I grew up in the Vienna Woods, at the Viennese’s favourite outdoors. Let me share the places I know, they are quite a few.
If you want to spend a few days in the Vienna Woods, find your perfect Wienerwald hotel here.
Internationally famous for its Gregorian Chant, Europe’s largest Cistercian abbey is a jewel. The more than 900-year-old monastery is tucked away in a lush valley of Southern Wienerwald. In 2008, the Cistercian monks’ CD Chant – Music For Paradise of landed in the Top 10 Pop Charts of England, and lead the billboard charts in the United States! Both a spiritual and architectural key experience. Learn more.
The country side south of Vienna is full of romantic woodlands, lush valleys, historic towns and castles. This half-day tour takes you through Helenental Valley to Mayerling hunting lodge, the site where Crown Prince Rudolf and his lover Baronesse Mary Vetsera tragically ended their lives. You will also visit Heiligenkreuz abbey.
The third highlight is Seegrotte at Mödling. In my Seegrotte tour review, you will see what a boat ride on Europe’s largest underground lake is like. I have been there years ago and still remember its story and gliding across that mysterious lake.
or read on for an alternative option…
Southern Vienna Woods
Minimum trip duration: one day
The southern part of Vienna Woods is packed with fin de siècle villas, medieval, renaissance and baroque towns, hiking paths, Heurige (wineries), and spas. Most of all, this area lets you explore a different local lifestyle to Vienna that has influenced so many of its residents. You can either discover the area on a private guided day tour or simply on your own.
Rent a car and head down south on the Triester Strasse, 16 km towards Mödling. From there, take the scenic route on the Wine Road (Weinstrasse) via Gumpoldskirchen to Baden bei Wien.
Mödling is known as Babenberg town, after the name of the Austrian medieval dynasty of noblemen. Its medieval city centre features houses with almost one meter thick inclined walls. Ludwig van Beethoven loved to visit local pubs there and go on hiking trips to the adjacent woods. On Friday mornings the main square (Schrannenplatz) hosts the weekly farmers market. Take some time to visit the pedestrian area with its historic architecture.
From Gumpoldskirchnerstrasse you drive along Lower Austria’s most scenic routes through hilly vineyards with the Vienna Woods on your right. Avoid this road in winter if there is danger of black ice.
Gumpoldskirchen is a small Renaissance vintners’ town popular with wine lovers from across Lower Austria and Vienna. Definitely I would recommend Altes Zechhaus, Krug family (fantastic winery with gothic attic and great atmosphere. Its great menu sometimes side steps into less authentic dishes; ignore and stick to the authentic Austrian plates.) and Rudolfine Laurer, a nice and honest local spot with good wine and food.
Take some time to stroll around the town centre or stretch your legs during a walk on a hiking path between the vineyards. If you’d rather have a guide with you, either join a small group vineyard hiking tour or take a private Vienna Woods guide for a day trip from Vienna.
You may make it as far as Veigl Hütte, an authentic mountain lodge about 45 min walk from Gumpoldskirchen.
Baden bei Wien
The Roman spa town of Baden was one of the summer residences of the Imperial Habsburg family. The villa paradise houses one of the grand casinos of Europe and boasts a lovely Roman Thermae wellness spa with a gigantic 2,500 square metres freely supported glass roof and hot outdoor pool.
The Emperor’s villa and Beethoven’s house are located right at the centre of the baroque pedestrian area. Don’t miss lovely cake shop Gasser right there.
Since Baden is a small town you may want to combine it with other city visits such as Graz during a day trip from Vienna.
Tour Map Thermal Springs Region
Click on the link Vienna Woods – South below the map to see my recommended route in more detail. Click on the icons for details about the main spots.
View Wienerwald – South in a larger map
Trip duration: three hours
If you have got just half a day, hike around Kahlenberg mountain in Vienna’s northeast. In fact, the Viennese’s favourite green weekend hang out tells a whole story about local lifestyle, and quality of life. With a lovely local guide at hand you will wander along vineyards, lush hills and across woodland.
On top, from Kahlenberg you will get perfect vistas of the Danube and Vienna’s skyline. Find out more about the Vienna Vineyard Walk small group tour.
Self Guided Kahlenberg Tour
A wonderful place to start and end your hiking tour is Josefinenhütte (see family photo with my daughter and nephew), a popular insider tip. The Vienna Woods-style cabin is also called ‘Hütte am Weg’ and is located on Höhenstrasse. People love the quirky charm of this renovated 1940ies inn. My favourites are the chunky wooden chairs and tables underneath the inn’s surrounding trees.
You can rent a car and follow the scenic Wiener Höhenstrasse, which starts in the 17th district. Alternatively, Fred, who runs a great private transfer company, could take you there by car or minivan. Drop me a message, and I’ll put you in touch.
Many Viennese go mountain biking in Wienerwald. You can do that, too, even if you haven’t regularly worked out in the past months. There is a brilliant local tour operator who organises small group tours (max 10 people) by electric mountain bike. He has rightly chosen Kahlenberg mountain: it’s full of lush vineyards and history, has a few nice wine taverns, is next to the Danube, and provides great vistas of the city. This is one of the best outdoor tours in Vienna between April and October.
Book the tour.
Vienna Swimming Pool: Historic Swimming in Neuwaldegg
At barely half an hour from the city center, the charming private pool of Neuwaldegg is your best bet for sizzling summer days. Perched on a hill in the midst of pines, spruces, birches and beeches, Neuwaldegger Bad presents a dazzling scenery of the sunken world of Vienna’s 1920s.
Besides, you will find one of Vienna’s best Schnitzel restaurants (Pichlmaier’s Zum Herkner) and a charming wine tavern (Heuriger Wilhelm Busch) nearby.
Find out what to expect and when to go in Vienna Swimming Pool.