunity. With sprawling vineyards, a selection of delicious Austrian taverns with traditional food (called Hütte, in German) scattered on the mountainside, and superb views of the city, this modest mountain is certainly worth the excursion.
This area is exceptionally fun to visit on Vienna’s “Wien Wein Wandertag,” a culinary hiking event in which the mountain paths are dotted with additional wine stands and other delicious offerings for “hikers” (by that we mean mostly walkers) to enjoy delicious food and nature all at once. In English, this special day translates to “Vienna Wine Hiking Day,” but it has a bit more of a jingle in German! The classic event was cancelled due to Covid-concerns this year, but will hopefully take place once again in fall 2022.
Other yummy eating opportunities on Kahlenberg remain, however! Mayer on Nussberg offers an absolute can’t-miss eating and drinking experience about halfway up (or down) the mountain, which is a great place to stop for a hearty Jause (German for snack!) and some wine. Order at the teeny kiosk and then take your treats to one of the picnic tables sprinkled in the greenery to enjoy the view!
Take the U4 subway line to Heiligenstadt to start your journey to Kahlenberg. From there, either walk or take Straßenbahn D toward Nußdorf to arrive at a trailhead. There are a variety of paths that will take you up the mountain; Stadtwanderweg 1, which is located a stone’s throw from the Nußdorf S Tram Station will take you through the suburban homes scattered at the foot of the mountain. Einsteig Nasenweg will take you on a much steeper path, but you’ll be rewarded with a view from Leopoldsberg along the way.
Parapluieberg in Perchtoldsdorf
Arguably the best kept secret among nature lovers in the Vienna area, Parapluieberg in Perchtoldsdorf is a charming, relatively easy hike which is easily accessible with public transport. The path begins with a series of paved curves through an open field, which feel more akin to a park, until finally the route gives way to winding, forest-covered dirt trails that gain more elevation. This hike would be an exceptionally great place to enjoy the beauty of fall foliage!
Continuing into the forest, there are two opportunities to enjoy food and drink at yet another cluster of Austrian taverns; Franz Ferdinand Hütte and Teufelsteinhütte are both easily accessible, well marked along the path, and offer gorgeous views of the surrounding area, with almost “cliffside” positioning overlooking the rest of the surrounding forested areas.
If you’d like to extend the hike even further, consider walking to Josefswarte, a viewing tower that gives you sprawling views above the forest treetops.
To reach Parapluieberg, take the S Bahn to Perchtoldsdoft. Make the roughly 30 minute walk through town toward Perchtoldsdorfer Heide, where you’ll find the trailhead and detailed maps of how to reach each of the taverns and viewing tower.
Vogelbergsteig in Dürnstein
Connected to Vienna via the Danube, this gorgeous hike is located a short journey from the city, but well worth the extra effort. Famous for the ruins that adorn this town from overhead, Dürnstein is a charming village that offers pristine views of the Danube River via the Vogelbersteig hike.
The entire hike is a 2 to 3 hour loop, with half the path on the mountain itself and the other half leading you through the town of Dürnstein. Enjoy a refreshing snack at Fesllhütte partway through your journey, and stop at the Vogelbergstein viewing area to take in panoramic views of the Danube below!
To reach Vogelbergsteig, take the train from Vienna to Krems and ride further to Dürnstein/Wachau via Bus 715 (in the direction of Melk Bahnhof). Follow Ruinenweg up the Dürnstein Ruins and further up the mountain. Be sure to wear smart hiking shoes, this one is steep!
Muckenkogel in Lilienfeld
If you are interested in venturing a bit further afield to enjoy a more serious hike, but still looking to stay within a reasonable distance of Vienna, then Muckenkogel is the perfect destination for you. Reaching a formidable (at least for Lower Austria) 1,199 meters, Muckenkogel is a mountain that gives you the feeling of total immersion in nature, without venturing as far as the Alps.
The path here takes you through a variety of beautiful settings, including deep forest, switchbacks, and wide open fields where there are sometimes cows and other livestock grazing. There are two excellent restaurants atop the mountain, namely Almgasthaus Klosteralm and Traisnerhütte. Both locales boast incredible views of the surrounding region and hearty, classic Austrian cuisine, as one comes to know by visiting such alpine restaurants.
The entire hike up can last up to 3 hours and is admittedly quite strenuous in comparison to the other hikes named here. If you’d like to make the journey more reasonable, consider taking the ski lift back down the mountain. The lift costs 11 Euros for a one way ticket, or 14 Euros for the round trip, if you’d like to cut the original hike up even shorter. The lift journey takes about 20 minutes and can get quite cold in the fall and winter, so bring gloves and warm gear for your descent if you plan to take this route! Prices and details can be found here. To enjoy a hike up Muckenkogel, drive to Lilienfeld and park at the Muckenkogel ski lift parking lot. You can park here for free and the trailhead is located where the parking lot ends.
From charming walks in the Vienna Woods, to more serious hikes in the region further afield, there is something for everyone to enjoy here! In any case, take time to step away from the bustle of the inner city and refresh your senses with Vienna’s natural beauty. I wish you happy hiking, and be sure to share your thoughts, photos, and secret spots in the comments!