When is the best time to visit Austria?
Austria has four distinct seasons. As with most European countries, high season is in the summer when the weather is warmest and families are on vacation. Winter is ski season, but it’s also low season because there are fewer tourists. Not a fan of snow sports? Well, winter is also a great time for museum-hopping. The shoulder seasons, spring and fall, are ideal for hiking and other outdoor recreational activities as long as you don’t mind the fact that the lakes aren’t quite warm enough for swimming. Below is some more information about each season, but keep in mind that it depends on where you’re going within the country. For example, the region south of the Alps tends to have more of a Mediterranean climate and it’s usually about 10°F warmer than central and northern Austria.
Spring (March – May): Late spring is prime time for alpine hiking and other activities that you can enjoy in a moderate climate. Expect average daily highs to be around 58°F with lows around 40°F. Mornings and evenings are definitely cooler. One benefit of visiting Austria in the spring is that you don’t have to share the sights with the summer crowd!
Summer (June – August): Again, summer is peak tourist season in Austria, and it’s no surprise why. The weather is wonderful, average temperatures are in the high 70°s and there is plenty of daylight for outside enjoyment. Keep in mind that it can get hotter (into the 90°s) and more humid in Vienna. Throughout the country, many hotels don’t have air conditioning, so if staying cool is important to you, ask before you book a room!
Autumn (September – November): Fall foliage peaks in late September/early October, so plan to visit Austria during this time if you want to see some incredible colors. Average daily highs are around 56°F and lows are around 44°F.
Winter (December – February): Beginning in December and lasting through February, the alpine regions are popular with skiers. But it can often be overcast and foggy in Austria during the winter, so keep that in mind if you’re after the most majestic views. Average daily highs hover around 37°F and lows can drop down to around 25°F.
What to pack on your Austria Vacation
Enjoy the excitement stage of looking forward to your trip to Austria! Hopefully, you’re signed up for one of our Austria adventure vacations – in which case you should be very excited as you’re in for a great time. When you’re ready to think packing, below are a few items that you’ll want to bring.
1. Electrical Converter
The voltage in Austria is 230 which is much higher than the 120 in the U.S. So, in addition to packing an outlet adapter (Austria uses the Type F, two-pin plug popular in continental Europe) you may need an electrical converter to convert the voltage. It all depends on what you plan on plugging in. Some devices can handle higher voltage and won’t require a converter. But it’s always wise to read your product manual – especially if it’s for a grooming tool such as a shaver or hair dryer because these tools usually require converters.
2. German Phrasebook
Did you know that German is the first language for 90% of Austrians? English is spoken throughout the country and you can usually get by without knowing much German. But why not have some fun on your trip and practice your German? It’s a very entertaining language!
3. Comfortable Shoes
While we highly recommend hiking in the Austrian Alps if you have the chance, if your trip only involves visiting an Austrian city, it’s definitely a good idea to have comfortable shoes. Yes, there is a subway (U-Bhan) in Vienna and there are buses in Salzburg, but if you take public transportation everywhere, you’ll miss out on seeing some of these cities’ hidden gems that you can only spot on foot.
Travel Tips for Visiting Austria
We’ve been leading adventure vacations in Austria for years, and below are a few tips we’re happy to pass on regardless of whether or not you’re traveling with our seasoned guides!
1. Don’t Save Sunday for Shopping
Most shops are closed on Sundays, so save your Sundays for outdoor adventures or people-watching from a window front seat in a cozy coffeehouse. You can do most of your souvenir shopping on Monday through Friday when stores are usually open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays when stores are usually open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Note, some stores close for an hour or two for lunch.)
2. Roof with a View
The Hotel Auersperg (where we stay on our Austria Alps to Salzburg trip) has a rooftop sun terrace that boasts an incredible view of Salzburg. So if you don’t feel like hiking up to the fort, stay here and enjoy a nightcap high enough above the heart of the hustle and bustle of downtown.
3. Pick up a Pez
Most people know that The Sound of Music takes place in Austria, but they don’t know that Austria should also be famous as the birthplace of Pez candy!