Which regions in Austria have the best (and worst) weather?

Do you love long, hot summers? Or perhaps you can’t get enough of cold, snowy winters. Either way, here are the best and worst regions in Austria for weather.

Which regions in Austria have the best (and worst) weather?
Exploring Austria's wineries is a great activity for the summer. (Österreich Werbung, Fotograf: Harald Eisenberger)

Austria’s climate is quite temperamental – mostly due to its land-locked location in Central Europe. 

The weather in Austria is also very regional as a result of the country’s varied topography with lowlands in the north and east, and mountains in the west.

So even though Austria typically has cold winters and warm summers, the reality is not so black and white and there are many variations in between.

Here’s what you need to know about Austria’s differing weather patterns.

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Where is the sunniest place in Austria?

According to data from Statista, St. Pölten in Lower Austria is the country’s sunniest city with 266 hours of sunshine recorded in May 2022. This was on average 16 percent more than the same month from 1991 to 2020.

Austria’s second sunniest city is Vienna with 263 hours of sunshine, followed by Eisenstadt in Burgenland in third place with 260 hours. This means there are plenty of opportunities to sit outside on a terrace with a cold drink during the summer months in these cities.

But Salzburg in the west is Austria’s least-sunny city. In May, just 187 hours of sunshine were recorded in the provincial capital, which is significantly less than St. Pölten, Vienna and Eisenstadt.

When it comes to specific regions, Burgenland in the east and Carinthia in the south both enjoy long, almost mediterranean-style summers with plenty of sunshine and warm weather.

The lowlands in the north east also get hot summers and moderate rainfall throughout the year.

But the downside is that this region does experience a lot of wind due to the flat nature of the land, which can take some of the fun out of a sunny day.

READ ALSO: Vienna vs Graz: Which city is better for foreign residents?

People gather on the shores of the Danube river, in Vienna during a hot sunny day. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KLEIN.

Which Austrian city gets the most rain?

The west of Austria typically gets the most rainfall throughout the year. 

So it’s no surprise that Bregenz, the capital of Vorarlberg (Austria’s most western province) received the most rain out of all Austria’s capital cities in 2021.

In fact, last year, Bregenz had 24 percent more rain than usual. Interestingly, Salzburg came in second place for rain, even with 11 percent less rainfall than normal.

The driest city in Austria in 2021 was Eisenstadt in Burgenland, which makes sense as Eisenstadt is also the country’s second sunniest city.

There are advantages to high levels of rainfall in Austria though, mostly in the pretty meadows, lush forests and wide variety of flora and fauna that can be found in the west of the country.

Plus, the high levels of precipitation in the west leads to high levels of snowfall in the winter in the Alps and some of the world’s top skiing conditions (more on that below).

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Which regions get the most snow in Austria?

The west of Austria is home to the Austrian Alps – big mountains with lots of snow in the winter.

The Alps also has its own climate with colder winters than the rest of the country and changeable weather conditions due to high altitudes.

In fact, the temperature drops by approximately five degrees for every 300m of elevation, so the higher up you go, the colder it gets.

As a result, the west typically receives the most snowfall in Austria, compared with lower lying areas in the north and east. The west is also home to Austria’s ski resorts and almost the entire region is geared towards the winter season.

However, in December 2021, the east and south east of Austria received the heaviest snowfall in nine years, resulting in power outages in parts of Carinthia.

This demonstrates just how changeable Austria’s weather can be and proves that the Alpine republic is actually a cold-climate country, even if hot summertime weather can trick residents into thinking otherwise.

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The west of Austria gets the most snow during the winter months. Photo: CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP.

What about storms?

Storms are a regular occurrence in Austria during the summer months, but the strength and frequency seems to be increasing.

In 2021, Austria was hit by several strong storms causing extensive flooding and damage in Salzburg, Upper Austria, Tyrol, Lower Austria and Styria.

The trend seems to be repeating itself in 2022 with both the Pöllinger and the Treffner rivers in Carinthia bursting their banks after storms in late June causing widespread flooding, mudslides and damage across the region.

A few days earlier, rural areas in Upper Austria were also hit by storms (overnight, June 27th) bringing torrential rain and hail the size of golf balls, which resulted in extensive damage to crops and grassland in the key agricultural state.

So, to put it mildly, storms can be destructive in Austria, especially as the climate changes and high temperatures become more common in the summer months.

READ MORE: Wild weather in Austria: How to protect yourself during summer storms

Which part of Austria has the best weather?

Ultimately, the answer to this question comes down to what you are looking for.

If you want long, hot summers then head to Burgenland or Styria in the east, or Carinthia in the south of Austria.

If you like city life and you want to enjoy hot weather in the summer with the possibility of some snow in the winter (but not too much), then Vienna or Graz are good options.

But if you are searching for an Alpine winter wonderland followed by warm weather in the summer months, then the west of Austria (Tyrol, Salzburg, Vorarlberg) is the place to go.

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Austria heading into a rainy and cooler weekend after heatwave peak

After the heatwave reached its peak on Thursday with temperatures of up to 37C, the hot weather will subside (but not by much) as Austria gets showers and thunderstorms.

Austria heading into a rainy and cooler weekend after heatwave peak

Austria is experiencing one of the hottest summers in history and the effects of the hot and dry days can be seen all over the country.

From dried-out lakes to forest fires, the pictures showcasing the extreme weather’s impact are strong. The current heatwave, with temperatures above 30C every day since Saturday, August 13th, is set to peak this Thursday..

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Still, it seems there will be some relief as the Austrian meteorologic agency ZAMG forecasts rainfall for the coming days in the country.

It starts on Thursday, with rain and thunderstorms forecast for western Austria, though temperatures are still high and the east, including Vienna, is less likely to see rain today.

From Friday, though, rain and thunderstorms are expected for the entire country, with extreme weather for strong winds and storms. Early temperatures will stay between 14C and 24C, but maximum temperatures in the west, where it should rain all day long, will often be around 20C.

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In the east though, the sunniest locations could see the mercury rise to 35C.

On Saturday, early temperatures will be between 13C to 21C while daily maximum temperatures stay between 20C to 28C, with the east of Austria again seeing less rain and higher temperatures.

On Sunday, central regions of the country are likely to experience some rainfall, but by the afternoon most clouds will clear and showers will subside. Early morning temperatures will be between 11C and 20C, but will rise to between 22C to 28C later on in the day.

The weather will generally be sunny and dry next week, ZAMG reports. Daily maximum temperatures will be between 23C to 28C, according to the weather institute.

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What’s the weather going to be like in Vienna?

Friday will still be sunny and hot in Vienna, though the probability of showers and storms will increase near the evening hours. Daily maximum temperatures are around 33C.

Saturday morning is forecast to be rainy, but the skies will clear slightly during the day. Maximum temperatures will be around 26C.

On Sunday, some clouds still be present, which could lead to light rain, ZAMG says. Maximum daytime temperatures continue at 26C.