Hikes, Bike Trips, Monasteries And Spas
The Vienna Woods, where I grew up, are the Viennese’s favourite outdoors. I have added them to my Vienna travel tips because they make for a great day out. Explore below what you can do there.
If you want to spend a few days in the Vienna Woods, find your perfect Vienna Woods hotel here.
Minimum trip duration: half a day
If the weather is nice, head for the Kahlenberg and/or nearby Leopoldsberg in Vienna’s northeast. You can rent a car and follow the scenic Wiener Höhenstrasse, which starts in the 17th district. Alternatively, Bettina, who runs a great private transfer company, could take you there by car or minivan. Drop me an message, and I’ll put you in touch
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.
Note: Avoid driving or biking to Kahlenberg when temperatures are around 0 degrees Celsius in winter. Black ice can transform Höhenstrasse quickly into a skating rink.
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.
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. The medieval cloister of Heiligenkreuz Abbey is beautiful. The Cistercian monks’ CD Chant – Music For Paradise of Gregorian Chorals landed in the Top 10 Pop Charts of England in 2008, and lead the billboard charts in the United States! The third highlight is Seegrotte at Mödling, where you will take a boat ride on Europe’s largest underground lake. I have been there years ago and still remember its story and gliding across that mysterious lake.
Book the tour, or read on for an alternative option…
Winery And Spa Trip: Southern Vienna Woods
Minimum trip duration: one day
The southern part of Vienna Woods is plastered with fin de siècle villas, medieval, renaissance and baroque towns, hiking paths and wineries, and spas.
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. As with the Northern Vienna Woods, you can always hire a private driver and car for complete peace of mind (drop me a message and I’ll get you in touch with Bettina).
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 the locals. I 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. 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.
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 Vienna Woods – South in a larger map