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Claudia Brandhofer, Michaela Luger
Claudia Brandhofer Michaela Luger




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Wienerwald

This lush forest is Vienna's green lung and a place to visit for itself.
Wienerwald bei Mayerling, (c) Wienerwald Tourismus
Pure green around Mayerling
The Wienerwald, known to English speakers as the Vienna Woods, encompasses heavily wooded hills and valleys hugging the western regions of Vienna. Large parts of it are protected within the biosphere reserve Wienerwald. Here you find hundreds of marked trails for walkers and hikers, leisure- and mountainbikers alike. Not only are these woods a beloved recreational area for the city dwellers, they also have a long history as a cultural region with its own distinct identity.
Sala Terrena, (c) Stift Klosterneuburg
Sala Terrena at Klosterneuburg abbey
Intellectual centre
One place where this history is especially noticeable is the Abbey of Klosterneuburg, located near the Danube on the northern edge of the Vienna Woods. Part Gothic and part Baroque, it symbolizes the close link between the sacred and the secular in the Habsburg Empire. It has been one of the leading intellectual centres of the land for nearly 900 years and is world famous for its unique art treasures, particularly for the 12th century Verdun altarpiece. Klosterneuburg is also very famous as a centre of viniculture.

Spiritual centre
The spiritual and cultural heartland of the southern Wienerwald has been the abbey of Heiligenkreuz for more than 850 years. It is the seat of the Cistercian Order in Lower Austria; the monastic complex itself is a masterpiece of medieval architecture. Recently the monks even have become pop stars: in 2008 they released the CD “Chant – Music for Paradise”. With their Gregorian chants they made it into the pop charts in Austria – and the UK as well!
Biedermeier spa centre
Moving southward along the edge of the Vienna Woods towards the vast Pannonian plain lie a string of thermal spas. Well worth visiting is Baden, the Biedermeier spa town where you can take a healing sulphur bath. Vineyards and wine growers, more spa towns, castles and the largest underground lake on the continent are all located in the immediate vicinity. Don’t miss the small village of Gumpoldskirchen, with its very traditional wine taverns called “Heurige”.