We will be in Vienna for 8 days in September, staying in an apartment on a home exchange. I know we will want to get out of the city once or twice for some hiking and/or cycling. I know about the Danube cycle path options and will probably do that on one day. For the other, is there a nice alpine town offering good hiking that we could reach by train in an hour or so? A 6-10 mile hike with a ride down on a ski lift would be ideal, but not an absolute requirement.
Unfortunately, Vienna is really not near any Alps or Alpine towns. The best you can do is zoom to Salzburg in around 3 hours (each way) and then you are in a rather big town. Alpine excursions are easier with Salzburg as a base.
You may wish to explore hiking the Kahlenberg, in the Vienna Woods. It's not really mountainous but a nice excursion from the city if you are outdoor types.
So there are no mountains within 1-2 hoursof Vienna?
As noted above, Vienna is very far from the Alps and alpine towns.
The nearest mountain with a cable car/lift is Raxalpe (https://www.raxalpe.com/en). There is no "alpine town" there however as this isn't really the local culture in Lower Austria. Schneeberg is the sister mountain to Raxalpe and can be reached by a special train from the base (http://www.schneebergbahn.at/en/). I have done both mountains and would slightly prefer Schneeberg as the train up makes a stop where you buy plum jelly doughnuts from the window.
Another alternative would be Mariazell, which takes about 3 hours to reach by train.
The problem is that it takes about 2-3 hours to get to any of these places, so you might as well head over towards Salzburg on a high speed train (takes 2 hours 20 minutes) and really get what you are after. I think you would want to spend a night or two in that area.
We did a house exchange in Perschtoldorfs near Vienna. Our exchange family had a lot of books and information for us that described great day hikes (hills but not alpine) within a half hour of Vienna. There are wonderful hiking trails and places to stop for refreshments all throughout the Wienerwald and more rugged hills to the south and west of the city.
I also highly recommend Perschtoldsdorf for a little excursion. It has a medieval core and more than 50 hueringen in a town of about 20,000 people.
Not trying to be nit-picky, but the spelling is Perchtoldsdorf should Lola wish to explore this further. I agree, it is a lovely area. There are many other wine-growing villages around Vienna with similar heurigen/people ratios like Mödling and Stammersdorf.
I would add that the city of Vienna had a very nice system of hiking paths through the woods called Stadtwanderweg. Here is a link with all of the trails - https://www.wien.gv.at/umwelt/wald/freizeit/wandern/wege/. Not alpine, though.
A visit to to Neusiedlersee is also nice as they have good bike paths and cute villages like Rust with a wine growing culture - https://www.neusiedlersee.com/.
Thank you again---this is very helpful. I love the idea of the city Wanderweg---we will definitely use that a lot. And maybe just get out to the closer villages mentioned, for a walk and a visit to a Heurigen.
I enjoyed three weeks in London last May without getting out to any mountains, so I am sure we will love Vienna even without an alpine fix. (Besides, before Vienna we will be hiking in Slovenia so I will make the most of that).
I just emailed myself a link to this page so I can refer back to it in September.
I have to add, I always chuckle when I see the word Wienerwald. When I was a student in Germany years ago, Wienerwald was a chain of cheap-chicken restaurants, perfect for a student budget. Do they still exist?
Wienerwald was a chain of cheap-chicken restaurants, perfect for a student budget. Do they still exist?
After a bankrupcy years ago only very few Wienerwald restaurants remained.
If you have an uncontrollable urge , there is still one in the Westbahnhof , greasy as ever .
To paraphrase what Emily said above in short, no there are no mountains 1-2 hrs from Vienna. This is perhaps a common misconception because Austrian tourism often shows pictures of vienna and the alps back to back, but the area around vienna is relatively flat in all directions.
There is a Wienerwald restaurant or two in Vienna proper. They remind me of Denny's except with a salad bar offering Kürbiskernöl. LOL
The mountain range closest to Vienna is the Schneeberg (snow mountain) area, where are several hiking trails and mountain huts.
It easily reachable by train: You take an express train (RailJet or EuroCity) from Vienna main station to Wr. Neustadt where you change to a local train to Puchberg am Schneeberg. The total ride is 1:25 hours.
In Puchberg you have the choice of walking up to the summit, i.e. for the tougher people, or usually you take the cog railway up to Austria's highest train station. This shortens the time to get to the summit considerably. The ride on the mountain train from Puchberg to Hochschneeberg is 42 minutes.
There are mountains an hour-ish from Vienna. I live in Eisenstadt, and when I am looking for a complete change of scenery, mountains, cows (haha) and trails, but don't want to be in my car for more than an hour, I hit Puchberg am Schneeberg. Granted, it does not always satiate my Cascade Mountain soul, but considering it's so close to the flat, expansive Danube Basin, Schneeberg is its own mountain delight and might offer what you are looking for as a hiking getaway from Wien.
See previous posters' comments on how to get to Puchberg am Schneeberg by train as well as the website on the Schneebergbahn (train up/hike down or the reverse of that, or train up/down) posted above. Good tips.
Also: general info., Vienna Alps: http://www.wieneralpen.at/en Lots and lots of ideas there.
Of course, if you want more dramatic, higher-elevation Alpine majesty, you'll have to venture further westward. Nevertheless, the Vienna Alps have their own spirit and you can see why emperors of olden days and now today's city folks appreciate having them nearby.
And yes, do visit Burgenland (the sunny side of Austria and its best kept secret :) )!
Schneeberg looks perfect. I even found a hiking map on the website.
I came across this article this weekend and thought you might want to have a look at one of these hikes:
This website (www.viennawurstelstand.com) is also a great resource in English of events, restaurants, etc in Vienna.
Fellow Seattleite here, hiker and cyclist. I've ridden the entire Austrian Danube each of the past two summer. The stretches around Vienna are by far the least interesting. The Wachau stretch in gorgeous - the whole valley being a UNESCO world heritage site. The valley is guarded by the sweet medieval old city of Krems on one end and Melk's beyond superlative Baroque freak-out of a massive abbey on the other. Try to figure out how to ride that - ought to be doable from Vienna in a day; a lifetime cycling highlight for me.
Being a person who's not happy without exercise, in these last few stays in Vienna I've hiked in the city woods several times. I prefer to start at the less busy Nussberg area (good, quieter, less-touristed heurigen out this way), walk up through the trees and vines to the high point of the hills that ring the city, walk back down or catch the bus up at that overlook back into town. If you're a wine drinker do it on weekend afternoon when the tasting rooms out in those vineyards are open for sampling - makes for a slightly boozy foot-pilgrimage to the cute little chapel at the top.
Thanks! I am still checking in here and taking notes. I have emailed myself Emily's link to hikes close to Vienna, and now will start researching how to get to Krems or Melk to bike the Wachau Valley. Sounds like a perfect day out. Can I assume the train stations in the towns will have bikes to rent? Or bike shops in the town?
I am in Vienna now, saw also a Wienerwald at Wien Hbf (a new discovery) and another one off of Kärntnerstraße, which as been there for years. As pointed out above , the Wienerwald is at Westbahnhof too.