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Vienna Hills - The Fascinating Mountains Around Vienna
Certainly most travelers visit Vienna for its heritage of the former Austro-Hungarian empire. As the capital city of the Hapsburg empire Vienna boasts a great many of imperial buildings featuring various architectural styles. However, Vienna has much more to offer. Vienna is located on the crossroads of very different landscapes. To the west of the city are the hilly mountains of the Alps covered with wine-yards and dense forests, to the East the beginning flat-lands of the Pannonian basin. Thus the region around Vienna offers a wide variety of natural beauty to be discovered by the adventurous traveler.
Wild Mountains Not So Far From Vienna
Discovering the Alpine Landscape Around Vienna
Not far from Vienna the 'real' Alps are to be found with a surprisingly alpine touch. No wonder, that Vienna was one of the cities where alpine sports such as rock climbing and skiing soon became popular among many of its citizens.
The construction of the Southern railway with its high mountain traverse (Semmering Railway) over the Semmering Pass (985m) opened up this region for tourism as early as 1854. Small towns like Gloggnitz, Reichenau and the Pass area were soon discovered by the urban upper-class of Vienna for its many recreational possibilities. Art Noveau grand hotels in the typical belle-epoque style and many mansions testify the importance of this region as a recreational 'Sommerfrische' for the high society of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Schneeberg - The Easternmost 2000er of the European Alps
The mighty Schneeberg (2076m), the Easternmost 2000er of the entire Alps, towers only 60km south of the city of Vienna. With clear sky this stunning mountain is to be seen from various places within the very city.
Located at the foot of the Schneeberg, the old spa town of Puchberg has a long tradition of attracting visitors who are searching for distraction from urban pollution. In the late 19th century this region was developed as one of the most prominent vacation areas of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The Schneebergbahn, a cog railway using steam locomotives, opened up the high mountain environment of the Schneeberg for the casual tourist and soon attracted thousands of tourists each summer. Soon this mountain was discovered by the growing number of enthusiastic backcountry skiers who dared to ski down the many steep couloirs of this limestone massif. Today the region around the Schneeberg offers one of the best backcountry skiing near Vienna and attracts hundreds of avid ski mountaineers each weekend.
Oetscher (1893m) - Landmark West of Vienna
A few kilometers to the west another mighty mountain is attracting the eyes of the visitors. The Oetscher (1893) rises high above its neighboring mountains and hills and is a defining landmark of the region west of Vienna. This mountain has many facets. A sharp and narrow eastern ridge gives the mountain its unique shape and allows for interesting scrambling and some earnest winter climbing training.
On the Northern slopes of the Oetscher the tiny village of Lackenhof has been developed to one of the leading ski resorts near Vienna offering snow-sure skiing slopes November to April. Backcountry skiers love the easy access to the summit by using the chair lifts of the resort and enjoying the many challenging downhill runs without too much efforts during the short ascent.
On the Southern foot of this mountain a wild canyon (Ötscher Tormäuer) attracts thousands of visitors who love to hike along wild waters in dense forests virtually untouched by civilization.
Skiing Around Vienna
- Ski Resorts Near Vienna
The mountains around Vienna offer quite good skiing possibilities with some dozen ski resorts. Usually the skiing season lasts from end of November until April.
Vienna - An Outdoorsy City
There are many more hills and mountains in the region near Vienna, most of them basically unknown to the outsider. Though these mountains cannot compare to the famous high Alps of France or Switzerland with their many glaciers, they allow nevertheless for plenty of outdoor activities near Vienna all the year round giving Vienna's citizen and visitors both, a vibrant urban atmosphere and easy access to nature.
Selected Link For Further Information
- Semmering Railway
History of the Semmering Railway, the world's first high mountain railway.