Overview for Walking in the Vienna Alps
Vienna’s Hausberge (or ‘home mountains’) are the mountains of Raxalpe, Schneeberg and Hohe Wand in the south of the state of Lower Austria. The Schneeberg (aka Vienna Alps), with its 2,076-metre high summit Klosterwappen, is the highest mountain of Lower Austria, and the easternmost mountain in the Alps to exceed 2,000 m. It is a distinctive limestone massif with steep slopes on three sides. Located just 65 km from Vienna, the Vienna Alps are a hidden gem for foreigners, but here many famous Austrian mountaineers started their careers.
Walking in the Vienna Alps, you will follow a well developed network of hiking paths which cross these easily accessible mountains of magical beauty. The Schneeberg Railway, built more than 100 years ago, is one of three rack-and-pinion railways in Austria still operating, and runs from the small town of Puchberg up to the plateau beneath the Schneeberg summit.
- Schneeberg Alps
- Schneeberg Cog Railway
- Semmering Train and UNESCO World Heritage Trail
- Rax Karst Plateau
- Hohe Wand
Itinerary for Walking in the Vienna AlpsGo to top of page
Day 1: Arrival Payerbach
Day 2: Train Payerbach – Semmering; walk along Semmering Heritage Trail
Take the Semmering train (the first standard-gauge mountain train in the world, operational since 1854, now a UNESCO world heritage site) from Payerbach to Semmering. Then walk along the train-heritage trail which follows the route of Ghega-train, with striking viaducts crossing deep valleys and gorges and an idyllic, peaceful countryside. You can shorten this tour by taking the train for the last part.
Walking for the day: approx. 6 hours, 19 km (full walk) or 4 hours (11 km) for the shorter option
Day 3: Rax Plateau
Reach the Rax plateau (2,000 m) by cable car. There you can do different round walks from cabin to cabin. Several options are available for every taste. Enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Walking for the day: 4-6 hours, 10 to 15 km depending on the chosen option
Day 4: Bodenwiesen to Puchberg
The demanding ascent to Waldburg-Anger cabin is followed by a comfortable walk across the huge high alpine pasture Bodenwiese, where the local farmers graze their cattle. Then walk down into the valley on easy forest roads past little ponds. During the entire walk you will enjoy views of the mighty Schneeberg and behind you will stay the Rax mountain. Accommodation on next 3 nights in Puchberg (Schneeberghof or a similar 3+ or 4-star hotel).
Walking for the day: approx. 7 hours, 24 km (full walk); you can book an optional transfer on site to shorten the walk
Day 5: To the top of Schneeberg
The Schneeberg rack-and-pinion train, now over 100 years old, climbs to a height of 1,800 m from where it is a two-hour walk to the summit. Enjoy the views from the summit and return back to the train station; do not miss the local pastry called “Buchtel” at the middle-station – a delicious speciality!
Walking for the day: approx. 4 hours, 12 km
Day 6: The Foot of Hohe Wand
Take the train and then walk up to Hohe Wand, a rock-wall popular among climbers. Don’t worry, we chose a comfortable and safe route (no scrambling or technical skills needed). From the top you can see almost to Vienna. Return to Puchberg following the ridge, past farms and small hamlets.
Walking for the day: approx. 4,5 to 5 hours, 13 km
Day 7: Departure
By train via Wiener Neustadt to Payerbach (or to Vienna).
Hotels for Walking in the Vienna AlpsGo to top of page
3+ and 4-star hotels, some with spa facilities (Payerbacherhof, Park Hotel Hirschwang, Schneeberghof or similar). This is a dual-centre based holiday, first three nights are spent in Payerbach/Reichenau and next three nights in Puchberg. All places have been carefully hand-picked by us and their quality is regularly monitored. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.
Note that hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel from the ones pictured above is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal or higher value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast and dinner are included each day. On most days there are numerous options to stop for a lunch at local huts. When no restaurant location is available on route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before.
Travel for Walking in the Vienna AlpsGo to top of page
Our recommended arrival/departure airport for this holiday is Vienna Airport. Take the airport train to the city centre and change for the train to Payerbach (about 1.5 hours). If you come by car, there are free parking slots at the hotel.
Airport transfers by public transport (train) are recommended for this trip, as they are much cheaper and faster compared to car transfers.
A comprehensive and reputable travel insurance policy is essential to your enjoyment and peace of mind while on an active holiday. It is highly recommended when booking with us that all group members have valid travel insurance which includes cover for all activities included in your trip. We have teamed up with to offer you adequate cover at a great value from a reputable insurer, and it takes only a few minutes to buy online.
Austria: Country Info
- Language: German. In big cities, many people speak English, but in remote areas, this might not be the case. However, most of the hotel personnel where you stay speak English and are ready to help you. Road signs/markers are in Latin alphabet – and you can always call our 24/7 helpline if there are any problems.
- Electric supply and plugs: 220V, 50hZ, two-pin round plugs.
- Currency: We strongly advise taking sufficient cash for your daily requirements. Banks and ATMs are available, and credit/debit card payments are widely accepted in towns and cities and big petrol station chains but might be limited at some of the villages you visit.
- Up-to-date travel advice on Austria is available here.
Trip Info for Walking in the Vienna AlpsGo to top of page
Difficulty Grade: Moderate
Higher elevation sections are bridged by cable car or train. Nevertheless some short but relatively steep climbs (no scrambling involved) have to be taken into account. You walk on plateaus of alpine character and you should command a fair stamina and experience in walking 5-6 hours per day (read more about difficulty grades).
We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to Go
This trip is available every day from early June until late September.
What to Bring
We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing not more than 20 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.
- Good hiking boots
- Hiking socks
- Several t-shirts (preferably breathable/fast drying)
- Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
- Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
- Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside accommodation
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
- Hat/Baseball cap
- Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)
Included for Walking in the Vienna AlpsGo to top of page
- 3 overnights with half board in a 3+ star hotel
- 3 overnights with half board in a 4-star hotel
- Train fares Payerbach – Semmering and Puchberg – Payerbach
- Cable cars to Rax Plateau and Schneeberg summit
- Luggage transfers on all walking days
- One road book per room
- GPS-data to use via our smartphone app
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office / representative
Options and Extras
- Single-room supplement for members of a group who require single-room accommodation
- Instead of walking, you can book a private car transfer to Rax Plateau cable car station on site (or you can take the local bus)
- Extra nights
Please click the CHECK AVAILABILITY button above to see the price of the holiday and the different options, extras and supplements for your desired dates.
- Airfare and connecting land transfers to/from Vienna
- Lunches, drinks & snacks
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses such as phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
- Tourist taxes and entry fees (payable on site)
- Any items not specifically mentioned in the programme