Austria: Winter and Summer Travel
With its sky-piercing mountains, outstanding architecture, and musical legacy, Austria is one of Central Europe’s most evocative countries. What is less known about the nation is that it has a centuries-old heritage of fine wine production.
Beyond Vienna, Austria is heaving with mountain resort towns, fairytale castles, and spectacular natural scenery. With four distinct seasons, the landscape changes drastically throughout the year. As this is a European destination that you can visit at any time of year, here is what you can expect from visiting Austria in either winter or summer.
Visiting Austria in Winter
Austria in winter summons to mind scenes of the Alps blanketed in snow and bustling yuletide markets.
Snow falls on the mountains and higher altitude areas from early December and remains until late March, with the ski season opening in January. The ski resorts of Austria are some of the most exclusive in Europe, with challenging conditions best suited to experienced skiers and boarders.
With an endless supply of museums, galleries, palaces, and concerts, the capital city of Vienna may be enjoyed at any time of year. You will need to wrap up warm but you can anticipate spending much of your time indoors connecting with the art and culture of Vienna.
Festive markets appear late November and last until the New Year. There’s no better place to tackle your holiday shopping than at one of Vienna, Salzburg, or Innsbruck’s Christmas markets with a steaming mug of glühwein.
Austrian food is perfect for winter with hearty meat dishes, dumplings, and potatoes dominating the menu. While in Vienna, make a reservation at Hotel Sacher where you can sample a slice of Original Sacher-Torte.
Visiting Austria in Summer
Summer is the best time to visit Vienna’s remote mountain villages and natural wonders, such as the Krimml Falls, Bluntausee, and Hohe Tauern National Park. Roads are at their safest, the temperatures are pleasant, and the conditions are suitable for hiking and cycling.
Although the lakeside mountain town of Hallstatt may be visited at any time of year, the summer season offers optimum conditions. During warmer months you can spend hours pottering around the Old Town, capturing photos, and lingering over a glass of Austrian wine on the shores of Hallstätter See.
The summer months of July and August are the peak travel season in Austria, with peak temperatures lingering around 80-84°F (27-29°C). Where possible, travel during the –quieter – shoulder seasons of June and September.
Austria’s Wine Season
Wine enthusiasts may already be familiar with Austria’s under-the-radar status as one of the continent’s highest quality producers of organic, biodynamic wine. The country is revered for its Grüner Veltliner white wines although the reds of Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt and St Laurent are equally appetizing.
Vineyards and wineries occupy East Austria across Wien (Vienna) and Burgenland, where the climate is favorable to wine production. Summer is the best time for visiting Austria’s wine regions and pairing local varieties with an alfresco meal overlooking the vineyards.
If you want to experience the annual wine harvest, plan to visit the country during the months of August through late November. Family-owned estates will be delighted to welcome you.
Contact me when you are ready to make arrangements for your trip to Austria and together we will determine your perfect itinerary.
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