Looking for the best time to visit Austria? This post will take you through the best seasons and months to visit along with crowd levels, weather, and events.
Austria…a city famous for The Sound of Music, opera, Beethoven, Christmas markets, and cafe culture. Visit the capital of Vienna to get a taste of European grandeur with opulent palaces and fancy cafes. Head to Salzburg and Hallstatt for picture perfect scenery and mountainous hikes.
Whether you prefer city life or a nature escape, Austria is sure to please. Just like any other popular European destination, when you visit can make or break your trip. Continue reading to discover the best time to visit Austria. I’ll take you through each month and season so you can decide what makes the most sense for your trip.
See also: ONE DAY IN VIENNA | ITINERARY AND GUIDE
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT AUSTRIA IS FALL AND SPRING
Fall in Austria – September through November
The best time to visit Austria for colorful scenery, crisp weather, and manageable crowds
Fall in Austria, specifically late September and early October, is my personal favorite. It’s the best time to visit Austria if you want to hit the sweat spot of decent weather and fewer crowds. The fresh mountain air is crisp with temperatures in the high 30’s to high 60’s. Late September and early October is ideal as you’ll experience the best of fall before it gets too chilly.
September sees temperatures in the 50’s and 60’s, October about 10 degrees cooler, leaves begin to change colors towards the end of the month, and the days are still long. The summer crowds have gone, and you’ll have an easier time getting into tourist sights and popular restaurants. Decent hotel prices can be found as long as you book your hotel in advance.
September and October is the best time to visit Austria if you’re a wine enthusiast. This is peak harvest season and many wineries invite guest to participate in the harvest or hike in the vineyards. Fall in Austria is also the perfect time of year for outdoor activities like hiking and biking.
November is the time to visit if your priority is lower crowds and hotel prices. Expect temperatures in the 30’s and 40’s and shorter days. Visit during late November to hit the Christmas markets before the crowds descend in December.
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Winter in Austria – December through February
The best time to visit Austria for Christmas markets, skiing, and low crowds (after December)
If you’re obsessed with everything Christmas or looking to bring in the new year with a bang, Austria will make for one memorable holiday. The Christmas markets in Austria are known worldwide as some of the best. Go big and head to Vienna to choose from over 20 Christmas markets, visit Innsbruck for a fairytale setting beneath the snowcapped mountains, or spend time in enchanting Salzburg for some of the most charming markets.
Vienna is one of the most popular places in Europe to celebrate New Year’s Eve, or Silvesterpfad as they call it. The city transforms into a “New Year’s Eve Trail”. Warm up with mulled wine or cider at one booth, then head to the next stall for some apple strudel, stop at a few of the entertainment areas with music and even waltzing classes, and end the night watching fireworks go off at City Hall as everyone around you performs the waltz (hence the previous waltzing class). New Year’s Eve in Vienna is basically a city-wide party from 2:00pm to 2:00am.
Winter in Austria is also prime ski time. Even if you don’t ski, visiting the Alps during the winter is a cozy experience. Visit one of the spa towns to take a dip in the thermal mineral pools, try snow shoeing, or just cozy up to the fire with some hot cocoa. Avoid the month of December if you want to avoid the crowds and high prices. January or February is ideal since ski season typically runs all the way through March.
If you’re visiting during the holidays book your hotels months in advance. December can be quite crowded since many Europeans come to Austria from neighboring countries to visit the Christmas markets. Book your restaurant reservations in advance as well.
After the holidays you will find the lowest crowd levels of the year and the hotel prices to match. Surviving the cold, high 20’s to high 30’s, might be worth it when you have main tourist sights to yourself, rarely see a line, and can pop into many restaurants with no reservation. Popular cities like Vienna and Salzburg have plenty of indoor activities to keep you busy. See an opera or concert, tour palaces and cathedrals, enjoy a warm coffee with your sacher torte or apple strudel, and take your pick from museums. There is also something to be said of seeing charming villages and cities like Hallstatt and Innsbruck covered in snow.
Spring in Austria – March through May
The best time to visit Austria for lower crowds and festivals
Along with Fall, Spring in Austria is one of the best times to visit. The cooler temperatures mean few tourists and the higher chance of finding a hotel steal. If you visit during Spring, try to aim for early May to get warmer weather, 50’s to 60’s, and longer days. Pack your umbrella because May has the highest chance of rain. March can still feel like winter with temperatures in the 30’s and 50’s. April is a good option if lower hotel rates and crowds is a priority and you don’t mind cooler temperatures, low 40’s to high 50’s. April also has the perk of less rain than May.
Spring is a wonderful time to visit Austria if you’re hitting popular cities like Vienna and Salzburg. Both spring and fall have a more authentic feel with less tourists and more locals.
Spring in Austria also brings a number of festivals as Austrians are ready to celebrate the warmer weather. Visit Easter markets in Vienna and Salzburg, get a taste of Austria during the Genuss Festival as you walk through almost 200 stalls in Vienna’s Stadtpark featuring food specialties from around the country, or listen to music ranging from Jazz to classical at the Vienna International Music Festival.
Summer in Austria – June through August
The best time to visit Austria for outdoor activities and festivals…the worst time to visit Austria for crowds and prices
With the sunshine, temperatures in the high 50’s to 70’s, and long days, comes hordes of tourists. Cities like Vienna and Salzburg become overrun and bursting with tourists. Much of the charm is lost with the crowds and advanced reservations for restaurants and sights is a requirement.
However, visiting in summer does have its perks. If you plan ahead of time and practice patience with the crowds, the summer months can be quite enjoyable. Parks are filled with vibrant colors and people lounging, major cities have outdoor events and concerts, and the weather is perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and swimming. Visit popular sights and attractions in the morning and evenings. Save your afternoons when the crowds are the worst for exploring lesser known areas or neighborhoods. If you’re in Vienna, escape to a wine garden just outside the main tourist zone.
Jake and I visited Vienna in August a few years back and really enjoyed it. Granted, I had already been to Vienna several times, so we weren’t forced to fight the crowds at popular tourist sights. Instead we visited wine gardens on the outskirts of Vienna and relaxed at some of the pop-up bars and beaches along the Danube river. Our favorite evening activity quickly became the Rathaus Film Festival. The square in front of City Hall transformed into an outdoor food market while films where projected on the face of City Hall. Communal style picnic tables were circled by food stalls offering excellent Austrian and international dishes.
We planned our days around the crowds. If we wanted to visit a popular café like Demel, we went first thing in the morning. I made my hotel reservations months in advance to get a good rate and booked dinner reservations a minimum of two weeks out.
If it’s your first time to visit Austria, I wouldn’t recommend summer. You won’t be able to see as many sights because of lines and crowds. Visit in fall or summer instead. If you’ve been to Austria before and tourist sights aren’t a priority, summer can be quite enjoyable.
The first part in planning your next trip begins with when to visit. I hope this guide on the best time to visit Austria helps you decide what month and season works best for you.
See my other Best Time to Visit blog posts: