Welcome to Wienerwald
Attractive settlements, such as the grape-growing towns of Perchtoldsdorf and Gumpoldskirchen, speckle the Wienerwald. Picturesque Mödling, only 15km south of Vienna, was once favoured by the artistically inclined: Beethoven’s itchy feet took him to Hauptstrasse 79 from 1818 to 1820, and Austrian composer Arnold Schönberg stayed at Bernhardgasse 6 from 1918 to 1925. More information is available from the Tourismus Information Mödling.
About 20km from Mödling is Heiligenkreuz and the 12th-century Cistercian abbey Stift Heiligenkreuz. The chapter house is the final resting place of most of the Babenberg dynasty, which ruled Austria until 1246. The abbey museum contains 150 clay models by Giovanni Giuliani (1663–1744), a Venetian sculptor who also created the Trinity column in the courtyard. Note that tours in English are by advance request only.
Mayerling, which lies 6km southwest of Heiligenkreuz, is unremarkable now, but the tragic royal murder-suicide that occurred here in 1889 still draws visitors to the site. The Carmelite convent can be visited although it post-dates the event and there is nothing to see beyond a few mementos. Rather creepily, the altar in the chapel was built exactly where the bodies of Archduke Rudolf and Maria were found.
Between Mayerling and Weissenbach-Neuhaus, situated about 5km from both on the L4004 and accessible from the Schwarzensee parking area and bus stop, is Peilstein (716m), with rock climbing on the Peilstein Klettersteig. This is one of the most picturesque climbs in the region and a favourite among the Viennese. Peilsteinhaus, a hut and restaurant with a kids’ playground, can be reached by hiking trails (01/06) via Mayerling from Heiligenkreuz (16km, 4½ hours to Peilstein). From the Schwarzensee/Peilstein bus stop, it’s a half-hour hike and from Weisenbach it takes 1½ hours.