Austria receives billions of dollars each year from its tourism industry, and it’s easy to see why. From stunning mountain ranges to crystal-clear lakes, the country is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
There are also lasting cultural traditions, a great food scene, fun nightlife, and a range of cities, towns, and villages to explore. But when is the best time to visit Austria?
Well, that will largely depend on what you’re looking for. So although this question may seem simple, there are various things to consider when deciding the best time to go for you.
We’ll share what people often consider the best and worst times and why so that you can factor in your preferences, budget, interests, and availability to make the best decision for your Austrian exploration.
Why You Should Visit Austria
From its majestic mountains to its charming villages, Austria offers various experiences in one country. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you can go skiing, snowboarding, or tobogganing in the winter months.
Or, if you’d rather explore by foot, enjoy hiking and trekking through the hills and valleys of Austria’s countryside in the summer months. You can also experience Austrian culture, food, and history year-round.
Vienna, the capital, is known for its opera and classical music scene, while other cities have vibrant nightlife scenes. To get a feel for the country, consider spending time in both the cities and rural areas to experience all that Austria has to offer.
Overall Best Time to Visit Austria
The best time to visit Austria is typically during the spring shoulder months, between April and May. During this time, the weather is warming up, with highs hovering around 61°F (16°C), and the Alps are still snow-capped.
This is a great time to go skiing or snowboarding in the Alps because the weather isn’t so cold that you’ll be freezing the whole time, but it’s still cold enough in the mountains for snow-filled adventures.
You can also enjoy various events that take place all over the country at this time, such as outdoor concerts and festivals, as the weather is heating up and people are heading outside more often.
Overall, it’s hard not to love Austria in April and May because it’s not the sunniest, but it’s also not the most crowded or most expensive. You can also do a variety of activities during just one vacation if you go during this shoulder season.
Cheapest Time to Visit Austria
The cheapest time to visit Austria is in October and November. This is the second shoulder season, in which the weather is starting to get chilly in preparation for Austrian winter.
This period is a great one for scoring deals on flights, accommodation, tickets, and excursions because the demand drops significantly from the peak tourist season in the summer (June through August).
Plus, you can still enjoy plenty of events and festivals during this time, such as Viennale, an international film festival.
These two months might be optimal for people who don’t mind the weather getting colder, want to explore the town by foot without heating up too much, or simply want to save hundreds of dollars on their trip and can forgo the perfect summer weather to do so.
Least Busy Time to Visit Austria
The least busy time to visit Austria is during the low season, which is from November to March, with the exception of December and early January for the holiday season.
During this period, temperatures can plummet to as low as negative 4°F (minus 20°C), so if you’re not a fan of cold weather, this wouldn’t be the best time for you.
However, there are still plenty of events and festivals to experience, like Christmas markets, the Vienna Jazz Festival, and Easter markets.
This season is perfect for those looking to take advantage of lower prices or simply want to enjoy the country without the usual hustle and bustle. It’s a great time to explore Vienna by car and take in all of its beauty while avoiding the summer crowds.
Of course, the winter is also an ideal time to visit Austria if you’re interested in snowboarding and skiing, as the Alps are blanketed with a thick layer of snow. Overall, the least busy time to visit Austria still offers plenty of activities and has its special appeal.
Worst Time to Visit Austria
While up for debate depending on your preferences, the worst time to visit Austria is in November. Fewer events are going on, and it’s one of the rainiest months in Austria, right beside April.
Plus, you might have to start dealing with the colder temperatures of Austria without getting the benefit of this weather. For example, the Christmas markets start in mid-November, so if you go in early November, you might miss out on them.
Additionally, it might be cold enough to start bundling up but not cold enough or snowy enough to go skiing or snowboarding at every resort just yet.
Even still, visiting Austria in November may be ideal for someone who wants to prioritize avoiding large crowds so they can see the biggest sights in peace or save money.
Things to Consider
Austria is a gorgeous country, and it’s many people’s dream to visit, so if you’re planning a trip there, consider yourself lucky! So that you can make the trip go swimmingly, here are some points to consider:
- The peak season in Austria runs from June through August, so if you’re looking for the sunniest and warmest weather and don’t mind the crowds or higher prices, this is the ideal time to visit.
- The shoulder season runs from April to May and October to November, and it’s a great time for getting deals or avoiding the huge crowds while still enjoying mild temperatures.
- Transportation around Austria can be quite tricky in the winter due to icy roads and the possibility of snowstorms.
- Austria is quite safe, but it’s important to use common sense measures when traveling, such as avoiding solo walks at night.
- Austria is a relatively small country, so you can explore it in about a week. If you have more time for your vacation, either explore it more slowly or visit neighboring countries like Germany, Hungary, Czechia, Slovenia, or Italy.
- Don’t ask if someone speaks “Austrian,” as that is a common misconception and Austria is part of the German-speaking region.
- You can still go skiing even if you don’t visit Austria in the winter. Hintertux Glacier is a ski resort with year-round skiing, and other resorts offer these activities during the shoulder months.
Activities to Consider
Now that you have several general points of consideration, it’s time to talk about the fun stuff! Here’s a list of the top activities you can do while in Austria:
- Nordic walking
- Lake swimming
- Visiting museums
- Exploring cities and the countryside
- Visiting castles
- Attending festivals and events
- Tasting traditional Austrian cuisine
- Taking a spa experience
Specific Attractions to Consider
Austria is truly a year-round vacation destination, as there are lots to do regardless of when you visit. Here’s a list of the best specific attractions throughout this country:
- Schönbrunn Palace. A gorgeous palace and UNESCO World Heritage Site
- KlimtMuseum. Dedicated to the work of Viennese painter Gustav Klimt
- Hofburg Imperial Palace. A great example of Baroque architecture
- St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The most famous symbol of Vienna
- Hallstatt Lake & Salt Mine. A stunning lake and ancient mine
- Habsburg Castle & Melk Abbey. An awe-inspiring castle and abbey
- Vienna Operahouse. A destination for music lovers
- Hohe Tauern National Park. Home to some of the country’s most stunning landscapes
- Innsbruck Cathedral. A beautiful example of Gothic architecture
- AustrianGalleryBelvedere. An art museum housing Klimt’s “Kiss.”
- Fortress Hohensalzburg. 11th-century fortress on a hill
- The Eagle’s Nest. A famous restaurant on a mountaintop with incredible views
- Wörthersee. Great area for summertime swimming
- Grossglockner High Alpine Road. High altitude mountain pass with spectacular scenery
- Untersberg. A beautiful mountain close to Salzburg
- Ars Electronica Center. A modern spot for electronic arts
- Eisriesenwelt. Guided tours of ice caves
- AquaDomeHotel. Luxury spa hotel with pools, saunas, and dining
- Getreidegasse. Mozart’s birthplace and busy shopping area
Best Ski Resorts in Austria
If the number one thing you want to do in Austria is go skiing or snowboarding, you’re not alone. As these activities are the top attractions for the country, we’ve compiled a list of the best ski resorts there. These include:
- Soelden Ski Resort. Popular ski area for all levels with 143.4 km of slopes
- Stubai Glacier. Incredible views, great for all levels
- SkiWelt. 90 lifts, great infrastructure, and sledding
- Grossglockner Resort. Great for hikers and cross-country skiers
- Kitzsteinhorn. Expansive area featuring three cable cars to get to 3000 meters high
- Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn. 270 k of pistes and can go in the summmer
- Damuls / Mellau. Winter skiing, summer hiking, and hotels with scenic views
- Silvretta Montafon Holding GmbH. Not as crowded and expansive terrain
- Mölltaler Gletscher. Long trails and restaurants with stunning glass window views
- Reiteralm Bergbahnen. Popular each year with fantastic, fairytale-like landscapes
- Bad Gastein. Great for backcountry skiing
Frequently Asked Questions
Need a bit more info on Austria? Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the visiting the country:
Is Austria better in summer or winter?
It depends on what type of activities you’d like to engage in. If you’re into skiing and snowboarding, then winter is your best bet. If you want to explore cities, take in the sights, and enjoy warmer temperatures, then summer is ideal.
How many days do you need in Austria?
How many days you should spend in Austria depends on your itinerary and what type of activities you plan to partake in. Generally speaking, it can take 5-7 days to get a good sense of the country and its culture.
However, if your plans are more ambitious, you want to spend an extended time in the mountains, or you want to explore neighboring countries as well, then you might want to carve out two weeks or longer.
When is the best time of year to visit Salzburg, Austria?
Salzburg is a beautiful city year-round, but the ideal time to visit is during the summer months when temperatures are pleasant and outdoor activities are in full swing. That said, the winter months are also quite popular, as Salzburg is a prime destination for skiing and snowboarding.
What is the hottest month in Austria?
July is the hottest month in Austria, with temperatures normally reaching the 70s Fahrenheit (mid-20s Celsius).
Is Austria nice in April?
Yes, Austria is quite pleasant in April, especially if you don’t mind wearing layers to stay warm. April is a great month to explore Austria outdoors, as temperatures are still cool enough for hiking. Plus, there’s little to no snow on the ground you’ll walk n, but the Alps still have picturesque blankets of snow on top.
Is Salzburg better than Vienna?
It’s hard to say which one between Salzburg and Vienna is better as it comes down to personal preference. Both cities have their own unique charms and attractions that make them worth exploring.
Salzburg is a smaller city with a more traditional feel and its own unique culture, while Vienna is the capital and is more cosmopolitan.
Is Austria worth visiting in the summer?
Unless you despise any form of crowds, Austria is certainly worth visiting in the summer. Yes, it’s the priciest time to go, and you may have to wait in line or deal with large tour groups.
But the natural beauty of Austria’s mountains, lakes, and cities will be worth it. Plus, there are plenty of outdoor activities in the summer months that you won’t be able to do in the winter.
What is there to do in Austria in December?
If you’re looking for things to do in Austria in December, there are plenty of festive activities that you can partake in. Head over to cities like Salzburg and Vienna to check out their Christmas markets, enjoy the festive decorations and lights, or sip on a cup of Glühwein.
You can also ski or snowboard in the Alps, take an ice skating lesson, or go for a horse-drawn sleigh ride. The possibilities are endless!
What should I not miss in Austria?
Whether you’re visiting in summer or winter, there’s plenty to do and see in Austria. Some of the highlights include exploring Vienna’s stunning architecture, visiting the Schönbrunn Palace, marveling at the artwork in the Klimt Museum, and taking a stroll around Hallstatt Lake.
Other must-dos include tasting the traditional cuisine, attending a local festival or event, and enjoying some of the country’s natural beauty.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Austria?
Overall, with its stunning nature, fascinating culture, opportunities for adventure, and delicious cuisine, Austria has so much to offer.
The best time to visit Austria is from April through May for agreeable weather without too many crowds. But no matter when you visit, Austria promises to delight. Happy travels!