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 2,076m high summit Klosterwappen, is the highest mountain of Lower Austria, and the easternmost mountain in the Alps to exceed 2,000m. It is a distinctive limestone massif with steep slopes on three sides. Located just 65km from Vienna, the Vienna Alps are a hidden gem for foreigners, but many famous Austrian mountaineers started their careers here.
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
Click to view map
Day 1: Arrival Payerbach
Today you arrive in the resort town of Payerbach, easily reachable from Vienna.
- Accommodation (Days 1-3): Payerbacherhof or a similar superior 3-star hotel in Payerbach
Day 2: Train Payerbach – Semmering (Semmering Heritage Trail) | 11-19km
Take the Semmering train (the first standard-gauge mountain train globally, 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 idyllic, peaceful countryside. You can shorten this tour by taking the train for the last part.
- Walking for the day: approx. 6h, 19km (full walk) or 4h (11km) for the shorter option
Day 3: Rax Plateau | 10-15km
Reach the Rax plateau (2,000m) 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: 4-6h, 10 to 15km depending on the chosen option
Day 4: Bodenwiesen to Puchberg | 24km
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 (Days 4-6): Schneeberghof or a similar 3+ or 4-star hotel in Puchberg
- Walking for the day: approx. 7h, 24km (full walk); you can book an optional transfer on-site to shorten the walk
Day 5: To the top of Schneeberg | 12km
The Schneeberg rack-and-pinion train, now over 100 years old, climbs to a height of 1,800m from where it is a two-hour walk to the summit. Enjoy the summit’s views and return to the train station; do not miss the local pastry called “Buchtel” at the middle-station – a delicious speciality!
- Walking for the day: approx. 4h, 12km
Day 6: The Foot of Hohe Wand | 13km
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 5h, 13km
Day 7: Departure
Departure on your own by train via Wiener Neustadt to Payerbach (or to Vienna) or extension upon request.
What to expect
3+ and 4-star hotels, some with spa facilities. This is a dual-centre based holiday; the first three nights are spent in Payerbach 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.
Click to view hotels for this trip
- 3-star plus Payerbacherhof Hotel
- 4-star Park Hotel Hirschwang in Reichenau (optional upgrade – please book this options if you prefer to spend the first three nights in Reichenau; 3 x transfers to Payerbach included)
- 4-star Schneeberghof Hotel
*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 the route, lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before.
Difficulty and terrain
This is a moderate walking tour. Higher elevation sections are bridged by cable car or train. Nevertheless, some short but relatively steep climbs (no scrambling involved) have to be considered. You walk on plateaus of alpine character, and you should command fair stamina and experience in walking 5-6h per day(read more about difficulty grades). We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never 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.
When to go
This trip is available every day from early June until late September. The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking. The climate in the region is continental, cold and temperate. Depending on location and altitude, temperatures vary, but, in the May-September period, the daily averages are 15 – 25C. Spring and autumn are cooler with occasional rain. Expect the weather to change rapidly during the day.
Our recommended airport for this tour is Vienna. 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. For up-to-date timetables and fares, check the Omio planner below.
Click to view travel options
By train or bus
- 3 overnights in a 3+ star hotel
- 3 overnights in a 4-star hotel
- 6 breakfasts
- 6 dinners
- Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps
- Train fares Payerbach – Semmering and Puchberg – Payerbach
- Cable cars to Rax Plateau and Schneeberg summit
- Luggage transfers on all walking days (1 piece per person, up to 20kg)
- 24/7 phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Optional bus rides to shorten the walks
- Lunches, drinks and snacks
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Personal expenses
- Local tourist taxes and attractions’ entry fees (payable on-site)
- Any items not specifically mentioned as included in the programme
Options, extras and supplements
- If you’re travelling in a group, a supplement applies to group members who would like to have a room of their own
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- 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 available upon request