Rax, © Niederösterreich Werbung/ Metjukrejza

The Lower Austrian mountain experience

A world of stimulation and relaxation

No busy pools, congestion, or noisy air conditioning: Instead, stunning peaks, crystal clear mountain lakes and rustic huts, shady hiking trails and flowering alpine meadows. That is what we mean by an Alpine summer!

What makes the mountains an experience will likely be somewhat different for every single person. Some people want to come down the mountains, whereas others want to climb up them. Some people want to relax and recuperate, whereas others want to stretch themselves. Some people want to enjoy nature, wonderful views and delicious food, others want an all-action experience packed full of fun and live music - and some want to enjoy a little bit of everything. And, finally, some people want to come with their children and dogs, while others want to enjoy time spent as a couple, with friends or on their own.

The mountains of Lower Austria provide a temporary backdrop to all of these different combinations and requirements, ranging from stimulating to relaxing, from mellow to wild and from fast to slow. Indeed, where mountains are involved, there will also be valleys as well. A mountain is not merely its summit, but also its route there.

Here is an overview of what you will find in the mountain regions of the Mostviertel and the Viennese Alps in spring, summer and autumn. You can replenish your energy reserves between mountain pastures, alpine huts and summit crosses. Now: take a deep breath and head for the mountains in Lower Austria!

If you head to the mountains...

Fresh mountain air for little adventurers, © Robert Herbst

Family holidays in the mountains

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Trailrunning, Mirafall, © Gerald Demolsky

Through canyons to waterfalls

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Hochkar, © Robert Herbst

Hiker meets summit: Mountains in Lower Austria

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Guided mountain tour Schneeberg, © Wiener Alpen/Martin Fülöp

Mountaineering in Lower Austria

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Crystal clear water in the Ötscher gorges, © Fred Lindmoser

Green lakes, clear rivers!

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Hiking on the Viennese Alpine Arc, © Wiener Alpen/Fülöp&Kremsl

Hike from hut to hut in the south of Vienna

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View from the hut, © Romeo Felsenreich

Alpine huts and pastures

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Many paths lead to the mountains of Lower Austria. Discover the most beautiful ones here.

Short break in the mountains

Where to stay? Which tour is truly the best? Action, relaxation or a combination of both? Here, we have got the answers, and much more.

Lower Austria´s top 10 alpine tours

We have climbed up to Lower Austria's most challenging peaks, to bring you the region's most demanding tours.

An Eldorado for hikers, © Veronika Marx

To the Wetterkoglerhaus, via the Marienseer Schwaig

The approximately 3.5 km long route, which is suitable for the whole family, leads from the biotope in Mariensee, past the Marienseer Schwaig inn, and to the Wetterkoglerhaus inn. The cosy Wetterkoglerhaus is at the highest point of the Wechsel (1,743 meters above sea level), also known as the Hochwechsel, and therefore offers the most impressive view in the Wechselland area.

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Hike to the alpine Hocheck, © Christian Handl

From Kaumberg to the Hocheck

The 15 kilometre hike from Kaumberg to the Hocheck (1,037 m above sea level) is a physically challenging mountain tour. It starts in Kaumberg, which is just under an hour’s drive away from Vienna. The Hocheck is the easternmost one-thousand-meter peak in the Lower Austrian alpine foothills. When they reach their destination, hikers are rewarded with outstanding views from the Meyringwarte lookout post at the summit of the Hocheck.

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Vogelbergsteig Wachau, © photography.pfeffel.at

Vogelbergsteig in Dürnstein

The varied, sometimes steep route along the Vogelbergsteig path leading to the Fesslhütte inn and the historic Dürnstein Castle ruins is one of the most beautiful hiking tours in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wachau. There are several opportunities for hikers to take in impressive views of the Danube and Dürnstein and the surrounding landscape.

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Ötscher, Rauher Kamm, © Niederösterreich-Werbung/Michael Liebert

To the Ötscher via the Rauher Kamm gorge

This classic mountain tour in the Mostviertel spans almost 13 kilometres, and leads via the Rauher Kamm gorge to the 1,893 metre high Ötscher summit. This very demanding ascent of the Ötscher should only be tackled by experienced and skilled mountaineers in dry and stable weather conditions, as the marked route includes climbing sections where safety equipment is not provided.

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Fischerhütte, © Wiener Alpen in Niederösterreich/Franz Zwickl

Schneeberg – Nandlgrat

This almost 14 kilometre long, challenging mountain tour on the Schneeberg requires a very good level of physical fitness and coordination, and leads experienced mountaineers along high rock formations and rock faces of the Nandlgrat trail, and up to the summit. You can regain your energy for the descent, surrounded by the breathtaking landscape, at the Fischerhütte or the Edelweisshütte inns.

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An Alpine summer in the Rax mountains, © Niederösterreich-Werbung/Robert Herbst

From the Knappenhof to the Ottohaus

The approx. 4.5 kilometre route leads to the Ottohaus inn, via the Törlweg path. Built in 1893, this mountain inn offers a fantastic view of the 4,000 sqm Rax Alpine Garden. It also inspired Sigmund Freud, a regular summertime visitor. Was the legendary Holzfällerbraten (“lumberjack roast”) on the menu back then? We don't know, but you have to try it!

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Sonnwendstein, © Niederösterreich-Werbung/ M. Liebert

From Maria Schutz to the Pollereshütte on the Sonnwendstein

The 3.6 kilometre hiking route from the pilgrimage site of Maria Schutz leads along a forest path, and then along the north side of the Sonnwendstein on the narrow, steep Gebirgsjägersteig trail to the Pollereshütte inn. Once there, hungry mountaineers can feast on Blunzengröstl (a traditional dish containing potatoes and black pudding) or Pinzgauer cheese dumplings. At 1,523 metres above sea level, the summit boasts magnificent views of the Viennese Alpine Arc.

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Obersee, © Rene Jagersberger

Ybbstalerhütte – Dürrenstein – Seetal Panoramic Tour

In any case, mountaineers tackling the almost 22 kilometre long 2-day tour to the 1,878 meter high Dürrenstein, with an overnight stay at the Ybbstalerhütte inn, should be in good shape. The path leads through jungle-like trenches, past the cold pole of Central Europe, through lush pine fields and alpine meadows, and past the most beautiful lakes of Ybbstal.

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Annaberger Haus, © Karl Schachinger

Annaberg – Tirolerkogel – Eibl – Türnitz

Magnificent views of the surrounding mountains await on you this almost 14.5 kilometre alpine tour. On a clear autumnal day, you can even see Wachau and the Gesäuse National Park! The route starts in Annaberg, and takes you up the Tirolerkogel to the Annaberger Haus, and on over the Eibl to Türnitz. It is possible to take a Postbus back to Annaberg.

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Skywalk Hohe Wand, © Naturparke Niederösterreich/Robert Herbst

Hike to the Grosse Kanzel on the Hohe Wand

The approximately 3 kilometre long, family-friendly ascent to the Grosse Kanzel begins in the middle of the forest, at the Pension Toni Seiser guesthouse in Höflein. The path leads through mountain forests and along the Grafenbergsteig path to the Wilhelm-Eichert-Hütte, Turmsteighütte and Hubertushaus inns. Tip for mountaineers: The Grosse Kanzel can also be reached via two fixed-rope climbing routes (Springlessteig and Wagnersteig path).

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All mountain tours at a glance

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12 secret tips for enjoying an Alpine summer

Naturfreundehaus Knofeleben, © Wiener Alpen/Bene Croy

On the royal road

The Emperor always spent the summer hunting, and was based in his suite in the Thalhof in Reichenau, just a stone’s throw away from the Eng. Make your way through the wild and romantic gorge to Knofeleben, which was once where the royal hunting hut was located... but now where the Naturfreundehaus Knofeleben hut invites you to take a rest.

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Naturpark Hohe Wand, © Wiener Alpen/Franz Zwickl

Mountain goats on the Hohe Wand?

Although they should not actually be here, they have found a great home: The mountain goats of the Hohe Wand are just as much a part of the scenery as the rugged rocks; and just like the view, they have become a popular photo opportunity for climbers and hikers. Our tip: Get the best view from Skywalk Hohe Wand.

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Skytour Hochkar, © Rene Jagersberger

100 peaks in one picture

On Lower Austria’s highest viewing platform, the Skytour 360° on the Hochkar, the Mostviertel and the whole world are at your feet. In the optimum conditions, you can enjoy a panorama of 100 peaks which have altitudes exceeding 2,000 metres.

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An underground wonderland in the Ötscher stalactite cave, © Melanie Karas

Madonna in the Mostviertel

How did a Madonna, a flamingo and an elephant’s ear end up in a cave? Nature has allowed them to grow there, and the Ötscher stalactite cave with its unique rock formations can be explored in an exciting 45-minute tour.

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Elisabethkircherl, © Wiener Alpen in Niederösterreich/Franz Zwickl

Sissi’s radiance

The Elisabethkircherl, which was built in the honour of Empress Sissi after her assassination, is enthroned on the Hochschneeberg. The church was built very close to the edge, which is why today – in true Sissi style – its radiance can be seen from miles around.

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The pastures on the Wechsel are known as Schwaigen, © Wiener Alpen in Niederösterreich/Michael Reidinger

No pastures on the Wechsel

The Wechsel mountain, which is on the border between Styria and Lower Austria, does not have pastures. Instead, they are called Schwaigen, and those who explore them will find many sacred milestones such as the Schwarzen Herrgott (“Black Jesus Christ”) or the Steinerne Kreuz (“Stone Cross”).

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Ötscher, the mountain of many stories, © Mostviertel Tourismus/weinfranz.at

A mountain steeped in legend

The Ötscher was, and is, fascinating. It is hardly surprising that there are so many stories about it. So, for example, the weather loch, which is said have been formed during a storm, or the pigeon hole in which more lost souls than pigeons nest. The old mountain knows 1,000 stories. It’s time to hear one or two of them.

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Hochschneeberg mountain railway, © Wiener Alpen in Niederösterreich/Franz Zwickl

The highest railway station

Austria’s highest railway station is located on the Hochschneeberg. And as if that were not enough, there is an exhibition at the Hochschneeberg mountain station, featuring works by the Puchberg-based artist VOKA.

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Power station Stierwaschboden, © Mostviertel Tourismus/weinfranz.at

Energised pioneering spirit

The Wienerbruck power station on the Stierwaschboden was built between 1907-1911, and is one of the EVN’s oldest power stations, and generates the traction current for the Mariazell Railway – one of the first electrified railways in Austria-Hungary.

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Wildness Dürrenstein, © Mostviertel Tourismus/weinfranz.at

The largest jungle in central Europe

It’s true: The largest remains of a primeval forest in central Europe are in the Mostviertel – at the heart of the Wilderness Area Dürrenstein, to be precise. The strictest natural reserve of Austria, the Rothwald wilderness, has seen neither axe nor chainsaw since the last ice age.

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Eibl Teichhütte, © Familie Tröstl

A blessing in disguise

First, the associated drag lift did not work. Then the Eibl Teichhütte was adapted into a shelter. Then it was set alight by an arsonist. The idyllic hut did not have a very good start. But now it is more popular than ever before!

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