For members


Discover Austria: 7 must-see destinations for a spring break

The best way to blow away the winter cobwebs is by planning a spring adventure. And there's no better place to explore than Austria.

Discover Austria: 7 must-see destinations for a spring break
Austria's Wachau region is one of the best places to visit in spring. (Photo by ALEX HALADA / AFP)

Austria is usually known as a winter destination, but it’s a beautiful country to explore in the spring too. 

In the east, flowers and trees come to life in cities and the countryside, and snow capped mountains sparkle in the spring sunshine in the west.

The only downside is that the weather can be unpredictable with spells of sunshine often interrupted by rainfall. And the west can still get snow flurries until May. 

FOR MEMBERS: Six of the best things to do in spring in Vienna

But as long as you don’t mind packing for two seasons, there is plenty to see and do during spring in Austria.

Here are seven places to visit for a spring adventure in the Alpine Republic.

Winemaker Nikolaus Saahs, 34, poses for a picture in one of his vineyards overlooking Wachau Valley near Mautern, Lower Austria, on August 21, 2014. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)


At the top of your list for a spring destination in Austria should be the Wachau – a region in Lower Austria that runs alongside the Danube River and is home to many vineyards and pretty villages.

Between March and April, the Wachau comes to life as around 100,000 apricot trees come into bloom. Spring is also the time when winegrowers open their taverns after a winter break, so it’s a great opportunity to sample some local food and drink.

To really make the most of the region, the best way is to hike the Wachau World Heritage Trail. This is a 180 km trail broken down into 14 stages (so you don’t have to do it all). Most people start in Krems and the trail takes you along the river, past vineyards and historical locations. 


In the Salzburg region, famous for its stunning lakes and mountains, try out the Salzkammergut cycle path this spring. It is 337 km-long and runs past 13 lakes.

Some of the main sights along the way include the city of Salzburg, spas in Bad Aussee and Bad Mitterndorf, the famous world heritage site of Hallstatt and the beautiful Grundlsee.

May is recommended as one of the best months to enjoy the Salzkammergut cycle path before the main summer season starts. However, there could still be some chilly days on the higher elevations, so be sure to pack a warm jacket before setting off.

READ MORE: What you need to know before travelling to Austria in spring 2023

A chilly and beautiful spring morning in Zillertal, Austria (Photo by Simon Maisch on Unsplash)


Spring is a great time to visit the Zillertal valley in Tyrol as you can enjoy activities like hiking and cycling, as well as winter sports.

Most ski resorts close around early to mid-April, depending on the conditions. But the Hintertux Glacier is open all year round, so you can get your skiing fix while enjoying the spring sunshine.

The Zillertal Valley is also a great place to get back to nature with lush green meadows and gently sloping mountains. Or visit the popular hiking village of Ginzling, which sits at 1,000 metres above sea level and is a base for exploring the region by foot.

The Austrian city of Graz. Photo by Daniel J. Schwarz on Unsplash

The Austrian city of Graz. Photo by Daniel J. Schwarz on Unsplash


In southeast Austria near the Slovenian border, Graz is a former Slavic settlement dating back to the 12th century. It has a rich historical and cultural heritage with modern buildings sitting next to more traditional Renaissance and Baroque architecture.

This unique blend of styles has earned Graz international recognition: the Altstadt (Old Town) has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, and it has held a UNESCO City of Design title since 2011. 

Graz is also known as a culinary destination, which makes it an ideal choice for a spring weekend city break. Explore the Aldstadt by foot and discover its many restaurants, including vegan and vegetarian options. Or check out the farmer’s market Bauernmarkt am Lendplatz, on the other side of the river to pick up some local produce.

READ ALSO: Discover Austria: How to make the most of 24 hours in Graz


Eisenstadt is the capital of Burgenland – Austria’s most eastern province and prominent wine growing region. It is also just 50 minutes from Vienna by car, making it a great location for a spring getaway.

Although a small city, Eisenstadt is packed with culture and a thriving culinary scene, with the districts of ​​St. Georgen and Kleinhöflein most famous for Heurigen wine taverns and restaurants. 

A highlight in Eisenstadt is the Schloss Esterházy – a beautiful baroque palace that was built in the 13th Century. It is also home to Haydnsaal, a concert hall in memory of the Austrian composer Joseph Haydn from the Classical period.

And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, the city of Bratislava in Slovakia is just one hour away across the border. 

READ ALSO: Discover Austria: How to make the most of 24 hours in Innsbruck

Lake Lünersee, in Austria (Photo by Andreas Weilguny on Unsplash)

Lake Lünersee

Lüner Lake – known as the pearl of the Alps – is a large lake in Vorarlberg, near the town of Bludenz. In springtime it’s known for hiking trails and enjoying the fresh mountain air without the crowds of summer.

The Lünerseebahn (cable car) operates from mid-May and takes you from the valley station in Brandnertal (1583 metres) to Lüner Lake at 1983 metres. Alternatively, you can hike 2 km via the Böser Tritt to reach the lake.

However, some trails in the Alps can still be covered with snow in spring, so always do some research before venturing into the mountains. And if you want to stay overnight, the only place available at Lüner Lake is the Douglass Hütte that opens in mid-May.

READ ALSO: How to keep safe and avoid problems when hiking in the Austrian Alps

Grossglockner High Alpine Road

The High Alpine Road takes you on a stunning drive through the Alps to Austria’s highest mountain, the Grossglockner, which sits at 3,798 metres above sea level. The road is located in the Hohe Tauern National Park and extends across Salzburg, Tyrol and Carinthia.

The mountain pass is open to tourists from early May from 6am to 8pm and can only be accessed with a ticket. You can buy a day ticket, a three-week ticket, a season pass or a round-trip ticket. Motorcyclists can also take advantage of a tour ticket which allows for reduced entry to the Villacher Alpine Road.

There are also several mountain huts and restaurants along the route to sample some authentic Alpine cuisine, or simply enjoy the view on a sunny terrace.

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For members


What international border towns can you travel to on Austria’s KlimaTicket?

For the equivalent of a maximum of €3 per day, paid a year in advance, you can travel on most trains and public transport throughout Austria. And there are a few border towns, just inside Austria’s neighbouring countries, that are also reachable using only your KlimaTicket - and definitely worth the visit.

What international border towns can you travel to on Austria’s KlimaTicket?

For a maximum cost of €1,095 per year for a ticket that covers nearly all public transport nationwide, Austria’s KlimaTicket could be just the travel accessory you need this summer.

If you’re not willing to shell out quite that much, your regional public transport company will also sell a version of the KlimaTicket that gets you access to most public transport in that region – for less than the cost of a nationwide Climate Ticket.

You can even combine your KlimaTicket with an international trip – and only pay extra for the leg of your journey that’s outside Austria.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How does Austria’s KlimaTicket work?

That said, there are plenty of border towns national rail operator ÖBB will head to. You’ll often have to change there to a train from the other country if you’re travelling further. But if you’re content to just stop and explore, you can head to several border towns – with just your KlimaTicket.

Here are a few of our choices:

Passau, Germany

Known as the “City of the Three Rivers,” the Bavarian city of Passau lies just inside Germany, right on its border with Austria. You can reach it by train in just under an hour from Linz.

Getting its nickname from its location right at the confluence of the Danube, Inn, and Ilz rivers – Passau is a picturesque small city of just over 50,000 people. As your ÖBB train pulls into Passau’s central station, you might already be able to get a glimpse of the three copper-green domes of the city’s landmark St. Stephan’s Cathedral.

Inside the cathedral, you’ll find a legendary organ with over 17,000 pipes.


Passau’s famous onion-domed cathedral. Photo: Pexels, Magda Ehlers.

The 13th-century Veste Oberhaus fortress overlooks the city, housing an observation tower for a great view and a city museum.

READ ALSO: What are your rights if your trips is delayed of cancelled in Austria?

Buchs, Switzerland

Getting to this alpine beauty in Switzerland’s St. Gallen canton will have you pass through a 25-kilometre-long stretch of picturesque Liechtenstein, characterised by its well-photographed mountaintop castle and stunning river valley – all in a slightly more than a two-hour train ride from Innsbruck.

Once you’re in Buchs, the Liechtenstein town of Schaan lies right across a bridge, just north of the micro-state’s capital of Vaduz. That makes Buchs a great jumping-off point for Liechtenstein. But it also has some appeal in its own right.


Liechtenstein’s famous mountaintop castle, easily accessible from nearby Buchs, Switzerland, using the ÖBB KlimaTicket. Photo: Pexels, Veronica Bertollo

You can sit around Werdenburg Lake to snap a few photos or simply enjoy the view of lakeside Werdenburg Castle, a Swiss cultural heritage site of national significance. The castle originally was the seat of power for the County of Werdenburg in the Holy Roman Empire.

Alpine restaurants and guesthouses also help you take advantage of the great mountain hiking in the area. If you want to travel further into Switzerland, the train will have you in central Zurich in less than two hours.

Lindau and Reutin, Germany

These two border towns just a short trip from Bregenz are famous gateways to the Bodensee, or Lake Constance, the huge lake with shores in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Lindau in particular is famously situated on an island, connected to the mainland by both a rail bridge and a car causeway.

Lindau’s island castle is a major draw, as is its harbour containing Bavaria’s only lighthouse. So too is its unrivalled view of the Bodensee, which you can see clearly from almost every angle of the island’s shoreline. Boat companies also operate in Lindau to give you tours of the Bodensee from the water.


Lindau’s picturesque harbour on Lake Constance. Photo: Pexels, Masood Aslami

On land, you can also check out Lindau’s two medieval cathedrals – St. Stephan’s and St. Peter’s – both originally built in 1180 and 1000 AD, respectively. Its historical town hall contains a book archive with many tomes dating back to the 15th century. You can also stroll on Maximilianstrasse to get some shopping in or a bite to eat.

READ ALSO: How to save money while travelling around Austria

San Candido (South Tyrol), Italy

Italy’s South Tyrol region may feel very Austrian at first. That’s because around 62 percent of the entire population there speaks German as a first language, complete with a more or less Austro-Bavarian dialect.

In fact, out of about 116 villages, towns, and cities in South Tyrol – over 100 have a German-speaking majority, with the capital of Bolzano being one of only a very few majority Italian-speaking places in the province. If you’ve picked up some German during your time in Austria, you’ll probably get around here just fine with that.

South Tyrol

The largely German-speaking South Tyrol region, just across the border from Austria, lies almost entirely in the Italian Alps. Photo: Pexels, Ledana Mance

South Tyrol offers the majestic Alps, with eight mountain ranges that feature peaks of over 3,000 metres in height. You’ll have to go well into the mountains to see most of South Tyrol’s nearly 200 lakes, as most of them are higher up in the peaks.

The good news is that you can use ÖBB, and therefore just your KlimaTicket, to reach San Candido in South Tyrol in just under three hours from Innsbruck. Nestled at the base of gorgeous mountains, there are plenty of hotels and restaurants to give you a comfortable base from which to explore this unique part of Italy, including the nearby famous Dolomite Mountains.

READ ALSO: The ten best destinations by direct night train from Austria

Sopron, Hungary

If you’re looking for an easy visit to wine country, Hungary’s Sopron offers it in a simple ÖBB train trip that’ll run you just over an hour from Vienna or just under three hours from Graz.

Sopron is notable as a Hungarian wine region as its wineries can produce both red and white wines, with Pinot Noir from the area being particularly favoured among wine enthusiasts.


The border town of Sopron in western Hungary lies within a renowned wine region. But the town itself has plenty of history on offer. Photo: Pexels, Istvan Balogh

While beautiful vineyards dot the surrounding area, the town itself has plenty to offer – particularly to history buffs. Originally settled around the 2nd century, you can still find old walls and other evidence dating back to the Roman Empire.

The town square is notable for its 60-metre Firewatch Tower, which you can climb in 116 steps. At the bottom of the tower, you’ll find “Fidelity Gate” – erected in 1922 to commemorate Sopron’s loyalty to Hungary, when the townsfolk rejected Austrian citizenship in a referendum, leaving Sopron as part of Hungary.

READ ALSO: Five of the best weekend getaways from Vienna

Can I travel through Germany between Kufstein and Salzburg on the KlimaTicket?


Certain routes will see ÖBB trains travel through enclaves of another country in order to get between two Austrian destinations.

The most notable of these is the so-called Deutsches Eck, or “German Corner,” an enclave of Germany separating Salzburg and Kufstein. The fastest way to get between the two cities is to travel through Deutsches Eck, something ÖBB trains do regularly.

If you travel through Deutsches Eck, you can do so just on your KlimaTicket, provided that your starting and ending destination is within Austria.

This doesn’t mean, however, that these services don’t occasionally see problems, as recent train strikes in Germany leave ÖBB with no choice but to suspend services travelling through Deutsches Eck, and offer alternative shuttles.