6 Romantic Christmas Excursions

Lower Austria’s destinations are at their most romantic during the Advent season, when families and friends can pack up and go off on excursions to them.

Strolling through Christmas-decorated lanes of wine cellars, or in gardens and Advent markets, or riding a horse-drawn sleigh, or catching fantastic views from a cable car, if none of these will get you into the Christmas spirit, then you’re just out of it. Because it hardly gets more beautiful!

1. Advent magic at Kittenberger Discovery Gardens

Experience the magical world of botany at Kittenberger Discovery Gardens in Schiltern near Langenlois, with thousands of ideas for garden and nature enthusiasts. Kittenberger Advent is when 50 themed gardens transform themselves from 12 November to 8 January into a veritable Christmas wonderland. See the glow of hearths as torches and fairy lights shine, with an enormous Advent wreath floating on the water, and listen to a concert in the garden arena as live floristry and homemade specialties create just the perfect atmosphere. There are many suggested decorations and gifts just right for the home.

2. Christmas rides on the Schneeberg and Mariazellbahn trains

All aboard! The enchanting Ötscherbär Train is an experience for the entire family, departing every Saturday starting from 19 November. St. Nicholas, Krampus or Kris Kringle might even join you on the ride from St. Pölten to Mariazell with a grab bag along with them. The Advent Panorama Coach provides comfortable views of the winter wonderland outside along with delicious mulled wine and fried dough pastries. And on 24 December, you can pass the time quite nicely until Christmas Eve riding the Schneebergbahn to Hengsthütte.

3. Advent walks to the wine cellars of the Weinviertel

The wine cellar alleys of the Lower Austrian Weinviertel are themselves an attraction and wine tastings here can be a part of your excursion through the countryside. Advent makes the perfect backdrop for Christmas markets. Both the Retz Advent Market and the chance to enjoy wine at the Retzer Erlebniskeller will put visitors in the spirit of Christmas above and below ground. Enjoy either the charming Wolkersdorfer Kellergasse along a hollow road or among Austria’s most beautiful rolling vineyard hills at Velm-Götzendorf. Or walk along the longest lane of wine cellars in the province at Hadres. Or visit Kellerdorf Loamgrui in Unterstinkenbrunn... See how the choices are hardly simple to make!

4. Horse-drawn sleighs and dog sledding in the Mostviertel and Waldviertel

Sleigh bells ringing, horses snorting, yourself thickly wrapped in cozy blankets racing past trees and the ground glittering white - there is nothing more romantic than riding a horse-drawn sleigh from the stables at Schlaghof through the snowy landscape around Annaberg. The MAHO equestrian farm in St. Aegyd even lets you opt either to ride in a carriage or take a winter excursion on horseback. If you prefer dogs to horses, the husky ranch in Altnagelberg brings to life long-cherished dreams of gliding behind a dogsled through the winter woods.

5. Into the Advent mood in the palatial atmosphere of the Danube

The castles on the Danube in Lower Austria are united by art, history and an imperial ambience. Fortunately, the gardens and parks, and even the castle rooms are to some extent open to everybody now, and on various weekends during Advent they become the setting for idyllic and lovingly designed Christmas markets, concerts and events. The Schloss Hof Christmas market scores high with castle exhibitions, a living nativity scene and Christmas stable with animals. There are regional handicrafts, lots of delicious food and entertainment for all ages at the Marchegg Castle Advent Market, Grafenegg Advent and Göttweig Benedictine Abbey Advent Market. Finally, the Dürnstein Castle Wachau Advent entices with the opportunity to socialize and meet others on the Danube.

6. Chilling out during Advent at a warm-water spa

Soothe yourself in warm water after an Advent market. Or simply enjoy the Christmas season in a consciously relaxed way. Come to the Roman baths at Baden and enjoy the thermal sulfur water either indoors or outdoors, all fed from 14 medicinal springs. Especially recommended is the Schwefelwandl, where you can relax in an outdoor sulfur pool! Indulge yourself at Therme Laa in the Weinviertel for a massage, soaking in the brine pools and enjoying the different saunas, or to take advantage of the cosmetic and wellness treatments where wine plays a major role. In addition, you can retreat to the silent spa, a peaceful place with a singles atmosphere and strictly for adults only.

All Advent markets at a glance