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Vienna Hills - The Fascinating Mountains Around Vienna

Updated on October 15, 2009
View of the Inner city of Vienna as seen from the Belvedere. In the background the Easternmost hills of the European Alps.
View of the Inner city of Vienna as seen from the Belvedere. In the background the Easternmost hills of the European Alps.

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

The Preinerwand of the Rax massif, playground of the many Viennese rock climber.
The Preinerwand of the Rax massif, playground of the many Viennese rock climber.

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.

The landscape around Reichenau/Rax ca. 1890.
The landscape around Reichenau/Rax ca. 1890.
The Schneeberg (2076m), near Vienna as seen from the Puchberg basin.
The Schneeberg (2076m), near Vienna as seen from the Puchberg basin.

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.

Skiing the Narrndattl Couloir at the Schneeberg massif near Vienna.
Skiing the Narrndattl Couloir at the Schneeberg massif near Vienna.

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.

The Oetscher (1893m) as seen from the South.
The Oetscher (1893m) as seen from the South.

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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
View above the mountainous landscape around Vienna.Pristine meadows below snow-capped mountains. Schneeberg in spring.View to Puchberg as seen from the SchneebergWinter landscape around Vienna. Skiing tracks at the Schneeberg.
View above the mountainous landscape around Vienna.
View above the mountainous landscape around Vienna.
Pristine meadows below snow-capped mountains. Schneeberg in spring.
Pristine meadows below snow-capped mountains. Schneeberg in spring.
View to Puchberg as seen from the Schneeberg
View to Puchberg as seen from the Schneeberg
Winter landscape around Vienna.
Winter landscape around Vienna.
Skiing tracks at the Schneeberg.
Skiing tracks at the Schneeberg.

Please Share Your Comments

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    • profile image

      Esra 

      3 years ago

      I appreciate your kind and geeoruns advice a lot!. I have been trying it hardly and did not get those amazing results!. It is nice to see that you got my comment in a good way!God bless you!VA:F [1.9.10_1130]please wait VA:F [1.9.10_1130](from 0 votes)

    • profile image

      Nawarat 

      6 years ago

      Want to go wienna

    • profile image

      Justsilvie 

      7 years ago

      Great Hub!

    • profile image

      robchat 

      7 years ago

      I have a car and a day off and a lady to spend the day with one Saturday very soon. I like mountains and she likes forests so I think we will check out one of these places. Thanks a lot!

    • Jaspals profile image

      Jaspal Singh 

      8 years ago from India / Australia

      Really wonderful Article. Nice photographs

    • kaja_mel profile image

      kaja_mel 

      8 years ago from Saraland, AL

      Awesome hub. Thanks

    • Robee Kann profile image

      Robee Kann 

      9 years ago

      Wonderful article, and great pics, very beautiful

    • Dame Scribe profile image

      Dame Scribe 

      9 years ago from Canada

      I would love to hike and picnic through there, it's beautiful! :)

    • euro-pen profile imageAUTHOR

      euro-pen 

      9 years ago from Europe

      Thanks for stopping by and for your motivating remarks.

    • gurgel1 profile image

      gurgel1 

      9 years ago from profile

      Great hub ero-pen!!!

      It is just as great as your first hub, You are awesome.

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