While crowds flock to the Central European country for summer fun and ski getaways, the country’s full range of wellness options, an excellent nationwide network of cycling and hiking trails and an always-packed calendar of cultural events are available year-round. Whether you prefer hiking through the Alps, sitting through hours of Mozart and Strauss concerts or anything in between, here are our tips for the best time to travel to Austria.
High Season: June–August
Best time for festival lovers
Austria’s summer months are typically dry and hot. July sees high-season heat sitting in over the urban areas, with fresher air and lower temperatures the higher you get in the Austrian Alps. August is usually milder, if more humid.
Prices rise as schools across Europe end their terms, bringing hordes of holiday-hungry families to the countryside. Perhaps the pinnacle of the world’s classical-music circuit, the Salzburger Festspiele, takes place every July and August, making stays in and around Salzburg and even Vienna an expensive proposition.
Shoulder Season: April–May, September–October
Best time for wellness aficionados and active adventure holidaymakers
Spring and autumn tend toward the mild and dry – particularly as the effects of climate change add more days of sunshine but little additional rain. The conditions are perfect for hiking, biking or climbing. Weaker thermals and valley winds also make autumn an ideal time for paragliding.
Even when the skies open, Austria’s cities offer opera and theater programs, museums and exhibitions provide plenty of indoor fun. As the peak season crowds ebb, accommodation becomes more affordable while service standards remain high.
Low Season: November–March
Best time for winter sports enthusiasts
Bringing plenty of snow, Austrian winters are cold, with temperatures often below 0° celsius. Hotels, boarding houses and spas in the skiing regions are in full swing, as winter sports fans from all over Europe arrive for the state-of-the-art cable cars, rustic ski huts and excellent slope conditions.
During the height of the season in December and January, you can expect Alp-high prices, with après-ski bars and restaurants packed.
Gliding down the slopes or shaking a leg as the dance-party season begins helps visitors keep warm during the coldest winter days.
Key events: Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s Concert, Hahnenkamm Races, Ski Jumping Four Hills Tournament
As Lent starts in this Catholic country, the calendar eases a bit until Easter. As temperatures still hover around freezing point, spa lovers warm up in the sauna or steam room.
Key event: Vienna Opera Ball
Good snow conditions, rising temperatures and dwindling overnight numbers make spring the best time for winter sports fans to visit the Austrian Alps on a budget, as end-of-season bargains become available.
Key events: Vienna Blues Spring, FotoWien, ART Vienna
The onset of spring brings a sea of flowers, sports and outdoor events. Unsettled weather, with alternating rain and sunshine, calls for a flexible program.
Key events: Wachau Gourmet Festival, Südsteiermark-Classic Vintage Car Race, Vienna City Marathon
It’s time to dust off the hiking boots and get the bike out. The month’s second half brings calmer and warmer weather, with temperatures often reaching 20°C (68°F).
Key events: Wiener Festwochen, Gauder Fest (traditional costume festival), Narcissi Festival
The open-air music and art festival season commences. Temperatures between 20 to 25°C (68 to 77°F) bring the chance for a dip in one of Austria’s 25,000 bodies of water.
Key events: Danube Island Festival, Nova Rock Festival, Vienna Pride
Hold onto your ice cream cone and expect long lines at famous attractions including Vienna’s Schönbrunn Castle, Innsbruck’s Golden Roof or Salzburg’s Mozart Residence.
Performing-arts festivals continue throughout the month. Expect thunderstorms and beware that the Styria and Tyrol provinces have some of the highest number of lightning strikes anywhere in Europe.
Key events: Salzburg Festival, International Jazzfestival Saalfelden, Mountainbike-Festival
Mild and warm days mean the golden autumn and harvest season have started. As the number of daylight hours decreases, so do the crowds of visitors.
Key events: HayART Festival, Mörbischer Vintage Festival
The temperatures continue to drop, with the first overnight frosts appearing in the mountains. Although the event calendar slows, a mix of indoor and outdoor adventures nonetheless awaits.
Key events: Vienna International Film Festival, Long Night of the Museums, Erste Bank Open
Cold and damp, this month attracts few crowds to Austria’s many royal palaces, museums and art galleries. It may be the best time to visit Vienna and Salzburg on a shoestring budget.
Key events: Festival Wien Modern, Vienna Art Week
Advent and Christmas markets selling arts and crafts ring in a festive season. As the temperature can drop below zero, roasted chestnuts and steaming mulled wine help warm up cold hands and frozen feet.