Seven active adventures in Austria

The great outdoors harnesses the true character of a destination, and if you ever need proof, just look to Austria. Whether you dream of wild swimming with an Alpine backdrop or cycling through orchards, it’s time to shake off the restrictions of the past few years and prepare for a summer of unspoiled natural splendour – we’ve got your active getaway covered

00000109130 Familienausflug auf die Schmittenhoehe in Zell am See Kaprun Zell am See Kaprun Tourismus

Conquering Alpine peaks in Upper Austria and Salzburgerland

As the snow melts, big-time ski resorts unveil an array of summer adventures. And there’s nothing quite like an invigorating hike in the fresh Alpine air. Head south to Dachstein-Krippenstein, one of the country’s most impressive massifs, where the glistening Dachstein glacier offers a moment of cool respite and trails dotted with viewing platforms reveal spectacular panoramas. Salzburgerland’s Zell am See-Kaprun region, with majestic mountains framing azure lakes, fairytale forests and glistening streams, is the ideal place for a family getaway, while seasoned hikers can master the multi-day Gorge Route in Saalachtal. Whatever scenery you seek, make sure to stop by one of the numerous mountain huts for a traditional home-cooked meal.

Photo by © Zell am See-Kaprun Tourismus

00000085367 Zwei Mountainbiker unterwegs im Muehlviertel Blick auf die Donau Oesterreich Werbung Martin Steinthaler tinefoto com

Cycling the Danube

A holiday on two wheels begins at the German border town of Passau, where Europe’s second-largest river paints a ribbon of blue across the Upper Danube Valley. The grand monastery of Melk, ancient castles of Dürnstein and apricot orchards of Wachau await along the Danube Cycle Path, as you travel downstream to Vienna – and, if you’ve more time on your hands, it stretches all the way over to the Slovakian capital. The Austrian portion of the trail is full of opportunities to fuel up on regional delicacies, be it Viennese rolls or apfelstrudel with vanilla ice cream.

Photo by © Österreich Werbung/Martin Steinthaler (

00000098203 Naturpark Blockheide bei Gmuend im Waldviertel Oesterreich Werbung Peter Podpera

Finding solace in the Forest Quarter

A blanket of trees covers almost half of Austria, so perhaps it’s little wonder that the practice of forest bathing – finding a moment of calm in nature – is a firm favourite among locals and visitors alike. Wander into the mystic Waldviertel – the ‘Forest Quarter’ – in Lower Austria, to find countless shades of green punctured with granite boulders and bright poppy fields. Then follow the remarkable rock formations and Celtic roots of the Druid Trail or give in to the idyllic Water Wonders Trail’s invitations for a dip in shady streams. For sweeping views over the canopies, opt for the Nebelstein Panoramic Trail, ending on a viewing platform 1,017m above sea level.

Photo by © Österreich Werbung/Peter Podpera

00000100348 Grawa Wasserfall Stubaital Oesterreich Werbung Harald Eisenberger

Chasing waterfalls in Tyrol

When it comes to waterfalls, marvellous views go without saying. But the fine mist is something of a natural spa, aiding in the cleansing of airways and loading the body up with negative ions that can contribute to a healthy immune system and better sleep. In the western state of Tirol, no waterfall has a higher vertical drop than the Stuibenfall, Ötztal. A spiral staircase takes hikers to its base, with an 80m-long suspension bridge encouraging full immersion with the elements. The wild Grawa Waterfall in Stubaital, on the other hand, is fed by a number of glacial streams, and offers viewing platforms at the top and bottom, making it easily accessible for family adventure. Finally, thrill-seeking climbers should look no further than Schleier Waterfall – ‘the veil’ – which is flanked by sheer rock faces on either side.

Photo by © Österreich Werbung/Harald Eisenberger

00000088458 Sonnenuntergang am Bodensee Vorarlberg Tourismus Joachim Negwer

Diving into Vorarlberg

Wild swimming is said to improve circulation, lower blood pressure and boost dopamine levels. A good spot to nourish body and soul is the forest-fringed Lake Constance in Vorarlberg – the third-largest lake in central Europe – where you can explore the shores of four countries by paddleboard, pedalboat or canoe. Further south, a slow train will transport you into Grosses Walsertal Biosphere Park, where Lake Seewaldsee sparkles between meadows and woodlands. Or, for lazy days on the banks with an Austrian craft beer in hand, opt for the crystal-clear waters at Alvier-Bad in Brand.

Photo by © Vorarlberg Tourismus/Joachim Negwer

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Teeing off in Styria

Known as the green heart of Austria, the south-eastern state of Styria boasts some 26 golf courses. Here, mild weather conditions and scenic surroundings are a golfer’s dream – in the north, you can practise your swing to a backdrop of Alpine pastures and glistening streams; in the south, play by historic castles and romantic orchards. From the Traminergolf Resort in Kloch, nestled between neat rows of vineyards, to Golfclub Schladming-Dachstein, fringed by the mountains, expect some of the most beautiful courses in the world.

Photo courtesy of

00000096380 Weingut Stephan O Dachterrasse und Weingarten Paul Szimak Paul Szimak

Sampling the wines of Burgenland

Round off your trip with a glass of rich, full-bodied wine from the vintners of Burgenland. Guided tours of historic wine cellars, charming estates and sun-soaked vineyards are a must in this region in the east of Austria. Complex whites are best sampled at the organic Stephano Winery; for dessert wines, it’s Salzl Seewinkelhof in Illmitz and for the reds emblematic of the region head to family-run Hans Igler Winery, on the Schaflerhof Estate. Local cuisine awaits at many of them too, along with the chance to stay the night and wake up to a spectacular sunrise over the vines.

Photo by © Paul Szimak

Whatever you opt for, rest assured a summer in Austria will leave you recharged and taking home memories that will keep you inspired for years to come. To find out more and start planning your trip, head over to or search #realaustria on social media.

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