Autumn is an excellent time to visit Austria. You can partake in jubilant harvest festivals, see an Almabtrieb cattle procession, drink Sturm (early wine) in cosy Heurigen (wine taverns), savor traditional Martinigansl (St. Martin of Tours goose), and enjoy popular destinations without the crowds (Vienna, Zillertal, Ötztal).
In early Fall (mid/late September – Mid October) prioritize your time in the Austrian Alps. In late Fall (late October – late November), skip the mountains in favor of Austria’s cities, river valleys, and wine regions.
Autumn in Austria: Best Places to Visit
Good to Know
- Fall colors peak from mid/late-October to early November.
- Traditional Almabtriebe (cattle drives) take place in early Fall (mid-late September) across the Austrian Alps.
- Hotel rates drop significantly in Fall.
- In November, the Austrian Mountains are usually covered in snow. If you visit Austria in November, head to the cities (Vienna, Graz, Salzburg), the Wachau River Valley, or South Styria.
- When there’s snow in the mountains, we recommend these Autumn walks: Ötschergräben gorge walk near Maria Zell, Dürnstein to Krems in the Wachau, Stadtwanderweg 1 in Vienna.
- The Grossglockner High Alpine Road usually stays open until late October/early November, depending on snow conditions.
- The Schlegeis Alpine Road to Schlegeisspeicher reservoir, the starting point for the Olpererhütte hike, is open until late October, depending on snow conditions.
- Austrian Mountain huts (Hütten) typically close down for the season in late September. Some huts stay open until early October, depending on weather conditions.
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Austria Autumn Destinations Map
1. Grosser Ahornboden, Tirol
Grosser Ahornboden (“Great Maple Floor”) is a wide grassy plain in the secluded Hinterrisstal (“Upper Riss Valley”) in Karwendel Nature Park in Tirol. The valley floor is covered in 2,300 sycamore maple trees – a declared natural monument – with many dating back six centuries.
Grosser Ahornboden is particularly gorgeous in Fall, when the maple leaves turn gold and shimmer in the late afternoon light. The fall foliage colors peak around mid-October, though the exact timing is impacted by weather, frost, and wind.
At the head of the valley, you’ll find the Die Eng hotel and Engalm, an active alpine pasture in summer. Though the cattle are already home for the winter, you can enjoy lunch at the Die Eng Alpine Pasture Hut and purchase some local cheese, produced on-site, at the Eng shop.
What to See and Do in Grosser Ahornboden in Autumn
Grosser Ahornboden is the starting point for many hiking trails in Karwendel Nature Park.
Gamsjoch Peak is one of the most rewarding summit hikes starting at Grosser Ahornboden. The summit affords spectacular views of the Hinterautal-Vomper Chain, the longest mountain chain in the Karwendel Mountains. Along the trail, it’s possible to spot chamois and ibex.
Tips for Visiting Ahornboden in Fall
- Avoid weekends. It feels like the entire German population descends on Ahornboden on Autumn weekends to photograph the maple trees.
- Stay at Die Eng Alpengasthof for at least two nights to get the most out of your visit.
How to Get to Grosser Ahornboden
Grosser Ahornboden is only accessible by a toll road from Vorderriss valley on the Bavarian side. The toll is around 5 EUR. Bring cash.
We drove to Grosser Ahornboden from Lake Achensee (58 km, 1:30 hours). From Achenkirch, continue north to Germany. You’ll follow B307 and Risstal Landesstrasse to Grosser Ahornboden.
The Riss Valley road ends at Die Eng Hotel, where there’s a large parking lot.
Learn more about Karwendel Nature Park:
Where to Stay in Grosser Ahornboden
Die Eng Alpengasthof & Alpencafé
Die Eng Alpengasthof is located at the end of the Risstal valley road, just steps away from the Eng Alpine Pasture. It’s open from early May until late October, depending on snow conditions. This is the only hotel at Grosser Ahornboden.
This mountain hotel is the best base for exploring Eng and the surrounding Karwendel mountains.
Breakfast is included in the room rate. If you stay 3 or more nights, you can book half board. Guests who stay 1-2 nights can eat dinner in the hotel’s à la carte restaurant or in the Eng alpine pasture hut.
Recent hotel renovations have resulted in a series of deluxe double rooms (“Ahornzimmer”) and a new wellness area (2022).
The most compelling reason to stay here is for the location. While the food was satisfactory, it wasn’t excellent. The quality of service varied. The dining staff was overworked and exhausted, understandably so, because we visited during the busiest time of year.
Despite some of the shortcomings, we would stay here again and again, because there’s no place in Austria as magical as Grosser Ahornboden.
2. Oetz, Tirol
Oetz is a town near the entrance of Oetztal Valley in Tirol. The old village center is made up of historic buildings with vibrantly-painted facades, sports shops, local speciality shops, cafés and hotels.
Oetz lies below Acherkogel mountain (3007 m) and just northeast of the Ötztaler Ache river.
Enjoying a mild climate in Autumn, Oetz is an excellent base for cycling, e-biking, and hiking in September and October.
Things to Do in Oetz in Autumn
The most popular attraction near Oetz is Lake Piburger See, the largest lake in Oetztal Valley and the warmest mountain lake in Tyrol.
Our favorite autumn hike in Oetztal is the Knappenweg circuit trail, which traces an old Miner’s route. Over 350 years ago, people mined for copper, galenite, and pyrite in this high-alpine area.
This moderate 6-hour hike starts at Hochoetz, which is easily reached by the Acherkogelbahn gondola. From the Hochoetz mountain station, the trail passes the Bielefelder Hütte mountain hut, ascends to Wetterkreuz peak, descends Wörgetal peak to Knappenhaus, and then returns to Hochoetz via Balbachalm.
Another must-do activity is the thrilling Stuibenfall via ferrata in nearby Umhausen Niederthai.
And if it rains during your visit, head to Aqua Dome Thermal Spa for a day of wellness and relaxation.
Where to Stay in Oetz in Fall
Feelfree Natur & Aktiv Resort Ötztal
With uplifting mountain views, hiking and biking trails right on the doorstep, a relaxing 600m2 spa, and an on-site restaurant, this resort village is the perfect base for adventurous couples and families.
Tucked along the Ache river, Nature & Active Resort Oetztal is made up of 14 different buildings and offers a wide selection of rooms, suites, chalets, and apartments. The deluxe lifestyle suites are particularly impressive with their high ceilings, hardwood floors, stone pine furniture, free-standing bathtubs, functional kitchenettes (noiseless fridge, dishwasher, sink), cozy sofas, and soft beds.
A young and cheerful team fosters a casual and friendly atmosphere. Everything about our stay was easy, uncomplicated, and seamless.
As its name implies, this resort is designed for active travelers. From mid-May until mid-October, Nature & Aktiv Resort Ötztal offers a free weekly activity program with guided hiking and cycling tours as well as on-site climbing and archery courses.
You can rent bikes and hiking equipment at no extra charge. Resort guests get special discounts on all rafting, via ferrata, and canyoning tours as well.
Looking proudly back on more than 400 years of history, the historic Posthotel Kassl is the heart and soul of Oetz in Oetztal Valley, Tirol.
Posthotel Kassl is a family-run, 4-star superior hotel with an on-site restaurant, art nouveau bar (dating back to the 1800s), spa area with indoor and outdoor pools, and a range of country-style and newly renovated alpine-modern rooms and suites.
The renovated rooms and suites epitomize modern alpine elegance with their untreated stone pine furniture, hardwood floors, leather headboards and chairs, soft lighting, and deluxe, slate-tiled bathrooms. Suites also have massive – you can almost swim in them – bathtubs and infrared chairs.
This is a half board hotel, which means breakfast and dinner are included in the rate.
The sauna area is actually the oldest part of the hotel, dating back to 1604. The highlights of the spa are the indoor-outdoor pool with mountain views, the salt steam sauna, and the room of silence: a relaxation zone with waterbeds and swing chairs.
3. Zillertal Valley, Tirol
The Zillertal Valley branches off the Inntal Valley between the Tux Alps and the Kitzbühel Alps. The valley takes its name from the glaciated Zillertal Alps which crown the head of the valley, along the Austrian-Italian border.
We recommend visiting Zillertal at the end of summer/beginning of Fall. Time your visit with the annual Almabtrieb, the ceremonial procession of livestock being guided from high alpine pastures down to the valley. The cattle don ornate flower headdresses and wear huge cowbells, which clang theatrically as they strut through the villages. At the beginning of Autumn, Almabtriebe processions take place in Hippach and Mayrhofen.
What to See & Do in Zillertal in Autumn
Most of the valley is defined by rolling mountains and pastureland. But as you near the piercing Zillertal Alps, the landscapes get increasingly more impressive. Zillertal eventually splits into four valleys – Zillergrund, Zamsergrund, Stillupgrund, and Tux Valley – which are the gateways to the best trails in the region. Note: there are toll fees to access most of these valleys.
We recommend hiking to Olpererhütte (starting at Schlegeis Reservoir) and the Berliner Hütte (starting at Gasthof Breitlahner), even if the huts are closed during your visit.
Learn more about Zillertal:
Visit Zillertal on a Road Trip:
Where to Stay in Zillertal in Autumn
Our favorite town in Zillertal is Mayrhofen, but Zell am Ziller is also a nice base, with a host of wonderful accommodations, including Wellness Hotel Theresa.
Hotel Theresa is a family-run, 4-star superior hotel located in the center of Zell am Ziller, next to the train station and 800 meters from the Zillertal Ski Arena.
Set amid sprawling pastures in Zillertal Valley, this full-board hotel spoils guests with its picturesque location, mountain views, extensive 3500m2 spa area, wellness and active program, and organic food.
All meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), fitness and wellness classes, and use of spa facilities are included.
Most Hotel Theresa bedrooms are decked in a country home style featuring floral and plaid upholstery, wood dressers, box spring beds, and sparse wood paneling.
The recently renovated VIP rooms sport marble bathrooms with freestanding bathtubs, velvet headboards, comfortable seating areas, and dreamy wallpaper.
Our Hotel Review: Zillertal Spa Getaway: Hotel Theresa
4. Maria Alm, Salzburg
Maria Alm am Steinernen Meer (Maria Alm at the Rocky Sea) is a pretty town with a historic pilgrimage church in the Hochkönig holiday area in Salzburg.
The town’s backdrop is the Steinernes Meer mountain range, which is defined by its vast high-alpine karst plateau.
Things to Do in Maria Alm in Fall
In early Autumn, Maria Alm hosts an annual Harvest Festival (“Bauernherbstfest”), where visitors can listen to live music, eat local delicacies, buy local products (honey, cheese, smoked meat, herbal products) and see an Almabtrieb cattle drive.
This festival usually takes place from early September until mid-October. For the exact program and date of the Almabtrieb, reach out to the Maria Alm tourist office.
We recommend visiting Maria Alm in early Autumn (September – mid/late October), when the weather is stable and temperatures are mild. During our fall visit, we hiked up to Riemannhaus, a mountain refuge on the Steinernes Meer plateau.
Easy, scenic walks begin at the Erichhütte car park, just past the Dientner Saddle along the Hochkönigstrasse (High King Street), including Taghaube peak and the Salzburger Almenweg Stage 2. More info in our Salzburg Hiking Guide.
Where to Stay in Maria Alm in Autumn
Hotel Eder is a family-run, 4-star hotel in the heart of Maria Alm am Steinernen Meer in the Hochkönig holiday region of Salzburg.
Situated on the village square and adjacent to the Maria Alm Pilgrimage Church, Hotel Eder serves as the favorite meeting place for locals and visitors alike.
This stylish hotel delights with its fresh and playful design choices, creative wellness spaces, and relaxed atmosphere.
We were impressed by the hotel restaurant and bar and the overall hospitality and attentiveness of the staff. You can book breakfast-only, or half board (recommended).
The indoor-outdoor pool, which runs parallel to the Pilgrimage Church, and the herbal moor relaxation zone are especially memorable.
Our Hotel Review: A Look Inside Hotel Eder
5. Ramsau am Dachstein, Styria
Ramsau am Dachstein is a municipality and an elevated plateau in Styria, located between the Dachstein mountain range and the Enns Valley. The center of Ramsau, known as “Ramsau Ort,” is a small village with a striking church and a few stores, eateries, and hotels. From the village, Ramsau sprawls out to the east and west.
Ramsau isn’t a classic “resort town.” You won’t find tons of shops, restaurants, and luxury hotels. What Ramsau lacks in tourist glamor, it makes up for in romantic scenery. The entire plateau is dotted with beautiful farmsteads, surrounded by alpine pastures.
Ramsau is situated at the foot of the southern Dachstein mountains. The slopes beneath the Dachstein rock face are strewn with larch trees. In mid-late October, these larch trees turn golden.
What to See & Do in Ramsau in Autumn
Walk along the maple-lined “Panoramaweg” to soak in the pastoral charm of Ramsau. This path cuts across pastures, farms, and forest on both sides of the “Hauptstrasse” (Main Road).
To take in the fall colors, hike the 5 Huts Trail, which strings together charming alpine pasture huts.
The Dachstein is also home to a number of gripping via ferrata climbs.
Where to Stay in Ramsau am Dachstein in Autumn
Budget | Pension Adlerhorst is a clean and comfortable B&B in Ramsau am Dachstein. Guests love the generous breakfast, quiet location, and friendly hosts. The Pension is only a 10-minute drive to Schladming, which is a resort town with lots of restaurants and shops. It’s also the gateway to the Schladminger Tauern mountain range, which is another fantastic place to hike, especially if you love mountain lakes.
Midrange | Hotel Sporthof Austria is a traditional Austrian mountain hotel, offering a plentiful breakfast, half board (breakfast and dinner) if desired, a wellness center (sauna, steam bath, infrared cabin, and hot tub), a large garden, and sun terrace.
Luxury | Hotel Lindenhof is the finest hotel in Ramsau am Dachstein, boasting gorgeous alpine-modern rooms, a wonderful wellness center, Dachstein mountain views, and an on-site restaurant featuring Austrian and international cuisine prepared with ingredients sourced from the hotel’s farm. A sumptuous breakfast buffet is included in the rate as well as the Schladming-Dachstein Summer Card.
6. South Styria, Styria
South Styria is a region in the Austrian State of Styria, bordering Slovenia. This is Austria’s culinary heartland, where food and wine reign supreme.
Come to South Styria when you want to crave delicious wine and food combined with romantic views of rolling vineyards.
South Styria is predominantly a white-wine-growing region. The most popular varietals are Sauvignon Blanc and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc).
The best time to visit South Styria is in Autumn, when temperatures are mild and winemakers are harvesting their grapes.
What to See & Do in South Styria in Autumn
- Drive the South Styrian Wine Road
- Drink early wine (Sturm) in local wine taverns (Buschenschänke)
- Go wine tasting in South Styria.
- For a wine-themed spa getaway, stay at Loisium Wine & Spa Hotel Südsteiermark.
- Visit South Styria on a road trip: 2 Week Austria Road Trip
Where to Stay in South Styria
Jaglhof by Domaines Kilger
We stayed in Jaglhof by Domaines Kilger in Gamlitz.
The vineyard views alone are reason enough to stay here. The hotel restaurant and outdoor terrace face west, delivering godly sunsets (when the weather cooperates). And, our room (#11) faced east, so we could see the sunrise from our balcony.
We were also impressed by the quality and comfort of our mattress and bedding. It’s pure luxury – the kind that makes you leap into bed and hug your comforter like it’s your best friend.
As guests, you can also request a private wine tasting of Domaines Kilger and Schiefer & Domaines Kilger wines.
Tip: The Jaglhof restaurant is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so if you want to experience the restaurant, you should time your stay accordingly. We recommend staying at Jaglhof only Thursdays – Sundays.
IMPORTANT: The hotel reception is open from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. While you can definitely arrive after 3:00 p.m., your experience will be more seamless if you arrive before 3:00 p.m. We arrived at 5:00 p.m., which wasn’t a problem, but our check-in felt rushed.
Without question, the best time to visit Vienna is in Fall.
Winter has its appeal, but it’s cold and dreary, even with the Christmas markets and lights. Spring is sunnier, but temperatures are still low and it rains a great deal. Summer is packed with tourists and it can be excruciatingly hot.
Autumn is the perfect season to visit Vienna, because temperatures are mild, the main tourist season is over, and the parks, vineyards, Ringstrasse boulevard, and Donaukanal (Danube Canal) are spectacularly colorful. For the best fall foliage, walk the grounds of Schönbrunn Palace and Augarten. We also recommend hiking the Vienna City Walk 1 (Stadtwanderweg 1) from Nussdorf (tram D end station) to Kahlenberg mountain and down through the vineyards.
What to See & Do in Vienna in Autumn
- Eat traditional Martinigansl mit Rotkraut & Knödel (traditional goose dish with red cabbage and dumplings) in November. A great place to eat Martinigansl is Zur Goldenen Kugel.
- Grab a drink, or a bite to eat at the open-air Summer Stage along the Donaukanal, until end of September.
- Watch a film at the Viennale International Film festival. Many of the fills are in English, or have English subtitles.
- Watch an Opera at the Vienna State Opera. Here’s our guide to getting standing tickets.
- Drink early wine, Sturm, at wine taverns (Heurigen).
- Take a day trip to the Wachau and walk from Dürnstein to Krems.
- In September and October, hike in the Vienna Mountains.
- In November, shop locally at the Fesch´markt marketplace in the Ottakringer Brewery.
Learn more about Vienna:
Where to Stay in Vienna in Fall
Budget | Comfy apartments at Siebertgasse is a cheerful, and light-filled apartment-style accommodation in the 12th district, close to the Margaretengürtel U-Bahn station (U4). Each apartment has a kitchen and dining area. We love the airiness, the pastel accents, and the minimalist design of these apartments. This is a great place to stay if you’re an independent traveler, who craves exploring a city on your own terms.
Midrange | Hotel Schani Salon is an excellent hotel located on Mariahilfer Strasse, Vienna’s biggest shopping street, a few steps away from the Neubaugasse U-Bahn station (U3). We love this Vienna hotel, because of the bright, modern rooms, the friendly vibe, the communal lounge and bar, and the helpful staff. Breakfast is healthy and varied.
Luxury | Altstadt Vienna is a boutique 4-star hotel in the charming Spittelberg quarter, close to Art History Museum. This contemporary-art-filled hotel features uniquely designed interiors and a hidden rooftop terrace (open from March until October). A wonderful breakfast is served in the Red Salon daily. In the afternoon, complimentary tea and homemade cakes are served in front of the open fireplace.
Splurge | SO/ Vienna is a stylish and modern hotel located in the 2nd district, directly on the Danube Canal, at the Schwedenbrücke bridge. From this prime location, it takes only 10-minutes to walk to Stephansdom. Flaunting a 750 m² spa area and a panoramic rooftop bar and restaurant (Das Loft), So/ Vienna offers the discerning traveler a place to relax and savor the very heart of the city.
For more tips, follow us on Instagram @moonhoneytravelers
Hiking in Austria:
- Austrian Alps Hiking Destinations
- Best Day Hikes in Austria
- Schladming Hiking Guide
- Lech am Arlberg Summer Hiking Guide
- Vorarlberg Hiking Guide
Trekking in Austria: