FOR MEMBERS

The five best destinations to visit in Austria this autumn

The five best destinations to visit in Austria this autumn
Stubaital and the Stubai Glacier in Tyrol, Austria. Image By Tvb stubai - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikicommons
Summer might be almost over but autumn is just around the corner. Make the most of the season by visiting some of the most beautiful places in Austria.

After 18 months of disruption to tourism, industry leaders in Austria have welcomed the latest announcement from the federal government that further lockdowns have been ruled out as a measure against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Susanne Kraus-Winkler, Chairwoman of the Hotel Association, said the announcement, which includes a tightening of the 3G rules and a focus on the vaccination campaign, was a “positive development for autumn and winter”.

Kraus-Winkler said: “Security, predictability and the ability to plan future Covid protection measures are extremely important for our operations and, above all, for our guests from home and abroad.”

The news also allows tourists to plan holidays within the framework of Covid-19 measures set out by the government in one of the prettiest seasons in Austria.

Here are the best places to visit in Austria in autumn – and how to stay safe while travelling.

Wachau

The Wachau Valley in Lower Austria runs alongside the Danube River to the west of Vienna and is known for its picturesque scenery of rolling hills and vineyards. It’s even a UNESCO World Heritage site.

September and October are two of the best months to visit the region as the temperature cools but there is usually still plenty of sunshine to enjoy.

One of the main reasons for visiting the Wachau Valley is for wine touring and biking. 

READ MORE: Discover Austria: Six off-the-beaten-track towns to visit

The landscape along the Danube is mostly flat, which is perfect for cruising along on a bike to take in the scenery. 

Tourists can even put the two together and go wine touring by bike. Or explore the river by taking a boat ride along the Danube.

Other attractions include historic buildings, like Göttweig Abbey, the medieval village of Dürnstein and Melk Abbey.

Salzkammergut

The Salzkammergut in the province of Salzburgerland is another UNESCO World Heritage site.

In fact, the name comes from the region’s salt mining past, which was so profitable it became known as ‘white gold’ during the Iron Age.

But there is more to the Salzkammergut than just its long history.

If remote wilderness is a must-have for autumn adventures, then the Salzkammergut is the right place as a large part of the region is dominated by nature.

The beautiful region is home to alpine and subalpine lakes, steep mountains and traditional Austrian communities, like the famous village of Hallstatt on the banks of Hallstätter See.

Then there are more populated spots, such as the town of St Wolfgang on the banks of Wolfgangsee, which is ringed with a forested shoreline and dotted with pretty boathouses. 

In non-Covid times, thousands of tourists visit St Wolfgang every year, but as travel restrictions remain in some parts of the world, these popular locations could still be quieter than usual.

Stubai Valley

The Stubai Valley is in the province in Tyrol in the west of Austria, just a half an hour drive from Innsbruck. 

The valley is 35 km long with the Ruetz River running through it and the region is known to locals as simply “Stubai”.

As the valley sits in the Austrian Alps, it is also home to the Stubai Glacier with a ski season that starts in the middle of September – depending on snow and weather conditions.

However, for non-winter sports enthusiasts, the Stubai valley offers hiking trails, meadows, waterfalls, lakes and mountain huts.

Plus, with its close proximity to Innsbruck, it’s possible to have a base in the city and explore the valley on day trips to get the best of both worlds.

Burgenland

For oenophiles, Burgenland is the place to go for autumn wine touring as almost 30 percent of land in the province is covered by vineyards.

A yard in Burgenland. Image: Wikicommons.

Plus, Burgenland has a warmer climate and more days of sunshine than in the west of the country, which typically results in mild days during autumn.

As in the Wachau Valley, a popular way to tour around the region is by bike and there are countless wineries and restaurants along routes to sample the gastronomy of Burgenland.

FOR MEMBERS: How to save money while travelling around Austria

However, to take a break from the world of wine and to experience some Austrian art and culture, the city of Eisenstadt is well worth visiting.

Eisenstadt is the capital of Burgenland and home to the grand Esterházy Palace where music by Classical composer Joseph Haydn can be heard at the beautiful Haydn Hall. 

There is also Lake Neusiedl in the east of the province, which is surrounded by many cycling paths for exploring the landscape.

Vienna

Autumn is a great time to visit Vienna as the summer heat gives way to cooler days, fewer tourists explore the city and Vienna’s parks are transformed by leaves turning to copper, gold and bronze. 

If visiting the city during this time, be sure to take a stroll around Stadtpark, Schönbrunn and the Botanical Gardens of the Belvedere Palace for a stunning display of nature.

Plus, many cultural events take place in Vienna in the autumn, such as the Viennale international film festival and Vienna Art Week.

People enjoy late afternoon near the Danube canal in Vienna, Austria, on May 6, 2017. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Surprisingly, Vienna is also a popular wine destination (another one) with more than 1,500 acres of vineyards.

In fact, Vienna is the only capital city in the world with a significant wine industry within the city limits, making autumn a prime time to experience the city’s wine culture.

In normal times, the annual Vienna Wine Hiking Day takes place in the autumn (usually towards the end of September), but due to the ongoing pandemic, the next one is planned for September 2022.

Travel during coronavirus

Although Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has said there will be no more lockdowns, there is still a pandemic. This means there are rules and restrictions to be aware of when travelling around Austria.

Currently, when taking gondolas, most operators require passengers to wear a face mask.

The 3G rule (tested, vaccinated, recovered) is in place in public places like bars, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers. This means you have to show proof of one of the 3Gs to enter.

A mouth and nose covering is mandatory in supermarkets, pharmacies and on public transport.

From September 15th, unvaccinated people will have to wear an FFP2 mask in non-essential shops and masks are recommended for everyone else.

In supermarkets and on public transport, FFP2 masks will again be mandatory for all people from September 15th.

The validity of antigen tests in Vienna has been reduced from 48 hours to 24 hours, and the move will become nationwide from September 15th.

You can find a full overview of the Covid-19 measures here.


Member comments

The Local is not responsible for content posted by users.

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.