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Heatwave: Nine of the coolest places in Austria

As summer temperatures reach Austria, bringing temperatures well above the 30C, there are a few places you can go to help you cool down.

Heatwave: Nine of the coolest places in Austria
A woman enjoys basking in the sun on the swimming pier in the Buchau, in Achensee, Tyrol (© Achensee Tourismus)

Europe’s heatwaves are no laughing matter, and temperatures even in alpine Austria can get close to 40C on many occasions during the summer. If you want to find places to cool down and avoid the heat, there are many beautiful locations to visit all over Austria.

From aquariums to caves and stunning lakes, here are some of the spots that will not be too sweltering even in the hot summer months.

Vienna aquarium haus des meeres

Vienna’s aquarium, the Haus des Meeres, is a great place to visit. (Photo: Daniel Zupanc/Presse)

In Vienna, visit the Haus des Meeres

Vienna has many places you can visit literally to cool off, as the city has a comprehensive plan to face heat waves. There are fog showers around the city, which spray a fine mist into the air to cool down passers-by; water features in its parks and drinking water fountains all over the city.

However, if you want more of an attraction for your summer months, a good call would be the Viennese aquarium, also known as Haus des Meeres.

READ ALSO: Five of the best things to do in Vienna this summer

Unless you spend some time in the “tropical” section, most of the building is climatized, and you get to see cool animals and beautiful aquariums. The Haus also has a rooftop bar with lovely views of Vienna.

Vienna woods

The beautiful Vienna Woods. ((c) Niederösterreich Werbung/Andreas Hofer)

In Lower Austria, venture into the Wienerwald

The Vienna Woods, which encompass the west and southwest of the city’s capital, are the forest where many great minds used to go for walks to get inspired – Mozart, Beethoven and Kafka are all closely linked to the Wienerwald.

READ ALSO: ‘Waldeinsamkeit’ in Austria: Five peaceful forest walks near Vienna

The region is beautiful throughout the year, and the greenery helps the area stay cooler than the cities over summer.

It’s a perfect setting for walks, picnics, and mountain biking, and several summer events take place over the hot months.

In Upper Austria, go to the Nationalpark Kalkalpen

Austria’s second-largest national park is within the Northern Limestone Alps mountain range, and it’s most famous for having the largest forested area in Central Europe. You can escape the summer heat under the cover of the trees, reach high panorama-view towers, climb peaks and enjoy horseback riding trails.

READ ALSO: Six German expressions to entice your Wanderlust

The forest is a truly special thing. It’s the first World Natural Heritage forest in Austria and is home to some of the oldest trees in Europe.

The Kalkalpen is also where several rare animals can be found in Austria, including bears, the lynx and the golden eagle.

Styria has beautiful bike tours with fantastic views (© Steiermark Tourismus | Tom Lamm)

In Styria, visit the wine roads south of the state

Styria is home to what is known as Austria’s Tuscany region. The Weinstrassen are a beautiful and idyllic setting of roads full of twists and turns around vineyards.

Though the best time of the year to visit is arguably around September, to enjoy the fruits of the grape harvest, it is also a lovely (and a few degrees cooler than in city centres!) place to visit over the summer months.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about cycling in Austria

The wine roads are also a great region to cycle through, with lovely towns perfect for overnight stays, such as Ehrenhausen or Berghausen.

A woman enjoys basking in the sun on the swimming pier in the Buchau, in Achensee, Tyrol (© Achensee Tourismus)

In Tyrol, go swimming at the Achensee

Achensee is the largest lake in the Western state of Tyrol – also known as the “Tyrolean Sea” or even “Fjord of the Alps”.

READ ALSO: How to explore the Austrian mountains in the summer like a local

The lake has crystal clear waters – and the quality is near drinking water, with sight up to ten meters below the surface. It’s a perfect place to cool off, especially since, being an alpine lake, water temperatures tend to be refreshing and rarely over 20C.

Achensee’s shores have sandy beaches, and visitors enjoy plenty of summer activities, including windsurfing and sailing. It is said that even Austria’s emperors liked to go there to escape the city’s heat and cool off during the hottest months.

In Salzburg, explore the Dachstein Caves

There is no more effective way to cool off than literally entering an ice cave.

Salzkammergut, the lake region in Salzburg, has many beautiful places to visit over summer and lovely swimming spots to enjoy (Attersee is a must if you are in the area).

READ ALSO: Salt of the Alps: ancient Austrian mine holds Bronze Age secrets

However, those looking to really escape blistering temperatures and the blazing sun will be entirely at home at the Dachstein Caves, a world of ice and underground halls.

There are two main caves: Dachstein Eishöhle, the icy and illuminated one, and Mammuthölle, one of the deepest and longest caves in the world.

Bregenz austria lake constance

The beautiful Lake Constance in Austria ((c) Christiane Setz)

In Vorarlberg, go skinny dipping at Bodensee

If the heat is just too much, it might be time to strip down to your birthday suit and go for a swim in the lake.

Austria is very nonchalant about nudity, but be sure to keep your bathing suit on unless you are in the designated FKK (Freikörperkultur) areas. Nudity sections or not, the vast Bodensee lake (also known as Lake Constance) has beautiful shores with turquoise waters for you to cool off and enjoy the view.

READ ALSO: The 10 biggest culture shocks experienced by foreigners in Austria

What view, you may ask? The lake borders Germany and Switzerland, the Rhine river flows to it, and Alpine mountains surround it. Heat or no heat, it’s a fantastic place to be.

The Neusiedler See (Neusiedler Lake) in Burgenland. Von Flame99, CC BY-SA 3.0, Creative Commons, Wikicommons

In Burgenland, go for a swim at Austria’s ocean, the Neusiedler See

We know we risk being repetitive, but Austria is not known for its mountains and lakes for nothing, and Neusiedler See is undoubtedly one of the most famous ones.

The lake is one of the largest in Europe, and it straddles the Austrian-Hungarian border, covering 315 square kilometres.

READ ALSO: Discover Austria: Five beautiful hikes and destinations south of Vienna

It is not even two meters deep at maximum depth, so it does warm up considerably during summer. The constant and strong winds help cool off, though, and the region is well known for its water sports and surfing possibilities.

There are lovely little towns surrounding the lake, and a visit to Rust, where you can see many stork nests on top of the houses, is a must.

In Carinthia, enjoy a resort vibe in Faaker See and Ossiacher See

If all that is missing for you is to feel like you are in a beach resort, then Carinthia has the perfect solution.

Two lakes, Faaker See and Ossiacher See, offer beautiful views, nice swimming spots, and plenty of activities close to Villach, one of the state’s largest cities. 

Do you know any great spots to cool off during Austrian heat? Let us know in the comment section below or send us an email at [email protected]

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Five things to do in Vienna this weekend

Vienna is full of events, places to visit and great new restaurants to try out. If you are overwhelmed with the possibilities or just wondering where you can find a cool event only the locals know of, here are some ideas.

Five things to do in Vienna this weekend

Haus des Meeres

Since it looks like we are heading for a rainy weekend in Vienna, it’s a good idea to check out some interesting indoor places. If you haven’t visited Austria’s aquarium in Vienna 6th district, the weekend is a great time to do so.

The aquarium has several areas, including a crocodile park, a tropical house with free-flying birds and monkeys going up and down, and loads of animals in different tanks. The top floor has a roof terrace and a bar with beautiful views of Vienna.

Here you can find more information.

Free beginner Forró class

How about learning a typical Brazilian dance called Forró? This Saturday, August 20th, from 8 pm to 9 pm, there will be a free beginner course at Jo&Joe Hostel in Vienna’s 15th district.

After the class, DJ Serginho will bring some Latin Vibes music to spice up your evening. The beginners class is free, but you should register beforehand – and wear proper clothes and shoes to dance away during the night.

Here you can find more information.

Veganista

While the weather is still lovely and hot, of course, ice cream parlours are very popular in Vienna. One of the most famous is the vegan shop Veganista, founded by two sisters and with several branches in the city.

Besides being vegan, the ice cream is made with no paste or ice powder mixtures, artificial additives or flavourings. The ice cream is delicious and popular even with non-vegans.

Here you can find more information.

Vienna Classic Days 2022

Every year, old and classic cars parade on the Vienna Ringstrasse, turning the city’s centre into a moving museum. They drive from the Donaupart through Viennese suburbs and the Vienna Woods, then through the first district until Wien Mitte and, this year, around 250 old vehicles are expected.

The drive starts at 9 am on Saturday, but the parade through the first district should be at 3:30 pm and the great drive on Vienna’s Ringstrasse starts at around 5:30 pm. A similar but shorter route is also happening between 10 am and 1 pm on Sunday.

Here you can find more information.

Neustifter Kirtag 2022

The end of summer, just before the start of school, is when several traditional events called Kirtage (kermesse) take place. This weekend, one of the most traditional, with people dressing up in Lederhosen and Dirndl and enjoying a wine fair, is happening in the 19th district.

The Neustifter Kirtag has free entrance and is back after being cancelled during the coronavirus pandemic. A very quintessential Austrian event, there are processions, food and beverage for the entire family from Friday (19th) to Monday (22nd).

Here you can find more information.

Do you know any other cool events happening in Vienna during the weekends? You can email us at [email protected] to share your tips and suggestions.

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