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Best Hikes near Vienna in the Vienna Mountains, Austria

Vienna might not be in the heart of the Austrian Alps, but it’s nonetheless close to some interesting hiking destinations.

Starting in late Spring, the Viennese head to the Wiener Hausberge (aka Wiener Alpen) to stretch their legs and breath in the crisp mountain air. 

The Wiener Hausberge (Vienna Mountains) encompass Schneeberg, Raxalpe, Schneealpe, Semmering, Wechsel, Hohe Wand, and Gutensteiner Alpen. Most of these hiking destinations are at least one hour away from the city. 

For the most scenic hiking near Vienna, we recommend heading to the Raxalpe and Schneeberg mountains. 

This guide exclusively describes the best hikes in the Vienna Mountains. But, another wonderful destination for hiking near Vienna is the Wachau Valley. You can hike in the Wachau all-year-round. We particularly love the hike from Dürnstein to Krems, the Seekopf and Hirschwand circuit trail, and the Vogelbergsteig.

Camillo Kronichsteig, Brandschneide, Vienna Mountains

Vienna Mountains Hiking Map

Where to Stay in the Vienna Mountains

Reichenau an der Rax 

Reichenau an der Rax is situated at the foot of the Rax mountains in Lower Austria. This is an ideal place to stay if you want to be near the Rax cableway and/or hike the Wiener Wasserleitungsweg (Vienna Water Pipe Trail), the Raxalpe west plateau circuit trail and the Siebenbrunnenkessel circuit trail.

Also look for accommodation in the neighboring towns of Payerbach and Hirschwang an der Rax. 

Budget | The welcoming Hotel Payerbacherhof is located in Payerbach, a 5 minute walk from the Payerbach-Reichenau Bahnhof (train station). This lovely hotel features clean and comfortable rooms, a breakfast buffet, and a small spa area. Half board is available. 

Midrange | Waldschlössl Schneedörfl is a superb, family-run aparthotel housed in a historic building in Reichenau. Guests love the views of Rax, the thoughtful hosts, and the serenity. 

Luxury | Landhaus Blauer Spatz Reichenau an der Rax offers beautiful and cozy apartments, featuring country house furnishings, kitchenettes with dishwashers, and balconies. 

Look for accommodation in Reichenau an der Rax.

Puchberg am Schneeberg

Puchberg am Schneeberg is a lovely market town at the foot of the Schneeberg mountain. Stay here if you want to summit Lower Austria’s highest summit, Klosterwappen (2076 m) and hike the interesting Fadensteig trail. 

Budget | Haus Lenz Ferienwohnungen – Fam Ostermann (2 nights minimum stay) features clean, well-equipped apartments in Losenheim, Puchberg am Schneeberg, very close to the Fadensteig trailhead. 

Luxury | Hotel Schneeberghof is set in a historic lodge in Puchberg am Schneeberg. Guests love the delicious half board offering, the central location, and the comfortable rooms. More perks: indoor swimming pool, sauna area, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, gym, and e-bike rental. 

Look for accommodation in Puchberg am Schneeberg.

Vienna Mountains Hiking Trails

1. Raxalpe West Plateau Circuit

How to Get to Preiner Gscheid

By car. From Vienna, it’s a 1 hour 20 min drive. Park at the huge parking lot at Preiner Gscheid mountain pass / Edelweißhütte.

By public transit. From Wien Meidling train station, take a train to Payerbach/Reichenau (1:20 min). From there, take a bus to Preiner Gscheid / Edelweißhütte (40 min). Plan your route using OEBB Scotty

Rax West Plateau Circuit Trail Description

Schlangenweg, Raxalpe, Vienna Mountains

The Raxalpe West Plateau loop trail is a fantastic day hike near Vienna. Overall, the trail is well-signed and easy to follow, making this a stress-free outing for new hikers.

We hiked this loop in mid-May, after a relatively short winter. The trail was in perfect condition, though not all the mountain huts were open along the route. 

From the parking lot at Preiner Gscheid, you’ll hike straight up to Siebenbrunnenwiese meadow and to the Waxriegelhaus mountain hut (30 minutes). The trail ascends steadily and ultimately leads to a wide-open meadow at the base of the Rax mountain (Siebenbrunnenkessel “bowl”).

From the meadow, you’ll turn right onto a gravel road and hike up to Waxriegelhaus. This is an awesome place to grab a late lunch, or celebratory drink, after your hike. 

Continue past Waxriegelhaus to a signed intersection. Follow the “Göbl-Kühn-Steig” trail leading left in the direction of Neue Seehütte (signed 1 hr 45 min). The trail gently ascends through the forest and then emerges above the bush line.

With sweeping views of the valley and the Preinerwand mountain, you’ll continue along a lovely balcony trail to the Felsschulter (rock shoulder). From this rocky outcrop, you’ll descend a few meters down to Neue Seehütte (1643 m). 

Preiner Gscheid, Rax, Hikes near Vienna
View of Preiner Wand from Göbl-Kühn-Steig

Neue Seehütte is a self-service mountain hut with indoor and outdoor seating. It’s tempting to grab a beer here (we did, oops), but the trail continues to ascend after the hike, so maybe save the beer for the next hut. That’s mostly advice for ourselves. 

From the hut, continue straight a few meters and then turn left, following signs towards Trinksteinsattel (1850 m). You’ll ascend 200 meters to the Trinksteinsattel, which is basically just an intersection.

Neue Seehütte, Rax Mountains, Hikes near Vienna
Neue Seehütte

From here, the trail levels out and continues straight to Habsburghaus on the Rax plateau. 

The Habsburghaus mountain hut was closed when we arrived, so we continued to Karl-Ludwig-Haus. From Habsburghaus, turn around and head back in the direction you just came from. But, this time, follow the trail on the right. 

The easy, mostly flat trail to Karl-Ludwig-Haus is 3.9 km and takes about 1 hour. Before reaching Karl-Ludwig-Haus, you’ll reach the “Törl” intersection.

You can detour to the hut, or descend along the Schlangenweg to Siebenbrunnenkessel and all the way down to Preiner Gscheid. 

Before ending our hike, we grabbed coffee and cake at Waxriegelhaus. 

Trail Stats

Where: Raxalpe, Lower Austria and Styria

Trailhead: Preiner Gscheid. Exact Location: Google Maps

Distance: 15.8 km circuit 

Time Needed: 6:30 hours 

Elevation Gain/Loss: 900 meters

Difficulty: Easy – Moderate 

When to Hike: Spring, Summer, Fall. We hiked this trail in mid-May.

Route: Preiner Gscheid (1070 m) – Waxriegelhaus (1361 m) – Neue Seehütte (1643 m) – Trinksteinsattel (1850 m) – Habsburghaus (1785 m) – Karl-Ludwig-Haus (1804 m) – Preiner Gscheid (1070 m).

Where to Stay: Hotel Payerbacherhof (midrange) in Payerbach – Reichenau

2. Around the Siebenbrunnenkessel, Rax

How to Get to Preiner Gscheid

By car. From Vienna, it’s a 1 hour 20 min drive. Park at the huge parking lot at Preiner Gscheid mountain pass / Edelweißhütte.

By public transit. From Wien Meidling train station, take a train to Payerbach/Reichenau (1:20 min). From there, take a bus to Preiner Gscheid / Edelweißhütte (40 min). Plan your route using OEBB Scotty.  

Siebenbrunnenkessel Circuit Trail Description

This half-day hike in the Raxalpe is an extremely satisfying circuit that basically hops between mountain huts. From the Preiner Gscheid parking lot, head uphill to the first sign, and steer left, following signs to Reißtalerhütte (privately owned). 

You’ll hike along the Zipperlingsteig trail through the forest in the direction of Reißtalerhütte. Shortly before reaching Reißtalerhütte, you’ll see a sign indicating the start of the Gretchensteig trail.

Turn right onto Gretchensteig and hike up in the direction of Heukuppe and Karl Ludwig Haus. 

Gretchensteig, Raxalpe, Vienna Mountains

Shortly before cresting the Rax plateau, you’ll climb up a steep secured section. Though no special equipment is needed, climbing gloves can be helpful, as you’ll need both hands to ascend. When you reach the plateau, walk the level path to Karl-Ludwig Haus.

Note: you can detour to Heukuppe (2006 m) from Wetterkogel or Karl Ludwig Haus. We didn’t, because of the heavy winds. 

Karl-Ludwig Haus is an ideal place to grab something to eat, or drink, before continuing further. Sadly, we can’t report on the quality of the food, because the hut was closed when we visited. 

From the hut, head to the Törl intersection and walk uphill in the direction of Predigtstuhl. The trail hugs the ridge. 

Keep right after the Predigtstuhl and follow the Waxriegelsteig trail to the Waxriegelhaus. This part is pretty steep and slippery. Hiking poles are super helpful in stabilizing your descent. 

From Waxriegelhaus, head down to Preiner Gscheid (30 min). 

Trail Stats

Where: Raxalpe, Styria

Trailhead: Preiner Gscheid. Exact Location: Google Maps

Distance: 8.8 km circuit

Time Needed: 4:45 hours

Elevation Gain/Loss: 875 meters

Difficulty: Moderate 

When to Hike: Spring, Summer, Fall. We hiked this trail in mid-May.

Route: Preiner Gscheid (1070 m) – Karl-Ludwig-Haus (1804 m) – Predigtstuhl (1902 m) – Waxriegelhaus (1361 m) – Preiner Gscheid (1070 m)

Where to Stay: Hotel Payerbacherhof (midrange) in Payerbach – Reichenau

3. Fadensteig Circuit Trail, Schneeberg

How to Get to Losenheim

By car. From Vienna, it’s a 1 hour 5 min drive. Park at the big parking lot at Losenheim Talstation. 

By public transit. From Wien Meidling train station, take a train (Railjet) to Wr. Neustadt Hbf (23 min). From there, take another trail (R) to Puchberg am Schneeberg Bahnhof (47 min), where you eventually switch to a bus to Losenheim (11 min). Total time: 1 hour 32 min.

Cows, Schneeberg meadow, Hiking near Vienna

Fadensteig Loop Trail Description

Schneeberg Day Hike, Hiking near Vienna

We loved this day hike in the Vienna Mountains because of the trail variation, the scenery, and the atmosphere of Fischerhütte. 

This fantastic loop trail begins at the Losenheim valley station. On weekends, you can ascend to Edelweisshütte via the Salamander Chair Lift. But, that’s completely optional. 

If you’re not taking the chairlift, locate the trail that starts at the free parking area at the very end of the L4123 road. At the trailhead, take the path on the right and follow signs to Edelweisshütte, signed 1 hour.

You’ll ascend steadily, weaving in and out of the forest. Follow the yellow and white waymarks. 

After about 45 minutes, you’ll crest an expansive hilltop meadow. Turn left and follow the gravel road to Edelweisshütte (self-service mountain hut). We took a quick break here before continuing on.

Just past the hut, the trail splits. Stay to the left, following the Fadensteig trail towards Fischerhütte (signed 2 hours). You’ll continue ascending through the forest for about 20 minutes, and then the trail emerges above the treeline.

This is the steepest segment of the hike, and you’ll need both hands to climb up through the rocky, exposed terrain. Follow the yellow dots and arrows. 

Fadensteig Schneeberg Day Hike, Vienna Mountains

The trail continues to ascend along switchbacks and a balcony trail. When you eventually reach the mountain ridge, the trail continues to the left. It takes about an hour to reach Fischerhütte from the ridge plateau. 

Fischerhütte is the perfect place to warm up, eat lunch, and relax. From the hut, you can continue hiking for about 12 minutes to Klosterwappen peak (2076 m), the highest peak of the Schneeberg. 

To continue the circuit, you’ll follow the Schauerstein trail to Fleischer-Gedenkstein (a rock). So, from Fischerhütte, retrace your steps along the Fadensteig trail for about 150 meters. The Schauerstein trail descends straight down on the left.

There are poles marking the route and the occasional green/white painted waymark. The views are fantastic as you descend towards layers and layers of mountain ridges off in the distance. 

Following the poles, we descended for 50 minutes until we reached a signed intersection. Follow signs towards Edelweisshütte (signed 1 hr 15 minutes). Winding through gorgeous fir trees, you’ll follow a flat footpath until you reach a gravel road intersection.

Next, continue down the road until a trail cuts off to the right, signed 30 minutes to Edelweisshütte. The flat forest path delivers you to Edelweisshütte, where you can end your hike with a homemade cake. 

To return to the parking lot/trailhead, you can head down the way you came, or follow the ski slope trail that’s probably steeper, but more direct. 

Trail Stats

Where: Schneeberg, Lower Austria

Trailhead: Losenheim Talstation. Exact Location: Google Maps

Distance: 14.5 km circuit 

Time Needed: 6:30 – 7 hours 

Elevation Gain/Loss: 1220 meters

Difficulty: Moderately Difficult

When to Hike: Spring, Summer, Fall. We hiked this trail in late May.

Route: Losenheim Talstation (871 m) – Edelweisshütte (1235 m) – Fischerhütte (2049 m) – Klosterwappen (2076 m) – Fischerhütte (2049 m) – Fleischer-Gedenkstein (1528 m) – Edelweisshütte (1235 m) – Losenheim Talstation (871 m)

Where to Stay: Hotel Schneeberghof (luxury) in Puchberg am Schneeberg

4. Der 1. Wiener Wasserleitungsweg – Brandschneide – Ottohaus Loop Trail

How to Get to Hirschwang an der Rax

By car. From Vienna, it’s a 1 hour drive. Park at the big parking lot in Hirschwang an der Rax (Wiener Wasserleitungsweg parking lot). 

By public transit. From Wien Meidling train station, take a train (Railjet) to Wr. Neustadt Hbf (23 min). From there, take another trail (R) to Payerbach/Reichenau Bahnhof (33 min), where you eventually switch to a bus to Hirschwang an der Rax/Fabrik (10 min). Total time: 1 hour 20 min.

Brandschneide, Rax Hiking Trail, Vienna Mountains

Wiener Wasserleitungsweg – Brandschneide – Ottohaus Loop Trail Description

Felsentor, Rax, Vienna Mountains

This circuit hike in the Rax basically links together a few different hiking trails. So, it’s VERY LONG. Consider shortening the hike, by taking a bus from Hirschwang an der Rax to Kaiserbrunn. Check your connection.

From Hirschwang an der Rax, start walking along the road in the direction of Kaiserbrunn. After about 13 minutes, the 1. Wiener Wasserleitungsweg trail starts on the right side of the road.

Following the Schwarza river, the 1. Wiener Wasserleitungsweg gently ascends and descends through the beautiful Höllental (Valley). Over 50 percent of the water we drink in Vienna (“Wiener Hochquellwasser”) comes from here. Kaiser Franz Josef initiated this project, which was opened in 1873.

After about 1 hour and 10 minutes (3.9 km), you reach Kaiserbrunn. You’ll pass a campground on the left and when you see the sign to “Brandschneide – C.Kronichsteig, Raxbahn Bergstation 2,5 hours” turn left and follow the trail into the forest.

Here you’ll start your ascend to Brandschneide. It’s a long and pretty steep hike uphill, you’ll spot the Schneeberg and Krummbachstein mountains after you leave the forest. We were able to watch some roaming chamois as we ascended.

When you reach the Camillo Kronichsteig, you’ll climb up a ladder and hike along some secured passages. In dry conditions, this is very easy (no special equipment needed). 

Camillo Kronichsteig, Rax, Hiking near Vienna
Camillo Kronichsteig

When you reach the top (it took us 3 hours from Kaiserbrunn), take a well-deserved break at the Raxalm Berggasthof. Continue to the Ottohaus mountain hut for another 30 min. 

To descend back to the valley, take the Törlweg back down to the valley. It’s marked at the Ottohaus and passes an “Alpengarten”, which was closed when we were there. It’s a steep trail but not difficult.

You’ll walk through a whole called “Felsentor”. Passing Knappenberg and Ausschüttlanger, we arrived back in Hirschwang an der Rax after 3 hours (starting at Ottohaus) downhill. 

Trail Stats

Where: Rax, Lower Austria

Trailhead: Hirschwang an der Rax, or Kaiserbrunn (shorter version). Exact Location: Google Maps

Distance: 17.8 km circuit

Time Needed: 8:30 hours 

Elevation Gain/Loss: 1230 meters

Difficulty: Difficult because of the length.

When to Hike: Spring, Summer, Fall. We hiked this trail in mid-May.

Route: Wiener Wasserleitungsweg – Kaiserbrunn – Camillo Kronichsteig (Brandschneide) – Raxalm Berggasthof – Ottohaus – Törlweg – Knappenberg – Hirschwang an der Rax

Where to Stay: Hotel Payerbacherhof (midrange) in Payerbach – Reichenau

More Hiking Trails near Vienna

If you’re willing to venture a bit further and do a 2-day hike, check out these hiking itineraries:

Hochschwab Summit in Styria

Hesshütte in Gesäuse National Park in Styria

Tips for Hiking in the Vienna Mountains

1. Check the weather conditions using the Bergfex app or the Bergfex website. Avoid hiking in the Vienna mountains when it’s really windy (more than 35 km/hr). The wind can be brutal. 

2. Buy a Hiking Map: Kompass Hiking Map 228 Wiener Hausberge, Schneeberg, Rax.

3. Buy the Rother Wiener Hausberge Süd guidebook (only available in German) for trail inspiration. 

4. Pack a beanie, gloves, sun protection (sunglasses, sunhat, sun lotion, hiking poles, and a weather-proof jacket. 

Day Pack: Osprey Tempest 30 Women’s Backpack / Osprey Talon 33 Men’s Backpack

Grade B/C high-cut hiking bootsMeindl Schuhe Island Lady (Kati’s Boots), Women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (Sabrina’s Boots), Men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX (men’s equivalent)

CAT 4 SunglassesJulbo Shield Mountain Sunglasses 

Unisex Hiking PolesBlack Diamond Trail Trekking Poles

Backpack Camera ClipPeak Design Camera Clip

Austria Trip Planning Essentials

Use our Austria Travel Guide and Austria blog archive to plan a unique and memorable trip to Austria. 

When to Visit Austria 

Summer and early Fall are our favorite seasons in Austria.

Getting around Austria

Austria has an excellent public transit system. We’ve used it extensively to travel throughout the country. We highly recommend using transit if you’re visiting cities (Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz, etc…), and/or doing hut-to-hut hikes. 

Some areas like Mayrhofen, Schladming and Lech am Arlberg have wonderful seasonal transit systems in place (e.g. summer hiking buses). However, if you’re not visiting during the high season, bus frequencies are significantly reduced and it’s far easier to get around with your own vehicle. 

If you’re planning on visiting multiple destinations across  Austria, we recommend renting a car. 

Use these road trip itineraries for trip planning inspiration:

Car Rental 

We recommend using the car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.

Check car rental rates here

If you’re driving into Austria from a neighboring country, don’t forget to purchase a vignette at/near the border. 

Hiking in Austria

Where to Hike in Austria

Read Austrian Alps Hiking Destinations for an overview of where to hike in Austria, with tips on specific trails and where to stay. Also check out Best Day Hikes in Austria and these region-specific hiking guides:

Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria 

Austria is a premier hut-to-hut and long-distance hiking destination. The quality of the mountain huts are superb. We particularly love the high-alpine trails, which are called Höhenwege in German. We’ve summarized our favorite multi-day hikes in Trekking Austria. If you’re new to hut hiking, read this in-depth guide to Hut to Hut Hiking in Austria.

What to See & Do in Austria

Austrian Hotels

Hiking Vienna Mountains, Austria

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Moon & Honey Travel is an independent blog created by two passionate hikers. We are able to provide free content to you, because of ads and affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Happy travels and happy trails, Sabrina and Kati

3 thoughts on “Best Hikes near Vienna in the Vienna Mountains, Austria”

    • Hi Ben,
      We always use It’s not a hiking map app, but all the trails are on there. After downloading a destination map (e.g. Austria), you can mark up the map with stars. So, if you want to be extra prepared, you can “waymark” your offline map with stars before you head out.
      All the best,

  1. Hi Moon & Honey! We followed your recommendations and had an amazing family time early May 2024 in the Rax. In the summer we plan to follow your steps in the Kaiserkrone. Thanks so much for this blog!


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