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. 

Tips for Hiking in the Vienna Mountains

  • 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. 
  • Buy the Rother Wiener Hausberge Süd guidebook (only available in German) for trail inspiration. 
  • Pack a beanie, gloves, sun protection (sunglasses, sunhat, sun lotion), Hiking poles, and weather-proof jacket. 

Best Hikes Near Vienna

Here’s a summary of our favorite hikes near Vienna, which can be done as a day trip. 

  1. Raxalpe West Plateau Circuit, Rax 
  2. Siebenbrunnenkessel Circuit, Rax 
  3. Fadensteig and Schauerstein Circuit, Schneeberg 
  4. Der 1. Wiener Wasserleitungsweg – Brandschneide – Ottohaus Loop Trail, Rax

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Hikes near Vienna Map

1. Raxalpe West Plateau Circuit

Preiner Gscheid, Rax, Hikes near Vienna
View of Preiner Wand from Göbl-Kühn-Steig
Neue Seehütte, Rax Mountains, Hikes near Vienna
Neue Seehütte
Schlangenweg, Raxalpe, Vienna Mountains
  • Where: Raxalpe, Lower Austria and Styria
  • Trailhead: Preiner Gscheid
  • Distance: 15.8 km circuit 
  • Difficulty: Easy – Moderate 
  • Time Needed: 6:30 hours 
  • Elevation Gain / Loss: 900 m
  • 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 in Payerbach – Reichenau

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 Loop Trail Description

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). 

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. 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. 

2. Around the Siebenbrunnenkessel, Rax

Gretchensteig, Raxalpe, Vienna Mountains
  • Where: Raxalpe, Styria
  • Trailhead: Preiner Gscheid
  • Distance: 8.8 km
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Time Needed: 4:45 hours
  • Elevation Gain / Loss: 875 m 
  • 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 in Payerbach – Reichenau

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 Loop 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. 

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). 

3. Fadensteig Circuit Trail, Schneeberg

Fadensteig Schneeberg Day Hike, Vienna Mountains
Schneeberg Day Hike, Hiking near Vienna
Cows, Schneeberg meadow, Hiking near Vienna
  • Where: Schneeberg, Lower Austria
  • Trailhead: Losenheim Talstation
  • Distance: 14.5 km circuit 
  • Difficulty: Moderately Difficult
  • Time Needed: 6:30 – 7 hours 
  • Elevation Gain / Loss: 1220 m
  • 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 in Puchberg am 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. Plan your route using OEBB Scotty

Fadensteig Loop Trail Description

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. 

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. 

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

Camillo Kronichsteig, Rax, Hiking near Vienna
Camillo Kronichsteig
Brandschneide, Rax Hiking Trail, Vienna Mountains
Felsentor, Rax, Vienna Mountains
  • Where: Rax, Lower Austria
  • Trailhead: Hirschwang an der Rax, or Kaiserbrunn
  • Distance: 17.8 km 
  • Difficulty: Difficult because of the length.
  • Time Needed: 8:30 hours 
  • Elevation Gain / Loss: 1230 m
  • 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 in Payerbach – Reichenau

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.

Book your ticket to Hirschwang an der Rax .

Wiener Wasserleitungsweg – Brandschneide – Ottohaus Loop Trail Description

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 here.

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). 

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. 

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:

Where to Stay in Vienna

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 Kunsthistorisches 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. 

Look for accommodation in Vienna.

Related: Best Places to Stay in Austria in Summer

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