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What are the best things to do in spring in Austria?

There’s nothing to beat that feeling when the temperatures suddenly rise, the snow starts to melt and the sweet breezes of spring start to give everyone the famous Frühlingsgefühl (spring feeling). Here are some ways to make the best out of spring in Austria.

Cherry trees
JOE KLAMAR / AFP

Spring in Austria officially starts in March, but the weather can be unpredictable, with everything possible from blazing sunshine to snow and freezing cold weather until around the end of May.

In the west of Austria it is not very unusual to experience snow in April, while in the east of the country, sunshine is often interspersed with rain showers in spring. 

Blossom and baby animals in Vienna and Lower Austria

The less mountainous eastern regions of Vienna and lower Austria are the first to enjoy the warm sunshine of spring. 

The wine growing region of the Wachau in lower Austria is famous for its apricot blossoms.

Each spring, some 100,000 apricot trees cover the Wachau in flowers. This phenomenon is particularly impressive across the stretch between Rossatz and Arnsdorf. 

Meanwhile in Vienna, the city’s famous monuments are framed with blossoming magnolia and cherry trees, prompting a thousand instagram shots of the Stadtpark or the Votive Church. There is also the chance to experience cherry blossom worship in the city’s Japanese Setagaya Park. 

Further afield it’s possible to wander around the Hirschstetten flower gardens, and experience spring in an English, Mexican or Indian garden, look at different vines, and see baby lambs at the nearby zoo. Farm animals can also be seen at the Cobenzl farm in the Vienna woods, and the Vienna Schönbrunn Zoo.

Read more: Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland to re-enter strict coronavirus lockdown

Cycling and treetop hikes in Salzburg and waterfalls in Styria and Tyrol

 In the Salzburg region, famous for its stunning lakes and mountains, try out the Salzkammergut cycle path. It runs past a total of 13 lakes. One 330km-long cycle path starting in Bad Ischgl takes in Traunsee, Attersee, Mondsee, Wolfgangsee, Hallstättersee and Ausseerland until returning to the starting point. 

In Saalbach, near Salzburg, it is possible to see the much-photographed Austrian version of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge on the Baumzipfelweg treetop hiking trail.

If waterfalls are your passion, spring sees the winter snows melt and hundreds of stunning torrents begin to flow at various locations throughout Austria. Some highlights include the Wasserlochklamm gorge in Styria, with its gorge and suspension bridge, and the Zillertal region of Tyrol. 

Get ready to fill up on wild garlic, asparagus and ice cream

In Austria, spring means Spargelzeit (asparagus time) is here. Austrians enjoy feasting on the green or white varieties with hollandaise sauce, or heading into the woods, meadows and parks to pick wild garlic (Barlauch) to make into pesto, bread or anything else you fancy. 

A sure sign of spring is when seasonal ice cream shops also start to open across Vienna, having been closed for the winter.

You know winter is over when queues start to form for the latest ice cream flavours instead of at the sausage or Glühweinstand. 

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TRAVEL NEWS

LATEST: What are Austria’s current Covid-19 rules?

Travellers entering the country no longer need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test, but masks are still mandatory in some places.

LATEST: What are Austria's current Covid-19 rules?

From Monday, May 16th, travellers coming into Austria no longer need to present proof that they have either been vaccinated against Covid-19, have tested negative for the disease, or recently recovered from it.

Previously, the so-called 3G rules were in place for all people coming into Austria, with very few exceptions.

The government over the weekend dropped the requirements just ahead of warmer months, stating that the epidemiological situation no longer justified them.

On Sunday, 15th, Austria reported 3,777 new coronavirus cases after just under 110,000 PCR tests were taken. In total, 807 people are currently hospitalised with the disease, and 62 are in intensive care units. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 18,303 people have died from Covid-19 in Austria.

Despite dropping the entry requirements, the federal government reiterated that the rules could change, mainly if a variant of concern is found.

READ ALSO: Austria extends Covid regulations as experts warn of autumn resurgence

Domestically, Austria still has a few coronavirus restrictions in place, including an FFP2 mask mandate in some areas.

These are the latest rules you need to be aware of:

FFP2 mask mandate

The obligation to wear an FFP2 mask only applies in enclosed spaces of hospitals, elderly and nursing homes, public transport (including stops and stations), taxis, customer areas of vital trade, such as supermarkets, and administrative buildings.

The mask mandate is no longer in place for enclosed places like gyms, restaurants and bars, and cultural establishments, but masks are still recommended.

READ ALSO: Tourists: What to do if you test positive for Covid in Austria

Isolation after a positive test

After the fifth day of isolation and at least 48 hours without symptoms, you can end quarantine for mild or asymptomatic cases.

However, there is a “traffic restriction” for another five days, with a mask mandate and no entry permitted in gastronomy venues, health and care homes, and events during this period.

READ ALSO: Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

In order to obtain an early lifting of the restrictions, a free PCR test can be carried out. If the test is negative or with a CT value (short for Cycle Threshold and is the gold standard for detecting Covid-19) above 30, the isolation can be lifted.

If the value is below 30, then you must remain in isolation.

Vienna doesn’t follow the ‘traffic restriction’, so the only way to end the 10-day isolation is with a PCR test (negative or CT value below 30) after two symptom-free days.

You can find more information on federal restrictions on the government website here.

The 3G rule

A 3G rule (proof that a person has either been vaccinated against Covid-19, recently recovered from the disease or has a negative test) is generally only needed for visitors, employees and service providers in hospitals and care homes.

READ ALSO: Ba.4 and Ba.5 Covid variants detected in Austria: What you need to know

In Vienna, on the other hand, the rules are stricter.

Visitors and workers need to have the 3G proof plus a negative PCR test. However, the city has dropped 2G rules for gastronomy and nightclubs – the only places where it was still required to show proof of vaccination or recovery.

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