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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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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

‘Bad-tempered locals’: Vienna ranked the world’s ‘unfriendliest city’

Foreigners in Vienna say the city offers excellent health and transport benefits but has an exceptionally unfriendly population.

'Bad-tempered locals': Vienna ranked the world's 'unfriendliest city'

The Spanish port city of Valencia is the most popular city among international employees this year, followed by Dubai and Mexico City, according to the “Expat City Ranking 2022” by Internations, a network for people who live and work abroad.

The ranking is based on the annual Expat Insider study, in which almost 12,000 employees worldwide participated this year. The report offers insights into the quality of life, settling in, working, personal finances and the “Expat Basics” index, which covers digital infrastructure, administrative matters, housing and language.

Vienna ranks 27th out of 50 cities in this year’s ranking. Although it scores very well in terms of quality of life, many expats find it difficult to settle in and make friends in the Austrian capital.

READ ALSO: REVEALED: The best and worst districts to live in Vienna (as voted for by you)

Vienna ranks last in the Ease of Settling In Index and also in the Local Friendliness Subcategory. 

Nearly half the respondents in the city (46 percent) say that people are unfriendly towards foreign residents (vs 18 percent globally), and 43 percent rate the general friendliness of the population negatively (vs 17 percent globally). 

An Australian immigrant told Internations they were unhappy with the seemingly “bad tempered locals”, while a survey respondent from the UK said they struggled to get along with the “conservative Austrians” in Vienna.

Unsurprisingly, more than half of the expats in Vienna (54 percent) find it challenging to make friends with the locals (vs 37 percent globally). Moreover, around one-third (32 percent) are unhappy with their social life (vs 26 percent globally), and 27 percent do not have a personal support system in Vienna (vs 24 percent globally). 

“I really dislike the grumpiness and the unfriendliness,” said an immigrant from Sweden.

READ ALSO: The downsides of Vienna you should be aware of before moving there

In the Quality of Life Index, Vienna snagged first place last year, but it reached only seventh place this year. In terms of administrative matters such as getting a visa for residence, Vienna is only 38th, and the federal capital also scores poorly for cashless payment options (42nd).

Where does Vienna shine?

The Austrian city ranked particularly well in categories including Travel and Transit (first place) and Health and Well-being (second place). International employees rated the availability, cost and quality of medical care as particularly good.

“I like how much you can do here and how easy it is to get around by public transport,” said an expat from the US. 

In addition, Vienna is not particularly expensive and ranks ninth worldwide in the personal finance index. 

READ ALSO: Five unwritten rules that explain how Austria works

Vienna ranks 26th out of 50 cities in the Working Abroad Index. Sixty-eight percent of expats rate their job as secure, and two-thirds rate their work-life balance positively – compared to 59 percent and 62 percent globally. However, 23 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with their career opportunities, and a third feel that the corporate culture in Vienna lacks creativity and unconventional thinking.

In the “Expat Basics” index, international employees consider housing in Vienna particularly affordable (9th). In addition, eight out of ten find it easy to open a local bank account (vs 64 percent worldwide).

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