Imperial grandeur, Alpine hikes, villages and wine


Imperial grandeur, Alpine hikes, villages and wine
Did you think cable cars were just for wintertime skiers and boarders? It’s a common misconception but actually many run throughout the year. It’s a fun way to travel and offers excellent access to Austria’s stunning natural landscapes, rich in flora and fauna, mountainside villages and magnificent viewpoints. Though crowded at the most popular times during the peak winter snow and summer sun seasons, April and May or October and November is a whole different ball game. Taking a chair lift in these low season months can be an other-worldly, almost eerie, experience allowing you to revel in the beautiful springtime wildflowers and the glorious russet shades of autumn in relative privacy. Sure, some will close for essential maintenance, and the weather can be more unpredictable, but take local advice and reserve some flexibility and you’ll save cash while enjoying the best of Austrian adventures.

Vibrant Cities
Travelling in the low season also offers the chance to explore Austria’s charming towns and cities without the inflated price tag of peak travel. You may well be familiar with the stunning palaces and historic coffee shops of Vienna, but consider also smaller centres which have so much for the low season traveller to enjoy. Discover the old centre of Innsbruck and the fine Renaissance Ambras Castle close by. Or you might take in Salzburg and visit Mirabell Gardens, Mondsee Cathedral, and Lake Wolfgang on a ‘Sound of Music’ tour. Likewise, pretty Linz and Graz are picturesque cities full of history and beautiful Baroque architecture.

Low Season Events
With significant permanent populations of culture-loving locals, it’s no surprise that Austria enjoys year-round quality festivals and exhibitions. Wien Modern is a celebration of art and music that takes place each November since 1988. ART Innsbruck is an international art fair which also takes place in the low season with graphics, sculptures, installations, and photography exhibits at different venues around the city, while Klanglicht, organised by local theatres, transforms Graz into a city of light, music and art. If you’re after something a little more physical there are, among others, two top festivals for you. October sees the beautiful Gastein Valley transformed into a yoga paradise with 11 days of yogic events among the clear fresh air in magnificent mountain scenery. The sporty Tour de Tirol takes place around the same time and includes the renowned 75km Ultra Trail.

The Great Outdoors
Austria enjoys some wonderful, well-developed hiking and cycling trails taking in forested mountainsides, lakes and waterfalls. Many paths remain easily accessible in the low season, although you’d be wise to stick the simpler routes and keep a close eye on the weather forecast. Favourite day treks include the Lunersee Circuit in the Ratikon Alps, Stone Pine Path in the Tux Alps and Sanderee in Hohe Tauern National Park. There are also plenty of low season opportunities to give kayaking, rafting or climbing a try. Alternatively, just spending time relaxing in nature can rejuvenate even the most stressed workaholic. In fact, it’s been scientifically proven that ‘forest bathing’, as the practice is known, reduces blood pressure, increases immunity and improves mental health.

Low Season Months

Jan Feb Mar Apr
Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct

Featured Hotels

Top Experiences

Stay in an Alpine Spa Resort

Warm up in one of Austria many world class thermal spas. Choose rustic luxury accommodation made from natural sustainable resources. Enjoy delicious healthy dining and wonderful bathing facilities where you can relax and rejuvenate your soul against breath-taking mountain backdrops.

Mozart & Strauss Musical Experience

Just about every city offers musical performances from the golden age of composition. Whether you opt for a formal affair in a glorious opera house of old or a more relaxed version, you’ll be treated to costumed shows which really bring to life the Magic Flute, Blue Danube and Marriage of Figaro.

Swarovski Crystal Worlds

Step inside a glittering land of art, sculpture and installations dedicated to the cut glass empire of Swarovski. Opened in 1995, the museum is located some 20km outside Innsbruck and features various chambers, a crystal dome, and an outdoor landscaped area of a giant’s head and waterfall.

Insider Tips

  • October 26th sees Austrian National Day, celebrating the country’s declaration of permanent neutrality after WWII as well as its 1955 status as an independent nation. The day includes free entry to museums, the hoisting of flags, military parades, fireworks and displays of red and white balloons.
  • Every March and April over 100,000 apricot trees start blooming in the Wachau Valley. This beautiful region on the banks of the River Danube has been granted a protected designation of origin for the delicious fruit but the rosy white springtime blossom itself makes for unforgettable views.
  • Thanks to its role as the seat of the vast Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austria is filled with hundreds of magnificent palaces and towering castles to be enjoyed by the mere public. Vienna’s stunning Schönbrunn has 1400 rooms, while medieval Riegersburg Castle in Styria sits atop a dormant volcano.

Good To Know

  • In autumn many restaurants host an event called “Wildwochen”. At this time their menus include some truly delicious specialities from the long held tradition of game hunting. Typical dishes include venison ragout and wild boar medallions accompanied with homemade cranberry sauce.
  • Also known as ‘Buschenschank’, Heurigers are traditional rustic wine taverns where you can join the locals to taste the first young wines of the season. Look for a bundle of sticks (buschen) at the entrance indicating that the place is open. They also serve delicious hearty local cuisine.
  • Colourful harvest festivals and vibrant wine festivals take place in South Styria in late September and early October. These are times of great tradition. A practice of gratitude and offering mingles with much merriment. Be sure to try Sturm, a semi-fermented freshly pressed grape juice.

Food & Drink

Starkenberger Beer Pools, Tarrenz

In the village of Tarrenz, you can immerse yourself in beer, quite literally, at this historic brewery’s beer-filled swimming pool spa. Apparently the warm beverage’s nutrients are excellent for the skin and general health, and you can enjoy a cold one while relaxing.

Wiener Schnitzel

Choose a traditional cosy eatery on a low season evening to enjoy this local fave. The meat should be veal to be officially ‘Wiener Schnitzel’ but often chicken or pork is offered as an alternative. It’s breaded and fried until deliciously golden, and served with fries and greens.

Coffeehouse Culture

‘Kaffehauser’ have a 300 year long tradition providing meeting places for social orders of all kinds, intellectuals and bourgeoisie. These days the chandeliers and marbled tables often remain and what’s better than a hot chocolate and a Sacher cake to warm up a low season day.

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