Austria's temperate climate, manageable crowds, and seasonal attractions mean the country is worth visiting at any time of the year. The winter months present snow-related sports, pretty snow-capped Alps, and cities replete with Christmas markets, while summer offers the best opportunities for water sports and visiting Austria's idyllic Lake District. And then spring and fall shoulder seasons bring more affordable hotel options, fewer crowds, picturesque city scenes, and stunning natural landscapes, from blossoming flowers to fall foliage.

Seasonal Planning for Austria Travel

The Austrian climate is temperate and humid, but temperatures can vary depending on the season and location. Usually, it stays between a mild 50°F-72°F (10°C-22°C), making it comfortable to explore the country's major cities. NIghts are a bit cooler, so bring a sweater if you're downtown for a classical music performance or grabbing a Märzen (local beer) at a beer hall. 

Come December, travelers may head to the mountains and cozy up in one of Austria's many ski resorts for a more wintery experience. It's a bit colder in the mountains, with winter temperatures averaging 32°F-37°F (0°C-3°C), so make sure to pack layers and warm clothing. Meanwhile, summer (June to August) is the peak season and best for hiking, water sports, and boating in the Salzkammergut (the Austrian Lake District). The country's major cities like Vienna, Graz, Linz, Salzburg, and Innsbruck are livelier in the summer with many festivals and celebrations but don't feel overrun with tourists. 

The shoulder season (September to October and March to May) is an excellent time for both city and outdoor experiences in Austria. The cities are less crowded and the weather is most pleasant for hiking in the lush meadows of the Alps.

Seasons Pros Cons Best for Where to Visit
Spring (Mar-May) Mild, pleasant weather; less crowded; moderate prices The mountains are a bit colder; bundle up if you're considering hiking Classical music festivals, hiking, nature, exploring cities The cities: Vienna, Salzburg, Graz, Innsbruck; drive The Grossglockner High Alpine Pass
Summer (Jun-Aug) Fantastic weather with not much variability in temperature and lots of sunshine Peak season brings more tourists and higher prices; book accommodations and activities in advance Outdoor festivals, water sports, swimming, boating; spending time outdoors Millstätter See, Wörthersee, Halstatt; Hohe Tauern National Park
Fall (Sep-Nov) Moderate prices; less crowded; beautiful fall colors Temperatures dip; can get foggy Viewing landscapes, fashion shows, dancing (attending balls), hiking, cycling, visiting museums  The countryside in Kahlenberg Hills, The Zillertal Valley in Tyrol
Winter (Dec-Feb) Snowy landscapes; festive Christmas markets; winter sports Higher elevation in the Alps can make it cold and windy with heavy snowfall; higher prices for ski season; coldest and busiest month (Christmas) Winter sports, visiting winter sports competitions, Christmas markets The mountains, including the Ski Amadé region,  Hintertux Glacier, and Stubai Glacier

Spring in Austria (March to May)

Tourists exploring Vienna near the State Opera House and Albertinaplatz square
Tourists explore Vienna near the State Opera House and Alvertinaplatz square

Spring is lovely to explore anywhere in Austria, but the pleasant weather is excellent for a brisk city walk amid cultural and historical sites. Like many European cities, there is no shortage of palaces or castles, but Austria's historical landmarks are quite exquisite in their architecture and beauty. As you stroll down the pristine streets of Vienna, you'll notice the Vienna Opera House, Schönbrunn Palace, Belvedere Palace, and the Ferris wheel at Prater amusement park. The expansive Hofburg Palace is the birthplace of Marie Antoinette and where the infamous Habsburg family lived and ruled.  

The architectural wonders are not limited to Vienna, though. "The Sound of Music" buffs will want to wander around Mirabelle Palace in Salzburg, visit Hohenwerfen Castle, and take a bike tour to all the classic movie sites. While in Salzburg, enjoy some local produce at the Green Market or the Ostermarkt (Easter Market) and Easter celebrations if the time is right. Meanwhile, music festivals will start to pop up this time of year, with classical concerts in Vienna's Stephansplatz (town square) and concert halls playing Vienna's favorite musicians: Mozart, Liszt, Strauss, Haydn, and Schubert. 

The landscapes are ideal any time of year, but in the spring, the lush, green meadows will make you think you're hiking in a storybook. The walk to Krimml Waterfalls, Europe's highest, is especially stunning. With the Alps as a backdrop to cycling, walking, and strolling, spring is the perfect time to enjoy nature and the outdoors.

Events in Spring

Steiermark Frühling festival, Vienna. This cultural event celebrates the Austrian province of Styria in March or April with apples, beer, wine, pumpkins, and traditional lederhosen dress and crafts like basket weaving.

Salzburg Easter Music Festival, Salzburg. Listen to opera and classical music performances during Easter week in April. 

Maypole Festivals, nationwide. Celebrate the return of spring with Maypole dances, singing, and gathering wildflowers at the beginning of May.

Vienna Festival of Arts and Music, Vienna. This festival celebrates creativity and innovation through theater, music, and dance through the visual arts from mid-May to mid-June. 

Whitsun Festival, Salzburg. This Baroque music concert series offers opera and musical performances in early June.

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Austria in March
Austria in April
Austria in May

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Summer in Austria (June to August)

Scenic picture-postcard view of famous Hallstatt mountain village in the Austrian Alps at beautiful light in spring, Salzkammergut region, Hallstatt, Austria
Lake Hallstatt is one of Austria's many fairy-tale lakes and a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The lake is the best place to head when temperatures climb, and the sun shines. Millstätter See, Wörthersee, and Halstatt are some popular destinations to cool off with a boat ride or swim surrounded by swathes of pretty landscapes. If you are looking for a more active way to enjoy the Alpine views, Hohe Tauern National Park is the greenest in the summertime, blooming with flowers and wildlife. You're likely to spot vultures, eagles, ibexes, marmots, and chamois this time of year.   

Salzkammergut is a region of lakes and Alpine ranges near Salzburg that is a popular vacation destination for locals and travelers alike. Visit in June to beat the crush as schools let out in early July through to mid-August. Around Hallstatt, you can escape the heat differently by visiting the cool, underground salt mines at Salzwelten or admiring the ice formations in the Dachstein Giant Ice Cave. This is also the best time of year for music lovers, and there is no shortage of musical events. Outdoor festivals like the Vienna Festival, Salzburg Festival, and Festival of Early Music are popular and a great way to enjoy the culture at its finest.  

Events in Summer

Vienna Festival, Vienna. This festival offers a collection of music, dance, and theater productions held in venues across the city, usually from mid-May to mid-June. 

Sonnwendfeuer (Midsummer Eve), nationwide. Celebrate the summer solstice (June 21) with dancing, bonfires, music, and other traditions. 

Tyrolean Festival Erl, Tirol (Innsbruck). At a small resort, this festival boasts big contemporary music compositions, chamber concerts, operas, and cultural attractions. This event usually takes place in July. 

Bregenzer Festspiele, Bregenz. Enjoy theatre and opera performances and orchestra concerts on the largest floating stage in the world starting in mid-July.

Grafenegg Music Festival, Vienna. This classical music festival is world-renowned for its open-air acoustics and stunning scenery on castle grounds. It usually starts in mid-August.  

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Austria in June
Austria in July
Austria in August

Fall in Austria (September to November)

Beautiful sunny day in Austrian alps mountains. Two men on bikes in alps riding from Hallstatt Obertraun train station in mountains. Location: resort village Hallstatt, Salzkammergut, Austria, Alps
People cycle on an autumn day in the Austrian Alps

Austria is incredibly scenic in the fall when its Alpine trees are dressed in golds, reds, and browns, and the temperatures are comfortable outdoors with a cozy sweater. This is why many people like admiring these idyllic landscapes via hiking or cycling through the countryside in Kahlenberg Hills and The Zillertal Valley in Tyrol, but there is also much to be said for indoor activities this season. The fall holds indoor events like Vienna Fashion Week and Viennale Film Festival, where attendees can enjoy this aspect of culture without worrying about the fluctuating weather outside. 

Fall is also the best time to explore Austria's museums, particularly toward the end of October and November, to get a taste of its culture and history without feeling like you should be outside enjoying sunny weather. Visit Kunsthistorisches Museum, the country's largest art museum, or Third Man Museum, a film museum that tells about Vienna's post-World War II history. Vienna's Long Night of Museums, where the museums stay open late into the night, also takes place this time of year. 

Another way to take in Austria's culture, and warm yourself when the weather turns chilly, is through food and drink. Attend an Oktoberfest celebration, try beer from a local beer hall or wine in a local heurigen (traditional tavern). There are plenty of wine festivals with local cuisines like wiener schnitzel, apple strudel, and goulash to celebrate the harvest.    

Events in Fall

Innsbruck Festival of Early Music, Innsbruck. Taking place in September, it is the oldest festival for early music and one of the most prestigious, with everything from opera star performances to original ensembles.

Viennale Film Festival, Vienna. In late October, view short films by directors from different traditions and regions of the world.

Vienna Wine Hiking Days, Vienna. Sample wine and hike from vineyard to vineyard in late September. 

Salzburg Kulturtage, Salzburg. In late September, see concerts and street theater performances at affordable prices. 

Wiener Wiesn-Fest, Vienna. Eat and drink at Oktoberfest-like celebrations, usually starting in late September. 

Almabtrieb, Alpine region. Cows that have spent the summer on the mountain come down to the valley in a procession starting mid-September. 

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Austria in September
Austria in October
Austria in November

Winter in Austria (December to February)

MAYRHOFEN, AUSTRIA - MARCH 12, 2019: People visit Mayrhofen ski resort in Tyrol region, Austria. The resort is located in Zillertal valley of Central Eastern Alps (Zentralalpen)
Skiers enjoy snowy Alpine slopes in Tyrol Region, Austria

When the cities turn snowy, it's time to embrace the cold and head to the Alps. You might consider the mountains like the Ski Amadé region of ski towns, the Hintertux Glacier, and the Stubai Glacier. In these places, you can enjoy winter sports like skiing (downhill and cross country), sledding, ice skating, and snowboarding. You can also visit winter sports competitions this time of year.

It's an excellent time for local village culture, too. Visit Alpbach, voted "Austria's most beautiful village," where you can take a gondola up the mountain or visit architectural farmhouse buildings. The medieval village of Feldkirch has a castle museum that was owned by the Habsburgs. Ball season, sometimes called Austria's "fifth season," boasts more than 2,000 hours of dancing. Step out of the cold and into your dancing shoes and waltz your way to the famous Philharmonic Ball, or one of the country's 400 balls of various themes from The Coffee Maker Ball to the Edelweiss Ball, where the dress code is dirndls and lederhosen

The biggest draw of the winter season is the enchanting Christmas markets, with advent concerts, handicrafts, and traditional customs. Get in the holiday spirit by trying the punch or delicious chestnuts from one of the wooden stalls, or warm up with some Glühwein (mulled wine) as you walk around and enjoy the festive decorations and twinkling lights. 

Events in Winter

Christmas markets, nationwide. Starting mid-November, street markets celebrate the advent season with lights, decorations, handicrafts, food, drink, and seasonal items.

Perchtenlaufen, Alpine regions. A traditional procession of scary folktale characters in costume happens in early December. 

Fasching, Western region. Celebrations for carnival season with balls and parades happen in early January. 

Vienna Ball Season, Vienna and nationwide. During January and February, a season of 2,000 hours of dancing takes place where attendees usually dress in formal gowns and tuxes and dance the traditional waltz. 

Mozart Week, Salzburg. This festive week in late January celebrates Mozart's life and compositions through art, music, dance, and theater performances. 

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Austria in December
Austria in January
Austria in February